Oysterous

In the morning with Sir W. Batten and Pen by water to Westminster, where at my Lord’s I met with Mr. Creed. With him to see my Lord’s picture (now almost done), and thence to Westminster Hall, where we found the Parliament met to-day, and thence meeting with Mr. Chetwind, I took them to the Sun, and did give them a barrel of oysters, and had good discourse; among other things Mr. Chetwind told me how he did fear that this late business of the Duke of York’s would prove fatal to my Lord Chancellor.
From thence Mr. Creed and I to Wilkinson’s, and dined together, and in great haste thence to our office, where we met all, for the sale of two ships by an inch of candle (the first time that ever I saw any of this kind), where I observed how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry, and we have much to do to tell who did cry last. The ships were the Indian, sold for 1,300l., and the Half-moon, sold for 830l..
Home, and fell a-reading of the tryalls of the late men that were hanged for the King’s death, and found good satisfaction in reading thereof.
At night to bed, and my wife and I did fall out about the dog’s being put down into the cellar, which I had a mind to have done because of his fouling the house, and I would have my will, and so we went to bed and lay all night in a quarrel. This night I was troubled all night with a dream that my wife was dead, which made me that I slept ill all night.

I took a barrel of oysters
and observed how they cry:
An Indian sold the moon.
Men were hanged for a dog
fouling the bed. All night
I dream that my wife
made me ill.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 6 November 1660.

Schadenfreudian

(Office day). Being disappointed of money, we failed of going to Deptford to pay off the Henrietta to-day.
Dined at home, and at home all day, and at the office at night, to make up an account of what the debts of nineteen of the twenty-five ships that should have been paid off, is increased since the adjournment of the Parliament, they being to sit again to-morrow. This 5th of November is observed exceeding well in the City; and at night great bonfires and fireworks. At night Mr. Moore came and sat with me, and there I took a book and he did instruct me in many law notions, in which I took great pleasure. To bed.

Disappointed
at home and at the office
I count ships

and at night, fires,
many in which I took
great pleasure.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 5 November 1660.

Dark Angelic Mills

(Lord’s day). In the morn to our own church, where Mr. Mills did begin to nibble at the Common Prayer, by saying “Glory be to the Father, &c.” after he had read the two psalms; but the people had been so little used to it, that they could not tell what to answer. This declaration of the King’s do give the Presbyterians some satisfaction, and a pretence to read the Common Prayer, which they would not do before because of their former preaching against it.
After dinner to Westminster, where I went to my Lord’s, and having spoke with him, I went to the Abbey, where the first time that ever I heard the organs in a cathedral! Thence to my Lord’s, where I found Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, and with him and Mr. Sheply, in our way calling at the Bell to see the seven Flanders mares that my Lord has bought lately, where we drank several bottles of Hull ale. Much company I found to come to her, and cannot wonder at it, for she is very pretty and wanton.
Hence to my father’s, where I found my mother in greater and greater pain of the stone. I staid long and drank with them, and so home and to bed. My wife seemed very pretty to-day, it being the first time I had given her leave to wear a black patch.

Mills nibble at prayer.
So little satisfaction!
I hear organs and a bell,
and wonder at the pain of the stone.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 4 November 1660.

Single-handed

Saturday. At home all the morning. In the afternoon to White Hall, where my Lord and Lady were gone to kiss the Queene’s hand.
To Westminster Hall, where I met with Tom Doling, and we two took Mrs. Lane to the alehouse, where I made her angry with commending of Tom Newton and her new sweetheart to be both too good for her, so that we parted with much anger, which made Tom and me good sport. So home to write letters by the post, and so to bed.

Sat all afternoon on the hand
I took to the alehouse,
where I made her and her sweetheart part
and go home to write.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 3 November 1660.

