Sunday 15 February 1662/63

(Lord’s day). This morning my wife did wake me being frighted with the noise I made in my sleep, being a dream that one of our sea maisters did desire to see the St. John’s Isle of my drawing, which methought I showed him, but methought he did handle it so hard that it put me to very horrid pain … [and what should this be but my cods, which after I woke were in very great pain for a good while – L&M] Which what a strange extravagant dream it was.

So to sleep again and lay long in bed, and then trimmed by the barber, and so sending Will to church, myself staid at home, hanging up in my green chamber my picture of the Soveraigne, and putting some things in order there.

So to dinner, to three more ducks and two teals, my wife and I. Then to Church, where a dull sermon, and so home, and after walking about the house awhile discoursing with my wife, I to my office there to set down something and to prepare businesses for tomorrow, having in the morning read over my vows, which through sicknesse I could not do the last Lord’s day, and not through forgetfulness or negligence, so that I hope it is no breach of my vow not to pay my forfeiture. So home, and after prayers to bed, talking long with my wife and teaching her things in astronomy.

37 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's diary today:

"clear but frost, snow and cold, god good to us in manifold mercies, another house visited with the smallpox, mine preserved, lord let all your dealings be sanctified, god good to me in the word preached, the lord make it an effectual blessing to us all."

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today:

"... This night some villans brake into my house & study below & robb'd me to the Value of 60 pounds in plate, mony & goods.--this being the third time I have been thus plundered."

Terry F  •  Link

"he did handle it so hard that it put me to very horrid pain; and what should this be but my cods, which after I woke were in very great pain for a good while."

So L&M's text.

dirk  •  Link

"hanging up in my green chamber my picture of the Soveraigne"

Cfr. diary entry for 31 January 1662/1663:
"I home to dinner, and there found my plate of the Soverayne with the table to it come from Mr. Christopher Pett, of which I am very glad."…

Bradford  •  Link

Sam's dream offers a fine and startling example of the principle of transformation in dreams. In his notebooks Coleridge cites several equally bizarre metamorphoses, where an object changes not only shape but its entire genus.

How big, or rather small, are these birds, for 5 to feed 2? (Unless the sainted maids get a bite.) Larger, I would think, than squab or---no, I won't say it.

"to bed, talking long with my wife and teaching her things in astronomy"---a touching and pretty way to put it that I've never heard before.

Miss Ann  •  Link

"... to bed, talking long with my wife and teaching her things in astronomy."

Does this intimate that Beth was seeing stars?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Then to Church,where a dull sermon"
He does not seem to be much excited about sermons lately!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What a painting, Sam...The Astronomy Lesson. Sounds like it was a fun evening for both of you...

Just be careful she doesn't pull Molly Bloom's trick of spotting the one star you can't identify on you.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Interesting dream...Though one might wonder who had been handling Sam's privates.

"Sam'l? You awake? Sam'l?"


"Well, take that you miserable...!"


"Sweetheart?! What's the matter? Are you alright?"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Or...Mayhaps it was totally innocent.

"That's funny. I dreamed I was kicking a jackass." Beth shakes her head.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


"one of our sea maisters did desire to see the St. John’s Isle of my drawing, which methought I showed him, but methought he did handle it so hard that it put me to very horrid pain"

Lets see. The "Sea maister" handled "the St. John's Isle of my drawing" so roughly it gave the dreamer a pain in the cods. Or could "it" have a different referent?

Terry F  •  Link

"the St. John’s Isle of my drawing"

As I read it a drawing Sam'l did. L&M note "Untraced." [now THAT IS a pun, perhaps inadvertent], but I wonder where/what "St. John’s Isle" is?

Australian Susan  •  Link

This site thinks it's Newfoundland…

Cabot supposedly called it St John's Isle because he landed on St John's Day.

Now why is Sam doing drawings of Newfoundland?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Coleridge's dreams.
NB This other Samuel was high on laudanum a lot of the time - I think that's why he had interesting dreams!

dirk  •  Link

"Now why is Sam doing drawings of Newfoundland?"

Not necessarily a drawing *made* by Sam. This may refer to one of the drawings decorating one of the walls in his newly decorated house ("my" drawings). Maybe Sam's subconscious is using recent visual impressions here.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

This site thinks it’s Newfoundland

So does this:

In 1497, the Italian seafarer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) went to investigate what lay in the northern section of the western Atlantic. John Cabot landed on the island [of Newfoundland] on June 24, 1497, on the feast of St. John the Baptist. Cabot called the new land "St. John's Isle" in honour of the saint and claimed it for Henry VII of England, his patron and employer.…

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"Terra de Bacalao " rather than the Cod land. Was always a Land of mystery, it was rumoured that it be known by the fisher folk but they would and did not document where they found the great cod and where be the salt. The great City of Bath has documents to show that this great fishing spot be known way back. Unfortunately GPS [ie lati_longi-tude] was not available to prove to whom be the first.
The question be? when should thy document and when shall thee not. Those that document too much, can lose it [get ROotB] and those that don't do not get the credit.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Just the other day I dined on Small duck, it be two mouthfuls. It satisfies an olde man, but in my youth, I needed a more bracing meal like a pair for my trencher. As this Sunday Samuell would need sumat substantial, I always found partridge very shy of a full meal.
[how I dothe hate buck shot, the water cage be better method of entrapment .]

