Hearing voices

Up in the morning about 7 o’clock, and after a little study, resolved of riding to the Wells to look for our dogg, which we did, but could hear nothing; but it being much a warmer day than yesterday there was great store of gallant company, more than then, to my greater pleasure. There was at a distance, under one of the trees on the common, a company got together that sung. I, at the distance, and so all the rest being a quarter of a mile off, took them for the Waytes, so I rode up to them, and found them only voices, some citizens met by chance, that sung four or five parts excellently. I have not been more pleased with a snapp of musique, considering the circumstances of the time and place, in all my life anything so pleasant.
We drank each of us, three cupps, and so, after riding up to the horsemen upon the hill, where they were making of matches to run, we went away and to Yowell, where we found our breakfast, the remains of our supper last night hashed, and by and by, after the smith had set on two new shoes to Creed’s horse, we mounted, and with little discourse, I being intent upon getting home in time, we rode hard home, observing Mr. Gauden’s house, but not calling there (it being too late for me to stay, and wanting their dog too). The house stands very finely, and has a graceful view to the highway. Set up our horses at Fox Hall, and I by water (observing the King’s barge attending his going to the House this day) home, it being about one o’clock. So got myself ready and shifting myself, and so by water to Westminster, and there came most luckily to the Lords’ House as the House of Commons were going into the Lord’s House, and there I crowded in along with the Speaker, and got to stand close behind him, where he made his speech to the King (who sat with his crown on and robes, and so all the Lords in their robes, a fine sight); wherein he told his Majesty what they have done this Parliament, and now offered for his royall consent. The greatest matters were a bill for the Lord’s day (which it seems the Lords have lost, and so cannot be passed, at which the Commons are displeased); the bills against Conventicles and Papists (but it seems the Lords have not passed them), and giving his Majesty four entire subsidys; which last, with about twenty smaller Acts, were passed with this form: The Clerk of the House reads the title of the bill, and then looks at the end and there finds (writ by the King I suppose) “Le Roy le veult,” and that he reads. And to others he reads, “Soit fait comme vous desirez.” And to the Subsidys, as well that for the Commons, I mean the layety, as for the Clergy, the King writes, “Le Roy remerciant les Seigneurs, &c., Prelats, &c., accepte leur benevolences.”
The Speaker’s speech was far from any oratory, but was as plain (though good matter) as any thing could be, and void of elocution.
After the bills passed, the King, sitting on his throne, with his speech writ in a paper which he held in his lap, and scarce looked off of it, I thought, all the time he made his speech to them, giving them thanks for their subsidys, of which, had he not need, he would not have asked or received them; and that need, not from any extravagancys of his, he was sure, in any thing, but the disorders of the times compelling him to be at greater charge than he hoped for the future, by their care in their country, he should be: and that for his family expenses and others, he would labour however to retrench in many things convenient, and would have all others to do so too.
He desired that nothing of old faults should be remembered, or severity for the same used to any in the country, it being his desire to have all forgot as well as forgiven. But, however, to use all care in suppressing any tumults, &c.; assuring them that the restless spirits of his and their adversaries have great expectations of something to be done this summer.
And promised that though the Acts about Conventicles and Papists were not ripe for passing this Session, yet he would take care himself that neither of them should in this intervall be encouraged to the endangering of the peace; and that at their next meeting he would himself prepare two bills for them concerning them.
So he concluded, that for the better proceeding of justice he did think fit to make this a Session, and to prorogue them to the 16th of March next.
His speech was very plain, nothing at all of spirit in it, nor spoke with any; but rather on the contrary imperfectly, repeating many times his words though he read all which I was sorry to see, it having not been hard for him to have got all the speech without book.
So they all went away, the King out of the House at the upper end, he being by and by to go to Tunbridge to the Queen.
And I in the Painted Chamber spoke with my Lord Sandwich while he was putting off his robes, who tells me he will now hasten down into the country, as soon as he can get some money settled on the Wardrobe.
Here meeting Creed, he and I down to the Hall, and I having at Michell’s shop wrote a little letter to Mr. Gauden, to go with his horse, and excusing my not taking leave or so much as asking after the old lady the widow when we came away the other day from them, he and I over the water to Fox Hall, and there sent away the horse with my letter, and then to the new Spring Garden, walking up and down, but things being dear and little attendance to be had we went away, leaving much brave company there, and so to a less house hard by, where we liked very well their Codlin tarts, having not time, as we intended, to stay the getting ready of a dish of pease. And there came to us an idle boy to show us some tumbling tricks, which he did very well, and the greatest bending of his body that ever I observed in my life.
Thence by water to White Hall, and walked over the Park to St. James’s; but missed Mr. Coventry, he not being within; and so out again, and there the Duke was coming along the Pell-Mell. It being a little darkish, I staid not to take notice of him, but we went directly back again. And in our walk over the Park, one of the Duke’s footmen came running behind us, and came looking just in our faces to see who we were, and went back again. What his meaning is I know not, but was fearful that I might not go far enough with my hat off, though methinks that should not be it, besides, there were others covered nearer than myself was, but only it was my fear.
So to White Hall and by water to the Bridge, and so home to bed, weary and well pleased with my journey in all respects. Only it cost me about 20s., but it was for my health, and I hope will prove so, only I do find by my riding a little swelling to rise just by my anus. I had the same the last time I rode, and then it fell again, and now it is up again about the bigness of the bag of a silkworm, makes me fearful of a rupture. But I will speak to Mr. Hollyard about it, and I am glad to find it now, that I may prevent it before it goes too far.

I hear nothing
but a great tree

the voices that have
been with me all my life
crowd into the crown

an oratory of disorder
compelling hope for the future

like an idle boy
looking in our faces
to see who we might be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 27 July 1663.

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