Pastoral Symphony

Up, with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen by coach to White Hall, by the way observing Sir W. Pen’s carrying a favour to Sir W. Coventry, for his daughter’s wedding, and saying that there was others for us, when we will fetch them, which vexed me, and I am resolved not to wear it when he orders me one. His wedding hath been so poorly kept, that I am ashamed of it; for a fellow that makes such a flutter as he do. When we come to the Duke of York here, I heard discourse how Harris of his play-house is sick, and everybody commends him, and, above all things, for acting the Cardinall. Here they talk also how the King’s viallin, Bannister, is mad that the King hath a Frenchman come to be chief of some part of the King’s musique, at which the Duke of York made great mirth. Then withdrew to his closett, all our business, lack of money and prospect of the effects of it, such as made Sir W. Coventry say publickly before us all, that he do heartily wish that his Royal Highness had nothing to do in the Navy, whatever become of him; so much dishonour, he says, is likely to fall under the management of it. The Duke of York was angry, as much as he could be, or ever I saw him, with Sir G. Carteret, for not paying the masters of some ships on Monday last, according to his promise, and I do think Sir G. Carteret will make himself unhappy by not taking some course either to borrow more money or wholly lay aside his pretence to the charge of raising money, when he hath nothing to do to trouble himself with. Thence to the Exchequer, and there find the people in readiness to dispatch my tallies to-day, though Ash Wednesday. So I back by coach to London to Sir Robt. Viner’s and there got 100l., and come away with it and pay my fees round, and so away with the ‘Chequer men to the Leg in King Street, and there had wine for them; and here was one in company with them, that was the man that got the vessel to carry over the King from Bredhemson, who hath a pension of 200 per annum, but ill paid, and the man is looking after getting of a prizeship to live by; but the trouble is, that this poor man, who hath received no part of his money these four years, and is ready to starve almost, must yet pay to the Poll Bill for this pension. He told me several particulars of the King’s coming thither, which was mighty pleasant, and shews how mean a thing a king is, how subject to fall, and how like other men he is in his afflictions. Thence with my tallies home, and a little dinner, and then with my wife by coach to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, sent her to her brother’s, and I with Lord Bellasses to the Lord Chancellor’s. Lord Bellasses tells me how the King of France hath caused the stop to be made to our proposition of treating in The Hague; that he being greater than they, we may better come and treat at Paris: so that God knows what will become of the peace! He tells me, too, as a grand secret, that he do believe the peace offensive and defensive between Spayne and us is quite finished, but must not be known, to prevent the King of France’s present falling upon Flanders. He do believe the Duke of York will be made General of the Spanish armies there, and Governor of Flanders, if the French should come against it, and we assist the Spaniard: that we have done the Spaniard abundance of mischief in the West Indys, by our privateers at Jamaica, which they lament mightily, and I am sorry for it to have it done at this time. By and by, come to my Lord Chancellor, who heard mighty quietly my complaints for lack of money, and spoke mighty kind to me, but little hopes of help therein, only his good word. He do prettily cry upon Povy’s account with sometimes seeming friendship and pity, and this day quite the contrary. He do confess our streights here and every where else arise from our outspending our revenue. I mean that the King do do so. Thence away, took up my wife; who tells me her brother hath laid out much money upon himself and wife for clothes, which I am sorry to hear, it requiring great expense. So home and to the office a while, and then home to supper, where Mrs. Turner come to us, and sat and talked. Poor woman, I pity her, but she is very cunning. She concurs with me in the falseness of Sir W. Pen’s friendship, and she tells pretty storms of my Lord Bruncker since he come to our end of the town, of people’s applications to Mrs. Williams. So, she gone, I back to my accounts of Tangier, which I am settling, having my new tallies from the Exchequer this day, and having set all right as I could wish, then to bed.

the flutter of a violin
over the fields

what secret armies come quietly here
where it storms


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 20 February 1667.

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