Annotations and comments

William Crosby has posted six annotations/comments since 1 June 2022.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Friday 16 March 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

If I recall correctly, much of Sam's negative remarks on Shakespeare's plays were based on performances that he liked or disliked not the literary quality of the plays themselves. During the years of the second reading--I read a great deal of history of Shakespeare, the plays, performance styles, Elizabethan and Jamesian theatre, etc. So I am looking forward to re-encountering his comments on these topics. As I recollect there are his experiences as a groundling and many more as someone in the elite seats.

About Tuesday 31 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

Twenty years later I am moved to augment Django Cat's comment:
In the churchyard of Winchester Cathedral is the tombstone of the 'Hampshire Grenadier.' His epitaph reads:-

"In Memory of Thomas Thetcher a Grenadier in the North Reg. of Hants Militia,
who died of a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot the 12th of May 1764.
Aged 26 Years...
Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,
Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer,
Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall
And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all."
There's a picture of the Hampshire Grenadier tombstone at

This is quoted by Bill Wilson, the great American Alcoholic and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in the chapter "Bill's Story." As a result I have seen dozens of photos of sober friends over the years posing at this famous Tombstone.

About Wednesday 18 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

It's also true, that Pepys is often very critical of Shakespearean performances over the diary years. Bearing in mind that Shakespeare's plays were often cut or performed in various versions this is not at all surprising. Likewise, one should be careful in judging Pepys's taste in such things since it is always possible that he saw a less than stellar performance. A further aspect of Pepysian theatre-going is his reporting where he sat bearing in mind that this was the era of the groundlings and elites in the seats.

About Monday 16 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

After two complete read-throughs of the diary I am struck by this particular entry as foreshadowing a major turning point in Pepy's career and the wave of history as already noted in the the few days since the (re-)commencement of the Pepysian account: the negotiations with Monk and the imminent sea passage to restore Charles II to the throne.

About Sunday 1 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

I want to add my expression of great joy at the re-launch for a third journey through the Restoration via the Pepys Diary. A frenzied work schedule kept me from catching up until this morning--but, I sit here in Cleveland, Ohio with a giant smile on my face this morning in the time machine of the Pepys Diary.

Second Reading

About Monday 31 May 1669

William Crosby  •  Link

This is my second complete reading of the diary and I want to extend my great appreciation to Phil and all the amazing annotators, comment contributors, and for the incredible resources added through the years. I hope this Time Machine will be ready to convey us back 1659/60 again next year.