Saturday 23 May 1663

Waked this morning between four and five by my blackbird, which whistles as well as ever I heard any; only it is the beginning of many tunes very well, but there leaves them, and goes no further. So up and to my office, where we sat, and among other things I had a fray with Sir J. Minnes in defence of my Will in a business where the old coxcomb would have put a foot upon him, which was only in Jack Davis and in him a downright piece of knavery in procuring a double ticket and getting the wrong one paid as well as the second was to the true party. But it appeared clear enough to the board that Will was true in it. Home to dinner, and after dinner by water to the Temple, and there took my Lyra Viall book bound up with blank paper for new lessons. Thence to Greatorex’s, and there seeing Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Pen go by coach I went in to them and to White Hall; where, in the Matted Gallery, Mr. Coventry was, who told us how the Parliament have required of Sir G. Carteret and him an account what money shall be necessary to be settled upon the Navy for the ordinary charge, which they intend to report 200,000l. per annum. And how to allott this we met this afternoon, and took their papers for our perusal, and so we parted. Only there was walking in the gallery some of the Barbary company, and there we saw a draught of the arms of the company, which the King is of, and so is called the Royall Company, which is, in a field argent an elephant proper, with a canton on which England and France is quartered, supported by two Moors. The crest an anchor winged, I think it is, and the motto too tedious: “Regio floret, patrocinio commercium, commercioque Regnum.” Thence back by water to Greatorex’s, and there he showed me his varnish which he had invented, which appears every whit as good, upon a stick which he hath done, as the Indian, though it did not do very well upon my paper ruled with musique lines, for it sunk and did not shine. Thence home by water, and after a dance with Pembleton to my office and wrote by the post to Sir W. Batten at Portsmouth to send for him up against next Wednesday, being our triall day against Field at Guildhall, in which God give us good end. So home: to supper and to bed.

45 Annotations

Pedro   Link to this

"Greatorex’s, and there he showed me his varnish which he had invented,"

Richer than spices, Gertrude Z Thomas...

"As early as May 23rd 1663, barely a year after all London had been agog over Catherine's spectacular "Indian" cabinets, Pepys made a visit to Greatorex who had invented a domestic varnish. He was probably only one of the many who atempted to capitalize on the current vouge. But it was not until John Stalker's Treatise…Being a Compleat Discovery of Those Arts (1688)…from the English point of view…that popularized "japanning" for the amateur. the book went through several editions at anastonishing price of £75 a copy, its third edition being published in 1689."

John Evelyn had wrote June 9th 1662...The Queen brought over with her from Portugal such Indian cabinets as had never before been seen here...

Australian Susan   Link to this

"My blackbird"
Would this be a caged one? Or just one that sings in Sam's garden? It's not been mentioned before.

Dancing with Pembleton

A few days ago, someone raised the point (which was not followed up on, but interested me) - do they dance to music? If so, who's providing it? Or did Mr P have a little kit (tiny viol-like instrument) to play on himself? Or (as the annotator suggested previously) are they singing? Or maybe just counting out loud?

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sorry about blackbird ignorance. This will teach me to read missed days IN ORDER!! (have just read yesterday's entry...)

Bradford   Link to this

"Waked this morning between four and five by my blackbird, which whistles as well as ever I heard any; only it is the beginning of many tunes very well, but there leaves them, and goes no further."

This describes exactly the virtuosic North American mockingbird (and its summertime schedule); but our blackbirds, red-winged or otherwise, are not noted singers. Is there an ornithologist in the house?

"to the Temple, and there took my Lyra Viall book bound up with blank paper for new lessons."
---which sounds as if Pepys meant to write them in by hand which, even for a professional copyist, is a lengthy process. Do others understand it in this sense?

"his varnish which he had invented . . . did not do very well upon my paper ruled with musique lines, for it sunk and did not shine."

But what varnish would? And for what purpose would one varnish paper made to receive ink?

One could guess at the meaning of the "tedious" chiasmatic motto, but our resident Latinists will pitch in.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"But what varnish would? And for what purpose would one varnish paper made to receive ink?"

