Song of decay

Up, and to the office, Captain Ferrers going back betimes to my Lord. I to the office, where Sir W. Batten met me, and did tell me that Captain Cocke’s black was dead of the plague, which I had heard of before, but took no notice. By and by Captain Cocke come to the office, and Sir W. Batten and I did send to him that he would either forbear the office, or forbear going to his owne office. However, meeting yesterday the Searchers with their rods in their hands coming from Captain Cocke’s house, I did overhear them say that the fellow did not die of the plague, but he had I know been ill a good while, and I am told that his boy Jack is also ill.
At noon home to dinner, and then to the office again, leaving Mr. Hill if he can to get Mrs. Coleman at night. About nine at night I come home, and there find Mrs. Pierce come and little Fran. Tooker, and Mr. Hill, and other people, a great many dancing, and anon comes Mrs. Coleman with her husband and Laneare. The dancing ended and to sing, which Mrs. Coleman do very finely, though her voice is decayed as to strength but mighty sweet though soft, and a pleasant jolly woman, and in mighty good humour was to-night. Among other things Laneare did, at the request of Mr. Hill, bring two or three the finest prints for my wife to see that ever I did see in all my life. But for singing, among other things, we got Mrs. Coleman to sing part of the Opera, though she won’t owne that ever she did get any of it without book in order to the stage; but, above all, her counterfeiting of Captain Cooke’s part, in his reproaching his man with cowardice, “Base slave,” &c., she do it most excellently. At it till past midnight, and then broke up and to bed. Hill and I together again, and being very sleepy we had little discourse as we had the other night.
Thus we end the month merrily; and the more for that, after some fears that the plague would have increased again this week, I hear for certain that there is above 400, the whole number being 1,388, and of them of the plague, 1,031.
Want of money in the Navy puts everything out of order. Men grow mutinous; and nobody here to mind the business of the Navy but myself. At least Sir W. Batten for the few days he has been here do nothing. I in great hopes of my place of Surveyor-Generall of the Victualling, which will bring me 300l. per annum.

dead before we die
the decay sweet as nightlife

singing without sleep
in the mutinous body


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 31 October 1665.

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