Accents

(Easter day). Up, and when dressed with my wife (in mourning for my mother) to church both, where Mr. Mills, a lazy sermon. Home to dinner, wife and I and W. Hewer, and after dinner I by water to White Hall to Sir G. Carteret’s, there to talk about Balty’s money, and did present Balty to him to kiss his hand, and then to walk in the Parke, and heard the Italian musique at the Queen’s chapel, whose composition is fine, but yet the voices of eunuchs I do not like like our women, nor am more pleased with it at all than with English voices, but that they do jump most excellently with themselves and their instrument, which is wonderful pleasant; but I am convinced more and more, that, as every nation has a particular accent and tone in discourse, so as the tone of one not to agree with or please the other, no more can the fashion of singing to words, for that the better the words are set, the more they take in of the ordinary tone of the country whose language the song speaks, so that a song well composed by an Englishman must be better to an Englishman than it can be to a stranger, or than if set by a stranger in foreign words. Thence back to White Hall, and there saw the King come out of chapel after prayers in the afternoon, which he is never at but after having received the Sacrament: and the Court, I perceive, is quite out of mourning; and some very fine; among others, my Lord Gerard, in a very rich vest and coat. Here I met with my Lord Bellasses: and it is pretty to see what a formal story he tells me of his leaving, his place upon the death of my Lord Cleveland, by which he is become Captain of the Pensioners; and that the King did leave it to him to keep the other or take this; whereas, I know the contrary, that they had a mind to have him away from Tangier. He tells me he is commanded by the King to go down to the Northward to satisfy the Deputy Lieutenants of Yorkshire, who have desired to lay down their commissions upon pretence of having no profit by their places but charge, but indeed is upon the Duke of Buckingham’s being under a cloud (of whom there is yet nothing heard), so that the King is apprehensive of their discontent, and sends him to pacify them, and I think he is as good a dissembler as any man else, and a fine person he is for person, and proper to lead the Pensioners, but a man of no honour nor faith I doubt. So to Sir G. Carteret’s again to talk with him about Balty’s money, and wrote a letter to Portsmouth about part of it, and then in his coach, with his little daughter Porpot (as he used to nickname her), and saw her at home, and her maid, and another little gentlewoman, and so I walked into Moore Fields, and, as is said, did find houses built two stories high, and like to stand; and it must become a place of great trade, till the City be built; and the street is already paved as London streets used to be, which is a strange, and to me an unpleasing sight. So home and to my chamber about sending an express to Portsmouth about Balty’s money, and then comes Mrs. Turner to enquire after her son’s business, which goes but bad, which led me to show her how false Sir W. Pen is to her, whereupon she told me his obligations to her, and promises to her, and how a while since he did show himself dissatisfied in her son’s coming to the table and applying himself to me, which is a good nut, and a nut I will make use of. She gone I to other business in my chamber, and then to supper and to bed. The Swede’s Embassadors and our Commissioners are making all the haste they can over to the treaty for peace, and I find at Court, and particularly Lord Bellasses, says there will be a peace, and it is worth remembering what Sir W. Coventry did tell me (as a secret though) that whereas we are afeard Harman’s fleete to the West Indys will not be got out before the Dutch come and block us up, we shall have a happy pretext to get out our ships under pretence of attending the Embassadors and Commissioners, which is a very good, but yet a poor shift.

in water I hear
the voices of eunuchs

can the ordinary be foreign
as the death of a cloud

of whom there is nothing
but a nickname

and the field like a table
in a secret text


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 7 April 1667.

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