Libels Part 6. Charles Arundel: correspondence with a lady

The identity of the lady to whom most of the following letters are addressed is unknown. Chambers and D. C. Peck(1) propose that she might have been Anne Vavasor on the evidence of 6.10 that she was in disgrace, and that Arundel (as putative author of Leicester's Commonwealth) referred to her as another man's leavings In fact, however, the relationship seems to have been moving toward a betrothal (6.5-6) without the complications which would almost certainly have been involved if the lady had conceived a child by another man. Letter 6.9 suggests that the lady got into trouble and was disgraced for agreeing to act as Arundel's London intelligencer. All documents in this appendix are in the hand of Walsingham's amanuensis.

The source of many of the following letters is PRO SP12/151[/51], ff. 111-12 (bifolium, 310mm x 210mm; heavily repaired; undated). The several letters to the lady are written as continuous text in folio order 112, 112v, 111v (for 111, see 5.3). Breaks have been inferred from apparent greetings and salutations.

6.1 Arundel to the lady, shortly after Oxford's capture. Arundel was apparently removed on Easter eve, 25 March (5.3), from London to Sutton in West Sussex. In this letter Arundel gives a lively (and necessarily second-hand) account of Oxford's behavior before Elizabeth after his capture.

PRO SP12/151[/51], f. 112


[h...k.....of the.....of.......](3) fawlt imported herewithall that some had excused it as donne before repentance,

2 that his mynd was nowe as zealous and as dewtifull to hir as any mans alive

3 that his flight(4) was not to exempte himselfe from hir autho<ri>tie but growndid on a iudgement of his one [=own] nativitie(5) and misgeveing of his minde that he shuld <b>e in durance, wold you not mervell sayde she [=Elizabeth] that this purgacio<ne> shuld be vsid by some of yowre <o>wne place, [et] ^well¬ my Lord C(6) longe debateid against this favore as to seem alleginge that a crime cold not <be> satisfied with wordes & owre libertye suspended herebye(7) may you see clere light of that I gessed at before¬ in hope of newe matters to fall owte(8) vppon oxfords writ<.....>ard[?] which no dout [.](9) hath sent him¬ instruccions by Milles(10) and then that his fawlt is qualified that it may not take awaye the validitie of his accusations as thoughe in fliinge he cold say more, then at his abidinge here but this must be because the grete devell(11) will have it so trewlie I am nowe even¬ at my wittes end, and kno not what t<o> say nor which way to t<ur>ne me, seinge a knowene and manifest enemye is able to impunge the <re>solucion of a cownecell all are in admiration and no man knos whiche way to helpe, the meaninge is by <so> detayninge vs to wine [=win] time, whiche geveithe hope of workeinge somewhat. lett me have both your consent <a>nd yowr cownesayle for I protest before god my minde is so affrightid with this causeles change(12) and the light it <sh>ewithe of the power owr enemies retayne to work ther willes withowte any reason that I h<oe>¬ <l...> the pole, and kno not in what climate I am shakcen. this is a strange libertie for one[?] tyrant to vsurp <on>e[?] state of fredome but thus hathe he delte ever and this is his stinkeinge and mallicious nature I have no oth<er> n<e>wes and therfore swete [f<rien>d] C¬(13) I recommend yow to yowr one wishe, and send vs bothe as much abilitie to frind eche o<th>er as ther is good will and constancye

6.2 Arundel to the lady, undated (follows preceding, f. 112).

so longe as any man will move a dowte or put a scruple in t<he> Quenes hed, which can never want consideringe owr enemies we are not like to be deliverid that way you see what creditt the good old gentillman(14) hath still to mischefe vs against the favor of the whole bord / God reward you for your most affectionat and frindlye lines. Imagine me to be the tother buckett that will s<i>ncke to the botome to bring you above water and ther an end. forbeare your suete [=suit] it will make them dowt<e> wronge <m>easure and seke a bowt(15) in a rushe turninge all owre fayth and constancye one to another in all thes<e> acc<io>ns rather to the sleight of practice, then to the force of truthe / I will come to you sewte ladye throughe b<r>asen walles, as to my onelie yoye [=joy] and chefeist comfort But lett vs so conteyn owre tonge(16) as it being as it is it may most turne to owre one advantage. Yf you have any awnser send it, I am dayle plungid in mor<e> and more discomfort farwell and remember him that forgettes not you. Swet Ladye the comfort of this fickeell worell [=world], is no better then a winters somemer [=summer] whiche fadeithe ere it warme owre earthlie bodies /

6.3 Arundel to the lady, undated (follows preceding, with change of ink, ff. 112-12v). If the "late offence" is Oxford's recent flight following the birth of his son, then the "staye" must be Arundel's house arrest at Sutton in West Sussex.

