Stranger strands

At the office doing business all the morning. At noon expected Creed to have come to dine with me and brought Mr. Sheres (the gentleman lately come from my Lord Sandwich) with him; but they come not, so there was a good dinner lost. After dinner my wife and Jane about some business of hers abroad, and then I to the office, where, having done my business, I out to pay some debts: among others to the taverne at the end of Billiter Lane, where my design was to see the pretty mistress of the house, which I did, and indeed is, as I always thought, one of the modestest, prettiest, plain women that ever I saw. Thence was met in the street by Sir W. Pen, and he and I by coach to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Mad Couple,” which I do not remember that I have seen; it is a pretty pleasant play. Thence home, and my wife and I to walk in the garden, she having been at the same play with Jane, in the 18d. seat, to shew Jane the play, and so home to supper and to bed.

a reed in the sand
as lost as us

a mad couple at play
with the sea

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 20 September 1667.

Allopath

Up, and all the morning at the office. At noon home to dinner, W. Hewer and I and my wife, when comes my cozen, Kate Joyce, and an aunt of ours, Lettice, formerly Haynes, and now Howlett, come to town to see her friends, and also Sarah Kite, with her little boy in her armes, a very pretty little boy. The child I like very well, and could wish it my own. My wife being all unready, did not appear. I made as much of them as I could such ordinary company; and yet my heart was glad to see them, though their condition was a little below my present state, to be familiar with. She tells me how the lifeguard, which we thought a little while since was sent down into the country about some insurrection, was sent to Winchcombe, to spoil the tobacco there, which it seems the people there do plant contrary to law, and have always done, and still been under force and danger of having it spoiled, as it hath been oftentimes, and yet they will continue to plant it. The place, she says, is a miserable poor place. They gone, I to the office, where all the afternoon very busy, and at night, when my eyes were weary of the light, I and my wife to walk in the garden, and then home to supper and pipe, and then to bed.

I howl in her arms
like a heart condition

familiar as tobacco
which people plant to be miserable

eyes weary of the light
in a pipe

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 19 September 1667.

Infrastructure

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Up betimes and to Captain Cocke, in his coach which he sent for me, and he not being ready I walked in the Exchange, which is now made pretty, by having windows and doors before all their shops, to keep out the cold. By and by to him, and he being ready, he and I out in his coach to my Lord Chancellor’s; there to Mr. Wren’s chamber, who did tell us the whole of Sir W. Pen’s having the order for this ship of ours, and we went with him to St. James’s, and there I did see the copy of it, which is built upon a suggestion of his having given the King a ship of his, “The Prosperous,” wherein is such a cheat as I have the best advantage in the world over him, and will make him do reason, or lay him on his back. This I was very glad of, and having done as far as I could in it we returned, and I home, and there at the office all the morning, and at noon with my Lord Bruncker to the Treasurer’s office to look over the clerks who are there making up the books, but in such a manner as it is a shame to see. Then home to dinner, and after dinner, my mind mighty full of this business of Sir W. Pen’s, to the office, and there busy all the afternoon. This evening Sir W. Batten and W. Pen and I met at W. Batten’s house, and there I took an opportunity to break the business, at which W. Pen is much disturbed, and would excuse it the most he can, but do it so basely, that though he do offer to let go his pretence to her, and resign up his order for her, and come in only to ask his share of her (which do very well please me, and give me present satisfaction), yet I shall remember him for a knave while I live. But thus my mind is quieted for the present more than I thought I should be, and am glad that I shall have no need of bidding him open defiance, which I would otherwise have done, and made a perpetual war between us. So to the office, and there busy pretty late, and so home and to supper with my wife, and so to bed.

I made a window
to keep out the cold

and the wren built
her home there

all morning I look in books
for a share of quiet

more than I thought I should
open up to

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 September 1667.

