Written by Thomas Bayly while he was a prisoner in Newgate, full title: Herba parietis; or, The wall-flower: as it grew out of the stone-chamber belonging to the metropolitan prison of London, called Newgate: being a history which is partly true, partly romantick, morally divine: whereby a marriage between reality and fancy is solemnized by divinity. Published in 1650 by John Holden.

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Eccentric prose romance written, by the Royalist divine, whilst imprisoned on account of some earlier writings. The narrative is set amongst sixth century Roman exiles in Africa, and features some lively slapstick comic scenes as well as the usual romantic entanglements — the curious title, which has little to do with the content, suggesting perhaps that it was written to cheer himself up. The preface contains an impassioned defence, however, against criticisms that his account of Charles I’s religious opinions, ‘Certamen Religiosum’, was, in effect, a forgery and a defamation of the king. After his release Bayly became a Roman Catholic, and died, according to different accounts, in the household of Cardinal Ottobon, or as a poor soldier, at Bologna.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.