Immortal bird

Up and after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey, I home and spent the morning at dancing; at noon Creed dined with us and Mr. Deane of Woolwich, and so after dinner came Mr. Howe, who however had enough for his dinner, and so, having done, by coach to Westminster, she to Mrs. Clerke and I to St. James’s, where the Duke being gone down by water to-day with the King I went thence to my Lord Sandwich’s lodgings, where Mr. Howe and I walked a while, and going towards Whitehall through the garden Dr. Clerk and Creed called me across the bowling green, and so I went thither and after a stay went up to Mrs. Clerke who was dressing herself to go abroad with my wife. But, Lord! in what a poor condition her best chamber is, and things about her, for all the outside and show that she makes, but I found her just such a one as Mrs. Pierce, contrary to my expectation, so much that I am sick and sorry to see it.
Thence for an hour Creed and I walked to White Hall, and into the Park, seeing the Queen and Maids of Honour passing through the house going to the Park. But above all, Mrs. Stuart is a fine woman, and they say now a common mistress to the King, as my Lady Castlemaine is; which is a great pity. Thence taking a coach to Mrs. Clerke’s, took her, and my wife, and Ashwell, and a Frenchman, a kinsman of hers, to the Park, where we saw many fine faces, and one exceeding handsome, in a white dress over her head, with many others very beautiful. Staying there till past eight at night, I carried Mrs. Clerke and her Frenchman, who sings well, home, and thence home ourselves, talking much of what we had observed to-day of the poor household stuff of Mrs. Clerke and mere show and flutter that she makes in the world; and pleasing myself in my own house and manner of living more than ever I did by seeing how much better and more substantially I live than others do.
So to supper and bed.

mouth gone down
towards the owl

she makes us see our passing
is common as ash

fine hands over the night
sing of what we serve

the stuff and flutter of living
more than others


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 18 May 1663, made while listening to the band Immortal Bird.

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