Pepys Diary erasure project

Up, being frighted that Mr. Coventry was come to towne and now at the office, so I run down without eating or drinking or washing to the office and it proved my Lord Berkeley.
There all the morning, at noon to the ‘Change, and so home to dinner, Mr. Wayth with me, and then to the office, where mighty busy till very late, but I bless God I go through with it very well and hope I shall.

in a town
run-down with drink
ashing the ice


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 12 November 1664.

Up, and with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten to the Council Chamber at White Hall, to the Committee of the Lords for the Navy, where we were made to wait an houre or two before called in. In that time looking upon some books of heraldry of Sir Edward Walker’s making, which are very fine, there I observed the Duke of Monmouth’s armes are neatly done, and his title, “The most noble and high-born Prince, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, &c.;” nor could Sir J. Minnes, nor any body there, tell whence he should take the name of Scott? And then I found my Lord Sandwich, his title under his armes is, “The most noble and mighty Lord, Edward, Earl of Sandwich, &c.”Sir Edward Walker afterwards coming in, in discourse did say that there was none of the families of princes in Christendom that do derive themselves so high as Julius Caesar, nor so far by 1000 years, that can directly prove their rise; only some in Germany do derive themselves from the patrician familys of Rome, but that uncertainly; and, among other things, did much inveigh against the writing of romances, that 500 years hence being wrote of matters in general, true as the romance of Cleopatra, the world will not know which is the true and which the false. Here was a gentleman attending here that told us he saw the other day (and did bring the draught of it to Sir Francis Prigeon) of a monster born of an hostler’s wife at Salisbury, two women children perfectly made, joyned at the lower part of their bellies, and every part perfect as two bodies, and only one payre of legs coming forth on one side from the middle where they were joined. It was alive 24 hours, and cried and did as all hopefull children do; but, being showed too much to people, was killed. By and by we were called in, where a great many lords: Annesly in the chair. But, Lord! to see what work they will make us, and what trouble we shall have to inform men in a business they are to begin to know, when the greatest of our hurry is, is a thing to be lamented; and I fear the consequence will be bad to us. Thence I by coach to the ‘Change, and thence home to dinner, my head akeing mightily with much business. Our little girl better than she was yesterday. After dinner out again by coach to my Lord Chancellor’s, but could not speak with him, then up and down to seek Sir Ph. Warwicke, Sir G. Carteret, and my Lord Berkely, but failed in all, and so home and there late at business. Among other things Mr. Turner making his complaint to me how my clerks do all the worke and get all the profit, and he hath no comfort, nor cannot subsist, I did make him apprehend how he is beholding to me more than to any body for my suffering him to act as Pourveyour of petty provisions, and told him so largely my little value of any body’s favour, that I believe he will make no complaints again a good while. So home to supper and to bed, after prayers, and having my boy and Mercer give me some, each of them some, musique.

in the book of the body
is there no other writing true as romance

which is true and which false
of two children perfectly made
joined at their bellies
and only one pair of legs

what work will make us fear
the consequence of it

how is holding you
so large a music


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 11 November 1664.

Up, and not finding my things ready, I was so angry with Besse as to bid my wife for good and all to bid her provide herself a place, for though she be very good-natured, she hath no care nor memory of her business at all.
So to the office, where vexed at the malice of Sir W. Batten and folly of Sir J. Minnes against Sir W. Warren, but I prevented, and shall do, though to my own disquiet and trouble.
At noon dined with Sir W. Batten and the Auditors of the Exchequer at the Dolphin by Mr. Wayth’s desire, and after dinner fell to business relating to Sir G. Carteret’s account, and so home to the office, where Sir W. Batten begins, too fast, to shew his knavish tricks in giving what price he pleases for commodities.
So abroad, intending to have spoke with my Lord Chancellor about the old business of his wood at Clarendon, but could not, and so home again, and late at my office, and then home to supper and bed.
My little girle Susan is fallen sicke of the meazles, we fear, or, at least, of a scarlett feavour.

no place or nature at all
prevented disquiet
or the count of commodities

so spoke the old wood
in my fallen ear


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 10 November 1664.

