Urban decay

This morning, news was brought to me to my bedside, that there had been a great stir in the City this night by the Fanatiques, who had been up and killed six or seven men, but all are fled. My Lord Mayor and the whole City had been in arms, above 40,000. To the office, and after that to dinner, where my brother Tom came and dined with me, and after dinner (leaving 12d. with the servants to buy a cake with at night, this day being kept as Twelfth day) Tom and I and my wife to the Theatre, and there saw “The Silent Woman.” The first time that ever I did see it, and it is an excellent play. Among other things here, Kinaston, the boy; had the good turn to appear in three shapes: first, as a poor woman in ordinary clothes, to please Morose; then in fine clothes, as a gallant, and in them was clearly the prettiest woman in the whole house, and lastly, as a man; and then likewise did appear the handsomest man in the house. From thence by link to my cozen Stradwick’s, where my father and we and Dr. Pepys, Scott, and his wife, and one Mr. Ward and his; and after a good supper, we had an excellent cake, where the mark for the Queen was cut, and so there was two queens, my wife and Mrs. Ward; and the King being lost, they chose the Doctor to be King, so we made him send for some wine, and then home, and in our way home we were in many places strictly examined, more than in the worst of times, there being great fears of these Fanatiques rising again: for the present I do not hear that any of them are taken.
Home, it being a clear moonshine and after 12 o’clock at night. Being come home we found that my people had been very merry, and my wife tells me afterwards that she had heard that they had got young Davis and some other neighbours with them to be merry, but no harm.

This new, great stir: who killed the city?
The poor in morose clothes,
the two queens,
the wine in many places?
Or the great fear?
Fanatics shine at night.
We found a neighbor with no arm.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 7 January 1660/61.

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