“Poetry makes nothing happen”

Up, and to my chamber to set down my Journall of Sunday last with much pleasure, and my foot being pretty well, but yet I am forced to limp. Then by coach, set my wife down at the New Exchange, and I to White Hall to the Treasury chamber, but to little purpose. So to Mr. Burges to as little. There to the Hall and talked with Mrs. Michell, who begins to tire me about doing something for her elder son, which I am willing to do, but know not what. Thence to White Hall again, and thence away, and took up my wife at Unthanke’s, and left her at the ’Change, and so I to Bennet’s to take up a bill for the last silk I had for my vest and coat, which I owe them for, and so to the Excise Office, and there did a little business, and so to Temple Bar and staid at my bookseller’s till my wife calls me, and so home, where I am saluted with the news of Hogg’s bringing a rich Canary prize to Hull: and Sir W. Batten do offer me 1000l. down for my particular share, beside Sir Richard Ford’s part, which do tempt me; but yet I would not take it, but will stand and fall with the company. He and two more, the Panther and Fanfan, did enter into consortship; and so they have all brought in each a prize, though ours worth as much as both theirs, and more. However, it will be well worth having, God be thanked for it! This news makes us all very glad. I at Sir W. Batten’s did hear the particulars of it; and there for joy he did give the company that were there a bottle or two of his own last year’s wine, growing at Walthamstow, then which the whole company said they never drank better foreign wine in their lives.
Home, and to dinner, and by and by comes Mr. Pierce, who is interested in the Panther, for some advice, and then comes Creed, and he and I spent the whole afternoon till eight at night walking and talking of sundry things public and private in the garden, but most of all of the unhappy state of this nation at this time by the negligence of the King and his Council. The Duke of Buckingham is, it seems, set at liberty, without any further charge against him or other clearing of him, but let to go out; which is one of the strangest instances of the fool’s play with which all publick things are done in this age, that is to be apprehended. And it is said that when he was charged with making himself popular — as indeed he is, for many of the discontented Parliament, Sir Robert Howard and Sir Thomas Meres, and others, did attend at the Council-chamber when he was examined — he should answer, that whoever was committed to prison by my Lord Chancellor or my Lord Arlington, could not want being popular. But it is worth considering the ill state a Minister of State is in, under such a Prince as ours is; for, undoubtedly, neither of those two great men would have been so fierce against the Duke of Buckingham at the Council-table the other day, had they [not] been assured of the King’s good liking, and supporting them therein: whereas, perhaps at the desire of my Lady Castlemayne, who, I suppose, hath at last overcome the King, the Duke of Buckingham is well received again, and now these men delivered up to the interest he can make for his revenge. He told me over the story of Mrs. Stewart, much after the manner which I was told it long since, and have entered it in this book, told me by Mr. Evelyn; only he says it is verily believed that the King did never intend to marry her to any but himself, and that the Duke of York and Lord Chancellor were jealous of it; and that Mrs. Stewart might be got with child by the King, or somebody else, and the King own a marriage before his contract, for it is but a contract, as he tells me, to this day, with the Queene, and so wipe their noses of the Crown; and that, therefore, the Duke of York and Chancellor did do all they could to forward the match with my Lord Duke of Richmond, that she might be married out of the way; but, above all, it is a worthy part that this good lady hath acted. Thus we talked till night and then parted, and so I to my office and did business, and so home to supper, and there find my sister Michell come from Lee to see us; but do tattle so much of the late business of the Dutch coming thither that I was weary of it. Yet it is worth remembering what she says: that she hath heard both seamen and soldiers swear they would rather serve the Dutch than the King, for they should be better used. She saw “The Royal Charles” brought into the river by them; and how they shot off their great guns for joy, when they got her out of Chatham River. I would not forget that this very day when we had nothing to do almost but five merchantmen to man in the River, which have now been about it some weeks, I was asked at Westminster, what the matter was that there was such ado kept in pressing of men, as it seems there is thereabouts at this day. So after supper we all to bed, my foot very well again, I thank God.

my limp little purpose
begins to tire me

I am the canary
in this particular mine
a prison of my own

I hear both sea and soldiers
use their great guns

when I get nothing almost
to sing about


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 17 July 1667.

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