Polar opposites

(Lord’s day). Lay long talking with my wife in bed, then up with great content and to my chamber to set right a picture or two, Lovett having sent me yesterday Sancta Clara’s head varnished, which is very fine, and now my closet is so full stored, and so fine, as I would never desire to have it better.
Dined without any strangers with me, which I do not like on Sundays. Then after dinner by water to Westminster to see Mrs. Martin, whom I found up in her chamber and ready to go abroad. I sat there with her and her husband and others a pretty while, and then away to White Hall, and there walked up and down to the Queen’s side, and there saw my dear Lady Castlemayne, who continues admirable, methinks, and I do not hear but that the King is the same to her still as ever. Anon to chapel, by the King’s closet, and heard a very good anthemne. Then with Lord Bruncker to Sir W. Coventry’s chamber; and there we sat with him and talked. He is weary of anything to do, he says, in the Navy. He tells us this Committee of Accounts will enquire sharply into our office. And, speaking of Sir J. Minnes, he says he will not bear any body’s faults but his own. He discoursed as bad of Sir W. Batten almost, and cries out upon the discipline of the fleete, which is lost, and that there is not in any of the fourth rates and under scarce left one Sea Commander, but all young gentlemen; and what troubles him, he hears that the gentlemen give out that in two or three years a Tarpaulin shall not dare to look after being better than a Boatswain. Which he is troubled at, and with good reason, and at this day Sir Robert Holmes is mighty troubled that his brother do not command in chief, but is commanded by Captain Hannum, who, Sir W. Coventry says, he believes to be at least of as good blood, is a longer bred seaman, an elder officer, and an elder commander, but such is Sir R. Holmes’s pride as never to be stopt, he being greatly troubled at my Lord Bruncker’s late discharging all his men and officers but the standing officers at Chatham, and so are all other Commanders, and a very great cry hath been to the King from them all in my Lord’s absence. But Sir W. Coventry do undertake to defend it, and my Lord Bruncker got ground I believe by it, who is angry at Sir W. Batten’s and Sir W. Pen’s bad words concerning it, and I have made it worse by telling him that they refuse to sign to a paper which he and I signed on Saturday to declare the reason of his actions, which Sir W. Coventry likes and would have it sent him and he will sign it, which pleases me well.
So we parted, and I with Lord Bruncker to Sir P. Neale’s chamber, and there sat and talked awhile, Sir Edward Walker being there, and telling us how he hath lost many fine rowles of antiquity in heraldry by the late fire, but hath saved the most of his papers. Here was also Dr. Wallis, the famous scholar and mathematician; but he promises little.
Left them, and in the dark and cold home by water, and so to supper and to read and so to bed, my eyes being better to-day, and I cannot impute it to anything but by my being much in the dark to-night, for I plainly find that it is only excess of light that makes my eyes sore.
This afternoon I walked with Lord Bruncker into the Park and there talked of the times, and he do think that the King sees that he cannot never have much more money or good from this Parliament, and that therefore he may hereafter dissolve them, that as soon as he has the money settled he believes a peace will be clapped up, and that there are overtures of a peace, which if such as the Lord Chancellor can excuse he will take. For it is the Chancellor’s interest, he says, to bring peace again, for in peace he can do all and command all, but in war he cannot, because he understands not the nature of the war as to the management thereof. He tells me he do not believe the Duke of York will go to sea again, though there are a great many about the King that would be glad of any occasion to take him out of the world, he standing in their ways; and seemed to mean the Duke of Monmouth, who spends his time the most viciously and idly of any man, nor will be fit for any thing; yet bespeaks as if it were not impossible but the King would own him for his son, and that there was a marriage between his mother and him; which God forbid should be if it be not true, nor will the Duke of York easily be gulled in it. But this put to our other distractions makes things appear very sad, and likely to be the occasion of much confusion in a little time, and my Lord Bruncker seems to say that nothing can help us but the Kings making a peace soon as he hath this money; and thereby putting himself out of debt, and so becoming a good husband, and then he will neither need this nor any other Parliament, till he can have one to his mind: for no Parliament can, as he says, be kept long good, but they will spoil one another, and that therefore it hath been the practice of kings to tell Parliaments what he hath for them to do, and give them so long time to do it in, and no longer.
Harry Kembe, one of our messengers, is lately dead.

love is a strange sun
a white bear lost at sea

I am never troubled by angry words
and I like being in the dark

excess of light makes eyes believe
vicious and impossible things

like little kings making a peace
out of the dead


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 16 December 1666.

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