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Samuel Pepys is as much a paragon of literature as Chaucer and Shakespeare. His Diary is one of the principal sources for many aspects of the history of its period.
In spite of its significance, all previous editions were inadequately edited and suffered from a number of omissions—until Robert Latham and William Matthews went back to the 300-year-old original manuscript and deciphered each passage and phrase, no matter how obscure or indiscreet.
The Diary deals with some of the most dramatic events in English history. Pepys witnessed the London Fire, the Great Plague, the Restoration of Charles II, and the Dutch Wars. He was a patron of the arts, having himself composed many delightful songs and participated in the artistic life of London. His flair for gossip and detail reveals a portrait of the times that rivals the most swashbuckling and romantic historical novels.
In none of the earlier versions was there a reliable, full text, with commentary and notation with any claim to completeness. This edition, first published in 1970, is the first in which the entire diary is printed with systematic comment. This is the only complete edition available; it is as close to Pepys’s original as possible.
Samuel Pepys, a tailor's son who climbed up the ladder of the royal bureaucracy, wrote a shorthand account of his often raucous experiences of London between 1660 and 1669. Although only deciphered in 1825, it has subsequently become one of the crucial sources for the social life of the Restoration and the years encompassing the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Volumes I-XI is now available for the first time in an affordable paperback series compiled and annotated by the late Robert Latham and William Matthews.
Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain, but upon taking of cold. I lived in Axe Yard, having my wife, and servant Jane, and no more in family than us three. My wife . . . gave me hopes of her being with child, but on the last day of the year . . . [the hope was belied]. The condition of the State was thus; viz. the Rump, after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert, was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the Army all forced to yield. Lawson lies still in the river, and Monk is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert is not yet come into the Parliament, nor is it expected that he will without being forced to it. The new Common Council of the City do speak very high; and had sent to Monk their sword-bearer, to acquaint him with their desires for a free and full Parliament, which is at present the desires, and the hopes, and expectation of all. Twenty-two of the old secluded members having been at the House-door the last week to demand entrance, but it was denied them; and it is believed that [neither] they nor the people will be satisfied till the House be filled. My own private condition very handsome, and esteemed rich, but indeed very poor; besides my goods of my house, and my office, which at present is somewhat uncertain. Mr. Downing master of my office.
January 1st (Lord's day). This morning (we living lately in the garret,) I rose, put on my suit with great skirts, having not lately worn any other clothes but them. Went to Mr. Gunning's chapel at Exeter House, where he made a very good sermon upon these words:-"That in the fulness of time God sent his Son, made of awoman," &c.; showing, that, by "made under the law," is meant his circumcision, which is solemnized this day. Dined at home in the garret, where my wife dressed the remains of a turkey, and in the doing of it she burned her hand. I staid at home all the afternoon, looking over my accounts.
2nd. In the morning before I went forth old East brought me a dozen of bottles of sack, and I gave him a shilling for his pains. Then I went to Mr. Sheply, who was drawing of sack in the wine cellar to send to other places as a gift from my Lord, and told me that my Lord had given him order to give me the dozen of bottles. Thence I went to the Temple to speak with Mr. Calthropp about the £60 due to my Lord, but missed of him, he being abroad.
4th. Early came Mr. Vanly to me for his half-year's rent, which I had not in the house, but took his man to the office and there paid him. Then I went down into the Hall and to Will's, where Hawly brought a piece of his Cheshire cheese, and we were merry with it. Then into the Hall again, where I met with the Clerk and Quarter Master of my Lord's troop, and took them to the Swan and gave them their morning's draft, they being just come to town. I went to Will's again, where I found them still at cards, and Spicer had won 14s. of Shaw and Vines. Then I spent a little time with G. Vines and Maylard at Vines's at our viols. So home, and from thence to Mr. Hunt's, and sat with them and Mr. Hawly at cards till ten at night, and was much made of by them. Home and so to bed, but much troubled with my nose, which was much swelled.
5th. I went to my office. Then I went home, and after writing a letter to my Lord and told him the news that Monk and Fairfax were commanded up to town, and that the Prince's lodgings were to be provided for Monk at Whitehall. Then my wife and I, it being a great frost, went to Mrs. Jem's, in expectation to eat a sack-posset, but Mr. Edward not coming it was put off.
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