Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Civil War and Essex the New Model Earl

Essex’s ‘Letter to the Earl of Southampton’ was published in 1642 and 1643 – the first publication did not contain an address to the Reader, nor did it mention Essex’s son. The 1642 publication preceeded the Battle of Edgehill (October 23 1642) in which the third Earl of Essex led the Parliamentarian forces against the King.


THE Earle of ESSEX HJS LETTER to the Earle of SOVTHAMPTON in the time of his Troubles.

Containing many Pious Expressions, and very comfortable for such as are in any Troubles:

Septemb. 29. 1642.

LONDON, Printed by LVKE NORTON, for T. T.


A PRECIOUS And most Divine LETTER FROM THAT FAMOUS, AND Ever to be renowned Earl of ESSEX, (Father to the now Lord Generall his Excellence) to the Earl of SOUTH-HAMPTON, in the latter time of Queen ELIZABETHS Reigne.

Printed according to Order.

London Aug: 14. 1643

To the READER.

THis Letter, many Yeares since received from the hands of a most Honourable Person, eminent in the Court in those Elizean dayes, (when Honour crowned Uirtue, and Uirtue was the glory of the Times) I have long stored up for my owne private, as a Gem and Treasure inestimable.

Earthly Treasures waste, but Heavenly increase by Communication! Besides, I feare (with the Lepers of Old) I doe not well long to conceale, what all that read will judge to be a Common Treasure. What the Author was for Heigth and Greatnesse all know; What for Grace and Goodnesse (though Envy or Ignorance, have as it were Conspired to Vaile over his Orient Lustre) thou mayest take some scantling of by this.

His Magnanimity and Ualour the World knew, as farre as Hercules his Pillars, and the utmost Extent of the Hesperian Pride. His Humility and Plaine-heartednes (which heightned Him above all his Honours) those that knew him were not ignorant of.

That Noble Heroe yet lives in the true Successor of Honour and Uirtue, our Noble GENERALL.

(Neque degeneres pariunt Aquilae Columbas.)

His incorrupted Fidelity, Valour, and Wisedonme, are above the reach of Ignorant or Envious Malignants.

His immovable Resolution (ever, and of late exprest) to deny his Honour, his owne Wisedome, yea his life for the Common Safety, shines so bright in the Eyes of all Judicious, that neither the malicious fomentings of Malignant Spirits, nor the weake Clamors of impatient Ignorance, nor the Necessity of Gods most holy Providence, (exercising his Excellency and the Kingdome, I hope for good) I say that none, nor all of these, can justly cloud and Eclipse his Shine and Lustre.

There is nothing within the Circumference of Politicall and prudentiall Arts, that hath more uncertaine and various Events then that of Warre: Eventus Belli incertus.

The protracting lengthning, shortning, lies in the hand of a higher Excellency, even onely his, in whose hand is our Way and Breath, as Daniel told Belshazzar.

The Greatest and best Commanders that ever the World yet saw, must remember, in whose hand is their VVay and Breath, and both they and all Men must with Patience see (for oft it comes to passe) both Moneths, and Summers spend beyond their Thoughts, Desires, Endeavours, and yet no Blemish to their VVisdome, Valour, Fidelity, or Vigilancy.

He that is the God of Peace mercifully shew us the Paths of it, even of that Peace, which no Man can give nor take from us.

A LETTER FROM That famous, and ever to be renowned Earle of ESSEX, to the Earl of South-hampton, in the latter time of Queen ELIZABETHS Reigne.

My Lord,

AS neither nature nor custome ever made me a man of complement, so now I shall have lesse will than ever for to use such Ceremonies, when I have left with Martha to be solicitus circa multa, and believe with Mary, unum sufficit: but it is no complement or Ceremony, but a reall and necessary duty that one friend oweth to another in absence & especially at their seave taking, when in mans reason many accidents may keep them long divided, or perhaps barre them ever meeting till they meet in another world; for then shall I thinke that my friend, whose honour, whose Person, and whose fortune is deare unto me, shall prosper and be happy where ever he goes, and what ever he takes in hand when he is in the favour of that God, under whose protection there is onely safety, and in whose service there is onely true happinesse to be found. What I thinke of your naturall gifts or abilities in this age, or in this State, to give glory to God, and to winne honour to your selfe, if you imploy the Talents you have received to their best use, I will not now tell you, it sufficeth, that when I was farthest of all times from dissembling, I spake truly, and have witnes enough: but these things only I will put your Lordships in mind of.