Book of Martyrs

Office. Then dined at home, and by chance Mr. Holliard called at dinner time and dined with me, with whom I had great discourse concerning the cure of the King’s evil, which he do deny altogether any effect at all.
In the afternoon I went forth and saw some silver bosses put upon my new Bible, which cost me 6s. 6d. the making, and 7s. 6d. the silver, which, with 9s. 6d. the book, comes in all to 1l. 3s. 6d. From thence with Mr. Cooke that made them, and Mr. Stephens the silversmith to the tavern, and did give them a pint of wine. So to White Hall, where when I came I saw the boats going very thick to Lambeth, and all the stairs to be full of people. I was told the Queen was a-coming; so I got a sculler for sixpence to carry me thither and back again, but I could not get to see the Queen; so come back, and to my Lord’s, where he was come; and I supt with him, he being very merry, telling merry stories of the country mayors, how they entertained the King all the way as he come along; and how the country gentlewomen did hold up their heads to be kissed by the King, not taking his hand to kiss as they should do. I took leave of my Lord and Lady, and so took coach at White Hall and carried Mr. Childe as far as the Strand, and myself got as far as Ludgate by all the bonfires, but with a great deal of trouble; and there the coachman desired that I would release him, for he durst not go further for the fires. So he would have had a shilling or 6d. for bringing of me so far; but I had but 3d. about me and did give him it. In Paul’s church-yard I called at Kirton’s, and there they had got a mass book for me, which I bought and cost me twelve shillings; and, when I came home, sat up late and read in it with great pleasure to my wife, to hear that she was long ago so well acquainted with. So to bed.
I observed this night very few bonfires in the City, not above three in all London, for the Queen’s coming; whereby I guess that (as I believed before) her coming do please but very few.

A great evil I saw:
a book comes
to give stairs to people,
but they hold up their heads
to be kissed, not to kiss.
And so bonfires
desire the book
and read it with pleasure
to that long night, the city.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 2 November 1660.

L’esprit d’escalier

This morning Sir W. Pen and I were mounted early, and had very merry discourse all the way, he being very good company.
We came to Sir W. Batten’s, where he lives like a prince, and we were made very welcome. Among other things he showed us my Lady’s closet, where was great store of rarities; as also a chair, which he calls King Harry’s chair, where he that sits down is catched with two irons, that come round about him, which makes good sport. Here dined with us two or three more country gentle men; among the rest Mr. Christmas, my old school-fellow, with whom I had much talk. He did remember that I was a great Roundhead when I was a boy, and I was much afraid that he would have remembered the words that I said the day the King was beheaded (that, were I to preach upon him, my text should be “The memory of the wicked shall rot”); but I found afterwards that he did go away from school before that time.
He did make us good sport in imitating Mr. Case, Ash, and Nye, the ministers, which he did very well, but a deadly drinker he is, and grown exceeding fat. From his house to an ale-house near the church, where we sat and drank and were merry, and so we mounted for London again, Sir W. Batten with us. We called at Bow and drank there, and took leave of Mr. Johnson of Blackwall, who dined with us and rode with us thus far.
So home by moonlight, it being about 9 o’clock before we got home.

I batten like a mad king
on remembered words.
My text should be: “The memory
of the wicked shall rot.”
After I go, I make sport
in imitating the dead,
grown fat on moonlight.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 1 November 1660.

News junkie

Office day. Much troubled all this morning in my mind about the business of my walk on the leads. I spoke of it to the Comptroller and the rest of the principal officers, who are all unwilling to meddle in anything that may anger my Lady Davis. And so I am fain to give over for the time that she do continue therein.
Dined at home, and after dinner to Westminster Hall, where I met with Billing the quaker at Mrs. Michell’s shop, who is still of the former opinion he was of against the clergymen of all sorts, and a cunning fellow I find him to be. Home, and there I had news that Sir W. Pen is resolved to ride to Sir W. Batten’s country house to-morrow, and would have me go with him, so I sat up late, getting together my things to ride in, and was fain to cut an old pair of boots to make leathers for those I was to wear.
This month I conclude with my mind very heavy for the loss of the leads, as also for the greatness of my late expenses, insomuch that I do not think that I have above 150l. clear money in the world, but I have, I bless God, a great deal of good household stuff.
I hear to-day that the Queen is landed at Dover, and will be here on Friday next, November 2nd.
My wife has been so ill of late of her old pain that I have not known her this fortnight almost, which is a pain to me.

