Night bird

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

No sooner up but hear the sad newes confirmed of the Royall Charles being taken by them, and now in fitting by them — which Pett should have carried up higher by our several orders, and deserves, therefore, to be hanged for not doing it — and turning several others; and that another fleete is come up into the Hope. Upon which newes the King and Duke of York have been below since four o’clock in the morning, to command the sinking of ships at Barking-Creeke, and other places, to stop their coming up higher: which put me into such a fear, that I presently resolved of my father’s and wife’s going into the country; and, at two hours’ warning, they did go by the coach this day, with about 1300l. in gold in their night-bag. Pray God give them good passage, and good care to hide it when they come home! but my heart is full of fear: They gone, I continued in fright and fear what to do with the rest. W. Hewer hath been at the banker’s, and hath got 500l. out of Backewell’s hands of his own money; but they are so called upon that they will be all broke, hundreds coming to them for money: and their answer is, “It is payable at twenty days — when the days are out, we will pay you;” and those that are not so, they make tell over their money, and make their bags false, on purpose to give cause to retell it, and so spend time. I cannot have my 200 pieces of gold again for silver, all being bought up last night that were to be had, and sold for 24 and 25s. a-piece. So I must keep the silver by me, which sometimes I think to fling into the house of office, and then again know not how I shall come by it, if we be made to leave the office. Every minute some one or other calls for this or that order; and so I forced to be at the office, most of the day, about the fire-ships which are to be suddenly fitted out: and it’s a most strange thing that we hear nothing from any of my brethren at Chatham; so that we are wholly in the dark, various being the reports of what is done there; insomuch that I sent Mr. Clapham express thither to see how matters go: I did, about noon, resolve to send Mr. Gibson away after my wife with another 1000 pieces, under colour of an express to Sir Jeremy Smith; who is, as I hear, with some ships at Newcastle; which I did really send to him, and may, possibly, prove of good use to the King; for it is possible, in the hurry of business, they may not think of it at Court, and the charge of an express is not considerable to the King. So though I intend Gibson no further than to Huntingdon I direct him to send the packet forward. My business the most of the afternoon is listening to every body that comes to the office, what news? which is variously related, some better, some worse, but nothing certain. The King and Duke of York up and down all the day here and there: some time on Tower Hill, where the City militia was; where the King did make a speech to them, that they should venture themselves no further than he would himself. I also sent, my mind being in pain, Saunders after my wife and father, to overtake them at their night’s lodgings, to see how matters go with them. In the evening, I sent for my cousin Sarah [Gyles] and her husband, who come; and I did deliver them my chest of writings about Brampton, and my brother Tom’s papers, and my journalls, which I value much; and did send my two silver flaggons to Kate Joyce’s: that so, being scattered what I have, something might be saved. I have also made a girdle, by which, with some trouble, I do carry about me 300l. in gold about my body, that I may not be without something in case I should be surprised: for I think, in any nation but our’s, people that appear (for we are not indeed so) so faulty as we, would have their throats cut. In the evening comes Mr. Pelling, and several others, to the office, and tell me that never were people so dejected as they are in the City all over at this day; and do talk most loudly, even treason; as, that we are bought and sold — that we are betrayed by the Papists, and others, about the King; cry out that the office of the Ordnance hath been so backward as no powder to have been at Chatham nor Upnor Castle till such a time, and the carriages all broken; that Legg is a Papist; that Upnor, the old good castle built by Queen Elizabeth, should be lately slighted; that the ships at Chatham should not be carried up higher. They look upon us as lost, and remove their families and rich goods in the City; and do think verily that the French, being come down with his army to Dunkirke, it is to invade us, and that we shall be invaded. Mr. Clerke, the solicitor, comes to me about business, and tells me that he hears that the King hath chosen Mr. Pierpont and Vaughan of the West, Privy-councillors; that my Lord Chancellor was affronted in the Hall this day, by people telling him of his Dunkirke house; and that there are regiments ordered to be got together, whereof to be commanders my Lord Fairfax, Ingoldsby, Bethell, Norton, and Birch, and other Presbyterians; and that Dr. Bates will have liberty to preach. Now, whether this be true or not, I know not; but do think that nothing but this will unite us together. Late at night comes Mr. Hudson, the cooper, my neighbour, and tells me that he come from Chatham this evening at five o’clock, and saw this afternoon “The Royal James,” “Oake,” and “London,” burnt by the enemy with their fire-ships: that two or three men-of-war come up with them, and made no more of Upnor Castle’s shooting, than of a fly; that those ships lay below Upnor Castle, but therein, I conceive, he is in an error; that the Dutch are fitting out “The Royall Charles;” that we shot so far as from the Yard thither, so that the shot did no good, for the bullets grazed on the water; that Upnor played hard with their guns at first, but slowly afterwards, either from the men being beat off, or their powder spent. But we hear that the fleete in the Hope is not come up any higher the last flood; and Sir W. Batten tells me that ships are provided to sink in the River, about Woolwich, that will prevent their coming up higher if they should attempt it. I made my will also this day, and did give all I had equally between my father and wife, and left copies of it in each of Mr. Hater and W. Hewer’s hands, who both witnessed the will, and so to supper and then to bed, and slept pretty well, but yet often waking.

