Golden years

Up by 4 o’clock and to my office, and there continued all the morning upon my Navy book to my great content. At noon down by barge with Sir J. Minnes (who is going to Chatham) to Woolwich, in our way eating of some venison pasty in the barge, I having neither eat nor drank to-day, which fills me full of wind. Here also in Mr. Pett’s garden I eat some and the first cherries I have eat this year, off the tree where the King himself had been gathering some this morning.
Thence walked alone, only part of the way Deane walked with me, complaining of many abuses in the Yard, to Greenwich, and so by water to Deptford, where I found Mr. Coventry, and with him up and down all the stores, to the great trouble of the officers, and by his help I am resolved to fall hard to work again, as I used to do.
So thence he and I by water talking of many things, and I see he puts his trust most upon me in the Navy, and talks, as there is reason, slightly of the two old knights, and I should be glad by any drudgery to see the King’s stores and service looked to as they ought, but I fear I shall never understand half the miscarriages and tricks that the King suffers by.
He tells me what Mr. Pett did to-day, that my Lord Bristoll told the King that he will impeach the Chancellor of High Treason: but I find that my Lord Bristoll hath undone himself already in every body’s opinion, and now he endeavours to raise dust to put out other men’s eyes, as well as his own; but I hope it will not take, in consideration merely that it is hard for a Prince to spare an experienced old officer, be he never so corrupt; though I hope this man is not so, as some report him to be.
He tells me that Don John is yet alive, and not killed, as was said, in the great victory against the Spaniards in Portugall of late. So home, and late at my office. Thence home and to my musique. This night Mr. Turner’s house being to be emptied out of my cellar, and therefore I think to sit up a little longer than ordinary.
This afternoon, coming from the waterside with Mr. Coventry, I spied my boy upon Tower Hill playing with the rest of the boys; so I sent W. Griffin to take him, and he did bring him to me, and so I said nothing to him, but caused him to be stripped (for he was run away with his best suit), and so putting on his other, I sent him going, without saying one word hard to him, though I am troubled for the rogue, though he do not deserve it.
Being come home I find my stomach not well for want of eating to-day my dinner as I should do, and so am become full of wind. I called late for some victuals, and so to bed, leaving the men below in the cellar emptying the vats up through Mr. Turner’s own house, and so with more content to bed late.

the first cherries off the tree
gather in the green water

I am resolved to understand
my old body

the eyes that corrupt me yet
and the way I serve my stomach

eating a dinner of wind
for an empty urn


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 7 July 1663.

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