Hazy

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Up, and at the office all the morning, where Mr. Wren come to us and sat with us, only to learn, and do intend to come once or twice a week and sit with us. In the afternoon walked to the Old Swan, the way mighty dirty, and there called at Michell’s, and there had opportunity para kiss su moher, but elle did receive it with a great deal of seeming regret, which did vex me. But however I do not doubt overcoming her as I did the moher of the monsieur at Deptford. So thence by water to Westminster, to Burgess, and there did receive my orders for 1500l. more for Tangier. Thence to the Hall, and there talked a little with Mrs. Michell, and so to Mrs. Martin’s to pay for my cuffs and drink with her, and did hazer la cosa with her. And by and by away by coach and met with Sir H. Cholmly, and with him to the Temple, and there in Playford’s shop did give him some of my Exchequer orders and took his receipts, and so parted and home, and there to my business hard at the office, and then home, my wife being at Mrs. Turner’s, who and her husband come home with her, and here staid and talked and staid late, and then went away and we to bed.
But that which vexed me much this evening is that Captain Cocke and Sir W. Batten did come to me, and sat, and drank a bottle of wine, and told me how Sir W. Pen hath got an order for the “Flying Greyhound” for himself, which is so false a thing, and the part of a knave, as nothing almost can be more. This vexed me; but I resolve to bring it before the Duke, and try a pull for it.

where we sit in the dirt
and kiss

I see so
little haze

but a bottle of wine
and I fly

so false a part
of nothing more

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 September 1667.

Unsafe lex

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Up, and several come to me, among others Mr. Yeabsly of Plymouth, to discourse about their matters touching Tangier, and by and by Sir H. Cholmly, who was with me a good while; who tells me that the Duke of York’s child is christened, the Duke of Albemarle and the Marquis of Worcester godfathers, and my Lady Suffolke godmother; and they have named it Edgar, which is a brave name. But it seems they are more joyful in the Chancellor’s family, at the birth of this Prince, than in wisdom they should, for fear it should give the King cause of jealousy. Sir H. Cholmly do not seem to think there is any such thing can be in the King’s intention as that of raising the Duke of Monmouth to the Crowne, though he thinks there may possibly be some persons that would, and others that would be glad to have the Queen removed to some monastery, or somewhere or other, to make room for a new wife; for they will all be unsafe under the Duke of York. He says the King and Parliament will agree; that is, that the King will do any thing that they will have him. We together to the Exchequer about our Tangier orders, and so parted at the New Exchange, where I staid reading Mrs. Phillips’s poems till my wife and Mercer called me to Mrs. Pierces, by invitation to dinner, where I find her painted, which makes me loathe her, and the nastiest poor dinner that made me sick, only here I met with a Fourth Advice to the Painter upon the coming in of the Dutch to the River and end of the war, that made my heart ake to read, it being too sharp, and so true. Here I also saw a printed account of the examinations taken, touching the burning of the City of London, shewing the plot of the Papists therein; which, it seems, hath been ordered and to have been burnt by the hands of the hangman, in Westminster Palace. I will try to get one of them. After dinner she showed us her closet, which is pretty, with her James’s picture done by Hales, but with a mighty bad hand, which is his great fault that he do do negligently, and the drapery also not very good. Being tired of being here, and sick of their damned sluttish dinner, my wife and Mercer and I away to the King’s play-house, to see the “Scornfull Lady;” but it being now three o’clock there was not one soul in the pit; whereupon, for shame, we would not go in, but, against our wills, went all to see “Tu Quoque” again, where there is a pretty store of company, and going with a prejudice the play appeared better to us. Here we saw Madam Morland, who is grown mighty fat, but is very comely. But one of the best arts of our sport was a mighty pretty lady that sat behind, that did laugh so heartily and constantly, that it did me good to hear her. Thence to the King’s house, upon a wager of mine with my wife, that there would be no acting there today, there being no company: so I went in and found a pretty good company there, and saw their dance at the end of the play, and so to the coach again, and to the Cock ale house, and there drank in our coach, and so home, and my wife read to me as last night, and so to bed vexed with our dinner to-day, and myself more with being convinced that Mrs. Pierce paints, so that henceforth to be sure I shall loathe her.

mouth to mouth
some unsafe poem
made me sick

a heart examination
by a hangman
with a bad hand

my soul grown fat on the arts
it did me good
to be vexed

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 September 1667.