another hope sinking
into my night bag

every call is strange
that we hear in the dark

another body in pain
over another body

throats that never were people
cry higher

birch and oak burn
and fly at last


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 13 June 1667.

Miserly

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up very betimes to our business at the office, there hiring of more fire-ships; and at it close all the morning. At noon home, and Sir W. Pen dined with us. By and by, after dinner, my wife out by coach to see her mother; and I in another, being afraid, at this busy time, to be seen with a woman in a coach, as if I were idle, towards The. Turner’s; but met Sir W. Coventry’s boy; and there in his letter find that the Dutch had made no motion since their taking Sheernesse; and the Duke of Albemarle writes that all is safe as to the great ships against any assault, the boom and chaine being so fortified; which put my heart into great joy.
When I come to Sir W: Coventry’s chamber, I find him abroad; but his clerk, Powell, do tell me that ill newes is come to Court of the Dutch breaking the Chaine at Chatham; which struck me to the heart. And to White Hall to hear the truth of it; and there, going up the back-stairs, I did hear some lacquies speaking of sad newes come to Court, saying, that hardly anybody in the Court but do look as if he cried, and would not go into the house for fear of being seen, but slunk out and got into a coach, and to The. Turner’s to Sir W. Turner’s, where I met Roger Pepys, newly come out of the country. He and I talked aside a little, he offering a match for Pall, one Barnes, of whom we shall talk more the next time. His father married a Pepys; in discourse, he told me further that his grandfather, my great grandfather, had 800l. per annum, in Queen Elizabeth’s time, in the very town of Cottenham; and that we did certainly come out of Scotland with the Abbot of Crowland. More talk I had, and shall have more with him, but my mind is so sad and head full of this ill news that I cannot now set it down. A short visit here, my wife coming to me, and took leave of The., and so home, where all our hearts do now ake; for the newes is true, that the Dutch have broke the chaine and burned our ships, and particularly “The Royal Charles,” other particulars I know not, but most sad to be sure. And, the truth is, I do fear so much that the whole kingdom is undone, that I do this night resolve to study with my father and wife what to do with the little that I have in money by me, for I give [up] all the rest that I have in the King’s hands, for Tangier, for lost. So God help us! and God knows what disorders we may fall into, and whether any violence on this office, or perhaps some severity on our persons, as being reckoned by the silly people, or perhaps may, by policy of State, be thought fit to be condemned by the King and Duke of York, and so put to trouble; though, God knows! I have, in my own person, done my full duty, I am sure. So having with much ado finished my business at the office, I home to consider with my father and wife of things, and then to supper and to bed with a heavy heart. The manner of my advising this night with my father was, I took him and my wife up to her chamber, and shut the door; and there told them the sad state of the times how we are like to be all undone; that I do fear some violence will be offered to this office, where all I have in the world is; and resolved upon sending it away — sometimes into the country — sometimes my father to lie in town, and have the gold with him at Sarah Giles’s, and with that resolution went to bed full of fear and fright, hardly slept all night.

afraid to be seen
going up the back stairs
with a crow for a hand

I am heavy as a shut door
all I have is my gold
and a bed full of fear


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 12 June 1667.

