11 Annotations

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Cambridge History -- English Literature
"The Cambridge History of English and American Literature"
published from 1907 to 1921

Includes: Milton, Marvel, Thomas Browne, Thomas Fuller, Izaak Walton, criticism.

Includes: Dryden, Samuel Butler, satire, Restoration drama, court poets, memoir and letter writers (including Evelyn and Pepys), essays and early English prose.

Principle Dates in English Literature

Contents page for the entire series:

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Early 17th Century, 1603-1660
Part of the Luminarium website:

Covers poets, playwrights, authors -- extremely useful, but only for early 17th century literature (roughly to 1660).

This site has biographical sketches, texts, quotes, essays, suggested books and links to other websites.

Mark Ynys-Mon  •  Link

John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester appears in Pepys occasionally, usually on account of his uproarious behaviour and supposed "bad influence" on the King.

However Rochester was also one of the finest poets of the age, you can see more about him, and various of his poems, at my website:


language hat  •  Link

Ah, Mark, a fellow devotee! I'm delighted to see you have such a fine site for him... but why no "Ramble in St James's Park"? How can you omit this delightful poem, which begins:
"Much wine had passed with grave discourse
Of who fucks who and who does worse,
Such as you usually do hear
From them that diet at the Bear..."

There is a good Penguin complete edition; here's the Amazon link:

Hhomeboy  •  Link

Rochester's Charles II satire:

A Satyre on Charles II

(Rochester had to flee the court for several months after handing this to the King by mistake).

In th' isle of Britain, long since famous grown
For breeding the best cunts in Christendom,
There reigns, and oh! long may he reign and thrive,
The easiest King and best bred man alive.
Him no ambition moves to get reknown
Like the French fool, that wanders up and down
Starving his people, hazarding his crown.
Peace is his aim, his gentleness is such,
And love he loves, for he loves fucking much.
Nor are his high desires above his strength:
His scepter and his prick are of a length;
And she may sway the one who plays with th' other,
And make him little wiser than his brother.
Poor Prince! thy prick, like thy buffoons at court,
Will govern thee because it makes thee sport.
'Tis sure the sauciest prick that e'er did swive,
The proudest, peremptoriest prick alive.
Though safety, law, religion, life lay on't,
'Twould break through all to make its way to cunt.
Restless he rolls about from whore to whore,
A merry monarch, scandalous and poor.
To Carwell, the most dear of all his dears,
The best relief of his declining years,
Oft he bewails his fortune, and her fate:
To love so well, and be beloved so late.
Yet his dull, graceless bollocks hang an arse.
This you'd believe, had I but time to tell ye
The pains it costs to poor, laborious Nelly,
Whilst she employs hands, fingers, mouth, and thighs,
Ere she can raise the member she enjoys.
All monarchs I hate, and the thrones they sit on,
From the hector of France to the cully of Britain.

Grahamt  •  Link

Slightly OT:
Can I suggest that anyone that is enjoying Pepys should read Jonathan Swift's (unexpurgated) "Gulliver's Travels" It was written about 60 years later but uses much of the same vocabulary. The footnotes to my edition (1967 Penguin) give some backgound to the post-restoration shenanigans and provide continuity. After all, Gulliver was a sailor in the Navy that Pepys helped to build.

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

R.L. Stevenson: Essay on Samuel Pepys

In response to Glyn Thomas' request (E--mail to the group), for a link to an essay by RLS, in which he gives some reasons for believing that SP may well have expected his diary to be read, if not published, I think this might be it:

Paul Miller  •  Link

Bacon's essay on fortune that Pepys reads over and again in the diaries.

It cannot be denied, but outward accidents conduce much to fortune; favor, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue. But chiefly, the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands. Faber quisque fortunae suae, saith the poet. And the most frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one man, is the fortune of another. For no man prospers so suddenly, as by others' errors. Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco. Overt and apparent virtues, bring forth praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues, that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no name. The Spanish name, desemboltura, partly expresseth them; when there be not stonds nor restiveness in a man's nature; but that the wheels of his mind, keep way with the wheels of his fortune. For so Livy (after he had described Cato Major in these words, In illo viro tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus videretur) falleth upon that, that he had versatile ingenium. Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune: for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of fortune, is like the Milken Way in the sky; which is a meeting or knot of a number of small stars; not seen asunder, but giving light together. So are there a number of little, and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate. The Italians note some of them, such as a man would little think. When they speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in, into his other conditions, that he hath Poco di matto. And certainly there be not two more fortunate properties, than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest. Therefore extreme lovers of their country or masters, were never fortunate, neither can they be. For when a man placeth his thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own way. An hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover (the French hath it better, entreprenant, or remuant); but the exercised fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be honored and respected, and it be but for her daughters, Confidence and Reputation. For those two, Felicity breedeth; the first within a man's self, the latter in others towards him. All wise men, to decline the envy of their own virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for so they may the better assume them: and, besides, it is greatness in a man, to be the care of the higher powers. So Caesar said to the pilot in the tempest, Caesarem portas, et fortunam ejus. So Sylla chose the name of Felix, and not of Magnus. And it hath been noted, that those who ascribe openly too much to their own wisdom and policy, end infortunate. It is written that Timotheus the Athenian, after he had, in the account he gave to the state of his government, often interlaced this speech, and in this, Fortune had no part, never prospered in anything, he undertook afterwards. Certainly there be, whose fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a slide and easiness more than the verses of other poets; as Plutarch saith of Timoleon's fortune, in respect of that of Agesilaus or Epaminondas. And that this should be, no doubt it is much, in a man's self.

Glyn  •  Link


"Samuel Pepys's library of 3,000 volumes arranged by size, from No.1 (smallest) to 3,000 (largest), is at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Pepys was also a collector of ephemera, amassing many scarce posters, broadsheets, pamphlets, and chapbooks. These cards, which depict events of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, form part of his ephemera collection.”


Playing Cards (facsimile) from the Library of Samuel Pepys. 1972. Stk GV 1201 CU58.

He was one of the first people to be curious about ephemera such as this and to collect them seriously, probably being laughed at for it by his friends. And considering that he was imprisoned for several months after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, I’m impressed that he was dispassionate enough to collect a set of playing cards that celebrated the event.

vicente  •  Link

ephemera: printed matter(as theatre tickets etc.),meant to be used for only a short time but preserved by collectors. Thanks for expanding my grey cells.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys must have been familiar with this quote, and obviously agreed with it. When he stops playing and singing, he always seemed more sad:

"Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.” (Plato).

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.