Wednesday 15 January 1661/62

This morning Mr. Berkenshaw came again, and after he had examined me and taught me something in my work, he and I went to breakfast in my chamber upon a collar of brawn, and after we had eaten, asked me whether we had not committed a fault in eating to-day; telling me that it is a fast day ordered by the Parliament, to pray for more seasonable weather; it having hitherto been summer weather, that it is, both as to warmth and every other thing, just as if it were the middle of May or June, which do threaten a plague (as all men think) to follow, for so it was almost the last winter; and the whole year after hath been a very sickly time to this day. I did not stir out of my house all day, but conned my musique, and at night after supper to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Perhaps the added blood-flow to the brain, resulting from a hearty meat breakfast, enabled the music master to remember the fast-day afterwards. How convenient. I don't suppose throwing up would have erased the fault? Sorry, I never said that.
One wonders if Parliament ordaining thus had any more religious substance than the U.S.'s National Day of Prayer; or is it, likewise, mostly for show?

daniel  •  Link

"and after he had examined me"

wow! composition lesson before breakfast!? I teach music professionally and can't imagine such an eager student!

"it having hitherto been summer weather,"

This is interesting as we on the Eastern sea-board of the US have been experiencing this same summer-in-winter phenomenon: first it was pleasant, then strange, now people openly wonder what is wrong that we haven't seen snow yet or are having sixty degrees in mid-winter.

Oh well, I will inform my neighbors that Sam Pepys knows right where we are coming from.

roboto  •  Link

"more seasonable weather; it having hitherto been summer weather, that it is, both as to warmth"
There goes the "global warming" theory right out the window or perhaps it started back in the 1600s.

vicenzo  •  Link

here be the fast:The Fast to be observed in Westm. Abbey, and the Bp. of St. David's to preach.
Whereas His Majesty hath been pleased, by Proclamation, upon the Unseasonableness of the Weather, to command a general and public Fast, to be religiously and solemnly kept, within the Cities of London and Westm. and Places adjacent: It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, That the Lord Bishop of St. David's is hereby desired to take the Pains upon him, to preach before the Lords of Parliament, on Wednesday the Fifteenth Day of this Instant January in the Forenoon, in the Abbey Church of Westm. being the accustomed Place where their Lordships have used to meet upon the like Occasion

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 11 January 1662. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
Date: 16/01/2005

Larry Bunce  •  Link

conned my musique
con (listed as Brit. dial. in my Random House dictionary) to hit or strike. (from Fr. for hatchet)
so Sam hit the books.

John Richards  •  Link

You can still buy brawn in the Black Country (England, Midlands), usually costs 50p a quarter, and very nice too!

AussieAnnie  •  Link

It is of interest to note that here in Australia our esteemed Prime Minister has proclaimed today, 16th January 2005 to be the official Day of Mourning for the victims of the Boxing Day Tsunami. We are all to pray for no more tsunamis and a quick recovery for all those lands devestated, and those of our citizens who are not Christians utilised the nearest holy day for them - e.g. Muslims it was last Friday and for the Jewish citizens it was Saturday. The unusual weather and the earth's continual upheavals brings it all home to us that there are somethings we still have no divinity over. God bless all those who are out there helping the victims, and those who have so generously given money to the various charities.

Mary  •  Link

conned my musique.

Not dialectal but straightforward, mainstream English at this date. Meaning = to study, to learn (esp. by repetition and rote). Also, to look over (as in looking over a text, accounts etc.) OED. From OE cunnan.

Pedro.  •  Link

"to pray for more seasonable weather"
You can see the worry about the weather following the discussions on the 5th January 59/60.…
Note Tod's mention of sunspots.
Another site for sunspots says..
Then, from about 1650 to 1670, very few sunspots were observed and from 1676 to 1684, no spots at all! Sun observers were mystified! This last period was later identified as the Maunder Sunspot Minimum that coincided with many years of extreme cold on Earth, especially in Europe. Since the Maunder Minimum, no similar absence of sunspots has occurred.…

