Dave Bonta

Up and after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey, I home and spent the morning at dancing; at noon Creed dined with us and Mr. Deane of Woolwich, and so after dinner came Mr. Howe, who however had enough for his dinner, and so, having done, by coach to Westminster, she to Mrs. Clerke and I to St. James’s, where the Duke being gone down by water to-day with the King I went thence to my Lord Sandwich’s lodgings, where Mr. Howe and I walked a while, and going towards Whitehall through the garden Dr. Clerk and Creed called me across the bowling green, and so I went thither and after a stay went up to Mrs. Clerke who was dressing herself to go abroad with my wife. But, Lord! in what a poor condition her best chamber is, and things about her, for all the outside and show that she makes, but I found her just such a one as Mrs. Pierce, contrary to my expectation, so much that I am sick and sorry to see it.
Thence for an hour Creed and I walked to White Hall, and into the Park, seeing the Queen and Maids of Honour passing through the house going to the Park. But above all, Mrs. Stuart is a fine woman, and they say now a common mistress to the King, as my Lady Castlemaine is; which is a great pity. Thence taking a coach to Mrs. Clerke’s, took her, and my wife, and Ashwell, and a Frenchman, a kinsman of hers, to the Park, where we saw many fine faces, and one exceeding handsome, in a white dress over her head, with many others very beautiful. Staying there till past eight at night, I carried Mrs. Clerke and her Frenchman, who sings well, home, and thence home ourselves, talking much of what we had observed to-day of the poor household stuff of Mrs. Clerke and mere show and flutter that she makes in the world; and pleasing myself in my own house and manner of living more than ever I did by seeing how much better and more substantially I live than others do.
So to supper and bed.

mouth gone down
towards the owl

she makes us see our passing
is common as ash

fine hands over the night
sing of what we serve

the stuff and flutter of living
more than others


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 18 May 1663, made while listening to the band Immortal Bird.

(Lord’s day). Up and in my chamber all the morning, preparing my great letters to my father, stating to him the perfect condition of our estate. My wife and Ashwell to church, and after dinner they to church again, and I all the afternoon making an end of my morning’s work, which I did about the evening, and then to talk with my wife till after supper, and so to bed having another small falling out and myself vexed with my old fit of jealousy about her dancing-master. But I am a fool for doing it. So to bed by daylight, I having a very great cold, so as I doubt whether I shall be able to speak to-morrow at our attending the Duke, being now so hoarse.

perfect as church
making an end of work
the evening light


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 17 May 1663.

Up with my mind disturbed and with my last night’s doubts upon me.
For which I deserve to be beaten if not really served as I am fearful of being, especially since God knows that I do not find honesty enough in my own mind but that upon a small temptation I could be false to her, and therefore ought not to expect more justice from her, but God pardon both my sin and my folly herein.
To my office and there sitting all the morning, and at noon dined at home. After dinner comes Pembleton, and I being out of humour would not see him, pretending business, but, Lord! with what jealousy did I walk up and down my chamber listening to hear whether they danced or no, which they did, notwithstanding I afterwards knew and did then believe that Ashwell was with them. So to my office awhile, and, my jealousy still reigning, I went in and, not out of any pleasure but from that only reason, did go up to them to practise, and did make an end of “La Duchesse,” which I think I should, with a little pains, do very well. So broke up and saw him gone.
Then Captain Cocke coming to me to speak about my seeming discourtesy to him in the business of his hemp, I went to the office with him, and there discoursed it largely and I think to his satisfaction.
Then to my business, writing letters and other things till late at night, and so home to supper and bed. My mind in some better ease resolving to prevent matters for the time to come as much as I can, it being to no purpose to trouble myself for what is past, being occasioned too by my own folly.

with night’s doubt upon me
I find a small god

sitting in amber
listening

whether or not I believe
it pains me

and it matters as much
as what I own


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 16 May 1663.

