Panem et circenses

Up, and all the morning at the office, where we sat, and my head was full of the business of Carcasse, who hath a hearing this morning before the Council and hath summonsed at least thirty persons, and which is wondrous, a great many of them, I hear, do declare more against him than for him, and yet he summonses people without distinction. Sure he is distracted. At noon home to dinner, and presently my wife and I and Sir W. Pen to the King’s playhouse, where the house extraordinary full; and there was the King and Duke of York to see the new play, “Queen Elizabeth’s Troubles and the History of Eighty Eight.” I confess I have sucked in so much of the sad story of Queen Elizabeth, from my cradle, that I was ready to weep for her sometimes; but the play is the most ridiculous that sure ever come upon the stage; and, indeed, is merely a shew, only shews the true garbe of the Queen in those days, just as we see Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth painted; but the play is merely a puppet play, acted by living puppets. Neither the design nor language better; and one stands by and tells us the meaning of things: only I was pleased to see Knipp dance among the milkmaids, and to hear her sing a song to Queen Elizabeth; and to see her come out in her night-gowne with no lockes on, but her bare face and hair only tied up in a knot behind; which is the comeliest dress that ever I saw her in to her advantage. Thence home and went as far as Mile End with Sir W. Pen, whose coach took him up there for his country-house; and after having drunk there, at the Rose and Crowne, a good house for Alderman Bides ale, we parted, and we home, and there I finished my letters, and then home to supper and to bed.

we are a people distracted and sucked in
to weep for the most ridiculous shows

as painted puppets tell us
the meaning of things

with no bare face
only lies

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 17 August 1667.

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