Of the Joys of Paradise

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond

It is written by Saint Paul in an epistle that he sent to the Corinthians in the fifth Chapter that the eye of man that not seen nor the ear heard nor heart can think the joys that our lord God hath prepared to his friends and lovers. O poor wretched and sinful soul, give heed diligently what joys, how great joys and how many they be which be prepared in Heaven to the lovers of God to the intent that all things in this world may be to the vile and abject, for certainly it is to be known that the joys of Heaven be so great and many in number that all arithmeticians by their numbers cannot number nor measure them nor all the grammarians and rhetoricians with all their fair speeches can or may declare them. For as it is said before, neither eye many see them nor ear hear, nor the heart of man may comprehend them. From The Mirror of Gold for the Sinful Soul (1507), by Margaret Beaufort.

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond (1443–1509) was the mother of King Henry the VII and grandmother of King Henry VIII of England. A learned and pious woman, she was a great benefactor of the arts and education at the dawn of the Renaissance in England. She also served as regent of England after her son Henry VII died and before her grandson came of age. She died a day after Henry VIII’s 18th birthday. An early champion of the printing press, Beaufort wrote many of the first works — usually pious reflections such as “Of the Joys of Paradise” — to be printed by mechanical means in England.

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