Dave Bonta

Up betimes and at my office all the morning, at noon to the Exchange, and there by appointment met my uncles Thomas and Wight, and from thence with them to a tavern, and there paid my uncle Wight three pieces of gold for himself, my aunt, and their son that is dead, left by my uncle Robert, and read over our agreement with my uncle Thomas and the state of our debts and legacies, and so good friendship I think is made up between us all, only we have the worst of it in having so much money to pay. Thence I to the Exchequer again, and thence with Creed into Fleet Street, and calling at several places about business; in passing, at the Hercules pillars he and I dined though late, and thence with one that we found there, a friend of Captain Ferrers I used to meet at the playhouse, they would have gone to some gameing house, but I would not but parted, and staying a little in Paul’s Churchyard, at the foreign Bookseller’s looking over some Spanish books, and with much ado keeping myself from laying out money there, as also with them, being willing enough to have gone to some idle house with them, I got home, and after a while at my office, to supper, and to bed.

three pieces of gold
for the dead

a debt I pay
at the gaming house

not in church
a foreign money to them


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 27 March 1663.

Up betimes and to my office, leaving my wife in bed to take her physique, myself also not being out of some pain to-day by some cold that I have got by the sudden change of the weather from hot to cold.
This day is five years since it pleased God to preserve me at my being cut of the stone, of which I bless God I am in all respects well. Only now and then upon taking cold I have some pain, but otherwise in very good health always. But I could not get my feast to be kept to-day as it used to be, because of my wife’s being ill and other disorders by my servants being out of order.
This morning came a new cook-maid at 4l. per annum, the first time I ever did give so much, but we hope it will be nothing lost by keeping a good cook. She did live last at my Lord Monk’s house, and indeed at dinner did get what there was very prettily ready and neat for me, which did please me much.
This morning my uncle Thomas was with me according to agreement, and I paid him the 50l., which was against my heart to part with, and yet I must be contented; I used him very kindly, and I desire to continue so voyd of any discontent as to my estate, that I may follow my business the better.
At the Change I met him again, with intent to have met with my uncle Wight to have made peace with him, with whom by my long absence I fear I shall have a difference, but he was not there, so we missed. All the afternoon sat at the office about business till 9 or 10 at night, and so dispatch business and home to supper and to bed.
My maid Susan went away to-day, I giving her something for her lodging and diet somewhere else a while that I might have room for my new maid.

her physique is cut stone
a feast of disorders

I am a new cook
but will be nothing by morning

my heart must be
a missed supper in her diet


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 26 March 1663.

(Lady-day). Up betimes and to my office, where all the morning, at noon dined and to the Exchange, and thence to the Sun Tavern, to my Lord Rutherford, and dined with him, and some others, his officers, and Scotch gentlemen, of fine discourse and education. My Lord used me with great respect, and discoursed upon his business as with one that he did esteem of, and indeed I do believe that this garrison is likely to come to something under him. By and by he went away, forgetting to take leave of me, my back being turned, looking upon the aviary, which is there very pretty, and the birds begin to sing well this spring.
Thence home and to my office till night, reading over and consulting upon the book and Ruler that I bought this morning of Browne concerning the lyne of numbers, in which I find much pleasure.
This evening came Captain Grove about hiring ships for Tangier. I did hint to him my desire that I could make some lawfull profit thereof, which he promises that he will tell me of all that he gets and that I shall have a share, which I did not demand, but did silently consent to it, and money I perceive something will be got thereby.
At night Mr. Bland came and sat with me at my office till late, and so I home and to bed. This day being washing day and my maid Susan ill, or would be thought so, put my house so out of order that we had no pleasure almost in anything, my wife being troubled thereat for want of a good cook-maid, and moreover I cannot have my dinner as I ought in memory of my being cut for the stone, but I must have it a day or two hence.

gentlemen of fine discourse
like birds on a line

I am silent with my memory
of being stone


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 25 March 1663.

