Quick lay for John Donne

To the office, where Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes are come from Portsmouth. We sat till dinner time. Then home, and Mr. Dixon by agreement came to dine, to give me an account of his success with Mr. Wheatly for his daughter for my brother; and in short it is, that his daughter cannot fancy my brother because of his imperfection in his speech, which I am sorry for, but there the business must die, and we must look out for another.
There came in also Mrs. Lodum, with an answer from her brother Ashwell’s daughter, who is likely to come to me, and with her my wife’s brother, and I carried Commissioner Pett in with me, so I feared want of victuals, but I had a good dinner, and mirth, and so rose and broke up, and with the rest of the officers to Mr. Russell’s buriall, where we had wine and rings, and a great and good company of aldermen and the livery of the Skinners’ Company. We went to St. Dunstan’s in the East church, where a sermon, but I staid not, but went home, and, after writing letters, I took coach to Mr. Povy’s, but he not within I left a letter there of Tangier business, and so to my Lord’s, and there find him not sick, but expecting his fit to-night of an ague. Here was Sir W. Compton, Mr. Povy, Mr. Bland, Mr. Gawden and myself; we were very busy about getting provisions sent forthwith to Tangier, fearing that by Mr. Gawden’s neglect they might want bread. So among other ways thought of to supply them I was empowered by the Commissioners of Tangier that were present to write to Plymouth and direct Mr. Lanyon to take up vessels great or small to the quantity of 150 tons, and fill them with bread of Mr. Gawden’s lying ready there for Tangier, which they undertake to bear me out in, and to see the freight paid. This I did. About 10 o’clock we broke up, and my Lord’s fit was coming upon him, and so we parted, and I with Mr. Creed, Mr. Pierce, Wm. Howe and Captn. Ferrers, who was got almost drunk this afternoon, and was mighty capricious and ready to fall out with any body, supped together in the little chamber that was mine heretofore upon some fowls sent by Mr. Shepley, so we were very merry till 12 at night, and so away, and I lay with Mr. Creed at his lodgings, and slept well.

a mouth can die
for want of mirth

and the skin for want
of a mouth to read it

coming together in
a merry lay


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 22 January 1662/63, in honor of John Donne’s birthday.

3 Replies to “Quick lay for John Donne”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.