My mistress and friend, I and my heart put ourselves in your hands. Let not absence lessen your affection; for it causes us more pain than I should ever have thought, reminding us of a point of astronomy that the longer the days are, the further off is the sun, and yet the heat is all the greater. So it is with our love, which keeps its fervour in absence, at least on our side. Prolonged absence would be intolerable, but for my firm hope in your indissoluble affection. As I cannot be with you in person, I send you my picture set in bracelets, with the whole device, which you know already, wishing myself in their place, when it shall please you. This from the hand of your loyal servant and friend
In letter I, Anne has left court with Henry panting in her wake like an abandoned puppy. Henry calls her “My mistress and friend,” but the word "mistress" did not have the same connotations as it does today. It was a polite term of address and did not imply a sexual relationship.
Henry also throws in a bit of science to impress his lady friend and likens his passion to the sun being farther away yet still making their days long and hot. This line gives us an interesting glimpse into what was believed about the seasons for Henry actually got the science part right. (The earth is tilted away from the sun in June when it is summer in the northern hemisphere…and yes I had to look that one up because I slept through 3rd grade science). Henry probably picked up this factoid from his astronomer, Nicholas Kratzer.
The picture set in bracelets was made my Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait miniatures had become a popular art genre and were often exchanged as a token of friendship or to woo a young lady.
Ok so let’s recap. The man knows his jewelry and his science AND he just happens to be the king. Will Anne fall for his sweet letters and gifts? Will her absence make Henry’s heart grow fonder?
Stay tuned for next post to find out.