Up betimes and to my office, and there sat all the morning making a great contract with Sir W. Warren for 3,000l. worth of masts; but, good God! to see what a man might do, were I a knave, the whole business from beginning to end being done by me out of the office, and signed to by them upon the once reading of it to them, without the least care or consultation either of quality, price, number, or need of them, only in general that it was good to have a store. But I hope my pains was such, as the King has the best bargain of masts has been bought these 27 years in this office.
Dined at home and then to my office again, many people about business with me, and then stepped a little abroad about business to the Wardrobe, but missed Mr. Moore, and elswhere, and in my way met Mr. Moore, who tells me of the good peace that is made at Tangier with the Moores, but to continue but from six months to six months, and that the Mole is laid out, and likely to be done with great ease and successe, we to have a quantity of ground for our cattle about the town to our use.
To my office late, and then home to supper, after writing letters, and to bed.
This day our cook maid (we having no luck in maids now-adays), which was likely to prove a good servant, though none of the best cooks, fell sick and is gone to her friends, having been with us but 4 days.

what might I sign to once
without the least care or need

it was good to have an office
many people to moo

and my way laid out
like ground for cattle to use


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 10 September 1663.

here is the peeling slat
and the corded wood

here is the clothesline
and the weeded plot

here is the thorn-wrapped stem
that wraps itself around the camellias

here is the seat of rocks
grown over by slippery moss

here is the hinged gate leading
to the other side of the pasture

here is the water that comes
to its other life through the gutter

here is the otherworldly moon
peering into that container

 

In response to Via Negativa: Tableaux.

Up by break of day, and then to my vials a while, and so to Sir W. Warren’s by agreement, and after talking and eating something with him, he and I down by water to Woolwich, and there I did several businesses, and had good discourse, and thence walked to Greenwich; in my way a little boy overtook us with a fine cupp turned out of Lignum Vitae, which the poor child confessed was made in the King’s yard by his father, a turner there, and that he do often do it, and that I might have one, and God knows what, which I shall examine. Thence to Sir W. Warren’s again, and there drew up a contract for masts which he is to sell us, and so home to dinner, finding my poor wife busy.
I, after dinner, to the office, and then to White Hall, to Sir G. Carteret’s, but did not speak with him, and so to Westminster Hall, God forgive me, thinking to meet Mrs. Lane, but she was not there, but here I met with Ned Pickering, with whom I walked 3 or 4 hours till evening, he telling me the whole business of my Lord’s folly with this Mrs. Becke, at Chelsey, of all which I am ashamed to see my Lord so grossly play the beast and fool, to the flinging off of all honour, friends, servants, and every thing and person that is good, and only will have his private lust undisturbed with this common whore his sitting up night after night alone, suffering nobody to come to them, and all the day too, casting off Pickering, basely reproaching him with his small estate, which yet is a good one, and other poor courses to obtain privacy beneath his honour, and with his carrying her abroad and playing on his lute under her window, and forty other poor sordid things, which I am grieved to hear; but believe it to no purpose for me to meddle with it, but let him go on till God Almighty and his own conscience and thoughts of his lady and family do it. So after long discourse, to my full satisfaction but great trouble, I home by water and at my office late, and so to supper to my poor wife, and so to bed, being troubled to think that I shall be forced to go to Brampton the next Court, next week.

poor child of God
knows what war

poor beast flinging off friends
and everything that is good

poor wind
and poor sordid water

poor wife forced
to go to court


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 9 September 1663.

Up and to my viall a while, and then to my office on Phillips having brought me a draught of the Katherine yacht, prettily well done for the common way of doing it. At the office all the morning making up our last half year’s account to my Lord Treasurer, which comes to 160,000l. or there abouts, the proper expense of this half year, only with an addition of 13,000l. for the third due of the last account to the Treasurer for his disbursements, and 1100l. for this half year’s; so that in three years and a half his thirds come to 14,100l.. Dined at home with my wife. It being washing day, we had a good pie baked of a leg of mutton; and then to my office, and then abroad, and among other places to Moxon’s, and there bought a payre of globes cost me 3l. 10s., with which I am well pleased, I buying them principally for my wife, who has a mind to understand them, and I shall take pleasure to teach her. But here I saw his great window in his dining room, where there is the two Terrestrial Hemispheres, so painted as I never saw in my life, and nobly done and to good purpose, done by his own hand.
Thence home to my office, and there at business late, and then to supper home and to bed, my people sitting up longer than ordinary before they had done their washing.

prettily done for the common way
the road cost me my wife

who has a mind
to understand each window

here is the terrestrial
here painted as life

here at home people sit up longer
before their ash


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 8 September 1663.

