Dave Bonta

Up early and to the Dock, and with the Storekeeper and other officers all the morning from one office to another. At noon to the Hill-house in Commissioner Pett’s coach, and after seeing the guard-ships, to dinner, and after dining done to the Dock by coach, it raining hard, to see “The Prince” launched, which hath lain in the Dock in repairing these three years. I went into her and was launched in her. Thence by boat ashore, it raining, and I went to Mr. Barrow’s, where Sir J. Minnes and Commissioner Pett; we staid long eating sweetmeats and drinking, and looking over some antiquities of Mr. Barrow’s, among others an old manuscript Almanac, that I believe was made for some monastery, in parchment, which I could spend much time upon to understand. Here was a pretty young lady, a niece of Barrow’s, which I took much pleasure to look on.
Thence by barge to St. Mary Creek; where Commissioner Pett (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there), do design a wett dock at no great charge, and yet no little one; he thinks towards 10,000l. And the place, indeed, is likely to be a very fit place, when the King hath money to do it with.
Thence, it raining as hard as it could pour down, home to the Hillhouse, and anon to supper, and after supper, Sir J. Minnes and I had great discourse with Captain Cox and Mr. Hempson about business of the yard, and particularly of pursers’ accounts with Hempson, who is a cunning knave in that point.
So late to bed and, Mr. Wayth being gone, I lay above in the Treasurer’s bed and slept well.
About one or two in the morning the curtains of my bed being drawn waked me, and I saw a man stand there by the inside of my bed calling me French dogg 20 times, one after another, and I starting, as if I would get out of the bed, he fell a-laughing as hard as he could drive, still calling me French dogg, and laid his hand on my shoulder. At last, whether I said anything or no I cannot tell, but I perceived the man, after he had looked wistly upon me, and found that I did not answer him to the names that he called me by, which was Salmon, Sir Carteret’s clerk, and Robt. Maddox, another of the clerks, he put off his hat on a suddaine, and forebore laughing, and asked who I was, saying, “Are you Mr. Pepys?” I told him yes, and now being come a little better to myself, I found him to be Tom Willson, Sir W. Batten’s clerk, and fearing he might be in some melancholy fit, I was at a loss what to do or say. At last I asked him what he meant. He desired my pardon for that he was mistaken, for he thought verily, not knowing of my coming to lie there, that it had been Salmon, the Frenchman, with whom he intended to have made some sport. So I made nothing of it, but bade him good night, and I, after a little pause, to sleep again, being well pleased that it ended no worse, and being a little the better pleased with it, because it was the Surveyor’s clerk, which will make sport when I come to tell Sir W. Batten of it, it being a report that old Edgeborough, the former Surveyor, who died here, do now and then walk.

rain on the almanac
which I understand as a doubtful sign

wet ink
like a rain-drawn dog

a dog that did not answer
to the name melancholy


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 11 July 1663.

