Fabulist

Up, and after being ready, and done a little business at the office, I and Mr. Hater by water to Redriffe, and so walked to Deptford, where I have not been a very great, while, and there paid off the Milford in very good order, and all respect showed me in the office as much as there used to be to any of the rest or the whole board. That done at noon I took Captain Terne, and there coming in by chance Captain Berkeley, him also to dinner with me to the Globe. Captain Berkeley, who was lately come from Algier, did give us a good account of the place, and how the Basha there do live like a prisoner, being at the mercy of the soldiers and officers, so that there is nothing but a great confusion there.
After dinner came Sir W. Batten, and I left him to pay off another ship, and I walked home again reading of a little book of new poems of Cowley’s, given me by his brother. Abraham do lie, it seems, very sicke, still, but like to recover.
At my office till late, and then came Mr. Hollyard so full of discourse and Latin that I think he hath got a cupp, but I do not know; but full of talke he is in defence of Calvin and Luther. He begun this night the fomentation to my wife, and I hope it will do well with her. He gone, I to the office again a little, and so to bed.
This morning I sent Will with my great letter of reproof to my Lord Sandwich, who did give it into his owne hand. I pray God give a blessing to it, but confess I am afeard what the consequence may be to me of good or bad, which is according to the ingenuity that he do receive it with. However, I am satisfied that it will do him good, and that he needs it:
MY LORD,
I do verily hope that neither the manner nor matter of this advice will be condemned by your Lordship, when for my defence in the first I shall alledge my double attempt, since your return from Hinchinbroke, of doing it personally, in both of which your Lordship’s occasions, no doubtfulnesse of mine, prevented me, and that being now fearful of a sudden summons to Portsmouth, for the discharge of some ships there, I judge it very unbecoming the duty which every bit of bread I eat tells me I owe to your Lordship to expose the safety of your honour to the uncertainty of my return. For the matter, my Lord, it is such as could I in any measure think safe to conceal from, or likely to be discovered to you by any other hand, I should not have dared so far to owne what from my heart I believe is false, as to make myself but the relater of other’s discourse; but, sir, your Lordship’s honour being such as I ought to value it to be, and finding both in city and court that discourses pass to your prejudice, too generally for mine or any man’s controllings but your Lordship’s, I shall, my Lord, without the least greatening or lessening the matter, do my duty in laying it shortly before you.
People of all conditions, my Lord, raise matter of wonder from your Lordship’s so little appearance at Court: some concluding thence their disfavour thereby, to which purpose I have had questions asked me, and endeavouring to put off such insinuations by asserting the contrary, they have replied, that your Lordship’s living so beneath your quality, out of the way, and declining of Court attendance, hath been more than once discoursed about the King.
Others, my Lord, when the chief ministers of State, and those most active of the Council have been reckoned up, wherein your Lordship never used to want an eminent place, have said, touching your Lordship, that now your turn was served, and the King had given you a good estate, you left him to stand or fall as he would, and, particularly in that of the Navy, have enlarged upon your letting fall all service there.
Another sort, and those the most, insist upon the bad report of the house wherein your Lordship, now observed in perfect health again, continues to sojourne, and by name have charged one of the daughters for a common courtizan, alledging both places and persons where and with whom she hath been too well known, and how much her wantonnesse occasions, though unjustly, scandal to your Lordship, and that as well to gratifying of some enemies as to the wounding of more friends I am not able to tell.
Lastly, my Lord, I find a general coldness in all persons towards your Lordship, such as, from my first dependance on you, I never yet knew, wherein I shall not offer to interpose any thoughts or advice of mine, well knowing your Lordship needs not any. But with a most faithful assurance that no person nor papers under Heaven is privy to what I here write, besides myself and this, which I shall be careful to have put into your owne hands, I rest confident of your Lordship’s just construction of my dutifull intents herein, and in all humility take leave.
May it please your Lordship,
Your Lordship’s most obedient Servant,
S. P.
The foregoing letter was sealed up, and enclosed in this that follows
MY LORD,
If this finds your Lordship either not alone, or not at leisure, I beg the suspending your opening of the enclosed till you shall have both, the matter very well bearing such a delay, and in all humility remain.
May it please your Lordship,
Your Lordship’s most obedient Servant,
S. P.
November 17, 1663.
My servant hath my directions to put this into your Lordship’s owne hand, but not to stay for any answer.

like a prisoner reading
a poem in his own hand

fearful of a sudden summons
or of becoming the bread I eat

I make myself but the relater
of others’ wonder

I have questions about that wound
we know as heaven

which I confide in
as an open ear


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 November 1663.

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