Wednesday 2 March 1663/64

Up, my eye mightily out of order with the rheum that is fallen down into it, however, I by coach endeavoured to have waited on my Lord Sandwich, but meeting him in Chancery Lane going towards the City I stopped and so fairly walked home again, calling at St. Paul’s Churchyarde, and there looked upon a pretty burlesque poem, called “Scarronides, or Virgile Travesty;” extraordinary good. At home to the office till dinner, and after dinner my wife cut my hair short, which is growne pretty long again, and then to the office, and there till 9 at night doing business. This afternoon we had a good present of tongues and bacon from Mr. Shales, of Portsmouth. So at night home to supper, and, being troubled with my eye, to bed. This morning Mr. Burgby, one of the writing clerks belonging to the Council, was with me about business, a knowing man, he complains how most of the Lords of the Council do look after themselves and their own ends, and none the publique, unless Sir Edward Nicholas. Sir G. Carteret is diligent, but all for his own ends and profit. My Lord Privy Seale, a destroyer of every body’s business, and do no good at all to the publique. The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks very little, nor do much, being now come to the highest pitch that he can expect. He tells me, he believes that things will go very high against the Chancellor by Digby, and that bad things will be proved. Talks much of his neglecting the King; and making the King to trot every day to him, when he is well enough to go to visit his cozen Chief-Justice Hide, but not to the Council or King. He commends my Lord of Ormond mightily in Ireland; but cries out cruelly of Sir G. Lane for his corruption; and that he hath done my Lord great dishonour by selling of places here, which are now all taken away, and the poor wretches ready to starve. That nobody almost understands or judges of business better than the King, if he would not be guilty of his father’s fault to be doubtfull of himself, and easily be removed from his own opinion. That my Lord Lauderdale is never from the King’s care nor council, and that he is a most cunning fellow. Upon the whole, that he finds things go very bad every where; and even in the Council nobody minds the publique.

14 Annotations

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Scarronides: or, Virgile travestie. A mock-poem. Being the first book of Virgils Æneis in English, burlésque. Imprimatur, Roger L'estrange
London : printed by E. Cotes for Henry Brome at the Gun in Ivy-lane, 1664
[4], 112 p.; 8⁰.

Anonymous, By Charles Cotton, 1630 - 1687. In verse. The first leaf bears a rebus of Henry Brome on verso. There are at least two editions with title pages in the same setting of type, but with the rest of the work in different settings.
Wing (2nd ed., 1994),C6391 Pforzheimer,222

A popular work; there appear to be at least 3 separate editions in 1664, 10 to 1691.
This is the same Cotton who wrote the additional fly fishing portions of the "Compleat Angler," by his friend Walton, first included with the fifth edition of 1676.

Terry F  •  Link

"Scarronides: or, Virgile travestie" was "popular."

Thank you. Michael Robinson, for the bibliographic documentation!

L&M explain that the "mock-poem" was "[w]itty and obscene, with a strong appeal to all who had been put through Virgil at school," i.e., methinks, a strong appeal to the typical buyer of books in English -- hence its popularity.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

A first edition, asking price be 650 quid [on line]. [ The gold equivalent of two Guineas ]
And so what happened to thy promise, no more buying til thee have a 1000 Quid in thy stocking.

tel  •  Link

Congratulations to whoever designed the new site layout - very elegant.
Reading Sam's careful reporting of Burgby's gossip makes you realise again why the diary had to be in code. It would be dynamite if it fell into the wrong hands.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Meanwhile, at Deptford...

"Well, my love? Did your meeting with Mr. Pepys go well?"

"There's no doubt he's interested, William. But a cautious little man. I'll have to go it carefully with him...Bring him along slow, playing the virtuous Englander maiden to perfection."

"No actress in this land better, Miep darling. But that Diary of his...?"

"Not yet. But I saw where he keeps it locked up in the office. That young clerk of his...Hewer...Had it out, trying to read the shorthand. Locked it back up when I came in, asking where Pepys was."