Up late and by water to Westminster Hall, where I met Pierce the chirurgeon, who tells me that for certain the King is grown colder to my Lady Castlemaine than ordinary, and that he believes he begins to love the Queen, and do make much of her, more than he used to do. Up to the Lobby, and there sent out for Mr. Coventry and Sir W. Batten, and told them if they thought convenient I would go to Chatham today, Sir John Minnes being already there at a Pay, and I would do such and such business there, which they thought well of, and so I went home and prepared myself to go after, dinner with Sir W. Batten.
Sir W. Batten and Mr. Coventry tell me that my Lord Bristoll hath this day impeached my Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords of High Treason. The chief of the articles are these:
1. That he should be the occasion of the peace made with Holland lately upon such disadvantageous terms, and that he was bribed to it.
2. That Dunkirke was also sold by his advice chiefly, so much to the damage of England.
3. That he had 6000l. given him for the drawing-up or promoting of the Irish declaration lately, concerning the division of the lands there.
4. He did carry on the design of the Portugall match, so much to the prejudice of the Crown of England, notwithstanding that he knew the Queen is not capable of bearing children.
5. That the Duke’s marrying of his daughter was a practice of his, thereby to raise his family; and that it was done by indirect courses.
6. That the breaking-off of the match with Parma, in which he was employed at the very time when the match with Portugall was made up here, which he took as a great slur to him, and so it was; and that, indeed, is the chief occasion of all this fewde.
7. That he hath endeavoured to bring in Popery, and wrote to the Pope for a cap for a subject of the King of England’s (my Lord Aubigny ); and some say that he lays it to the Chancellor, that a good Protestant Secretary (Sir Edward Nicholas) was laid aside, and a Papist, Sir H. Bennet, put in his room: which is very strange, when the last of these two is his own creature, and such an enemy accounted to the Chancellor, that they never did nor do agree; and all the world did judge the Chancellor to be falling from the time that Sir H. Bennet was brought in. Besides my Lord Bristoll being a Catholique himself, all this is very strange.
These are the main of the Articles. Upon which my Lord Chancellor desired that the noble Lord that brought in these Articles, would sign to them with his hand; which my Lord Bristoll did presently. Then the House did order that the judges should, against Monday next, bring in their opinion, Whether these articles are treason, or no? and next, they would know, Whether they were brought in regularly or no, without leave of the Lords’ House?
After dinner I took boat (H. Russell) and down to Gravesend in good time, and thence with a guide post to Chatham, where I found Sir J. Minnes and Mr. Wayth walking in the garden, whom I told all this day’s news, which I left the town full of, and it is great news, and will certainly be in the consequence of it.
By and by to supper, and after long discourse, Sir J. Minnes and I, he saw me to my chamber, which not pleasing me, I sent word so to Mrs. Bradford, that I should be crowded into such a hole, while the clerks and boarders of her own take up the best rooms. However I lay there and slept well.

love if convenient
would be high treason

a peace made on disadvantageous terms
with break-up and feud

a room is the last
enemy to all the world

falling from time
into desire

no hand or pinion
full of consequence

should crowd into
such a hole


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 10 July 1663.

Here’s a new videopoem I’ve been working on this week, incorporating text from two recent Pepys erasures. Both were written under the influence of heavy metal, so it seemed necessary to find a metal-ish soundtrack. Fortunately, there are some good bands still using Soundcloud and releasing content under permissive Creative Commons licences, and the Dublin-based industrial metal band Voxillary is one of them. For the images, I used a combination of some recent, off-the-cuff videos of my own and clips from a marvelous old home movie in the Prelinger Archives, brought to my attention by a link several weeks ago on Twitter from author and Twitter humorist Steve Huff.

I thought about recording a reading to combine with the music, but in the end went with text-on-screen, which has been my choice more and more of late, I’m not sure why. But if you want to hear a version of the song with lyrics, it already exists. And good lyrics they are.

Up. Making water this morning, which I do every morning as soon as I am awake, with greater plenty and freedom than I used to do, which I think I may impute to last night’s drinking of elder spirits. Abroad, it raining, to Blackfriars, and there went into a little alehouse and staid while I sent to the Wardrobe, but Mr. Moore was gone out. Here I kissed three or four times the maid of the house, who is a pretty girl, but very modest, and, God forgive me, had a mind to something more. Thence to my lawyer’s; up and down to the Six Clerks’ Office, where I found my bill against Tom Trice dismissed, which troubles me, it being through my neglect, and will put me to charges. So to Mr. Phillips, and discoursed with him about finding me out somebody that will let me have for money an annuity of about 100l. per annum for two lives. So home, and there put up my riding things against the evening, in case Mr. Moore should continue his mind to go to Oxford, which I have little mind to do, the weather continuing so bad and the waters high. Dined at home, and Mr. Moore in the afternoon comes to me and concluded not to go. Sir W. Batten and I sat a little this afternoon at the office, and thence I by water to Deptford, and there mustered the Yard, purposely, God forgive me, to find out Bagwell, a carpenter, whose wife is a pretty woman, that I might have some occasion of knowing him and forcing her to come to the office again, which I did so luckily that going thence he and his wife did of themselves meet me in the way to thank me for my old kindness, but I spoke little to her, but shall give occasion for her coming to me. Her husband went along with me to show me Sir W. Pen’s lodging, which I knew before, but only to have a time of speaking to him and sounding him. So left and I went in to Sir W. Pen, who continues ill, and worse, I think, than before. He tells me my Lady Castlemaine was at Court, for all this talk this week, which I am glad to hear; but it seems the King is stranger than ordinary to her.
Thence walked home as I used to do, and to bed presently, having taken great cold in my feet by walking in the dirt this day in thin shoes or some other way, so that I begun to be in pain, and with warm clothes made myself better by morning, but yet in pain.

last night’s rain
missed my lips

I have the weather
in a bag now

stranger than feet in the dirt
this thin hoe


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 9 July 1663.

