"Never a man loved a wife more"

This charming love letter was written by the 17th-century English courtier Endymion Porter to his wife Olive. Penned in a clear italic hand, Porter professes his adoration and wishes he could leave court and come to her "for I never desired it more in my life." The letter is undated, but was probably written around the turn of the new year in ca. 1624-1627.

Full transcription follows.

My dear Olive,

I Received your letter by Mr. Sheldon, butt you send mee no word whether you had mine I sent you by Mr. Sanderson; it makes no matter, for I write to you so often, that it were well sum of them mite miscarrie; if it were possible to leave the Prince I would come to see you with all my harte, for I never desired it more in my Life, I have now so settled my happiness in your armes, that I take no rest owte of them, nor can I ease my paine, though my ague hathe left mee, with owte the sight of you, if my master [comes] not to towne this Shrofftide I mean to come and choose you for my Valentine, butt before I think it will bee impossible, therefore sweete Love, trouble not your selfe with the desire of seeing mee till then, and sastisfie it with this that never man loved a wife more then I do you, and maye I want God and his grace when I faile to bee

Your true loving husband,

Endymion Porter

[Postscript below] All mightie God bless my children, send mee word if you thinke Endymion will bee as prettie as the other two.

Olive bore Endymion twelve children, seven of whom survived infancy. Of the five sons, the two eldest (George and Charles) were born in 1621 and 1623 respectively, and this letter (see the postscript) was probably therefore written in 1624 or later. Apparently, Endymion did not survive infancy.

For more information about this letter, click here.

The Leon Levy Foundation is generously underwriting a major project to upgrade catalog records for the Morgan's collection of literary and historical manuscripts. The project is the most substantive effort to date to improve primary research information on a portion of this large and highly important collection.

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