Widower’s song

Up and to St. James’s, where we attended the Duke as usual. This morning I was much surprized and troubled with a letter from Mrs. Bland, that she is left behind, and much trouble it cost me this day to find out some way to carry her after the ships to Plymouth, but at last I hope I have done it. At noon to the ‘Change to inquire what wages the Dutch give in their men-of-warr at this day, and I hear for certain they give but twelve guilders at most, which is not full 24s., a thing I wonder at. At home to dinner, and then in Sir J. Minnes’s coach, my wife and I with him, and also Mercer, abroad, he and I to White Hall, and he would have his coach to wait upon my wife on her visits, it being the first time my wife hath been out of doors (but the other day to bathe her) several weeks.
We to a Committee of the Council to discourse concerning pressing of men; but, Lord! how they meet; never sit down: one comes, now another goes, then comes another; one complaining that nothing is done, another swearing that he hath been there these two hours and nobody come. At last it come to this, my Lord Annesly, says he, “I think we must be forced to get the King to come to every committee; for I do not see that we do any thing at any time but when he is here.” And I believe he said the truth and very constant he is at the council table on council-days; which his predecessors, it seems, very rarely did; but thus I perceive the greatest affair in the world at this day is likely to be managed by us. But to hear how my Lord Barkeley and others of them do cry up the discipline of the late times here, and in the former Dutch warr is strange, wishing with all their hearts that the business of religion were not so severely carried on as to discourage the sober people to come among us, and wishing that the same law and severity were used against drunkennesse as there was then, saying that our evil living will call the hand of God upon us again. Thence to walk alone a good while in St. James’s Parke with Mr. Coventry, who I perceive is grown a little melancholy and displeased to see things go as they do so carelessly.
Thence I by coach to Ratcliffe highway, to the plate-maker’s, and he has begun my Lord Sandwich’s plate very neatly, and so back again. Coming back I met Colonell Atkins, who in other discourse did offer to give me a piece to receive of me 20 when he proves the late news of the Dutch, their drowning our men, at Guinny, and the truth is I find the generality of the world to fear that there is something of truth in it, and I do fear it too.
Thence back by coach to Sir Philip Warwicke’s; and there he did contract with me a kind of friendship and freedom of communication, wherein he assures me to make me understand the whole business of the Treasurer’s business of the Navy, that I shall know as well as Sir G. Carteret what money he hath; and will needs have me come to him sometimes, or he meet me, to discourse of things tending to the
serving the King: and I am mighty proud and happy in becoming so known to such a man. And I hope shall pursue it.
Thence back home to the office a little tired and out of order, and then to supper and to bed.

she left behind
her road and her doors
her never sit down
her nothing her no
body

the discipline
of her religion
sober and drunk

her living hand
melancholy as a careless gun
her fear her truth

her contract with me
to make whole


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 27 February 1665.

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