Sunday 15 January 1659/60

Having been exceedingly disturbed in the night with the barking of a dog of one of our neighbours that I could not sleep for an hour or two, I slept late, and then in the morning took physic, and so staid within all day.

At noon my brother John came to me, and I corrected as well as I could his Greek speech to say the Apposition, though I believe he himself was as well able to do it as myself. After that we went to read in the great Officiale about the blessing of bells in the Church of Rome.

After that my wife and I in pleasant discourse till night, then I went to supper, and after that to make an end of this week’s notes in this book, and so to bed.

It being a cold day and a great snow my physic did not work so well as it should have done.

30 Annotations

First Reading

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

I believe the "physic" was usually something to make the bowels work... so no wonder he "staid" at home.

Someone was asking yesterday whether Pepys ever actually wrote "and so to bed." They have their answer!

Eric Walla  •  Link

Does someone have insight into "the great Officiale"?

Nice to see him spending quality time with the wife (OK, enough on this subject ... until the topic calls for comment once again).

language hat  •  Link

the Apposition:
(from the OED)

apposition 1. [a. OFr. aposicion, apposition, variant of opposition, in med.L. sense of oppo?nere: see appose v.1] A public disputation by scholars; a formal examination by question and answer; still applied to the `Speech day’ at St. Paul’s School, London.
1659-60 Pepys Diary 9 Jan., My brother John’s speech, which he is to make the next apposition. 1864 Press 18 June 588 St. Paul’s School..celebrated its annual Apposition on Wednesday.

Nicholas Laughlin  •  Link

"the great Officiale":

Pepys is referring to the “official” Roman Catholic liturgy for the ceremonial blessing of church bells, the De benedictione signi, vel campanae.

Latham-Matthews notes that Pepys owned a 1664 Paris edition of the Pontificale romanum Clementis VIII (i.e. the version of the official liturgical book promulgated by Pope Clement VIII).

I haven’t been able to find this text of the De benedictione signi, vel campanae, but it was perhaps not too dissimilar to the 1895 version promulgated by Popes Benedict XIV & Leo XIII, which can be read online here:…

Was this meant as a Latin exercise for Pepys’s brother, I wonder? They surely weren’t reading this text for religious purposes.

Charles Weng  •  Link

The Mind of Samuel Pepys

Upon the wane of Puritan rule, it was apparently not obligatory for fashionable society to go to the same church every Sunday. On the other hand, it would not be unusual for a devout (or appearance-conscious) Christian to participate in multiple religious functions at various venues on a single Sunday, even if it was something as simple as a bible reading.

The Pepys braved the wintry cold last Sunday to go to church, but this week our man stayed home to attend to his own health and his brother's Greek. The Classics being our diarist's scholastic expertise (a far more typical discipline then than now), such exercise would be routine. In any case, Pepys appeared to be much keener towards the politics, social gossip and popular music of his day.

Now that I've made these comments, I welcome my fellow readers to discuss whether Pepys' many talents and interests were merely fashionable for a man of his times, or that, as we delve further into the diary, we do see the emergence of a most particular intellect.

Michael Vincent  •  Link

My personal observation is that talented people must be a doing. At that time they did not have any of the modern distractions, with this diary we can get insight to people using their mind.

Chris  •  Link

"Having been exceedingly disturbed in the night with the barking of a dog of one of our neighbours..."

It's nice to know some things never change. :-)

Ed  •  Link

I'm really enjoying these journal entries and kudos to the person who had the idea to make them available.
My only comment is that it seems as if Pepy didn't have a terribly stressful life. He sure had an abundance of time to eat,socialize,read and listen to recitals.
I'm sure this isn't the whole picture, but it seems to be the one he presents in his journal.

Eric Walla  •  Link

Is the lack of stress in Samuel's life actually a reflection of chaos in the life of the Nation? In his position it seems natural for him to become preoccupied with the goings-on in Parliament and the maneuverings of the larger figures of his time. Rather than sit on his hands, he wanders ...

Perhaps time will show him working all that much harder once a true direction has been established. Perhaps not.

M Betts  •  Link

more on Physic

I have been searching around to find a reference to this physic
At the time it was something quite specific (As annotated before a purgative) Its other meanings are quite interesting..
1. The art of healing diseases; the science of medicine; the
theory or practice of medicine. ``A doctor of physik.''
[1913 Webster]

2. A specific internal application for the cure or relief of
sickness; a remedy for disease; a medicine.
[1913 Webster]

3. Specifically, a medicine that purges; a cathartic.
[1913 Webster]

4. A physician. [R.] --Shak.
[1913 Webster)

crouchback  •  Link

in reference to stress
there wasn't a lot of exact timekeeping in those days, so there weren't a lot of close deadlines; therefore work flow was a little more informal; therefore less of our modern idea of stress. also, pepys wasn't involved in much important work at this time ... he wasn't promoted to his positions of influence until later ...

language hat  •  Link

I have to disagree with M.Betts; at that time its most common meaning seems to have been the general one of 'medicine' (though 'purgative' was also used). Here's the relevant OED entry:

4 a = medicine sb.1 2. (Now chiefly colloq.)

1591 Harington Orl. Fur. Pref., Tasso..likeneth Poetrie to the Phisicke that men giue vnto little children when they are sick. 1605 Shaks. Macb. v. iii. 47 Throw Physicke to the Dogs, Ile none of it. 1696 Tate & Brady Ps. civ. 14 Herbs, for Man's use, of various Pow'r, That either Food or Physick yield. 1730 Wesley Wks. (1830) I. 11 A little money, food or physic. 1862 Mrs. H. Wood Mrs. Hallib. ii. vi, And, Janey, you'll take the physic, like a precious lamb: and heaps of nice things you shall have after it, to drive the taste out. 1872 Geo. Eliot Middlem. x, As bad as the wrong physic,-nasty to take, and sure to disagree.

b spec. A cathartic or purge.

