Isabella Whitney (ca. 1540-after 1580)
To her Sister Mistress A. B.
1Because I to my brethern wrote
2 and to my sisters two:
3Good sister Anne, you this might wote,
4 if so I should not do
5To you, or ere I parted hence,
6You vainly had bestowed expence.
7Yet is it not for that I write,
8 for nature did you bind
9To do me good, and to requite
10 hath nature me inclined:
11Wherefore good sister take in gree
12These simple lines that come from me.
13Wherein I wish you Nestor's days,
14 in happy health to rest:
15With such success in all assays
16 as those which God hath blest:
17Your husband with your pretty boys,
18God keep them free from all annoys.
19And grant if that my luck it be
20 to linger here so long
21Till they be men, that I may see
22 for learning them so strong
23That they may march amongst the best
24Of them which learning have possest.
25By that time will my aged years
26 perhaps a staff require:
27And quakingly as still in fears
28 my limbs draw to the fire:
29Yet joy I shall them so to see,
30If any joy in age there be.
31Good sister so I you commend
32 to him that made us all:
33I know you huswifery intend,
34 though I to writing fall:
35Wherefore no lenger shall you stay
36From business that profit may.
37Had I a husband, or a house,
38 and all that longs thereto,
39My self could frame about to rouse,
40 as other women do:
41But till some household cares me tie,
42My books and pen I will apply.
Your louing Sister. IS. W.
3] wote: know.
11] in gree: contentedly.
13] Nestor: aged king of Pylos who fought among the Greeks with distinction in the Trojan war.
15] assays: ventures.
18] annoys: evils.
22] learning: teaching.
33] huswifery: housekeeping.
35] lenger: longer.
38] longs: belongs.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Isabella Whitney, A Sweet Nosgay, or Pleasant Posye: contayning a hundred and ten phylosophicall flowers (London: Richard Jones, 1573): d1v-d2r.
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/9/1
Other poems by Isabella Whitney