Monday 3 December 1660

This morning I took a resolution to rise early in the morning, and so I rose by candle, which I have not done all this winter, and spent my morning in fiddling till time to go to the office, where Sir G. Carteret did begin again discourse on Mr. Holland’s1 proposition, which the King do take very ill, and so Sir George in lieu of that do propose that the seamen should have half in ready money and tickets for the other half, to be paid in three months after, which we judge to be very practicable. After office home to dinner, where come in my cozen Snow by chance, and I had a very good capon to dinner. So to the office till night, and so home, and then come Mr. Davis, of Deptford (the first time that ever he was at my house), and after him Mons. L’Impertinent, who is to go to Ireland to-morrow, and so came to take his leave of me. They both found me under the barber’s hand; but I had a bottle of good sack in the house, and so made them very welcome.

Mr. Davis sat with me a good while after the other was gone, talking of his hard usage and of the endeavour to put him out of his place in the time of the late Commissioners, and he do speak very highly of their corruption.

After he was gone I fell a reading ‘Cornelianum dolium’ till 11 o’clock at night with great pleasure, and after that to bed.

64 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

'Cornelianum dolium'

If anyone feels like reading this work, here’s the link to the hypertext edition in both Latin and English.

dirk  •  Link

'Cornelianum dolium'

To me it seems quite strange that a work like this be produced - and read - at all. The fact that it’s a play suggests that it’s made for popular entertainment. On the other hand it’s written in Latin, and consequently can only be enjoyed by the happy few who are sufficiently educated to master that language. Or were there places were plays in Latin were put on stage for the elite?

Also - at least that’s the way I feel - reading a text which is supposed to be performed on stage is not terribly satisfying.

Glyn  •  Link

What a difference a Day makes.
Yesterday: "drinking, which is my great folly"
Today: "I had a bottle of good sack (wine) in the house, and so made them very welcome".
Presumably he has now fully recovered from his hangover: at least he never seems to drink alone.

Glyn  •  Link

I bet your largest local library has plenty of books of playscripts: it may not be as good as seeing it for yourself (although at least you can imagine it for yourself rather than relying on the play director's idea of how to stage it), but it's better than not seeing it at all.

In the same way, listening to a play on radio is better than not seeing it at all.

We do know that Pepys has bought several plays in both Latin and English: recently he went to see a Shakespeare play and took the script along with him to refer to it during the performance.

dirk  •  Link

'Cornelianum dolium'

I can understand Sam’s interest in plays like Coriolanum - considering how difficult it would have been for him to see any play performed on stage in those Puritan days.

The one thing that surprises me is that anyone in the 1600’s should write a play in Latin and find a market for it. Of course I’m not referring to plays in Latin which go back to Roman times - which were read with a certain degree of reference, being classics.

Ed LeZotte  •  Link

I'm guessing that some regular visitor here will explain that Latin and Greek were known by many people in
Pepys's time -- at least anyone with a pretense of an education. Indeed, there are places in the Diary where he has conversations in Latin. As for his "hangover" and the possibility of his being an alcholoic and taking a breathalizer test -- it's right up there with those illusions to Joyce, Freud and so on -- and as for his "talking to himself" well, isn't that what the Diary is really all about? Finally, as for "basting" a maid, she was damn lucky to get off as easily as she did -- this is the 1660s folks, remember? And it is to open the door a crack on those times that I for one turn to the Diary

