previous next


On the 14th of the sixth month, 1681, he was called to endure the greatest affliction of his life. His wife died on that day, after a brief illness. She who had been his faithful friend, companion, and nurse for twenty years was called away from him in the time of his greatest need of her ministrations. He found consolation in dwelling on her virtues and excellences in the Breviate of her life; ‘a paper monument,’ he says, ‘erected by one who is following her even at the door in some passion indeed of love and grief.’ In the preface to his poetical pieces he alludes to her in terms of touching simplicity and tenderness: ‘As these pieces were mostly written in various passions, so passion hath now thrust them out into the world. God having taken away the dear companion of the last nineteen years of my life, as her sorrows and sufferings long ago gave being to some of these poems, for reasons which the world is not concerned to know; so my grief for her removal, and the revival of the sense of former things, have prevailed upon me to be passionate in the sight of all.’

The circumstances of his trial before the judicial monster, Jeffreys, are too well known to justify their detail in this sketch. He was sentenced to pay a fine of five hundred marks. Seventy years of age, and reduced to poverty by former persecutions, he was conveyed to the King's Bench prison. Here for two years he lay a victim to intense bodily suffering. When, through the influence of his old antagonist, Penn, he was restored to freedom, he was already a dying man. But he came forth from prison as he entered it, unsubdued in spirit.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William Penn (1)
Jeffreys (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 14th, 1681 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: