Milord I Thanke You Hartely by Marie (Mercy) Harvey Collyn

*The Thursday before Neweyeares day (being on the Satterday), the maide, by counsell of on she trustid well, excusid herself on this wise to Milord:-

Milord I thanke you hartely
For your late liberalitie;
I would I were hable to requite
Your lordships bowntie with the like.
Marry, mie hart is not so franke
But mie habilitie is as scante;
Therefore, in steade of a leifer gift,
I bequeath you this paper for a shift.
You se I am disposid to rime,
Though it be cleen out of time.
I hope your L. will have me excused
As longe as you feel not yourself abusid.
To be short, Milord, thus it is, Iwis,
I could not be at home according to prommis.
I would not, perhaps it may to you seem;
I pray you, Milord, do not so misdeem.
Truly I was sent for to spend this good time
A fewe miles of with a kinsman of mine.
Whether mi father in hast wuld so faine have me goe,
That I could not nor durst not for mielife say noe.

So that I was faint
At his commaundiment
To take a jornye
That I litle ment.
I pray you, Milord,
Have me excusid,
Though by mie frends
I be thus rulid.

The truth is, I am not mine owne maide,
My frends to disobey I am afraide.
An other time as good
To speake your minde;
In  the meane time if you seeke
You can not but finde.
Your honors to commaund
In anie honest demaund.

*This poem was written by the then 17-year-old Marie (Mercy) Harvey to Philip Howard, the Earl of Surrey (also 17 at the time) excusing herself from her promise to meet him (and reminding him of their differences in station and the fact that he was already married) several days after he had attempted to rape her. It survived because her brother, Gabriel Harvey, kept a dossier on the affair which included the letters Philip Howard sent to Marie and her responses.

From: Scott, Edward John Long (ed.), Letter-Book of Gabriel Harvey, A.D. 1573-1580, 1884, Camden Society: London, pp. 153-155.
(https://archive.org/details/letterbookgabe00camduoft)

Date: 1574

By: Marie (Mercy) Harvey Collyn (c1556-after 1608)

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