The birth of tragedy

Lay long in bed, then up to the office (we having changed our days to Tuesday and Saturday in the morning and Thursday at night), and by and by with Sir W. Pen, Mr. Kennard, and others to survey his house again, and to contrive for the alterations there, which will be handsome I think.
After we had done at the office, I walked to the Wardrobe, where with Mr. Moore and Mr. Lewis Phillips after dinner we did agree upon the agreement between us and Prior and I did seal and sign it.
Having agreed with Sir Wm. Pen and my wife to meet them at the Opera, and finding by my walking in the streets, which were every where full of brick-battes and tyles flung down by the extraordinary wind the last night (such as hath not been in memory before, unless at the death of the late Protector), that it was dangerous to go out of doors; and hearing how several persons had been killed to-day by the fall of things in the streets, and that the pageant in Fleetstreet is most of it blown down, and hath broke down part of several houses, among others Dick Brigden’s; and that one Lady Sanderson, a person of quality in Covent Garden, was killed by the fall of the house, in her bed, last night; I sent my boy home to forbid them to go forth. But he bringing me word that they are gone, I went thither and there saw “The Law against Lovers,” a good play and well performed, especially the little girl’s (whom I never saw act before) dancing and singing; and were it not for her, the loss of Roxalana would spoil the house. So home and to musique, and so to bed.

We change our days to night
and survey the alterations:
war into opera,
streets into dangerous doors
and blown sand into the word Love,
for dancing and singing
would spoil the music.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 18 February 1661/62.

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