Thursday 6 June 1661

My head hath aked all night, and all this morning, with my last night’s debauch. Called up this morning by Lieutenant Lambert, who is now made Captain of the Norwich, and he and I went down by water to Greenwich, in our way observing and discoursing upon the things of a ship, he telling me all I asked him, which was of good use to me. There we went and eat and drank and heard musique at the Globe, and saw the simple motion that is there of a woman with a rod in her hand keeping time to the musique while it plays, which is simple, methinks. Back again by water, calling at Captain Lambert’s house, which is very handsome and neat, and a fine prospect at top. So to the office, where we sat a little, and then the Captain and I again to Bridewell to Mr. Holland’s, where his wife also, a plain dowdy, and his mother was. Here I paid Mrs. Holland the money due from me to her husband. Here came two young gentlewomen to see Mr. Holland, and one of them could play pretty well upon the viallin, but, good God! how these ignorant people did cry her up for it! We were very merry. I staid and supped there, and so home and to bed. The weather very hot, this night I left off my wastecoat.

24 Annotations

Pedro.   Link to this

The weather very hot, this night I left off my
wastecoat.

Advice from Mrs P?
"Ne’er cast a clout till May be out."

In 2004 the Hawthorn has been blossoming for few weeks now, and what a lovely smell! See-

http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/tfl.mythhawthorn...

vicente   Link to this

"... heard musique at the Globe, and saw the simple motion that is there of a woman with a rod in her hand keeping time to the musique while it plays, which is simple, methinks..."
"Globe" still there? not the original bards' boards ?
A woman gets the band organised, keeping every one in step? I wonder when a conductor was first named.

a help maybe:An early form of conducting is cheironomy, the use of hand gestures to indicate melodic In music, ?

vicente   Link to this

"...but, good God! how these ignorant people did cry her up for it! We were very merry ..." now what does that mean?

M.Stolzenbach   Link to this

"the simple motion that is there of a woman with a rod in her hand keeping time to the musique while it plays"

I suspect this is not a conductress, but a clockwork figure which Pepys doesn't find very impressive ("simple, methinks"). Could "motion" possibly be a misprint for "notion"? But that would fit either reading.

My Oxford Universal Dictionary has "motion" for "mechanism" (the last of 12 definitions of "motion," though) but doesn't give examples for "conduct" or "conductor" in relation to an orchestra until the late 1700's.

Vicente: I think Sam is saying that the people at Mr. Holland's, or at least some of them, were over-impressed by the young woman's mediocre violin playing. "Cry her up" would be to praise her, but they were "ignorant," he thinks, of music. Excuse me, I mean musique.

After that, "we were very merry" means, simply, (I think) that he had a good time nevertheless; notice that he stayed to supper.

Bradford   Link to this

At the Globe, Sam "saw the simple motion that is there of a woman with a rod in her hand keeping time to the musique while it plays, which is simple, methinks."
Latham's "Shorter Pepys" explains: "This was an automaton attached to a mechanical organ." Somehow the action of the organ also controlled the movement of the figure of the woman, permitting her to beat time with the predecessor of the conductor's baton.
As automatons go---one thinks of the figure, from a later age, which could write out the opening words to an aria sung by Mozart's Figaro---this one would seem comparatively "simple."

daniel   Link to this

My head hath aked all night..

time to pay the piper, sam! one "draft" of claret too many.

daniel   Link to this

"cry her up"

pity about the mediocre "viallin" playing. the violin as solo instrument was at this time making its incipient presence made in England.

Oxford, during the Commonwealth was the best-documented centre of amateur music making and in the late 1650's Anthony a Wood gives his eyewitness account of early violin endeavours:

"at meetings they play'd three, four, and five parts all with viols....with either an organ or virginals or harpsicon joy'nd with them: and they esteemed a violin to be an instrument only belonging to a common fidler, and could not indure that it should come among them for feare of making their meetings seem to be vain and fidling".

