government support for the arts, 17th century edition

Catching up on my Pepys reading, I see this, from the entry dated 19 December 1666.
Thence going away met Mr. Hingston the organist (my old acquaintance) in the Court, and I took him to the Dog Taverne and got him to set me a bass to my "It is decreed," [a song Pepys had composed] which I think will go well . . . Then to talk of the King's family. He says many of the musique are ready to starve, they being five years behindhand for their wages; nay, Evens, the famous man upon the Harp having not his equal in the world, did the other day die for mere want, and was fain to be buried at the almes of the parish, and carried to his grave in the dark at night without one linke, but that Mr. Hingston met it by chance, and did give 12d. to buy two or three links. He says all must come to ruin at this rate, and I believe him.

A "link" or "linke" is torch used to light the way on dark streets; a "link boy" is a person paid to carry such a torch. Here's a link about links.

The musicians hired by the court have not been paid in five years. All are on the brink of starvation, and one great talent has already succumbed, killed by poverty and neglect.

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