Being weary, and going to bed late last night, I slept till 7 o’clock, it raining mighty hard, and so did every minute of the day after sadly. But I know not what will become of the corn this year, we having had but two fair days these many months.
Up and to my office, where all the morning busy, and then at noon home to dinner alone upon a good dish of eeles, given me by Michell, the Bewpers’ man, and then to my viall a little, and then down into the cellar and up and down with Mr. Turner to see where his vault for turds may be made bigger, or another made him, which I think may well be. And so to my office, where very busy all day setting things in order my contract books and preparing things against the next sitting. In the evening I received letters out of the country, among others from my wife, who methinks writes so coldly that I am much troubled at it, and I fear shall have much ado to bring her to her old good temper.
So home to supper and musique, which is all the pleasure I have of late given myself, or is fit I should, others spending too much time and money.
Going in I stepped to Sir W. Batten, and there staid and talked with him (my Lady being in the country), and sent for some lobsters, and Mrs. Turner came in, and did bring us an umble pie hot out of her oven, extraordinary good, and afterwards some spirits of her making, in which she has great judgment, very good, and so home, merry with this night’s refreshment.

every minute of the day
will become corn

alone on a dish
where I sit in the evening

and give my time
to pie and spirits


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 8 July 1663.

Up by 4 o’clock and to my office, and there continued all the morning upon my Navy book to my great content. At noon down by barge with Sir J. Minnes (who is going to Chatham) to Woolwich, in our way eating of some venison pasty in the barge, I having neither eat nor drank to-day, which fills me full of wind. Here also in Mr. Pett’s garden I eat some and the first cherries I have eat this year, off the tree where the King himself had been gathering some this morning.
Thence walked alone, only part of the way Deane walked with me, complaining of many abuses in the Yard, to Greenwich, and so by water to Deptford, where I found Mr. Coventry, and with him up and down all the stores, to the great trouble of the officers, and by his help I am resolved to fall hard to work again, as I used to do.
So thence he and I by water talking of many things, and I see he puts his trust most upon me in the Navy, and talks, as there is reason, slightly of the two old knights, and I should be glad by any drudgery to see the King’s stores and service looked to as they ought, but I fear I shall never understand half the miscarriages and tricks that the King suffers by.
He tells me what Mr. Pett did to-day, that my Lord Bristoll told the King that he will impeach the Chancellor of High Treason: but I find that my Lord Bristoll hath undone himself already in every body’s opinion, and now he endeavours to raise dust to put out other men’s eyes, as well as his own; but I hope it will not take, in consideration merely that it is hard for a Prince to spare an experienced old officer, be he never so corrupt; though I hope this man is not so, as some report him to be.
He tells me that Don John is yet alive, and not killed, as was said, in the great victory against the Spaniards in Portugall of late. So home, and late at my office. Thence home and to my musique. This night Mr. Turner’s house being to be emptied out of my cellar, and therefore I think to sit up a little longer than ordinary.
This afternoon, coming from the waterside with Mr. Coventry, I spied my boy upon Tower Hill playing with the rest of the boys; so I sent W. Griffin to take him, and he did bring him to me, and so I said nothing to him, but caused him to be stripped (for he was run away with his best suit), and so putting on his other, I sent him going, without saying one word hard to him, though I am troubled for the rogue, though he do not deserve it.
Being come home I find my stomach not well for want of eating to-day my dinner as I should do, and so am become full of wind. I called late for some victuals, and so to bed, leaving the men below in the cellar emptying the vats up through Mr. Turner’s own house, and so with more content to bed late.

the first cherries off the tree
gather in the green water

I am resolved to understand
my old body

the eyes that corrupt me yet
and the way I serve my stomach

eating a dinner of wind
for an empty urn


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 7 July 1663.

