High and low

Lay long in bed discoursing with my wife about her mayds, which by Jane’s going away in discontent and against my opinion do make some trouble between my wife and me. But these are but foolish troubles and so not to be set to heart, yet it do disturb me mightily these things.
To my office, and there all the morning. At noon being invited, I to the Sun behind the ‘Change, to dinner to my Lord Belasses, where a great deal of discourse with him, and some good, among others at table he told us a very handsome passage of the King’s sending him his message about holding out the town of Newarke, of which he was then governor for the King. This message he sent in a sluggbullet, being writ in cypher, and wrapped up in lead and swallowed. So the messenger come to my Lord and told him he had a message from the King, but it was yet in his belly; so they did give him some physique, and out it come. This was a month before the King’s flying to the Scotts; and therein he told him that at such a day, being the 3d or 6th of May, he should hear of his being come to the Scotts, being assured by the King of France that in coming to them he should be used with all the liberty, honour, and safety, that could be desired. And at the just day he did come to the Scotts.
He told us another odd passage: how the King having newly put out Prince Rupert of his generallshipp, upon some miscarriage at Bristoll, and Sir Richard Willis of his governorship of Newarke, at the entreaty of the gentry of the County, and put in my Lord Bellasses, the great officers of the King’s army mutinyed, and come in that manner with swords drawn, into the market-place of the towne where the King was; which the King hearing, says, “I must to horse.” And there himself personally, when every body expected they should have been opposed, the King come, and cried to the head of the mutineers, which was Prince Rupert, “Nephew, I command you to be gone.” So the Prince, in all his fury and discontent, withdrew, and his company scattered, which they say was the greatest piece of mutiny in the world.
Thence after dinner home to my office, and in the evening was sent to by Jane that I would give her her wages. So I sent for my wife to my office, and told her that rather than be talked on I would give her all her wages for this Quarter coming on, though two months is behind, which vexed my wife, and we begun to be angry, but I took myself up and sent her away, but was cruelly vexed in my mind that all my trouble in this world almost should arise from my disorders in my family and the indiscretion of a wife that brings me nothing almost (besides a comely person) but only trouble and discontent.
She gone I late at my business, and then home to supper and to bed.

in the heart of noon
the sun on a swallow
flying over the marketplace

where a horse head is
the greatest piece of the world
to a rat


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 4 February 1665.

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