Dave Bonta

Up and within all the morning, being willing to keep as much as I could within doors, but receiving a very wakening letter from Mr. Coventry about fitting of ships, which speaks something like to be done, I went forth to the office, there to take order in things, and after dinner to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier, but did little. So home again and to Sir W. Pen, who, among other things of haste in this new order for ships, is ordered to be gone presently to Portsmouth to look after the work there. I staid to discourse with him, and so home to supper, where upon a fine couple of pigeons, a good supper; and here I met a pretty cabinet sent me by Mr. Shales, which I give my wife, the first of that sort of goods I ever had yet, and very conveniently it comes for her closett. I staid up late finding out the private boxes, but could not do some of them, and so to bed, afraid that I have been too bold to-day in venturing in the cold.
This day I begun to drink butter-milke and whey, and I hope to find great good by it.

door awakening
like a new mouth

a couple of pigeons come close
finding the box too bold

venturing to drink and eat by it


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 May 1664.

Slept well all night and lay long, then rose and wrote my letter to my father about Pall, as we had resolved last night. So to dinner and then to the office, finding myself better than I was, and making a little water, but not yet breaking any great store of wind, which I wonder at, for I cannot be well till I do do it. After office home and to supper and with good ease to bed, and endeavoured to tie my hands that I might not lay them out of bed, by which I believe I have got cold, but I could not endure it.

night rose let me go
to bed and tie
my hands

I might be old
but I could endure


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 May 1664.

Forced to rise because of going to the Duke to St. James’s, where we did our usual business, and thence by invitation to Mr. Pierces the chyrurgeon, where I saw his wife, whom I had not seen in many months before. She holds her complexion still, but in everything else, even in this her new house and the best rooms in it, and her closet which her husband with some vainglory took me to show me, she continues the veriest slattern that ever I knew in my life. By and by we to see an experiment of killing a dogg by letting opium into his hind leg. He and Dr. Clerke did fail mightily in hitting the vein, and in effect did not do the business after many trials; but with the little they got in, the dogg did presently fall asleep, and so lay till we cut him up, and a little dogg also, which they put it down his throate; he also staggered first, and then fell asleep, and so continued. Whether he recovered or no, after I was gone, I know not, but it is a strange and sudden effect.
Thence walked to Westminster Hall, where the King was expected to come to prorogue the House, but it seems, afterwards I hear, he did not come.
I promised to go again to Mr. Pierce’s, but my pain grew so great, besides a bruise I got to-day in my right testicle, which now vexes me as much as the other, that I was mighty melancholy, and so by coach home and there took another glyster, but find little good by it, but by sitting still my pain of my bruise went away, and so after supper to bed, my wife and I having talked and concluded upon sending my father an offer of having Pall come to us to be with us for her preferment, if by any means I can get her a husband here, which, though it be some trouble to us, yet it will be better than to have her stay there till nobody will have her and then be flung upon my hands.

the usual urge for some glory in my life
hitting the vein

I fall asleep
a dog put down

afterwards the melancholy bruise
of having nobody


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 May 1664.

(Lord’s day). Rose, and as I had intended without reference to this pain, took physique, and it wrought well with me, my wife lying from me to-night, the first time she did in the same house ever since we were married, I think (unless while my father was in town, that he lay with me). She took physique also to-day, and both of our physiques wrought well, so we passed our time to-day, our physique having done working, with some pleasure talking, but I was not well, for I could make no water yet, but a drop or two with great pain, nor break any wind.
In the evening came Mr. Vernatty to see me and discourse about my Lord Peterborough’s business, and also my uncle Wight and Norbury, but I took no notice nor showed any different countenance to my uncle Wight, or he to me, for all that he carried himself so basely to my wife the last week, but will take time to make my use of it. So, being exceeding hot, to bed, and slept well.

is night the same
ever since we were in town

that wrought our time
in one drop

into a different
make of bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 May 1664.