Up pretty early and to my office all the morning, writing out a list of the King’s ships in my Navy collections with great pleasure. At noon Creed comes to me, who tells me how well he has sped with Sir G. Carteret after all our trouble, that he had his tallys up and all the kind words possible from him, which I believe is out of an apprehension what a fool he has made of himself hitherto in making so great a stop therein. But I find, and so my Lord Sandwich may, that Sir G. Carteret had a design to do him a disgrace, if he could possibly, otherwise he would never have carried the business so far after that manner, but would first have consulted my Lord and given him advice what to do therein for his own honour, which he thought endangered. Creed dined with me and then walked a while, and so away, and I to my office at my morning’s work till dark night, and so with good content home. To supper, a little musique, and then to bed.

up early writing
a list of ships

and all the words
for endangered

and the way to a morning’s
dark music


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 6 July 1663.

(Lord’s day). Lay, being weary and not very well last night, long asleep. Anon, about 7 a-clock, the maid calls me, telling me that my Lady Batten had sent twice to invite me to go with them to Walthamstow to-day, Mrs. Martha being married already this morning to Mr. Castle, at this parish church. I could not rise soon enough to go with them, but got myself ready, and so to Games’s, where I got a horse and rode thither very pleasantly, only coming to make water I found a stopping, which makes me fearful of my old pain.
Being come thither, I was well received, and had two pair of gloves, as the rest, and walked up and down with my Lady in the garden, she mighty kind to me, and I have the way to please her.
A good dinner and merry, but methinks none of the kindness nor bridall respect between the bridegroom and bride, that was between my wife and I, but as persons that marry purely for convenience.
After dinner to church by coach, and there my Lady, Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Lemon, and I only, we, in spite to one another, kept one another awake; and sometimes I read in my book of Latin plays, which I took in my pocket, thinking to have walked it.
An old doting parson preached. So home again, and by and by up and homewards, calling in our way (Sir J. Minnes and I only) at Mr. Batten’s (who with his lady and child went in another coach by us), which is a very pretty house, and himself in all things within and without very ingenious, and I find a very fine study and good books.
So set out, Sir J. Minnes and I in his coach together, talking all the way of chymistry, wherein he do know something, at least, seems so to me, that cannot correct him, Mr. Batten’s man riding my horse, and so home and to my office a while to read my vows, then home to prayers and to bed.

night calls me to myself
an earful of old pain

two loves have I
and only one pocket

arson is a pretty house
with ingenious chemistry


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 5 July 1663, written while listening to Thrawsunblat’s new album, Metachthonia.