Called up, as I had appointed, by H. Russell, between two and three o’clock, and I and my boy Tom by water with a gally down to the Hope, it being a fine starry night. Got thither by eight o’clock, and there, as expected, found the Charles, her mainmast setting. Commissioner Pett aboard. I up and down to see the ship I was so well acquainted with, and a great worke it is, the setting so great a mast. Thence the Commissioner and I on board Sir G. Ascue, in the Henery, who lacks men mightily, which makes me think that there is more believed to be in a man that hath heretofore been employed than truly there is; for one would never have thought, a month ago, that he would have wanted 1000 men at his heels. Nor do I think he hath much of a seaman in him: for he told me, says he, “Heretofore, we used to find our ships clear and ready, everything to our hands in the Downes. Now I come, and must look to see things done like a slave, things that I never minded, nor cannot look after.” And by his discourse I find that he hath not minded anything in her at all.
Thence not staying, the wind blowing hard, I made use of the Jemmy yacht and returned to the Tower in her, my boy being a very droll boy and good company. Home and eat something, and then shifted myself, and to White Hall, and there the King being in his Cabinet Council (I desiring to speak with Sir G. Carteret), I was called in, and demanded by the King himself many questions, to which I did give him full answers. There were at this Council my Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Treasurer, the two Secretarys, and Sir G. Carteret.
Not a little contented at this chance of being made known to these persons, and called often by my name by the King, I to Mr. Pierces to take leave of him, but he not within, but saw her and made very little stay, but straight home to my office, where I did business, and then to supper and to bed.
The Duke of York is this day gone away to Portsmouth.

a star is more believed in than the sea
like a slave that cannot answer

we bury it in a known name
made of ice in the mouth


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 9 November 1664.

Up and to the office, where by and by Mr. Coventry come, and after doing a little business, took his leave of us, being to go to sea with the Duke to-morrow.
At noon, I and Sir J. Minnes and Lord Barkeley (who with Sir J. Duncum, and Mr. Chichly, are made Masters of the Ordnance), to the office of the Ordnance, to discourse about wadding for guns. Thence to dinner, all of us to the Lieutenant’s of the Tower; where a good dinner, but disturbed in the middle of it by the King’s coming into the Tower: and so we broke up, and to him, and went up and down the store-houses and magazines; which are, with the addition of the new great store-house, a noble sight.
He gone, I to my office, where Bagwell’s wife staid for me, and together with her a good while, to meet again shortly. So all the afternoon at my office till late, and then to bed, joyed in my love and ability to follow my business.
This day, Mr. Lever sent my wife a pair of silver candlesticks, very pretty ones. The first man that ever presented me, to whom I have not only done little service, but apparently did him the greatest disservice in his business of accounts, as Purser-Generall, of any man at the board.

come and go to sea
with the bark of our guns

all of us disturbed
by the new use of sticks

pretty ones that have only done
business as a board


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 8 November 1664.

Up and with Sir W. Batten to White Hall, where mighty thrusting about the Duke now upon his going. We were with him long. He advised us to follow our business close, and to be directed in his absence by the Committee of the Councell for the Navy.
By and by a meeting of the Fishery, where the Duke was, but in such haste, and things looked so superficially over, that I had not a fit opportunity to propose my paper that I wrote yesterday, but I had shewed it to Mr. Gray and Wren before, who did like it most highly, as they said, and I think they would not dissemble in that manner in a business of this nature, but I see the greatest businesses are done so superficially that I wonder anything succeeds at all among us, that is publique.
Thence somewhat vexed to see myself frustrated in the good I hoped to have done and a little reputation to have gained, and thence to my barber’s, but Jane not being in the way I to my Lady Sandwich’s, and there met my wife and dined, but I find that I dine as well myself, that is, as neatly, and my meat as good and well-dressed, as my good Lady do, in the absence of my Lord.
Thence by water I to my barber’s again, and did meet in the street my Jane, but could not talk with her, but only a word or two, and so by coach called my wife, and home, where at my office late, and then, it being washing day, to supper and to bed.

wren like a public hope
little but neat

as well-dressed as the barber
in a street of ash


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 7 November 1664.

