Saturday 5 November 1664

Up and to the office, where all the morning, at noon to the ’Change, and thence home to dinner, and so with my wife to the Duke’s house to a play, “Macbeth,” a pretty good play, but admirably acted. Thence home; the coach being forced to go round by London Wall home, because of the bonefires; the day being mightily observed in the City.

To my office late at business, and then home to supper, and to bed.

28 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

In lieu of Dirk Van de putte, a Carte Calendar entry

William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: [St James's]

Date: 5 November 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 245-246
Document type: Holograph

Informs him of the purpose of the Lord Admiral to visit Portsmouth, for an inspection of the Dockyard and Fleet. Hopes that within very few days Lord Sandwich will see a fleet of forty sail assembled, with no vessel less than a fourth-rate; "and with that, if God bless us, we need not fear what the Dutch can yet make".…

Pedro  •  Link

"and so with my wife to the Duke's house to a play, "Macbeth," a pretty good play, but admirably acted."

I wonder if Sam will tell us the what happened to the actors of the Scottish play?…

Pedro  •  Link

Holmes enters Cascais roads and meets a Merchantman bound for Dartmouth that he stops to send a letter to Coventry. (6 months since his last letter).

"I know not how my actions upon the Coast of Guinea are resented at Court, nor how my condition stands: I desire you to do me the favour to write a letter for me to Captain Gallois to the Isle of Wight where I intend to stop at my coming into the Channel and give me an account of my affairs and how my behaviour on the Coast is resented.

(Man of War by Ollard)

Glyn  •  Link

The BBC London radio programme the Robert Elms show (12:00 to 15:00) is doing a 3-hour show today (Tues) about Pepys. Details to follow.

Glyn  •  Link

Heads up because this is important. Today (Tuesday) BBC London is doing a 3-hour programme about Pepys. This is on the Robert Elms radio show from 12 noon to 3 pm London time. It can be listened to on the internet worldwide, but if the time is too early or late for you then it can also be replayed any time in the next 7 days on the “Listen Again” facility which you will find on the right-side of the page in the link below:…

You’ll need Real Player, which you can download from the above page.

The reason for this is that they are interviewing the author of “The Plot Against Pepys” and have decided to make Pepys the theme for the whole show in between playing music. I can’t believe this will sustain a whole show but maybe it will. However, if any of you want to phone them during the show only, or email them during the show, or even before it so they can think about what you want to say, then the email address for the show is and the phone number is (if you’re in the UK): 020 7224 2000, or if you’re outside the UK: (44 20) 7224 2000.

Personally I’d love to hear the mellow tones of Language Hat discussing 17th century linguistics or our Dutch contributors talking about De Ruyter. And maybe we can get some of the show’s listeners to vote for this site in the “Best Literature Blog” category (see top of page - polling closes 8 November).

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Macbeth a pretty good play"
Author please.:)

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Irrepressible Jeannine, and the Navy Office Can-Can. What a gas!

Next a fling of thanes?

cape henry  •  Link

It is not for nothing she is Queen Jeannine.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot."
Still a potent occasion in England, with dubious undertones.
and many, many other Bonfire Society pages.
wihtin our lifetimes, Catholics in Lewes barred their doors on Nov. 5th and risked having their windows smashed. Lewes was the town with the largest number of Protestants martyrs under the Marian persecution and has a large stone plaque in the town square commemorating them on the spot where the fires were. Not surprisingly, Lewes took enthusiastically to Nov 5th bonfires (transposed from the Pagan festival of Samhain.) Not so in York where Mischief Night on Nov 4th is more celebrated and at St Peter's School (attended by Guido Fawkes), there is no celebration. "We don't burn Old Boys", the school says, "even in effigy". So make a bonfire of all those Autumn [Fall] leaves, roast some potatoes, make parkin and toffee and try and forget all the religious persecution, superstitions and other nasties lurking on the dark edges of this night. macbeth is such an appropriate play for this time of year.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Samhain [Pagan] = 31st October = All Hallows Eve [Christian] = Hallowe'en [Secular]

Australian Susan  •  Link

PS I am not serving parkin at the wedding.

Australian Susan  •  Link

That Gaiman chap is on 1067 and we are on 627. Not good enough! Keep voting!

Bradford  •  Link

Note that this is the most positive remark Pepys has ever made concerning a play by Shakespeare, or an adaptation thereof. By 1663-64 the Davenant version of the Scottish play had incorporated a couple of songs which debuted in Middleton's "The Witch" (c. 1609): "Come away" (end III.5) and "Black spirits" (IV.1.43). A comparatively brief text made "Macbeth" the prime candidate, among the tragedies, for accruing incidental music; and as time went on the number of witches, and the scope of their powers, kept increasing. In another two hundred years, Verdi will be forced to compose, for a Paris production, a ballet for them. Would Hecate have been able to fly in the production Pepys saw?

