Monday 7 January 1666/67

Lay long in bed. Then up and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon (my wife being gone to Westminster) I with my Lord Bruncker by coach as far as the Temple, in the way he telling me that my Lady Denham is at last dead. Some suspect her poisoned, but it will be best known when her body is opened, which will be to-day, she dying yesterday morning. The Duke of York is troubled for her; but hath declared he will never have another public mistress again; which I shall be glad of, and would the King would do the like. He tells me how the Parliament is grown so jealous of the King’s being unfayre to them in the business of the Bill for examining Accounts, Irish Bill, and the business of the Papists, that they will not pass the business for money till they see themselves secure that those Bills will pass; which they do observe the Court to keep off till all the Bills come together, that the King may accept what he pleases, and what he pleases to reject, which will undo all our business and the kingdom too.

He tells me how Mr. Henry Howard, of Norfolke, hath given our Royal Society all his grandfather’s library: which noble gift they value at 1000l.; and gives them accommodation to meet in at his house, Arundell House, they being now disturbed at Gresham College.

Thence ’lighting at the Temple to the ordinary hard by and eat a bit of meat, and then by coach to fetch my wife from her brother’s, and thence to the Duke’s house, and saw “Macbeth,” which, though I saw it lately, yet appears a most excellent play in all respects, but especially in divertisement, though it be a deep tragedy; which is a strange perfection in a tragedy, it being most proper here, and suitable.

So home, it being the last play now I am to see till a fortnight hence, I being from the last night entered into my vowes for the year coming on.

Here I met with the good newes of Hogg’s bringing in two prizes more to Plymouth, which if they prove but any part of them, I hope, at least, we shall be no losers by them.

So home from the office, to write over fair my vowes for this year, and then to supper, and to bed. In great peace of mind having now done it, and brought myself into order again and a resolution of keeping it, and having entered my journall to this night, so to bed, my eyes failing me with writing.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He tells me how Mr. Henry Howard, of Norfolke, hath given our Royal Society all his grandfather's library: which noble gift they value at 1000l."

For the presentation last Wednesday 2 January see…

L&M note the gift of 4,000 books and 500 volumes of manuscripts was made at Evelyn's instigation. Mr. Henry Howard did not value the library that had also included heraldry books, given now to the College of Arms. His grandfather, the 2nd Earl of Arundel had also collected the Arundel Marbles.…

cape henry  •  Link

Pepys is having an interesting change of heart with regard to Shakespeare's work. He has earlier professed to be unimpressed. Could it be that the plays he is seeing now are more professionally and artistically presented? More careful attention on his part? Or due the influence of discussion with people he admires for other reasons? At any rate, it is ever diverting to see this person evolve day by day, for good or ill.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Mr. Henry Howard, of Norfolke, hath given our Royal Society all his grandfather’s library: which noble gift they value at 1000l.; "

Even at the time this was a vey low figure for this munificent gesture; for example among them was BL Arundel MS 263, a Leonardo notebook. For a facsimile see:…
British Library Arundel MS 263

an early C11th. Psalter from Canterbury (The Arundel Psalter) MS 155 [Reproductions at the end of the page]…

Spoiler: They was purchased by the British Museum from the Royal Society together with 548 other Arundel manuscripts in 1831.
Any illuminated manuscript addicts, type 'Arundel' into the search window:…

See also:
L. V. Peck, Uncovering the Arundel Library at the Royal Society: changing meanings of science and the fate of the Norfolk donation. Notes Rec. R. Soc. Lond. 22 January 1998 vol. 52 no. 1 3-24
Link to PDF of full text:

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam's always loved "Othello", "Hamlet", and apparently he was fond of Falstaff at least in the Henry IV plays. Not surprising he'd go for "Macbeth". I wonder though if "King Lear" was ever available to him to complete the tragic four.

