Tuesday 20 May 1662

Sir W. Pen and I did a little business at the office, and so home again. Then comes Dean Fuller after we had dined, but I got something for him, and very merry we were for an hour or two, and I am most pleased with his company and goodness. At last parted, and my wife and I by coach to the Opera, and there saw the 2nd part of “The Siege of Rhodes,” but it is not so well done as when Roxalana was there, who, it is said, is now owned by my Lord of Oxford.1 Thence to Tower-wharf, and there took boat, and we all walked to Halfeway House, and there eat and drank, and were pleasant, and so finally home again in the evening, and so good night, this being a very pleasant life that we now lead, and have long done; the Lord be blessed, and make us thankful. But, though I am much against too much spending, yet I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty, when we cannot have them so properly.

33 Annotations

Josh  •  Link

"Diana Kirke, of whom nothing more need be said than that she bore an inappropriate Christian name."

---i.e., the Roman goddess of the hunt, and chastity (cf. the Greek's Artemis).

Bradford  •  Link

"I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty, when we cannot have them so properly."

Whitsun is passed, and the vows extended till then expired; but Pepys has not gone on a tear. As yet.

dirk  •  Link

"enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than ..."

Very sensible point of view, methinks. Workaholics in this hectic 21st c., take note!

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

wot be work, ergs they be [lifting one horse one inch];as a misquote from Alice in LaLa land, she doth ask The Royal Queen, where ist me raspberry jam and she doth reply Jam yesterday, Jam temorrer, but there be no jam to day. {I doth think she be thinking of preserves and not about the giant parking lot at the Whitehall}
balance it be;.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Diana Kirke

Temple Diana (Kirke- church).

An inappropriate Christian name, forsooth.

Sometimes conflated with Cynthia, goddess of the moon, cf. Ben Jonson:

Queen, and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep :
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

As for Sam, Ben adds elsewhere:

Time will not be ours for ever :
He at length our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain.
Suns that set, may rise again:
But if once we lose this light,
'Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys ?

Seize the day.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Syrus says:

'Frugalis miseria est rumoris boni' Syrus Maxims.
being a Tightwad is misery with a good add agency;
or 'Fortuna vitrea est; tum cum speindet frangitur'
Syrus Maxim
fortune be a wineglass;just when it is most magnificient it goes poof.

Ruben  •  Link

From old times and specially after Pepys days University students sing:

Gaudeamus igitur,
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post jucundam juventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus!

Vita nostra brevis est,
Brevi finietur,
Venit mors velociter,
Rapit nos atrociter,
Nemini parcetur.

Ubi sunt qui ante
Nos in mundo fuere?

In my rudimentary translation it is something like:
While we are young, lets be merry,
Singing with joy.
After youth's pleasures,
Comes dreadful old age,
And dust will cover us.

Our life is short
and soon will finish,
Death is after us;
She does not pardon,
None will escape it.

Where are those who were
in this world before us?

I long not only to my past youth but to the voices of my friends, shouting, more than singing, the words of this song, all around me.

Xjy  •  Link

Catullus -- yum!
Ben Johnson:
Suns that set, may rise again:
But if once we lose this light,

Xjy  •  Link

Roxalana [...], who [...] is now owned by my Lord of Oxford.1
The highlight of today's entry -- along with the anti-puritan pro-fat-cat sentiment of "spend it while you can still enjoy it". What fascinates me is the bald declaration that a woman is owned by a man. No reflections, no moralizing. I think this easy remark leads naturally on to the concluding fat-cat reflection. "This world is a filthy stye, and, hey! I'm a fat little porker in it with my very own growing puddle of shit to wallow in... "
And since we're all poetic today:
So follow me follow
Down to the hollow
And there let us wallow
In glorious mud.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Hobbes of poetry

Tasty, British & short?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

A nation in search of the golden mean:

King to Parliament May 19:

