Thursday 11 April 1661

At 2 o’clock, with very great mirth, we went to our lodging and to bed, and lay till 7, and then called up by Sir W. Batten, so I arose and we did some business, and then came Captn. Allen, and he and I withdrew and sang a song or two, and among others took pleasure in “Goe and bee hanged, that’s good-bye.”

The young ladies come too, and so I did again please myself with Mrs. Rebecca, and about 9 o’clock, after we had breakfasted, we sett forth for London, and indeed I was a little troubled to part with Mrs. Rebecca, for which God forgive me. Thus we went away through Rochester, calling and taking leave of Mr. Alcock at the door, Capt. Cuttance going with us. We baited at Dartford, and thence to London.

But of all the journeys that ever I made this was the merriest, and I was in a strange mood for mirth. Among other things, I got my Lady to let her maid, Mrs. Anne, to ride all the way on horseback, and she rides exceeding well; and so I called her my clerk, that she went to wait upon me.

I met two little schoolboys going with pitchers of ale to their schoolmaster to break up against Easter, and I did drink of some of one of them and give him two pence.

By and by we come to two little girls keeping cows, and I saw one of them very pretty, so I had a mind to make her ask my blessing, and telling her that I was her godfather, she asked me innocently whether I was not Ned Wooding, and I said that I was, so she kneeled down and very simply called, “Pray, godfather, pray to God to bless me,” which made us very merry, and I gave her twopence.

In several places, I asked women whether they would sell me their children, but they denied me all, but said they would give me one to keep for them, if I would.

Mrs. Anne and I rode under the man that hangs upon Shooter’s Hill, and a filthy sight it was to see how his flesh is shrunk to his bones.

So home and I found all well, and a deal of work done since I went.

I sent to see how my wife do, who is well, and my brother John come from Cambridge.

To Sir W. Batten’s and there supped, and very merry with the young ladles. So to bed very sleepy for last night’s work, concluding that it is the pleasantest journey in all respects that ever I had in my life.

43 Annotations

First Reading

Judy  •  Link

After all the fun Sam had on his business journey, it's kind of a relief that Sam checked on his wife afterward.

daniel  •  Link

indeed, Judy.

not to be too moralistic, but I wonder how much of his tom-foolery Sam related to his wife after this journey.

Josh  •  Link

Tuppence and a godfather's blessing for whoever comes up with the text for "Goe and bee hanged, that's good-bye.” A dead ringer to be added to the Country-Western Singer’s Songbook.

Peter  •  Link

I have relatives in Cumbria who use the word "bait" for a packed lunch. Interesting to see Sam using the expression "we baited at Dartford"....Can it be that he means the same thing here?

Paul Brewster  •  Link

among others, took great pleasure in [italics] Goe and bee hanged, that's twice god b’w’y.
Per L&M. Wheatley leaves out the great and clearly has a diiferent title.

L&M note: “The last line of the fourth stanza of a bawdy song beginning ‘I prithee sweet heart grant me my desire.’, printed in ‘Wit and drollery’ (1656). … In broadside form, it begins ‘Down in an Arbour devoted to Venus’ and is ‘To the Tune of, Mars and Venus’. Its point is that it strings together contemporary proverbs and catch-phrases. … Pepys and Allen [will sing] it again on 17 April.”

Susan  •  Link

Baiting usually refers at this time (and until much later) to resting and refreshing the horses. The regular routes had recognised Bait-stops. I too know the word "bait" as a North West England term for a snack, but I wonder if that dervies from the dialect and it is actually "bite" (as in "a bite to eat"), but the "i" vowel is lengthened into a "ai"??

dirk  •  Link

"godfather"..."sell me their children"

Does this refer to some forgotten Easter custom I'm not aware of? Or is this merely Sam being "full of mirth"?

vincent  •  Link

"...So to bed very sleepy for last night's work, concluding that it is the pleasantest journey in all respects that ever I had in my life….”…any connection “…and so I did again please myself with Mrs. Rebecca, …”

dirk  •  Link

bait & bite

"ai" and "i" are largely equivalent in 17th century English. Cfr. "I prithee" for "I pray thee" in Paul Brewster's annotation. I even suspect that "bait" in its modern meaning derives from "to bite". I'm not sure about the pronunciation at the time, but "ai" pronounced phonetically is almost indistinguishable from "i" (as in bite).

