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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

X. Memoir and Letter Writers

§ 9. His Life of Mrs. Godolphin

We have great cause to be grateful for the Life of Mrs. Godolphin, a book which, written with fidelity and charm, presents to us a portrait of a woman who lived for those around her, and, while always seeking heavenly guidance in her difficult position at court, was never austere, but moved in her proper sphere with an air of bright cheerfulness seasoned with witty speech. Her life, however, was a great trial, and, when, at last, she was allowed to take leave of the king and queen, her biographer tells us

  • the moment she sett foote in the coach her eyes sparkled with joy … the roses of her cheeks were soe fresh and her countenance soe gay as if with the rest of her perfections she had caryed all the beautyes as well as all the virtue of the court away with her too. As she left the presence chamber a whisper went round the circle—“the court had never such a starre in all its hemisphere.”
  • Evelyn was a good husband and a fond father, and the most pathetic portions of the diary are devoted to the troubles which came upon him owing to the early deaths of many of his children. His widow thus testified in her will to her husband’s devotion to her:

  • His care of my education was such as might become a father, a lover, a friend and a husband, for instruction, tenderness, affection and fidelity to the last moment of his life; which obligation I mention with a gratitude to his memory, ever dear to me; and I must not omit to own the sense of my parent’s care and goodness in placing me in such worthy hands.