Notes for a postmodern sea shanty

At the office all the morning; where, by Sir W. Pen, I do hear that the Seal was fetched away to the King yesterday from the Lord Chancellor by Secretary Morrice; which puts me into a great horror, to have it done after so much debate and confidence that it would not be done at last. When we arose I took a turn with Lord Bruncker in the garden, and he tells me that he hath of late discoursed about this business with Sir W. Coventry, who he finds is the great man in the doing this business of the Chancellor’s, and that he do persevere in it, though against the Duke of York’s opinion, to which he says that the Duke of York was once of the same mind, and if he hath thought fit since, for any reason, to alter his mind, he hath not found any to alter his own, and so desires to be excused, for it is for the King’s and kingdom’s good. And it seems that the Duke of York himself was the first man that did speak to the King of this, though he hath since altered his mind; and that W. Coventry did tell the Duke of York that he was not fit to serve a Prince that did not know how to retire, and live a private life; and that he was ready for that, if it be his and the King’s pleasure. After having wrote my letters at the office in the afternoon, I in the evening to White Hall to see how matters go, and there I met with Mr. Ball, of the Excise-office, and he tells me that the Seal is delivered to Sir Orlando Bridgeman; the man of the whole nation that is the best spoken of, and will please most people; and therefore I am mighty glad of it. He was then at my Lord Arlington’s, whither I went, expecting to see him come out; but staid so long, and Sir W. Coventry coming thither, whom I had not a mind should see me there idle upon a post-night, I went home without seeing him; but he is there with his Seal in his hand. So I home, took up my wife, whom I left at Unthanke’s, and so home, and after signing my letters to bed.
This day, being dissatisfied with my wife’s learning so few songs of Goodgroome, I did come to a new bargain with him to teach her songs at so much, viz.; 10s. a song, which he accepts of, and will teach her.

the sea was a great horror
though of the same
mind as any
to be altered

it did not know how
to retire and live
a private life
ready for the evening

it matters
that the sea delivered
the best-spoken people
for a song

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 31 August 1667.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.