Polyphony

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(Lord’s day). Up to my chamber, there to set some papers to rights. By and by to church, where I stood, in continual fear of Mrs. Markham’s coming to church, and offering to come into our pew, to prevent which, soon as ever I heard the great door open, I did step back, and clap my breech to our pew-door, that she might be forced to shove me to come in; but as God would have it, she did not come. Mr. Mills preached, and after sermon, by invitation, he and his wife come to dine with me, which is the first time they have been in my house; I think, these five years, I thinking it not amiss, because of their acquaintance in our country, to shew them some respect. Mr. Turner and his wife, and their son the Captain, dined with me, and I had a very good dinner for them, and very merry, and after dinner, he was forced to go, though it rained, to Stepney, to preach. We also to church, and then home, and there comes Mr. Pelling, with two men, by promise, one Wallington and Piggott, the former whereof, being a very little fellow, did sing a most excellent bass, and yet a poor fellow, a working goldsmith, that goes without gloves to his hands. Here we sung several good things, but I am more and more confirmed that singing with many voices is not singing, but a sort of instrumental musique, the sense of the words being lost by not being heard, and especially as they set them with Fuges of words, one after another, whereas singing properly, I think, should be but with one or two voices at most and the counterpoint. They supped with me, and so broke, up, and then my wife and I to my chamber, where, through the badness of my eyes, she was forced to read to me, which she do very well, and was Mr. Boyle’s discourse upon the style of the Scripture, which is a very fine piece, and so to bed.

church might have
an acquaintance with rain

for singing with many voices
is not singing
but a sort of instrumental music

words lost by being heard
in the style of scripture

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 September 1667.

Missing the small picture

Up, and to the office, where all the morning busy. At noon comes Mr. Pierce and dined with me to advise about several matters of his relating to the office and his purse, and here he told me that the King and Duke of York and the whole Court is mighty joyful at the Duchesse of York’s being brought to bed this day, or yesterday, of a son; which will settle men’s minds mightily. And he tells me that he do think that what the King do, of giving the Duke of Monmouth the command of his Guards, and giving my Lord Gerard 12,000l. for it, is merely to find an employment for him upon which he may live, and not out of any design to bring him into any title to the Crowne; which Mr. Moore did the other day put me into great fear of. After dinner, he gone, my wife to the King’s play-house to see “The Northerne Lasse,” which I think I never did see before. Knipp acted in it, and did her part very extraordinary well; but the play is but a mean, sorry play; but the house very full of gallants. It seems, it hath not been acted a good while. Thence to the Exchange for something for my wife, and then home and to the office, and then home to our flageolet, and so to bed, being mightily troubled in mind at the liberty I give myself of going to plays upon pretence of the weakness of my eyes, that cannot continue so long together at work at my office, but I must remedy it.

joy will settle
for any crow

which I think
I never did see

for all the liberty I give
my weak eyes

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 September 1667.

Ways and means

screenshot of erasure poem

Called up by people come to deliver in ten chaldron of coals, brought in one of our prizes from Newcastle. The rest we intend to sell, we having above ten chaldron between us. They sell at about 28s. or 29s. per chaldron; but Sir W. Batten hath sworn that he was a cuckold that sells under 30s., and that makes us lay up all but what we have for our own spending, which is very pleasant; for I believe we shall be glad to sell them for less. To the office, and there despatched business till ten o’clock, and then with Sir W. Batten and my wife and Mrs. Turner by hackney-coach to Walthamstow, to Mrs. Shipman’s to dinner, where Sir W. Pen and my Lady and Mrs. Lowther (the latter of which hath got a sore nose, given her, I believe, from her husband, which made me I could not look upon her with any pleasure), and here a very good and plentifull wholesome dinner, and, above all thing, such plenty of milk meats, she keeping a great dairy, and so good as I never met with. The afternoon proved very foul weather, the morning fair. We staid talking till evening, and then home, and there to my flageolet with my wife, and so to bed without any supper, my belly being full and dinner not digested. It vexed me to hear how Sir W. Pen, who come alone from London, being to send his coachman for his wife and daughter, and bidding his coachman in much anger to go for them (he being vexed, like a rogue, to do anything to please his wife), his coachman Tom was heard to say a pox, or God rot her, can she walk hither? These words do so mad me that I could find in my heart to give him or my Lady notice of them.

o to live on coal
and our own thin milk

foul weather in my belly
anger like a rot in my heart

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 13 September 1667.