Up betimes and walked to St. James’s, where Mr. Coventry being in bed I walked in the Park, discoursing with the keeper of the Pell Mell, who was sweeping of it; who told me of what the earth is mixed that do floor the Mall, and that over all there is cockle-shells powdered, and spread to keep it fast; which, however, in dry weather, turns to dust and deads the ball. Thence to Mr. Coventry; and sitting by his bedside, he did tell me that he sent for me to discourse upon my Lord Sandwich’s allowances for his several pays, and what his thoughts are concerning his demands; which he could not take the freedom to do face to face, it being not so proper as by me: and did give me a most friendly and ingenuous account of all; telling me how unsafe, at this juncture, while every man’s, and his actions particularly, are descanted upon, it is either for him to put the Duke upon doing, or my Lord himself to desire anything extraordinary, ‘specially the King having been so bountifull already; which the world takes notice of even to some repinings. All which he did desire me to discourse with my Lord of; which I have undertook to do.
We talked also of our office in general, with which he told me that he was now-a-days nothing so satisfied as he was wont to be. I confess I told him things are ordered in that way that we must of necessity break in a little time a pieces.
After done with him about these things, he told me that for Mr. Hater the Duke’s word was in short that he found he had a good servant, an Anabaptist, and unless he did carry himself more to the scandal of the office, he would bear with his opinion till he heard further, which do please me very much.
Thence walked to Westminster, and there up and down in the Hall and the Parliament House all the morning; at noon by coach to my Lord Crew’s, hearing that Lord Sandwich did dine there; where I told him what had passed between Mr. Coventry and myself; with which he was contented, though I could perceive not very well pleased. And I do believe that my Lord do find some other things go against his mind in the House; for in the motion made the other day in the House by my Lord Bruce, that none be capable of employment but such as have been loyal and constant to the King and Church, the General and my Lord were mentioned to be excepted; and my Lord Bruce did come since to my Lord, to clear himself that he meant nothing to his prejudice, nor could it have any such effect if he did mean it. After discourse with my Lord; to dinner with him; there dining there my Lord Montagu of Boughton, Mr. William Montagu his brother, the Queen’s Sollicitor, &c., and a fine dinner.
Their talk about a ridiculous falling-out two days ago at my Lord of Oxford’s house, at an entertainment of his, there being there my Lord of Albemarle, Lynsey, two of the Porters, my Lord Bellasses, and others, where there were high words and some blows, and pulling off of perriwiggs; till my Lord Monk took away some of their swords, and sent for some soldiers to guard the house till the fray was ended. To such a degree of madness the nobility of this age is come!
After dinner I went up to Sir Thomas Crew, who lies there not very well in his head, being troubled with vapours and fits of dizziness: and there I sat talking with. him all the afternoon from one discourse to another, the most was upon the unhappy posture of things at this time; that the King do mind nothing but pleasures, and hates the very sight or thoughts of business; that my Lady Castlemaine rules him, who, he says, hath all the tricks of Aretin that are to be practised to give pleasure. In which he is too able, having a large —-. but what is the unhappiness in that, as the Italian proverb says, “lazzo dritto non vuolt consiglio.” If any of the sober counsellors give him good advice, and move him in anything that is to his good and honour, the other part, which are his counsellers of pleasure, take him when he is with my Lady Castlemaine, and in a humour of delight, and then persuade him that he ought not to hear nor listen to the advice of those old dotards or counsellors that were heretofore his enemies: when, God knows! it is they that now-a-days do most study his honour. It seems the present favourites now are my Lord Bristol, Duke of Buckingham, Sir H. Bennet, my Lord Ashley, and Sir Charles Barkeley; who, among them, have cast my Lord Chancellor upon his back, past ever getting up again; there being now little for him to do, and he waits at Court attending to speak to the King as others do: which I pray God may prove of good effects, for it is feared it will be the same with my Lord Treasurer shortly. But strange to hear how my Lord Ashley, by my Lord Bristol’s means (he being brought over to the Catholique party against the Bishopps, whom he hates to the death, and publicly rails against them; not that he is become a Catholique, but merely opposes the Bishopps; and yet, for aught I hear, the Bishopp of London keeps as great with the King as ever) is got into favour, so much that, being a man of great business and yet of pleasure, and drolling too, he, it is thought, will be made Lord Treasurer upon the death or removal of the good old man.
My Lord Albemarle, I hear, do bear through and bustle among them, and will not be removed from the King’s good opinion and favour, though none of the Cabinett; but yet he is envied enough.
It is made very doubtful whether the King do not intend the making of the Duke of Monmouth legitimate; but surely the Commons of England will never do it, nor the Duke of York suffer it, whose lady, I am told, is very troublesome to him by her jealousy. But it is wonderful that Sir Charles Barkeley should be so great still, not with the King, but Duke also; who did so stiffly swear that he had lain with her. And another one Armour that he rode before her on horseback in Holland I think, and she rid with her hand upon his ——.
No care is observed to be taken of the main chance, either for maintaining of trade or opposing of factions, which, God knows, are ready to break out, if any of them (which God forbid!) should dare to begin; the King and every man about him minding so much their pleasures or profits.
My Lord Hinchingbroke, I am told, hath had a mischance to kill his boy by his birding-piece going off as he was a-fowling. The gun was charged with small shot, and hit the boy in the face and about the temples, and he lived four days.
In Scotland, it seems, for all the newes-books tell us every week that they are all so quiett, and everything in the Church settled, the old women had like to have killed, the other day, the Bishop of Galloway, and not half the Churches of the whole kingdom conform.
Strange were the effects of the late thunder and lightning about a week since at Northampton, coming with great rain, which caused extraordinary floods in a few hours, bearing away bridges, drowning horses, men, and cattle. Two men passing over a bridge on horseback, the arches before and behind them were borne away, and that left which they were upon: but, however, one of the horses fell over, and was drowned. Stacks of faggots carried as high as a steeple, and other dreadful things; which Sir Thomas Crew showed me letters to him about from Mr. Freemantle and others, that it is very true.
The Portugalls have choused us, it seems, in the Island of Bombay, in the East Indys; for after a great charge of our fleets being sent thither with full commission from the King of Portugall to receive it, the Governour by some pretence or other will not deliver it to Sir Abraham Shipman, sent from the King, nor to my Lord of Marlborough; which the King takes highly ill, and I fear our Queen will fare the worse for it.
The Dutch decay there exceedingly, it being believed that their people will revolt from them there, and they forced to give over their trade. This is talked of among us, but how true I understand not.
Sir Thomas showed me his picture and Sir Anthony Vandike’s, in crayon in little, done exceedingly well.
Having thus freely talked with him, and of many more things, I took leave, and by coach to St. James’s, and there told Mr. Coventry what I had done with my Lord with great satisfaction, and so well pleased home, where I found it almost night, and my wife and the dancing-master alone above, not dancing but talking. Now so deadly full of jealousy I am that my heart and head did so cast about and fret that I could not do any business possibly, but went out to my office, and anon late home again and ready to chide at every thing, and then suddenly to bed and could hardly sleep, yet durst not say any thing, but was forced to say that I had bad news from the Duke concerning Tom Hater as an excuse to my wife, who by my folly has too much opportunity given her with the man, who is a pretty neat black man, but married. But it is a deadly folly and plague that I bring upon myself to be so jealous and by giving myself such an occasion more than my wife desired of giving her another month’s dancing. Which however shall be ended as soon as I can possibly. But I am ashamed to think what a course I did take by lying to see whether my wife did wear drawers to-day as she used to do, and other things to raise my suspicion of her, but I found no true cause of doing it.