John Evelyn says..
15 Was Indicted a generall Fast through the whole Nation, & now celebrated at Lond: to avert Gods heavy judgement on this Land, there having falln so greate raine without any frost or seasonable cold: & not onely in England, but in Sweden & the most northern parts; it being here neere as warme as at Midsomer some yeares: The wind also against our Fleete which lay at greate expenses, for a gale to to carry it to Portugal for the new Queene; and also to Land the Guarnison we were sending with the Earle of Peterborow at Tangier, now to be put into our hands, as part of the Q: portion: This solemn Fast was held for the House of Commons, at St. Margarites: … The effect of this fast appeard, in an immediate change of wind, & season: so as our Fleete set-saile this very afternoone, having laine wind-bound a moneth:

vicenzo  •  Link

no mention of a fast in Essex; and the weather be a little chillier than elsewhere it seems.
from Essex : 12.1.1662 (Sunday 12 January 1662) document 70013325
Jan: 12. God good to us in outward mercies. this day dry and cold, a frost in the night, the weather good to set back rye, that in many places, spindles, and ears, which is a sad providence. this day I baptised a child in public not done in 12 months before. the lord good to me in the word, the lord awaken our hearts thereby to love and fear his name.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"which do threaten a plague(as all men think)to follow"
I am curious to know which"plague"he is talking about;could it be the bubonic plague,or maybe malaria?

Carolina  •  Link

Weather here in the east of Holland quite seasonal last 2 days. Minus 2 celsius in the morning.

On conning - is this where "conning tower" comes from in submarines, or is that reconnoitre (sp) from the French?

Clement  •  Link

Bubonic Plague, Black Death.
The fears were well-founded, though knowledge of causes and mitigation were not. The Black Death came in three varieties: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic. All forms were caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. London was perpetually threatened by Bubonic, carried by fleas on rats. 1665 spoiler:…

I'm strangely tempted to put a song about the plague to the tune of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (the Beverly Hillbillies).…
"..First thing you know there's plague in the air; kinfolk said, 'Sam, move away from there!'" Maybe not, sorry.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Black Death and Plague
Some authorities now think that the Black Death may have been anthrax, or a combination of bubonic plague AND anthrax which was why it was so devastating.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

I can't think why anthrax would be necessary to make bubonic plague devastating. It's obvious from history that most infectious diseases will ravage a population that has had little exposure to it until nature has evolved some degree of resistance. Normal European diseases like measles barely affected the Spanish conquistadors but killed off thousands of the Incas. (Read Jared Diamond's 'Guns Germs and Steel for a better account of this).

Australian Susan  •  Link

Bubonic Plague and Anthrax
I have read Guns, Germs and Steel. What I have also read is "In the wake of the plague: the Black Death and the world it made" by Norman F. Cantor… - Amazon ref.
He advances the anthrax theory on p. 14-16: the Black Death was the worst pandemic the world has ever seen (well, so far.....).

Gareth Toms  •  Link

The plagues a killer I feel sorry for those people who died.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"telling me that it is a fast day ordered by the Parliament, to pray for more seasonable weather"

On the 8th, a Proclamation was issued for a general fast to be observed in London and Westminster on the 15th, and in the rest of England on the 22d, with prayers on occasion of "the present unseasonableness of the weather." William Lucy, Bishop of St. David's, preached before the House of Lords. Dr. Samuel Bolton and Dr. Bruno Ryves preached at St. Margaret's, before the House of Commons.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill  •  Link

"but conned my musique"

To CON, to ken, to know or learn, to understand.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"it having hitherto been summer weather"

The old proverb says truly, that "a green yule maketh a fat kirk-yard." Apples were growing at this time.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I suspect "the plague" in this case was a biblical threat and not an actual one, a religious punishment because they had failed to fast--a little like saying, "God will punish us for that."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to pray for more seasonable weather"

L&M: The order for a fast came originally from the King (proclamation, 8 January: Steele, no. 3349), and parliament's arrangements (for its own proceedings) had been made in consequence: e.g. CJ, viii. 343. It was natural for anyone who had lived through the Puritan Revolution to attribute fasts to parliamentary orders.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"it having hitherto been summer weather, that it is, both as to warmth and every other thing, just as if it were the middle of May or June, which do threaten a plague (as all men think) to follow, for so it was almost the last winter; and the whole year after hath been a very sickly time to this day."

L&M: See… and…… and……

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