Pathetic Fallacy

(Office day). I put on my mourning and went to the office. At noon thinking to have found my wife in hers, I found that the tailor had failed her, at which I was vexed because of an invitation that we have to a dinner this day, but after having waited till past one o’clock I went, and left her to put on some other clothes and come after me to the Mitre tavern in Wood-street (a house of the greatest note in London), where I met W. Symons, and D. Scobell, and their wives, Mr. Samford, Luellin, Chetwind, one Mr. Vivion, and Mr. White, formerly chaplin to the Lady Protectresse (and still so, and one they say that is likely to get my Lady Francess for his wife).
Here we were very merry and had a very good dinner, my wife coming after me hither to us. Among other pleasures some of us fell to handycapp, a sport that I never knew before, which was very good. We staid till it was very late; it rained sadly, but we made shift to get coaches. So home and to bed.

I put on my mourning
and went to the wood, where
the wind fell.
I stayed till late.
It rained sadly.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 19 September 1660.

The Committee on Ships

At home all the morning looking over my workmen in my house. After dinner Sir W. Batten, Pen, and myself by coach to Westminster Hall, where we met Mr. Wayte that belongs to the Treasurer, and so we went up to the Committee of Parliament, which are to consider of the debts of the Army and Navy, and did give in our account of the twenty-five ships. Col. Birch was very impertinent and troublesome. But at last we did agree to fit the accounts of our ships more perfectly for their view within a few days, that they might see what a trouble it is to do what they desire. From thence Sir Williams both going by water home, I took Mr. Wayte to the Rhenish winehouse, and drank with him and so parted.
Thence to Mr. Crew’s and spoke with Mr. Moore about the business of paying off Baron our share of the dividend. So on foot home, by the way buying a hat band and other things for my mourning to-morrow. So home and to bed. This day I heard that the Duke of York, upon the news of the death of his brother yesterday, came hither by post last night.

My men and I met, a committee
to consider ships,
to see what it is
they desire from water:
winehouse, home or bed?
Or news of the night…

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 18 September 1660.


Office very early about casting up the debts of those twenty-five ships which are to be paid off, which we are to present to the Committee of Parliament.
I did give my wife 15l. this morning to go to buy mourning things for her and me, which she did. Dined at home and Mr. Moore with me, and afterwards to Whitehall to Mr. Dalton and drank in the Cellar, where Mr. Vanly according to appointment was.
Thence forth to see the Prince de Ligne, Spanish Embassador, come in to his audience, which was done in very great state.
That being done, Dalton, Vanly, Scrivener and some friends of theirs and I to the Axe, and signed and sealed our writings, and hence to the Wine cellar again, where I received 41l. for my interest in my house, out of which I paid my Landlord to Michaelmas next, and so all is even between him and me, and I freed of my poor little house. Home by link with my money under my arm. So to bed after I had looked over the things my wife had bought to-day, with which being not very well pleased, they costing too much, I went to bed in a discontent.
Nothing yet from sea, where my Lord and the Princess are.

Are we present? I give
my wife this morning
mourning things

in the cellar
of the cellar
of today.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 17 September 1660.

The River Fleet

(Sunday). To Dr. Hardy’s church, and sat with Mr. Rawlinson and heard a good sermon upon the occasion of the Duke’s death. His text was, “And is there any evil in the city and the Lord hath not done it?”
Home to dinner, having some sport with Wm., who never had been at Common Prayer before.
After dinner I alone to Westminster, where I spent my time walking up and down in Westminster Abbey all sermon time with Ben. Palmer and Fetters the watchmaker, who told me that my Lord of Oxford is also dead of the small-pox; in whom his family dies, after 600 years having that honour in their family and name. From thence to the Park, where I saw how far they had proceeded in the Pell-mell, and in making a river through the Park, which I had never seen before since it was begun. Thence to White Hall garden, where I saw the King in purple mourning for his brother.
So home, and in my way met with Dinah, who spoke to me and told me she had a desire to speak too about some business when I came to Westminster again. Which she spoke in such a manner that I was afraid she might tell me something that I would not hear of our last meeting at my house at Westminster.
Home late, being very dark. A gentleman in the Poultry had a great and dirty fall over a waterpipe that lay along the channel.

Death is walking
up and down
with the watchmaker,
who told me
how a river
I had never seen
was at home in
a great and dirty pipe.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 16 September 1660. Thanks to my friend Hg, a Londoner, for the idea.


