Dave Bonta

Up, my wife to the making of Christmas pies all day, being now pretty well again, and I abroad to several places about some businesses, among others bought a bake-pan in Newgate Market, and sent it home, it cost me 16s. So to Dr. Williams, but he is out of town, then to the Wardrobe. Hither come Mr. Battersby; and we falling into a discourse of a new book of drollery in verse called Hudebras, I would needs go find it out, and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. 6d. But when I came to read it, it is so silly an abuse of the Presbyter Knight going to the warrs, that I am ashamed of it; and by and by meeting at Mr. Townsend’s at dinner, I sold it to him for 18d. Here we dined with many tradesmen that belong to the Wardrobe, but I was weary soon of their company, and broke up dinner as soon as I could, and away, with the greatest reluctancy and dispute (two or three times my reason stopping my sense and I would go back again) within myself, to the Duke’s house and saw “The Villaine,” which I ought not to do without my wife, but that my time is now out that I did undertake it for. But, Lord! to consider how my natural desire is to pleasure, which God be praised that he has given me the power by my late oaths to curb so well as I have done, and will do again after two or three plays more. Here I was better pleased with the play than I was at first, understanding the design better than I did. Here I saw Gosnell and her sister at a distance, and could have found it in my heart to have accosted them, but thought not prudent. But I watched their going out and found that they came, she, her sister and another woman, alone, without any man, and did go over the fields a foot. I find that I have an inclination to have her come again, though it is most against my interest either of profit or content of mind, other than for their singing.
Home on foot, in my way calling at Mr. Rawlinson’s and drinking only a cup of ale there. He tells me my uncle has ended his purchase, which cost him 4,500l., and how my uncle do express his trouble that he has with his wife’s relations, but I understand his great intentions are for the Wights that hang upon him and by whose advice this estate is bought. Thence home, and found my wife busy among her pies, but angry for some saucy words that her mayde Jane has given her, which I will not allow of, and therefore will give her warning to be gone. As also we are both displeased for some slight words that Sarah, now at Sir W. Pen’s, hath spoke of us, but it is no matter. We shall endeavour to joyne the lion’s skin to the fox’s tail.
So to my office alone a while, and then home to my study and supper and bed. Being also vexed at my boy for his staying playing abroad when he is sent of errands, so that I have sent him to-night to see whether their country carrier be in town or no, for I am resolved to keep him no more.

weary with myself
I watch the fields
their leased light
the fox at play


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 26 December 1662.

(Christmas Day). Up pretty early, leaving my wife not well in bed, and with my boy walked, it being a most brave cold and dry frosty morning, and had a pleasant walk to White Hall, where I intended to have received the Communion with the family, but I came a little too late. So I walked up into the house and spent my time looking over pictures, particularly the ships in King Henry the VIIIth’s Voyage to Bullen; marking the great difference between their build then and now. By and by down to the chappell again where Bishopp Morley preached upon the song of the Angels, “Glory to God on high, on earth peace, and good will towards men.” Methought he made but a poor sermon, but long, and reprehending the mistaken jollity of the Court for the true joy that shall and ought to be on these days, he particularized concerning their excess in plays and gaming, saying that he whose office it is to keep the gamesters in order and within bounds, serves but for a second rather in a duell, meaning the groom-porter. Upon which it was worth observing how far they are come from taking the reprehensions of a bishopp seriously, that they all laugh in the chappell when he reflected on their ill actions and courses.
He did much press us to joy in these publique days of joy, and to hospitality. But one that stood by whispered in my ear that the Bishopp himself do not spend one groat to the poor himself.
The sermon done, a good anthem followed, with vialls, and then the King came down to receive the Sacrament. But I staid not, but calling my boy from my Lord’s lodgings, and giving Sarah some good advice, by my Lord’s order, to be sober and look after the house, I walked home again with great pleasure, and there dined by my wife’s bed-side with great content, having a mess of brave plum-porridge and a roasted pullet for dinner, and I sent for a mince-pie abroad, my wife not being well to make any herself yet. After dinner sat talking a good while with her, her [pain] being become less, and then to see Sir W. Pen a little, and so to my office, practising arithmetique alone and making an end of last night’s book with great content till eleven at night, and so home to supper and to bed.

Christmas day
white with angels of ice

how far from our public joy
last night’s book


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 25 December 1662.

