Why businessmen drink

Up, and after a long discourse with my cozen Thomas Pepys, the executor, I with my wife by coach to Holborn, where I ‘light, and she to her father’s, I to the Temple and several places, and so to the ‘Change, where much business, and then home to dinner alone; and so to the Mitre Taverne by appointment (and there met by chance with W. Howe come to buy wine for my Lord against his going down to Hinchingbroke, and I private with him a great while discoursing of my Lord’s strangeness to me; but he answers that I have no reason to think any such thing, but that my Lord is only in general a more reserved man than he was before) to meet Sir W. Rider and Mr. Clerke, and there after much ado made an end, giving Mr. Custos 202l. against Mr. Bland, which I endeavoured to bring down but could not, and think it is well enough ended for Mr. Bland for all that. Thence by coach to fetch my wife from her brother’s, and found her gone home. Called at Sir Robert Bernard’s about surrendering my estate in reversion to the use of my life, which will be done, and at Roger Pepys, who was gone to bed in pain of a boyle that he could not sit or stand. So home, where my wife is full of sad stories of her good-natured father and roguish brother, who is going for Holland and his wife, to be a soldier. And so after a little at the office to bed. This night late coming in my coach, coming up Ludgate Hill, I saw two gallants and their footmen taking a pretty wench, which I have much eyed, lately set up shop upon the hill, a seller of riband and gloves. They seek to drag her by some force, but the wench went, and I believe had her turn served, but, God forgive me! what thoughts and wishes I had of being in their place.
In Covent Garden to-night, going to fetch home my wife, I stopped at the great Coffee-house there, where I never was before; where Dryden the poet (I knew at Cambridge), and all the wits of the town, and Harris the player, and Mr. Hoole of our College. And had I had time then, or could at other times, it will be good coming thither, for there, I perceive, is very witty and pleasant discourse. But I could not tarry, and as it was late, they were all ready to go away.

I buy wine
for my private strangeness
a version of my life full of sad-eyed loves

and God forgive me what thoughts
and wishes I had of being a poet
had I had time


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 February 1663/64.

Leave a Reply