The Book of Common Prayer?
It might seem to be a bit of a stretch that I have lifted Elizabeth's poem On Monsieur's Departure (it begins: I grieve and dare not show my discontent; I love, and yet am forced to seem to hate; I do, yet dare not say I ever meant; I seem stark mute, but inwardly do prate.) for my own storytelling purposes. Perhaps crediting some of the Book of Common Prayer to Edward Strelley is battering against the boundaries of historical fact a little too hard, but it fits.
“You were Elizabeth’s tutor, were you not?”
Edward Strelley stands in front of Thomas Cranmer’s escritoire. The archbishop, asking the question, sits with his elbows resting on the table.
“I worked with Grindal, yes,” Strelley answers.
“I remember you.” Cranmer’s voice is soft and considered as always, and he seems about to add more, but does not.
Strelley looks down at him. “You summoned me.”
“On Ascham’s recommendation, yes. He says you are gifted with language.”
“I am flattered.”
“I had rather hoped to enlist you to help me. I have something for you to read.”
“Your prayer book?”
“I have written a little of it, Master Strelley, but it is not my prayer book. It is everyone’s.”
“What do you wish of me?”
“I want the benefit of your pen, Sir. Your imagination.”
“You want me to improve it?”
“Where you can. I do not glorify myself overmuch when I say that the book contains some beautiful passages, because I do not claim to have written those passages. So I would value the critical eye of one who is himself a master of language.”
Strelley smiles, rather wryly. “I thank you for your faith in me, Your Grace.”
“God sometimes moves in a mysterious way, Master Strelley. Sometimes, He is more easy to read.”
Progress on book IV is slow but real. Small people don't seem to appreciate the need for long stretches of uninterrupted concentration...
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When to the sessions of sweet silent thought