I cannot but observe to you, that the whole Nation seems to Me a little corrupted in their Excess of Living. Sure all Men spend much more, in their Cloaths, in their Diet, in all their Expences, than they have used to do. I hope it hath only been the Excess of Joy, after so long Sufferings, that hath transported us to these other Excesses. But let us take Heed, that the Continuance of them doth not indeed corrupt our Natures. I do believe I have been faulty that Way Myself: I promise you, I will reform; and if you will join with Me in your several Capacities, We shall by Our Examples do more Good, both in City and Country, than any new Laws would do.
From Vincent hier

Sam today:

But, though I am much against too much spending, yet I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty, when we cannot have them so properly.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...owned by..." Given the note about deception through false marriage, I'm inclined to think Pepys is repeating a bit of what he considers very juicy backstage gossip about Mrs. Davenport and Oxford. Further I get the sense he means the lady is in total thrall to the Earl, believing his little game, etc. Though it is a time when many people are "owned", quite literally, male as well as female.

I wonder who else went to Halfeway House, Sam? It seemed like such a nice connubial outing for you and Bethie till you said "we all walked..."

"Siege of Rhodes, Part II." No doubt the "Star Wars" blockbuster of its day...

An evil Sultan bent on conquest and conversion...A mighty war fleet and army of heathen troopers bearing down on our heros...

"Infidel English dog...I am your father..."

"Use the power of the Faith, my son...It will forever guide you."

"Now we have the secret of Greek fire, our battle fleet is the ultimate power in the Mediterranean..." Crew of heathen troopers chortle...

"My son, only a fully trained Knight of the Order can hope to defeat our traitorious former lord and his Sultan..."

"Sir, I must protest at being made a galley slave. I am a fully trained valet and my counterpart here is a gentleman's server. I...OW!...Please put that scimitar away, sir!"

And don't forget those fantastic special effects...

I wonder if some enterprising fellow put out a line of "Siege of Rhodes, II" dolls...

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Portrait of Diana Kirke

As my two-year-old son said on seeing Houdon's Diana toute nue, "Yummy!"

prosodiacal note

The 11-syllable line of Sappho & Catullus is imitated by Swinburne ("In the month of the long decline of roses/I, beholding the summer dead before me") and Tennyson ("Look, I come to the test, a tiny poem/All composed in a metre of Catullus") -- both pems titled "Hendecasyllabics" --
but not Jonson, whose beautiful 7-syllable line (with an occasional weak 8th) became a standard meter for elegiac verse in English ("Earth, receive an honored guest/William Yeats is laid to rest" -- Auden), perhaps following Jonson himself (" Underneath this stone doth lie/As much beauty as could die"). I don't know that this line has its own name, but it could be called, I suppose, a heptasyllabic.

Jesse  •  Link

"...she bore an inappropriate Christian name.”

Yet she was the daughter of the 'Groom of the Bedchamber'. No deception on this marriage, perhaps his Lordship got 0wn3d?

Thanks for the translations.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Obviously Ms. Kirke was somewhat smarter and/or experienced with the aristocracy and the world than poor Mrs. Davenport...

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

The puritanical view,the protesting, view, the catholic [world] view, the epistle view,the methodic view, Chauvinistic view [Calvin? F chauvin]
Oh! how the flesh doth excite the mind.
Oh! Syrus :
" Omnes qui occulte peccant, peccant ocius"
Those that sin secretly, do so more swiftly.
thanks for the portrait

Louis  •  Link

A. Hamilton: to be pedantic, the meter you describe is trochaic heptasyllabic: "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick"---"Into something rich and strange" ("Tempest")---"Music, when soft voices die" (Shelley)---and seems reserved for brief lyrics, often on the "carpe diem" theme Pepys has today evoked in so many of us.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"portrait of Diana"
A. Hamilton,was your son still breastfeeding?

john lauer  •  Link

The erg is the standard unit of energy in the centimeter-gram-second (cgs) or small-unit metric system. It is an amount of energy equivalent to that expended by a force of one dyne acting over a distance of one centimeter.