a park keeper told me
what the earth is

cockle shells and weather
dust and dead beds

a face for
the bountiful world

which we must of necessity
break in pieces

with words and blows
and a degree of madness

but what is the unhappiness in that
if the light is good

surely the land will never suffer
it is so great still

and every bird so quiet
like a hole the rain drowned

this talk I understand in crayon
dancing but deadly full

I hide in sleep
a folly that I bring myself
to see as true


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 15 May 1663.

Up betimes and put up some things to send to Brampton. Then abroad to the Temple, and up and down about business, and met Mr. Moore; and with him to an alehouse in Holborn; where in discourse he told me that he fears the King will be tempted to endeavour the setting the Crown upon the little Duke, which may cause troubles; which God forbid, unless it be his due! He told me my Lord do begin to settle to business again, which I am glad of, for he must not sit out, now he has done his own business by getting his estate settled, and that the King did send for him the other day to my Lady Castlemaine’s, to play at cards, where he lost 50l.; for which I am sorry, though he says my Lord was pleased at it, and said he would be glad at any time to lose 50l. for the King to send for him to play, which I do not so well like.
Thence home, and after dinner to the office, where we sat till night, and then made up my papers and letters by the post, and so home to dance with Pembleton.
This day we received a baskett from my sister Pall, made by her of paper, which hath a great deal of labour in it for country innocent work.
After supper to bed, and going to bed received a letter from Mr. Coventry desiring my coming to him to-morrow morning, which troubled me to think what the business should be, fearing it must be some bad news in Tom Hater’s business.

time and fear devour us

which God is glad now
to play at cards

like a night made of paper
I bled ink


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 14 May 1663. (Erased while listening to the Gorguts EP
Pleiades’ Dust, about the Mongol destruction of the House of Wisdom during the 1258 Siege of Baghdad).

