It may please your good L.
    I am sorry the joint masque from the four Inns of Court faileth; wherein I conceive there is no other ground of that event but impossibility. Nevertheless, because it falleth out that at this time Gray's Inn is well furnished of gallant young gentlemen, your L. may be pleased to know that rather than this occasion shall pass without some demonstration of affection from the Inns of Court, there are a dozen gentlemen of Gray's Inn that out of the honour which they bear to your Lordship and my Lord Chamberlain, to whom at their last masque they were so much bounden, will be ready to furnish a masque; wishing it were in their powers to perform it according to their minds. And so for the present I humbly take my leave, resting
Your Ls very humbly      
and much bounden    


    The [letter] is from the original, found among the Burghley papers in the Lansdown Collection [Lansd. MSS. 107, p. 13], and was probably addressed to the first Lord Burghley, though the address has disappeared along with the fly-leaf, and the docket does not supply it. If so, it must have been written before the autumn of 1598, but it seems impossible to determine on what occasion. I do not remember to have met with any report of a projected masque by the four Inns of Court united. But I find that on the 15th of October, 1596, Bacon wrote to the Earl of Shrewsbury from Gray's Inn, "to borrow a horse and armour for some public shew;" and this may possibly have reference to the same. Occasions of the kind occurred frequently, and though small things sometimes help to illustrate things of importance, it is not very likely that anything would be gained by ascertaining the particulars of the "demonstration of affection" here proposed.
[@ Spedding, Works IX, 370]