Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)

1618 to 1630 (1618)

document 70000020

In my infancy I had a gracious eye of providence watching over me, preserving me from dangers by fire, a remembrance I shall carry to my grace on my right thigh, by knives being stabbed in the forehead by my second sister, a wild child but now I hope god has tamed and sanctified her spir[rit], falls from horse, water and many casualties:

But that which I have most cause to admire was the goodness of god to preserve me from poisonous infections from servants, and bestowing his grace upon me to restrain me from lewdness, though full [of] spirit, and of a nimble head and strong memory, preserved from many untowardnesses that young [boys] fall into, I hope I shall never forget gods fitting me for a scholar, and giving me a spirit for the same from which nothing would divert me at last god put it into my fathers heart to listen [to] me, I confess my childhood was taken with ministers and I heard with delight and admiration and desire to imitate them from my youth, and would be acting in corners: 2. I had a singular affection to the hi stories in the bible being acquainted with all those histories in very young days, and so with divers histories profane and civil, upon which I emulated other languages that I might see what histories were in those tongues: 3: My father was a widower, and my corrupt heart feared a mother in law and undoing by her and truly so it proved in respect of estate as will appear: and therefore I desire to be a scholar, so should I make the better shift if from hence, and be able to live on myself by gods blessing:

My father moved by god yielded to my desires and placed me with Mr Leigh a painful man to me whom I have cause to love and bless god for his labours, and praise the Lord for his blessings upon me, in the school I was active and forward to learn which contented my master and father: I thank god for his goodness to me insomuch as for not saying my lessons I remember not that I ever was [whipped], once I was for an exercise when my master was passionate: it might be I might often des[erve] it, yet I made it my aim to learn and lent my mind continually to read histories: and to show my spirit let me remember with grief that which I yet feel: when I was exceeding young would I project the conquering of kingdoms and write histories of such exploits. I was much delighted with Cosmography taking it from my Father. I would project ways of receiving vast est[ates] and then lay it out in stately building, castles. libraries: colleges and such like: and withal which [was] worse oh the strange prodigious unclean lusts when I was yet a child. how often have [I] walked with delight to meditate upon such courses being too well acquainted with those sens[ations] by books which I had. yet I bless god who kept me from all outward uncleanness. praise be [to] him, and for this I desire to loath and abhor myself.