13 Annotations

TerryF  •  Link

Sedley, Sir Charles (b. 1639; d. 1701). “The Mulberry Garden” (1668); “Antony and Cleopatra” (1677); “Bellamira” (1687); “Beauty the Conqueror; or, the Death of Mark Antony” (1702); “The Grumbler” (1702); “The Tyrant King of Crete” (1702). All the above are dramatic. His complete works, including his plays, poems, songs, etc., were published in 1702. http://www.bartleby.com/81/18484.html

"Sir Charles Sedley (March 1639 - August 20, 1701), English wit and dramatist, [...] Sedley is famous as a patron of literature in the Restoration period, and was the Lisideius of Dryden's "Essay of Dramatic Poesy". His most famous song, 'Phyllis is my only joy', is much more widely known now than the author's name.[...] The best, but most licentious, of his comedies is "Bellamira; or The Mistress" (1687), an imitation of the "Eunuchus" of Terence, in which the heroine is supposed to represent the duchess of Cleveland, the mistress of Charles II. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Sedley

'Phyllis is my only joy'

Phyllis is my only joy,
Faithless as the winds or seas;
Sometimes coming, sometimes coy,
Yet she never fails to please;
If with a frown
I am cast down,
Phyllis smiling,
And beguiling,
Makes me happier than before.

Though, alas! too late I find
Nothing can her fancy fix,
Yet the moment she is kind
I forgive her all her tricks;
Which, though I see,
I can't get free;
She deceiving,
I believing;
What need lovers wish for more?

-- Sir Charles Sedley

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.VIII. The Court Poets.§ 10. Sir Charles Sedley. http://www.bartleby.com/218/0810.html

Pedro  •  Link

Sir Charles Sedley.

One of the “Wits”

Much of the colourful era which surrounds the Restoration Court in the popular imagination is derived from the behaviour of the “Wits”, rather than the more powerful ministers. This little group that flourished for about 15 years after 1665, included John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester, Henry Jermyn, Lord Buckhurst, John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, Henry Killigrew, Sir Charles Sedley, and the playwrights Wycherley and Etherege, as well as Buckingham.

(Fraser...King Charles II)

Peter Daly  •  Link

Why are we not permitted to read what Sam wrote originally? Are we not old enough? The full details provide a true picture of the character of the "wits" at Charles' court. Sedley is the man who, in his own interests' persistently thrust his daughter into the bed of a royal lover and no excess of his could surprise.

jeannine  •  Link

"Why are we not permitted to read what Sam wrote originally?"
The version of the diary that is posted on this site is the Wheatley version which was published in the early 1900's. This is the most recent version to date that is outside of the copyright laws time period restriction. The more modern version of the L&M translation has the "full details" of Sam's original script and was published in a time period where the actual language was more "accepted" by the general public. In fairness to Wheatley he did a magnificent job and most likley published some "risque" selections given the time period, culture, etc. that he was living in.
Now about being old enough to read it--you did get a permission slip from your parents to be here didn't you? The rest of us young, hip kids had to...

