Fine

(Lord’s day). Up early, and with Captain Cocke to the dock-yard, a fine walk, and fine weather. Where we walked till Commissioner Pett come to us, and took us to his house, and showed us his garden and fine things, and did give us a fine breakfast of bread and butter, and sweetmeats and other things with great choice, and strong drinks, with which I could not avoyde making my head ake, though I drank but little. Thither came Captain Allen of the Foresight, and the officers of the yard to see me.
Thence by and by to church, by coach, with the Commissioner, and had a dull sermon. A full church, and some pretty women in it; among others, Beck Allen, who was a bride-maid to a new married couple that came to church to-day, and, which was pretty strange, sat in a pew hung with mourning for a mother of the bride’s, which methinks should have been taken down.
After dinner going out of the church saluted Mrs. Pett, who came after us in the coach to church, and other officers’ wives. The Commissioner staid at dinner with me, and we had a good dinner, better than I would have had, but I saw there was no helping of it. After dinner the Commissioner and I left the company and walked in the garden at the Hill-house, which is very pleasant, and there talked of our businesses and matters of the navy. So to church again, where quite weary, and so after sermon walked with him to the yard up and down and the fields, and saw the place designed for the wet dock. And so to his house, and had a syllabub, and saw his closet, which come short of what I expected, but there was fine modells of ships in it indeed, whose worth I could not judge of. At night walked home to the Hill-house, Mr. Barrow with me, talking of the faults of the yard, walking in the fields an hour or two, and so home to supper, and so Captain Cocke and I to bed.
This day among other stories he told me how despicable a thing it is to be a hangman in Poland, although it be a place of credit. And that, in his time, there was some repairs to be made of the gallows there, which was very fine of stone; but nobody could be got to mend it till the Burgomaster, or Mayor of the town, with all the companies of those trades which were necessary to be used about those repairs, did go in their habits with flags, in solemn procession to the place, and there the Burgomaster did give the first blow with the hammer upon the wooden work; and the rest of the Masters of the Companys upon the works belonging to their trades; that so workmen might not be ashamed to be employed upon doing of the gallows’ works.

A fine walk and fine weather,
fine things and a fine breakfast
of bread and strong drink.
A fine judge to be a hangman.
A fine flag in procession to the gallows.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 3 August 1662.

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