Distancing

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and more letters still from Sir W. Coventry about more fire-ships, and so Sir W. Batten and I to the office, where Bruncker come to us, who is just now going to Chatham upon a desire of Commissioner Pett’s, who is in a very fearful stink for fear of the Dutch, and desires help for God and the King and kingdom’s sake. So Bruncker goes down, and Sir J. Minnes also, from Gravesend. This morning Pett writes us word that Sheernesse is lost last night, after two or three hours’ dispute. The enemy hath possessed himself of that place; which is very sad, and puts us into great fears of Chatham. Sir W. Batten and I down by water to Deptford, and there Sir W. Pen and we did consider of several matters relating to the dispatch of the fire-ships, and so W. Batten and I home again, and there to dinner, my wife and father having dined, and after dinner, by W. Hewer’s lucky advice, went to Mr. Fenn, and did get him to pay me above 400l. of my wages, and W. Hewer received it for me, and brought it home this night. Thence I meeting Mr. Moore went toward the other end of the town by coach, and spying Mercer in the street, I took leave of Moore and ’light and followed her, and at Paul’s overtook her and walked with her through the dusty street almost to home, and there in Lombard Street met The. Turner in coach, who had been at my house to see us, being to go out of town to-morrow to the Northward, and so I promised to see her tomorrow, and then home, and there to our business, hiring some fire-ships, and receiving every hour almost letters from Sir W. Coventry, calling for more fire-ships; and an order from Council to enable us to take any man’s ships; and Sir W. Coventry, in his letter to us, says he do not doubt but at this time, under an invasion, as he owns it to be, the King may, by law, take any man’s goods. At this business late, and then home; where a great deal of serious talk with my wife about the sad state we are in, and especially from the beating up of drums this night for the trainbands upon pain of death to appear in arms to-morrow morning with bullet and powder, and money to supply themselves with victuals for a fortnight; which, considering the soldiers drawn out to Chatham and elsewhere, looks as if they had a design to ruin the City and give it up to be undone; which, I hear, makes the sober citizens to think very sadly of things. So to bed after supper, ill in my mind. This afternoon Mrs. Williams sent to me to speak with her, which I did, only about news. I had not spoke with her many a day before by reason of Carcasses business.

that sad hat
at the other end of the coach
night train


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 11 June 1667.