Met very early at our office this morning to pick out the twenty-five ships which are to be first paid off.
After that to Westminster and dined with Mr. Dalton at his office, where we had one great court dish, but our papers not being done we could [not] make an end of our business till Monday next.
Mr. Dalton and I over the water to our landlord Vanly, with whom we agree as to Dalton becoming a tenant. Back to Westminster, where I met with Dr. Castles, who chidd me for some errors in our Privy- Seal business; among the rest, for letting the fees of the six judges pass unpaid, which I know not what to say to, till I speak to Mr. Moore. I was much troubled, for fear of being forced to pay the money myself. Called at my father’s going home, and bespoke mourning for myself, for the death of the Duke of Gloucester. I found my mother pretty well. So home and to bed.

Twenty-five ships, and we could not
make an end of Monday.
On land, we met with castles.
Our rest was troubled.
I mourn the death of my bed.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 15 September 1660.

Martial Artist

(Office day). I got 42l. 15s. appointed me by bill for my employment of Secretary to the 4th of this month, it being the last money I shall receive upon that score.
My wife went this afternoon to see my mother, who I hear is very ill, at which my heart is very sad.
In the afternoon Luellin comes to my house, and takes me out to the Mitre in Wood Street, where Mr. Samford, W. Symons and his wife, and Mrs. Scobell, Mr. Mount and Chetwind, where they were very merry, Luellin being drunk, and I being to defend the ladies from his kissing them, I kissed them myself very often with a great deal of mirth. Parted very late, they by coach to Westminster, and I on foot.

I go in secret.
The score I hear is my heart,
is for bell and wind.
Drunk, I defend myself
with a late foot.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 14 September 1660.


Old East comes to me in the morning with letters, and I did give him a bottle of Northdown ale, which made the poor man almost drunk.
In the afternoon my wife went to the burial of a child of my cozen Scott’s, and it is observable that within this month my Aunt Wight was brought to bed of two girls, my cozen Stradwick of a girl and a boy, and my cozen Scott of a boy, and all died.
I in the afternoon to Westminster, where Mr. Dalton was ready with his money to pay me for my house, but our writings not being drawn it could not be done to-day. I met with Mr. Hawly, who was removing his things from Mr. Bowyer’s, where he has lodged a great while, and I took him and W. Bowyer to the Swan and drank, and Mr. Hawly did give me a little black rattoon, painted and gilt.
Home by water.
This day the Duke of Gloucester died of the small-pox, by the great negligence of the doctors.

Letters made the poor man
almost drunk.
He went to the burial of a child
and was ready with his writing—
could eat a swan.
A black rat, painted and gilt,
died of negligence.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 13 September 1660.

Above and Beyond

(Office day). This noon I expected to have had my cousin Snow and my father come to dine with me, but it being very rainy they did not come.
My brother Tom came to my house with a letter from my brother John, wherein he desires some books: Barthol. Anatom., Rosin. Rom. Antiq., and Gassend. Astronom., the last of which I did give him, and an angel against my father buying of the others.
At home all the afternoon looking after my workmen in my house, whose laziness do much trouble me.
This day the Parliament adjourned.

My cousin snow and my father rain
come with a letter from
my brother the angel:
Buy others a home, look after workmen,
trouble the parliament.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 12 September 1660.


At Sir W. Batten’s with Sir W. Pen we drank our morning draft, and from thence for an hour in the office and dispatch a little business.
Dined at Sir W. Batten’s, and by this time I see that we are like to have a very good correspondence and neighbourhood, but chargeable. All the afternoon at home looking over my carpenters. At night I called Thos. Hater out of the office to my house to sit and talk with me. After he was gone I caused the girl to wash the wainscot of our parlour, which she did very well, which caused my wife and I good sport. Up to my chamber to read a little, and wrote my Diary for three or four days past.
The Duke of York did go to-day by break of day to the Downs. The Duke of Gloucester ill. The House of Parliament was to adjourn to-day. I know not yet whether it be done or no.
To bed.

A rank morning.
I batten on ash—my wife—
and rot—my diary,
break down the day.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 11 September 1660.

Ursus maritimus

(Office day). News brought us of the Duke’s intention to go tomorrow to the fleet for a day or two to meet his sister. Col. Slingsby and I to Whitehall, thinking to proffer our service to the Duke to wait upon him, but meeting with Sir G. Carteret he sent us in all haste back again to hire two Catches for the present use of the Duke. So we returned and landed at the Bear at the Bridge foot, where we saw Southwark Fair (I having not at all seen Bartholomew Fair), and so to the Tower wharf, where we did hire two catches. So to the office and found Sir W. Batten at dinner with some friends upon a good chine of beef, on which I ate heartily, I being very hungry.
Home, where Mr. Snow (whom afterwards we called one another cozen) came to me to see me, and with him and one Shelston, a simple fellow that looks after an employment (that was with me just upon my going to sea last), to a tavern, where till late with them. So home, having drunk too much, and so to bed.

A white bear
catches dinner, very hungry:
snow at sea.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 10 September 1660.