Hanging

At 2 o’clock, with very great mirth, we went to our lodging and to bed, and lay till 7, and then called up by Sir W. Batten, so I arose and we did some business, and then came Captn. Allen, and he and I withdrew and sang a song or two, and among others took pleasure in “Goe and bee hanged, that’s good-bye.”
The young ladies come too, and so I did again please myself with Mrs. Rebecca, and about 9 o’clock, after we had breakfasted, we sett forth for London, and indeed I was a little troubled to part with Mrs. Rebecca, for which God forgive me. Thus we went away through Rochester, calling and taking leave of Mr. Alcock at the door, Capt. Cuttance going with us. We baited at Dartford, and thence to London.
But of all the journeys that ever I made this was the merriest, and I was in a strange mood for mirth. Among other things, I got my Lady to let her maid, Mrs. Anne, to ride all the way on horseback, and she rides exceeding well; and so I called her my clerk, that she went to wait upon me.
I met two little schoolboys going with pitchers of ale to their schoolmaster to break up against Easter, and I did drink of some of one of them and give him two pence.
By and by we come to two little girls keeping cows, and I saw one of them very pretty, so I had a mind to make her ask my blessing, and telling her that I was her godfather, she asked me innocently whether I was not Ned Wooding, and I said that I was, so she kneeled down and very simply called, “Pray, godfather, pray to God to bless me,” which made us very merry, and I gave her twopence.
In several places, I asked women whether they would sell me their children, but they denied me all, but said they would give me one to keep for them, if I would.
Mrs. Anne and I rode under the man that hangs upon Shooter’s Hill, and a filthy sight it was to see how his flesh is shrunk to his bones.
So home and I found all well, and a deal of work done since I went.
I sent to see how my wife do, who is well, and my brother John come from Cambridge.
To Sir W. Batten’s and there supped, and very merry with the young ladies. So to bed very sleepy for last night’s work, concluding that it is the pleasantest journey in all respects that ever I had in my life.

Go and be hanged, we call
to a clerk, to a schoolmaster,
to two cows in the wood,
to God, to children, to the man
that hangs on Shooter’s Hill,
filthy flesh shrunk to his bones.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 11 April 1661.

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