Polyphony

(Lord’s day). Up to my chamber, there to set some papers to rights. By and by to church, where I stood, in continual fear of Mrs. Markham’s coming to church, and offering to come into our pew, to prevent which, soon as ever I heard the great door open, I did step back, and clap my breech to our pew-door, that she might be forced to shove me to come in; but as God would have it, she did not come. Mr. Mills preached, and after sermon, by invitation, he and his wife come to dine with me, which is the first time they have been in my house; I think, these five years, I thinking it not amiss, because of their acquaintance in our country, to shew them some respect. Mr. Turner and his wife, and their son the Captain, dined with me, and I had a very good dinner for them, and very merry, and after dinner, he was forced to go, though it rained, to Stepney, to preach. We also to church, and then home, and there comes Mr. Pelling, with two men, by promise, one Wallington and Piggott, the former whereof, being a very little fellow, did sing a most excellent bass, and yet a poor fellow, a working goldsmith, that goes without gloves to his hands. Here we sung several good things, but I am more and more confirmed that singing with many voices is not singing, but a sort of instrumental musique, the sense of the words being lost by not being heard, and especially as they set them with Fuges of words, one after another, whereas singing properly, I think, should be but with one or two voices at most and the counterpoint. They supped with me, and so broke, up, and then my wife and I to my chamber, where, through the badness of my eyes, she was forced to read to me, which she do very well, and was Mr. Boyle’s discourse upon the style of the Scripture, which is a very fine piece, and so to bed.

church might have
an acquaintance with rain

for singing with many voices
is not singing
but a sort of instrumental music

words lost by being heard
in the style of scripture

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 September 1667.

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