vincent  •  Link

Break fast, he so far, has done so eleven times, broke his fast rather than having a wet one.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Go and be hanged..." Evidently L&M have as much knowledge as (if not more than) Google. There's not much to be found using that engine. Here's what little there was:

The version beginning "I prithee sweet heart grant me my desire.’ was evidently reprinted in a 1719 collection: “Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy. Vol 4 0f 6, or Songs Compleat” by Thomas d’Urfey et al. It’s indexed (but not quoted) on the site “Early American Secular Music and Its European Sources, 1589-1839”…

Mary  •  Link

bait & bite

Bite comes from OE 'bitan'.
Bait (OED) derives partly [sic] from Old Norse 'beit', cognate with OE 'bat' and is commonly used, from 16th century, to refer specifically to a halt for refreshment on a journey, whether for horses or for men.

Probably both words have a common ancestor in the Indo-European family of languages, but seem to have developed separately in English, with 'bait' looking like a later introduction than 'bite'.

As for pronunciation, in a chapter too long to reproduce here Dobson's 'English Pronuciation 1500 - 1700',p 659 ff makes a clear distinction in the 17th century between the development of ME long 'i' and the ME diphthongs ai/ei, so that it seems unlikely that Pepys pronounced both 'bite' and 'bait identically.

Xjy  •  Link

"his flesh is shrunk to his bones"
Flesh everywhere today, living and dead -- Mrs Rebecca, selling children, godfather, the hanging song, the hanging man, seeing the wife's OK then very merry with the young ladies... Sam is feeling very much alive.

Ernst Dinkla  •  Link

bait & bite

Which reminds me of the joke that the Dutch artist Wim Schippers used to practice after a night painting the town. The early anglers along the Amstel were asked whether they would like it if their wives put hooks in the sandwiches they had with them.


M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

Various comments:

In answer to Dirk's question, I take asking for a godfather's blessing to be a good, if perhaps somewhat country, custom; Sam is just being playful (in a rather bad way seems to me) by pretending to be this child's godfather. The "selling of children" is again a tease; neither has any relation to Easter that I am aware of. Easter hasn't come yet in 1661, if I recall.

It will be interesting to see what churchgoing, if any, marks Holy Week and Easter for Sam.

He does enjoy kissing and flirting with Mrs Rebecca, but we note a twinge of conscience here when he fails to put it right behind him.

I seem to recall, in the Southern US in my youth, people saying "we ate a bait of [e.g.] shrimp" - meaning, not a snack, but a sizeable amount of whatever it was.

Michael  •  Link

"lay till 7" - so, after five hours of sleep (at most) he is up and at it, first some business, than a few songs (at this hour and nothing to eat yet!), than a bit of flirting, only then breakfast - and after all of this is done, it is still before 9 a.m. What a way to begin the day.

Brian Barr  •  Link

The song, from the 1719 collection mentioned previously. The book has been scanned and in the U.S. is available in "Eighteenth Century Collections Online" from Thomson-Gale. The music for the song is also given!

I Prithee Sweet-heart grant me my desire,
For I am thrown as the old Proverb goes.
Out of the Frying-pan, into the Fire,
And there is none that pities my Woes.
Then hang or drown thy self, my Muse,
For there is not a T--d to chuse.

Most Maids prove Coy of late, tho' they seem Holier,
Yet I believe they are all of a Mind;
Like unto like, quoth the Devil to the Collier,
And they'll be true when the Devil is Blind:
Let no one trust to their desire,
For the burnt Child still dreads the Fire.

What tho' my Love as white as a Dove is,
Yet you would say, if you knew all within;
Shitten come Shite the beginning of Love is,
And for her Favour I care not a Pin:
No Love of mine she e'er shall be,
Sir-Reverence of Her Company.

What tho' her Disdainfulness my Heart hath Cloven,
Yet I am of so stately a Mind;
I'il not creep in her A'- to bake in her Oven,
Tho' 'tis an old Proverb, that Cat will to kind:
But I will say until I die,
Farewell and be hang'd that's twice Good-by.

