Sunday 24 April 1664

(Lord’s day). Up, and all the morning in my chamber setting some of my private papers in order, for I perceive that now publique business takes up so much of my time that I must get time a-Sundays or a-nights to look after my owne matters.

Dined and spent all the afternoon talking with my wife, at night a little to the office, and so home to supper and to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I feel your pain, my friend ... the world continues to be too much with us. Or me, anyway...

Charlene  •  Link

So Sam's moaning that he actually has to do work at work these days?

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"a little to the office"
21st century version: My husband to me before going to bed: "I'll just check my email...." (hours later.....)

cape henry  •  Link

The [a-*] construction was one that I heard from my grandmother as a child. She was from the far southwest corner of Virginia, born around 1895, and her frequent admonition, "Don't think I'm not a-mindin' you..." I still recall.

Jesse  •  Link

"look after my owne matters"

What might those be? Household accounts and other domestic items that, I'd thought, the Mrs. was to look after. Possibly family matters, the recent death of his brother, other entangled estates, potential inheritances, how about Mrs Lane - oh forget the question.

As to the '21st century version' of "a little to the office" viz. taking hours to 'check [his] email' - ya think Pepys had a little 17th century pr0n hidden under all those mast invoices?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The war machine grinds remorselessly on...

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Work,work,work, that's all they do around here," as a six-year-old girl was heard to declare as she strode grimly down the hallway of a private school in Washington D.C. some years ago.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Tomorrow [25th] be a birthday that no Royalist wants to remember. The Leader of the Commonwealth,

Bradford  •  Link

The great sense of being put-upon which verifies one's supposed indispensability. Well, perhaps in this case it's justified: there's never been another Pepys.

Terry F  •  Link

"The war machine grinds remorselessly on..."


So we dwelt in the war-girdled city as a very part of its life.
Looking back at it all from England, I an atom of the strife,
I can see that I might have seen what the end would be from the first,
The hope of man devoured in the day when the Gods are athirst.
But those days we lived, as I tell you, a life that was not our own;
And we saw but the hope of the world, and the seed that the ages had sown,
Spring up now a fair-blossomed tree from the earth lying over the dead;
Earth quickened, earth kindled to spring-tide with the blood that her lovers have shed,
With the happy days cast off for the sake of her happy day,
With the love of women foregone, and the bright youth worn away,
With the gentleness stripped from the lives thrust into the jostle of war,
With the hope of the hardy heart forever dwindling afar.

"The Pilgrims of Hope" XII. first stanza. William Morris (1885)…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hard to believe Morris wrote that before our terrifying 20th century and its world wars and insane massacres. Thanks, Terry.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"ya think Pepys had a little 17th century pr0n hidden under all those mast invoices?"
Probably not. Although ribald, bawdy, and erotic tales go back to the beginnings of recorded language, porn in the modern sense, i.e. prose designed specifically for the purpose of sexual arousal, is generally regarded to have started with the publication of John Cleland's "Fanny Hill" in 1748-49.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Terry, many thanks for the Morris!

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"look after my owne matters"

Jesse asks "What might those be?...."

L&M reply: On this day 'layd up' his Brampton papers in his 'high press' in his chamber: see Sotheby's Catalogue, 30 November 1970, no. 223.

There will be more personalia to come on weekends, or so Pepys hopes.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"a little 17th century porn" -- Young men on their Grand Tours learned a lot in Venice. I understand John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester found his stay there most instructive, and put him into the import/export trade.

This information is from:…

Young, rich Europeans in the 16th century wanted to travel. Top of your list might be Venice, a cosmopolitan, free-wheeling city, known for its diversity, romance, and relaxed mores. Venice was a wealthy place, where Titian, Tintoretto, and other famous artists were painting. As a republican port city, it was tolerant of all sorts of people and behavior in ways other European cities were not.

While in Venice, you might purchase a flap book to help you remember the good times you had there, like the illustrated Le vere imagini et descritioni delle piv nobilli citta del mondo — “the true images and descriptions of the most noble city in the world.”

Some books are attributed to Donato Bertelli, a printmaker and bookseller, although it’s hard to say who wrote the book. What is clear, says Madeleine Viljoen, curator of the New York exhibit, is that the book is connected to “a family of savvy book publishers who understood how to take advantage of people coming to Venice for tourism and people curious about what they might see there and experience there.”

In the 16th century, flap books were a fun innovation in publishing, for both serious and satirical uses. One of the most studied types of flap book displayed the anatomy of the human body: you could dissect a person by paging through the flaps. Publishers also would used layers of paper to create volvelles, wheels made of paper that might be used to calculate the movement of the sun or moon.

One anatomical flapbook was named CATOPTRUM MICROCOSMICUM.

There were also some cheekier uses of the flaps. During the Counter-Reformation one let the reader lift up Martin Luther's robes and peek underneath. “I don’t think it was meant to be playful or titillating,” says Viljoen. “It’s about humiliation.”

Some of the Venetian flap books have an edge to them. One shows a woman riding a donkey; flip up the image, and it’s revealed that she’s riding on the back of a man, possibly an image to warn of the dangers of female power. There’s also another image of a woman with a flippable dress, but underneath there are only skeletal legs.

Another image plays on a famous trope of a woman and their not-very-good chaperone: “It’s meant to be playful and mischievous and point to why Venice was perceived as playground,” says Viljoen. “What went to Venice was left in Venice.”

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

There's no reason Sam couldn't have had a little erotica around the house/office:…

Woman sitting half-dressed beside a stove (1658), Rembrandt van Rijn

Arguably Rembrandt’s finest print of a nude, this etching belongs to a group made in the 1650s showing women in various states of undress. Far from the monumental and explicit Bathsheba, whose pose she echoes, this seated figure has a quiet domestic intimacy which appears shyly erotic in contrast.

Etchings = mass production.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm going to rest my pornography case with this:

"In the 17th century, certain Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford, engaged in the surreptitious printing at the University Press of Aretino's Postures, Aretino's De omnis Veneris schematibus and the indecent engravings after Giulio Romano. The Dean, Dr. John Fell, impounded the copper plates and threatened those involved with expulsion. The text of Aretino’s sonnets, however, survives."


Later in life, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester would note that he learned of two important things in his time in Italy: 1) the dildo, and 2) the Postures of Pietro Aretino.

Bill  •  Link

Pornography indeed. Aretino/Aretin was discussed extensively in the Diary annotations of Friday 15 May 1663…

"... my Lady Castlemaine rules him, who, he says, hath all the tricks of Aretin that are to be practised to give pleasure."

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