Vita Nuova

Up betimes and in my chamber most of the morning setting things to rights there, my Journall and accounts with my father and brother, then to the office a little, and so to Lumbard Streete, to borrow a little money upon a tally, but cannot. Thence to the Exchequer, and there after much wrangling got consent that I should have a great tally broken into little ones. Thence to Hales’s to see how my father’s picture goes on, which pleases me mighty well, though I find again, as I did in Mrs. Pierce’s, that a picture may have more of a likeness in the first or second working than it shall have when finished, though this is very well and to my full content, but so it is, and certainly mine was not so like at the first, second, or third sitting as it was afterward.
Thence to my Lord Bellasses, by invitation, and there dined with him, and his lady and daughter; and at dinner there played to us a young boy, lately come from France, where he had been learning a yeare or two on the viallin, and plays finely. But impartially I do not find any goodnesse in their ayres (though very good) beyond ours when played by the same hand, I observed in several of Baptiste’s (the present great composer) and our Bannister’s. But it was pretty to see how passionately my Lord’s daughter loves musique, the most that ever I saw creature in my life. Thence after dinner home and to the office and anon to Lumbard Streete again, where much talke at Colvill’s, he censuring the times, and how matters are ordered, and with reason enough; but, above all, the thinking to borrow money of the City, which will not be done, but be denied, they being little pleased with the King’s affairs, and that must breed differences between the King and the City. Thence down by water to Deptford, to order things away to the fleete and back again, and after some business at my office late home to supper and to bed.
Sir W. Coventry is returned this night from the fleete, he being the activest man in the world, and we all (myself particularly) more afeard of him than of the King or his service, for aught I see; God forgive us! This day the great newes is come of the French, their taking the island of St. Christopher’s from us; and it is to be feared they have done the like of all those islands thereabouts this makes the city mad.

broken like a violin
played by a great composer

our passionate life
and the differences between us

this night and this day
like islands about a city


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 18 June 1666.

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