It has been suggested that 1 erg is approximately the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off.

Australian Susan  •  Link

To expose one breast at that time was naughty, but two was OK. Not sure why.
Robert Gertz's comment on the "we all" - I took that to mean Sam, Elizabeth and "my boy" as well as perhaps Jane, who is the boy's e;der sister and has been invluded in outings before. Maybe it is just the Pepyses and Wayneman. Maybe Will Hewer included in party?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

son still breastfeeding?

Yep. On seeing another female nude statue, the Greek Slave by Hiram Powers, he declared, "Mommy." She was charmed.

Ruben  •  Link

To expose one breast at that time was naughty, but two was OK.
Two breasts are nudity, but they only show a bare body. For this reason I do not like Goya's Maja Desnuda. Two breasts may suggest a lot of things, but there is something rude in showing a bare body in our society. But if the lady is more sophisticated but wants to show her flowering body or suggest that below the garments there is more to be seen, or enjoyed, or use for whatever Nature intended, one breast is enough.
This portrait of her was intended to show someone from the aristocracy, in private, the "goods" promised to the beholder, of course for promiscuous intentions.
Some hundred and 50 years later, the same bare breast, this time in public exposure, became the simbol of whatever the Republique Francaise could offer to nurture its citizens. A much better use for the same suggestive breast. The symbol is still with us, as it will probably be as long as we are mammals.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"one breast"
one of Janet Jackson's breasts was "accidentally" exposed some months ago;it caused such an uproar that it almost caused the end of live TV!Plus

Grahamt  •  Link

I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now... :
Sam was only following his scriptures - Isiah 22:13
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die."

dirk  •  Link

"one of Janet Jackson’s breasts was 'accidentally' exposed some months ago"

Plus ça change…?. Well, the US and Europe are different in many aspects (Hmm). Here in Europe most people would merely have chuckled, and gone back to whatever they were doing - very much like A.Hamilton's son, I guess. Not exactly riot stuff.

Xjy  •  Link

hendecasyllabics and heptasyllabics
No way I would call characterize a heptasyllabic like Johnson's as a "swirling polka"! I was contrasting the verses presenting the same idea, not identifying.
However, Shelley's "music, when soft voices die" is not your stomping goblin trochaic heptasyllabic. More Horatian -- tum ti tum tum / tum ti tum -- and swirling -- Verdi, not Beethoven or Sousa.
The specimen hendecasyllabics of Swinburne and Tennyson aren't much cop, though. Of the two, T gets the rhythm better.

Xjy  •  Link

hendecasyllabics and heptasyllabics
PS Make that "stompin' goblin heptasyll" :-)

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sam's final words put me in mind of Thomas Morley's madrigal, which Sam must surely have known. Morley (1558-1602) was organist at St Paul's cathedral, but also wrote much secular music, including for Shakespeare.

Sing we and chant it,
While love doth grant it,
Fa la la etc.

Not long youth lasteth,
And old age hasteth;
Now is best leisure
To take our pleasure.
Fa la la etc.

All things invite us
Now to delight us,
Fa la la etc.


'It was a lover and his lass', words by Shakespeare, music by Morley


Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: Roxala and Lord Oxford: I suggest that what Sam meant was that she had been ‘taken into keeping’ by Lord O:

‘keeping n. . . 5. b. The maintaining of a mistress or lover; the fact or condition of being so maintained.
1675 W. Wycherley Country-wife i. 13 But prethee..is not keeping better than Marriage?
. . 1728 J. Gay Beggar's Opera ii. iv. 25 Pray Madam were you ever in keeping?
. . 1853 E. C. Gaskell Ruth III. i. 29 She beguiled a young gentleman, who took her into keeping.’ [OED]

‘Ownership’ meant no more than that she was, until they parted, off-limits to other gallants who might otherwise have tried their luck with her.

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