Why businessmen drink

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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.

Free trade

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up and to the office, where, though Candlemas day, Mr. Coventry and Sir W. Pen and I all the morning, the others being at a survey at Deptford. At noon by coach to the ‘Change with Mr. Coventry, thence to the Coffee-house with Captain Cocke, who discoursed well of the good effects in some kind of a Dutch warr and conquest (which I did not consider before, but the contrary) that is, that the trade of the world is too little for us two, therefore one must down: 2ndly, that though our merchants will not be the better husbands by all this, yet our wool will bear a better price by vaunting of our cloths, and by that our tenants will be better able to pay rents, and our lands will be more worth, and all our owne manufactures, which now the Dutch outvie us in; that he thinks the Dutch are not in so good a condition as heretofore because of want of men always, and now from the warrs against the Turke more than ever.
Then to the ‘Change again, and thence off to the Sun Taverne with Sir W. Warren, and with him discoursed long, and had good advice, and hints from him, and among other things he did give me a payre of gloves for my wife wrapt up in paper, which I would not open, feeling it hard; but did tell him that my wife should thank him, and so went on in discourse. When I came home, Lord! in what pain I was to get my wife out of the room without bidding her go, that I might see what these gloves were; and, by and by, she being gone, it proves a payre of white gloves for her and forty pieces in good gold, which did so cheer my heart, that I could eat no victuals almost for dinner for joy to think how God do bless us every day more and more, and more yet I hope he will upon the increase of my duty and endeavours. I was at great losse what to do, whether tell my wife of it or no, which I could hardly forbear, but yet I did and will think of it first before I do, for fear of making her think me to be in a better condition, or in a better way of getting money, than yet I am.
After dinner to the office, where doing infinite of business till past 10 at night to the comfort of my mind, and so home with joy to supper and to bed.
This evening Mr. Hempson came and told me how Sir W, Batten his master will not hear of continuing him in his employment as Clerk of the Survey at Chatham, from whence of a sudden he has removed him without any new or extraordinary cause, and I believe (as he himself do in part write, and J. Norman do confess) for nothing but for that he was twice with me the other day and did not wait upon him. So much he fears me and all that have to do with me. Of this more in the Mem. Book of my office upon this day, there I shall find it.

the world is too little for us
for our merchants and tenants

our lands and all our loves
wrapped up in paper

I would not open it to see
what gold could do

a loss I could hardly bear
but for infinite comfort


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 2 February 1663/64.

Creed for the drowned

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Not everything we need
is granted. For instance,

there is the outhouse.
There is the boat

with its lock and oar.
When the sun shines

it says Love is brave.
We go and lie down

in our rooms
while calculating

the price of a bed.
Whose cries climb

the walls, dark-green
and braided with ivy?

From the bottom of the well,
a circle rimmed with light

is electric. Carve a number
with a side of chalk.

Tap out a message to that
prisoner our living

would most like
to survive.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Among the believers.

Among the believers

Up (my maids rising early this morning to washing), and being ready I found Mr. Strutt the purser below with 12 bottles of sacke, and tells me (which from Sir W. Batten I had heard before) how young Jack Davis has railed against Sir W. Batten for his endeavouring to turn him out of his place, at which for the fellow’s sake, because it will likely prove his ruin, I am sorry, though I do believe he is a very arch rogue.
I took Strutt by coach with me to White Hall, where I set him down, and I to my Lord’s, but found him gone out betimes to the Wardrobe, which I am glad to see that he so attends his business, though it troubles me that my counsel to my prejudice must be the cause of it. They tell me that he goes into the country next week, and that the young ladies come up this week before the old lady. Here I hear how two men last night, justling for the wall about the New Exchange, did kill one another, each thrusting the other through; one of them of the King’s Chappell, one Cave, and the other a retayner of my Lord Generall Middleton’s.
Thence to White Hall; where, in the Duke’s chamber, the King came and stayed an hour or two laughing at Sir W. Petty, who was there about his boat; and at Gresham College in general; at which poor Petty was, I perceive, at some loss; but did argue discreetly, and bear the unreasonable follies of the King’s objections and other bystanders with great discretion; and offered to take oddes against the King’s best boates; but the King would not lay, but cried him down with words only. Gresham College he mightily laughed at, for spending time only in weighing of ayre, and doing nothing else since they sat.
Thence to Westminster Hall, and there met with diverse people, it being terme time. Among others I spoke with Mrs. Lane, of whom I doubted to hear something of the effects of our last meeting about a fortnight or three weeks ago, but to my content did not. Here I met with Mr. Pierce, who tells me of several passages at Court, among others how the King, coming the other day to his Theatre to see “The Indian Queene” (which he commends for a very fine thing), my Lady Castlemaine was in the next box before he came; and leaning over other ladies awhile to whisper to the King, she rose out of the box and went into the King’s, and set herself on the King’s right hand, between the King and the Duke of York; which, he swears, put the King himself, as well as every body else, out of countenance; and believes that she did it only to show the world that she is not out of favour yet, as was believed.
Thence with Alderman Maynell by his coach to the ‘Change, and there with several people busy, and so home to dinner, and took my wife out immediately to the King’s Theatre, it being a new month, and once a month I may go, and there saw “The Indian Queene” acted; which indeed is a most pleasant show, and beyond my expectation; the play good, but spoiled with the ryme, which breaks the sense. But above my expectation most, the eldest Marshall did do her part most excellently well as I ever heard woman in my life; but her voice not so sweet as Ianthe’s; but, however, we came home mightily contented. Here we met Mr. Pickering and his mistress, Mrs. Doll Wilde; he tells me that the business runs high between the Chancellor and my Lord Bristoll against the Parliament; and that my Lord Lauderdale and Cooper open high against the Chancellor; which I am sorry for. In my way home I ‘light and to the Coffee-house, where I heard Lt. Coll. Baron tell very good stories of his travels over the high hills in Asia above the clouds, how clear the heaven is above them, how thicke like a mist the way is through the cloud that wets like a sponge one’s clothes, the ground above the clouds all dry and parched, nothing in the world growing, it being only a dry earth, yet not so hot above as below the clouds. The stars at night most delicate bright and a fine clear blue sky, but cannot see the earth at any time through the clouds, but the clouds look like a world below you.
Thence home and to supper, being hungry, and so to the office, did business, specially about Creed, for whom I am now pretty well fitted, and so home to bed.
This day in Westminster Hall W. Bowyer told me that his father is dead lately, and died by being drowned in the river, coming over in the night; but he says he had not been drinking. He was taken with his stick in his hand and cloake over his shoulder, as ruddy as before he died. His horse was taken overnight in the water, hampered in the bridle, but they were so silly as not to look for his master till the next morning, that he was found drowned.

how likely to go to war
a country where laughing
at the poor is a fine thing
and people do not travel

how clear the heaven
above a dry earth
the most delicate blue
like a creed for the drowned


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 February 1663/64.

Numbers

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On the contrary, you must
take it all in—
all the symptomatic
tremors that push the needle
on the dial past the zone
of safety:

that growing trace of yellow
in the water, the graphite cast
left in the wake of coal—

The murmur of voices
grows into a din along the river.

Time is a branch on which
leaves proliferate
supposedly to die
away in winter.

Bodies pack every inch
in major city streets:

and isn’t it better
to suffer together,
instead of apart?

 

In response to Via Negativa: Observer.