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and tne possibility of his being an alcoholic" well so far he has been drinking almost everyday and seems so preoccupied with alcohol;he might and then he might not; lets see if he develops the"jitters" the "shakes"or the "rum fits"

vincent  •  Link

Latin and Education. My take is that It was Reading, Riteing and sometimes Reckoning for the lucky ones, see [pages 184-190 Liza Picard Restoration London] else be apprenticed to a trade from wood to gold {100 to to choose from} or get brain washed at one of the free Grammar schools run by Churches, Guilds or progressive schools run by some urban groups. Many of the (in)famous Publick schools[ were up and running at this time] started out cheaply, many of the results went on to "camox' at an early age, 14 or so to read more and do ???. Latin and Greek was then an in thing to do if yer wanted to BE somebody althought a large percentage of grads ended up working for the church.
As for being entertained, it was do it yerself , get drunk, girls, dance, sing or if talented play yer instrument [fiddle,Theorbo ] else read one of the broad sheets of the day or the classics of the day [ Latin or Greek books and poetry were on the best sellers list?] otherwise if all else failed go to a sermon or two.[reminds me of me yuth, no goggle box, movies,no pubs, no sports,it was Sunday yer see and no stores everything locked up] SP is telling it it as it is {We have so many choices now}

vincent  •  Link

'Cornelianum dolium' wurth reading ‘tis better than pay tv. Thanks Dirk.

helena murphy  •  Link

In the 17th century girls who attended aristocratic French convents were taught Latin for the purpose of reading devotional works of literature.Today Latin is still taught in some schools in Ireland along with the sciences etc.My niece has started to learn it as well as French.Incidentally her school "Regina Mundi" has a Latin grammar which could have been used in Pepys 'day,it is so old fashioned in design,and anything but child friendly.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Thanks Vincent... sense again. Oxbridge still have large 'classics' courses, but in the 17th century that is virtually all they offered. Graduates went into Government Service or the Church. No Catholics were allowed and all 'Dons' were clerics. Bit different today, but that is the world that Samuel knew.

For the intelligent man (not I'm afraid woman), Latin and Greek was the route to the 'tiny' middle class and relative comfort. Women needed to marry well, no other routes were really open to them.

Harry  •  Link

This morning I took a resolution to rise early in the morning, and so I rose by candle, which I have not done all this winter, and spent my morning in fiddling till time to go to the office

I hope Sam has more success with his resolution than I did (had?) two years ago. As a night owl I found that half the morning was gone before I got anything done and therefore made a New Year's resolution not only to get up early but also to put in one hour on something specific before breakfast. In fact I just "fiddled" around (whereas I assume Sam was at his music) and one morning my wife found me asleep at my desk! I shall try again next January.

Peter  •  Link

Latin Grammar books.... I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few readers here were familiar with "Kennedy's Latin Primer". Nearly every copy in my school had the "L" in Latin changed to an "E" and an apostrophe added to the end. Is that perhaps the grammar you are referring to, Helena? My memory is that the very books looked as if they could indeed have been around in Sam's time.
Also, didn't Milton write quite a bit of poetry in Latin?

J A Gioia  •  Link

'Cornelianum dolium'

a common literary form at the time was the closet drama, a work in the form of a play that was never intended by the writer to be put on stage. if memory serves, milton wrote one and i read it, but that was long ago in 1795 — ehhh, 1975.

John  •  Link

I was taught Latin in both the Grammar and Secondary British colonial (Tanganyika, Kenya) boarding schools I attended. While unusual, it is still taught. The market for Latin works 360 odd years ago was probably a substantial fraction of the moneyed class.

Ed LeZotte  •  Link

Latin was required beginning in the Second Form at the boys' school I attented in the late 1940s and early '50s (Kent). They still offer Latin and Greek but it is no longer a required course.

Peter  •  Link

Very interesting point from J.A.Gioia on closet drama. It made me wonder if people wrote in this form because the form better suited to their purposes had not yet made its way to Britain (i.e. the novel). How did people live without it?

Barbara  •  Link

Three points:

listening to a play on the radio is FAR better than watching it on tv;

drinking every day has long been traditional in the City of London -
those working there recoiled in horror at the mostly American idea of a glass of milk with their lunch;

basting your wife, maid, children or dogs was what any self-respecting 17th century head of household would think proper to keep order. Domestic violence as we know it today must have been rife, but in the UK it is only in recent years that the law has seen fit to intervene in this.

