Wednesday 6 December 1665

Up betimes, it being fast-day; and by water to the Duke of Albemarle, who come to towne from Oxford last night. He is mighty brisk, and very kind to me, and asks my advice principally in every thing. He surprises me with the news that my Lord Sandwich goes Embassador to Spayne speedily; though I know not whence this arises, yet I am heartily glad of it. He did give me several directions what to do, and so I home by water again and to church a little, thinking to have met Mrs. Pierce in order to our meeting at night; but she not there, I home and dined, and comes presently by appointment my wife. I spent the afternoon upon a song of Solyman’s words to Roxalana that I have set, and so with my wife walked and Mercer to Mrs. Pierce’s, where Captain Rolt and Mrs. Knipp, Mr. Coleman and his wife, and Laneare, Mrs. Worshipp and her singing daughter, met; and by and by unexpectedly comes Mr. Pierce from Oxford. Here the best company for musique I ever was in, in my life, and wish I could live and die in it, both for musique and the face of Mrs. Pierce, and my wife and Knipp, who is pretty enough; but the most excellent, mad- humoured thing, and sings the noblest that ever I heard in my life, and Rolt, with her, some things together most excellently. I spent the night in extasy almost; and, having invited them to my house a day or two hence, we broke up, Pierce having told me that he is told how the King hath done my Lord Sandwich all the right imaginable, by shewing him his countenance before all the world on every occasion, to remove thoughts of discontent; and that he is to go Embassador, and that the Duke of Yorke is made generall of all forces by land and sea, and the Duke of Albemarle, lieutenant-generall. Whether the two latter alterations be so, true or no, he knows not, but he is told so; but my Lord is in full favour with the King. So all home and to bed.

15 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I spent the afternoon upon a song of Solyman’s words to Roxalana that I have set,..."

L&M think it this arrangement of "Beauty retire" from Davenant's *Siege of Rhodes*, Pt. II, Act IV, sc. 2:
http://books.google.com/books?id=5zUqAAAAYAAJ&p...

(Too bad that Google scanned a crinkled page; but the elements are there.)

A. Hamilton   Link to this

I love Sam's love of music

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

I home and dined, and comes presently by appointment my wife.

"By appointment?" This has overtones of "your people talking to my people and we'll do lunch asap."

language hat   Link to this

“By appointment" simply means "as we had arranged."

A charming entry overall, with just this touch of Sam's oblivious hypocrisy to spoil the taste:

"to church a little, thinking to have met Mrs. Pierce in order to our meeting at night"

Not even a "God forgive me"!

language hat   Link to this

Oh, wait, I guess he just means "about our group get-together for a sing." Sorry, Sam!

Bradford   Link to this

Pepys's hyperbolic enthusiasm underscores again how rare it was to hear good, much less expert, musical performances at this time---a condition it takes some effort to imagine, now that the very computer which brings us his words can permit you to be surrounded by the highest-quality renditions 24/7/365.

DJ   Link to this

I like to think that I could reduce Sam to tears with my singing.

cgs   Link to this

Some singers give pleasure, others reduce the listener to blubbering idiots, I be one that did so, being an eight year old, did get the choir master to choke and with arms flailing get moi removed from his eminence.
Such be the variety of middle "C"

Australian Susan   Link to this

Ah! CGS - yes! What memories! I was always the one either told to mime or told to sit down and be quiet.

Sam's appreciation of good music is a joy to read about.

I was the despair of musical parents.

C.J.Darby   Link to this

I think I can hear them, as on a scratchy old 78 but imagining the beauty.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"Mrs. Worshipp and her singing daughter"! A vaudeville act if ever I saw one...

Love this entry. Presuming that wine was also involved, no wonder Sam "spent the night in extasy almost."

Anyone else think that Evelyn's getting a little snippy with Sam in that letter?

Ruben   Link to this

Music
A good musical performance was something that passed as soon as it was played. The magic of music was difficult to recreate and that was part of the magic.
Today, you can hear the virtuous performance you like again and again till you fall asleep or dead, making it prosaic. You can hear it jogging, in your car, cellphone, bathroom or bed.
Still, some of the magic is there when the Philarmonic's trumpets thunder and you are seated in your usual good place in the theater.
Same happens with beauty. Everyone saw pictures of Angelina Jolie, so millions compare females with her.
In Pepys days only a few would have seen Angelina in person and only a few more if she had the money to ask for a portrait.

cgs   Link to this

Once impressed by good visual and vision in those days the mind could enjoy for ever and succor on each tidbit, now many rely on the cloning factor for the joy of vision and sound; which be Better?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"He surprises me with the news that my Lord Sandwich goes Embassador to Spayne speedily; though I know not whence this arises, yet I am heartily glad of it."

Methinks Jamie and Charlie are shedding no tears...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"You were in my list...There, right after Betty Pierce. Bess? Bess?!"

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