Backward river

This day, by the blessing of Almighty God, I have lived thirty-two years in the world, and am in the best degree of health at this minute that I have been almost in my life time, and at this time in the best condition of estate that ever I was in — the Lord make me thankfull.
Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change, where I hear the most horrid and astonishing newes that ever was yet told in my memory, that De Ruyter with his fleete in Guinny hath proceeded to the taking of whatever we have, forts, goods, ships, and men, and tied our men back to back, and thrown them all into the sea, even women and children also. This a Swede or Hamburgher is come into the River and tells that he saw the thing done. But, Lord! to see the consternation all our merchants are in is observable, and with what fury and revenge they discourse of it. But I fear it will like other things in a few days cool among us. But that which I fear most is the reason why he that was so kind to our men at first should afterward, having let them go, be so cruel when he went further. What I fear is that there he was informed (which he was not before) of some of Holmes’s dealings with his countrymen, and so was moved to this fury. God grant it be not so!
But a more dishonourable thing was never suffered by Englishmen, nor a more barbarous done by man, as this by them to us.
Home to dinner, and then to the office, where we sat all the afternoon, and then at night to take my finall leave of Mrs. Bland, who sets out to-morrow for Tangier, and then I back to my office till past 12, and so home to supper and to bed.

years of my life full
of horrid memory

taking me back into the river
that thin nation
all fury and revenge

cruel men never suffer
barbarous as the afternoon office

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 23 February 1665.

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