Annotations and comments

Dave Bonta has posted six annotations/comments since 20 February 2013.

The most recent first…


About The end of the second cycle

Dave Bonta  •  Link

Thanks to Phil, Terry, San Diego Sarah and all the other annotators for really bringing this text to life. My own deep (mis-)reading involved making an erasure poem out of every entry, which has been a fun challenge for the past nine and half years, and completely changed my approach to poetry. Pepys' concrete and earthy language was always a delight.

About Monday 11 May 1663

Dave Bonta  •  Link

Some discussion of "maze" and "con" above, but surprisingly no mention of "worried", which I find ambiguous. Did he mean it in the sense of being anxious, or of being chewed on by the dog? The American Heritage Dictionary suggests the latter, saying of the verb: "The ancestor of *worry*, the Old English verb *wyrgan*, meant 'to strangle.' Its Middle English descendant, *worien*, kept this sense and developed the new sense 'to grasp by the throat with the teeth and lacerate' or 'to kill or injure by biting and shaking.' This is the way wolves might attack sheep, for example. In the 1500s *worry* began to be used in the sense 'to harass, as by rough treatment or attack' or 'to assault verbally,' and in the 1600s the word took on the sense 'to bother, distress, or persecute.' It was a small step from this sense to the main modern senses 'to cause to feel anxious or distressed' and 'to feel troubled or uneasy,' first recorded in the 1800s."

About Wednesday 22 February 1659/60

Dave Bonta  •  Link

"...with his beard overgrown..."
Wondering what that might imply in the 17th century, I did a bit of searching and found this:
"Until at least the late seventeenth century it was widely believed that facial hair was actually a form of excreta – a waste material generated by the body as a result of heat in the testicles! But this also provides the link with masculinity. Since the beard was linked to the genitals, it was an outward sign of virility and masculinity."…

About Sunday 19 February 1659/60

Dave Bonta  •  Link

It turns out that the psychoactivite properties of thujone have been much exaggerated. See

In any case, according to British beer historian Martyn Cornell on his blog Zythophile, a milder form of wormwood was used in purl. He is, however, describing the later form of purl (see language hat's quote from the OED above):
"Purl was ale heated until almost boiling (never actually boil any hopped drink, the bitterness is likely to be ramped up to an extremely unpleasant level) with a shot of gin, generally in the ration of 10 parts ale to one part spirits, and flavourings of the maker’s choice: usually something bitter, such as Roman wormwood (less powerful than “standard” wormwood), with perhaps orange peel, ginger and, by the middle of the 19th century at least, sugar."…