Heard on high

(Christmas Day). Up pretty early, leaving my wife not well in bed, and with my boy walked, it being a most brave cold and dry frosty morning, and had a pleasant walk to White Hall, where I intended to have received the Communion with the family, but I came a little too late. So I walked up into the house and spent my time looking over pictures, particularly the ships in King Henry the VIIIth’s Voyage to Bullen; marking the great difference between their build then and now. By and by down to the chappell again where Bishopp Morley preached upon the song of the Angels, “Glory to God on high, on earth peace, and good will towards men.” Methought he made but a poor sermon, but long, and reprehending the mistaken jollity of the Court for the true joy that shall and ought to be on these days, he particularized concerning their excess in plays and gaming, saying that he whose office it is to keep the gamesters in order and within bounds, serves but for a second rather in a duell, meaning the groom-porter. Upon which it was worth observing how far they are come from taking the reprehensions of a bishopp seriously, that they all laugh in the chappell when he reflected on their ill actions and courses.
He did much press us to joy in these publique days of joy, and to hospitality. But one that stood by whispered in my ear that the Bishopp himself do not spend one groat to the poor himself.
The sermon done, a good anthem followed, with vialls, and then the King came down to receive the Sacrament. But I staid not, but calling my boy from my Lord’s lodgings, and giving Sarah some good advice, by my Lord’s order, to be sober and look after the house, I walked home again with great pleasure, and there dined by my wife’s bed-side with great content, having a mess of brave plum-porridge and a roasted pullet for dinner, and I sent for a mince-pie abroad, my wife not being well to make any herself yet. After dinner sat talking a good while with her, her [pain] being become less, and then to see Sir W. Pen a little, and so to my office, practising arithmetique alone and making an end of last night’s book with great content till eleven at night, and so home to supper and to bed.

Christmas day
white with angels of ice

how far from our public joy
last night’s book


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 25 December 1662.

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