Ruben  •  Link

I had 3 years of Latin in the 50's and it widened my views. After a lot of Grammar we translated Julius Cesar and other classics.
50 years later I still can try my hand at sentences that cross my way in most of Europe. Latin was spoken by few, but there was a radio station in Latin (from the Vatican, of course). I think they are still broadcasting one or two hours a week.
Latin is not dead. It lives in the languages of all those who speak Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian or Rumanian. It is also an important part of all the other European languages and considering the actual globalization of technology, it has become an important part of the Global Lingua Franca.

Ruben  •  Link

This is the place to look for some Latin voices in the radio coming from Finland! (of all places):…
the last news are as follow:
" Tranquillitas in Georgia restituta" (28.11.2003, klo 11.57)
"SIDA in mundo pervagatur" (28.11.2003, klo 11.55)
"Bush in Britanniam advenit" (21.11.2003, klo 10.40)

Peter  •  Link

Ruben, Nuntii Latini, you beat me to it!

ruben  •  Link

from the Finnish Radio Station:
"The EU Commission's recent initiative to bolster the status of minority languages has been given an enthusiastic reception by several broadcasters, including the only three that regularly transmit programmes in Latin. Radio Vatican, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and WWCR in Nashville, Tennessee. The only station with daily services in Latin is Radio Vatican - which transmits in this "dead language" for a total of nearly 40 hours each week."

Glyn  •  Link

Perhaps plays in "poetry" are easier to read for pleasure than plays in ordinary language.

Does anyone have a link for WWCR in Nashville, Tennessee? I'm just curious why they would broadcast a regular spot in Latin.

Jim  •  Link

In the late 1950's Latin was pretty much a default part of the high school schedule for students on an academic track (as opposed to a vocational or business track) even in a nondescript small city in upstate New York. The textbook for Latin 1 was "Latin for Americans" -- I can't remember the text book used in Latin 2 (being a terrible student, I rarely even opened it) but we read Caesar's "De bello Gallico" -- however, I barely retain enough after all these years to recall that Gaul was divided into three parts and to appreciate the somewhat risque reworking of Caesar's famous line as "vidi vinci veni" These days only the largest (or most traditional) schools would offer Latin.

cindy_b  •  Link

WWCR - shortwave

They brodcast a Latin Catholic Mass from 11:00-11:30am Sunday Mornings.

vincent  •  Link

I still remember translating "Castra Poneris" It was worth 3 of the best.

Nigel Pond  •  Link

Latin at School

I attended a boys' grammar school in Manchester (no, not MGS) from 1971 until 1978. Latin was compulsory for all boys up to "O" level. I also took optional Greek (the other options were German or History and Geography). I kept going with Latin and Greek up to "A" level (with Ancient History) and for my Oxford entrance exams. Our school had a small though thriving Classics department until fairly recently. I still keep in touch by e-mail with one of my old teachers -- he is now head of the school's IT department because their are so few kids studying Latin and none Greek. Sad times.

martha wishart  •  Link

The Boston Latin School which is the oldest continuously operating public shool in the United States still requires that students take Latin.

Hic retearivs  •  Link

Lingvam Romanorvm, regina.

Even out in the colonies, Victoria, Canada, school children in better schools "did" Latin from Grade 4 or 5 onwards. It was available in public high schools to what, by today's standards, would be at least second year university level (Latin 92).

It is beyond understanding that so many people denigrate Latin out of hand. It is the queen of languages. An understanding the machinery and vocabulary of Latin informs subsequent study of all European languages (execpt Finnish, Basque and Hungarian) including that dog's breakfast of a language, English.


Brian G McMullen  •  Link

I attended Brooklyn Prep in the late 60's and took Latin for a couple of years. Though I can barely conjugate anymore my love of spoken and written language, I believe, springs from it. The teacher was an icon before that word meant the silly things on the screen.