I wold not for anything but I had fownd oportunitye this daye once againe to write vnto you bycause yf yow marke it well it will geve light to my present condicion. first the formall cause of my staye was a supplicacion presentid to the Quene by Lester from oxford lester haveinge vnderstode of the Quenes entent overnight to deliver me and the rest sent him cownesell to make it redye the next daye promisinge to breke the yse [=ice] and to deliver it assuringe him further that yf he did not nowe followe his cownesell his enemies beinge dischargeid wolde fill(17) the Quenes eares with suche hatefull matter as comminge vppon the grownd of the late offenc<e>(18) wold make him to forsake his cuntrie here vppon [hewrote] he wrote¬ the principall pointe that toucheid vs, [all] was¬ that vnlesse her Maiestie wold banishe him owte of her sight for ever she must nowe restray<ne> his enemies of that excedeinge trivmphe which they wold make vppon this disgrace, and in reason she was bownd to do no lesse consideringe that for her sake he had gotten the name of a promoter.(19) this argument prevaylid so muche with a favorable iudge that forthwith a cow<n>termaund of libertie was directid to owre kepeers all and severall. In the end he promisid to do her better service yet in the same kinde yf he were deliverid hee may yest [=jest] as [+the] man sayd to the woman that the spirit of Ink was in her practice. Well in conclusion since |(20) this [sub] supplication¬ was presentid with a hepe of other reasons for his furnisheinge the place against this gallant time danceing[?] with the Queen &c [th<...>hath] as we haue¬ geven over all bitter spechees and we are so [perplexd] trobelid¬ betwene care to lett him in againe and feare of shame and obloqui consideringe the fowlenesse of the facte, that we kno not whiche waye to turn<e> vs onelie feare of [shame] smirche¬ and respect of shame [haue] consideringe¬ the greueness [?grevousness] of the fawlte hathe kepte him owte otherwise he had bin ^ere this¬ reconcileid by my durance I hope I lose no grace go<d> providithe for the best Imagine your frind is yowr selfe and not another selfe caringe more for you then for my self [for everye frind before I have ten and those that were arested] farewell and god send you my [s]wishe which is yowr one [=own] desire

6.4 Arundel to the lady, from Sutton in West Sussex, 1 May 1581, inviting her to remove to London in order to serve as his intelligencer.

PRO SP12/149[/3], f. 3 (single sheet, 320mm x 208mm, repaired)

Swete Mistres I am sorye that I have no matter oftener presentid [vnto me] to exercise¬ my love and frindlie disposition towardes you Whiche hathe bin great of longe time and as none in truthe in that degree of perfection as it can not take any encrease, not ignorant howe dere you be vnto those yat I chefelie tender in the worell [=world] and meritte to be respectid my love to you hathe drawne me to deale with your sister whiche shall not be frutelesse to hir or hirs by the grace of God. and I culd not chuse but tell hir that you weare one that might imploye me and commawnd me, and I have good hope that she will prove an honorable member of your howse wherof I shalbe glad to here [=hear] and will add any meanes yat shall be in my powre to advaunce hir good fortune yf you cold drawe your selfe to a certayne place of contynuance(21) in london or theraboutes and so able your selfe to be corespondent to my letters from time to time as I will be with you by God his grace we shall drawe some good cowrse amonge vs profitable to souche as we tender and honorable for you to take in hand vppon whiche poyntes I have thought to deale with your sister that she mought vtter my mynd vnto you, but I will see more assurance in hir and in¬ hir actions before I will adventure so farr with hir albeit that my affection to you and good likeinge [to] of¬ hir, dothe muche move me forwardes and the more for that she gevethe good hope, that she will not geve over the cawse of God, but be a defendor of the same accordinge to the exspectation holden hir and as may be agreable to hir sexes [=sex], your charitable dealinge [bothe] wherof I have hard is a thinge mete for you and your profession(22) and wilbe sometime glorious [to] vnto¬ you in the sight of God. to whome I comitt you Sutton the first of maye

Modern endorsement: Sutton May 1 (1581); [To be placed at the end of October with the other papers of Mr Chs Arundel;] (Oct. 1581)

6.5 The lady's "sister" to Arundel, approving his match to her "bedfellow".

PRO SP12/149[/3A], f. 4 (single half sheet, 164mm x 205mm, undated)