Lay pretty long, that is, till past six o’clock, and then up and W. Howe and I very merry together, till having eat our breakfast, he went away, and I to my office. By and by Sir J. Minnes and I to the Victualling Office by appointment to meet several persons upon stating the demands of some people of money from the King.
Here we went into their Bakehouse, and saw all the ovens at work, and good bread too, as ever I would desire to eat.
Thence Sir J. Minnes and I homewards calling at Browne’s, the mathematician in the Minnerys, with a design of buying White’s ruler to measure timber with, but could not agree on the price. So home, and to dinner, and so to my office.
Where we sat anon, and among other things had Cooper’s business tried against Captain Holmes, but I find Cooper a fuddling, troublesome fellow, though a good artist, and so am contented to have him turned out of his place, nor did I see reason to say one word against it, though I know what they did against him was with great envy and pride.
So anon broke up, and after writing letters, &c., home to supper and to bed.

we breakfast on money
use all the ovens at work

bread would own the mathematician
buy the troublesome artist out

no reason to say one word
against what they let be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 24 March 1662/63.

Up betimes and to my office, before noon my wife and I eat something, thinking to have gone abroad together, but in comes Mr. Hunt, who we were forced to stay to dinner, and so while that was got ready he and I abroad about 2 or 3 small businesses of mine, and so back to dinner, and after dinner he went away, and my wife and I and Ashwell by coach, set my wife down at her mother’s and Ashwell at my Lord’s, she going to see her father and mother, and I to Whitehall, being fearful almost, so poor a spirit I have, of meeting Major Holmes. By and by the Duke comes, and we with him about our usual business, and then the Committee for Tangier, where, after reading my Lord Rutherford’s commission and consented to, Sir R. Ford, Sir W. Rider, and I were chosen to bring in some laws for the Civill government of it, which I am little able to do, but am glad to be joyned with them, for I shall learn something of them.
Thence to see my Lord Sandwich, and who should I meet at the door but Major Holmes. He would have gone away, but I told him I would not spoil his visitt, and would have gone, but however we fell to discourse and he did as good as desire excuse for the high words that did pass in his heat the other day, which I was willing enough to close with, and after telling him my mind we parted, and I left him to speak with my Lord, and I by coach home, where I found Will. Howe come home to-day with my wife, and staid with us all night, staying late up singing songs, and then he and I to bed together in Ashwell’s bed and she with my wife. This the first time that I ever lay in the room. This day Greatorex brought me a very pretty weather-glass for heat and cold.

noon comes to stay
and being poor

we consent to a government
of sand and spoil

but how we desire words
as close to home as the weather


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 23 March 1662/63.

(Lord’s day). Up betimes and in my office wrote out our bill for the Parliament about our being made justices of Peace in the City.
So home and to church, where a dull formall fellow that prayed for the Right Hon. John Lord Barkeley, Lord President of Connaught, &c. So home to dinner, and after dinner my wife and I and her woman by coach to Westminster, where being come too soon for the Christening we took up Mr. Creed and went out to take some ayre, as far as Chelsey and further, I lighting there and letting them go on with the coach while I went to the church expecting to see the young ladies of the school, Ashwell desiring me, but I could not get in far enough, and so came out and at the coach’s coming back went in again and so back to Westminster, and led my wife and her to Captain Ferrers, and I to my Lord Sandwich, and with him talking a good while; I find the Court would have this Indulgence go on, but the Parliament are against it. Matters in Ireland are full of discontent.
Thence with Mr. Creed to Captain Ferrers, where many fine ladies; the house well and prettily furnished. She lies in, in great state, Mr. G. Montagu, Collonel Williams, Cromwell that was, and Mrs. Wright as proxy for my Lady Jemimah, were witnesses. Very pretty and plentiful entertainment, could not get away till nine at night, and so home. My coach cost me 7s. So to prayers, and to bed.
This day though I was merry enough yet I could not get yesterday’s quarrel out of my mind, and a natural fear of being challenged by Holmes for the words I did give him, though nothing but what did become me as a principal officer.

a dull light
far out on the land

the fine fur of my fear
of being nothing


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 22 March 1662/63.