"Hmmn...The Admiral and the Council want a look at that curious document, Miep. My information on the workings at Deptford can only go so far. We need his accounts of the frictions at the Naval Office and in the court...Especially on the decline of Lord Sandwich's standing. De Ruyter..."

A pause at Miep's nervous wave...She runs to check a sound at the door.


"Caution, my love." she notes.

He nods.

"But that information could be vital. You must get at that Diary. Are you sure you can read his shorthand?"

"I saw his notes earlier and the journal itself the other day with Hewer. It's an easy script. And I think once I become a common sight at the Naval Office, hanging on dear Mr. Pepys' favor...And becoming his mistress..." Slight smile between the Bagwells...Things we do for the Republic... "...I ought to be able to find a few quiet moments one morning or evening to open the desk and see what the little fellow is so eager to gossip to himself about."

"He's a man of detail...We must give him that. I'm sure his accounts will be enlightening. I hope, mein darling...This will not be too painful for you. It is after all, our sacrifice for the Republic."

"Not toooo tough, mein dearest. He's an amusing little man." Ummn...She eyes William's somewhat...Face.

"And for the Republic, anything..."

"Ja..." Bagwell frowns.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Naming rights

Is anyone else struck by the fashion in the days of Charles II of putting one's name on some remote place? There's Pennsylvania, Charleston (S.C.), where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers flow together to form the Atlantic Ocean, as we all learned as children, Digby Nova Scotia, Carteret, New Jersey, and of course New York, then Fairfax, Va., lots of Virginia counties, and, of course, Sandwich, Massachusetts. Alas Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. is not named for Lord Lauderdale, but it may be named for a descendant. Nowadays the proprietors of all this real estate would command large premiums for such naming rights. I guess the Indians didn't have good agents.

Brian  •  Link

A taste of "Scarronides," from Early English Books Online:

I sing the man, (read it who list,
A Trojan true, as ever pist)
Who from Troy town, by wind and weather
To Italy, (and God know whither)
Was packt, and wrackt, and lost, and tost,
And bounc'd from Pillar unto Post.
Long wandred he through thick and thin,
Half-rosted now; now wet to'th skin
. . .

ruizhe  •  Link

Not really code; he wrote in a popular style of shorthand.

Also, if you could get a piece of land named after you, why wouldn't you? Plus, even if you didn't want it, people who want to suckup may still name a place after you. That practice existed long before the 1660's and continued long after (and certainly not only among the English).
Remember to that many of those names were also names for localities in England. Don't be so sure that all of them were named after a person.

Australian Susan  •  Link

As I had to plough through the Aeneid in Latin at school, I think I would appreciate anything which sent it up! Thank you, Brian, for the sample. For all those who did Eng. Lit. too, did you rewrite the titles? Worrying Nights for Wuthering Heights and so on? Childish, but fun.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Lets see if I remember- "Oliver Twit", "Muddlemarch", "Silly Moaner", "Hammed-it", "An American Travesty". The best thing I ever read along such lines was something back in sophomore year which mashed all of Shakespeare's sonnets into one hideous but funny mass.

Pedro  •  Link

Childish but fun.

I threatened my future wife that, when reading my vows, I would say "my awful wedded wife". Of course on the day I had to be very very careful.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

EEBO :+ "A taste of "Scarronides," from Early English Books Online:"
Unfortunately it be not for us hoi polloi.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thank you, Mr Gertz! Knew you thought along the same lines as I did. Did you also enjoy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead? ( "What's he doing?" "Talking to himself again.") Maybe seeing that play would have converted Sam to Shakespeare.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"[Mr. Burgby] cries out cruelly of Sir G. Lane for his corruption; and that he hath done my Lord great dishonour by selling of places here, which are now all taken away, and the poor wretches ready to starve."

Lane was secretary to Ormond (the Lord Lieutenant), and a nororious pluralist . At Michaelmas 1663 economies in the royal household (of which Ormond was Lord Steward) resulted in the dismissal of about 300 officers. Many had bought their places, but there was no compensation. (Per L&M footnote)

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