First, that you have nothing that you have not received.

Secondly, that you possesse them not as Lord over them, but as an accomptant for them.

Thirdly, If you imploy them to serve this world, or your own worldly delights, (which the Prince of this world will seek to entertain you with) it is ingratitude, it is injustice, yea it is perfidious treacherie. For what would you thinke of such a servant of yours, that should convert your goods committed to his charge, to the advantage or service of your greatest enemy; & what do you lesse than this with God, since you have all from him, and know that the world, and Prince thereof, are at a continuall enmity with him? and therefore if ever the admonition of your truest friend shall be heard by you or if your Countrey which you may serve in so great and many things, be deare unto you; If your God, whom you must (if you deale truly with your selfe) acknowledge to be powerfull over all, and just in all be feared by you; yea if you be dear unto your selfe and preferre an everlasting happines before a pleasant dreame, which you must shortly awake out of, and then repent in the bitternes of your soul; if any of these things be regarded by you, then I say, call your selfe to account for what is past, cancell all the leagues you have made without the warrant of a religious conscience, make a resolute Covenant with your God, to serve him with all your natural and spirituall, inward and outward gifts and abilities, and then he that is faithfull (and cannot lie) hath promised to honour them that honour him; He will give you that inward peace of Soul, and true joy of heart, which till you have you shall never rest, and which when you have, you shall never be shaken, and which you can never attaine to any other way than this that I have shewed you.

I know your Lordship may say to your selfe, and object to me, this is but a vapor of melancholie and the stile of a Prisoner, and that I was far enough from it, when I lived in the world as you doe now, and may be so again when my fetters be taken from me. I answer, though your Lordship should thinke so, yet cannot I distrust the goodnesse of my God that his mercy will fail me or his grace forsake me; I have so deeply ingaged my selfe, that I should be one of the most miserable Apostates that ever was, I have so avowed my profession and called so many from time to time to witnes it, and to be watchmen over me, that I should be the hollowest hypocrite that ever was borne: But though I should perish in my owne sin, and draw upon my selfe my own damnation, should not you take hold of the grace and mercy in God which is offer
ed unto you; and make your profit of my fearful and wretched example?

I was longer a slave and servant to the world and the corruptions of it. then you have bin, and therefore could hardlyer be drawn from it. I had many calls, and answered some of them slowly; thinking a soft pace fast enough to come to Christ and my selfe forward enough when I saw the end of my journy, though I arrived not at it, and therefore I have been by Gods providence violently pul'd, hal'd, and drag'd to the Marriage Feast as the world hath seen. It was just with God to afflict me in this world that he might give me joy in another. I had too much knowledge when I performed too little obedience, and was therefore to be beaten with double stripes: God grant your Lordship may feel the comfort I now enjoy in my unfaigned conversion, but that you never feele the torments I have suffered for my too long delaying it; I had none but Divines to call upon me, to whom I said, if my ambition could have entred into their narrow hearts, they would not have bin so humble; or if my delights had bin tasted by them, they could not have been so precise: but your Lordship hath one to call upon you, that knowes what it is you now injoy, & what the greatest fruit and end is of all the contentments that this world can afford. Thinke therefore deare Earl, that I have staked & bounded all the waies of pleasure to you, & left them as Sea markes for you to keep the Channell of religious virtue; for, shut your eyes never so long they must be open at last, and then you must say with me, there is no peace to the wicked. I will make a Covenant with my Soul, not to suffer my eyes to sleep in the night, nor my thoughts to attend the first busines of the day, till I have prayed to my God, that your Lordship may believe and make profit of this plaine, but faithfull admonition; and then I know your Countrey and friends shall be happy in you, and Your self successefull in all you take in hand; which shall be an unspeakeable comfort to

Your Lordships Cousin and true friend, whom no world
ly cause can divide from you ESSEX.