Alas, no Enjoyments, nor Comfort I can take,
In her that regards not the worth of a Lover;
A T— is as good for a Sow, as a Pancake:
Swallow that Gudgeon, I'll fish for another;
She ne'er regards my aking Heart,
Tell a Mare a Tale, she'll let a Fart.

Now I'm sure as my Shoe is made of Leather,
Without good advisement and fortunate helps;
We two shall ne'er set our Horses together,
For she's like a Bear being rob'd of her Whelps:
But as for me it shall ne'er be said,
You've brought an old House over your Head.

Lo, this is my Counsel to young Men that Wooe,
Look well before you leap, handle your Geer;
For if you Wink and Shite, you'll ne'er see what you do,
So you may take a wrong Sow by the Ear:
But if she prove her self a Flurt,
Then she may do as does my Shirt.

Fall Back, or fall Edge, I never shall bound be,
To make a Match with Tag-rag, and Long-tail;
He that's born to hang, never shall drown'd be,
Best is best cheap, if you hit not the Nail:
Shall I toil Gratis in the Dirt,
First she shall do as does my Shirt.

Another Judy!  •  Link

Susan I've heard bait used in SW Herefordshire/NW Gloucestershire to mean a workmans mid morning break.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

very merry with the young ladies
The Gutenberg scan error (young ladles) certainly sends the minds off in several different directions.

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

We baited at Dartford..
I was at school in Cumbria and worked in construction on vacation. We also stopped for "bait" at lunchtime. I remember the foreman was called "Slape Eared" which apparently referred to his "Slippery Head" since the fellow was quite bald.
So I would certainly go along with the theory of bait being a corruption of bite!

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Mrs. Anne and I rode under the man that hangs upon Shooter's Hill
L&M: “A highwayman: it was common to erect gallows at the scene of the crime. The body of the malefactor would sometimes be soaked in tar to preserve it. Shooter’s Hill, about eight miles out of London, was one of the most dangerous points on the Dover Road; the way was steep, narrow and fringed by woods. Many robberies were committed there until, under an act of 1739, a new road was built up the hill.”

Susan  •  Link

Here in Queensland, horses used to be "spelled" to give them a break from work and some food. I had never heard of that being used in England. Is it Irish? (Queensland was extensively settled by Irish - also Scots & Germans too).

Louis  •  Link

L&M Companion, Large Glossary:
bait, bayte: refreshment on journey for horses and travellers (implying a rest as well as food); also as verb.

Glynn  •  Link

In the North East of England bait is still common usage for food.
Hence "Put up your bait" -- prepare your lunch
"Bait Box" - Lunch box

Mary  •  Link


The 'spell' cited by Susan in Queensland is a late development of a verb derived from OE spellian, ME spele; earlier meaning 'to take the place of someone else at work', it came to mean 'to relieve by an interval of rest (esp horses).' This sense first recorded by OED in 1848.

Susan  •  Link

Thank you, Mary! How interesting. Sam here in this diary uses "bait", which I have also read extensively in literary works, Jane Austen for example, but I had never heard of "spell" in this context nor seen it written till I came here, where it is the universal word - not "bait". Wonder which part of England/Scotland/Ireland it came from?

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link


In the 1950s in North and South Carolina,
"spell" was used colloquially both in the sense of taking the place of someone else at work ("come spell me at this") and in the sense of a person taking a rest ("come sit a spell"). Both seem to me to involve the underlying concept of respite.

Ernst Dinkla  •  Link


"spele" Is that again related to the Dutch word "spelen", the German "spielen" used for children's playing or in sports ? In short an activity that used to be recreative and not for earning your bread and butter.

John Carr  •  Link

I can easily imagine, during my childhood in the north east of England by the River Tyne, someone saying,"I'll take a spell at that while you have your bait"

Susan  •  Link

In Queensland, the large teams of horses hauling timber were stopped by their driver calling "Spello" with the "o" very prolonged, instead of "whoa". A mid-morning break is now called a "smoko", even if you don't smoke (as in "I'm on smoko now, go ask someone else"). Now, we haven't had much reference to smoking pipes as a recreation by Sam, have we?

