Digital Donne: the Online Variorum

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Previous image Next image The 1654 Prose Letters  Letter 38 (p.114)

To Sir H. G.

In the History or style of friendship,
which is best written both in deeds and
words, a Letter which is of a mixed nature,
and hath something of both, is a mixed Pa-
renthesis: It may be left out, yet it contri-
butes, though not to the being, yet to the
verdure, and freshnesse thereof. Letters
have truly the same office, as oaths. As these
amongst light and empty men, are but fil-
lings, and pauses, and interjections; but
with weightier, they are sad attestations: So
are Letters to some complement, and obli-
gation to others. For mine, as I never au-
thorized my servant to lie in my behalfe,
(for if it were officious in him, it might be
worse in me) so I allow my Letters much
lesse that civill dishonesty, both because they
go from me more considerately, and be
cause they are permanent; for in them I may
speak to you in your chamber a year hence
before I know not whom, and not hear my
[CW: self.]

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