(Lady-day). Up and by water to White Hall, and there to chappell; where it was most infinite full to hear Dr. Critton. Being not knowne, some great persons in the pew I pretended to, and went in, did question my coming in. I told them my pretence; so they turned to the orders of the chappell, which hung behind upon the wall, and read it; and were satisfied; but they did not demand whether I was in waiting or no; and so I was in some fear lest he that was in waiting might come and betray me.
The Doctor preached upon the thirty-first of Jeremy, and the twenty-first and twenty-second verses, about a woman compassing a man; meaning the Virgin conceiving and bearing our Saviour. It was the worst sermon I ever heard him make, I must confess; and yet it was good, and in two places very bitter, advising the King to do as the Emperor Severus did, to hang up a Presbyter John (a short coat and a long gowne interchangeably) in all the Courts of England. But the story of Severus was pretty, that he hanged up forty senators before the Senate house, and then made a speech presently to the Senate in praise of his owne lenity; and then decreed that never any senator after that time should suffer in the same manner without consent of the Senate: which he compared to the proceeding of the Long Parliament against my Lord Strafford. He said the greatest part of the lay magistrates in England were Puritans, and would not do justice; and the Bishopps, their powers were so taken away and lessened, that they could not exercise the power they ought. He told the King and the ladies plainly, speaking of death and of the skulls and bones of dead men and women, how there is no difference; that nobody could tell that of the great Marius or Alexander from a pyoneer; nor, for all the pains the ladies take with their faces, he that should look in a charnels-house could not distinguish which was Cleopatra’s, or fair Rosamond’s, or Jane Shoare’s.
Thence by water home. After dinner to the office, thence with my wife to see my father and discourse how he finds Tom’s matters, which he do very ill, and that he finds him to have been so negligent, that he used to trust his servants with cutting out of clothes, never hardly cutting out anything himself; and, by the abstract of his accounts, we find him to owe above 290l., and to be coming to him under 200l.
Thence home with my wife, it being very dirty on foot, and bought some fowl in Gracious Street and some oysters against our feast to-morrow. So home, and after at the office a while, home to supper and to bed.
sing our savior the byte
short and interchangeably present for us
power is a plain skull nobody faces
a charnel house of abstract accounts
we find under the dirt
a gracious feast
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 25 March 1664.