Lay pleasantly, talking to my wife, till 8 o’clock, then up and to Sir W. Batten’s to see him and Sir G. Carteret and Sir J. Minnes take coach towards the Pay at Chatham, which they did and I home, and took money in my pocket to pay many reckonings to-day in the town, as my bookseller’s, and paid at another shop 4l. 10s. for “Stephens’s Thesaurus Graecae Linguae,” given to Paul’s School: So to my brother’s and shoemaker, and so to my Lord Crew’s, and dined alone with him, and after dinner much discourse about matters. Upon the whole, I understand there are great factions at Court, and something he said that did imply a difference like to be between the King and the Duke, in case the Queen should not be with child. I understand, about this bastard. He says, also, that some great man will be aimed at when Parliament comes to sit again; I understand, the Chancellor: and that there is a bill will be brought in, that none that have been in arms for the Parliament shall be capable of office. And that the Court are weary of my Lord Albemarle and Chamberlin. He wishes that my Lord Sandwich had some good occasion to be abroad this summer which is coming on, and that my Lord Hinchingbroke were well married, and Sydney had some place at Court. He pities the poor ministers that are put out, to whom, he says, the King is beholden for his coming in, and that if any such thing had been foreseen he had never come in. After this, and much other discourse of the sea, and breeding young gentlemen to the sea, I went away.
And homeward, met Mr. Creed at my bookseller’s in Paul’s Church-yard, who takes it ill my letter last night to Mr. Povy, wherein I accuse him of the neglect of the Tangier boats, in which I must confess I did not do altogether like a friend; but however it was truth, and I must own it to be so, though I fall wholly out with him for it.
Thence home and to my office alone to do business, and read over half of Mr. Bland’s discourse concerning Trade, which (he being no scholler and so knows not the rules of writing orderly) is very good. So home to supper and to bed, my wife not being well, she having her months upon her.
This evening Mr. Gauden sent me, against Christmas, a great chine of beef and three dozen of tongues. I did give 5s. to the man that brought it, and half-a-crown to the porters. This day also the parish-clerk brought the general bill of mortality, which cost me half-a-crown more.

I take a thesaurus
like a child in arms to the sea

where the boats confess together
and fall out

a bland discourse
in three dozen tongues


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 24 December 1662.

…and slept hard till 8 o’clock this morning, and so up and to the office, where I found Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten come unexpectedly home last night from Portsmouth, having done the Pay there before we could have thought it. Sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner with my wife alone, and after dinner sat by the fire, and then up to make up my accounts with her, and find that my ordinary housekeeping comes to 7l. a month, which is a great deal. By and by comes Dr. Pierce, who among other things tells me that my Lady Castlemaine’s interest at Court increases, and is more and greater than the Queen’s; that she hath brought in Sir H. Bennet, and Sir Charles Barkeley; but that the queen is a most good lady, and takes all with the greatest meekness that may be. He tells me too that Mr. Edward Montagu is quite broke at Court with his repute and purse; and that he lately was engaged in a quarrell against my Lord Chesterfield: but that the King did cause it to be taken up. He tells me, too, that the King is much concerned in the Chancellor’s sickness, and that the Chancellor is as great, he thinks, as ever he was with the King.
He also tells me what the world says of me, “that Mr. Coventry and I do all the business of the office almost:” at which I am highly proud.
He being gone I fell to business, which was very great, but got it well over by nine at night, and so home, and after supper to bed.

an unexpected mouth
fire comes to eat the bark and takes all
with the greatest meekness

and is as thin as ever
after supper


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 23 December 1662.

…six or seven o’clock and so up, and by the fireside read a good part of “The Advice to a Daughter,” which a simple coxcomb has wrote against Osborne, but in all my life I never did nor can expect to see so much nonsense in print. Thence to my Lord’s, who is getting himself ready for his journey to Hinchingbroke. And by and by, after eating something, and talking with me about many things, and telling me his mind, upon my asking about Sarah (who, it seems, only married of late, but is also said to be turned a great drunkard, which I am ashamed of), that he likes her service well, and do not love a strange face, but will not endure the fault, but hath bade me speak to her and advise her if she hath a mind to stay with him, which I will do.
My Lord and his people being gone, I walked to Mr. Coventry’s chamber, where I found him gone out into the Park with the Duke, so the boy being there ready with my things, I shifted myself into a riding-habitt, and followed him through White Hall, and in the Park Mr. Coventry’s people having a horse ready for me (so fine a one that I was almost afeard to get upon him, but I did, and found myself more feared than hurt) and I got up and followed the Duke, who, with some of his people (among others Mr. Coventry) was riding out. And with them to Hide Park. Where Mr. Coventry asking leave of the Duke, he bid us go to Woolwich. So he and I to the waterside, and our horses coming by the ferry, we by oars over to Lambeth, and from thence, with brave discourse by the way, rode to Woolwich, where we eat and drank at Mr. Pett’s, and discoursed of many businesses, and put in practice my new way of the Call-book, which will be of great use. Here, having staid a good while, we got up again and brought night home with us and foul weather. So over to Whitehall to his chamber, whither my boy came, who had staid in St. James’s Park by my mistake all day, looking for me. Thence took my things that I put off to-day, and by coach, being very wet and cold, on my feet home, and presently shifted myself, and so had the barber come; and my wife and I to read “Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” which I brought her home from Paul’s Churchyard to-night, having called for it by the way, and so to bed,…

I never did expect
to turn drunkard

shame is my white horse
I fear myself more

hide from the night and foul weather
of my metamorphoses


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 22 December 1662.

