Old dog

To the Comptroller’s house, where I read over his proposals to the Lord Admiral for the regulating of the officers of the Navy, in which he hath taken much pains, only he do seem to have too good opinion of them himself. From thence in his coach to Mercer’s Chappell, and so up to the great hall, where we met with the King’s Councell for Trade, upon some proposals of theirs for settling convoys for the whole English trade, and that by having 33 ships (four fourth-rates, nineteen fifths, ten sixths) settled by the King for that purpose, which indeed was argued very finely by many persons of honour and merchants that were there.
It pleased me much now to come in this condition to this place, where I was once a petitioner for my exhibition in Paul’s School; and also where Sir G. Downing (my late master) was chairman, and so but equally concerned with me.
From thence home, and after a little dinner my wife and I by coach into London, and bought some glasses, and then to Whitehall to see Mrs. Fox, but she not within, my wife to my mother Bowyer, and I met with Dr. Thomas Fuller, and took him to the Dog, where he tells me of his last and great book that is coming out: that is, his History of all the Families in England; and could tell me more of my own, than I knew myself. And also to what perfection he hath now brought the art of memory; that he did lately to four eminently great scholars dictate together in Latin, upon different subjects of their proposing, faster than they were able to write, till they were tired.
And by the way in discourse tells me that the best way of beginning a sentence, if a man should be out and forget his last sentence (which he never was), that then his last refuge is to begin with an Utcunque.
From thence I to Mr. Bowyer’s, and there sat a while, and so to Mr. Fox’s, and sat with them a very little while, and then by coach home, and so to see Sir Win. Pen, where we found Mrs. Martha Batten and two handsome ladies more, and so we staid supper and were very merry, and so home to bed.

Settling pleased me
where I was once a petitioner
for my master.
My wife a fox
and I a dog of great families,
I knew myself in Latin—
the best way to bow.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 22 January 1660/61.

Leave a Reply