A. Hamilton   Link to this

"Cry her up ... very merry" -- they made too big a big fuss over her playing. Sam found her skilled, but not extraordinary. The musi[que] livened up the evening.

JWB   Link to this

@Globe & Holland's
Simple mechanical woman cf plain dowdies up-crying, two musical observations integrated into whole of one diary entry. Is this happenstance or is this art?

Alan Bedford   Link to this

"Is this happenstance or is this art?"

Musically-related happenstance becomes art, when observed by an accomplished musician, which Sam certainly fancies himself.

Bob T   Link to this

cry her up
I can empathize with these ignorant people. Sam says that she played "pretty well", but I've heard the same thing said about someone playing the bagpipes, (my vision of Hell is a place where they play country and western music on bagpipes).
I recently had to endure the sound of a middle-aged lady playing the violin before a church service. It was not for those with weak stomachs.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"cry her up"
In these days of easy access to excellent music on radio and CD, we forget how hard it would be for people to judge good playing, especially with what was then an unusual instrument. Would there also have been a prejudice against women being accomplished? Remember Dr Johnson's vitriol against women preachers: he said what was amazing was not that it was well done ,but that it was done at all! I think he was also decrying the *fact* of female preachers as well as their standards. Maybe the young gentlewoman was also attractive - that would maybe make Sam think her playing was "pretty well", when it was in fact just that she was "pretty"!
(BobT's comments rang true. In our church at present, there is a tendency for a lot of tuneless wailing to take place in the quiet[sic] period after receving communion. One tries to pray, but is reduced to wincing and grinding one's teeth. May I also add "and performing line dancing" to his definition of hell......)

language hat   Link to this

"cry her up"
Bob, A.Susan: this is a positive, not a negative, term. They were praising her beyond (what Sam felt to be) her deserts.

Australian Susan   Link to this

language hat
Yes, I knew that! The point I was making was that the audience were aurally impoverished (unlike today) and so "cried her up" because they did not know any better and because they were not used to hearing a violin. And it's "desserts", not "deserts" Or are you digitally challenged too and thus making typos - I am operating with few fingers owing to infected digits. Which nowadays is, thanks to antibiotic ointment, not life-threatening as it would have been in Sam's day!

vicente   Link to this

re: desert I do believe L.H. means desert- excellence or worth, rather sweetening her up. Strange lingua

Rich Merne   Link to this

'good God,..cry her up', I think the unspoken, or unwritten nuance is, that S. was a little chagraaaad at the praise as he thought that he could do much better himself; he probably could and did but didn't get the same 'crying up'. Was the woman with the rod, some kind of early metronome.

Rich Merne   Link to this

'simple methinks', The word 'simple' also has a musical connotation, ie. where the number of beats per bar is, two, three or four. I hasten to add that my musical knowledge (technical that is, not aesthetic) is limited.

Hic Retearius   Link to this

Diabolical performance

Hmm. Infinitely long ranks and infinitely deep files of perspiring, shapeless women attired in black trousers and black cowboy hats, thumbs in belts, moving in time and stomping the floor as Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs struggled through "Wildwood Flower" on Highland bag pipes!

Yes, yes; Bob T, it would be hell.

Rich Merne   Link to this

'Bagpipes, vialins etc.' I guess it's all a matter of personal taste really,....I like 'em all!

language hat   Link to this

And it's "desserts", not "deserts"

I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

Laura K   Link to this

And it's "desserts", not "deserts"

And please let's not correct each other's spelling...

GrahamT   Link to this

If you deserve a sweet course in an arid place, then a dessert in the desert is your just desert. :-) (yes, one r like deserve, but lh knew that)

language hat   Link to this

"one r like deserve, but lh knew that"

Well, something similar, anyway!

Terry Foreman   Link to this

L&M; note the removal of organs from churches to taverns during the revolution possibly gave an impetus to concerts in England like the one Pepys describes. They refer us to John Donne (1572–1631) Satire II. “Sir, though—I thank God for it—I do hate” http://www.bartleby.com/357/176.html

As in some organ, puppets dance above
And bellows pant below, which them do move

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