John Florio’s will of July 20th, 1625 opens with a noble flourish:
“John Florio of Fulham in the Countie of Middlesex Esquire ..well remembring and knowing that nothing is more certayne unto mortall man then death, and noe one thing more uncertayne then is the houre thereof doe make appoint pronounce and declare this my Testament..”1625
John Florio finds a way to add a movement of force and solemnity even in a legal document, which gives him an excuse to add verbal repetitions, words patterns and sound patterns to its phrasing:
” [..] such goods, Cattle, chattle, Leases, monie, plate, Jewells, bookes, apparrell, bedding, hangins, peawter, brasse, houshould stuffe moveables, irnmoveables, and all other things whatsoever named, or unnamed, specifìde, or unspecifide wherwith my most gracious Cod, hath beene pleased to endowe mee with, or hereafter shall of his infinite mercy bee pleased to bestowe or conferre upon me in this transitory life..”1625
“He is richer in words than in goods” Frances Yates suggested, pointing out that the bequest to the Pembroke family is, clearly, the most important part of the will.
JOHN FLORIO’S WILL: THE PEMBROKE FAMILY
To “The right honourable, my singulare, & ever honored good Lord William Earle of Pembroke Lord Chambérlaine” John Florio gives all his library, and an unbound volume of divers written collections and rapsodies:
“[..] All my Italian, French and Spanish bookees, as well printed as unprinted, being in number about Three hundred and Fortie, namefy my new and perfect Dictionary, as also my, tenn Dialogues in Italian and English, and my unbound volume of diuers written Collections and rapsodies,..”
He asks the Earl of Pembroke to place his books in his library “eyther at Wilton or els at Baynards Castle at London.”
JOHN FLORIO’S WILL: THE CORVINA STONE
Beside the books and his manuscripts, John Florio also gives a precious jewel to William Herbert:
“[..] The Coruine stone as a jewell fitt for a Prince which Ferdinando the great Duke of Tuscanie sent as a most precious gift (among divers others) unto Queene Anne of blessed memory; the use & vertue wherof is written in two peeces of paper both in Italian and English bring in a little box with the stone.”
This jewel is described by John Florio in his dictionary as a stone “of many vertues, found in a rauens nest, and fetch thither by the rauen, with purpose that if in her absence a man have sodden her eggs and laid them in the nest againe, she may make them raw againe.”
In return of his library, manuscripts and the Corvina stone, John Florio hopes William Herbert, 3d Earl of Pembroke would take his wife into his protection:
“[..] Take my poore and deere wifè into his protection, & not suffir her to be wrongfùlfy molested by any enemi of myne, as also in her extremity to affoorde her his helpe, good word and assistance to my Lord Treasurer.”
JOHN FLORIO’S WILL: HIS DESKS
John Florio, in his will, also gives a “Faire blacke velvett deske, embroidered with seede pearles” to James Molins, his son in law, and another “greene velvett deske with a silver inke and dust box” that was Queen Anne’s, to Theophilus Feild, Lord bishoppe of Landaffe, and Mr Richard Cluet, Vicar of Fulham, defined by John Florio as his “much esteemed, dearely beloved, & truely honest good Frends my sole and onely Executors and overseers”
The will was written on July 20th, 1625. John Florio died in August or September of 1625 in Fulham, after having contracted the plague. The executors named in the Will for certain reasons renounced execution.
John Florio’s entire library, his Italian, French and Spanish books, along with his manuscripts, the unbound volume of written collections and rapsodies, have since disappeared. And not a single scholar has paid the slightest attention to such an unhappy loss.
Below you can see the original document of John Florio’s will and read the full transcript.
¶ JOHN FLORIO’S WILL: THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT
Below you can look at the original document of John Florio’s will.
