Gun-happy

Up very early, and now beginning to be settled in my wits again, I went about setting down my last four days’ observations this morning. After that, was trimmed by a barber that has not trimmed me yet, my Spaniard being on shore.
News brought that the two Dukes are coming on board, which, by and by, they did, in a Dutch boat, the Duke of York in yellow trimmings, the Duke of Gloucester in grey and red.
My Lord went in a boat to meet them, the Captain, myself, and others, standing at the entering port.
So soon as they were entered we shot the guns off round the fleet. After that they went to view the ship all over, and were most exceedingly pleased with it.
They seem to be both very fine gentlemen.
After that done, upon the quarter- deck table, under the awning, the Duke of York and my Lord, Mr. Coventry, and I, spent an hour at allotting to every ship their service, in their return to England; which having done, they went to dinner, where the table was very full: the two Dukes at the upper end, my Lord Opdam next on one side, and my Lord on the other.
Two guns given to every man while he was drinking the King’s health, and so likewise to the Duke’s health.
I took down Monsieur d’Esquier to the great cabin below, and dined with him in state alone with only one or two friends of his.
All dinner the harper belonging to Captain Sparling played to the Dukes.
After dinner, the Dukes and my Lord to see the Vice and Rear-Admirals; and I in a boat after them.
After that done, they made to the shore in the Dutch boat that brought them, and I got into the boat with them; but the shore was so full of people to expect their coming, as that it was as black (which otherwise is white sand), as every one could stand by another.
When we came near the shore, my Lord left them and came into his own boat, and General Pen and I with him; my Lord being very well pleased with this day’s work.
By the time we came on board again, news is sent us that the King is on shore; so my Lord fired all his guns round twice, and all the fleet after him, which in the end fell into disorder, which seemed very handsome.
The gun over against my cabin I fired myself to the King, which was the first time that he had been saluted by his own ships since this change; but holding my head too much over the gun, I had almost spoiled my right eye.
Nothing in the world but going of guns almost all this day. In the evening we began to remove cabins; I to the carpenter’s cabin, and Dr. Clerke with me, who came on board this afternoon, having been twice ducked in the sea to-day coming from shore, and Mr. North and John Pickering the like. Many of the King’s servants came on board to- night; and so many Dutch of all sorts came to see the ship till it was quite dark, that we could not pass by one another, which was a great trouble to us all.
This afternoon Mr. Downing (who was knighted yesterday by the King) was here on board, and had a ship for his passage into England, with his lady and servants. By the same token he called me to him when I was going to write the order, to tell me that I must write him Sir G. Downing.
My Lord lay in the roundhouse to-night.
This evening I was late writing a French letter myself by my Lord’s order to Monsieur Kragh, Embassador de Denmarke a la Haye, which my Lord signed in bed. After that I to bed, and the Doctor, and sleep well.

Settled in my wits, I set down
my guns—both fine gentlemen.

Two guns give
every man two friends.

My pen and I fire twice
and I almost spoil my eye.

Nothing in the world
but going of guns all day.

I am a duck in the sea,
a knight with an order to sleep.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 22 May 1660. I’m experimenting with a new style of presentation, copied from
Nets by Jen Bervin (an erasure of Shakespeare’s sonnets; see the review by Sarah Sloat). I like that I can format it entirely in HTML and don’t have to post an image, and it lets the reader see the precise relationship of salvaged to erased text. But I miss the hand-made quality of a literal erasure.

Posted in
Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

2 Comments


  1. I like this style.
    Just bought Jen Bervin’s Nets: what a joy!
    And your Odes to Tools, another joy!
    “Nothing in the world but going of guns all day” – that was appropriate in the light of yesterday’s main UK news story. Time for some settling of wits and setting-down of guns.
    Thanks for these posts. They brighten every morning.

    Reply

    1. Thanks for buying Odes to Tools! Glad you’re enjoying it. And I appreciate the feedback on this style of presentation. Another regular reader, my dad, told me he also likes it. I’m more ambivalent, but it is certainly less work.

      Reply

Leave a Reply