A troll in anger, I quake
at the news:
the heavy loss,
the greatness of the world.
But I hear the land and
her old pain that I have
not known.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 31 October 1660.

Homunculus

Within all the morning and dined at home, my mind being so troubled that I could not mind nor do anything till I spoke with the Comptroller to whom the lodgings belong. In the afternoon, to ease my mind, I went to the Cockpit all alone, and there saw a very fine play called “The Tamer Tamed;” very well acted.
That being done, I went to Mr. Crew’s, where I had left my boy, and so with him and Mr. Moore (who would go a little way with me home, as he will always do) to the Hercules Pillars to drink, where we did read over the King’s declaration in matters of religion, which is come out to-day, which is very well penned, I think to the satisfaction of most people.
So home, where I am told Mr. Davis’s people have broken open the bolt of my chamber door that goes upon the leads, which I went up to see and did find it so, which did still trouble me more and more. And so I sent for Griffith, and got him to search their house to see what the meaning of it might be, but can learn nothing to-night. But I am a little pleased that I have found this out.
I hear nothing yet of my Lord, whether he be gone for the Queen from the Downs or no; but I believe he is, and that he is now upon coming back again.

Within my mind
a mind I long to tame—
a left boy, a little Hercules,
the king of ham.
I find trouble
and learn nothing.
But I am a little
pleased at this nothing,
my no that is no.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 30 October 1660.

Partisan

I up early, it being my Lord Mayor’s day, (Sir Richd. Browne), and neglecting my office I went to the Wardrobe, where I met my Lady Sandwich and all the children; and after drinking of some strange and incomparable good clarett of Mr. Rumball’s he and Mr. Townsend did take us, and set the young Lords at one Mr. Nevill’s, a draper in Paul’s churchyard; and my Lady and my Lady Pickering and I to one Mr. Isaacson’s, a linendraper at the Key in Cheapside; where there was a company of fine ladies, and we were very civilly treated, and had a very good place to see the pageants, which were many, and I believe good, for such kind of things, but in themselves but poor and absurd. After the ladies were placed I took Mr. Townsend and Isaacson to the next door, a tavern, and did spend 5s. upon them. The show being done, we got as far as Paul’s with much ado, where I left my Lady in the coach, and went on foot with my Lady Pickering to her lodging, which was a poor one in Blackfryars, where she never invited me to go in at all, which methought was very strange for her to do.
So home, where I was told how my Lady Davis is now come to our next lodgings, and has locked up the leads door from me, which puts me into so great a disquiet that I went to bed, and could not sleep till morning at it.

In the war of good and evil
I pick one side:
the pageants, the show.
Poor thought is a locked door,
a quiet morning.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 29 October 1660.

Peace process

(Lord’s day). There came some pills and plaister this morning from Dr. Williams for my wife.
I to Westminster Abbey, where with much difficulty, going round by the cloysters, I got in; this day being a great day for the consecrating of five Bishopps, which was done after sermon; but I could not get into Henry the Seventh’s chappell. So I went to my Lord’s, where I dined with my Lady, and my young Lord, and Mr. Sidney, who was sent for from Twickenham to see my Lord Mayor’s show to-morrow. Mr. Child did also dine with us.
After dinner to White Hall chappell; my Lady and my Lady Jemimah and I up to the King’s closet (who is now gone to meet the Queen). So meeting with one Mr. Hill, that did know my Lady, he did take us into the King’s closet, and there we did stay all service-time, which I did think a great honour.
We went home to my Lord’s lodgings afterwards, and there I parted with my Lady and went home, where I did find my wife pretty well after her physic. So to bed.

Ill will
in the hall on the hill.
Take us into the closet all.
Ice went home to a well.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 28 October 1660.