¶ JOHN FLORIO’S WILL: READ THE TRANSCRIPT
Read the full transcript of John Florio’s will below:
WILL OF JOHN FLORIO PROVED IN THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY, 1625. In the blessed name of God the Father my gracious Creator & Maker, of God the sonne Jesus Christ my mercifull Savyor and in Unity & Trinity my most loving Comforter and preserver Amen. I John Florio of Fullham in the Countie of Middlesex Esquire, being of good health of sound minde & perfecte memory, hearty thankes bee ever ascribed and given therfore unto Allmighty God And well remembring & knowing that nothing is more certayne unto mortall man then death, and noe one thing more uncertayne then is the houre therof, doe make appoint pronounce and declare this my Testament, therein fully contayning my last direct & unrevocable will and intention in manner and forme followingThat is to say First & principally as duty and Christianity willeth mee, I most heartily and penetently sorrowfull for all my sinnes committ and recommend my soule into the mercifull hands of Almighty God, assuredly trusting and Faythfully beleeving by the onely meritts bitter passion, precious bloud, and glorious death of the immaculate Lambe Jesus Christ his sonne, to have full remission, and absolute Forgivenes of all my sinnes whatsoever, and after this transitory life, to live and raigne with him in his most blessed kingdome of heaven. As for my wretched Body, I commit to the same as earth to earth and dust to dust, to bee buried in such decent order, as to my deare Wife, and by my Executors heere undernamed shalbee thought meete and convenient. And as touching the disposing and ordering of all and whatoever such goods, Cattle, chattle, Leases, monie, plate, Jewells, bookes, apparrell, bedding, hangins, peawter, brasse, houshould stuffe moveables, immoveables, and all other things whatsoever named, or unnamed, specifide, or unspecifide wherwith my most gracious God, hath beene pleased to endowe mee with, or hereafter shall of his infinite mercy bee pleased to bestowe or conferre upon me in this transitory life, I will appoint, give order dispose, & bequeath all, and evary part, and parcell of the same firmely and unalterably to stand in manner and forme following That is to say, Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Aurelia Molins the Wedding Ring wherewith I married her mother, being aggrieved at my very heart, that by reason of my poverty I am not able to leave her anything els. Item I give and bequeath as a poore token of my love to my sonne in law James Molins, a Faire blacke velvett deske, embroidered with seede pearles, and with a silver and guilt inkehorne and dust box therin, that was Queene Annes. Item, I give and bequeath unto the right honourable, my singulare, & ever honored good Lord William Earle of Pembroke Lord Chambérlaine: to the Kings most excellent Majestie, and one of his royall counsell of state (if at my death hee shall then bee living) all my Italian, French and Spanish bookes, as well printed as unprinted, being in number about Three hundred and Fortie, namely my new and perfect Dictionary, as also my, tenn Dialogues in Italian and English, and my unbound volume of divers written Collections and rapsodies, most heartilie entreating his Honourable Lordshippe (as hee once promised mee) to accept of them as of a signe and token of my service and affection to his honor, and for my sake to place them in his library, eyther at Wilton or els at Baynards Castle at London, humbly desiring him to give way and favourable assistance that my Dictionarie and Dialogues may be printed and the profitt therof accrud unto my wife. Item, I doe likewise give and bequeat unto his noble Lordshippe the Corinne stone as a jewell fitt for a Prince which Ferdinando the great Duke of Tuscanie sent as a most precious gift (among divers others) unto Queene Anne of blessed memory; the use & vertue wherof is written in two peeces of pape both in Italian and English bring in a little box with the stone, most humbly beseeching his honor (as I right, confidently hope & trust hee will in charity doe if neede require) to take my poore and deere wife into his protection, & not suffer her to be wrongfully molested by any enemi of myne, as also in her extremity to affoorde her his helpe, good word and assistance to my Lord Treasurer, that shee may bee paid my wages, and the arrearages of that which is unpaid or shal bee behinde at my death. The rest, the residue & remainder, of all whatsoever and singular my goods, cattles, chattles, jewells, plate; debts Leases, money, or monie worth, houseould stuffe, utensills, English bookes, moveables, or immoveables, named or not named, and things whatsoever, by mee before not given, disposed or bequeathed (provided that my debts bee paid and my Funerall discharged) I woolly give, fully bequeath, absolutely