Eikon Basilike - Charles I

 27. To the Prince of Wales.

...In this I charge you to persevere, as comming nearest to Gods Word for Doctrine, and to the primitive examples for Government, with some little amendment, which I have otherwhere expressed, and often offered, though in vain. Your fixation in matters of Religion will not be not more necessary for your soules then your Kingdomes peace, when God shall bring you to them.
For I have observed, that the Devill of Rebellion, doth commonly turn himself into an Angell of Reformation; and the old Serpent can pretend new Lights: When some mens Consciences accuse them for Sedition and Faction, they stop its mouth with the name and noise of Religion; when Piety pleads for peace and patience, they cry out Zeale.
So that, unlesse in this point You be well setled, you shall never want temptations to destroy you and yours, under pretensions of reforming matters of Religion; for that seemes, even to worst men, as the best and most auspicious beginning of their worst designes.
Where, besides the Novelty which is taking enough with the Vulgar, every one hath an affectation, by seeming forward to an outward Reformation of Religion, to be thought zealous; hoping to cover those irreligious deformities, whereto they are conscious by a severity of censuring other mens opinions or actions.
Take heed of abetting any Factions, or applying to any publick Discriminations in matters of Religion, contrary to what is in your Judgement, and the Church well setled; your partiall adhering, as head, to any one side, gaines you not so great advantages in some mens hearts (who are prone to be of their Kings Religion) as it loseth you in others; who think themselves, and their profession first despised, then persecuted by you: Take such a course as may either wth calmnes & charity quite remove the seeming differences and offences by impartiality, or so order affaires in point of Power that you shal not need to fear or flatter any Faction. For if ever you stand in need of them, or must stand to their courtesie, you are undone: The Serpent will devour the Dove: you may never expect lesse of loyalty, justice, or humanity, than from those, who engage into religious Rebellion; Their interest is alwaies made Gods; under the colours of Piety, ambitious policies march, not onely with greatest security, but applause, as to the populacy; you may heare from them Jacob's voice, but you shall feele they have Esau's hands. Nothing seemed lesse considerable than the Presbyterian Faction in England, for many yeares; so compliant they were to publique order: nor indeed was their Party great either in Church, or State, as to mens judgments: But as soone as discontents drave men into Sidings (as ill humours fall to the disaffected mart, which causes inflamations) so did all, at first, who affected any novelties, adhere to that Side, as the most remarkable and specious note of difference (then) in point of Religion.


Author: Jones, William, b. 1581 or 2.

Title: A treatise of patience in tribulation first, preached before the Right Honourable the Countesse of Southampton in her great heauines for the death of her most worthy husband and sonne: afterward inlarged for the helpe of all that are any way afflicted crossed or troubled. By William Iones B. of D. and P. of Arraton in the Isle of Wight. Herevnto are ioyned the teares of the Isle of Wight, shed on the tombe of their most noble Captaine Henrie Earle of Southampton and the Lord Wriothesly his sonne.

Date: 1625


Vpon the Death of the right Noble and Honourable Lord, HENRY, Earle of Southampton, Baron of Tichfield, Knight of the most Honorable Order of the Garter: Captaine of the Isle of Wight.

Mors vltima, linea rerum.

Quis est homo qui viuet & non videbit mortem? Ps.

YEe famous Poets of this Southerne Islle,
Straine forth the raptures of your Tragick Muse;
And with your Laurea't Pens come and compile,
The praises due to this Great Lord: peruse
His Globe of Worth, and cke his Vertues braue,
Like learned Maroes at Mecenas graue.

Valour and Wisdome were in thee confin'd;
The Gemini of thy perfection,
And all the Graces were in thee combin'd,
The rich mans ioy and poores refection.
Therefore the King of Kings doth thee imbrace,
For aye to dwell in iust Astraeas place.

Nought is Immortall vnderneath the Sun,
Wee all are subiect to Deaths restlesse date,
Wee end our liues before they are begun,
And mark't in the Eternall Booke of Fate.
But for thy Selfe, and Heire one thred was spun
And cut: like Talbots and his valiant Sonne.

Planet of Honour rest, Diuinely sleepe
Secure from iealousie and worldly feares,
Thy Soule IEHOVAH will it safely keepe:
I, at thy Vrne will drop sad Funerall Teares.
Thou A'leluiahs vnto God alone,
And to the Lambe that sits amidst his Throne.

