Dave Bonta

Lay long talking with my wife, then up and to my chamber preparing papers against my father comes to lie here for discourse about country business. Dined well with my wife at home, being myself not yet thorough well, making water with some pain, but better than I was, and all my fear of an ague gone away.
In the afternoon my father came to see us, and he gone I up to my morning’s work again, and so in the evening a little to the office and to see Sir W. Batten, who is ill again, and so home to supper and to bed.

I am preparing a fat lie
about myself

making me better
than all my fear of fat

I gain and so
a little off

who is ill


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 11 April 1664.

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed, and then up and my wife dressed herself, it being Easter day, but I not being so well as to go out, she, though much against her will, staid at home with me; for she had put on her new best gowns, which indeed is very fine now with the lace; and this morning her taylor brought home her other new laced silks gowns with a smaller lace, and new petticoats, I bought the other day both very pretty.
We spent the day in pleasant talks and company one with another, reading in Dr. Fuller’s book what he says of the family of the Cliffords and Kingsmills, and at night being myself better than I was by taking a glyster, which did carry away a great deal of wind, I after supper at night went to bed and slept well.

Easter morning
her silk gown talks
with the wind


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 10 April 1664.

The last night, whether it was from cold I got to-day upon the water I know not, or whether it was from my mind being over concerned with Stanes’s business of the platery of the navy, for my minds was mighty troubled with the business all night long, I did wake about one o’clock in the morning, a thing I most rarely do, and pissed a little with great pain, continued sleepy, but in a high fever all night, fiery hot, and in some pain. Towards morning I slept a little and waking found myself better, but pissed with some pain, and rose I confess with my clothes sweating, and it was somewhat cold too, which I believe might do me more hurt, for I continued cold and apt to shake all the morning, but that some trouble with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten kept me warm. At noon home to dinner upon tripes, and so though not well abroad with my wife by coach to her Tailor’s and the New Exchange, and thence to my father’s and spoke one word with him, and thence home, where I found myself sick in my stomach and vomited, which I do not use to do. Then I drank a glass or two of Hypocras, and to the office to dispatch some business, necessary, and so home and to bed, and by the help of Mithrydate slept very well.

all night long
the fiery rose sweating
in a glass


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 9 April 1664.

I dreamed I had sex with a two-headed woman. One head was normal; the other was faceless, hairless, blank, like a lightbulb of flesh — or, Lord knows, the head of a penis. The normal head belonged to a former lover. I wanted to ask how long she’d had this second head, but was too embarrassed to admit I’d never noticed it before. I woke up wondering whether I should’ve kissed it. Rain was drumming on the roof.

The next night I’m writing a poem in Spanish, searching my dusty memory for the right word: Is it muro — wall — or pared — wall — or muralla — wall — or barrera — wall — or tapia — wall? La pared, I think. The word must end in a consonant, tongue vibrating against the alveolar ridge. Se prohibe la entrada. “Something there is that doesn’t love…” But those words aren’t in my dream. Solamente el muro y la pared. Words for what refuses communication.

Up betimes and to the office, and anon, it begunn to be fair after a great shower this morning, Sir W. Batten and I by water (calling his son Castle by the way, between whom and I no notice at all of his letter the other day to me) to Deptford, and after a turn in the yard, I went with him to the Almes’-house to see the new building which he, with some ambition, is building of there, during his being Master of Trinity House; and a good worke it is, but to see how simply he answered somebody concerning setting up the arms of the corporation upon the door, that and any thing else he did not deny it, but said he would leave that to the master that comes after him.
There I left him and to the King’s yard again, and there made good inquiry into the business of the poop lanterns, wherein I found occasion to correct myself mightily for what I have done in the contract with the platerer, and am resolved, though I know not how, to make them to alter it, though they signed it last night, and so I took Stanes home with me by boat and discoursed it, and he will come to reason when I can make him to understand it.
No sooner landed but it fell a mighty storm of rain and hail, so I put into a cane shop and bought one to walk with, cost me 4s. 6d., all of one joint.
So home to dinner, and had an excellent Good Friday dinner of peas porridge and apple pye.
So to the office all the afternoon preparing a new book for my contracts, and this afternoon come home the office globes done to my great content. In the evening a little to visit Sir W. Pen, who hath a feeling this day or two of his old pain. Then to walk in the garden with my wife, and so to my office a while, and then home to the only Lenten supper I have had of wiggs and ale, and so to bed. This morning betimes came to my office to me boatswain Smith of Woolwich, telling me a notable piece of knavery of the officers of the yard and Mr. Gold in behalf of a contract made for some old ropes by Mr. Wood, and I believe I shall find Sir W. Batten of the plot (vide my office daybook).

