To his dear Father
I Know at first sight you'll judge me a Novice in the affairs of the World, in not pitching upon some other Patron: and unacquainted with the Courtship of the times, that holds it more commendable to toy and complement with a stranger, then speak truth of a known friend. But I am meditating no Stage-play of ordinary Apish Civility, but sober Truth: Nor intend this an act of worldly discretion and advantage, but of Justice and Gratitude. For I cannot hope that ever any man shall deserve so well of me as your self has done. Besides what hath hitherto commended you to all that <A2v> know you; your Faithfulnesse, Uprightnesse, Sedulity for the publick Welfare of the place wherein you live, your generous Opennesse and Veracity. Nor can ever that thick cloud you are now enveloped with, of melancholized old Age, and undeserved Adversity, either dark the remembrance of your pristine Lustre, or hide from me the sight of your present Worth. Sir, I could wish my self a stranger to your bloud, that I might with the better decorum set out the noblenesse of your spirit. But to speak modestly; You deserve the Patronage of better Poems then these, though you may lay a more proper claim to these then to any. You having from my childhood tuned mine ears to Spencers rhymes, entertaining us on winter nights, with that incomparable Peice of his, The Fairy Queen, a Poem as richly fraught with divine Morality as Phansy. Your early Encomiums also of Learning and Philosophy did so fire my credulous Youth with the desire of the knowledge of things, that your After-advertisements, how contemptible Learning would prove without Riches, and what a piece of Unmannerlinesse and Incivility it would be held to seem wiser then them, that are more wealthy and power <A3r> full, could never yet restrain my mind from her first pursuit, nor quicken my attention to the affairs of the World. But this bookish disease let it make me as much poor as it will, it shall never make me the lesse just. Nor will you, I hope, esteem me the lesse dutyfull, that without your cognoscence I become thus thankfull. For I never held my self bound to ask leave of any man to exercise an act of Virtue. And yet am I conscious to my self, there may have some juvenile Extravagancies passed my pen, which your judgement and gray hairs will more slowly allow of, and my self may happily dislike by that time I arrive to half your years. But let it be my excuse, that that which was to be made common for all, could not be so exactly fitted for any one Age or Person. I am not indeed much solicitous, how every particle of these Poems may please you. In the mean time I am sure I please my self in the main; which is, The embalming of his name to Immortality, that next under God, is the Authour of my Life and Being.
Your affectionate Sonne HENRY MORE
Cite as: Henry More, ‘Epistle to Alexander More’, from Philosophicall Poems (1647), pp. A2r-A3r, https://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1647A-excerpt001, accessed 2023-12-01.