"Affliction is a treasure, and scarce.
John Donne Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation 17.
Ann's father, Sir George More, was furious when he became aware of the secret marriage. It was the tradition at the time that the family arranged marriages. Also, Ann was only sixteen or seventeen at time and Donne was twenty nine. George More was a wealthy landowner, and immediately used his influence to have Donne jailed and dismissed from his position as Egerton's secretary. Donne's hope for worldly success was gone. This fiasco and his Catholic background were to prevent him from having a public career. Ann's father initiated proceedings before the High Commission to have the marriage annulled. It was during this time period that Donne supposedly wrote his "sad letter to his Wife" that contained the following well known line: "John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done." Bald, however, in his account of the marriage notes that the pun on Donne's name was probably not his at all. He states that this line has been inaccurately attributed to Donne (139). .
Reasonably upset, Donne brought his own suit before the court to test the validity of the marriage. The court decided in Donne's favor. Bald, points out that the court's manuscripts were not very informative but their intent was clear (139). The court considered the marriage between Ann and Donne to be valid and that were lawful man and wife. However, George Moore surrendered Ann to Donne with bad grace. Bald states: "He refused to contribute a penny to her support" (140). The young couple were to live in a perpetual state of poverty. The little support they did receive came from the generosity of friends. .
A growing family, also, did not help matters. Carey states the following concerning the growing family: "[Donne's] estimate of one child per year is scarcely an exaggeration" (73). In the course of their marriage, the Donnes, had seven children. Carey paints a dreary picture of their living conditions.