Bradford, I thought that perhaps Sam wanted to see if the varnish would seal the page *after* he'd written on it, and was testing it ... but it failed. (Modern printers will often varnish entire pages of publications, or even sections of the page -- such as images -- to make them shine and "pop.")

dirk   Link to this

The Royal African Company:

Incorporated the 20th of January 1662.

The coat of arms:

ARMS:..Or (gold), an elephant Azure (blue), on his back a quadrangular castle Argent (silver), masoned Proper (natural color); on the sinister tower a flagstaff and banner Gules (red), on the dexter corner of the banner a canton Argent (silver), charged with a cross Gules (red), on the dexter corner of the escutcheon a canton quarterly of France and England.

CREST:..On a ducal coronet Or (gold), an anchor erect Sable (black), cabled of the first (i.e., gold), between two dragons' wings expanded Argent (silver), each charged with a cross Gules (red).

SUPPORTERS:..Two African blacks Proper (natural color), vested round the waist with a skirt Argent (silver), pearls in their ears and round their necks banded round the temples Or (gold), thereon feathers erect of various colours each holding in his exterior hand an arrow Or (gold), barbed and feathered Argent (silver).

MOTTO:..REGIO FLORET PATROCINIO COMMERCIUM COMMERCIOQUE REGNUM.

http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~heraldry/...

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Royall Company [Barbary Company]
and the motto too tedious: “Regio floret, patrocinio commercium, commercioque Regnum.” a school boy rendition.
The Territory Prospers,Defense[could mean patronage], Commerce, the King [also could mean Despot] and [his]economy [does too]
vide
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/6321/

dirk   Link to this

The Royal African Company

Sorry Terry, I should have looked at the background info first...

TerryF   Link to this

That's OK, Dirk; Phil hadn't time yet to link it in the text.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Lyra Viol

small bass viol popular in England during the 17th century. For further details of this and othe viols and their tuning see:-
http://www.vdgsa.org/pgs/stuff.html

John Playford had a shop in the Inner Temple & Pepy's owned other of his works; might he be being taught by someone associated with the shop? And might the following describe some of what he was being taught?

A Brief Introduction to Playing on the Bass Viol from: Playford, An Introduction to the skill of music" (1674) see:-
http://www.violadagamba.org/html/playford1.html

Michael Robinson   Link to this

..bound up with blank paper for new lessons

Silly me: Pepys is probably taking his copy of Playford's "Musick's Recreation: on the Lyra Viol. Being a collection of new and excellent lessons." 165[2] to have additional "lessons" entered on the blank leaves. Such 'lessons' could be musically substantial pieces.

The other Playford candidate for the honor would be "A Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick: for song and Viol" with editions in 1658, 1660 and 1662. (and many subsequent to the date of today's entry)

Michael Robinson   Link to this

John Playford

Also the author/compiler of "The English Dancing Master"; one incarnation of whom we have read recently much about ...

See Terry F.'s prior annotation and link:-
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/10/05/#c36063

Pedro   Link to this

Blackbirds/Canaries.

The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
The lark's is a clarion call,
And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
But I love him best of all.

For his song is all of the joy of life,
And we in the mad, spring weather,
We two have listened till he sang
Our hearts and lips together.
(William Henley)

http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/blackbird.htm

English Blackbirds are great singers especially at the break of day (Beatles) and in the evening. You can often whistle and they will immitate. This poor bird, being caged, would have very little else to do, although I suppose he might be in some ways lucky, as he is not one of the four-and-twenty baked in a pie.

Today, in England, Sam would be allowed to keep his canaries (25 Jan 61) but certainly not a blackbird. Wild birds and their eggs are protected by law, and feeding wild birds has become a national pastime. More than 60 per cent of the UK's adult population now regularly feed wild birds in their gardens. The bird lovers look with dismay to the Southern European countries where mass trapping takes place.

http://www.met.police.uk/wildlife/new%20site%20...