jeannine  •  Link

Footnote from Grammont (Spoilers)
"NOTE 111
Sir Charles Sedley was born about the year 1639, and was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He ran into all the excesses of the times in which he lived. Burnet says, "Sedley had a more sudden and copious wit, which furnished a perpetual run of discourse; but he was not so correct as Lord Dorset, nor so sparkling as Lord Rochester." -- History of his own Times, vol. i. p. 372. He afterwards took a more serious turn, and was active against the reigning family at the Revolution; to which he was probably urged by the dishonour brought upon his daughter, created Countess of Dorchester by King James II. [The following well-known anecdote refers to this circumstance. Sedley was one day asked why he appeared so inflamed against the king, to whom he was under so many obligations? "I hate ingratitude," he said, "and therefore, as the king has made my daughter a countess, I will endeavour to make his daughter a queen." Referring to the Princess Mary, wife of the Prince of Orange, who, by the success of this great outbreak, was called to the throne under the name of William III.] Lord Rochester's lines on his powers of seduction are well known. He died 20th August, 1701.
[Among other numerous frolics related of Sir Charles Sedley, that which took place in June, 1663, when he was in company with Lord Buckhurst, Sir Thomas Ogle, &c. at the Cock Tavern, in Bow Street, Covent Garden, as recorded by Anthony Wood (see his Life, p. 53, and his Athenæ, vol. iv. p. 732), is the most notorious. "His indecent and blasphemous proceedings there raised a riot, wherein the people became very clamorous, and would have forced the door next to the street open; but being hindered, he and his companions were pelted into the room, and the windows belonging thereunto were broken. This frolic being soon spread abroad, especially by the fanatical party, who aggravated it to the utmost, by making it the most scandalous thing in nature, and nothing more reproachful to religion than that; the said company were summoned to the court of justice in Westminster Hall, where, being indicted of a riot before Sir Robert Hyde, lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, were all fined, and Sir Charles to the amount of 500l. Sir Robert Hyde asked him whether ever he read the book called The Complete Gentleman, &c., to which Sir Charles made answer, that set aside his lordship, he had read more books than himself, &c. The day for payment being appointed, Sir Charles desired Mr. Henry Killegrew, and another gentleman, to apply themselves to his majesty to get it off; but instead of that, they beg'd the said sum of his majesty, and would not abate Sir Charles two-pence of the money."


Paul Chapin  •  Link

The knight is young

Sedley is 6 years younger than Sam, and already in 1663, when Sedley was 24, Sam referred to him as Sir Charles. None of the sources I could find stated when he was knighted. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography may do so, but unfortunately I don't have the necessary subscription to find out.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Michael, it seems to follow from your note that the baronetcy carried with it the privilege of being called "Sir ___." If so, I've learned something. I have always thought that the Sir-title (sorry) came only with knighthood, which was conferred on individuals and not inheritable, unlike a peerage, which would carry the epithet "My Lord ___." Am I right that I am wrong?

Michael Robinson  •  Link


"Although the origin of this title has been the subject of learned speculation, it is not known for certain why it was selected as that of "a new Dignitie between Barons and Knights" created by James I. The object of its institution was to raise money for the crown, ... When it was instituted, in May 1611, the king, to keep the baronetage select, covenanted that he would not create more than two hundred, ... these qualifications were before long abandoned. As an inducement to apply for it, it was made to confer the prefix of "Sir" and "Lady" (or "Dame"), and was assigned precedence above knights, though below the younger sons of barons. ..."


Cum grano salis  •  Link

Rank of Barons and little Barons was in vogue,[monies dothe take precedence] if thee look at the House of Lairds and Commons [those that not be of true peerage] there be many a 'sir' sitting in the Commons as they be not accepted in the vpper strata of society yet with all the given Privileges of the truly dubbed.
as shown at this site, the two levels of privilege.

Bill  •  Link

SEDLEY, (Sir Charles) a poet of mediocrity, whose works display no ingenuity, but have, as the duke of Buckingham says, "the art of insinuating loose principles in decent language." Charles II, and the earl of Rochester have greatly over-rated this gentleman's talents: the former having said, "That Nature had given him a patent to be Apollo's viceroy," and the latter, making him "an oracle among the poets." He sat in several parliaments, and James II. conferred on him many favours; he nevertheless took a part in the Revolution, which was out of resentment at the king's having an amour with his daughter, whom he created countess of Dorchester. When Sir Charles was asked why he appeared so warm in the Revolution, he answered, "from a principle of gratitude: for since his majesty has made my daughter a countess, it is fit I should do all I can to make his daughter a queen." Sedley, though possessed of pleasing talents, was a very dissolute character. He was born in 1639, and died in 1701.

---Eccentric biography, 1801

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


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