in the arms of the corporation
I found myself

a contract I am
resolved not to alter

they understand me
and all who feel only half made


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 April 1664.

Up and to my office, where busy, and by and by comes Sir W. Warren and old Mr. Bond in order to the resolving me some questions about masts and their proportions, but he could say little to me to my satisfaction, and so I held him not long but parted. So to my office busy till noon and then to the ‘Change, where high talke of the Dutch’s protest against our Royall Company in Guinny, and their granting letters of marke against us there, and every body expects a warr, but I hope it will not yet be so, nor that this is true. Thence to dinner, where my wife got me a pleasant French fricassee of veal for dinner, and thence to the office, where vexed to see how Sir W. Batten ordered things this afternoon (vide my office book, for about this time I have begun, my notions and informations encreasing now greatly every day, to enter all occurrences extraordinary in my office in a book by themselves), and so in the evening after long discourse and eased my mind by discourse with Sir W. Warren, I to my business late, and so home to supper and to bed.

here comes war an old order
resolving questions
about faction and protest

against the body
a war will not be true

a fricassee of notions and information
I eat every day
to ease my mind


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 7 April 1664.

Up and to my office, whither by and by came John Noble, my father’s old servant, to speake with me. I smelling the business, took him home; and there, all alone, he told me how he had been serviceable to my brother Tom, in the business of his getting his servant, an ugly jade, Margaret, with child. She was brought to bed in St. Sepulchre’s parish of two children; one is dead, the other is alive; her name Elizabeth, and goes by the name of Taylor, daughter to John Taylor. It seems Tom did a great while trust one Crawly with the business, who daily got money of him; and at last, finding himself abused, he broke the matter to J. Noble, upon a vowe of secresy. Tom’s first plott was to go on the other side the water and give a beggar woman something to take the child. They did once go, but did nothing, J. Noble saying that seven years hence the mother might come to demand the child and force him to produce it, or to be suspected of murder. Then I think it was that they consulted, and got one Cave, a poor pensioner in St. Bride’s parish to take it, giving him 5l., he thereby promising to keepe it for ever without more charge to them. The parish hereupon indite the man Cave for bringing this child upon the parish, and by Sir Richard Browne he is sent to the Counter. Cave thence writes to Tom to get him out. Tom answers him in a letter of his owne hand, which J. Noble shewed me, but not signed by him, wherein he speaks of freeing him and getting security for him, but nothing as to the business of the child, or anything like it: so that forasmuch as I could guess, there is nothing therein to my brother’s prejudice as to the main point, and therefore I did not labour to tear or take away the paper.
Cave being released, demands 5l. more to secure my brother for ever against the child; and he was forced to give it him and took bond of Cave in 100l., made at a scrivener’s, one Hudson, I think, in the Old Bayly, to secure John Taylor, and his assigns, &c. (in consideration of 10l. paid him), from all trouble, or charge of meat, drink, clothes, and breeding of Elizabeth Taylor; and it seems, in the doing of it, J. Noble was looked upon as the assignee of this John Taylor. Noble says that he furnished Tom with this money, and is also bound by another bond to pay him 20s. more this next Easter Monday; but nothing for either sum appears under Tom’s hand. I told him how I am like to lose a great sum by his death, and would not pay any more myself, but I would speake to my father about it against the afternoon. So away he went, and I all the morning in my office busy, and at noon home to dinner mightily oppressed with wind, and after dinner took coach and to Paternoster Row, and there bought a pretty silke for a petticoate for my wife, and thence set her down at the New Exchange, and I leaving the coat at Unthanke’s, went to White Hall, but the Councell meeting at Worcester House I went thither, and there delivered to the Duke of Albemarle a paper touching some Tangier business, and thence to the ‘Change for my wife, and walked to my father’s, who was packing up some things for the country. I took him up and told him this business of Tom, at which the poor wretch was much troubled, and desired me that I would speak with J. Noble, and do what I could and thought fit in it without concerning him in it. So I went to Noble, and saw the bond that Cave did give and also Tom’s letter that I mentioned above, and upon the whole I think some shame may come, but that it will be hard from any thing I see there to prove the child to be his. Thence to my father and told what I had done, and how I had quieted Noble by telling him that, though we are resolved to part with no more money out of our own purses, yet if he can make it appear a true debt that it may be justifiable for us to pay it, we will do our part to get it paid, and said that I would have it paid before my own debt.
So my father and I both a little satisfied, though vexed to think what a rogue my brother was in all respects. I took my wife by coach home, and to my office, where late with Sir W. Warren, and so home to supper and to bed.
I heard to-day that the Dutch have begun with us by granting letters of marke against us; but I believe it not.

