Up early to do business in my study.
This is my great day that three years ago I was cut of the stone, and, blessed be God, I do yet find myself very free from pain again. All this morning I staid at home looking after my workmen to my great content about my stairs, and at noon by coach to my father’s, where Mrs. Turner, The, Joyce, Mr. Morrice, Mr. Armiger, Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and his wife, my father and mother, and myself and my wife.
Very merry at dinner; among other things, because Mrs. Turner and her company eat no flesh at all this Lent, and I had a great deal of good flesh which made their mouths water.
After dinner Mrs. Pierce and her husband and I and my wife to Salisbury Court, where coming late he and she light of Col. Boone that made room for them, and I and my wife sat in the pit, and there met with Mr. Lewes and Tom Whitton, and saw “The Bondman” done to admiration. So home by coach, and after a view of what the workmen had done to-day I went to bed.

Three years ago I was stone,
free from pain, content—
no joy or urge.
I had a great deal of light,
one room,
and I sat.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 26 March 1661.

Most of the goldenrods still standing
at winter’s end are topped
by the empty habitations of wasps.

Dried half-pods of milkweed
cluster three to a stalk,
a Baroque superfluity of arch and wing.

From the woods, a drumming grouse
reminds me what real wings can do—
that accelerating heartbeat.

(Lady day). This morning came workmen to begin the making of me a new pair of stairs up out of my parler, which, with other work that I have to do, I doubt will keep me this two months and so long I shall be all in dirt; but the work do please me very well. To the office, and there all the morning, dined at home, and after dinner comes Mr. Salisbury to see me, and shewed me a face or two of his paynting, and indeed I perceive that he will be a great master.
I took him to Whitehall with me by water, but he would not by any means be moved to go through bridge, and so we were fain to go round by the Old Swan.
To my Lord’s and there I shewed him the King’s picture, which he intends to copy out in little. After that I and Captain Ferrers to Salisbury Court by water, and saw part of the “Queene’s Maske.” Then I to Mrs. Turner, and there staid talking late. The. Turner being in a great chafe, about being disappointed of a room to stand in at the Coronacion.
Then to my father’s, and there staid talking with my mother and him late about my dinner to-morrow.
So homewards and took up a boy that had a lanthorn, that was picking up of rags, and got him to light me home, and had great discourse with him how he could get sometimes three or four bushells of rags in a day, and got 3d. a bushell for them, and many other discourses, what and how many ways there are for poor children to get their livings honestly.
So home and I to bed at 12 o’clock at night, being pleased well with the work that my workmen have begun to-day.

I work to begin
the making of me
out of dirt and morning,
a face of water, an old mask
of my father’s, and three
or four discourses
for children.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 25 March 1661.

(Lord’s day). My wife and I to church, and then home with Sir W. Batten and my Lady to dinner, where very merry, and then to church again, where Mr. Mills made a good sermon. Home again, and after a walk in the garden Sir W. Batten’s two daughters came and sat with us a while, and I then up to my chamber to read.

Church and church again
where mills made a good walk
in the garden aught.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 24 March 1660/61.

All the morning at home putting papers in order, dined at home, and then out to the Red Bull (where I had not been since plays come up again), but coming too soon I went out again and walked all up and down the Charterhouse yard and Aldersgate street. At last came back again and went in, where I was led by a seaman that knew me, but is here as a servant, up to the tireing-room, where strange the confusion and disorder that there is among them in fitting themselves, especially here, where the clothes are very poor, and the actors but common fellows. At last into the Pitt, where I think there was not above ten more than myself, and not one hundred in the whole house. And the play, which is called “All’s lost by Lust,” poorly done; and with so much disorder, among others, that in the musique-room the boy that was to sing a song, not singing it right, his master fell about his ears and beat him so, that it put the whole house in an uproar.
Thence homewards, and at the Mitre met my uncle Wight, and with him Lieut.-Col. Baron, who told us how Crofton, the great Presbyterian minister that had lately preached so highly against Bishops, is clapped up this day into the Tower. Which do please some, and displease others exceedingly.
Home and to bed.

All the alders
in disorder
fitting themselves
with singing ears
that roar and clap.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 23 March 1660/61.