Ballad

Up betimes, and to the office to write fair my paper for D. Gawden against anon, and then to other business, where all the morning. D. Gawden by and by comes, and I did read over and give him the paper, which I think I have much obliged him in. A little before noon comes my old good friend, Mr. Richard Cumberland, to see me, being newly come to town, whom I have not seen almost, if not quite, these seven years. In his plain country-parson’s dress. I could not spend much time with him, but prayed him come with his brother, who was with him, to dine with me to-day; which he did do and I had a great deal of his good company; and a most excellent person he is as any I know, and one that I am sorry should be lost and buried in a little country town, and would be glad to remove him thence; and the truth is, if he would accept of my sister’s fortune, I should give 100l. more with him than to a man able to settle her four times as much as, I fear, he is able to do; and I will think of it, and a way how to move it, he having in discourse said he was not against marrying, nor yet engaged. I shewed him my closet, and did give him some very good musique, Mr. Caesar being here upon his lute. They gone I to the office, where all the afternoon very busy, and among other things comes Captain Jenifer to me, a great servant of my Lord Sandwich’s, who tells me that he do hear for certain, though I do not yet believe it, that Sir W. Coventry is to be Secretary of State, and my Lord Arlington Lord Treasurer. I only wish that the latter were as fit for the latter office as the former is for the former, and more fit than my Lord Arlington. Anon Sir W. Pen come and talked with me in the garden, and tells me that for certain the Duke of Richmond is to marry Mrs. Stewart, he having this day brought in an account of his estate and debts to the King on that account. At night home to supper and so to bed. My father’s letter this day do tell me of his own continued illness, and that my mother grows so much worse, that he fears she cannot long continue, which troubles me very much. This day, Mr. Caesar told me a pretty experiment of his, of angling with a minikin, a gut-string varnished over, which keeps it from swelling, and is beyond any hair for strength and smallness. The secret I like mightily.

I am lost and buried
in a country tune
a music not fit for the office

it tells me of debts and illness
my gut swelling
beyond any secret


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 18 March 1667.

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