I can no more in this lugubrious Verse:
Reader depart, and looke on Sidneys Herse.



AN ELEGIE VPON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT NOBLE and Magnanimous Heroë, HENRY Earle of Oxford, Viscount Bulbec, Lord Samford, and Lord great Chamberlaine of England.

WHO SICKENED IN SERVICE OF HIS KING and Countrie, in defence of the States. And died at the Hagh in Holland. Aprill 1625.
Abraham Holland

...He [Oxford] sought no new-made Honours in the Tide

Of favour, but was borne the same he di'de.
Nor came he to the Elysium with shame
That the old VERES did blush to heare his Name
Brighter than theirs: where his deserts to grace
His Grand-fathers rose up and gave him place,
And set him with the Heroës, where the Quire
Of ayrie Worthies rise up, and admire
The stately Shade: those Brittish Ghosts which long
Agoe were number'd in th'Elysian throng
Ioy to behold him; SYDNEY threw his Bayes
On OXFORDS head, and daign'd to sing his praise;
While Fame with silver Trumpet did keepe time
With his high Voice, and answered his rime.

The soft inticements of the Court, the smiles
Of Glorious Princes the bewitching wiles
Of softer Ladies, and the Golden State
That in such places doth on Greatnesse waite
And all the shadie happinesse which seemes
To attend Kings and follow Diadems
Were Boy-games to his minde: to see a Maske
And sit it out, he held a greater taske
Than to endure a Siege: to wake all Night
In his cold armour, still expecting fight
And the drad On-set, the sad face of feare,
And the pale silence of an Army, were
His best Delights; among the common rout
Of his rough Souldiers to sit hardnesse out
Were his most pleasing Delicates: to him
A Batter'd Helmet was a Diadem:
And wounds, his Brauerie: Knowing that Fame
And faire Eternitie could neuer claime
Their Meeds without such Hazards:

Letter from Count Gondomar to King Philip (while Henry de Vere was incarcerated in the Tower).

"In the letter of April 1, I said to your Majesty how the King removed the Earl Oxford as commander in chief of the armada in the Strait [Ed. note: the fleet in the Channel] because I told him to, because he [Oxford] was partial to the Dutch, and also because of the way Oxford was bad mouthing the King and me. He spoke even to the point of saying that it was a miserable situation that had reduced England's stature because the people had to tolerate a King who had given the Pope everything spiritual; and everything temporal to the King of Spain. I told King James to arrest this man and put him in the Tower in a narrow cell so that no one can speak to him. I have a strong desire to cut off his head because he is an extremely malicious person and has followers. And he is the second ranking Earl in England, and he and his followers are committed to the Puritan Faction with great passion and to the faction of the Count of the Palatinate against the service of the Emperor and your Majesty." (May 16, 1622)


Author: Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637.

Title: Honour in his perfection or, A treatise in commendations of the vertues and renowned vertuous vndertakings of the illustrious and heroycall princes Henry Earle of Oxenford. Henry Earle of Southampton, Robert Earle of Essex, and the euer praise-worthy and much honoured Lord, Robert Bartue, Lord Willoughby, of Eresby: with a briefe cronology of theirs, and their auncestours actions. And to the eternall memory of all that follow them now, or will imitate them hereafter, especially those three noble instances, the Lord Wriouthesley, the Lord Delaware, and the Lord Montioy.

Date: 1624


 Essex's Epitaph:


 Author: Essex, Robert Devereux, Earl of, 1566-1601. 

Title: The arraignment, tryal and condemnation of Robert Earl of Essex and Henry Earl of Southampton, at Westminster the 19th of February, 1600 and in the 43 year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth for rebelliously conspiring and endeavouring the subversion of the government, by confederacy with Tyr-Owen, that popish traytor and his complices ... were the 5th of March ... arraigned, condemned, and executed ...
Date: 1679


His Epitaph. 

There sleeps great Essex, Darling of Mankind,
Fair Honours Lamp, foule Envies prey, Arts fame,
Natures pride, Vertues Bulwark, lure of Mind.
Wisdoms Flower, Valours Tower, Fortunes shame,
England's Sun, Belgia's light, France's Star, Spain's thunder,
Lisbon's lightning, Ireland's cloud, the whole Worlds Wonder.