1617 Abp. Abbot Descr. World (1634) 303 The people..doe vse it [Tobacco] as Physicke to purge themselues of humours. 1624 Donne Serm. xvii. (1640) 170 Affliction is my Physick; that purges, that cleanses me. 1831 Youatt Horse iv. 56 The spring grass is the best physic that can possibly be administered to the horse. It carries off every humour which may be lurking about the animal.

Scott Rosser  •  Link

Anybody have any idea what Pepys means by "[making] an end of this week's notes in this book"? Did he in fact write out his diary entries in full every Sunday from notes gleaned during the week just gone, rather than (as popular imagination might have it) in the evenings before bed?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The word "physic" meaning 'laxative' or 'purgative' survived into American English through the late 19th century. My grandmother (b. 1885 in Kansas) used it. It formed the basis of a joke she liked to tell, of a teacher ordering that "all students taking physics should bring paper to class."

Grahamt  •  Link

My Derbyshire born English Grandfather always referred to laxatives as physic. I'm sure it still exists in the north, where many old words, like thee/thou, still exist as dialect.

Geri  •  Link

My father (aged 78) still refers to laxatives as "physics". Reading the term in the diary made me laugh. (And worry - poor Samuel, it wasn't working!)

language hat  •  Link

"an end of this week's notes":
Scott: I think he just means "make the last of the week's entries."

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

This may be reading too much into the passage, but Samuel says that the physic didn't work well because of the great cold and snow.

I wondered if he was stifling his urges and thus impeding its work, rather than hurry to an outside lavatory in the courtyard, which is (I suspect) what they had.

Terry F  •  Link

Pepys is so viscerally distressed he does not *write* this day is Sunday.

cgs  •  Link

The great Officiale????
"...great Officiale about the blessing of bells in the Church of Rome...."

The great Officiale????

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The great Officiale

Pontificale Romanum Clementis VIII. Pont. Max. iussu restitutum atque editum.
Rome: Jacobus Luna imp. Leonardi Parasoli, 1595.
There were numerous later editions; SP retained in his library the Paris edition of 1664, now PL 2814.

Presumably SP and his brother were reading the Service 'De Benedictione Signi, vel campanae ..."…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... to say the Apposition ..."

Apposition: A public disputation by scholars; a formal examination by question and answer; still applies to the 'Speech Day' at St Paul's School, London (Oxford English Dictionary)

The tradition of Apposition dates back to the school's founding in 1509 and was originally intended as the means by which the Mercers Company could assess the teaching staff, the High Master in particular; they had the right to dismiss or reappoint the staff as a result. This function has now become purely ceremonial but "formal examination by question and answer" remains the cornerstone of today's Apposition when five Paulines "declaim" (usually by delivering a summary of an academic paper) and an invited "Apposer" judges the quality of each declamation afterwards.…

april june  •  Link

Pepys wrote his diaries in short-hand first, contemporaniously I imagine, and then transposed several days at a time when he could. As for the matter of physic, in this case it was a laxative. If you are familiar with his diary, then you know he was obessed with his digestion, constipation etc. It was an unfortunate practice of the times to take laxatives weekly or so. They had a very unhealthy diet, mostly meat, and so it seems suffered from problems of the stomach.

Second Reading

Neil Ferguson  •  Link

Ed...I would believe that Pepys had an extremely stressful lifestyle at this time in his life. Reasons...
He had a relatively uncertain job and had severe money problems.
He depended on keeping the goodwill of others for his whole particular Montagu .
Montagu was under a cloud and keeping a very low profile in Hitchenbrooke because he had been an overt republican...
England particular London, was in a state of flux ......between Republicanism and possible royalty return .....with possible retribution and religious complications.
All in all very uncertain times .....

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"After that we went to read in the great Officiale about the blessing of bells in the Church of Rome."

On the Consecration of Church Bells [in Latin]
De benedictione signi Pontificale romanum Clementis VIII…

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Pepys had been before the diary by profession a clerk; in the diary years his job was Clerk of the Acts of the Navy Board, in which role he kept track of contracts and correspondence and reports having, nearly daily "writing" letters and reports. If not family or personal correspondence or indicated otherwise these were written in shorthand and transcribed into longhand by his clerks.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
15.1.1660 (Sunday 15 January 1660)
document 70012200
Jan: 15: God good to us in our outward mercies, his answer of prayer in the welfare of my son is a providence greatly affects my heart, the season very vehemently cold, this hard weather has continued from Novemb: 11. until now which is above 9 weeks, and god knows how much longer, snow lying on the ground all this time, and sometimes very deep, god good to me this day in the word, my heart very sensible of gods goodness in the present moderation of men in public place. General Monck is coming up to London, we shall see to what intent, god remember his in mercy and all shall be well.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

Ed in 2003 wrote:
"My only comment is that it seems as if Pepys didn't have a terribly stressful life. He sure had an abundance of time to eat, socialize,read and listen to recitals. I'm sure this isn't the whole picture, but it seems to be the one he presents in his journal."

Don't worry, Ed. Sam is just warming up here. Things will get more stressful from time to time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Stress ...
Lawson lies still in the Thames.
General Monck is coming up to London, we shall see to what intent.
And what to do with kid brother John, who doesn't seem to be very interested in his Greek and Latin Appositions. If he fails the St. Paul's School test, he won't win a scholarship to Cambridge.

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