Written by Sherry
Saturday, 23 June 2007 10:39
I just love this exquisite miniature by Hans Holbein the Younger of More's brilliant and cherished eldest daughter, Margaret. It is painted on a playing card.
It was Margaret who broke through the crowds and ran to her father as he walked to his execution and it was to Margaret that Thomas More wrote his last letter in charcoal. It was Margaret who rescued her father's severed head from London Bridge and kept it until her death 10 years later.
Hat tip: The Margaret Roper Forum: a Catholic home-schooling forum.
Here is Will Roper's (Margaret's husband) famously vivid description of her last meeting with her father:
When Sir Thomas More came from Westminster to the Towerward again,his daughter, my wife, desirous to see her father, whom she thought she should never see in this world after. and also to have his final blessing, gave attendance about the Tower wharf, where she knew he should pass by, before he could enter into the Tower, there tarrying for his coming home.
As soon as she saw him, after his blessing on her knees reverently received,she hasting towards him and, without consideration or careof herself. pressing in among the midst of the throng and company of the guard that with halberds and bills went round about him. hastily ran to him, and there openly, in the sight of them all, embraced him, took him about the neck, and kissed him, Who, well liking her most natural and dear daughterly affection towards him, gave her his fatherly blessing and many godly words of comfort besides.
From whom after she was departed, she, not satisfied with the former sight of him, and like one that had forgotten herself, being all ravished with the entire love of her dear father. having respect neither to herself, nor to the press of the people and multitude that were there about him, suddenly turned back again. ran to him as before, took him aboul the neck, and divers times together most lovingly kissed him ;and at lost, with a full heavy heart, was fain to depart from him - the beholding whereof was to many of them that were present thereat so lamentable that it made them for very sorrow thereof to mourn and weep.
Thomas More's last letter from the Tower before his death was written in coal to Margaret:
I cumber you, good Margaret, much, but I would be sorry, if it should be any longer than tomorrow, for it is Saint Thomas' Even and the Vtas of Saint Peter and therefore tomorrow long I to go to God, it were a day very meet and convenient for me. I never liked your manner toward me better than when you kissed me last for I love when daughterly love and dear charity hath not leisure to look to worldly courtesy.
Fare well my dear child and pray for me, and I shall for you and all your friends that we may merrily meet in heaven. I thank you for your great cost.