Up, full of pain, I believe by cold got yesterday. So to the office, where we sat, and after office home to dinner, being in extraordinary pain. After dinner my pain increasing I was forced to go to bed, and by and by my pain rose to be as great for an hour or two as ever I remember it was in any fit of the stone, both in the lower part of my belly and in my back also. No wind could I break. I took a glyster, but it brought away but a little, and my height of pain followed it. At last after two hours lying thus in most extraordinary anguish, crying and roaring, I know not what, whether it was my great sweating that may do it, but upon getting by chance, among my other tumblings, upon my knees, in bed, my pain began to grow less and less, till in an hour after I was in very little pain, but could break no wind, nor make any water, and so continued, and slept well all night.

I believe in pain
a rose of stone in the lower back

I break an oar
in I know not what
great water


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 May 1664.

Up before three o’clock, and a little after upon the water, it being very light as at noon, and a bright sunrising; but by and by a rainbow appeared, the first that ever in a morning I saw, and then it fell a-raining a little, but held up again, and I to Woolwich, where before all the men came to work I with Mr. Deane spent two hours upon the new ship, informing myself in the names and natures of many parts of her to my great content, and so back again, without doing any thing else, and after shifting myself away to Westminster, looking after Mr. Maes’s business and others. In the Painted Chamber I heard a fine conference between some of the two Houses upon the Bill for Conventicles. The Lords would be freed from having their houses searched by any but the Lord Lieutenant of the County; and upon being found guilty, to be tried only by their peers; and thirdly, would have it added, that whereas the Bill says, “That that, among other things, shall be a conventicle wherein any such meeting is found doing any thing contrary to the Liturgy of the Church of England,” they would have it added, “or practice.” The Commons to the Lords said, that they knew not what might hereafter be found out which might be called the practice of the Church of England; for there are many things may be said to be the practice of the Church, which were never established by any law, either common, statute, or canon; as singing of psalms, binding up prayers at the end of the Bible, and praying extempore before and after sermon: and though these are things indifferent, yet things for aught they at present know may be started, which may be said to be the practice of the Church which would not be fit to allow.
For the Lords’ priviledges, Mr. Walter told them how tender their predecessors had been of the priviledges of the Lords; but, however, where the peace of the kingdom stands in competition with them, they apprehend those priviledges must give place. He told them that he thought, if they should owne all to be the priviledges of the Lords which might be demanded, they should be led like the man (who granted leave to his neighbour to pull off his horse’s tail, meaning that he could not do it at once) that hair by hair had his horse’s tail pulled off indeed: so the Commons, by granting one thing after another, might be so served by the Lords. Mr. Vaughan, whom I could not to my grief perfectly hear, did say, if that they should be obliged in this manner to, exempt the Lords from every thing, it would in time come to pass that whatever (be [it] never so great) should be voted by the Commons as a thing penall for a commoner, the contrary should be thought a priviledge to the Lords.
That also in this business, the work of a conventicle being but the work of an hour, the cause of a search would be over before a Lord Lieutenant, who may be many miles off, can be sent for.
And that all this dispute is but about 100l.; for it is said in the Act, that it shall be banishment or payment of 100l..
I thereupon heard the Duke of Lenox say, that there might be Lords who could not always be ready to lose 100l., or some such thing.
They broke up without coming to any end in it.
There was also in the Commons’ House a great quarrel about Mr. Prin, and it was believed that he should have been sent to the Towre, for adding something to a Bill (after it was ordered to be engrossed) of his own head — a Bill for measures for wine and other things of that sort, and a Bill of his owne bringing in; but it appeared he could not mean any hurt in it. But, however, the King was fain to write in his behalf, and all was passed over. But it is worth my remembrance, that I saw old Ryly the Herald, and his son; and spoke to his son, who told me in very bad words concerning Mr. Prin, that the King had given him an office of keeping the Records; but that he never comes thither, nor had been there these six months: so that I perceive they expect to get his imployment from him. Thus every body is liable to be envied and supplanted.
At noon over to the Leg, where Sir G. Ascue, Sir Robt. Parkhurst and Sir W. Pen dined. A good dinner and merry. Thence to White Hall walking up and down a great while, but the Council not meeting soon enough I went homeward, calling upon my cozen Roger Pepys, with whom I talked and heard so much from him of his desire that I would see my brother’s debts paid, and things still of that nature tending to my parting with what I get with pain to serve others’ expenses that I was cruelly vexed. Thence to Sir R. Bernard, and there heard something of Pigott’s delay of paying our money, that that also vexed me mightily. So home and there met with a letter from my cozen Scott, which tells me that he is resolved to meddle no more with our business, of administering for my father, which altogether makes me almost distracted to think of the trouble that I am like to meet with by other folks’ business more than ever I hope to have by my owne. So with great trouble of mind to bed.