leave, assigne, & unalterably consigne unto my deerly beloved wife Rose Florio, most heartily greiving and ever sorrowing, that I cannot give or leave her more, in requitall of her tender love, loving care, painfull dilligence and continuall labour, to mee, and of mee in all my Fortunes, and many sicknesses, then whome never had husband a more loving wife, painfull nurce, or comfortable consorte, And I doe make institute, ordaine, appoint & name the right Reverend Father in God, Theophilus Feild, Lord bishoppe of Landaffe, and Mr Richard Cluet Doctor of divinity, Vicar, and preacher of the Word of God at Fulham, both my much esteemed, dearely beloved, & truely honest good Frends my sole and onely Executors and overseers; And I doe give to each of them for their paines an ould greene velvett deske with a silver inke and dust box in each of them, that were sometymes Queene Annes my Soveraigne Mistrisse, entreating both to accept of them, as a token of my hearty affection towards them, and to excuse my poverty which disableth mee to requite the trouble, paines, and courtesie, which I confidently beleeve they will charitably and for Gods sake undergoe in advising directing and helping my poore and deere wife in executing of this my last and unrevocable will and Testament, if any should bee soe malicious or unnaturall as to crosse or question the same; And I doe utterly revoke, and for ever renounce, frustrate, disanull, cancell, and make void, all and whatsoever former Wills, legacies, bequests, promises, guifts, executors or overseers (if it should happen that anie bee forged or suggested for until this tyme, I never writt made or finished any but this onely) And I will appoint & ordaine that this, & none but this onely written all with mine owne hand, shall stand in full force and vigor for my last and unrevocable Will and Testament, and none other nor otherwise. As for the debts that I owe, the greatest, and onelie is upon an obligatory Writing of myne owne hand, which my daughter Aurelia Molins with importunity wrested from of about threescore pound, wheras the truth, and my conscience telleth mee, & soe knoweth her conscience, it is but Thirty Foure pound or therabouts. But let that passe, since I was soe unheedy as to make and acknowledge the said writing, I am willing that it bee paid and discharged in this forme and manner, My sonne in lawe (as my daughter his Wife knoweth full well) hath in his hands as a pawne a faire gold ring of mine, with thirteen Faire table diamonds therein enchased; which cost Queene Anne my gracious Mistrisse seaven and Forty pounds starline, and for which I might many tymes have had forty pounds readie money: upon the said ring my sonne in the presence of his wife lent mee Tenne pounds, I desire him and pray him to take the overplus of the said Ring in parte of payment, as also a leaden Ceasterne which hee hath of myne standing in his yard at his London-house that cost mee at a porte-sale Fortie shillings, as also a silver candle cup with a cover worth about Forty shillings which I left at his house being sicke there; desiring my sonne and daughter, that their whole debt may bee made up, & they satisfied with selling the Lease of my house in Shoe-Lane, and soe accquitt and discharge my poore wife who as yet knoweth nothing of this debt. Moreover I entreat my deare wife that if at my death my servant Artur [blank] shall chance to be with mee, & in my service, that for my sake shee give him, such poore doubletts, breeches, hattes, and bootes as I shall leave, and there withall one of my ould cloakes soe it bee not lyned with velvett. In Witnesse whereof I the said John Florio to this my last Will & Testament (written every sillable with myne owne hand, and with long and mature deliberacon digested, contayning foure shieetes of paper, the First of eight and twenty lynes, the second of nyne & twenty, the third of nine & twenty and the Fourth of six lines), have putt, sett, written and affixed my name, and usual seale of my armes. The twentieth day of July in the Yeare of our Lord and Savyour Jesus Christ 1625 and in the First yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord and King (whom God preserve) Charles the First of that name of England, Scotland, France and Ireland King. By mee John Florio being, thankes bee ever given to my most gracious God in perfect sence and memory. Proved 1 June 1626 by Rose Florio the relict, the executors named in the Will for certain reasons renouncing execution.
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John Florio's Will: The Original Documents by Iannaccone Marianna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.resolutejohnflorio.com/2020/01/29/john-florio-will/.
How to cite this entry:
Iannaccone Marianna, “John Florio’s Will: The official documents”, “Resolute John Florio”, URL= ” https://www.resolutejohnflorio.com/2020/01/29/john-florio-will/“