He Pepys at the Country and its Poets.
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I up most early having lain but little in my truckle bed.Far from my pritty garden and my wyfe. For, to escape the new plague that doth grip our Nation, I have gone into the countrye; thus I do find this advice given unto me by my Boy most perplexing when considered at my leisure. How vexatious was my departure from the Metropolis! How fruitless my request unto My Lord Prest’Cott for a carriage! The coneycatchers and cutpurses did all but riot and much pilfering of meat took place in all corners of the streetes as they did stuff into their baggins all manner of dead creatures!
At length I arrive at Strowde a most enchanting mixture of the grand and picturesque! At once I did enquire as to chambers where I may sojourn throughout the plague period. Little was I offered! Finally, at a humble tavern of the town known as The Fleece, I did take up residence and there did witness most vile and pernicious actions among its
In my innocence I did feel that country poets would be most Pastoral in their manner and equine in their peregrinations. How it doth sadden me to report to the contrary! That first night I did venture down in order to take of my pype. There, in a corner, sat a group who did call themselves The Pedisphere Poeticus.
Intrigued, I did sit to observe them about their work and a most vile, Popish and Republican band of Footpads they did prove to be! Bereft of any leader, they did fawn upon a mongrel of albino disposition and seemed to hang upon its every sound. One did seem overly fond of the creature and I found myself questioning his sanity; another did but try to sell me a book of ancient quality; yet another was of youthful hue and be-hatted – a cutpurse of the town I’ll warrant! They did speak much of their mighty “webbe” and some pride did take in it. Others did but talk about Hill Paul; an ancient of the town and seemingly not long for this life if they were to be believed.
Later in the evening they did begin some readings. Much chanting, cursing and carousing did ensue and little did I hear that would merit the title of Literature. One, who did but call himself Swyfte, did attempt to drown the meeting with his rantings of the North but was eclipsed by a female of apparent Irish descent who did wittily enchant the table round.
Tired by my journey and away from My Wyffe and Mistress Kwik, I did retire unto my chamber where, as the night did unfold, I did hear the sound of foul Spanish songsters filling the air claiming “No Pasaran” or some such.
What will become of us with such in our midst?
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