Lay till 6 o’clock and then up, and after a little talk and mirth, he went away, and I to my office, where busy all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, and after dinner Pembleton came and I practised. But, Lord! to see how my wife will not be thought to need telling by me or Ashwell, and yet will plead that she has learnt but a month, which causes many short fallings out between us. So to my office, whither one-eyed Cooper came to see me, and I made him to show me the use of platts, and to understand the lines, and how to find how lands bear, &c., to my great content.
Then came Mr. Barrow, storekeeper of Chatham, who tells me many things, how basely Sir W. Batten has carried himself to him, and in all things else like a passionate dotard, to the King’s great wrong. God mend all, for I am sure we are but in an ill condition in the Navy, however the King is served in other places.
Home to supper, to cards, and to bed.

clock-talk is how
I ought to learn

but one-eyed
I understand lines

and how to like
a great wrong card


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 13 May 1663.

Up between four and five, and after dressing myself then to my office to prepare business against the afternoon, where all the morning, and dined at noon at home, where a little angry with my wife for minding nothing now but the dancing-master, having him come twice a day, which is a folly.
Again, to my office. We sat till late, our chief business being the reconciling the business of the pieces of eight mentioned yesterday before the Duke of York, wherein I have got the day, and they are all brought over to what I said, of which I am proud.
Late writing letters, and so home to supper and to bed. Here I found Creed staying for me, and so after supper I staid him all night and lay with me, our great discourse being the folly of our two doting knights, of which I am ashamed.

four in the morning
reconciling the pieces
of what I said

I am proud
our discourse the folly
of two knights


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 12 May 1663.

Up betimes, and by water to Woolwich on board the Royall James, to see in what dispatch she is to be carried about to Chatham. So to the yard a little, and thence on foot to Greenwich, where going I was set upon by a great dogg, who got hold of my garters, and might have done me hurt; but, Lord, to see in what a maze I was, that, having a sword about me, I never thought of it, or had the heart to make use of it, but might, for want of that courage, have been worried.
Took water there and home, and both coming and going did con my lesson on my Ruler to measure timber, which I think I can well undertake now to do.
At home there being Pembleton I danced, and I think shall come on to do something in a little time, and after dinner by coach with Sir W. Pen (setting down his daughter at Clerkenwell), to St. James’s, where we attended the Duke of York: and, among other things, Sir G. Carteret and I had a great dispute about the different value of the pieces of eight rated by Mr. Creed at 4s. and 5d., and by Pitts at 4s. and 9d., which was the greatest husbandry to the King? he persisting that the greatest sum was; which is as ridiculous a piece of ignorance as could be imagined. However, it is to be argued at the Board, and reported to the Duke next week; which I shall do with advantage, I hope.
Thence to the Tangier Committee, where we should have concluded in sending Captain Cuttance and the rest to Tangier to deliberate upon the design of the Mole before they begin to work upon it, but there being not a committee (my Lord intending to be there but was taken up at my Lady Castlemayne’s) I parted and went homeward, after a little discourse with Mr. Pierce the surgeon, who tells me that my Lady Castlemaine hath now got lodgings near the King’s chamber at Court; and that the other day Dr. Clerke and he did dissect two bodies, a man and a woman; before the King, with which the King was highly pleased.
By water and called upon Tom Trice by appointment with Dr. Williams, but the Dr. did not come, it seems by T. Trice’s desire, not thinking he should be at leisure. However, in general we talked of our business, and I do not find that he will come to any lower terms than 150l., which I think I shall not give him but by law, and so we parted, and I called upon Mr. Crumlum, and did give him the 10s. remaining, not laid out of the 5l. I promised him for the school, with which he will buy strings, and golden letters upon the books I did give them. I sat with him and his wife a great while talking, and she is [a] pretty woman, never yet with child, and methinks looks as if her mouth watered now and then upon some of her boys.
Then upon Tom Pepys, the Turner, desiring his father and his letter to Piggott signifying his consent to the selling of his land for the paying of us his money, and so home, and finding Pembleton there we did dance till it was late, and so to supper and to bed.