Up pretty betimes, and awhile to my vyall, and then abroad to several places, to buy things for the furnishing my house and my wife’s closet, and then met my uncle Thomas, by appointment, and he and I to the Prerogative Office in Paternoster Row, and there searched and found my uncle Day’s will, end read it over and advised upon it, and his wife’s after him, and though my aunt Perkins testimony is very good, yet I fear the estate being great, and the rest that are able to inform us in the matter are all possessed of more or less of the estate, it will be hard for us ever to do anything, nor will I adventure anything till I see what part will be given to us by my uncle Thomas of all that is gained. But I had another end of putting my uncle into some doubt, that so I might keep him: yet from going into the country that he may be there against the Court at his own charge, and so I left him and his son at a loss what to do till I see them again. And so I to my Lord Crew’s, thinking to have dined there, but it was too late, and so back and called at my brother’s and Mr. Holden’s about several businesses, and went all alone to the Black Spread Eagle in Bride Lane, and there had a chopp of veale and some bread, cheese, and beer, cost me a shilling to my dinner, and so through Fleet Ally, God forgive me, out of an itch to look upon the sluts there, against which when I saw them my stomach turned, and so to Bartholomew Fayre, where I met with Mr. Pickering, and he and I to see the monkeys at the Dutch house, which is far beyond the other that my wife and I saw the other day; and thence to see the dancing on the ropes, which was very poor and tedious.
But he and I fell in discourse about my Lord Sandwich. He tells me how he is sorry for my Lord at his being at Chelsey, and that his but seeming so to my Lord without speaking one word, had put him clear out of my Lord’s favour, so as that he was fain to leave him before he went into the country, for that he was put to eat with his servants; but I could not fish from him, though I knew it, what was the matter; but am very sorry to see that my Lord hath thus much forgot his honour, but am resolved not to meddle with it.
The play being done, I stole from him and hied home, buying several things at the ironmonger’s — dogs, tongs, and shovels — for my wife’s closett and the rest of my house, and so home, and thence to my office awhile, and so home to supper and to bed. By my letters from Tangier today I hear that it grows very strong by land, and the Mole goes on. They have lately killed two hundred of the Moores, and lost about forty or fifty. I am mightily afeard of laying out too much money in goods upon my house, but it is not money flung away, though I reckon nothing money but when it is in the bank, till I have a good sum beforehand in the world.

possessed by an eagle
far beyond the sand

the fish goes on
lost in too much nothing


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 7 September 1663.

Green winds trouble the water
and rain opens its generous envelope.

It is like this every day at this
time of year: the mind’s tendency

to huddle into itself to make
better sense of itself, as the world

outside tries to remember. On rooftops,
small mallets of water at work

through the night. Moths
still as auguries on the white

sill. Memory the only dry field,
preparing its halls for exhibit.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Mendicant.

(Lord’s day). My pill I took last night worked very well, and I lay long in bed and sweat to get away the itching all about my body from head to foot, which is beginning again as it did the last winter, and I find after I am up that it is abated. I staid at home all day and my wife also, whom, God forgive me, I staid along with me for fear of her seeing of Pembleton. But she and I entertained one another all day long with great pleasure, contriving about my wife’s closet and the bedchamber, whither we intend to go up she and I to-day.
We dined alone and supped also at night, my brother John with us, and so to prayers and to bed.

I work and sweat to get away
itching
all foot and fin

I am who I fear seeing
in my closet at night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 6 September 1663.

Up betimes and to my viall awhile, and so to the office, and there sat, and busy all the morning. So at noon to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, where I met Creed, who dined with me, and after dinner mightily importuned by Captain Hicks, who came to tell my wife the names and story of all the shells, which was a pretty present he made her the other day.
He being gone, Creed, my wife, and I to Cornhill, and after many tryalls bought my wife a chintz, that is, a painted Indian calico, for to line her new study, which is very pretty.
So home with her, and then I away (Creed being gone) to Captain Minors upon Tower Hill, and there, abating only some impertinence of his, I did inform myself well in things relating to the East Indys; both of the country and the disappointment the King met with the last voyage, by the knavery of the Portugall Viceroy, and the inconsiderablenesse of the place of Bombaim, if we had had it. But, above all things, it seems strange to me that matters should not be understood before they went out; and also that such a thing as this, which was expected to be one of the best parts of the Queen’s portion, should not be better understood; it being, if we had it, but a poor place, and not really so as was described to our King in the draught of it, but a poor little island; whereas they made the King and Lord Chancellor, and other learned men about the King, believe that that, and other islands which are near it, were all one piece; and so the draught was drawn and presented to the King, and believed by the King and expected to prove so when our men came thither; but it is quite otherwise.
Thence to my office, and after several letters writ, home to supper and to bed, and took a pill. I hear this day that Sir W. Batten was fain to put ashore at Queenborough with my Lady, who has been so sick she swears never to go to sea again. But it happens well that Holmes is come home into the Downes, where he will meet my Lady, and it may be do her more good than she looked for. He brings news of the peace between Tangier and the Moors, but the particulars I know not. He is come but yesterday.

I came to name my place
a poor little island
after a pill

that shore
rough with wear
may do more good than I know


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 5 September 1663.