(Lord’s day). Up and with my wife to church. Dined at home. And I all the afternoon close at my office drawing up some proposals to present to the Committee for the Fishery to-morrow, having a great good intention to be serviceable in the business if I can. At night, to supper with my uncle Wight, where very merry, and so home. To prayers and to bed.

in the raw present
I fish to be serviceable
and to pray
and to be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 6 November 1664.

Up and to the office, where all the morning, at noon to the ‘Change, and thence home to dinner, and so with my wife to the Duke’s house to a play, “Macbeth,” a pretty good play, but admirably acted. Thence home; the coach being forced to go round by London Wall home, because of the bonefires; the day being mightily observed in the City. To my office late at business, and then home to supper, and to bed.

at dinner
I bet on the bone

fires serve
the city up


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 5 November 1664.

Waked very betimes and lay long awake, my mind being so full of business. Then up and to St. James’s, where I find Mr. Coventry full of business, packing up for his going to sea with the Duke. Walked with him, talking, to White Hall, where to the Duke’s lodgings, who is gone thither to lodge lately. I appeared to the Duke, and thence Mr. Coventry and I an hour in the Long Gallery, talking about the management of our office, he tells me the weight of dispatch will lie chiefly on me, and told me freely his mind touching Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes, the latter of whom, he most aptly said, was like a lapwing; that all he did was to keepe a flutter, to keepe others from the nest that they would find. He told me an old story of the former about the light-houses, how just before he had certified to the Duke against the use of them, and what a burden they are to trade, and presently after, at his being at Harwich, comes to desire that he might have the setting one up there, and gets the usefulness of it certified also by the Trinity House.
After long discoursing and considering all our stores and other things, as how the King hath resolved upon Captain Taylor and Colonell Middleton, the first to be Commissioner for Harwich and the latter for Portsmouth, I away to the ‘Change, and there did very much business, so home to dinner, and Mr. Duke, our Secretary for the Fishery, dined with me. After dinner to discourse of our business, much to my content, and then he away, and I by water among the smiths on the other side, and to the alehouse with one and was near buying 4 or 5 anchors, and learned something worth my knowing of them, and so home and to my office, where late, with my head very full of business, and so away home to supper and to bed.

long awake
my mind like a lapwing
all a-flutter
or a lighthouse coursing
away and away


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 4 November 1664.

Up and to the office, where strange to see how Sir W. Pen is flocked to by people of all sorts against his going to sea. At the office did much business, among other an end of that that has troubled me long, the business of the bewpers and flags. At noon to the ‘Change, and thence by appointment was met with Bagwell’s wife, and she followed me into Moorfields, and there into a drinking house, and all alone eat and drank together. I did there caress her, but though I did make some offer did not receive any compliance from her in what was bad, but very modestly she denied me, which I was glad to see and shall value her the better for it, and I hope never tempt her to any evil more. Thence back to the town, and we parted and I home, and then at the office late, where Sir W. Pen came to take his leave of me, being to-morrow, which is very sudden to us, to go on board to lie on board, but I think will come ashore again before the ship, the Charles, can go away. So home to supper and to bed. This night Sir W. Batten did, among other things, tell me strange newes, which troubles me, that my Lord Sandwich will be sent Governor to Tangier, which, in some respects, indeed, I should be glad of, for the good of the place and the safety of his person; but I think his honour will suffer, and, it may be, his interest fail by his distance.

where a flock
has troubled the fields
I drink alone
glad to see the town
way in the distance


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 3 November 1664.