(Redacted from "Musicking Shakespeare," by Daniel Albright, Univ. of Rochester Press, 2007. Highly recommended.)

language hat  •  Link

Off topic, but I highly recommend Verdi's Macbeth; I consider it an artistic accomplishment comparable to Shakespeare's original, and it's a pity it's so overlooked compared with Aida, Trovatore, Traviata, et al.

Ruben  •  Link

That Gaiman chap is on 1067 and we are on 627. Not good enough! Keep voting!
I do not see the relation between the vote and the quality of the blog. (I know we are in second place and that is a good reason to think like that). I vote every day in 5 different locations. So what? There is someone in Gaiman doing the same trick in two hundred places each day!
This is a competition about the access to different computers.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Happy Guy Fawkes Day to all. Johhny Walker says everybody gets more powder in their cannon today. My cannon is charged and aligned. Fire, Good Fire, Fire All. (and drink everyone's health). Captain Morgan has further messages.
Shall this Gaiman carry all before? Shall this indignity be endured? I say not !
What would Sam Pepys do, thought I, so I voted on my computer and my daughter's computer and my computer at work. There, that's better. Three votes in a day is Mo Better. We'll get there yet. Youth and Skill defeated by Age and Treason.

Nix  •  Link

Macbeth --

Is a play about regicide a good idea for Guy Fawkes Day? I guess the killer gets his comeuppance, and the royal line of the Stuarts gets established at the end, but I would have thought the whole killing-the-king business might have been a bit too fresh in everyone's minds.

Glyn, thanks for the head's up about the BBC program. I'll see if I can find it online.

Paul Dyson  •  Link

“Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.”
Still a potent occasion in England, with dubious undertones.

For non-residents of Olde Englande, I have to report that November 5th is somewhat diluted these days. This year it spread over three or four evenings of a long weekend. The Elfinsayfti influence is strong in the control of fireworks sales and the limitation of bonfires, so that in urban areas it is rare to see a communal bonfire and many people attend formal, professionally presented, firework displays rather than have their own. With fireworks being available (though expensive) on other occasions, even as entertainment at wedding receptions - Aussie Susan, please note and enjoy your day - they are less of a novelty. Expenditure on Halloween (in its imported form!) has increased tenfold in Britain since 2000, and it may now have overtaken Guy Fawkes Night as the most popular celebration other than Christmas. "Trick or Treat" has replaced "Penny for the Guy", which at least was not outright begging. Nevertheless, driving home around Manchester on Monday evening I got quite a good free show.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I've been traveling on business and, though able to vote (repeatedly), was unable to keep up with the Diary. Now I come back to wonderful animations (Jeannine, you kill me), news of weddings to come and weddings past (congratulations!), and now I read that Sam has actually seen a Shakespeare play that he doesn't hate.

The one somewhat-related thing I can add is a hearty recommendation for the Canadian comedy "Slings and Arrows," which follows several seasons of a Shakespearean troupe whose artistic director is haunted by the company's previous AD. Quite amusing (and sometimes even quite touching for an old trouper like yours truly) ... the second season focuses on their staging of "that play."

cgs  •  Link

“Penny for the Guy” as a young clod hopper, a 1d could get the a squib with a pop, now how much that be? 1 quid? [240% increase { rise or raise}], that be an indication of how the economic tangent has changed from a slow rise to an angle that appears to be attached to a IcBM rocket.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"so with my wife to the Duke’s house to a play, “Macbeth,” a pretty good play"

This was Sir William Davenant's alteration of Shakespeare's play, which was described by Downes "as being in the nature of an opera." Malone says that it was first acted in 1663. It was not printed until 1673
--- Wheatley. Diary, 1904.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a pretty good play, but admirably acted."

L&M note this was probably the first of Davenant's spectacular adaptations of Shakespeare's tragedy. He added such devices as a sinking cave and flying machines for the witches. Bradford asks "Would Hecate have been able to fly in the production Pepys saw?" Probably. L&M : Davenant's final version was published in 1674. This cast listed by Genese (i. 139-140) includes Betterton as Macbeth, Harris as Macduff, Smith as Banquo and Mrs Betterton as Lady Macbeth.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Concur with L.H. on Verdi's Macbeth! Equally Verdi's Falstaff is as great a character...

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . how my behaviour on the Coast is resented . .’

‘resent, v. < French.
. . 6. b. To take or receive in a certain way or with certain feelings; to take well (also ill). Obs.
1669 S. Pepys Diary 12 Feb. (1976) IX. 445 It was mighty well resented and approved of.
1678 W. Mountagu in Buccleuch MSS (Hist. MSS Comm.) (1899) I. 327 I confess it's a tender point, and I long to know how it was resented . . ‘


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