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Samuel Pepys. Rudyard Kipling

    Like as the Oak whose roots descend
    Through earth and stillness seeking food
    Most apt to furnish in the end
    That dense, indomitable wood

    Which, felled, may arm a seaward flank
    Of Ostia’s mole or, bent to frame
    The beaked Liburnian’s triple bank,
    Carry afar the Roman name;

    But which, a tree, the season moves
    Through gentler Gods than Wind or Tide,
    Delightedly to harbour doves,
    Or take some clasping vine for bride;

    So this man, prescient to ensure
    (Since even now his orders hold)
    A little State might ride secure
    At sea from foes her sloth made bold,

    Turned in his midmost harried round,
    As Venus drove or Liber led,
    And snatched from any shrine he found
    The Stolen Draught, the Secret Bread.

    Nor these alone. His life betrayed
    No gust unslaked, no pleasure missed.
    He called the obedient Nine to aid
    The varied chase. And Clio kissed;

    Bidding him write each sordid love,
    Shame, panic, stratagem, and lie
    In full, that sinners undiscov-
    ered, like ourselves, might say: “’Tis I!”

Find out more about the life of Samuel Pepys and his infamous diary offering a rare, first-hand account of the English Restoration period.


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