Friday 22 April 1664

Having directed it last night, I was called up this morning before four o’clock. It was full light enough to dress myself, and so by water against tide, it being a little coole, to Greenwich; and thence, only that it was somewhat foggy till the sun got to some height, walked with great pleasure to Woolwich, in my way staying several times to listen to the nightingales. I did much business both at the Ropeyarde and the other, and on floate I discovered a plain cheat which in time I shall publish of Mr. Ackworth’s. Thence, having visited Mr. Falconer also, who lies still sick, but hopes to be better, I walked to Greenwich, Mr. Deane with me. Much good discourse, and I think him a very just man, only a little conceited, but yet very able in his way, and so he by water also with me also to towne. I home, and immediately dressing myself, by coach with my wife to my Lord Sandwich’s, but they having dined we would not ’light but went to Mrs. Turner’s, and there got something to eat, and thence after reading part of a good play, Mrs. The., my wife and I, in their coach to Hide Parke where great plenty of gallants, and pleasant it was, only for the dust. Here I saw Mrs. Bendy, my Lady Spillman’s faire daughter that was, who continues yet very handsome. Many others I saw with great content, and so back again to Mrs. Turner’s, and then took a coach and home. I did also carry them into St. James’s Park and shewed them the garden.

To my office awhile while supper was making ready, and so home to supper and to bed.

35 Annotations

First Reading

Bardi  •  Link

"I discovered a plain cheat which in time I shall publish of Mr. Ackworths. . ."
What is this all about?

djc  •  Link

'a plain cheat of Mr Ackworths'
L&M say: William Ackworth (storekeeper) accused of embezzling a cable. see also 1662 July 11, next instalment 23 May. (this will run and run, look out for 18 March 1668)

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

The House of Politics is also trying get a just law onto the books to prevent the kings yards from losing items of worth.

cape henry  •  Link

"...and so by water against tide, it being a little coole, to Greenwich." How often do we pass over this line in the diary without a thought for the man who, by sheer muscle, earned pennies hauling his fare against the elements. The scene has been ably set by Pepys, the light, the air, but no mention of the fellow for whom a pound would represent a small fortune. He is there, nonetheless.

Mary  •  Link

"in their coach to Hide Park"

Sam can properly enjoy seeing and being seen when in a 'proper' coach, rather than just the hired hackney of a few days ago. I'm reminded of a sight from my childhood: young men taking one another's photographs as they lounged against some stranger's 'posh' car parked in the street.

adam w  •  Link

I've only heard nightingales in late twilight or very early morning. Were they really singing in broad daylight (in Woolwich!) in the seventeenth century?

Sam's delight in his walk to Woolwich does make you ponder what we have lost in modern urban life.

Ruben  •  Link

Cape Henry
You are right.
Open the Encyclopedia - Travel - Ferries and see the annotations about this hard working people, including some ilustrations of the Watermen.
This people reminds me of taxi drivers at the exit of a Middle Eastern railway station...

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Sam's delight in his walk to Woolwich

is palpable. A fresh spring early morning and the nightingales twittering. What a pleasure!

As for the waterman, maybe he enjoys an early spring morning row, testing his muscles against the tide. Some do.

Pedro  •  Link

Back to the opiate.

Ode to a nightingale by Keets

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.…

Pedro  •  Link

The above should of course read Keats.

More mithrydate needed.

Bradford  •  Link

"only a little conceited": can Robert G. give us a peek into Mr. Deane's diary entry about his discourse a Pepys?

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

From Thomas Nashe

SPRING, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king ;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo !

T.S. Eliot suggests that the nightingale's song sounds "'Jug,jug, to dirty ears," though its not clear whether he means unwashed or unrefined. Maybe he means Nashe, though I rather doubt it.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Even to-day, nary a thought be given to the silent service of those that provide services.
" but no mention of the fellow for whom a pound would represent a small fortune. He is there, nonetheless"

"tis why a good spy adopts the mode of a service technician and can obtain some very useful informtion, such as finding out which stock be on the move, before it does.
The livery is truly a cloak of concealment.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Walter von der Vogelweide

Under der linden an der heide,
dâ unser zweier bette was,
dâ mugt ir vinden
schône beide gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
vor dem walde in einem tal -
schöne sanc die nachtigal.

Pedro  •  Link

"listen to the nightengale"

Am I right to believe the nightingale is not a native bird across the Pond?

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"listen to the nightengale"

Does Sam know what bird he hears?

John Clare observes,

From Natural History Letter III:

I forgot to say in my last that the Nightingale sung as common by day as
night & as often tho its a fact that is not generally known your Londoners
are very fond of talking about this bird & I believe fancy every bird they
hear after sunset a Nightgale I remember when I was there last while
walking with a friend in the fields of Shacklwell we saw a gentleman &
lady listening very attentive by the side of a shrubbery & when we came up
we heard them lavishing praises on the beautiful song of the nightingale
which happened to be a thrush but it did for them & they listend &
repeated their praise with heart felt satisfaction while the bird seemed
to know the grand distinction that its song had gaind for it.