My son now takes Latin and is finishing his fourth year. To listen to his teacher explain Latin in a modern world setting is a true and rare pleasure. To my child's credit he sees the absolute essential basis that Latin has provided him within the large and varied structure of the English language.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Latin Drama
J A Goia's information on "closet" dramas is very interesting. To return to Dirk's original question on whether there would really be a sufficient audiences for plays in Latin to be produced, I am reminded that I have read several references to schools in the 19th C (in the US) staging a Latin play every year. Given how common amateur theatricals were in former times, I wonder if "modern" Latin dramas, like "Cornelianum Dolium," found an audience in private productions.

dirk  •  Link

Latin - for Jim

Let me help your memory...

"Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae,
aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli
appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt.

Gallos ab Aquitanis Garumna flumen, a Belgis Matrona et Sequana dividit.

Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae."

As I'm from Belgium, you can imagine how proud this makes me feel.

Richard Carroll  •  Link

My daughter still taking Latin as an elective at her present secondary school here in Australia.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Adventures in Latin

Christ School, in Arden, N.C. which I attended from 1949 to 1953, had a famous Latin treacher, Captain Reid, whose delight it was to torment 14-year-olds struggling to learn conjugations and declensions by grinding chalk into their blackboard errors and insulting their intelligence: "Hamilton, you couldn't track an elephant through six feet of snow, Har! Har!" I am reluctant to admit it, but it was effective pedagogy. I later took Latin at Harvard and appeared in plays put on in Latin and Greek. My roommate went on to head the classics department at Groton School. I haven'tread the langiuage seriously in more than 40 years, but still occasionally translate Latin poetry, with difficulty, but a certain sense of accomplishment.

Pauline  •  Link

Latin at School
At Open House at my son's Seattle middle school in the early 80s, the parents came into the Latin room at the appointed time and sat down at the children's desks. The Latin teacher looked out at us in shy silence. Finally one parent ventured "I don't quite understand it, but this is my son's favorite class." "My son/daughter too," we all chimed in, glancing around at each other and beginning to feel some embarrassment at our puzzlement. Then we roundly applauded the teacher.

PHE  •  Link

I never studied Latin.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Nor me.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Nor me. Here in The Netherlands you might still learn Latin and Greek today at secondary schools called "Gymnasiums", it has become quite impopular though.

dirk  •  Link


Same goes for Belgium, and I think most European countries these days. I had to learn Latin on my own, but I have never regretted it.

PHE  •  Link

I never regretted not learning Latin.

Pauline  •  Link

How about Pig Latin?

Kevin S  •  Link

Re.Barbara - plays on radio. Absolutely. I come from the UK , but have lived in Canada for the past 40 years. I visit England about once a year, and the the first thing I do after renting a car is to try to find a play on the radio. I have often pulled over to the side of the road simply to listen. Anybody who has been subjected to the the cretinous content of Canadian (or American) radio will, I suspect, sympathize.

Laura K  •  Link

Please translate?

Talk about topic drift! It's a memories-of-Latin listserv.

I'd like to make a request, if I may. When people use Latin in their actual annotations, could they please also give the English translation?

Putting aside our feelings about what this may say about American education, or the modern world, or anything else, it is a fact that many literate, educated, modern people do not know Latin. For our benefit, please translate. Thank you.

melinda trapelo  •  Link

"When people use Latin in their actual annotations, could they please also give the English translation?"
I agree! I was taught as a child (here we go with the memories again!) that using foreign phrases in common speech is pretentious - an opinion I have never found any reason to shed.

vincent  •  Link

"...Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest..." Dirk's favorite piece?
for the rest us the story of Roman version of IPO and acquisition of new assets :… Gallic Wars
sample ...
By Julius Caesar
Translated by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn
"...All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third..."

My take on "Cornelianum dolium” tricky Cornielius [ or sneaky or deceitful]
as for
“numquam latinae nisi podager”
a mis-quote from Ennius Saturae;
I only spout latin when my feet hurt.

dirk  •  Link

Latin translated

My apologies for not giving the translations. Laura and Melinda are absolutely right. I didn't want to sound pretentious, I merely didn't think about it.