Terry F  •  Link

So Sam's dream is codswallop

and in it he has a drawing of Newfoundland on his wall....

Bergie  •  Link

Easy to interpret, then.

He dreams that the Land of Cod is handled roughly. He awakens and finds his "cods" hurting. What could be clearer?

andy  •  Link

his "St John's Isle" - it's not his "John Thomas" is it?

andy  •  Link

and I assume it's pronounced "Sinjens" Isle?

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think eliding St John into Sinjen came later than our period. 19th century? Along with Cholmoldeny as Chumley. But Sinclair is an old eliding of St Clare, so maybe Sinjen is older. I assume (any Canadians to confirm this?) that St John in Newfoundland is pronounced as written?

Australian Susan  •  Link

I had made the assumption that Sam had drawn this because of the way he phrases it "of my drawing", but I see now that this is just possessive.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

Surely the whole household dined together, three ducks and two teal,even very small ducks, would be a very big meal for two,assuming meat and two veg. "to bed, talking long with my wife and teaching her things in astronomy" Possibly a typo? maybe anatomy.

stolzi  •  Link

Poor Will
has to bear the burden of family respectability being "sent" to church while Pepys stays home. Still, he did get to evening service.

I am thinking that the head-ake and mighty tensions caused by the legal business yesterday (tiffs in family are never nice) helped to produce this "extravagant" and painful dream.

Chris in Toronto  •  Link

Yes, I can confirm that in Canada, St. John's in Newfoundland and St. John in New Brunswick are pronounced pretty much as they are spelt. However, people with a strong Newfoundland accent put more stress on the "John's" so that the "Saint" part can sound more like "Sin" than "Saint".

As a lad, I attended Sir Walter St. John's School in Battersea, London. The school was always called "Sinjuns". The school was founded in 1700 but I do not know when that pronounciation became the norm.

Mary  •  Link


No typo; L&M edition confirms this reading.

As for the question of the whole household dining together, although Will Hewer may have joined Sam and Elizabeth at table (either regularly or from time to time) I doubt whether Wayneman and the maids did so. However, I would expect the whole household to have dined in some measure from the same dishes .... though the lower servants would only have been able to avail themselves of whatever lesser meats or cuts were left when the master and mistress had taken their own portions.

Bob T  •  Link

St. John, Newfoundland is pronounced the way that it is written, and it is known to Newfoundlanders as The Holy City.
Newfoundland, also known as The Rock, is pronounced New-fun-land, by the people who live there, and they are continually amused by the mangled distortions of the name by Mainlanders."Them Mainlanders is a weird bunch My Son."

Bob T  •  Link

Made a misteak. Got My St. John, and St. Johns mixed up. That's what comes from living in New Brunswick.

slangist  •  Link

bergie, ya got a grate fewter...
as a froidian or fraudiennne thripist. from land o'cod to walloped cod ain't no big jump for th' shambolic picklox set o' mental-vestigatin' tools. an mebbe sam'l's like br'er joice sed: "i'm only a jung man and easily freudened."

andy  •  Link

teaching her things in astronomy.

I wonder what he taught her. Perhaps they looked together through open shutters at Orion standing strong and bright on a clear frosty night, and he told her how the ancient Egyptians knew that when Orion came with his dog Sirius so would follow Spring, and therefore it was time to sew the crops; about how nowadays he had Astronomical Tables - Sam liked tables! - which would predict the arithmetic of rising and setting of stars, and perhaps their use in navigation; but also that this new-ish theory of Copernicus went against what he had been taught in Cambridge, and that it seemed the sun was at the centre of the Universe, and the earth in motion around it; that some observers with the new Italian telescope thought that the perfect heavens weren't really perfect, but changed, and in the darkness of night he doubted his Deism; or that his Quadrivium had taught him of the harmony between the seven planets and music. Perhaps, too, he told her of his ambition to join and be so much a part of the new Royal Society, which though he didn't know it then, would later meet and be so influenced by a bright young bloke called Isaac Newton, also from Cambridge; but perhaps she was asleep by then.

Patricia  •  Link

St. John's, Newfoundland is pronounced with the accent on "John's" all right; but Saint John, N.B. is always pronounced on the National News just as it is written, with equal pronunciation on both words, so the audience will know which city is being spoken about, I guess.

Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

In school in the states we were always told Newfoundland was pronounced NEWfundlind. Then I met a girl from there and she pronounced it NewFOUNDland.

My husband, who's a Brit, always pronounces St. john as Sint JOHN. Americans say SAINT John.

But who knows how they pronounced anything in Pepys' time. It wasn't that long after Shakespeare.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Will is not usually mentioned in relation to church: (in fact, most days, he is not mentioned at all). However, it would not be unreasonable to infer that, as Pepys' clerk and a member of his household, he attends the local church with his master as a matter of course. I wonder what they talked about in the course of their daily encounters?

Again, the diary gives glimpses into the life of the Pepys household, but there is so much it does *not* tell us!

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Brag, whist, cribbage and euchre were card games played in the 17th century, among others.

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