Aemilia Lanyer

(1569-1645 / England)

To The Lady Margaret


Right Honourable and Excellent Lady, I may
say with Saint Peter, Siluer nor gold haue
I none, but such as I haue, that give I you: for
hauing neither rich pearles of India, nor fine
gold of Arabia, nor diamonds of inestimable
value; neither those rich treasures, Arramaticall Gums, in-
cense, and sweet odours, which were presented by those
Kingly Philosophers to the babe Iesus, I present vnto you
euen our Lord Iesus himselfe, whose infinit value is not to
be comprehended within the weake imagination or wit of
man: and as Saint Peter gaue health to the body, so I deliuer
you the health of the soule; which is this most pretious
pearle of all perfection, this rich diamond of deuotion, this
perfect gold growing in the veines of that excellent earth
of the most blessed Paradice, wherein our second Adam had
his restlesse habitation. The sweet incense, balsums, odours,
and gummes that flowes from that beautifull tree of Life,
sprung from the roote of Jessie, which is so super-excellent,
that it giueth grace to the meanest & most vnworthy hand
that will vndertake to write thereof; neither can it receiue
any blemish thereby: for as a right diamond can lose no
whit of his beautie by the black foyle vnderneath it, nei-
ther by beeing placed in the darke, but retaines his naturall
beauty and brightnesse shining in greater perfection than
before; so this most pretious diamond, for beauty and riches
exceeding all the most pretious diamonds and rich jewels
of the world, can receiue no blemish, nor impeachment, by

my vnworthy hand writing; but wil with the Sunne retaine
his owne brightnesse and most glorious lustre, though ne-
uer so many blind eyes looke vpon him. Therefore good
Madame, to the most perfect eyes of your vnderstanding, I
deliuer the inestinable [sic] treasure of all elected soules, to bee
perused at conuenient times; as also, the mirrour of your
most worthy minde, which may remaine in the world ma-
ny yeares longer than your Honour, or my selfe can liue, to
be a light vnto those that come after, desiring to tread in the
narrow path of virtue, that leads the way to heauen. In
which way, I pray God send your Honour long to conti-
nue, that your light may so shine before men, that they may
glorifie your father which is in Heauen: and that I and ma-
ny others may follow you in the same tracke. So wishing
you in this world all increase of health and honour, and in
the world to come life euerlasting, I rest.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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