Mye verye good frind. Vppon the proposition of the matche, for my bedfellowe, whose welle [=weal, prosperity] and advancement I tender no lesse then yf she were my none [=mine own] childe aswell in respecte of her vpbringeinge withe me, almost from hir birthe, as for her good nature and dewtifull inclination bothe in religion and all vertwous respectes I wold not fayle as you have desirid to imploye (so farr as you [have desired] thinke I maye¬) my creditt towardes the partie whome you maye herebye assure, of my good likeinge therof, an<d> that for the same, I will esteme my selfe verie much beholdinge to them this muche maye suffice amongst frindes, redie allwayes yf nede require to doe whatt soever is in my powre for the best bestowinge of my beloved bedfellowe God preserve you.

Yowr most assurid good frind

Endorsed: A Monsiere [Monsiere Ar<un>dell(23) monssere][?]

6.6 The lady to Arundel. The conspiratorial candor of this letter, which like the others was intercepted, may account for the fact that in 6.9 the lady seems to have been banished to a country residence.

PRO SP12/151[/54], f 115 (single sheet, 320mm x 205mm; undated)

My verye good

He that came from you of late brought me good testemonye of yowr favoure and frindlie disposition [towardes] for the whiche you shall have me corespondent to my powre, and the rather for that bothe owre endevoures and labors tend to one [end] marke¬ althoughe by severall degrees and meanes, whiche beinge noted by some frinds to vs bothe, they have bin ernist in hand with me [knowinge the peo]ple that I hawnt here (whiche thoughe I saye it be of the best sort and that this is the place of contynuance(24) assigned vnto me by suche as have powre to commawnd me) to establishe some frindlie intelligence with you and so concurr in owre actions whiche myght the better advance the quarell by vs bothe so longe defendid, besides thencrease of love and frindshipp betwene vs bothe, whiche beinge growndid vppon so good a fowndacion can never admitt decaye. I answerid my frindes touchinge the premises as I do you nowe, whiche is that I hold you a Ientillman of muche valewe and integritie, and to you I dare confesse it, I have manye to answer in the worell [=world] of good places, whiche must be labor of my none [=my own] hand, wherin I dare not admitt any to releve myselfe (least [=lest] by the corruption of the time I shuld be abusid) wherbye my paines be the more and my leasure the lesse to satisfye all that is exspectyd at my handes and in dede of verye dutye due to some of the best and derest to vs And thesse considerations together with dew regard of my dewtye makeithe me the lesse willinge to encrease my charge yet never the lesse yf vppon demonstration from yowr selfe it maye appere vnto me, that you are willinge to come to some frindlie intelligence, and that therbe a solide waye layd for the continuance of the same (as is requisite) I shalbe contentyd to comprehend yow amonge the number of those to whome I dedicate my travayle and labors in this life whiche (I hope well) shall not be alltogether vnprofitable vnto you for as I am not ignorant what a matter it is to enter into this course, and what concurrence and a frindlie dealinge ther is to be holden for the contynuance of the same so yf we cepe [=keep] to gether herein I promes you herebye, that it must be some great matter by you ministred (whiche I never expect) and nothinge else that shall remove me from you. But rather make me studie by all meanes possible to advaunce yowr name and estimation so as I trust you shall not repent you of yowr acqwayntence whiche a fewe monethes shall declare by the grace of God wherfore begin when you [list] will¬. I shall never geve you over

6.7 Arundel to the lady, undated (follows 6.3, f. 112v), describing Oxford's behavior before Elizabeth and her lords. Probably from Sutton in West Sussex, April 1581 (see headnote to next).