I am a dog who got hold of art
and worried it

I dispute the value
of pieces rated as great

the ridiculous design of work
in a committee

we who now dissect bodies
and call that art

a man never yet with child
boys desiring a pig


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 11 May 1663.

(Lord’s day). Up betimes, and put on a black cloth suit, with white lynings under all, as the fashion is to wear, to appear under the breeches. So being ready walked to St. James’s, where I sat talking with Mr. Coventry, while he made himself ready, about several businesses of the Navy, and afterwards, the Duke being gone out, he and I walked to White Hall together over the Park, I telling him what had happened to Tom Hater, at which he seems very sorry, but tells me that if it is not made very publique, it will not be necessary to put him away at present, but give him good caution for the time to come. However, he will speak to the Duke about it and know his pleasure.
Parted with him there, and I walked back to St. James’s, and was there at mass, and was forced in the crowd to kneel down; and mass being done, to the King’s Head ordinary, whither I sent for Mr. Creed and there we dined, where many Parliament-men; and most of their talk was about the news from Scotland, that the Bishop of Galloway was besieged in his house by some women, and had like to have been outraged, but I know not how he was secured; which is bad news, and looks just as it did in the beginning of the late troubles. From thence they talked of rebellion; and I perceive they make it their great maxime to be sure to master the City of London, whatever comes of it or from it. After that to some other discourse, and, among other things, talking of the way of ordinaries, that it is very convenient, because a man knows what he hath to pay: one did wish that, among many bad, we could learn two good things of France, which were that we would not think it below the gentleman, or person of honour at a tavern, to bargain for his meat before he eats it; and next, to take no servant without certificate from some friend or gentleman of his good behaviour and abilities.
Hence with Creed into St. James’s Park, and there walked all the afternoon, and thence on foot home, and after a little while at my office walked in the garden with my wife, and so home to supper, and after prayers to bed. My brother Tom supped with me, and should have brought my aunt Ellen with him; she was not free to go abroad.

I put on a black suit
with white lining

and go out like a bad city
of whatever comes

so convenient to bargain on
so free a road


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 10 May 1663.

Up betimes and to my office, whither sooner than ordinary comes Mr. Hater desiring to speak a word to me alone, which I was from the disorder of his countenance amused at, and so the poor man began telling me that by Providence being the last Lord’s day at a meeting of some Friends upon doing of their duties, they were surprised, and he carried to the Counter, but afterwards released; however, hearing that Sir W. Batten do hear of he thought it good to give me an account of it, lest it might tend to any prejudice to me. I was extraordinary surprised with it, and troubled for him, knowing that now it is out it is impossible for me to conceal it, or keep him in employment under me without danger to myself. I cast about all I could, and did give him the best advice I could, desiring to know if I should promise that he would not for the time to come commit the same, he told me he desired that I would rather forbear to promise that, for he durst not do it, whatever God in His providence shall do with him, and that for my part he did bless God and thank me for all the love and kindness I have shewed him hitherto. I could not without tears in my eyes discourse with him further, but at last did pitch upon telling the truth of the whole to Mr. Coventry as soon as I could, and to that end did use means to prevent Sir W. Batten (who came to town last night) from going to that end to-day, lest he might doe it to Sir G. Carteret or Mr. Coventry before me; which I did prevail and kept him at the office all the morning.
At noon dined at home with a heavy heart for the poor man, and after dinner went out to my brother’s, and thence to Westminster, where at Mr. Jervas’s, my old barber, I did try two or three borders and perriwiggs, meaning to wear one; and yet I have no stomach but that the pains of keeping my hair clean is so great. He trimmed me, and at last I parted, but my mind was almost altered from my first purpose, from the trouble that I foresee will be in wearing them also. Thence by water home and to the office, where busy late, and so home to supper and bed, with my mind much troubled about T. Hater.

telling me about
the bear that came to town
my old barber


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 9 May 1663.