Gun culture

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up; and news brought us that, the Dutch are come up as high as the Nore; and more pressing orders for fireships. W. Batten, W. Pen, and I to St. James’s; where the Duke of York gone this morning betimes, to send away some men down to Chatham. So we three to White Hall, and met Sir W. Coventry, who presses all that is possible for fire-ships. So we three to the office presently; and thither comes Sir Fretcheville Hollis, who is to command them all in some exploits he is to do with them on the enemy in the River. So we all down to Deptford, and pitched upon ships and set men at work: but, Lord! to see how backwardly things move at this pinch, notwithstanding that, by the enemy’s being now come up as high as almost the Hope, Sir J. Minnes, who has gone down to pay some ships there, hath sent up the money; and so we are possessed of money to do what we will with. Yet partly ourselves, being used to be idle and in despair, and partly people that have been used to be deceived by us as to money, won’t believe us; and we know not, though we have it, how almost to promise it; and our wants such, and men out of the way, that it is an admirable thing to consider how much the King suffers, and how necessary it is in a State to keep the King’s service always in a good posture and credit. Here I eat a bit, and then in the afternoon took boat and down to Greenwich, where I find the stairs full of people, there being a great riding there to-day for a man, the constable of the town, whose wife beat him. Here I was with much ado fain to press two watermen to make me a galley, and so to Woolwich to give order for the dispatch of a ship I have taken under my care to see dispatched, and orders being so given, I, under pretence to fetch up the ship, which lay at Grays (the Golden Hand), did do that in my way, and went down to Gravesend, where I find the Duke of Albemarle just come, with a great many idle lords and gentlemen, with their pistols and fooleries; and the bulwarke not able to have stood half an hour had they come up; but the Dutch are fallen down from the Hope and Shell-haven as low as Sheernesse, and we do plainly at this time hear the guns play. Yet I do not find the Duke of Albemarle intends to go thither, but stays here to-night, and hath, though the Dutch are gone, ordered our frigates to be brought to a line between the two blockhouses; which I took then to be a ridiculous thing. So I away into the town and took a captain or two of our ships (who did give me an account of the proceedings of the Dutch fleete in the river) to the taverne, and there eat and drank, and I find the townsmen had removed most of their goods out of the town, for fear of the Dutch coming up to them; and from Sir John Griffen, that last night there was not twelve men to be got in the town to defend it: which the master of the house tells me is not true, but that the men of the town did intend to stay, though they did indeed, and so had he, at the Ship, removed their goods. Thence went off to an Ostend man-of-war, just now come up, who met the Dutch fleete, who took three ships that he come convoying hither from him says they are as low as the Nore, or thereabouts. So I homeward, as long as it was light reading Mr. Boyle’s book of Hydrostatics, which is a most excellent book as ever I read, and I will take much pains to understand him through if I can, the doctrine being very useful. When it grew too dark to read I lay down and took a nap, it being a most excellent fine evening, and about one o’clock got home, and after having wrote to Sir W. Coventry an account of what I had done and seen (which is entered in my letter-book), I to bed.

o sing some exploits
to do with the enemy

we all itch for a beat-down
where pistols and guns play house

and count to ten bouts
on a dark clock


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 10 June 1667.

Weathered

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

(Lord’s day). Up, and by water to White Hall, and so walked to St. James’s, where I hear that the Duke of Cambridge, who was given over long since by the Doctors, is now likely to recover; for which God be praised! To Sir W. Coventry, and there talked with him a great while; and mighty glad I was of my good fortune to visit him, for it keeps in my acquaintance with him, and the world sees it, and reckons my interest accordingly. In comes my Lord Barkeley, who is going down to Harwich also to look after the militia there: and there is also the Duke of Monmouth, and with him a great many young Hectors, the Lord Chesterfield, my Lord Mandeville, and others: but to little purpose, I fear, but to debauch the country women thereabouts. My Lord Barkeley wanting some maps, and Sir W. Coventry recommending the six maps of England that are bound up for the pocket, I did offer to present my Lord with them, which he accepted: and so I will send them him. Thence to White Hall, and there to the Chapel, where I met Creed, and he and I staid to hear who preached, which was a man who begun dully, and so we away by water and landed in Southwarke, and to a church in the street where we take water beyond the bridge, which was so full and the weather hot that we could not stand there. So to my house, where we find my father and wife at dinner, and after dinner Creed and I by water to White Hall, and there we parted, and I to Sir G. Carteret’s, where, he busy, I up into the house, and there met with a gentleman, Captain Aldrige, that belongs to my Lord Barkeley, and I did give him the book of maps for my Lord, and so I to Westminster Church and there staid a good while, and saw Betty Michell there. So away thence, and after church time to Mrs. Martin’s, and then hazer what I would with her, and then took boat and up, all alone, a most excellent evening, as high as Barne Elmes, and there took a turn; and then to my boat again, and home, reading and making an end of the book I lately bought a merry satyr called “The Visions,” translated from Spanish by L’Estrange, wherein there are many very pretty things; but the translation is, as to the rendering it into English expression, the best that ever I saw, it being impossible almost to conceive that it should be a translation. Being come home I find an order come for the getting some fire-ships presently to annoy the Dutch, who are in the King’s Channel, and expected up higher. So W. Batten and W. Pen being come this evening from their country houses to town we did issue orders about it, and then home to supper and to bed.

like God I visit my country
on weather maps

her haze
her evening high

visions translated from the pretty
into the impossible


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 9 June 1667.

