Nativity

Having sat up all night to past two o’clock this morning, our porter, being appointed, comes and tells us that the bellman tells him that the star is seen upon Tower Hill; so I, that had been all night setting in order all my old papers in my chamber, did leave off all, and my boy and I to Tower Hill, it being a most fine, bright moonshine night, and a great frost; but no Comet to be seen. So after running once round the Hill, I and Tom, we home and then to bed.
Rose about 9 o’clock and then to the office, where sitting all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change, to the Coffee-house; and there heard Sir Richard Ford tell the whole story of our defeat at Guinny. Wherein our men are guilty of the most horrid cowardice and perfidiousness, as he says and tells it, that ever Englishmen were. Captain Raynolds, that was the only commander of any of the King’s ships there, was shot at by De Ruyter, with a bloody flag flying. He, instead of opposing (which, indeed, had been to no purpose, but only to maintain honour), did poorly go on board himself, to ask what De Ruyter would have; and so yielded to whatever Ruyter would desire. The King and Duke are highly vexed at it, it seems, and the business deserves it.
Thence home to dinner, and then abroad to buy some things, and among others to my bookseller’s, and there saw several books I spoke for, which are finely bound and good books to my great content.
So home and to my office, where late. This evening I being informed did look and saw the Comet, which is now, whether worn away or no I know not, but appears not with a tail, but only is larger and duller than any other star, and is come to rise betimes, and to make a great arch, and is gone quite to a new place in the heavens than it was before: but I hope in a clearer night something more will be seen. So home to bed.

bright night
a rose of blood flying
in the heavens


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 24 December 1664.

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