Blackbird

Up pretty betimes, and shall, I hope, come to myself and business again, after a small playing the truant, for I find that my interest and profit do grow daily, for which God be praised and keep me to my duty.
To my office, and anon one tells me that Rundall, the house-carpenter of Deptford, hath sent me a fine blackbird, which I went to see. He tells me he was offered 20s. for him as he came along, he do so whistle.
So to my office, and busy all the morning, among other things, learning to understand the course of the tides, and I think I do now do it.
At noon Mr. Creed comes to me, and he and I to the Exchange, where I had much discourse with several merchants, and so home with him to dinner, and then by water to Greenwich, and calling at the little alehouse at the end of the town to wrap a rag about my little left toe, being new sore with walking, we walked pleasantly to Woolwich, in our way hearing the nightingales sing. So to Woolwich yard, and after doing many things there, among others preparing myself for a dispute against Sir W. Pen in the business of Bowyer’s, wherein he is guilty of some corruption to the King’s wrong, we walked back again without drinking, which I never do because I would not make my coming troublesome to any, nor would become obliged too much to any. In our going back we were overtook by Mr. Steventon, a purser, and uncle to my clerk Will, who told me how he was abused in the passing of his accounts by Sir J. Minnes to the degree that I am ashamed to hear it, and resolve to retrieve the matter if I can though the poor man has given it over. And however am pleased enough to see that others do see his folly and dotage as well as myself, though I believe in my mind the man in general means well.
Took boat at Greenwich and to Deptford, where I did the same thing, and found Davis, the storekeeper, a knave, and shuffling in the business of Bewpers, being of the party with Young and Whistler to abuse the King, but I hope I shall be even with them. So walked to Redriffe, drinking at the Half-way house, and so walked and by water to White Hall, all our way by water coming and going reading a little book said to be writ by a person of Quality concerning English gentry to be preferred before titular honours, but the most silly nonsense, no sense nor grammar, yet in as good words that ever I saw in all my life, but from beginning to end you met not with one entire and regular sentence.
At White Hall Sir G. Carteret was out of the way, and so returned back presently, and home by water and to bed.

the carpenter sent me a blackbird
to whistle in the house
so pleasant to hear

nightingales sing out back
and I hear the poor thing shuffling
to riff on a life sentence


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 22 May 1663.

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