Paranoia

My brother Tom came to me, and he and I to Mr. Turner the Draper’s, and paid 15l. to him for cloth owing to him by my father for his mourning for my uncle, and so to his house, and there invited all the Honiwood’s to dinner on Monday next. So to the Exchange, and there all the news is of the French and Dutch joyning against us; but I do not think it yet true. So home to dinner, and in the afternoon to the office, and so to Sir W. Batten’s, where in discourse I heard the custom of the election of the Dukes of Genoa, who for two years are every day attended in the greatest state; and four or five hundred men always waiting upon him as a king; and when the two years are out, and another is chose, a messenger is, sent to him, who stands at the bottom of the stairs, and he at the top, and says, “Va. Illustrissima Serenita sta finita, et puede andar en casa.” — “Your serenity is now ended; and now you may be going home,” and so claps on his hat. And the old Duke (having by custom sent his goods home before), walks away, it may be but with one man at his heels; and the new one brought immediately in his room, in the greatest state in the world. Another account was told us, how in the Dukedom of Ragusa, in the Adriatique (a State that is little, but more ancient, they say, than Venice, and is called the mother of Venice, and the Turks lie round about it), that they change all the officers of their guard, for fear of conspiracy, every twenty-four hours, so that nobody knows who shall be captain of the guard to-night; but two men come to a man, and lay hold of him as a prisoner, and carry him to the place; and there he hath the keys of the garrison given him, and he presently issues his orders for that night’s watch: and so always from night to night. Sir Wm. Rider told the first of his own knowledge; and both he and Sir W. Batten confirm the last.
Hence home and to read, and so to bed, but very late again.

In mourning
for Monday:
the news I do
not think true
the election
every year
another mess at
the bottom and
at the top
serenity ended
by one man
and how the state
is the mother
of fear
so nobody knows
who shall be
a prisoner
or a night
rider now.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 11 January 1661/62.

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