Saturday 24 November 1660

To my Lord’s, where after I had done talking with him Mr. Townsend, Rumball, Blackburn, Creed and Shepley and I to the Rhenish winehouse, and there I did give them two quarts of Wormwood wine, and so we broke up.

So we parted, and I and Mr. Creed to Westminster Hall and looked over a book or two, and so to my Lord’s, where I dined with my lady, there being Mr. Child and Mrs. Borfett, who are never absent at dinner there, under pretence of a wooing. From thence I to Mr. de Cretz and did take away my Lord’s picture, which is now finished for me, and I paid 3l. 10s. for it and the frame, and am well pleased with it and the price.

So carried it home by water, Will being with me. At home, and had a fire made in my closet, and put my papers and books and things in order, and that being done I fell to entering these two good songs of Mr. Lawes, “Helpe, helpe, O helpe,” and “O God of Heaven and Hell” in my song book, to which I have got Mr. Child to set the base to the Theorbo, and that done to bed.

23 Annotations

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Wormwood wine

Well, I'd better do it before someone else does ... I wonder if absinthe made their hearts grow fonder?

(I once had absinthe while in Poland, and it gave me the worst hangover I've ever had. It was positively reptilian, I tell you -- my brain-stem hurt.)

dirk  •  Link

Wormwood wine and other drinks...

On the traditional medicinal properties of wormwood:…
"The intensely bitter, tonic and stimulant qualities have caused Wormwood not only to be an ingredient in medicinal preparations, but also to be used in various liqueurs, of which absinthe is the chief, the basis of absinthe being absinthol, extracted from Wormwood. Wormwood, as employed in making this liqueur, bears also the name 'Wermuth' - preserver of the mind - from its medicinal virtues as a nervine and mental restorative. If not taken habitually, it soothes spinal irritability and gives tone to persons of a highly nervous temperament. Suitable allowances of the diluted liqueur will promote salutary perspiration and may be given as a vermifuge."

A contemporary poetic evocation of the alcoholic drinks available in Sam's time...…

dirk  •  Link


I probably should have posted the above to the Background Info - Spirits...

vincent  •  Link

worm wood
a Formerly, A liquor made by infusing wormwood or other bitter herbs in ale or beer. "Purl-royal", a similar infusion of wormwood in wine.

See 20 th Feb L. Hat., Jim & Bob T

vincent  •  Link

see background Hercules Pillars for more on wormwood

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my brainstem hurts" those paintings though not realistic still show how sick and seedy the drinkers had become!no wonder absinthe can not be found in the United States,at least legally

Peter  •  Link

Absinthe amazingly became available again in the UK a couple of years ago. One of its nicknames in the 19th century was "the green fairy" because of its colour (and presumably because of its effect).

Ed LeZotte  •  Link

There's a pretty "good" absinthe substitute one can get these days (I think) at least I had my fill of it at the Duex Maggots while on leave in Paris many many years ago -- Pernod.

Mike Barnas  •  Link

Absinthe's reputation as the "green fairy": One feature of French folklore is that green fairies, those who dance in sylvan circles, are quite often lethal. The Green Fairy may well kill you.

Grahamt  •  Link

Topic is drifting but...
Pastis: Aniseed flavoured drinks like Pernod and Ricard are very popular in France. They were introduced to replace Absinthe which was made illegal. However, there is now a drink available called Absenthe (absent) which is very similar to absinthe, but without the wormwood (hence the name) ... and it is green as opposed to yellow pastis.
I wonder why Vermouth doesn't have Absinthe's reputation when both are based on wormwood?

Lawrence  •  Link

I'm not sure where to mention this so sorry if this is the wrong place;
There is an article in the BBC History magazine February 2004 issue P.26 about the drink referred to as Absinthe if anyone might be interested.

vicente  •  Link

Wormwood did not affect the L3/10/0 painting, got it home in one piece. Interesting a fire in his closet? was there a chimney, the closet must have been sizable. Of course it has been cold, there was a hard frost recently and also foul weather[with all that soot] very necessary to have a cosy fire. Only the better places had chimneys. I have not seen him complain of chest problems usually associated with smoke and damp weather.

Bill  •  Link

More dramatic, however, and infinitely more interesting, is the second song referred to. It is entitled 'Orpheus' Hymn to God.' The first stanza may be quoted here:

'King of Heav'n and Hell, of Sea and Earth,
Who shak'st the world when thou shout'st thunder forth,
Whom Devils dread, and Hosts of Heaven prayse;
Eternal cause who on the winds doth ride:
Whom Fate (which masters all things else) obeys;
And Nature's face with thick dark clouds dost hide!'

The musical treatment is highly characteristic of Lawes, and of the school to which he belongs. Again, the declamatory element prevails over the melodious, and very quaint, amongst other things, is the long roll of semiquavers to the word thunder, which Purcell seems to have imitated in a famous passage. Altogether the two songs are very interesting, and few modern critics will differ from Mr. Pepys's statement that they are good.
---Italian and other studies. F. Hueffer, 1883.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Commons keeps in mind the House of Lord's Lord Speaker's woolsack

Wool, &c.…

Mr. Shaw reports from the Committee, Amendments to the Bill for preventing the Exportation of Wool, Woolfells, Fullers Earth, &c.: Which he read in his Place; and were after read the First and Second time by the Clerk; and, on the Question, agreed.

Resolved, That this Bill, with the said Amendments, be ingrossed.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

This seems to be the nearest thing to proper absinthe in the UK:

'Sebor - Authentic Absinthe with Wormwood - 50cl - 55% ABV - An authentic blend of thirteen different herbs, Sebor Absinth is produced using traditional brewing methods to create the finest alcohol blended with a wealth of organic ingredients, including the highest level of wormwood, to give a rich mellow flavour.'…

Ivan  •  Link

6 men drinking 4 pints of absinthe, if that's what it was. That's an awful lot of absinthe per person!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"that being done I fell to entering these two good songs of Mr. Lawes, “Helpe, helpe, O helpe,” and “O God of Heaven and Hell” in my song book, to which I have got Mr. Child to set the base to the Theorbo,"

L&M : For these songs, see and…
Pepys probably had Henry Lawes's Second book of ayres and dialogues (1655) containing them but for accompaniment it provided only unfigured bass lines. This entry suggests that he was copying them into a MS book, with accompaniments in tablature for theorbo bt Child.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.