GrahamT   Link to this

Bradford, I assume Sam was talking about the European Blackbird, or merle or ousel, (Turdus Merula) not a North American bird. The male is jet black with a yellow beak, the female is dark brown. It is from the same family as the Song Thrush.
This is one of our most common birds, which sings beautifully throughout the year, but especially around now. You can hear a sample on the Beatles White Album at the end of the track "Blackbird"

andy   Link to this

only it is the beginning of many tunes very well, but there leaves them, and goes no further

I have a vision of Sam lying in bed in the small hours, wishing that either the blackbird would learn the whole tune or shut up!

Because it's caged in his house (which I must admit I don't like the idea of) I assume Sam wants his blackbird to learn to whistle contemporary tunes. I'm reminded of a recent article somewhere about wild birds copying mobile phone ringtones and car alarms in a demonstration of an extensive repertoire (in order to impress proespective mates?)

The first notes of the dawn chorus in my garden start about 3:30 but serious whistling doesn't start until about - yes - between four and five.

adam w   Link to this

Birdsong
There's film of an Australian lyrebird giving a perfect imitation of a car alarm and then an automatic camera shutter + winder - modern life in a nature reserve.
Here in urban UK one of our morning blackbirds has taken to the car alarm song, which is not an improvement on nature.
Sam still seems enchanted by his bird - wonder how long before the 4am chorus palls?

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"Regio floret,patrocinio commercium,commercioque Regnum"
The Kingdom flourishes patronizing Commerce and Foreign Trade- methinks

Don McCahill   Link to this

I am rather amazed that Mr. Pepys is so conversant with the terminology of heraldry in the way he describes the shield of the King's Company.

I am far from expert in those matters, but I didn't detect any errors in his heraldic description of the arms.

It just shows how different the knowledge an aspiring gentleman of those days was required to have.

Stolzi   Link to this

Perhaps Pepys saw a description of the arms written next to the sketch, and more or less ("an anchor winged, I think it is") remembered it. Thus he would not have to actually know all the terminology.

I believe this is the translation of the motto: "Commerce flourishes through the royal patronage, and the kingdom [flourishes] through commerce."

Fruits of long-ago study - but I did take Latin for three years.

Douglas Robertson   Link to this

"Regio floret, patrocinio commercium, commercioque Regnum"

The country/region flourishes: trade through [royal] patronage, and through trade the kingdom/monarchy.

It seems to be aiming for a chiastic ring (A:B/B:A), an effect unfortunately undermined, among other reasons, by the fact that "regio" and "Regnum" are two different words. (Perhaps by "tedious" Sam means not only "long-winded" but also "clumsy.")

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Regnum,-i: kingdom, dominion, some dictionaries also add kingship, monarcy, supremacy, despotism, domain.
Regio ,onis : direction line, region, district, etc:
king is Rex,-regis:also used for tyrant, despot, patron, leader, rich man.
kingdom regnum -i

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Song birds be popular amongst those that did not have access to less expensive means for hearing music, in Spain and Portugal one could go down many streets and hear the song birds in their cages, singing away to their hearts content, but now not so popular as their be cheaper means to hear music.
Canaries may be called back to duty to warn Miners of the bad gases, so saving lives of the men.

Paul Dyson   Link to this

“Regio floret patrocinio commercium, commercioque Regnum”

Did Sam, or an editor, slghtly miscopy the motto?

If the first comma is removed and "regio" is taken as an adjective, Stolzi's translation is right: “Commerce flourishes through the royal patronage, and the kingdom [flourishes] through commerce.”
The whole thing is a slightly overgrown Chiasmus, as well as being, as Sam says, a tedious motto.

If we leave the comma in we have to start forcing some sense out of it as "regio" has to become a noun. Someone (maybe Sam) must have thought it looked better with three pairs of words.

TerryF   Link to this

“Regio floret patrocinio Commercium, commercioque Regnum”

is how L&M have it (they provide no translation); and recall they say the MS contains few punctuation-marks - full-stops and paragraphs (Wheatley disregards the latter), ergo almost all punctuation in their (and therefore each) edition is editorial.

So, Paul Dyson, you can have it your way!

Stolzi   Link to this

Yeah. What Paul Dyson said.