Up betimes and to my office, where busy all the morning, and at noon, after a very little dinner, to it again, and by and by, by appointment, our full board met, and Sir Philip Warwick and Sir Robert Long came from my Lord Treasurer to speak with us about the state of the debts of the Navy; and how to settle it, so as to begin upon the new foundation of 200,000l. per annum, which the King is now resolved not to exceed. This discourse done, and things put in a way of doing, they went away, and Captain Holmes being called in he began his high complaint against his Master Cooper, and would have him forthwith discharged. Which I opposed, not in his defence but for the justice of proceeding not to condemn a man unheard, upon [which] we fell from one word to another that we came to very high terms, such as troubled me, though all and the worst that I ever said was that that was insolently or ill mannerdly spoken. When he told me that it was well it was here that I said it. But all the officers, Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen cried shame of it. At last he parted and we resolved to bring the dispute between him and his Master to a trial next week, wherein I shall not at all concern myself in defence of any thing that is unhandsome on the Master’s part nor willingly suffer him to have any wrong. So we rose and I to my office, troubled though sensible that all the officers are of opinion that he has carried himself very much unbecoming him.
So wrote letters by the post, and home to supper and to bed.

war and the state
begin with a fence

proceed to condemn
a man unheard

we fell from one word
such as trouble or shame

bring an aster to trial
and have a rose bled


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 21 March 1662/63.

Up betimes and over the water, and walked to Deptford, where up and down the yarde, and met the two clerks of the Cheques to conclude by our method their callbooks, which we have done to great perfection, and so walked home again, where I found my wife in great pain abed of her months. I staid and dined by her, and after dinner walked forth, and by water to the Temple, and in Fleet Street bought me a little sword, with gilt handle, cost 23s., and silk stockings to the colour of my riding cloth suit, cost 15s., and bought me a belt there too, cost 15s., and so calling at my brother’s I find he has got a new maid, very likely girl, I wish he do not play the fool with her. Thence homewards, and meeting with Mr. Kirton’s kinsman in Paul’s Church Yard, he and I to a coffee-house; where I hear how there had like to have been a surprizall of Dublin by some discontented protestants, and other things of like nature; and it seems the Commissioners have carried themselves so high for the Papists that the others will not endure it. Hewlett and some others are taken and clapped up; and they say the King hath sent over to dissolve the Parliament there, who went very high against the Commissioners. Pray God send all well! Hence home and in comes Captain Ferrers and by and by Mr. Bland to see me and sat talking with me till 9 or 10 at night, and so good night. The Captain to bid my wife to his child’s christening.
So my wife being pretty well again and Ashwell there we spent the evening pleasantly, and so to bed.

method bought me a little sword
the color of my suit

bought me a calling
to a church of discontent

like a commission to dissolve god
in a bland child’s well


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 20 March 1662/63.

Up betimes and to Woolwich all alone by water, where took the officers most abed. I walked and enquired how all matters and businesses go, and by and by to the Clerk of the Cheque’s house, and there eat some of his good Jamaica brawne, and so walked to Greenwich. Part of the way Deane walking with me; talking of the pride and corruption of most of his fellow officers of the yard, and which I believe to be true. So to Deptford, where I did the same to great content, and see the people begin to value me as they do the rest. At noon Mr. Wayth took me to his house, where I dined, and saw his wife, a pretty woman, and had a good fish dinner, and after dinner he and I walked to Redriffe talking of several errors in the Navy, by which I learned a great deal, and was glad of his company. So by water home, and by and by to the office, where we sat till almost 9 at night. So after doing my own business in my office, writing letters, &c., home to supper, and to bed, being weary and vexed that I do not find other people so willing to do business as myself, when I have taken pains to find out what in the yards is wanting and fitting to be done.

all alone I am king of the yard
I am content
as a fish

and in the company of letters
I do not find people
so wanting


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 19 March 1662/63.

Wake betimes and talk a while with my wife about a wench that she has hired yesterday, which I would have enquired of before she comes, she having lived in great families, and so up and to my office, where all the morning, and at noon home to dinner. After dinner by water to Redriffe, my wife and Ashwell with me, and so walked and left them at Halfway house; I to Deptford, where up and down the store-houses, and on board two or three ships now getting ready to go to sea, and so back, and find my wife walking in the way. So home again, merry with our Ashwell, who is a merry jade, and so awhile to my office, and then home to supper, and to bed. This day my tryangle, which was put in tune yesterday, did please me very well, Ashwell playing upon it pretty well.

having lived great lies
on board two or three ships

I go back and find the way home
to be this very ash


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 March 1662/63.