I smell ugly money
on the other side of murder

they promising security
secure a cave made by hand

like wind in a paper country
this business of war


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 6 April 1664.

Up very betimes, and walked to my cozen Anthony Joyce’s, and thence with him to his brother Will, in Tuttle Street, where I find him pretty cheery over [what] he was yesterday (like a coxcomb), his wife being come to him, and having had his boy with him last night. Here I staid an hour or two and wrote over a fresh petition, that which was drawn by their solicitor not pleasing me, and thence to the Painted chamber, and by and by away by coach to my Lord Peterborough’s, and there delivered the petition into his hand, which he promised most readily to deliver to the House today. Thence back, and there spoke to several Lords, and so did his solicitor (one that W. Joyce hath promised 5l. to if he be released). Lord Peterborough presented a petition to the House from W. Joyce: and a great dispute, we hear, there was in the House for and against it. At last it was carried that he should be bayled till the House meets again after Easter, he giving bond for his appearance. This was not so good as we hoped, but as good as we could well expect.
Anon comes the King and passed the Bill for repealing the Triennial Act, and another about Writs of Errour. I crowded in and heard the King’s speech to them; but he speaks the worst that ever I heard man in my life worse than if he read it all, and he had it in writing in his hand.
Thence, after the House was up, and I inquired what the order of the House was, I to W. Joyce, with his brother, and told them all. Here was Kate come, and is a comely fat woman. I would not stay dinner, thinking to go home to dinner, and did go by water as far as the bridge, but thinking that they would take it kindly my being there, to be bayled for him if there was need, I returned, but finding them gone out to look after it, only Will and his wife and sister left and some friends that came to visit him, I to Westminster Hall, and by and by by agreement to Mrs. Lane’s lodging, whither I sent for a lobster, and with Mr. Swayne and his wife eat it, and argued before them mightily for Hawly, but all would not do, although I made her angry by calling her old, and making her know what herself is. Her body was out of temper for any dalliance, and so after staying there 3 or 4 hours, but yet taking care to have my oath safe of not staying a quarter of an hour together with her, I went to W. Joyce, where I find the order come, and bayle (his father and brother) given; and he paying his fees, which come to above 2l., besides 5l. he is to give one man, and his charges of eating and drinking here, and 10s. a-day as many days as he stands under bayle: which, I hope, will teach him hereafter to hold his tongue better than he used to do. Thence with Anth. Joyce’s wife alone home talking of Will’s folly, and having set her down, home myself, where I find my wife dressed as if she had been abroad, but I think she was not, but she answering me some way that I did not like I pulled her by the nose, indeed to offend her, though afterwards to appease her I denied it, but only it was done in haste. The poor wretch took it mighty ill, and I believe besides wringing her nose she did feel pain, and so cried a great while, but by and by I made her friends, and so after supper to my office a while, and then home to bed.
This day great numbers of merchants came to a Grand Committee of the House to bring in their claims against the Dutch. I pray God guide the issue to our good!

street pretty
as a painted crow
that life all I need to look at

but her old body
dressed as if
she had been a road

thin answer
to the poor
in their claims against God


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 5 April 1664.