World order

Up, and to the office, where all the news this morning is, that the Dutch are come with a fleete of eighty sail to Harwich, and that guns were heard plain by Sir W. Rider’s people at Bednallgreene, all yesterday even. So to the office, we all sat all the morning, and then home to dinner, where our dinner a ham of French bacon, boiled with pigeons, an excellent dish. Here dined with us only W. Hewer and his mother. After dinner to the office again, where busy till night, and then home and to read a little and then to bed. The news is confirmed that the Dutch are off of Harwich, but had done nothing last night. The King hath sent down my Lord of Oxford to raise the countries there; and all the Westerne barges are taken up to make a bridge over the River, about the Hope, for horse to cross the River, if there be occasion.

all the guns were green
all the pigeons busy till night
and the little nothing countries there
all taken over


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 8 June 1667.

Fallen

Up, and after with my flageolet and Mr. Townsend, whom I sent for to come to me to discourse about my Lord Sandwich’s business; for whom I am in some pain, lest the Accounts of the Wardrobe may not be in so good order as may please the new Lords Treasurers, who are quick-sighted, and under obligations of recommending themselves to the King and the world, by their finding and mending of faults, and are, most of them, not the best friends to my Lord, and to the office, and there all the morning. At noon home to dinner, my father, wife, and I, and a good dinner, and then to the office again, where busy all the afternoon, also I have a desire to dispatch all business that hath lain long on my hands, and so to it till the evening, and then home to sing and pipe with my wife, and then to supper and to bed, my head full of thoughts how to keep if I can some part of my wages as Surveyor of the Victualling, which I see must now come to be taken away among the other places that have been occasioned by this war, and the rather because I have of late an inclination to keep a coach. Ever since my drinking, two days ago, some very coole drink at Sir W. Coventry’s table I have been full of wind and with some pain, and I was afraid last night that it would amount to much, but, blessed be God! I find that the worst is past, so that I do clearly see that all the indisposition I am liable to-day as to sickness is only the Colique. This day I read (shown me by Mr. Gibson) a discourse newly come forth of the King of France, his pretence to Flanders, which is a very fine discourse, and the truth is, hath so much of the Civil Law in it, that I am not a fit judge of it, but, as it appears to me, he hath a good pretence to it by right of his Queene. So to bed.

under the world
faults busy as lace

I keep drinking
afraid to see all the sickness

how is the land not
as it appears good


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 7 June 1667.

Living in the moment

Up, and to the office all the morning, where (which he hath not done a great while) Sir G. Carteret come to advise with us for the disposing of 10,000l., which is the first sum the new Lords Treasurers have provided us; but, unless we have more, this will not enable us to cut off any of the growing charge which they seem to give it us for, and expect we should discharge several ships quite off with it. So home and with my father and wife to Sir W. Pen’s to dinner, which they invited us to out of their respect to my father, as a stranger; though I know them as false as the devil himself, and that it is only that they think it fit to oblige me; wherein I am a happy man, that all my fellow-officers are desirous of my friendship. Here as merry as in so false a place, and where I must dissemble my hatred, I could be, and after dinner my father and wife to a play, and I to my office, and there busy all the afternoon till late at night, and then my wife and I sang a song or two in the garden, and so home to supper and to bed. This afternoon comes Mr. Pierce to me about some business, and tells me that the Duke of Cambridge is yet living, but every minute expected to die, and is given over by all people, which indeed is a sad loss.

the Lord is as strange
as the devil
and me
I am a happy man

I play
till night in the garden
and every minute
expect to die


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 6 June 1667.

