Rock dove

Up, and after sending my wife to my aunt Wight’s to get a place to see Turner hanged, I to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon going to the ‘Change; and seeing people flock in the City, I enquired, and found that Turner was not yet hanged. And so I went among them to Leadenhall Street, at the end of Lyme Street, near where the robbery was done; and to St. Mary Axe, where he lived. And there I got for a shilling to stand upon the wheel of a cart, in great pain, above an houre before the execution was done; he delaying the time by long discourses and prayers one after another, in hopes of a reprieve; but none came, and at last was flung off the ladder in his cloake. A comely-looked man he was, and kept his countenance to the end: I was sorry to see him. It was believed there were at least 12 or 14,000 people in the street. So I home all in a sweat, and dined by myself, and after dinner to the Old James, and there found Sir W. Rider and Mr. Cutler at dinner, and made a second dinner with them, and anon came Mr. Bland and Custos, and Clerke, and so we fell to the business of reference, and upon a letter from Mr. Povy to Sir W. Rider and I telling us that the King is concerned in it, we took occasion to fling off the business from off our shoulders and would have nothing to do with it, unless we had power from the King or Commissioners of Tangier, and I think it will be best for us to continue of that mind, and to have no hand, it being likely to go against the King.
Thence to the Coffee-house, and heard the full of Turner’s discourse on the cart, which was chiefly to clear himself of all things laid to his charge but this fault, for which he now suffers, which he confesses. He deplored the condition of his family, but his chief design was to lengthen time, believing still a reprieve would come, though the sheriff advised him to expect no such thing, for the King was resolved to grant none. After that I had good discourse with a pretty young merchant with mighty content. So to my office and did a little business, and then to my aunt Wight’s to fetch my wife home, where Dr. Burnett did tell me how poorly the sheriffs did endeavour to get one jewell returned by Turner, after he was convicted, as a due to them, and not to give it to Mr. Tryan, the true owner, but ruled against them, to their great dishonour. Though they plead it might be another jewell for ought they know and not Tryan’s. After supper home, and my wife tells me mighty stories of my uncle’s fond and kind discourses to her to-day, which makes me confident that he has thoughts of kindness for us, he repeating his desire for her to be with child, for it cannot enter into my head that he should have any unworthy thoughts concerning her. After doing some business at my office, I home to supper, prayers, and to bed.

seeing people flock in the city
on the leaden street

I wheel above
in all that nothing

clear of sign or chant
but to a child


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 21 January 1663/64.

Leave a Reply