Crowd ritual

Up, and all the morning at the office, and at noon with my clerks to dinner, and then to the office again, busy at the office till six at night, and then by coach to St. James’s, it being about six at night; my design being to see the ceremonys, this night being the eve of Christmas, at the Queen’s chapel. But it being not begun I to Westminster Hall, and there staid and walked, and then to the Swan, and there drank and talked, and did besar a little Frank, and so to White Hall, and sent my coach round, I through the Park to chapel, where I got in up almost to the rail, and with a great deal of patience staid from nine at night to two in the morning, in a very great crowd; and there expected, but found nothing extraordinary, there being nothing but a high masse. The Queen was there, and some ladies. But, Lord! what an odde thing it was for me to be in a crowd of people, here a footman, there a beggar, here a fine lady, there a zealous poor papist, and here a Protestant, two or three together, come to see the shew. I was afeard of my pocket being picked very much. But here I did make myself to do la cosa by mere imagination, mirando a jolie mosa and with my eyes open which I never did before – and God forgive me for it, it being in the Chapel. Their musique very good indeed, but their service I confess too frivolous, that there can be no zeal go along with it, and I do find by them themselves that they do run over their beads with one hand, and point and play and talk and make signs with the other in the midst of their masse. But all things very rich and beautiful; and I see the papists have the wit, most of them, to bring cushions to kneel on, which I wanted, and was mightily troubled to kneel. All being done, and I sorry for my coming, missing of what I expected; which was, to have had a child born and dressed there, and a great deal of do: but we broke up, and nothing like it done: and there I left people receiving the Sacrament: and the Queen gone, and ladies; only my Lady Castlemayne, who looked prettily in her night-clothes, and so took my coach, which waited, and away through Covent Garden, to set down two gentlemen and a lady, who come thither to see also, and did make mighty mirth in their talk of the folly of this religion. And so I stopped, having set them down and drank some burnt wine at the Rose Tavern door, while the constables come, and two or three Bellmen went by…

I see the ceremony in a crowd
a high mass of people

here a beggar
here a fine lady
her pocket being picked

for music
their go-along selves

for a sacrament
only mirth

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 24 December 1667.

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