Pepys' "Diary"

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

To One who asked why he wrote it.


You ask me what was his intent?
In truth, I'm not a German;
'Tis plain though that he neither meant
A Lecture nor a Sermon.

But there it is,--the thing's a Fact.
I find no other reason
But that some scribbling itch attacked
Him in and out of season,

To write what no one else should read,
With this for second meaning,
To "cleanse his bosom" (and indeed
It sometimes wanted cleaning);

To speak, as 'twere, his private mind,
Unhindered by repression,
To make his motley life a kind,
Of Midas' ears confession;

And thus outgrew this work per se,--
This queer, kaleidoscopic,
Delightful, blabbing, vivid, free
Hotch-pot of daily topic.

So artless in its vanity,
So fleeting, so eternal,
So packed with "poor Humanity"--
We know as Pepys' his journal.[1]

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