From The Natural History Notebooks of John Clare, ed. Margaret Grainger
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 36-37.

Here's Clare's transcription of a nightingale song:

Chee chew chee chew chee
chew--cheer cheer cheer
chew chew chew chee
--up cheer up cheer up
tweet tweet tweet jug jug jug

wew wew wew--chur chur
woo it too it tweet tweet
tweet jug jug jug

tee rew tee rew tee rew--gur
gur--chew rit chew rit--chur-chur-chur
chur will-will will-will tweet-em
tweet em jug jug jug jug

grig grig grig chew chew

wevy wit wevy wit
wevy wit--chee-chit
chee-chit chee chit
weewit weewit wee
wit cheer cheer
pelew pelew--
bring a jug bring a
jug bring a jug

From the Peterborough MS A58, II., pp. 1-8; printed in The Natural History
Notebooks of John Clare, ed. Margaret Grainger (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1983), 312.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Is the nightingale a native bird across the Pond?

Don't think so. Never heard one.

Autumn Refrain

The skreak and skritter of evening gone
And grackles gone and sorrows of the sun,
The sorrows of sun, too, gone . . . the moon and moon,
The yellow moon of words about the nightingale
In measureless measures, not a bird for me
But the name of a bird and the name of a nameless air
I have never--shall never hear. And yet beneath

The stillness of everything gone, and being still,
Being and sitting still, something resides,
Some skreaking and skrittering residuum,
And grates these evasions of the nightingale
Though I have never--shall never hear that bird.
And the stillness is in the key, all of it is,
The stillness is all in the key of that desolate sound.


Eric Walla  •  Link

The Wikipedia entry has some interesting details:

"Although it also sings during the day, the Nightingale is unusual in singing late in the evening; its song is particularly noticeable at that time because few other birds are singing. This is why its name (in several languages) includes "night". Recent research has shown that the birds sing even more loudly in urban or near-urban environments, in order to overcome the background noise. The most characteristic feature of the song is a loud whistling crescendo, absent from the song of Thrush Nightingale. It has a frog-like alarm call."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

From July 21, 1663

"...I find him (Deane) a very pretty fellow in it, and rational, but a little conceited, but that's no matter to me."

Hyde Park...

Bess eyeing Theophilia, Theophilia equally bored but determined to win out over her rival...

"Anyway, ladies...So Deane goes on and on with how his intimate knowledge of the Woolwich yards had saved the King thousands of pounds over the past year never noting for a moment how my reform of contracts..."

Eric Walla  •  Link

Robert, my thought exactly. Considering the (mildest of spoilers) long-term friendship that was to spring up between Sam P and Tony D, perhaps conceit was a GOOD thing. Maybe "only a little conceited" suggests Sam didn't find him quite conceited enough ... but under your instruction, Sam, I'm sure you can make him perfectly insufferable in no time.

(Another mild spoiler in Question form) In spite of their close relationship, their connection to Catholics, and even apparently co-habitation in the Tower, how is it that Tony got a knighthood and not Sam?

Terry F  •  Link


Mary on Sun 21 Nov 2004, 09:10am…

"a witty but very conceited woman and proud"

Sam doesn't like her much, does he? Perhaps some of her wit was aimed at him.

In this instance it looks very much as if Pepys is using the word 'conceited' in much the same way as it would be used today. However, in the mid-17th century it could also be used to mean 'opinionated' as well as witty, clever or amusing. Since Sam additionally describes Lady Wright as witty and proud, it's possible that his 'conceited' may mean 'opinionated' in this context.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

A tanner it be but not dear Samuells,
along with the per diem of treating the lads
Samuell would take a hike and I doth malign but it could be so , tooke the charge and was was recompensed by the Treasury. Of course it be legal.
'Twas why I liked going on a trip out of the Lab, any pennies left over, be for me olde cup of brew.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Here be one of the Acts of Charles that covers the problem of Equipment having legs.

Charles II, 1664
An Act to prevent the Disturbances of Seamen and others and to preserve the Stores belonging to His Majestyes Navy Royall.…
as the likes of Rumored hobbies below decks and punishment that be meted out.…

32. If any person [or (fn. 4) ] persons in or belonging to the Fleet shall commit the unnaturall and detestable sin of Buggery or Sodomy with Man or ( (fn. 5) ) Beast he shall be punished with death without mercy.

From: 'Charles II, 1661: An Act for the Establishing Articles and Orders for the regulateing and better Government of His Majesties Navies Ships of Warr & Forces by Sea.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 311-14. URL:…. Date accessed: 24 April 2007.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

This be not my conceit even tho I may be a bit **********:
Conceit: Many words have changed focus of meaning, e.g. That awful painting that Reuben's composed that everyone gave dread too.
So with Conceit, it has very close ties with conceive:

1: obs: an idea;thought concept personal opinion
[To this there appears to be no corresp. OF. word, so that it would seem that conceit was formed in Eng. from conceive, on the analogy supplied by deceive, deceit (OF. deceite, -cyte, -cite, Anglo-F. desçait (in Langtoft): recepte, recette: L. concept-us a conceiving) was evidently the source of some of the later senses.]