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed, so up to Church, and so home to dinner alone with my wife very pleasant. After dinner I walked to my brother’s, where he told me some hopes he had of bringing his business to pass still of his mistress, but I do find they do stand upon terms that will not be either fit or in his power to grant, and therefore I did dislike his talk and advised him to give it quite over.
Thence walked to White Hall, and there to chappell, and from thence up stairs, and up and down the house and gallerys on the King’s and Queen’s side, and so through the garden to my Lord’s lodgings, where there was Mr. Gibbons, Madge, and Mallard, and Pagett; and by and by comes in my Lord Sandwich, and so we had great store of good musique. By and by comes in my simple Lord Chandois, who (my Lord Sandwich being gone out to Court) began to sing psalms, but so dully that I was weary of it. At last we broke up; and by and by comes in my Lord Sandwich again, and he and I to talk together about his businesses, and so he to bed and I and Mr. Creed and Captain Ferrers fell to a cold goose pye of Mrs. Sarah’s, heartily, and so spent our time till past twelve o’clock, and then with Creed to his lodgings, and so with him to bed, and slept till…

alone with my pleasant rot
I will not be fit

like talk from upstairs
the rough music of the heart


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 21 December 1662.

Up and had 100l. brought me by Prior of Brampton in full of his purchase money for Barton’s house and some land. So to the office, and thence with Mr. Coventry in his coach to St. James’s, with great content and pride to see him treat me so friendly; and dined with him, and so to White Hall together; where we met upon the Tangier Commission, and discoursed many things thereon; but little will be done before my Lord Rutherford comes there, as to the fortification or Mole.
That done, my Lord Sandwich and I walked together a good while in the Matted Gallery, he acquainting me with his late enquiries into the Wardrobe business to his content; and tells me how things stand. And that the first year was worth about 3000l. to him, and the next about as much; so that at this day, if he were paid, it will be worth about 7000l. to him. But it contents me above all things to see him trust me as his confidant: so I bid him good night, he being to go into the country, to keep his Christmas, on Monday next.
So by coach home and to my office, being post night, and then home and to bed.

full of land as a mole

done in with war

how much this day will rust
in the country of night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 20 December 1662.

Up and by appointment with Mr. Lee, Wade, Evett, and workmen to the Tower, and with the Lieutenants leave set them to work in the garden, in the corner against the mayne-guard, a most unlikely place. It being cold, Mr. Lee and I did sit all the day till three o’clock by the fire in the Governor’s house; I reading a play of Fletcher’s, being “A Wife for a Month,” wherein no great wit or language. Having done we went to them at work, and having wrought below the bottom of the foundation of the wall, I bid them give over, and so all our hopes ended; and so went home, taking Mr. Leigh with me, and after drunk a cup of wine he went away, and I to my office, there reading in Sir W. Petty’s book, and so home and to bed, a little displeased with my wife, who, poor wretch, is troubled with her lonely life, which I know not how without great charge to help as yet, but I will study how to do it.

ants work in the garden
like a cold fire
no wit or language

work below
the bottom of the wall

a little life I study
how to do


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 19 December 1662.

Up and to the office, Mr. Coventry and I alone sat till two o’clock, and then he inviting himself to my house to dinner, of which I was proud; but my dinner being a legg of mutton and two capons, they were not done enough, which did vex me; but we made shift to please him, I think; but I was, when he was gone, very angry with my wife and people.
This afternoon came my wife’s brother and his wife, and Mrs. Lodum his landlady (my old friend Mr. Ashwell’s sister), Balty’s wife is a most little and yet, I believe, pretty old girl, not handsome, nor has anything in the world pleasing, but, they say, she plays mighty well on the Base Violl.
They dined at her father’s today, but for ought I hear he is a wise man, and will not give any thing to his daughter till he sees what her husband do put himself to, so that I doubt he has made but a bad matter of it, but I am resolved not to meddle with it. They gone I to the office, and to see Sir W. Pen, with my wife, and thence I to Mr. Cade the stationer, to direct him what to do with my two copies of Mr. Holland’s books which he is to bind, and after supplying myself with several things of him, I returned to my office, and so home to supper and to bed.

proud of my pretty hands
I play a wise man
give husband to wife
with my two copies of a book


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 18 December 1662.