If you notice, there are no commas in the motto as given at Dirk's site. (How frustrated I was that the site owner had not gotten around to drawing that terrific picture, with the elephants and the Moors and all!)

Bradford   Link to this

Thanks to all for desynonymizing US and UK blackbirds (I should have remembered the Beatles song), and by gum, if my (unconfessed) guess at that motto wasn't on the money! (Which means it must be pretty punk Latin.)
But while glossy ink and paper is familiar (especially black ink on white paper, often used by ads in "The New Yorker" or for NYC art galleries), is that the same "varnish" used in japanning? If you tried Sam's test with modern equivalents the result would hardly be better, would it?

Bradford   Link to this

Happily, here is an excellent photo of Agelaius phoeniceus, for the curious:

http://bailey.aros.net/nature/Featured%20Photos...

TerryF   Link to this

L&M note the short title for STALKER, John & (PARKER, George)
A treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, being a complete Discovery of those Arts. With the best way of making all sorts of Varnish for Japan, Wood, Prints and Pictures. The Method of Guilding, Burnishing, and Lackering, with the Art of Guilding, Seperating, and refining Metals and of painting Mezzo-tinto Prints
Oxford. Printed for, and sold by the author. 1688.
"....The earliest book in English on the subject, described by H.D. Molesworth as 'a work of art in its own right... as readily accepted for its literary content as for its technical information'. Parker and Stalker's book effectively introduced the processes described to Western craftsmen, and through them to their clientele, thereby changing the face of European interior decoration....." http://cgi.zvab.com/SESSz48330074311148504843/c...

A treatise of japanning and varnishing, by John Stalker. 84 pages. Alec Tiranti, 1971. OP and rare.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007AHNNK/

Douglas Robertson   Link to this

"Regio floret..."

Thanks for providing the L&M transcription, TerryF. In the absence of that dag-nabbed first comma, Stolzi's translation clearly makes more sense than mine. [Paul Dyson: "Regio" as adjective = ablative masculine singular of "regius," meaning "royal," right?]

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Oh, God..." Minnes tries to pull his head down below the couch window.

"What?"

"Pepys...Over there at Greatorex's. Don't look, he'll see us and...Damn his beady eyes. He's waving. Driver! Slow down just until to Mr. Pepys' gets near. Then, full speed ahead!" Heh... "Leave the little bastard stumbling in the muck..."

"We'd best stop. Whatever's up at Whitehall, the little bastard's the only one who knows where all the papers pertaining are. " Penn notes.

"Sides, if it be trouble we could use an additional target. Driver!"

"At least lets spatter him...Pricklouse boy making trouble over every... Driver!! Stop hard!!"

Paul Dyson   Link to this

“Regio floret…”

Dead right, Douglas, except that it's neuter (same ending as the masculine in the ablative) - and agreeing with patrocinio also ablative singular.

If anyone aspires to join the Pepys Latin Appreciation Society you could have some fun with the online version of the Cambridge Latin Course on the site http://www.cambridgescp.com/main.php

Australian Susan   Link to this

Those of us with long memories might remember Esther Rantzen's Sunday night programme "That's Life". On one programme she had a competition for birds imitating the irritating sound of a Telecom Trimphone: birds became very accurate at it - I can remember hurrying into the house convinced our phone was ringing, but it was a starling (a great mimic). Re Sam and the tunes: I recall an Indian mynah in a pub in England which had been taught to whistle the theme from Z cars - with one bum note. After about four renditions, it set your teeth on edge!! I can empathise with Sam's feelings on this.

dirk   Link to this

The Cambridge Latin Course

Thanks Paul -- I really enjoyed the site...

dirk   Link to this

Interesting sidenote...

"A Black Female Soldier in the Royal African Company"

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/whc/...

Australian Susan   Link to this

One of the things I *really* miss about England is early morning birdsong, especially blackbirds and thrushes. And there is nothing so evocative of long summer evenings in June (sitting in the garden with a glass of chilled white wine)as the cry of swifts as they loop round chimnies. Sorry, off topic. Having bout of homesickness. Browning may have missed England in April, but to my mind there is nothing like May and June. All those bluebells, for a start. Sorry. Really will shut up now.

