Dave Bonta

Up by 4 o’clock and by water to Woolwich, where did some business and walked to Greenwich, good discourse with Mr. Deane best part of the way; there met by appointment Commissioner Pett, and with him to Deptford, where did also some business, and so home to my office, and at noon Mrs. Hunt and her cozens child and mayd came and dined with me. My wife sick of those in bed. I was troubled with it, but, however, could not help it, but attended them till after dinner, and then to the office and there sat all the afternoon, and by a letter to me this afternoon from Mr. Coventry I saw the first appearance of a warr with Holland. So home; and betimes to bed because of rising to-morrow.

at green noon
how not to try
the first pear


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 May 1664.

Up and all day, both forenoon and afternoon, at my office to see it finished by the joyners and washed and every thing in order, and indeed now my closet is very convenient and pleasant for me. My uncle Wight came to me to my office this afternoon to speak with me about Mr. Maes’s business again, and from me went to my house to see my wife, and strange to think that my wife should by and by send for me after he was gone to tell me that he should begin discourse of her want of children and his also, and how he thought it would be best for him and her to have one between them, and he would give her 500l. either in money or jewells beforehand, and make the child his heir. He commended her body, and discoursed that for all he knew the thing was lawful. She says she did give him a very warm answer, such as he did not excuse himself by saying that he said this in jest, but told her that since he saw what her mind was he would say no more to her of it, and desired her to make no words of it. It seemed he did say all this in a kind of counterfeit laugh, but by all words that passed, which I cannot now so well set down, it is plain to me that he was in good earnest, and that I fear all his kindness is but only his lust to her. What to think of it of a sudden I know not, but I think not to take notice yet of it to him till I have thought better of it. So with my mind and head a little troubled I received a letter from Mr. Coventry about a mast for the Duke’s yacht, which with other business makes me resolve to go betimes to Woolwich to-morrow. So to supper and to bed.

both joy and ash came
from my strange children

I sired words
in a kind of counterfeit lust

what to think of a sudden ink
bled from other times


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 11 May 1664.

Up and to my office all the morning, and there saw several things done in my work to my great content, and at noon home to dinner, and after dinner in Sir W. Pen’s coach he set my wife and I down at the New Exchange, and after buying some things we walked to my Lady Sandwich’s, who, good lady, is now, thanks be to God! so well as to sit up, and sent to us, if we were not afeard, to come up to her. So we did; but she was mightily against my wife’s coming so near her; though, poor wretch! she is as well as ever she was, as to the meazles, and nothing can I see upon her face. There we sat talking with her above three hours, till six o’clock, of several things with great pleasure and so away, and home by coach, buying several things for my wife in our way, and so after looking what had been done in my office to-day, with good content home to supper and to bed. But, strange, how I cannot get any thing to take place in my mind while my work lasts at my office. This day my wife and I in our way to Paternoster Row to buy things called upon Mr. Hollyard to advise upon her drying up her issue in her leg, which inclines of itself to dry up, and he admits of it that it should be dried up.

fear is the nothing
I face in a clock

after looking at it
I cannot get anything
to take place in my mind

while my yard
is drying up


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 9 May 1664.

(Lord’s day). This day my new tailor, Mr. Langford, brought me home a new black cloth suit and cloake lined with silk moyre, and he being gone, who pleases me very well with his work and I hope will use me pretty well, then Deane and I to my chamber, and there we repeated my yesterday’s lesson about ships all the morning, and I hope I shall soon understand it. At noon to dinner, and strange how in discourse he cries up chymistry from some talk he has had with an acquaintance of his, a chymist, when, poor man, he understands not one word of it. But I discern very well that it is only his good nature, but in this of building ships he hath taken great pains, more than most builders I believe have.
After dinner he went away, and my wife and I to church, and after church to Sir W. Pen, and there sat and talked with him, and the perfidious rogue seems, as he do always, mightily civil to us, though I know he hates and envies us.
So home to supper, prayers, and to bed.

a black mist of pain
more than most believe

church after church seems
to hate me


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 8 May 1664.

Betimes at my office with the joyners, and giving order for other things about it. By and by we sat all the morning. At noon to dinner, and after dinner comes Deane of Woolwich, and I spent, as I had appointed, all the afternoon with him about instructions which he gives me to understand the building of a ship, and I think I shall soon understand it. In the evening a little to my office to see how the work goes forward there, and then home and spent the evening also with Mr. Deane, and had a good supper, and then to bed, he lying at my house.

joy giving other instructions
gives me the building of a ship

I soon understand how the war
had a lying use


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 7 May 1664.

This morning up and to my office, where Sympson my joyner came to work upon altering my closet, which I alter by setting the door in another place, and several other things to my great content. Busy at it all day, only in the afternoon home, and there, my books at the office being out of order, wrote letters and other businesses. So at night with my head full of the business of my closet home to bed, and strange it is to think how building do fill my mind and put out all other things out of my thoughts.

is my office my work
I lose the door
place my books in order

let the night be a strange ink
building other things
out of my thoughts


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 6 May 1664.

Up betimes to my office, busy, and so abroad to change some plate for my father to send to-day by the carrier to Brampton, but I observe and do fear it may be to my wrong that I change spoons of my uncle Robert’s into new and set a P upon them that thereby I cannot claim them hereafter, as it was my brother Tom’s practice. However, the matter of this is not great, and so I did it. So to the ‘Change, and meeting Sir W. Warren, with him to a taverne, and there talked, as we used to do, of the evils the King suffers in our ordering of business in the Navy, as Sir W. Batten now forces us by his knavery.
So home to dinner, and to the office, where all the afternoon, and thence betimes home, my eyes beginning every day to grow less and less able to bear with long reading or writing, though it be by daylight; which I never observed till now.
So home to my wife, and after supper to bed.

