Leveler

Up by four o’clock in the morning and walked to the Dock, where Commissioner Pett and I took barge and went to the guardships and mustered them, finding them but badly manned; thence to the Sovereign, which we found kept in good order and very clean, which pleased us well, but few of the officers on board. Thence to the Charles, and were troubled to see her kept so neglectedly by the boatswain Clements, who I always took for a very good officer; it is a very brave ship. Thence to Upnor Castle, and there went up to the top, where there is a fine prospect, but of very small force; so to the yard, and there mustered the whole ordinary, where great disorder by multitude of servants and old decrepid men, which must be remedied. So to all the storehouses and viewed the stores of all sorts and the hemp, where we found Captain Cocke’s (which he came down to see along with me) very bad, and some others, and with much content (God forgive me) I did hear by the Clerk of the Ropeyard how it was by Sir W. Batten’s private letter that one parcel of Alderman Barker’s was received.
At two o’clock to dinner to the Hill-house, and after dinner dispatched many people’s business, and then to the yard again, and looked over Mr. Gregory’s and Barrow’s houses to see the matter of difference between them concerning an alteration that Barrow would make, which I shall report to the board, but both their houses very pretty, and deserve to be so, being well kept. Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp, but could not perform it here so well as at Woolwich, but we did do it pretty well.
So took barge at the dock and to Rochester, and there Captain Cocke and I and our two men took coach about 8 at night and to Gravesend, where it was very dark before we got thither to the Swan; and there, meeting with Doncaster, an old waterman of mine above bridge, we eat a short supper, being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us, and so took water. It being very dark, and the wind rising, and our waterman unacquainted with this part of the river, so that we presently cast upon the Essex shore, but got off again, and so, as well as we could, went on, but I in such fear that I could not sleep till we came to Erith, and there it begun to be calm, and the stars to shine, and so I began to take heart again, and the rest too, and so made shift to slumber a little.
Above Woolwich we lost our way, and went back to Blackwall, and up and down, being guided by nothing but the barking of a dog, which we had observed in passing by Blackwall, and so…

we must find order always
in the ordinary multitude

I view the private letter
that is a well-kept grave

above us the wind
unacquainted with sex and fear

the stars guided by nothing
but the barking of a dog


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 4 August 1662.

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