Art critic

Up betimes, and by water to Woolwich on board the Royall James, to see in what dispatch she is to be carried about to Chatham. So to the yard a little, and thence on foot to Greenwich, where going I was set upon by a great dogg, who got hold of my garters, and might have done me hurt; but, Lord, to see in what a maze I was, that, having a sword about me, I never thought of it, or had the heart to make use of it, but might, for want of that courage, have been worried.
Took water there and home, and both coming and going did con my lesson on my Ruler to measure timber, which I think I can well undertake now to do.
At home there being Pembleton I danced, and I think shall come on to do something in a little time, and after dinner by coach with Sir W. Pen (setting down his daughter at Clerkenwell), to St. James’s, where we attended the Duke of York: and, among other things, Sir G. Carteret and I had a great dispute about the different value of the pieces of eight rated by Mr. Creed at 4s. and 5d., and by Pitts at 4s. and 9d., which was the greatest husbandry to the King? he persisting that the greatest sum was; which is as ridiculous a piece of ignorance as could be imagined. However, it is to be argued at the Board, and reported to the Duke next week; which I shall do with advantage, I hope.
Thence to the Tangier Committee, where we should have concluded in sending Captain Cuttance and the rest to Tangier to deliberate upon the design of the Mole before they begin to work upon it, but there being not a committee (my Lord intending to be there but was taken up at my Lady Castlemayne’s) I parted and went homeward, after a little discourse with Mr. Pierce the surgeon, who tells me that my Lady Castlemaine hath now got lodgings near the King’s chamber at Court; and that the other day Dr. Clerke and he did dissect two bodies, a man and a woman; before the King, with which the King was highly pleased.
By water and called upon Tom Trice by appointment with Dr. Williams, but the Dr. did not come, it seems by T. Trice’s desire, not thinking he should be at leisure. However, in general we talked of our business, and I do not find that he will come to any lower terms than 150l., which I think I shall not give him but by law, and so we parted, and I called upon Mr. Crumlum, and did give him the 10s. remaining, not laid out of the 5l. I promised him for the school, with which he will buy strings, and golden letters upon the books I did give them. I sat with him and his wife a great while talking, and she is [a] pretty woman, never yet with child, and methinks looks as if her mouth watered now and then upon some of her boys.
Then upon Tom Pepys, the Turner, desiring his father and his letter to Piggott signifying his consent to the selling of his land for the paying of us his money, and so home, and finding Pembleton there we did dance till it was late, and so to supper and to bed.

I am a dog who got hold of art
and worried it

I dispute the value
of pieces rated as great

the ridiculous design of work
in a committee

we who now dissect bodies
and call that art

a man never yet with child
boys desiring a pig


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 11 May 1663.

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