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William Lilly's History of His Life and Times
From the Year 1602 to 1681

written by "Lilly, William, 1602-1681"
... great affection for me. The year 1625 now comes on, and the plague exceeding violent, I will relate what I observed the spring before it broke forth. Against our corner house every night there would come down, about five or six of the clock, sometime one hundred or more boys, some playing, others as if in serious discourse, and just as it grew dark would all be gone home; many succeeding years there was no such, or any concourse, usually no more than four or five in a company: In the spring of 1625, the boys and youths of several parishes in like number appeared again, which I beholding, called Thomas Sanders, my landlord, and told him, that the youth and young boys of several parishes did in that nature assemble and play, in the beginning of the year 1625. 'God bless us,' quoth {46} I, 'from a plague this year;' but then there succeeded one, and the greatest that ever was in London. In 1625, the visitation encreasing, and my master having a great charge of money and plate, some of his own, some other men's, left me and a fellow-servant to keep the house, and himself in June went into Leicestershire. He was in that year feoffee collector for twelve poor alms-people living in Clement-Dane's Church-Yard; whose pensions I in his absence paid weekly, to his and the parish's great satisfaction. My master was no sooner gone down, but I bought a bass-viol, and got a master to instruct me; the intervals of time I spent in bowling in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, with Wat the cobler, Dick the blacksmith, and such like companions: We have sometimes been at our work at six in the morning, and so continued till three or four in the afternoon, {47} many times without bread or drink all that while. Sometimes I went to church and heard funeral sermons, of which there was then great plenty. At other times I went early to St. Antholine's in London, where there was every morning a sermon. The most able people of the whole city and suburbs were out of town; if ...

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