Writer of Color

This morning Sir W. Batten with Colonel Birch to Deptford, to pay off two ships. Sir W. Pen and I staid to do business, and afterwards together to White Hall, where I went to my Lord, and found him in bed not well, and saw in his chamber his picture, very well done; and am with child till I get it copied out, which I hope to do when he is gone to sea.
To Whitehall again, where at Mr. Coventry’s chamber I met with Sir W. Pen again, and so with him to Redriffe by water, and from thence walked over the fields to Deptford (the first pleasant walk I have had a great while), and in our way had a great deal of merry discourse, and find him to be a merry fellow and pretty good natured, and sings very bawdy songs.
So we came and found our gentlemen and Mr. Prin at the pay.
About noon we dined together, and were very merry at table telling of tales.
After dinner to the pay of another ship till 10 at night, and so home in our barge, a clear moonshine night, and it was 12 o’clock before we got home, where I found my wife in bed, and part of our chambers hung to-day by the upholster, but not being well done I was fretted, and so in a discontent to bed.
I found Mr. Prin a good, honest, plain man, but in his discourse not very free or pleasant.
Among all the tales that passed among us to-day, he told us of one Damford, that, being a black man, did scald his beard with mince-pie, and it came up again all white in that place, and continued to his dying day. Sir W. Pen told us a good jest about some gentlemen blinding of the drawer, and who he catched was to pay the reckoning, and so they got away, and the master of the house coming up to see what his man did, his man got hold of him, thinking it to be one of the gentlemen, and told him that he was to pay the reckoning.

This pen is with child.
I sing and tell tales to it.
I fret that being black
in a white place is
a raw reckoning,
and so I ink it in.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 9 October 1660.

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