CGS  •  Link

much thanks

CGS  •  Link

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Macbeth. ACT I Scene 1.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Nice to know if the CoA thing falters, there's always piracy. Though Sam would probably do better in the Walter Slezak/Charles Laughton role of corrupt administrator/governor in league with the blood-thirsty fiends.

Of course there's always a little danger associated with such a business enterprise...

"Hogg? You say the Greyhound was taken and burned, the crew massacred, and you alone survived? To bring a message to me? Personally?"

"Aye,sir. The fiend in command, the young devil himself, sir, told me to tell you..."

"Yes...Yes, yes?"

"Sir, he says...'Tell Pepys, Wayneman says hello'."


Australian Susan  •  Link

Taking Sam's comments about the "divertisement", I wonder if what he is seeing is an enhanced [sic] version of the play, which existed, with the witches dancing and the introduction of Hecate etc.?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"...and saw Macbeth...a most excellent play"
Sam did not like Romeo and Juliet,myself,in general, I like the music inspired by the play but I dont much care for the play either,too tragic.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I'm surprised Sam didn't like Juliet. He seems to have been fascinated by women like Betty Martin, Diana Crisp, Barbara Palmer, Betty Pierce, Jane Turner (in a platonic manner, more or less in cousin Jane's case) who took the lead in romance or business.

JWB  •  Link

Last night, the 7th, was 400 yr anniversary of Galileo's discovery of 3 of 4 moons of Jupiter. One discovery I will carry away from exercise with Pepys' diary is that Milton visited Galileo when he was under house arrest. Dana Sobel should have written about that!

jeannine  •  Link

Lady Denham’s death, from “Beauties of the Court of Charles II’ by Mrs. Jameson. May contain spoilers as I’m not sure what Sam will write about.

There is some background on Lady Denham. She was married to the much disliked Sir John Denham who was old enough to be her grandfather. After her marriage she caught the eye of James, DOY and became his mistress. Lady Denham had made it very clear to James that she would only be a ‘public mistress’ to him and not a ‘back stairs’ mistress.

In order to find a respectable place for herself, she had tried to become a lady of the bedchamber to the Duchess of York. The Duchess, resisted the request (via her husband the DOY) as she didn’t want to be stuck in the position playing ‘second in her personage in her own court’ as the poor Queen Catherine obviously was in relation to Lady Castlemaine.

At the time of her death (age 21) the positioning of Lady Denham into the Duchess’ bedchamber was still in discussion. Also, of note, Lady Denham had been ill on and off for some time as Sam has noted. In spite of this, her death was sudden and perhaps rather violent in its appearance.

“It was believed at the time of her death that she had been poisoned by a cup of chocolate, and her death being so sudden, it took place so critically, and was accompanied by such agonizing symptoms, that there was some ground for that belief: Lady Denham herself ceased not to aver, with tears, that she had been poisoned. Her husband was so strongly suspected that for some days afterwards his house in Scotland-yard was surrounded by an enraged populace, who threatened to stone him on his appearance. Others did not scruple to accuse the Duchess of York of being privy to this horrible affair, and an infamous libel to that effect was posted on her door; but there is not the slightest ground for believing in the accusation. Sir John Denham is not so easily acquitted: it is remarkable that he became insane immediately after his wife’s death, and continued so for several months. This insanity might, however, have been caused by terror, or by indignation and grief, and not by remorse, as it was insinuated. The matter at the time was hushed up with all convenient speed, and the horrible fate by which this unhappy woman expiated her errors remains a mystery.”

Perhaps James declared he would never take another ‘public’ mistress as his wife was taking the rap for his bad behavior ??? History will show, that much like Charles II when it came to woman, that James would not changes his ways.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"saw “Macbeth,” which, though I saw it lately, yet appears a most excellent play in all respects, but especially in divertisement, though it be a deep tragedy; which is a strange perfection in a tragedy, it being most proper here, and suitable."