Up by 4 o’clock and sent him to get matters ready, and I to my office looking over papers and mending my manuscript by scraping out the blots and other things, which is now a very fine book.
So to St. James’s by water with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten, I giving occasion to a wager about the tide, that it did flow through bridge, by which Sir W. Batten won 5s. of Sir J. Minnes.
At St. James’s we staid while the Duke made himself ready. Among other things Sir Allen Apsley showed the Duke the Lisbon Gazette in Spanish, where the late victory is set down particularly, and to the great honour of the English beyond measure. They have since taken back Evora, which was lost to the Spaniards, the English making the assault, and lost not more than three men.
Here I learnt that the English foot are highly esteemed all over the world, but the horse not so much, which yet we count among ourselves the best; but they abroad have had no great knowledge of our horse, it seems.
The Duke being ready, we retired with him, and there fell upon Mr. Creed’s business, where the Treasurer did, like a mad coxcomb, without reason or method run over a great many things against the account, and so did Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten, which the Duke himself and Mr. Coventry and my Lord Barkely and myself did remove, and Creed being called in did answer all with great method and excellently to the purpose (myself I am a little conscious did not speak so well as I purposed and do think I used to do, that is, not so intelligibly and persuasively, as I well hoped I should), not that what I said was not well taken, and did carry the business with what was urged and answered by Creed and Mr. Coventry, till the Duke himself did declare that he was satisfied, and my Lord Barkely offered to lay 100l. that the King would receive no wrong in the account, and the two last knights held their tongues, or at least by not understanding it did say what made for Mr. Creed, and so Sir G. Carteret was left alone, but yet persisted to say that the account was not good, but full of corruption and foul dealing. And so we broke up to his shame, but I do fear to the loss of his friendship to me a good while, which I am heartily troubled for.
Thence with Creed to the King’s Head ordinary; but, coming late, dined at the second table very well for 12d.; and a pretty gentleman in our company, who confirms my Lady Castlemaine’s being gone from Court, but knows not the reason; he told us of one wipe the Queen a little while ago did give her, when she came in and found the Queen under the dresser’s hands, and had been so long:
“I wonder your Majesty,” says she, “can have the patience to sit so long a-dressing?” — “I have so much reason to use patience,” says the Queen, “that I can very well bear with it.” He thinks that it may be the Queen hath commanded her to retire, though that is not likely.
Thence with Creed to hire a coach to carry us to Hide Park, to-day there being a general muster of the King’s Guards, horse and foot: but they demand so high, that I, spying Mr. Cutler the merchant, did take notice of him, and he going into his coach, and telling me that he was going to shew a couple of Swedish strangers the muster, I asked and went along with him.
Where a goodly sight to see so many fine horses and officers, and the King, Duke, and others come by a-horseback, and the two Queens in the Queen-Mother’s coach, my Lady Castlemaine not being there. And after long being there, I ‘light, and walked to the place where the King, Duke, &c., did stand to see the horse and foot march by and discharge their guns, to show a French Marquisse (for whom this muster was caused) the goodness of our firemen; which indeed was very good, though not without a slip now and then; and one broadside close to our coach we had going out of the Park, even to the nearness as to be ready to burn our hairs. Yet methought all these gay men are not the soldiers that must do the King’s business, it being such as these that lost the old King all he had, and were beat by the most ordinary fellows that could be.
Thence with much ado out of the Park, and I ‘lighted and through St. James’s down the waterside over, to Lambeth, to see the Archbishop’s corps (who is to be carried away to Oxford on Monday), but came too late, and so walked over the fields and bridge home (calling by the way at old George’s), but find that he is dead, and there wrote several letters, and so home to supper and to bed.
This day in the Duke’s chamber there being a Roman story in the hangings, and upon the standards written these four letters — S.P.Q.R., Sir G. Carteret came to me to know what the meaning of those four letters were; which ignorance is not to be borne in a Privy Counsellor, methinks, that a schoolboy should be whipt for not knowing.

looking over papers
my gaze is as lost

as a lost foot
on a road like a held tongue

a man can sit so long
he is a stranger to the light

show me a broadside
ready to burn down Monday

find me an F U C K
those four letters born in a whip


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 4 July 1663.

Up and he home, and I with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten by coach to Westminster, to St. James’s, thinking to meet Sir G. Carteret, and to attend the Duke, but he not coming we broke up, and so to Westminster Hall, and there meeting with Mr. Moore he tells me great news that my Lady Castlemaine is fallen from Court, and this morning retired. He gives me no account of the reason of it, but that it is so: for which I am sorry: and yet if the King do it to leave off not only her but all other mistresses, I should be heartily glad of it, that he may fall to look after business. I hear my Lord Digby is condemned at Court for his speech, and that my Lord Chancellor grows great again. Thence with Mr. Creed, whom I called at his chamber, over the water to Lambeth; but could not, it being morning, get to see the Archbishop’s hearse: so he and I walked over the fields to Southwark, and there parted, and I spent half an hour in Mary Overy’s Church, where are fine monuments of great antiquity, I believe, and has been a fine church. Thence to the Change, and meeting Sir J. Minnes there, he and I walked to look upon Backwell’s design of making another alley from his shop through over against the Exchange door, which will be very noble and quite put down the other two.
So home to dinner and then to the office, and entered in my manuscript book the Victualler’s contract, and then over the water and walked to see Sir W. Pen, and sat with him a while, and so home late, and to my viall. So up comes Creed again to me and stays all night, to-morrow morning being a hearing before the Duke. So to bed full of discourse of his business.

ink is the reason
a heart grows ears

the fields are a fine church
to look in the door of

I enter my manuscript
and stay all night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 3 July 1663.