The Indian Queen is in Jacobean and Restoration Plays.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 27 January 1664. 27 Jan 1664. Up and to the office, and at noon to the Coffeehouse, where I sat with Sir G. Ascue (48)1 and Sir William Petty (40), who in discourse is, methinks, one of the most rational men that ever I heard speak with a tongue, having all his notions the most distinct and clear, and, among other things (saying, that in all his life these three books were the most esteemed and generally cried up for wit in the world "Religio Medici", "Osborne's Advice to a Son2", and "Hudibras"), did say that in these—in the two first principally—the wit lies, and confirming some pretty sayings, which are generally like paradoxes, by some argument smartly and pleasantly urged, which takes with people who do not trouble themselves to examine the force of an argument, which pleases them in the delivery, upon a subject which they like; whereas, as by many particular instances of mine, and others, out of Osborne, he did really find fault and weaken the strength of many of Osborne's arguments, so as that in downright disputation they would not bear weight; at least, so far, but that they might be weakened, and better found in their rooms to confirm what is there said. He shewed finely whence it happens that good writers are not admired by the present age; because there are but few in any age that do mind anything that is abstruse and curious; and so longer before any body do put the true praise, and set it on foot in the world, the generality of mankind pleasing themselves in the easy delights of the world, as eating, drinking, dancing, hunting, fencing, which we see the meanest men do the best, those that profess it. A gentleman never dances so well as the dancing master, and an ordinary fiddler makes better musique for a shilling than a gentleman will do after spending forty, and so in all the delights of the world almost.
Thence to the 'Change, and after doing much business, home, taking Commissioner Pett (53) with me, and all alone dined together. He told me many stories of the yard, but I do know him so well, and had his character given me this morning by Hempson, as well as my own too of him before, that I shall know how to value any thing he says either of friendship or other business. He was mighty serious with me in discourse about the consequence of Sir W. Petty's (40) boat, as the most dangerous thing in the world, if it should be practised by endangering our losse of the command of the seas and our trade, while the Turkes and others shall get the use of them, which, without doubt, by bearing more sayle will go faster than any other ships, and, not being of burden, our merchants cannot have the use of them and so will be at the mercy of their enemies. So that I perceive he is afeard that the honour of his trade will down, though (which is a truth) he pretends this consideration to hinder the growth of this invention.
He being gone my wife and I took coach and to Covent Garden, to buy a maske at the French House, Madame Charett's, for my wife; in the way observing the streete full of coaches at the new play, "The Indian Queene" which for show, they say, exceeds "Henry the Eighth".
Thence back to Mrs. Turner's (41) and sat a while with them talking of plays and I know not what, and so called to see Tom, but not at home, though they say he is in a deep consumption, and Mrs. Turner (41) and Dike and they say he will not live two months to an end.
So home and to the office, and then to supper and to bed.
Note 1. Sir George Ayscue or Askew (48). After his return from his imprisonment he declined to go to sea again, although he was twice afterwards formally appointed. He sat on the court-martial on the loss of the "Defiance" in 1668.
Note 2. Francis Osborne, an English writer of considerable abilities and popularity, was the author of "Advice to a Son", in two parts, Oxford, 1656-8, 8vo. He died in 1659. He is the same person mentioned as "My Father Osborne", October 19th, 1661. B.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 01 February 1664. 01 Feb 1664. Up (my maids rising early this morning to washing), and being ready I found Mr. Strutt the purser below with 12 bottles of sacke, and tells me (which from Sir W. Batten (63) I had heard before) how young Jack Davis has railed against Sir W. Batten (63) for his endeavouring to turn him out of his place, at which for the fellow's sake, because it will likely prove his ruin, I am sorry, though I do believe he is a very arch rogue.
I took Strutt by coach with me to White Hall, where I set him down, and I to my Lord's, but found him gone out betimes to the Wardrobe, which I am glad to see that he so attends his business, though it troubles me that my counsel to my prejudice must be the cause of it. They tell me that he goes into the country next week, and that the young ladies come up this week before the old lady.
Here I hear how two men last night, justling for the wall about the New Exchange, did kill one another, each thrusting the other through; one of them of the King's Chappell, one Cave, and the other a retayner of my Lord Generall Middleton's (56).
Thence to White Hall; where, in the Duke's chamber, the King (33) came and stayed an hour or two laughing at Sir W. Petty (40), who was there about his boat; and at Gresham College in general; at which poor Petty was, I perceive, at some loss; but did argue discreetly, and bear the unreasonable follies of the King's objections and other bystanders with great discretion; and offered to take oddes against the King's best boates; but the King (33) would not lay, but cried him down with words only. Gresham College he mightily laughed at, for spending time only in weighing of ayre, and doing nothing else since they sat.
Thence to Westminster Hall, and there met with diverse people, it being terme time. Among others I spoke with Mrs. Lane, of whom I doubted to hear something of the effects of our last meeting about a fortnight or three weeks ago, but to my content did not. Here I met with Mr. Pierce, who tells me of several passages at Court, among others how the King (33), coming the other day to his Theatre to see "The Indian Queen" (which he commends for a very fine thing), my Baroness Castlemaine (23) was in the next box before he came; and leaning over other ladies awhile to whisper to the King (33), she rose out of the box and went into the King's, and set herself on the King's right hand, between the King (33) and the Duke of York (30); which, he swears, put the King (33) himself, as well as every body else, out of countenance; and believes that she did it only to show the world that she is not out of favour yet, as was believed.
Thence with Alderman Maynell by his coach to the 'Change, and there with several people busy, and so home to dinner, and took my wife out immediately to the King's Theatre, it being a new month, and once a month I may go, and there saw "The Indian Queen" acted; which indeed is a most pleasant show, and beyond my expectation; the play good, but spoiled with the ryme, which breaks the sense. But above my expectation most, the eldest Marshall did do her part most excellently well as I ever heard woman in my life; but her voice not so sweet as Ianthe's (27); but, however, we came home mightily contented. Here we met Mr. Pickering (46) and his mistress, Mrs. Doll Wilde; he tells me that the business runs high between the Chancellor (54) and my Lord Bristoll (51) against the Parliament; and that my Lord Lauderdale (47) and Cooper (42) open high against the Chancellor (54); which I am sorry for.
In my way home I 'light and to the Coffee-house, where I heard Lt. Coll. Baron tell very good stories of his travels over the high hills in Asia above the clouds, how clear the heaven is above them, how thicke like a mist the way is through the cloud that wets like a sponge one's clothes, the ground above the clouds all dry and parched, nothing in the world growing, it being only a dry earth, yet not so hot above as below the clouds. The stars at night most delicate bright and a fine clear blue sky, but cannot see the earth at any time through the clouds, but the clouds look like a world below you.
Thence home and to supper, being hungry, and so to the office, did business, specially about Creed, for whom I am now pretty well fitted, and so home to bed. This day in Westminster Hall W. Bowyer told me that his father is dead lately, and died by being drowned in the river, coming over in the night; but he says he had not been drinking. He was taken with his stick in his hand and cloake over his shoulder, as ruddy as before he died. His horse was taken overnight in the water, hampered in the bridle, but they were so silly as not to look for his master till the next morning, that he was found drowned.
John Evelyn's Diary 05 February 1664. 05 Feb 1664. I saw "The Indian Queen" acted, a tragedy well written, so beautiful with rich scenes as the like had never been seen here, or haply (except rarely) elsewhere on a mercenary theater.