Perhaps Davenant used amusing entr'acts: L&M note this too was his adaptation. On 28 December he judged it "a most excellent play for variety."…

Perhaps the witches brewery inspired Davenant; pity Pepys provides no details.

Ruben  •  Link

I knew that all Shakespeare was "adapted" (like in today's movies) during Restoration. The stage was different, the languange changed, female were on stage, etc.
In the Net I found "The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre" (edited by Deborah Payne Fisk) that makes an interesting reading! Example: page 48 "all Restoration revivals were to a greater or lesser degree adaptations, as were a great many new plays..."
Page 44 " 1663 he further showed off his theatre's capacity for grand scenic effects with a lavishly decorated Henry VIII; in 1664 he staged his equally spectacular, and far more heavily rewritten, Macbeth".
Page 47: "to contemporary criticism, a play's "fable" and "sentiments" mattered far more than mere verbal details, so an adaptation, preserving both while stripping what had become obscuringly obsolete superficies of idiom, might more genuinely "revive" an old play than what we would now call a revival."
Page 49: "Davenant's Macbeth is an Oliver Cromwell doomed to exemplary punishment...".
There are some spoilers, but it is impossible to deal with Restoration Theatre whithout our Sam, isn'it?

Ruben  •  Link

Another interesting article is LISA e-journal VOL II- N3 2004
"audience approval: the role of opera in the creation of the Shakespearean myth during the English Restoration" by Andrea Trocha Van Nort
Very long to annotate but very interesting to read.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link


"would refer to the inserted scenes of dancing and singing. What would appear to be "operatic" content, that is, witches,18 devils, and classical interest, was then augmented. This was already true of the 1664 staging of Macbeth, which Pepys refers to as "a most excellent play for variety," "excellent […] in all respects but especially in divertisement," and "one of the best plays for a stage, and variety of dancing and musique, that ever I saw."19"

"Audience Approval: The Role of Opera in the Creation of the Shakespearean Myth during the English Restoration" by Andrea Trocha Van Nort…

Thanks Ruben, for the link to this article, which is much to be recommended!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Thanks for coming to see our show..." Macduff, waving sword and severed head of Macbeth.

"Sad to tell you you got to go..." Lady Macbeth, slab wound in chest.

"Grab your hat and head for the door..." Ross, Lenox...

"In case you didn't notice...There ain't any more..." severed head of Macbeth in Macduff's hand.

"If you liked 'Macbeth'...Tell every one ..." Macduff's son, Lady Macduff, Banquo...Covered in wounds.

"...But if ya think it stinks, keep your big mouth shut." Witches, led by Hecate. Lightning flashes...

"We're glad you came but we have to shout
Adios, au revoir, wiedersehen, ta-ta-ta...
Goodbye...get lost...Geeetttt out!!" cast.

"It's over..." Duncan (player, ancestor of Mel Brooks).

Ruben  •  Link

“It’s over…” Duncan (player, ancestor of Mel Brooks).
This Duncan must have been very very old to be an ancestor of the 2000 Year Old Man. I never herd Mel mention he had an ancestor, except for his parents, let alone an ancestor alive in 1667!

jeannine  •  Link

Shakespeare's plays

Maybe Sam prefers the plays based on Shakespeare's tragedy as a main theme as opposed to romance? He didn't like Romeo and Juliet (a tragedy, but really a love story) or Midsummer's Night Dream, but he's liked some of his other more 'serious' work.

Ignatius Gerumpany  •  Link

Note that William Davenant encouraged the rumor that he was the natural son of Shakespeare. Would this not give him more license to make revisions to his putative poppa's works?

One hates to cite Wikipedia, but that is just one of many places I have encountered this fact/non-fact about Sir William.

cape henry  •  Link

Encomiums to one and all for a lively and scholarly discussion concerning the play Pepys [probably] attended. It is ever a delight to have one's speculations and questions illuminated.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Would this not give him more license to make revisions to his putative poppa’s works?

