Post mortem

(Ladyday.) Up, and with Sir W. Batten and W. Pen by coach to Exeter House to our lawyers to have consulted about our trial to-morrow, but missed them, so parted, and W. Pen and I to Mr. Povy’s about a little business of W. Pen’s, where we went over Mr. Povy’s house, which lies in the same good condition as ever, which is most extraordinary fine, and he was now at work with a cabinet-maker, making of a new inlaid table. Having seen his house, we away, having in our way thither called at Mr. Lilly’s, who was working; and indeed his pictures are without doubt much beyond Mr. Hales’s, I think I may say I am convinced: but a mighty proud man he is, and full of state. So home, and to the office, and by and by to dinner, a poor dinner, my wife and I, at Sir W. Pen’s, and then he and I before to Exeter House, where I do not stay, but to the King’s playhouse; and by and by comes Mr. Lowther and his wife and mine, and into a box, forsooth, neither of them being dressed, which I was almost ashamed of. Sir W. Pen and I in the pit, and here saw “The Mayden Queene” again; which indeed the more I see the more I like, and is an excellent play, and so done by Nell, her merry part, as cannot be better done in nature, I think. Thence home, and there I find letters from my brother, which tell me that yesterday when he wrote my mother did rattle in the throat so as they did expect every moment her death, which though I have a good while expected did much surprise me, yet was obliged to sup at Sir W. Pen’s and my wife, and there counterfeited some little mirth, but my heart was sad, and so home after supper and to bed, and much troubled in my sleep of my being crying by my mother’s bedside, laying my head over hers and crying, she almost dead and dying, and so waked, but what is strange, methought she had hair over her face, and not the same kind of face as my mother really hath, but yet did not consider that, but did weep over her as my mother, whose soul God have mercy of.

tomorrow missed us where we lie

who are without doubt a poor dinner

in a box like letters from death

my counterfeit sleep and strange hair

her face the same face as my soul


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 25 March 1667.

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