I have bin inquisatore to vnderstand the demeanor of the Monster before the lordes at his first apparance whic<h> I finde to be so submissive and penitent accordinge to the directions of his godfather(25) as was wonderfull lamentinge his ill desteny that ledd him to the displeaseinge of the most gracious princes [=princess] that ever was and whose displeasure he wold willinglie welcome with the losse of life &c this moveid suche pitye as my opinion is he shall not staye wher he is(26) [and yet] althoughe¬ a nother manner of charge were geven to the lifetenant(27) for well lokeinge to him then ever was geven towcheinge ^any¬ of vs I here he hathe the lodgeinge that the Lifetenant had of speciall favour appointed for my Lord harrye well the conclusion is that for the counetena<nce> of his butcherye t<...>s[?] have I rest in bondes and so ther is no [rest] remedye¬ but for the pleasinge of ill humors owre monster must endure a parcell of [his] the¬ punnishement belonginge to his villanye. it excedes(28) how some have pledid for this prince and surelie [but for them](29) he had never bin committi<d> I cold not chuse but smile when it was told me that no man cold allege ^eyther¬ vertue honor oversight &c in his behalfe the best argument that anye of hi<s> frindes cold vse was the gallantnesse of his mennes suetis of aparell against this time of trivmphe(30) and the strange device of his menes ^newe¬ liveries what wold you more the man is sone [=son] of the white hen(31) and must be absolute [=absolved] a pena et a culpa,(32) I have resersevid [=reserved] stones for him and much worse then yet hathe bin hard of¬ yf ever I be cald furthe to touche [=accuse] him yf iustice maye have her suinge he shal<l>(33) be ierkeid(34) in a nother manner and trewle [=truly] it is a matter equall in weight with my(35) minde that he hathe done, and not different in impietie of execution [god reward you] some of my none [=mine owne] frindes¬ are not the most kind but I rather sighe with inward grefe then complaine of my in<iuries>[?] god reward your kind and constant frindshipp toward me and so with more good wishees then this leafe hathe letters I and my Lord hary [and my selfe] and my self¬ have bin infinitelie bownd todaie and so [whoe]ver[?] delte for one of vs delte for the other, it is owr fortune to marche arme in arme in everye frindlie register fare well in hast

6.8 Arundel to the lady, probably from Sutton in West Sussex, undated, but with an apparent reference to May Day (follows preceding, ff. 112v and 111v).

swete Ladye yowr last hathe deliverid me from almost as greate an agonie as yowr selfe endurid for as it is not incident to ma<ny> linkelike(36) myndes to se the beast(37) so still I gatherid by yowr silence that some thinge was amisse whiche my [frind] prentis¬ durst not tell me. nowe thankes be geven to god for the change and fownd no better remedie then sinaman water(38) which I pray you want not Milles hathe reporteid that ther is a grete parson [=person] who not semeinge to have any conference with the villaine his Master since his flight takeithe a certayne message from his mowthe pretendid <to> be sent him from the villaine at his goinge owte to this intent, that her Maiestie should not so farr <....> show her self with chollor for this facte that she lett goe those against whome he wold prov<e> worse matter that shuld gale [=gall] vs all [+to] the quicke &c and therfor bothe the | villane, and his great solliciter(39) craveid of the Quene that we might be still forthe comminge to answere to suche articles as bothe he cold and wold obiecte against vs(40) when the storms[?] were so pacified as that he might be callid forthe to answere, wherwith ^most certainlie¬ accordithe that Mr Vicechamberlain(41) told me, that not longe before his grasse widdowe(42) fell in labor he was most ernest bothe with the Queen and him selfe for triall and thus I must tarrye all mens turnes and so shall have leysure, to build skeffoldees for owre hedes when others build for a maygame(43) the villaines frindes begin to feint bycause they find that nether they can se and suffer this infamous Monster withowte punnishement excepte they wold propane [=prophane] and soyle the cort makinge it no better then a stewe [=brothel] in common speche of Christendome and beside for that they find ther lekeinge vessell can not carrye water Mr Vicechamberlain <i>s a man of verye good conscience and my honorable frind, and in my conscience though he saye little to me I find by others he muche lamentithe that men shuld so muche forgett them selves as to frind or further him. a grete counseler told a frind of myn that all the matter is but a trifell and had full profe in nothinge iudge [=judge] you what [say] my enemyies will lett pas when they bite at suche bubbles But god is stronge and thowghe the monster had rather ^die¬ then see me deliverid yet in despite of him I must have libertie yowr ^great¬ frind and [..] [is of the opinion] myne will nedes have it that owr frindes importunacy¬ hathe bin a cause of the longe restraint it makeithe nether here nor ther it is but his excuse of smoke bycause he will come vnto(44) the washeinge howse.(45) he can verie¬ properle imagin causees but he geveithe other pore men leave eyther to bere or to receive them farewell swete ladye and god send you my wishe that is yowr one [=own] will /

6.9 Arundel to the lady, probably from Sutton in West Sussex after 1 May (see preceding, headnote) but before Oxford's release from the Tower on 8 June 1581 (follows preceding, f. 111v, with an apparent change of ink). Arundel refers to the lady's "disgrace and banishement": evidently she had been caught serving as Arundel's London intelligencer (see 6.6).

