Fire tender

Busy all the morning writing letters to several, so to dinner, to London, to pack up more things thence; and there I looked into the street and saw fires burning in the street, as it is through the whole City, by the Lord Mayor’s order. Thence by water to the Duke of Albemarle’s: all the way fires on each side of the Thames, and strange to see in broad daylight two or three burials upon the Bankeside, one at the very heels of another: doubtless all of the plague; and yet at least forty or fifty people going along with every one of them. The Duke mighty pleasant with me; telling me that he is certainly informed that the Dutch were not come home upon the 1st instant, and so he hopes our fleete may meet with them, and here to my great joy I got him to sign bills for the several sums I have paid on Tangier business by his single letter, and so now I can get more hands to them. This was a great joy to me.
Home to Woolwich late by water, found wife in bed, and yet late as [it] was to write letters in order to my rising betimes to go to Povy to-morrow. So to bed, my wife asking me to-night about a letter of hers I should find, which indeed Mary did the other day give me as if she had found it in my bed, thinking it had been mine, brought to her from a man without name owning great kindness to her and I know not what. But looking it over seriously, and seeing it bad sense and ill writ, I did believe it to be her brother’s and so had flung it away, but finding her now concerned at it and vexed with Mary about it, it did trouble me, but I would take no notice of it to-night, but fell to sleep as if angry.

I look into the fire
a whole city of light

burials plague it every instant
fleet hands rising

as if from a man without name
not concerned about sleep


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 6 September 1665.

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