Bradford   Link to this

How early would you like? A Brussels correspondent heard such blackbirds at 3.51AM the other morn. And on warm amorous August nights, Mid-South mockingbirds can begin at dusk and keep warbling till full daylight.

"With the best way of making all sorts of Varnish for Japan, Wood, Prints and Pictures."
I am enlightened, Terry---so heavy paper items were included, even if fingernail polish wasn't.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"A robin redbreast in a cage puts all heaven in a rage" (William Blake). Sam's blackbird was probably kept in a cage little bigger than itself as was the norm in those days and later.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Varnished Paper

Not unusual to come across prints, usually engravings, that were mounted on canvas, stretched on a stretcher, and then varnished; probably in part to give them the appearance of oil paintings. Perhaps also to get them to reflect light, it is hard for us to imagine the domestic interior lit by fire and candles only and how that affected the appearance of all furniture and decorative objects.

The vast majority of the survivals I have encountered were post mid C 18th., and in very poor condition; the varnishes yellow substantially and can either rot the paper fibers or lift taking away portions of the printed surface and with that the image.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Until glass manufacture invented cheap plate rather than blown glass, varnish was the only way to protect prints, paitings etc, but, yes, it does so damage the materials eventually.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Until glass manufacture invented cheap plate rather than blown glass, varnish was the only way to protect prints ...

This is not the case. Framed and glazed prints were being retailed extensively in London by the latter third of the C 17th. See amongst other specialist studies Tim Clayton The English Print 1688 - 1802 London: Yale, 1997 pp 3-23.

Blown glass plate was certainly available available in England earlier; by 1667 Sir Samuel Moreland had a room in his house almost entirely faced with mirrored glass plate, in immitation of French models. See Peter Thornton Seventeenth-Century Interior Decoration in England France & Holland London: Yale, 1978 pp. 74 - 80 @ p. 75

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Varnish was the only way to protect...paintings etc

In the C 17th., and later, a special curtain of thin silk suspended from a rod along or above the top of the frame might be used to cover oil paintings thought to be of particular value.

Of personal memory, this method was still in use in some of the galleries of the British Museum and the V&A in the mid 1960's.

GrahamT   Link to this

Re: Blackbirds -
"A Brussels correspondent heard such blackbirds at 3.51AM the other morn" Brussels summer time is two hours ahead of GMT though not very far east of Greenwich, so this equates to about 1:30 am by solar time. To quote the Beatles' Blackbird again "Blackbird singing in the dead of night..."

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Sam's recovery continues.

From hearing birdsong to getting music for the bass viol, and a turn with Pembleton at night with nary a tremor of jealousy.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

where, in the Matted Gallery, Mr. Coventry was, who told us how the Parliament have required of Sir G. Carteret and him an account what money shall be necessary to be settled upon the Navy for the ordinary charge, which they intend to report 200,000l. per annum. And how to allott this we met this afternoon

Here's another reason to prefer a lower valuation for pieces of eight. If the Navy has a store of these coins, and they count against the 200,000l ceiling for Navy expenditure, a lower valuation for the pieces of eight leaves more room for coin of the realm in the Navy account.

Pedro   Link to this

The Chinese varnish that Greatorex was trying to emulate.

More info from Richer than spices, Gertrude Z Thomas…

“From du Halde we learn that, according to legend, it was the Chinese that perfected lacquer before they even devised a means of recording time. Out of the sap that he called the “Varnish Tree” (Asian cousin of our poison ivy) they distilled the liquor…

Chinese artisans primed the wood with a film of sticky lacquer, and then pressed on hempen cloth to form a base. Twelve to twenty four hours later, the piece was hard enough to be polished smooth with whetstone, and another coat of lacquer added. Twenty, thirty or more times the piece rested for one, sometimes three days, in the moist atmosphere of a special cave or chamber, for only in dampness can lacquer properly mature, and in a damp climate survive. When sufficiently hardened, each layer, just as if it were the last, was “water-planed” to a reflection with felt or leather, or simply by the nimble gliding fingers of the practiced workmen.”

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