Friday 16 August 1667

Up, and at the office all the morning, and so at noon to dinner, and after dinner my wife and I to the Duke’s playhouse, where we saw the new play acted yesterday, “The Feign Innocence, or Sir Martin Marr-all;” a play made by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but, as every body says, corrected by Dryden. It is the most entire piece of mirth, a complete farce from one end to the other, that certainly was ever writ. I never laughed so in all my life. I laughed till my head [ached] all the evening and night with the laughing; and at very good wit therein, not fooling. The house full, and in all things of mighty content to me. Thence to the New Exchange with my wife, where, at my bookseller’s, I saw “The History of the Royall Society,” which, I believe, is a fine book, and have bespoke one in quires. So home, and I to the office a little, and so to my chamber, and read the history of 88 —[See 10th of this month.]— in Speede, in order to my seeing the play thereof acted to-morrow at the King’s house. So to supper in some pain by the sudden change of the weather cold and my drinking of cold drink, which I must I fear begin to leave off, though I shall try it as long as I can without much pain. But I find myself to be full of wind, and my anus to be knit together as it is always with cold. Every body wonders that we have no news from Bredah of the ratification of the peace; and do suspect that there is some stop in it. So to bed.

10 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...Somehow it always seems more plausible that a brilliant writer ghosts for an aristocrat or other ranking figure than the idea only an aristocrat could have written, say, Shakespeare's work. Given some of the aristocrats we're meeting in Sam's time, and Sam himself as an example of what a well-educated man of the middle class (before his happy elevation# could achieve in literature, I'd say Will's position in literature is secure.

I'll now forever be picturing Dryden with the dream writing crew #Mel, Woody, Sid, etc) of "Your Show of Shows" in the 50s. He'd've probably had them howling at that, once he got the references down.

"Sid, we got this new kid, Dryden...Good writer...Well...A poet."

"Poet? What are you doin' to me, here?!" frantic wring of hands.

"Yeah, but he can tell a joke that had Mel coughing milk out his nose."

Bryan M  •  Link

5 plays in 5 days and still more to come! Plus the trip to Barnett on Sunday. And no guilt or fear of being caught slacking. Is this a case of "Oh well, we lost the war, may as well have a bit of fun before the commonwealth returns"?

"and my anus to be knit together as it is always with cold". Hmmm, sounds uncomfortable. Now I know why I like living in the sub-tropics.

Ruben  •  Link

" I saw “The History of the Royall Society,” which, I believe, is a fine book, and have bespoke one in quires"
I also looked for it and found at:…

Page 35:
"The third sort of NEW PHILOSOPHERS, have been those, who have not onely disagreed from the ANCIENTS, but also proposed to themselves the right course of...EXPERIMENTING: and have prosecuted it as far, as the shortness of their own Lives, or the multiplicity of their other affairs, or the narrowness of their Fortunes, have given them leave."...And of these, I shall onely mention one great Man,...and that is, the LORD BACON."
Well said!
Of course, today we would have named Newton first, but this History was written before Gravity and the rest.

language hat  •  Link

I presume Pepys's copy didn't have those damned line numbers bespattering the page. But thanks for the link!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ruben, Sir Francis Bacon, provided the philosophical justification for the experimental method as such, and therefore for the new kind of account of nature being provided by the members of te Royal Society, including most notably Boyle and Newton (who had not yet joined the band).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

I gave Newton premature credit. He's not yet a FRS and won't be one until 11/01/1672. He's still a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Francis Bacon 1620

"Those who have taken upon them to lay down the law of nature as a thing already searched out and understood, whether they have spoken in simple
assurance or professional affectation, have therein done philosophy and the sciences great injury. For as they have been successful in inducing belief, so they have been effective in quenching and stopping inquiry; and have done more harm by spoiling and putting an end to other men's efforts than good by their own."

A great and fascinating man, though like Sam, his ambition and lust for life constantly conflicted with his impulses toward lofty goals. Nice biography by Catherine Drinker Bowen, "The Temper of a Man".

Mary  •  Link

Bacon's Novum Organon

is thoroughly to be recommended, as is his "New Atlantis" and the collected essays. As Sam has been discovering, "all rising to great place is by a winding stair."

Ruben  •  Link

Thomas Kuhn definition of Paradigm was "universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners"..."The study of paradigms, what mainly prepares the student for membership in the particular scientific community with which he will later practice." "Men whose research is based on shared paradigms are committed to the same rules and standards for scientific practice...for the genesis...of a particular research tradition".

It was Bacon's revolutionary new paradigm that made possible a new step: Newton. But the History book was written very early, before Newton's contribution. That was my point.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"after dinner my wife and I to the Duke’s playhouse, where we saw the new play acted yesterday, “The Feign Innocence, or Sir Martin Marr-all;” a play made by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but, as every body says, corrected by Dryden."

L&M : Sir Martin Mar-all, or The Feign'd Innocence is an English Restoration comedy, first performed on 15 August 1667. Written by John Dryden and based on a translation of L'Étourdi by Molière. According to Downes (p. 28), Harris played Warner; Smith, Sir John Swallow; Mrs Norris, Lady Dupe; Mrs Davis, Mrs Millicent. it was one of Dryden's earliest comedies, and also one of the greatest theatrical successes of his career.

The play's 1666 entry into the Stationers' Register assigned it to William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle. John Downes, in his Roscius Anglicanus (1708), maintained that Newcastle executed "a bare translation" of Molière's play, which was revised and adapted by Dryden. The play was first published in quarto in 1668, in an anonymous volume, which was re-issued in 1678; a third edition in 1691 carried Dryden's name, and the play was included in the 1695 edition of Dryden's collected works.

The initial production of the play was a huge success; it ran for thirty-two performances and was acted four times at Court. Samuel Pepys saw the play seven times, and called it "the most entire piece of mirth...that certainly was ever writ." According to Downes, the play made "more money than any preceding comedy" at the Duke of York's Theatre. A comedy favorite, it was occasionally acted until 1728. Sir Martin Mar-all was referenced by other poets for the foolishness of the title character, who, in order to impress his mistress Millicent, mimes playing a lute and lip-syncs while another character makes music from within. Of course, he continues lip-syncing and strumming his quiet lute after the true player ceases to make any sounds and exposes himself as a fraud. For evidence of a comic detail added to the plot by Dryden, see…

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