Rich Merne  •  Link

"Baited", extract from an 18th cent. (possibly earlier) Dublin ballad of anonymous authorship. It can still be frequently heard sung.
THE night before Larry was stretched,
The boys they all paid him a visit;
A bait in their sacks, too, they fetched;
They sweated their duds till they riz it:
I don't know what the "squeezer" is, maybe the jail, though I know the other archie-slangs in the song.
For Larry was ever the lad, 5
When a boy was condemned to the squeezer,
Would fence all the duds that he had
To help a poor friend to a sneezer,

Rich Merne  •  Link

"godfather, sell me their children", I think this is simply a slightly sad insight into a 'broody', Sam. Around this time and also plentifully elsewhere, Sam expresses a fondness for children, 'the ones he never had', and is frequently tender to the point of 'broodyness' about them.

Pedro  •  Link

Regulation of Ports between England and Holland. April 11 1661.

Agreement for post between England and the United Provinces.…

Pedro  •  Link

11th April 1661

Allin on his way home from Constantinople meets a French ship and sends his Lieutenant aboard to hear news of Cyprus…

“…who talks of great want of provisions there, next to famine, and so it is from where we have come, both in Turkey and the Islands.”

Second Reading

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

Baited used by Sam here I am sure means to stop or wait awhile. It was commonly used in Yorkshire though not so much now. The last 2 or 3 days have been great reading. How lucky we are to have it.

Bill  •  Link

"We baited at Dartford"

To BAIT, to take some Refreshment on a Journey.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bryan  •  Link

“Goe and bee hanged, that’s good-bye.”

A BALLAD of Old PROVERBS posted above by Brian Barr might not be the sung by SP.

"[The] Youngmans careless Wooing, And the Witty Maids Replication" looks more like the correct one as it starts "Down in an Arbour devoted to Venus" and has the reference: Magdalene College Pepys 3.130.…

Bill  •  Link

Bryan needs to further explain his reasoning but I think Brian Barr above has the right answer. Slight spoiler: Sam will further quote from this same (scatological) song in six days on April 17, 1661:

“Of Shitten come Shites the beginning of love.”

As for the relevant lines from Brian's annotation here's another version:

No, I will say untill I die,
Farewel and be hanged, that's twice god buy.

Bryan  •  Link

"[The] Youngmans careless Wooing" is contained in Pepys' own collection of broadside ballads. I see now that Pepys started this collection is the 1680s but it is still much closer in time and place to "today's" entry than the 1719 collection found by Brian Barr.

A facsimile of the printed ballad can be found here:…

The University of California Santa Barbara has a archive of 17th Century ballads including the entire Pepys collection here:…

The site has quite a bit of background information on the Pepys collection of ballads that might be of interest to annotators.

Bill  •  Link

It's true that Brian Barr's source is dated 1719 but my source for the alternate version in my annotation is dated 1656:

VVit and drollery, joviall poems. Never before printed. / By Sir J.M. Ja:S. Sir W.D. J.D. and other admirable wits. , London, : Printed for Nath. Brook, at the Angel in Cornhil, 1656.

A copy of which is found in the British Library and available from EEBO Early British Books Online

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

A modern poem inspired by this entry:

' . . But where is he that cropped their offerings—
The pick-purse of enchantments, riding by,
Whistling his "Go and Be Hanged, That's Twice Good bye"?

Who such a frolic pomp of blessing made
To kiss a little pretty dairymaid. . . .
And country wives with bare and earth-burnt knees,
And boys with beer, and smiles from balconies. . . .

The greensleeve girl, apprentice-equerry,
Tending great men with slant-eye mockery:
"Then Mr Sam says, ‘Riding's hot,’ he says,
Tasting their ale and waving twopences. . . . "

Into one gaze they swam, a moment swirled,
One fiery paintbox of the body's world—
Into Sam's eye, that flying bushranger—
Swinging their torches for earth's voyager . . '…

Liz  •  Link

On the subject of bait/bate. In the 70s in Sussex, England, older workman would talk of having their bait/bate, meaning morning break. I haven’t heard the term used since, though.

Third Reading

Michael Cook  •  Link

Captn. Allen, and he and I withdrew and sang a song or two, and among others took pleasure in “Goe and bee hanged, that’s good-bye.”
Was this black /morbid/gallows humour. The chance of being on the "wrong side" was still present at this time with a chance of a death sentence, as will be shown in later history an issue for Sam.

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