Thursday 21 March 1660/61

Up very early, and to work and study in my chamber, and then to Whitehall to my Lord, and there did stay with him a good while discoursing upon his accounts. Here I staid with Mr. Creed all the morning, and at noon dined with my Lord, who was very merry, and after dinner we sang and fiddled a great while. Then I by water (Mr. Shepley, Pinkney, and others going part of the way) home, and then hard at work setting my papers in order, and writing letters till night, and so to bed.

This day I saw the Florence Ambassador go to his audience, the weather very foul, and yet he and his company very gallant. After I was a-bed Sir W. Pen sent to desire me to go with him to-morrow morning to meet Sir W. Batten coming from Rochester.

18 Annotations

daniel   Link to this

"...sent to desire me to go with him..."

this is a rather idiomatic phrasing, no? is this simply archaic or perhaps still current in some unfamiliar (to me) dialect?

Ed LeZotte   Link to this

Gee, I don't know -- "(I) desire that you go with me tomorrow" -- doesn't sound all that odd to me. Maybe I just talk/think odd.

dirk   Link to this

Rev. Josselin's diary:

Weather on thursday 21 March:
A wonderful wet day (...). Few lands can be fallowed, nor a plough stirred for any occasion, few oats sown. The earth excessively full of water.

vincent   Link to this

you forgot the punch line"...prayed earnestly with submission for Noahs promise..."
also from couple of days before:
"...[Wet March] yet god will remember his covenant to and with Noah, and will do us good in his due time..."
http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/diary/7...

vincent   Link to this

"...After I was a-bed Sir W. Pen sent to desire me to go with him to-morrow morning to meet Sir W. Batten ..." brief and to the point, not an order but an order.'Tis better than most commands from above. no RSVP. Just diplomatique [Be there].

Mary   Link to this

Idiomatic phrasing, Daniel

only in the sense that it is perfectly normal for the 17th century, but would sound odd today. As Vincent says, it is in effect an order, but less baldly stated than a peremptory, "You are to come with me tomorrow...."

daniel   Link to this

it is certainly a charming locution, Mary.

i will have to try it out sometime.

Rich Merne   Link to this

Daniel. "sent to desire me to go with him", directly and dialect(ally), hope I got that right; translatable into Gaelic and used to the present day. Interestingly, many more of Sam's idioms are identical to Gaelic usages, e.g., "and so home and brought the night with us", which is (agus thuggamar an oiche abhaille linn)and others which if they are quaint or unusual, I will post.

Julio   Link to this

Desire.
It seems to me that if he had used the word "wish" instead of "desire", it would be normal modern english. And it is interesting to note that the two words have the same meaning in latin languages and the word to translate them is just one. (desir, deseo, desejo).

alex   Link to this

I wouldn't call it an idiom. It's just that desire used to be a synonym for 'request' or 'ask', and it isn't anymore.

Ruben   Link to this

Desire.
The Spanish translation for "desire" as in SP's text looks like "deseo" to the modern eye, but it may also signify and be translated as: quiero, apetezco, pido, pretendo, and in my opinion the best translation for Pepys days would be: "ruego a su merced tenga la bondad...", very courteous, but still meaning that this is a request you can not obviate.

dirk   Link to this

"ruego a su merced tenga la bondad..."

Transl.
"I ask/request You (3rd person polite) to have (subjunctive) the kindness to ..."

Sounds to me somewhat more polite than the original, but that could be due to the use of the subjunctive in Spanish.

Rich Merne   Link to this

'Idiom',...Collins,2...."linguistic usage that is grammatical and natural to speakers of a language."

alex   Link to this

This isn't a question of grammar. It's a question of an alternate meaning of an individual word that has been sheared off over time.

I don't believe saying 'desire' was more courteous than saying 'request'. It just sounds like it to us.

Rich Merne   Link to this

More one of morphology than grammer I guess.

Rich Merne   Link to this

Oops, grammar, better get it right

Bill   Link to this

DESIRE, longing, wishing; also Entreaty, Request.
To DESIRE, to covet, long, or wish for; to entreat or pray.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Chris Squire UK   Link to this

OED has:

‘Desire v.
. . 6.c. to d. a person to do something (the most freq. construction).
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) lxi. 212,   I desyre you to shew me where ye have ben.
. . 1681   W. Temple Mem. iii, in Wks. (1731) I. 342   The Duke of Monmouth being Chancellor, I desir'd the King to speak to him . . ‘

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