Of course, the Shakespeare copyrights (with much other dramatic repertory) had been split in 1660 between the King's, Killigrew's, and the Duke's, Davenant's, Company. (… ) Not least for simple entrepreneurial reasons Davenant wished to solidify the linage Shakespeare - Ben Johnson- Davenant, as well as providing authority to his adaptations in contrast to the analogous ones of his competitors. Spoiler It was Davenant's collaborator, Dryden, who was to be the next laureate on his death in 1668.

The music for Davenant's 'Tempest' is not known to survive, however the music his long term collaborator Matthew Locke, with other composers, provided for Shadwell's version of the Tempest (1674) is well known. Davenant's innovations rapidly evolved into a uniquely English form known now as semi-opera, Singspiele are the German equivalent, in contrast to imported form of Italian Opera.

Peter Holman introd., 'M. Locke, The Rare Theatrical (New York Public Library, Drexel MS 3976, Music for London Entertainment, series A, vol. 4' London: 1989.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Spoiler * Davenant's 1674 Macbeth

Locke, and his collaborators, music is well known, see the discussion of the production in the introduction to:…
Amanda Eubanks Winkler, 'Music For Macbeth' (recent Researches In The Music Of The Baroque Era B 133), A-R Editons, 2004

Apologies, I have a head cold and my mind shifted from Macbeth to the Tempest when typing the prior annotation.

Bradford  •  Link

Thomas Middleton, "the Globe company's resident dramatist," augmented the Witches' scenes and added Hecate after Shakespeare's retirement---the first in the string of adaptations (and an influence extending down to Verdi's "Macbetto"). No doubt something of what Pepys saw dates back to Middleton. See this fascinating article on "the weird sisters," complete with droll illustrations ("Yes, that's a dagger you see before you!"):…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"But can we do these alterations, sir? To Mr. Shakespeare's work?"

Hmmn...Pacing the stage...

What wud Will do?

Enter Ghost of Shakespeare...

"Did it keep most of my play's themes?"

"Well, more or less..."

"Did it increase box office on trial?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Then what the hell be thee thinking? Get on with it!"

"Lad, we'll keep the changes!"

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He tells me how Mr. Henry Howard, of Norfolke, hath given our Royal Society all his grandfather's library"

L&M: The gift of c. 4,000 books and 500 volumes of MSS was made at Evelyn's instigation, and included the whole library. apart from certain volumes on heraldry, which went to the College of Arms. The presentation took place on 2 January. The greater part had been bought by Howard's grandfather, the 2nd Earl of Arundel -- collector of the arIt wasundel marbles -- during his embassy to Vienna in 1636. It was transferred to Gresham College in 1678, and catalogued in 1681. Most of the MSS were disposed of to the British Museum in 1830; some 400 of the printed books were sold in 1925. Evelyn, iii. & n. 3 and the authories there cited; A. R. Wagner, Hist. heraldry of Brit., p. 32.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr Henry them accommodation to meet in at his house, Arundell House, they being now disturbed at Gresham College."

L&M: Since the Fire, the Society had met in Dr Walter Pope's lodgings at Gresham College, and had made several attempts to find other accommodation. It seems probable that these rooms were now commandeered by the city corporation, which had been meeting elsewhere in the college after being driven out of Guildhall by the Fire: Birch, ii. 113, 114, 128, 132, 138; C, R. Weld, Hist. Royal Soc. (1848), i. 194 n.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Macbeth....being the last play now I am to see till a fortnight hence, I being from the last night entered into my vowes for the year coming on. "

L&M: One was a vow not to visit theatres more than once a week:…

Hope  •  Link

I took Sam’s comment concerning MacBeth to mean that he found it entertaining in a pleasurably thrilling way, much as we might enjoy a modern literary thriller or a Hitchcock movie in spite of its tragic or appalling content. Also, there is enough action in Macbeth, even without music and a cameo appearance by Hecate, to keep an audience on the edge of its seat!

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