Yf I colde write you any thinge worthe yowr knoledge, my disposition were to content ^you¬, at this owre [=hour] to playe the philosopher to perswade you [+to] thinke restrant libertie, and limitts of walles and dores a walke for a kinge [+but] that were lost vppon you that have liveid so longe in contemplacion that you are rather to teche me howe to contempt the worell [=world] then I to cownecell you. Swete Ladye albeit my advertisments can yeld you little tast of the procedinges of the time beinge affayers of to [=too] grete depthe for me to sownd & of suche moment as surmownetithe far the reche [=reach] of my capasitie, yet can I not restrayne my pen to suche a kind of silence as maye forbeare to shewe my voweid affection, or leave yowr manifold courtesies vnremembrid, whiche I determyne still to reveale[?] and manifest, thoughe to satysfye I am demed [=deemed] the meane, I vnderstand by common report of yowr disgrace and banishement too [=two] thinges I kno ^verie¬ ill agreinge with yowr disposition, howebeit in casees of necessitie, pacience is to be preferrid wher the will is abridgeid. and thoughe it seme vnto you¬ a cause of some perplexite to have your desiers limitid in some respectes, yet yf you arme yowr minde with a resolute pacience suche as is requisite to a parson [=person] perplexid, it is nether restraint, rigor, or any adverse, chavnce of fortune that can perse [?pierce, wound] you for the calamities of owre wreched life do seme more grevous vnto vs, by the conceite of ower one [=own] myndes then they are indede in ther proper natur, never so muche afflictinge vs as when we suffer them to invade, by comittinge owr selves to melancholie passions, and pensivenesse of harte, wherfore swete Ladie, I desire you even with the sprite of a faythefull pore frind yat you geve not spurres to the humor yat may spoile you, nor leave the plesures you maye more enyoye [=enjoy] to recownte the trobles you have happelie past, but rather plucke vp yowre currage, and followe the example of some of your frindes in casees of like misadventure and exspecte some present succor, and thinke that god hathe not forgotten you, who accordinge to his devine iustice <ha>the Layde [=laid] his hand on the wicked accuser,(46) which maye quallifie in part the chastisment you endure.

1. Chambers (1936), p. 155; Peck (D. C.), p. 272.

2. See 2.1.5@39.

3. A half line of cancelled, indecipherable text precedes fawlt.

4. I.e., following the birth of his illegitimate son (see 7.1).

5. I.e., horoscope (OED).

6. Possibly Lord Chancellor, i.e., Sir Thomas Bromley (see 3.2@119).

7. The intended placement of this interlineation is uncertain.

8. I.e., in hopes that new information might surface.

9. ?Burghley.

10. Arthur Milles, Oxford's servant: see Libels Part 2, note 127.

11. Probably Burghley.

12. Presumably his removal to Sutton.

13. Obscure; perhaps the initial of the lady's first name.

14. Probably Burghley.

15. b changed from k?

16. Partly illegible: possibly longe.

17. Possibly chill.

18. I.e., the Vavasor affair?

19. I.e., agent provocateur.

20. The following phrases appear at the top of the page: "that when <.....> you for <.....>"; and "A plot to brenge in a gawdy fole <.....>".

21. I.e., residence (see 6.6@24).

22. I.e., religious conviction.

23. Letters within brackets include an overwritten g.

24. I.e. residence (see 6.4@21).

25. Burghley (Oxford's father-in-law).

26. I.e., he will not remain in the Tower.

27. Sir Owyn Hopton, lieutenant of the Tower.

28. I.e. passes the bounds of propriety (OED exceed v. 4 intr.).

29. The intention seems to be, "If they had had their way ...".

30. Oxford's tournament triumph occurred ohn 22 January 1581 - he made an impression with the sumptuousness of his liveries.

31. The "white hen" is Burghley (Oxford's father-in-law), characterized as a "hen" in A Treatise of Treasons (1572: STC 7601), esp. Sigs. L7v-8v; see also Sig. N3.

32. "from punishment and guilt", i.e., in all respects.

33. Possibly shul<d>.

34. "jerked about" (OED yerk v. 4.a).

35. Possibly any.

36. Linx-like, sharp-eyed.

37. Possibly least.

38. I.e. cinnamon water, a mild cordial which was evidently successful in curing the lady's illness.

39. Evidently Burghley, here not so much a lawyer as a counsellor.

40. This seems a clear reference to the Third Interrogatory (2.3.1).

41. Christopher Hatton.

42. Anne Vavasor (OED, sb. 1: "an unmarried woman who has cohabited with one or more men; discarded mistress").

43. The reference to building for a May game suggests a date before 1 May (1581).

44. v changed from y?

45. In order to be made clean, i.e. declared free of guilt?

46. Possibly a reference to Oxford's imprisonment in the Anne Vavasor affair.