Acting my age

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Up, and at the office all the morning till almost noon, and then I rode from the office (which I have not done five times I think since I come thither) and to the Exchequer for some tallies for Tangier; and that being done, to the Dog taverne, and there I spent half a piece upon the clerks, and so away, and I to Mrs. Martin’s, but she not at home, but staid and drunk with her sister and landlady, and by that time it was time to go to a play, which I did at the Duke’s house, where “Tu Quoque” was the first time acted, with some alterations of Sir W. Davenant’s; but the play is a very silly play, methinks; for I, and others that sat by me, Mr. Povy and Mr. Progers, were weary of it; but it will please the citizens. My wife also was there, I having sent for her to meet me there, and W. Hewer. After the play we home, and there I to the office and despatched my business, and then home, and mightily pleased with my wife’s playing on the flageolet, she taking out any tune almost at first sight, and keeping time to it, which pleases me mightily. So to supper and to bed.

I have no lies for a dog
no alteration but play

for others weary
as office business

I play the age tune
and keep time

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 September 1667.

Standard issues

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Up, and with Mr. Gawden to the Exchequer. By the way, he tells me this day he is to be answered whether he must hold Sheriffe or no; for he would not hold unless he may keep it at his office, which is out of the city (and so my Lord Mayor must come with his sword down, whenever he comes thither), which he do, because he cannot get a house fit for him in the city, or else he will fine for it. Among others that they have in nomination for Sheriffe, one is little Chaplin, who was his servant, and a very young man to undergo that place; but as the city is now, there is no great honour nor joy to be had, in being a public officer. At the Exchequer I looked after my business, and when done went home to the ’Change, and there bought a case of knives for dinner, and a dish of fruit for 5s., and bespoke other things, and then home, and here I find all things in good order, and a good dinner towards. Anon comes Sir W. Batten and his lady, and Mr. Griffith, their ward, and Sir W. Pen and his lady, and Mrs. Lowther, who is grown, either through pride or want of manners, a fool, having not a word to say almost all dinner; and, as a further mark of a beggarly, proud fool, hath a bracelet of diamonds and rubies about her wrist, and a sixpenny necklace about her neck, and not one good rag of clothes upon her back; and Sir John Chichly in their company, and Mrs. Turner. Here I had an extraordinary good and handsome dinner for them, better than any of them deserve or understand, saving Sir John Chichly and Mrs. Turner, and not much mirth, only what I by discourse made, and that against my genius. After dinner I took occasion to break up the company soon as I could, and all parted, Sir W. Batten and I by water to White Hall, there to speak with the Commissioners of the Treasury, who are mighty earnest for our hastening all that may be the paying off of the Seamen, now there is money, and are considering many other things for easing of charge, which I am glad of, but vexed to see that J. Duncomb should be so pressing in it as if none of us had like care with him. Having done there, I by coach to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw part of “The Ungratefull Lovers;” and sat by Beck Marshall, who is very handsome near hand. Here I met Mrs. Turner and my wife as we agreed, and together home, and there my wife and I part of the night at the flageolet, which she plays now any thing upon almost at first sight and in good time. But here come Mr. Moore, and sat and discoursed with me of publique matters: the sum of which is, that he do doubt that there is more at the bottom than the removal of the Chancellor; that is, he do verily believe that the King do resolve to declare the Duke of Monmouth legitimate, and that we shall soon see it. This I do not think the Duke of York will endure without blows; but his poverty, and being lessened by having the Chancellor fallen and [Sir] W. Coventry gone from him, will disable him from being able to do any thing almost, he being himself almost lost in the esteem of people; and will be more and more, unless my Lord Chancellor, who is already begun to be pitied by some people, and to be better thought of than was expected, do recover himself in Parliament. He would seem to fear that this difference about the Crowne (if there be nothing else) will undo us. He do say that, that is very true; that my Lord [Chancellor] did lately make some stop of some grants of 2000l. a-year to my Lord Grandison, which was only in his name, for the use of my Lady Castlemaine’s children; and that this did incense her, and she did speak very scornful words, and sent a scornful message to him about it. He gone, after supper, I to bed, being mightily pleased with my wife’s playing so well upon the flageolet, and I am resolved she shall learn to play upon some instrument, for though her eare be bad, yet I see she will attain any thing to be done by her hand.

this day of the sword
I look after my knives

having not a penny
to pay the sea

like an ungrateful lover
near poverty

who is scornful about
playing a bad hand

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 11 September 1667.