O plate O my wrong spoon
I cannot eat as we used to
the evils I order for dinner

the ice and the gin
less and less able to bear it
though it be light I served up


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 5 May 1664.

Up, and my new Taylor, Langford, comes and takes measure of me for a new black cloth suit and cloake, and I think he will prove a very carefull fellow and will please me well. Thence to attend my Lord Peterborough in bed and give him an account of yesterday’s proceeding with Povy. I perceive I labour in a business will bring me little pleasure; but no matter, I shall do the King some service. To my Lord’s lodgings, where during my Lady’s sickness he is, there spoke with him about the same business. Back and by water to my cozen Scott’s. There condoled with him the loss of my cozen, his wife, and talked about his matters, as atturney to my father, in his administering to my brother Tom. He tells me we are like to receive some shame about the business of his bastarde with Jack Noble; but no matter, so it cost us no money.
Thence to the Coffee-house and to the ‘Change a while. News uncertain how the Dutch proceed. Some say for, some against a war. The plague increases at Amsterdam. So home to dinner, and after dinner to my office, where very late, till my eyes (which begin to fail me nowadays by candlelight) begin to trouble me. Only in the afternoon comes Mr. Peter Honiwood to see me and gives me 20s., his and his friends’ pence for my brother John, which, God forgive my pride, methinks I think myself too high to take of him; but it is an ungratefull pitch of pride in me, which God forgive.
Home at night to supper and to bed.

measure me for a black suit
full of yesterday’s pleasure

I shall do business with loss and war
till my eyes begin to fail
and I begin to take a rat
home to supper


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 4 May 1664.

Up, and being ready, went by agreement to Mr. Bland’s and there drank my morning draft in good chocollatte, and slabbering my band sent home for another, and so he and I by water to White Hall, and walked to St. James’s, where met Creed and Vernatty, and by and by Sir W. Rider, and so to Mr. Coventry’s chamber, and there upon my Lord Peterborough’s accounts, where I endeavoured to shew the folly and punish it as much as I could of Mr. Povy; for, of all the men in the world, I never knew any man of his degree so great a coxcomb in such imployments. I see I have lost him forever, but I value it not; for he is a coxcomb, and, I doubt, not over honest, by some things which I see; and yet, for all his folly, he hath the good lucke, now and then, to speak his follies in as good words, and with as good a show, as if it were reason, and to the purpose, which is really one of the wonders of my life.
Thence walked to Westminster Hall; and there, in the Lords’ House, did in a great crowd, from ten o’clock till almost three, hear the cause of Mr. Roberts, my Lord Privy Seal’s son, against Win, who by false ways did get the father of Mr. Roberts’s wife (Mr. Bodvill) to give him the estate and disinherit his daughter. The cause was managed for my Lord Privy Seal by Finch the Solicitor [General]; but I do really think that he is truly a man of as great eloquence as ever I heard, or ever hope to hear in all my life.
Thence, after long staying to speak with my Lord Sandwich, at last he coming out to me and speaking with me about business of my Lord Peterborough, I by coach home to the office, where all the afternoon, only stept home to eat one bit and to the office again, having eaten nothing before to-day. My wife abroad with my aunt Wight and Norbury.
I in the evening to my uncle Wight’s, and not finding them come home, they being gone to the Parke and the Mulberry garden, I went to the ‘Change, and there meeting with Mr. Hempson, whom Sir W. Batten has lately turned out of his place, merely because of his coming to me when he came to town before he went to him, and there he told me many rogueries of Sir W. Batten, how he knows and is able to prove that Captain Cox of Chatham did give him 10l. in gold to get him to certify for him at the King’s coming in, and that Tom Newborne did make [the] poor men give him 3l. to get Sir W. Batten to cause them to be entered in the yard, and that Sir W. Batten had oftentimes said: “by God, Tom, you shall get something and I will have some on’t.” His present clerk that is come in Norman’s room has given him something for his place; that they live high and (as Sir Francis Clerk’s lady told his wife) do lack money as well as other people, and have bribes of a piece of sattin and cabinetts and other things from people that deal with him, and that hardly any body goes to see or hath anything done by Sir W. Batten but it comes with a bribe, and that this is publickly true that his wife was a whore, and that he had libells flung within his doors for a cuckold as soon as he was married; that he received 100l. in money and in other things to the value of 50l. more of Hempson, and that he intends to give him back but 50l.; that he hath abused the Chest and hath now some 1000l. by him of it.
I met also upon the ‘Change with Mr. Cutler, and he told me how for certain Lawson hath proclaimed warr again with Argier, though they had at his first coming given back the ships which they had taken, and all their men; though they refused afterwards to make him restitution for the goods which they had taken out of them.
Thence to my uncle Wight’s, and he not being at home I went with Mr. Norbury near hand to the Fleece, a mum house in Leadenhall, and there drunk mum and by and by broke up, it being about 11 o’clock at night, and so leaving them also at home, went home myself and to bed.

the slabbering men
I have lost forever
and some of the wonder of life

in the great sea a false eloquence
as ever I heard
staying out or coming in high

a whore old as money
with hips of lead


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 3 May 1664.