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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Letter to Lady More
By Sir Thomas More (1478–1535)
 
          [Returning from the negotiations at Cambray, Sir Thomas More heard that his barns and some of those of his neighbors had been burned down; he consequently wrote the following letter to his wife. Its gentleness to a sour-tempered woman, and the benevolent feelings expressed about the property of his neighbors, have been much admired. The spelling is modernized.]

MISTRESS ALICE, in my most heartywise I recommend me to you. And whereas I am informed by my son Heron of the loss of our barns and our neighbors’ also, with all the corn that was therein; albeit (saving God’s pleasure) it is great pity of so much good corn lost, yet sith it hath liked him to send us such a chance, we must and are bounden, not only to be content, but also to be glad of this visitation. He sent us all that we have lost; and sith he hath by such a chance taken it away again, his pleasure be fulfilled! Let us never grudge thereat, but take it in good worth, and heartily thank him, as well for adversity as for prosperity. And peradventure we have more cause to thank him for our loss than for our winning, for his wisdom better seeth what is good for us than we do ourselves. Therefore I pray you be of good cheer, and take all the household with you to church, and there thank God, both for that he has given us, and for that he has taken from us, and for that he hath left us; which, if it please him, he can increase when he will. And if it please him to leave us yet less, at his pleasure be it!  1
  I pray you to make some good ensearch what my poor neighbors have lost, and bid them take no thought therefor; for if I should not leave myself a spoon, there shall no poor neighbor of mine bear no loss by any chance happened in my house. I pray you be, with my children and your household, merry in God; and devise somewhat with your friends what way were best to take for provision to be made for corn for our household, and for seed this year coming, if we think it good that we keep the ground still in our hands. And whether we think it good that we so shall do or not, yet I think it were not best suddenly thus to leave it all up, and to put away our folk off our farm, till we have somewhat advised us thereon. Howbeit if we have more now than ye shall need, and which can get them other masters, ye may discharge us of them. But I would not that any man were suddenly sent away, he wot not whither.  2
  At my coming hither, I perceived none other but that I should tarry still with the King’s grace. But now I shall, I think, because of this chance, get leave this next week to come home and see you, and then shall we further devise together upon all things, what order shall be best to take.  3
  And thus as heartily fare-you-well, with all our children, as ye can wish. At Woodstock, the third day of September [1528], by the hand of your loving husband,
THOMAS MORE, Knight.    
  4
 
 
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