The drunkards’ progress

(Lord’s day). Up, and to church with my wife, and then home, and there is come little Michell and his wife, I sent for them, and also comes Captain Guy to dine with me, and he and I much talk together. He cries out of the discipline of the fleete, and confesses really that the true English valour we talk of is almost spent and worn out; few of the commanders doing what they should do, and he much fears we shall therefore be beaten the next year. He assures me we were beaten home the last June fight, and that the whole fleete was ashamed to hear of our bonefires. He commends Smith, and cries out of Holmes for an idle, proud, conceited, though stout fellow. He tells me we are to owe the losse of so many ships on the sands, not to any fault of the pilots, but to the weather; but in this I have good authority to fear there was something more. He says the Dutch do fight in very good order, and we in none at all. He says that in the July fight, both the Prince and Holmes had their belly-fulls, and were fain to go aside; though, if the wind had continued, we had utterly beaten them. He do confess the whole to be governed by a company of fools, and fears our ruine.
After dinner he gone, I with my brother to White Hall and he to Westminster Abbey. I presently to Mrs. Martin’s, and there met widow Burroughes and Doll, and did tumble them all the afternoon as I pleased, and having given them a bottle of wine I parted and home by boat (my brother going by land), and thence with my wife to sit and sup with my uncle and aunt Wight, and see Woolly’s wife, who is a pretty woman, and after supper, being very merry, in abusing my aunt with Dr. Venner, we home, and I to do something in my accounts, and so to bed.
The Revenge having her forecastle blown up with powder to the killing of some men in the River, and the Dyamond’s being overset in the careening at Sheernesse, are further marks of the method all the King’s work is now done in. The Foresight also and another come to disasters in the same place this week in the cleaning; which is strange.

spent and worn
as a bone of loss
no fight in their belly
as if the wind
had beaten them

o the bottle
is a pretty woman
and accounts for the killing of some
and the careening of all
to disaster


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 28 October 1666.

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