Dave Bonta

This day my waiting at the Privy Seal comes in again.
Up early among my workmen. So to the office, and went home to dinner with Sir W. Batten, and after that to the Goat tavern by Charing Cross to meet Dr. Castle, where he and I drank a pint of wine and talked about Privy Seal business. Then to the Privy Seal Office and there found Mr. Moore, but no business yet. Then to Whitefryars, and there saw part of “Rule a wife and have a wife,” which I never saw before, but do not like it.
So to my father, and there finding a discontent between my father and mother about the maid (which my father likes and my mother dislikes), I staid till 10 at night, persuading my mother to understand herself, and that in some high words, which I was sorry for, but she is grown, poor woman, very froward. So leaving them in the same discontent I went away home, it being a brave moonshine, and to bed.

A pint of wine
but no wife—

like a moth under
some high moon.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 1 April 1661.

(Sunday). At church, where a stranger preached like a fool.
From thence home and dined with my wife, she staying at home, being unwilling to dress herself, the house being all dirty.
To church again, and after sermon I walked to my father’s, and to Mrs. Turner’s, where I could not woo The. to give me a lesson upon the harpsicon and was angry at it.
So home and finding Will abroad at Sir W. Batten’s talking with the people there (Sir W. and my Lady being in the country), I took occasion to be angry with him, and so to prayers and to bed.

A church like a fool unwilling
to dress to woo—
angry with the people,
angry with prayers.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 31 March 1661.

At the office we and Sir W. Rider to advise what sort of provisions to get ready for these ships going to the Indies. Then the Comptroller and I by water to Mr. Coventry, and there discoursed upon the same thing.
So to my coz. Tho. Pepys, and got him to promise me 1,000l. to lend my Lord upon his and my uncle Robert’s and my security. So to my Lord’s, and there got him to sign a bond to him, which I also signed too, and he did sign counter security to us both.
Then into London up and down and drank a pint of wine with Mr. Creed, and so home and sent a letter and the bonds to my uncle to sign for my Lord.
This day I spoke with Dr. Castle about making up the dividend for the last quarter, and agreed to meet about it on Monday.

What sort of vision is ours?
The same thing: my security
and a pint of wine.
This castle for greed.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 30 March 1661.

Up among my workmen with great pleasure.
Then to the office, where I found Sir W. Pen sent down yesterday to Chatham to get two great ships in readiness presently to go to the East Indies upon some design against the Dutch, we think, at Goa but it is a great secret yet.
Dined at home, came Mr. Shepley and Moore, and did business with both of them. After that to Sir W. Batten’s, where great store of company at dinner. Among others my schoolfellow, Mr. Christmas, where very merry, and hither came letters from above for the fitting of two other ships for the East Indies in all haste, and so we got orders presently for the Hampshire and Nonsuch. Then home and there put some papers in order, and not knowing what to do, the house being so dirty, I went to bed.

I go to the Indies
on business with Christ
in the ship, and I an ape
not knowing the dirt.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 29 March 1661.

Up early among my workmen, then Mr. Creed coming to see me I went along with him to Sir Robert Slingsby (he being newly maister of that title by being made a Baronett) to discourse about Mr. Creed’s accounts to be made up, and from thence by coach to my cozen Thomas Pepys, to borrow 1000l. for my Lord, which I am to expect an answer to tomorrow. So to my Lord’s, and there staid and dined, and after dinner did get my Lord to view Mr. Shepley’s accounts as I had examined them, and also to sign me a bond for my 500l.
Then with Mr. Shepley to the Theatre and saw “Rollo” ill acted. That done to drink a cup of ale and so by coach to London, and having set him down in Cheapside I went home, where I found a great deal of work done to-day, and also 70l. paid me by the Treasurer upon the bill of exchange that I have had hopes of so long, so that, my heart in great content; I went to bed.

Work is a net
made of ale and cheap hopes,
my heart in a tent.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 28 March 1661.

Up early to see my workmen at work. My brother Tom comes to me, and among other things I looked over my old clothes and did give him a suit of black stuff clothes and a hat and some shoes.
At the office all the morning, where Sir G. Carteret comes, and there I did get him to promise me some money upon a bill of exchange, whereby I shall secure myself of 60l. which otherwise I should not know how to get.
At noon I found my stairs quite broke down, that I could not get up but by a ladder; and my wife not being well she kept her chamber all this day.
To the Dolphin to a dinner of Mr. Harris’s, where Sir Williams both and my Lady Batten, and her two daughters, and other company, where a great deal of mirth, and there staid till 11 o’clock at night; and in our mirth I sang and sometimes fiddled (there being a noise of fiddlers there), and at last we fell to dancing, the first time that ever I did in my life, which I did wonder to see myself to do. At last we made Mingo, Sir W. Batten’s black, and Jack, Sir W. Pen’s, dance, and it was strange how the first did dance with a great deal of seeming skill.
Home, where I found my wife all day in her chamber. So to bed.

A black hat
and some shoes
could not get up
a ladder, and fell
to dancing—
the first dance,
the first great kill.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 27 March 1661.

This entry is part 62 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

It’s the first petrichor of spring—
that musk the soil gives off after rain,
strongest when long delayed.

So who wouldn’t choose
a day like today for dancing?
Side by side, cackling softly,

the two pileated woodpeckers
hitch their way down a tall locust tree
all the way to the ground.


For a fuller description (and pictures) of this unusual pileated behavior, see Rachel’s blog post.