And yes, I think we are drifting away from the topic. May I be so bold as to suggest we close the discussion on Latin?

Pauline  •  Link

"May I be so bold as to ...."
But first: May sound pretentious, but that is often the hearers' reaction rather than the speaker/writer-who-is-just-enjoying-remembering's feelings. It is more a case of politeness to clue the rest of us in.

You are a great group.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

On drinking in London:

Barbara's point ("drinking every day has long been traditional in the City of London - those working there recoiled in horror at the mostly American idea of a glass of milk with their lunch") reminded me of this bit from Ben Franklin's autobiography, in which he is speaking of his time as a young man in London, working at a printer's shop:

"At my first admission into this printing-house I took to working at press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily exercise I had been us'd to in America, where presswork is mix'd with composing. I drank only water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers of beer. On occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of types in each hand, when others carried but one in both hands. They wondered to see, from this and several instances, that the Water-American, as they called me, was stronger than themselves, who drank strong beer!"

It all depends on the type of strength you're looking for, I suppose...

Also, let's not forget my favorite Latin lesson:…

'People called Romanes they go the house'?

Pedro  •  Link

On this day 3rd Dec...

Allin arrives at Messina…

There is little remarkable more than the building next to the sea, which is uniform and very stately; the lower rooms with very large windows and firm iron gates; the next loft is with stone balconies and the third lattice windows and small roofs all free stone. Their churches high built , especially the one of the Jesuits, which has a very high and stately front and spire of free stone, but the street narrow that spoileth the view. The streets in general are dirty, the people proud and malicious and general beggars..

(Journal of Sir Thomas Allin edited by RC Anderson)

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Cornelianum Dolium

or Cornelius’s Tub, a comedy performed entirely in Latin from Cambridge and possibly written by Thomas Randolph in 1638. The subject was the quest for a cure for syphilis and the frontispiece by William Marshall shows Cornelius our hero in a sweating tub (which was one of the more popular treatments) being observed by three ladies, presumably his previous conquests. He is clad just in his drawers, and a speech bubble coming out of his mouth reads “Farewell O Venus and Cupids”, whilst the caption on the tub reads: “I sit on the throne of Venus, I suffer in the tub” The ladies are high class, dressed hair and fashionable bodices. The right hand Cupid has a collar ruff rather too, not necessarily a common item of neckwear for the period. Notice also the selection of instruments on the table.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A letter from Chelsea by W.B. to the Editor of the The European Magazine, and London Review: Vol, 37 (Jan-Jun 1800) commending Corneliani doliumit together with (in Latin) the Argument, the Prologue and the Epilogue.…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

After so many irrelevant notes about current Latin usage, the fact that it was the universal language of the Middle Ages and Early Modern world hasn't even been mentioned.

No one in Europe learned English.
No one in France hears the name of Shakespeare for another 50 years.

This sceptred isle was a cultural backwater, surrounded by Catholic monarchs who believed it their cause to rescue the population from damnation.
To keep them at bay, England needed a strong Navy, which also protected its trade routes and fleets. As today, England cannot produce what it needs to feed its population a healthy diet.
In order to communicate with all these many opposing factors and courts, Latin was the common denominator.

If a scientific or mathematical paper was to find the circulation needed to influence thinking throughout Europe, it was written in Latin.
A book on philosophy, or a play with a strong message, had to be in at least Latin to find its audience.

Italy and Germany were not countries for another 200 years. All those fiefdoms had their own dialects/languages.

Many of the biographies in our blog mention the people translating texts from Latin and Greek into English -- enabling the not-university-educated folk to begin to have an appreciation of information from abroad and/or the days of yore.

People abroad were not studying English yet -- as we experience daily, even the English hadn't quite decided for themselves what it looked like, or how to spell it. The beginnings of the change were due to the translation of the Bible into English, and to Shakespeare and his fellow playwrights.

