Isolated

(Lord’s day). Having my cold still grown more upon me, so as I am not able to speak, I lay in bed till noon, and then up and to my chamber with a good fire, and there spent an hour on Morly’s Introduction to Musique, a very good but unmethodical book. Then to dinner, my wife and I, and then all the afternoon alone in my chamber preparing a letter for Commissioner Taylor to the City about getting his accounts for The Loyal London, by him built for them, stated and discharged, they owing him still about 4000l.. Towards the evening comes Mr. Spong to see me, whose discourse about several things I proposed to him was very good, better than I have had with any body a good while. He gone, I to my business again, and anon comes my Lady Pen and her son-in law and daughter, and there we talked all the evening away, and then to supper; and after supper comes Sir W. Pen, and there we talked together, and then broke up, and so to bed. He tells me that our Mr. Turner has seen the proclamation against the Duke of Buckingham, and that therefore it is true what we heard last night. Yesterday and to-day I have been troubled with a hoarseness through cold that I could not almost speak.

my cold grown into a fire

all alone in my body

the evening comes on

I am old

I could almost speak


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 10 March 1667.

Pandemic

So up, and to the office, my head full of Carcasses business; then hearing that Knipp is at my house, I home, and it was about a ticket for a friend of hers. I do love the humour of the jade very well. So to the office again, not being able to stay, and there about noon my Lord Bruncker did begin to talk of Carcasse’s business. Only Commissioner Pett, my Lord, and I there, and it was pretty to see how Pett hugged the occasion of having anything against Sir W. Batten, which I am not much troubled at, for I love him not neither. Though I did really endeavour to quash it all I could, because I would prevent their malice taking effect. My Lord I see is fully resolved to vindicate Carcasse, though to the undoing of Sir W. Batten, but I believe he will find himself in a mistake, and do himself no good, and that I shall be glad of, for though I love the treason I hate the traitor. But he is vexed at my moving it to the Duke of York yesterday, which I answered well, so as I think he could not answer. But, Lord! it is pretty to see how Pett hugs this business, and how he favours my Lord Bruncker; who to my knowledge hates him, and has said more to his disadvantage, in my presence, to the King and Duke of York than any man in England, and so let them thrive one with another by cheating one another, for that is all I observe among them. Thence home late, and find my wife hath dined, and she and Mrs. Hewer going to a play. Here was Creed, and he and I to Devonshire House, to a burial of a kinsman of Sir R. Viner’s; and there I received a ring, and so away presently to Creed, who staid for me at an alehouse hard by, and thence to the Duke’s playhouse, where he parted, and I in and find my wife and Mrs. Hewer, and sat by them and saw “The English Princesse, or Richard the Third;” a most sad, melancholy play, and pretty good; but nothing eminent in it, as some tragedys are; only little Mis. Davis did dance a jig after the end of the play, and there telling the next day’s play; so that it come in by force only to please the company to see her dance in boy’s clothes; and, the truth is, there is no comparison between Nell’s dancing the other day at the King’s house in boy’s clothes and this, this being infinitely beyond the other. Here was Mrs. Clerke and Pierce, to whom one word only of “How do you,” and so away home, Mrs. Hewer with us, and I to the office and so to W. Batten’s, and there talked privately with him and W. Pen about business of Carcasse against tomorrow, wherein I think I did give them proof enough of my ability as well as friendship to W. Batten, and the honour of the office, in my sense of the rogue’s business. So back to finish my office business, and then home to supper, and to bed.
This day, Commissioner Taylor come to me for advice, and would force me to take ten pieces in gold of him, which I had no mind to, he being become one of our number at the Board.
This day was reckoned by all people the coldest day that ever was remembered in England; and, God knows! coals at a very great price.

my head full
of carcasses

not able to begin to talk
as no answer
could answer it

I see the land
thrive on burial

I see dancing beyond
the word tomorrow


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 7 March 1667.

Confined

Up, and to the office, where met and sat all the morning, doing little for want of money, but only bear the countenance of an office. At noon home to dinner, and then to the office again, and there comes Martin my purser, and I walked with him awhile in the garden, I giving him good advice to beware of coming any more with high demands for supernumeraries or other things, for now Sir W. Pen is come to mind the business, the passing of his accounts will not be so easy as the last. He tells me he will never need it again, it being as easy, and to as much purpose to do the same thing otherwise, and how he do keep his Captain’s table, and by that means hath the command of his Captains, and do not fear in a 5th-rate ship constantly employed to get a 1000l. in five years time, and this year, besides all his spendings, which are I fear high, he hath got at this day clear above 150l. in a voyage of about five or six months, which is a brave trade.
He gone I to the office, and there all the afternoon late doing much business, and then to see Sir W. Batten, whose leg is all but better than it was, and like to do well. I by discourse do perceive he and his Lady are to their hearts out with my Lord Bruncker and Mrs. Williams, to which I added something, but, I think, did not venture too far with them. But, Lord! to see to what a poor content any acquaintance among these people, or the people of the world, as they now-adays go, is worth; for my part I and my wife will keep to one another and let the world go hang, for there is nothing but falseness in it. So home to supper and hear my wife and girle sing a little, and then to bed with much content of mind.

count to one like a heart
out too far among
these people people

as the days keep on
let the world go
there is nothing

but I hear my wife sing


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 5 March 1667.

Self-quarantine

Watch on Vimeo.

The word goes out: Stop congregating. Stop conjugating. Stop conflagrating. Look but don’t touch — not even your own face. Stay home. Keep your distance. Keep your own company. That’s all any of us have left, aside from toilet paper. You may already be dead.

red pill
telling the ladybirds
to fly away home