I inform myself in the names
and natures of many parts of her
my fine and binding Bible

like the man who hair by hair
pulled the grief out
of his own head

but I could not hurt the bad
words that keep a body
planted in desire


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 13 May 1664.

Up by 4 o’clock and by water to Woolwich, where did some business and walked to Greenwich, good discourse with Mr. Deane best part of the way; there met by appointment Commissioner Pett, and with him to Deptford, where did also some business, and so home to my office, and at noon Mrs. Hunt and her cozens child and mayd came and dined with me. My wife sick of those in bed. I was troubled with it, but, however, could not help it, but attended them till after dinner, and then to the office and there sat all the afternoon, and by a letter to me this afternoon from Mr. Coventry I saw the first appearance of a warr with Holland. So home; and betimes to bed because of rising to-morrow.

at green noon
how not to try
the first pear


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 May 1664.

Up and all day, both forenoon and afternoon, at my office to see it finished by the joyners and washed and every thing in order, and indeed now my closet is very convenient and pleasant for me. My uncle Wight came to me to my office this afternoon to speak with me about Mr. Maes’s business again, and from me went to my house to see my wife, and strange to think that my wife should by and by send for me after he was gone to tell me that he should begin discourse of her want of children and his also, and how he thought it would be best for him and her to have one between them, and he would give her 500l. either in money or jewells beforehand, and make the child his heir. He commended her body, and discoursed that for all he knew the thing was lawful. She says she did give him a very warm answer, such as he did not excuse himself by saying that he said this in jest, but told her that since he saw what her mind was he would say no more to her of it, and desired her to make no words of it. It seemed he did say all this in a kind of counterfeit laugh, but by all words that passed, which I cannot now so well set down, it is plain to me that he was in good earnest, and that I fear all his kindness is but only his lust to her. What to think of it of a sudden I know not, but I think not to take notice yet of it to him till I have thought better of it. So with my mind and head a little troubled I received a letter from Mr. Coventry about a mast for the Duke’s yacht, which with other business makes me resolve to go betimes to Woolwich to-morrow. So to supper and to bed.

both joy and ash came
from my strange children

I sired words
in a kind of counterfeit lust

what to think of a sudden ink
bled from other times


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 11 May 1664.

Up and to my office all the morning, and there saw several things done in my work to my great content, and at noon home to dinner, and after dinner in Sir W. Pen’s coach he set my wife and I down at the New Exchange, and after buying some things we walked to my Lady Sandwich’s, who, good lady, is now, thanks be to God! so well as to sit up, and sent to us, if we were not afeard, to come up to her. So we did; but she was mightily against my wife’s coming so near her; though, poor wretch! she is as well as ever she was, as to the meazles, and nothing can I see upon her face. There we sat talking with her above three hours, till six o’clock, of several things with great pleasure and so away, and home by coach, buying several things for my wife in our way, and so after looking what had been done in my office to-day, with good content home to supper and to bed. But, strange, how I cannot get any thing to take place in my mind while my work lasts at my office. This day my wife and I in our way to Paternoster Row to buy things called upon Mr. Hollyard to advise upon her drying up her issue in her leg, which inclines of itself to dry up, and he admits of it that it should be dried up.

fear is the nothing
I face in a clock

after looking at it
I cannot get anything
to take place in my mind

while my yard
is drying up


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 9 May 1664.