For an idea of the domination of Latin in 17th century university education, see…

LKvM  •  Link

I love Latin. I was the geek wandering through the hall in high school griping to anyone who would listen that our high school didn't offer a third year of Latin.
Many years later I wound up in graduate school working toward a Ph.D. in German Literature. Realizing that most of the German authors we were studying had had a true classical education, including Latin and Greek, I had a hunch that I should pursue Latin and Greek again in case knowledge of those languages and literatures would give me insight into the workings of the minds of the gymnasium-educated German authors of preceding centuries. (Notice that I avoided saying hyper- or über-educated (-: )
And it worked. Not to brag, but while I was still a graduate student, I scored an article in the prestigious "German Quarterly" that explained the puzzling structure of Kleist's "Penthesilea," and my dissertation was informed by Johann Christian Günther's imitation of Ovid's "Letters from the Black Sea."
My point: Latin and Greek still rock, especially in Comparative Literature.

Jude Russo  •  Link

I wonder whether Sam's resolution has anything to do with the beginning of the church year with the First Sunday of Advent the day before.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

It might be, Jude, but I think it's more likely that this is his month in the quarter to serve at the the Privy Seal office, and he's altering his schedule so he can give the Navy Office the attention it deserves now that there is some money to be spent, plus spend afternoons enriching himself at Whitehall.

They have been sitting in formal meetings in the afternoon to accommodate the MPs (Parliament only sits in the morning) -- but they are about to be prorogued, so they can sit in the morning again and Pepys can get rich at his other gig.

We shall see -- things usually become clear in retrospect with Pepys; he's not good about telling us why he does things in advance.

It maybe because he wants to make sure Jane is up, or something petty like that.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

LKvM -- I'm counting on you for translating Vincent's Latin from here on. I'm impressed, by the way.

Plan B  •  Link

SDS, that is such an important point you have raised about the importance of Latin as the language of international communication. With all the thousands of dialects spoken across Europe in the 17th century, no trade or diplomacy would have been possible without it. It is such a shame that Esperanto, or an alternative, has never been adopted by the modern world for international communication and instead we have to rely on the Google god to translate for us.

Lisa Liss  •  Link

We students of Latin, back in the Dark Ages, used to chant after our frequent exams,
"Latin is a language that's dead as dead can be. First is killed the Romans, and now it's killing me."

Mountain Man  •  Link

SDS’s very much overdue correction of our point of view about the use of Latin also leads to a correction of the view sometimes expressed here that Pepys and people like him received a highly intellectual and high-flown, impractical education. This suggestion comes up also with Shakespeare and other well-known people of that time when we’re shown lists of what they read, lists intimidating-looking today with mostly long Latin and French titles. (Greek was not really common.) But actually Latin and French were part of a “practical” education even in the 17C. Pepys needs these languages to carry his very practical job. French was of course the “international” language of its time, like English in ours, spoken by everyone who had to communicate with foreigners to any extent. But Latin was widely used in diplomacy still and in some official documents, and was the language of serious academic endeavors. Incidentally, today Latin is the language for dyslectics. Universities and some high schools often recommend Latin to dyslexic students to fulfill the ever-shrinking requirements for a foreign language. Apparently, it’s regarded as a good vocabulary-builder, is logically organized, is found only in written form, and has no “k.”

Cynara  •  Link

My memory of undergrad English tells me that there were two traditions of English drama at this point - an academic tradition, often written in Latin for performance in elite and educated circles and a popular English tradition (nourished by cycle drama and country performances of Robin Hood and acrobats and whatnot). Shakespeare belonged in the latter - entertainment for the masses, who could enjoy it without an Oxbridge degree. Of course, the elite enjoyed it too!

john  •  Link

As long as we are confessing our past Latin sins, I confess that I took Latin in high school. Back then, we learned from "Latin for Canadian Schools". Alas, the book is long out of print and the courses no longer taught.

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