Up, and walked to my Lord Sandwich’s; and there spoke with him about W. Joyce, who told me he would do what was fit in so tender a point. I can yet discern a coldness in him to admit me to any discourse with him. Thence to Westminster, to the Painted Chamber, and there met the two Joyces. Will in a very melancholy taking. After a little discourse I to the Lords’ House before they sat; and stood within it a good while, while the Duke of York came to me and spoke to me a good while about the new ship at Woolwich. Afterwards I spoke with my Lord Barkeley and my Lord Peterborough about it. And so staid without a good while, and saw my Lady Peters, an impudent jade, soliciting all the Lords on her behalf. And at last W. Joyce was called in; and by the consequences, and what my Lord Peterborough told me, I find that he did speak all he said to his disadvantage, and so was committed to the Black Rod: which is very hard, he doing what he did by the advice of my Lord Peters’ own steward. But the Sergeant of the Black Rod did direct one of his messengers to take him in custody, and so he was peaceably conducted to the Swan with two Necks, in Tuttle Street, to a handsome dining-room; and there was most civilly used, my uncle Fenner, and his brother Anthony, and some other friends being with him. But who would have thought that the fellow that I should have sworn could have spoken before all the world should in this be so daunted, as not to know what he said, and now to cry like a child. I protest, it is very strange to observe.
I left them providing for his stay there to-night and getting a petition against tomorrow, and so away to Westminster Hall, and meeting Mr. Coventry, he took me to his chamber, with Sir William Hickeman, a member of their House, and a very civill gentleman. Here we dined very plentifully, and thence to White Hall to the Duke’s, where we all met, and after some discourse of the condition of the Fleete, in order to a Dutch warr, for that, I perceive, the Duke hath a mind it should come to, we away to the office, where we sat, and I took care to rise betimes, and so by water to Halfway House, talking all the way good discourse with Mr. Wayth, and there found my wife, who was gone with her mayd Besse to have a walk. But, Lord! how my jealous mind did make me suspect that she might have some appointment to meet somebody. But I found the poor souls coming away thence, so I took them back, and eat and drank, and then home, and after at the office a while, I home to supper and to bed. It was a sad sight, me thought, to-day to see my Lord Peters coming out of the House fall out with his lady (from whom he is parted) about this business; saying that she disgraced him. But she hath been a handsome woman, and is, it seems, not only a lewd woman, but very high-spirited.

so tender and melancholy
they cry like a child

on meeting with civil discourse
at the halfway house

but the poor souls at supper
fall out about saying grace


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 4 April 1664.

(Lord’s day). Being weary last night lay long, and called up by W. Joyce. So I rose, and his business was to ask advice of me, he being summonsed to the House of Lords to-morrow, for endeavouring to arrest my Lady Peters for a debt. I did give him advice, and will assist him. He staid all the morning, but would not dine with me. So to my office and did business. At noon home to dinner, and being set with my wife in the kitchen my father comes and sat down there and dined with us. After dinner gives me an account of what he had done in his business of his house and goods, which is almost finished, and he the next week expects to be going down to Brampton again, which I am glad of because I fear the children of my Lord that are there for fear of any discontent.
He being gone I to my office, and there very busy setting papers in order till late at night, only in the afternoon my wife sent for me home, to see her new laced gowne, that is her gown that is new laced; and indeed it becomes her very nobly, and is well made. I am much pleased with it.
At night to supper, prayers, and to bed.

joy is a summons
to dine on fat

I fear the children of discontent
busy setting papers in order till late
night new-laced with night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 3 April 1664.