I. Conception; conceiving and its product.
. That which is conceived in the mind, a conception, notion, idea, thought; device. Obs.

1751 JOHNSON Rambler No. 141
10 Sometimes I drew the conversation a proper point, and produced a conceit which I had treasured up.

b. A fanciful action, practice, etc.; a trick.

Used in the logical senses of CONCEPT. Obs.

2. The faculty of conceiving; conception, apprehension, understanding. Obs.
b. Capacity (mental). Obs. 1560

c. ? Frame of mind, disposition. Obs.

. The process or action of conceiving; conception. Obs. 1594
II. Personal or private opinion

4. Personal opinion, judgement, or estimation, usually 'in a neutral sense' (J.), as in my conceit, in my opinion or conception of the case. Obs.

b. of oneself, one's own opinions, etc., with qualifying adjs. bad, good, etc. Obs. See also SELF-CONCEIT, orig. 'self-conceived opinion'. (Cf. 5b.) 1581

b) in one's own conceit: in one's own private opinion, estimation, or judgement: now coloured by sense 6.

5. Favourable opinion, esteem; = good conceit in 4. Now dial. exc. in out of conceit with, dissatisfied with, no longer pleased with.
b. of oneself, or one's qualities. Cf. SELF-CONCEIT

6. An overweening opinion of oneself; overestimation of one's own qualities, personal vanity or pride; conceitedness. App. short for prec. or for SELF-CONCEIT.

1605 BP. HALL Medit. & Vows I. §96 The proude man, though hee be empty of good substance, yet he is full of conceite.

7. A fanciful notion; a fancy, a whim. 1530

III. Fancy; fanciful opinion, action, or production.

8. A fanciful, ingenious, or witty notion or expression; now applied disparagingly to a strained or far-fetched turn of thought, figure, etc., an affectation of thought or style; = CONCETTO.

As a verb: a sample:
b. with obj. and inf. compl. Now only in to conceit oneself (to be) something.

1601 SHAKES. Jul. C. III. i. 192 One of two bad wayes you must conceit me, Either a coward, or a Flatterer.

1626 R. BERNARD Isle of Man (1627) 141 He having conceited himselfe to be free.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Afagin - lovely site! Thanks! Spent some nostalgic time listening to a lot of British birdsong. Really miss the birdsong.

Pedro  •  Link


The great difference, however, among the poets, is with reference to the character of its song. Milton speaks of it as the:

'Sweet bird, that shuns the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy.'

To this, Coleridge almost indignantly replies:

"Most musical, most melancholy bird I"
A melancholy bird? 0 idle thought,
In nature there is nothing melancholy;
But some night wandering man, whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
And so, poor wretch, filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrows--he, and such as he,
First named thy notes a melancholy strain.'
Tis the merry nightingale,
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates,
With fast thick warble, his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love chant, and disburden his full
soul Of all its music.'

The beautiful prose passage on the nightingale in Walton's Angler has been frequently quoted, amongst others by Sir Walter Scott, Sir Humphrey Davy, and Bishop Horne; Dr Drake, too, in his Literary Hours, asserts that this description surpasses all that poets have written on the subject. "The nightingale,' says Walton, 'breathes such sweet, loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think miracles are not ceased. He that at mid-night, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, Lord, what music Hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou affordest bad men such music on earth?'

For this and much more on the nightingale and poety...…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I did much business both at the Ropeyarde and the other, and on floate I discovered a plain cheat...."

The other yard was either the main dockyard or the timber yard. The float was a raft or stage (usually made of old masts): NWB, p. 83. (L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I did also carry them into St. James’s Park and shewed them the garden. "

The Physic Garden. (L&M footnote)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... by coach with my wife to my Lord Sandwich’s, but they having dined we would not ‘light ..."

I believe it was considered good manners in those days to return a call fairly promptly, so subsequent conversations could easily happen and hospitality was returned. In this case, yesterday My Lady had left fairly promptly because she had supposedly wanted to see Elizabeth -- I suspect she was really looking for somewhere to spend a penny. Or was she an "ambassador" signalling a return of friendly relations? However, this entry does look as if Pepys was only hoping for an invite to lunch -- possibly with My Lord?

Etiquette is a wondrous thing. You can read this entry so many different ways.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

2nd May Gregorian: sunrise would be about 4:30 am. If the sky was fairly clear, there'd be a long twilight, certainly decent light for 45 minutes or more. The rest of the entry suggests that it had been a clear night; the mist being caused by the fact the the river was warmer than the cool air above it until the sun was risen.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Cape Henry 2007 '"...and so by water against tide, it being a little coole, to Greenwich." How often do we pass over this line in the diary without a thought for the man who, by sheer muscle, earned pennies hauling his fare against the elements.'

I doubt that one man however big his muscles would be able to row Sam against the tide to Greenwich.

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