Birnam Wood

Called up very betimes by Mr. Cholmly, and with him a good while about some of his Tangier accounts; and, discoursing of the condition of Tangier, he did give me the whole account of the differences between Fitzgerald and Norwood, which were very high on both sides, but most imperious and base on Fitzgerald’s, and yet through my Lord FitzHarding’s means, the Duke of York is led rather to blame Norwood and to speake that he should be called home, than be sensible of the other. He is a creature of FitzHarding’s, as a fellow that may be done with what he will, and, himself certainly pretending to be Generall of the King’s armies, when Monk dyeth, desires to have as few great or wise men in employment as he can now, but such as he can put in and keep under, which he do this coxcomb Fitzgerald.
It seems, of all mankind there is no man so led by another as the Duke is by Lord Muskerry and this FitzHarding. Insomuch, as when the King would have him to be Privy-Purse, the Duke wept, and said, “But, Sir, I must have your promise, if you will have my dear Charles from me, that if ever you have occasion for an army again, I may have him with me; believing him to be the best commander of an army in the world.” But Mr. Cholmly thinks, as all other men I meet with do, that he is a very ordinary fellow.
It is strange how the Duke also do love naturally, and affect the Irish above the English. He, of the company he carried with him to sea, took above two-thirds Irish and French.
He tells me the King do hate my Lord Chancellor; and that they, that is the King and my Lord FitzHarding, do laugh at him for a dull fellow; and in all this business of the Dutch war do nothing by his advice, hardly consulting him. Only he is a good minister in other respects, and the King cannot be without him; but, above all, being the Duke’s father-in-law, he is kept in; otherwise FitzHarding were able to fling down two of him. This, all the wise and grave lords see, and cannot help it; but yield to it.
But he bemoans what the end of it may be, the King being ruled by these men, as he hath been all along since his coming; to the razing all the strong-holds in Scotland, and giving liberty to the Irish in Ireland, whom Cromwell had settled all in one corner; who are now able, and it is feared everyday a massacre again among them.
He being gone I abroad to the carrier’s, to see some things sent away to my father against Christmas, and thence to Moorfields, and there up and down to several houses to drink to look for a place ‘pour rencontrer la femme de je sais quoi’ against next Monday, but could meet none. So to the Coffeehouse, where great talke of the Comet seen in several places; and among our men at sea, and by my Lord Sandwich, to whom I intend to write about it to-night.
Thence home to dinner, and then to the office, where all the afternoon, and in the evening home to supper, and then to the office late, and so to bed.
This night I begun to burn wax candles in my closett at the office, to try the charge, and to see whether the smoke offends like that of tallow candles.

the whole difference
between a wood and an army
is love

they that laugh and do nothing
only respect the grave

razing all the strongholds
giving the land a massacre in the fields

but none of the men I write about
burn like candles


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 15 December 1664.

1 Comment


  1. Hey Dave! Congratulations on your blogiversary tomorrow/today!

    Reply

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