Prisoner

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and with Mr. Kenaston by coach to White Hall to the Commissioners of the Treasury about getting money for Tangier, and did come to, after long waiting, speak with them, and there I find them all sat; and, among the rest, Duncomb lolling, with his heels upon another chair, by that, that he sat upon, and had an answer good enough, and then away home, and (it being a most windy day, and hath been so all night, South West, and we have great hopes that it may have done the Dutch or French fleets some hurt) having got some papers in order, I back to St. James’s, where we all met at Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and dined and talked of our business, he being a most excellent man, and indeed, with all his business, hath more of his employed upon the good of the service of the Navy, than all of us, that makes me ashamed of it. This noon Captain Perriman brings us word how the Happy Returne’s below in the Hope, ordered to carry the Portugal Ambassador to Holland (and the Embassador, I think, on board), refuse to go till paid; and by their example two or three more ships are in a mutiny: which is a sad consideration, while so many of the enemy’s ships are at this day triumphing in the sea. Here a very good and neat dinner, after the French manner, and good discourse, and then up after dinner to the Duke of York and did our usual business, and are put in hopes by Sir W. Coventry that we shall have money, and so away, Sir G. Carteret and I to my Lord Crew to advise about Sir G. Carteret’s carrying his accounts to-morrow to the Commissioners appointed to examine them and all other accounts since the war, who at last by the King’s calling them to him yesterday and chiding them will sit, but Littleton and Garraway much against their wills. The truth of it is, it is a ridiculous thing, for it will come to nothing, nor do the King nor kingdom good in any manner, I think. Here they talked of my Lord Hinchingbroke’s match with Lord Burlington’s daughter, which is now gone a pretty way forward, and to great content, which I am infinitely glad of. So from hence to White Hall, and in the streete Sir G. Carteret showed me a gentleman coming by in his coach, who hath been sent for up out of Lincolneshire, I think he says he is a justice of peace there, that the Council have laid by the heels here, and here lies in a messenger’s hands, for saying that a man and his wife are but one person, and so ought to pay but 12d. for both to the Poll Bill; by which others were led to do the like: and so here he lies prisoner. To White Hall, and there I attended to speak with Sir W. Coventry about Lanyon’s business, to get him some money out of the Prize Office from my Lord Ashly, and so home, and there to the office a little, and thence to my chamber to read, and supper, and to bed. My father, blessed be God! finds great ease by his new steel trusse, which he put on yesterday. So to bed. The Duke of Cambridge past hopes of living still.

wind all night
against the prison steel
I am still


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 5 June 1667.

Flood control

Up, and to the office, and there busy all the morning putting in order the answering the great letter sent to the office by the new Commissioners of the Treasury, who demand an account from the King’s coming in to this day, which we shall do in the best manner we can. At noon home to dinner, and after dinner comes Mr. Commander to me and tells me, after all, that I cannot have a lease of the ground for my coach-house and stable, till a suit in law be ended, about the end of the old stable now standing, which they and I would have pulled down to make a better way for a coach. I am a little sorry that I cannot presently have it, because I am pretty full in my mind of keeping a coach; but yet, when I think on it again, the Dutch and French both at sea, and we poor, and still out of order, I know not yet what turns there may be, and besides, I am in danger of parting with one of my places, which relates to the Victualling, that brings me by accident in 800l. a year, that is, 300l. from the King and 500l. from D. Gawden. I ought to be well contented to forbear awhile, and therefore I am contented. To the office all the afternoon, where I dispatched much business to my great content, and then home in the evening, and there to sing and pipe with my wife, and that being done, she fell all of a sudden to discourse about her clothes and my humours in not suffering her to wear them as she pleases, and grew to high words between us, but I fell to read a book (Boyle’s Hydrostatiques) aloud in my chamber and let her talk, till she was tired and vexed that I would not hear her, and so become friends, and to bed together the first night after 4 or 5 that she hath lain from me by reason of a great cold she had got.

shall we have the ground
make way for a sea

poor and still
it ought to forbear our hydrostatics
and become a bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 4 June 1667.