The Siege of Rhodes is in Jacobean and Restoration Plays.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 03 January 1661. 03 Jan 1661. Early in the morning to the Exchequer, where I told over what money I had of my Lord's and my own there, which I found to be £970. Thence to Will's, where Spicer and I eat our dinner of a roasted leg of pork which Will did give us, and after that to the Theatre, where was acted "Beggars Bush", it being very well done; and here the first time that ever I saw women come upon the stage1. From thence to my father's, where I found my mother gone by Bird, the carrier, to Brampton, upon my uncle's great desire, my aunt being now in despair of life. So home.
1. Downes does not give the cast of this play. After the Restoration the acting of female characters by women became common. The first English professional actress was Mrs. Coleman, who acted Ianthe in Davenant's (55) "Siege of Rhodes", at Rutland House in 1656.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 July 1661. 02 Jul 1661. Home, and after my singing master had done, took coach and went to Sir William Davenant's (55) Opera; this being the fourth day that it hath begun, and the first that I have seen it. To-day was acted the second part of "The Siege of Rhodes". We staid a very great while for the King and the Queen of Bohemia (64). And by the breaking of a board over our heads, we had a great deal of dust fell into the ladies' necks and the men's hair, which made good sport. The King being come, the scene opened; which indeed is very fine and magnificent, and well acted, all but the Eunuch, who was so much out that he was hissed off the stage. Home and wrote letters to my Lord at sea, and so to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 15 November 1661. 15 Nov 1661. So to the Opera, where I met my wife and Captain Ferrers and Madamoiselle Le Blanc, and there did see the second part of "The Siege of Rhodes" very well done; and so by coach set her home, and the coach driving down the hill through Thames Street, which I think never any coach did before from that place to the bridge-foot, but going up Fish Street Hill his horses were so tired, that they could not be got to go up the hill, though all the street boys and men did beat and whip them. At last I was fain to send my boy for a link, and so light out of the coach till we got to another at the corner of Fenchurch Street, and so home, and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 20 May 1662. 20 May 1662. Sir W. Pen (41) and I did a little business at the office, and so home again. Then comes Dean Fuller (54) after we had dined, but I got something for him, and very merry we were for an hour or two, and I am most pleased with his company and goodness. At last parted, and my wife and I by coach to the Opera, and there saw the 2nd part of "The Siege of Rhodes", but it is not so well done as when Roxalana (20) was there, who, it is said, is now owned by my Lord of Oxford (35)1.
Thence to Tower-wharf, and there took boat, and we all walked to Halfeway House, and there eat and drank, and were pleasant, and so finally home again in the evening, end so good night, this being a very pleasant life that we now lead, and have long done; the Lord be blessed, and make us thankful. But, though I am much against too much spending, yet I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty, when we cannot have them so properly.
1. For note on Mrs. Davenport, who was deceived by a pretended marriage with the Earl of Oxford (35), see ante. Lord Oxford's first wife (25) died in 1659. He married, in 1672, his second wife, Diana Kirke, of whom nothing more need be said than that she bore an inappropriate Christian name.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 27 December 1662. 27 Dec 1662. Up, and while I am dressing I sent for my boy's brother, William, that lives in town here as a groom, to whom and their sister Jane I told my resolution to keep the boy no longer. So upon the whole they desire to have him stay a week longer, and then he shall go.
So to the office, and there Mr. Coventry (34) and I sat till noon, and then I stept to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, and after dinner with my wife to the Duke's Theatre, and saw the second part of "Rhodes", done with the new Roxalana (20); which do it rather better in all respects for person, voice, and judgment, then the first Roxalana (20).
Home with great content with my wife, not so well pleased with the company at the house to-day, which was full of citizens, there hardly being a gentleman or woman in the house; a couple of pretty ladies by us that made sport in it, being jostled and crowded by prentices.
So home, and I to my study making up my monthly accounts, which is now fallen again to £630 or thereabouts, which not long since was £680, at which I am sorry, but I trust in God I shall get it up again, and in the meantime will live sparingly.
So home to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 22 September 1664. 23 Sep 1664. My cold and pain in my head increasing, and the palate of my mouth falling, I was in great pain all night. My wife also was not well, so that a mayd was fain to sit up by her all night. Lay long in the morning, at last up, and amongst others comes Mr. Fuller (56), that was the wit of Cambridge, and Praevaricator1 in my time, and staid all the morning with me discoursing, and his business to get a man discharged, which I did do for him.
Dined with little heart at noon, in the afternoon against my will to the office, where Sir G. Carteret (54) and we met about an order of the Council for the hiring him a house, giving him £1000 fine, and £70 per annum for it. Here Sir J. Minnes (65) took occasion, in the most childish and most unbeseeming manner, to reproach us all, but most himself, that he was not valued as Comptroller (65) among us, nor did anything but only set his hand to paper, which is but too true; and every body had a palace, and he no house to lie in, and wished he had but as much to build him a house with, as we have laid out in carved worke. It was to no end to oppose, but all bore it, and after laughed at him for it.
So home, and late reading "The Siege of Rhodes" to my wife, and then to bed, my head being in great pain and my palate still down.
1. At the Commencement (Comitia Majora) in July, the Praevaricator, or Varier, held a similar position to the Tripos at the Comitia Minora. He was so named from varying the question which he proposed, either by a play upon the words or by the transposition of the terms in which it was expressed. Under the pretence of maintaining some philosophical question, he poured out a medley of absurd jokes and 'personal ridicule, which gradually led to the abolition of the office. In Thoresby's "Diary" we read, "Tuesday, July 6th. The Praevaricator's speech was smart and ingenious, attended with vollies of hurras" (see Wordsworth's "University Life in the Eighteenth Century ").—M. B.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 01 October 1665. 01 Oct 1665. Lord's Day. Called up about 4 of the clock and so dressed myself and so on board the Bezan, and there finding all my company asleep I would not wake them, but it beginning to be break of day I did stay upon the decke walking, and then into the Maister's cabbin and there laid and slept a little, and so at last was waked by Captain Cocke's (48) calling of me, and so I turned out, and then to chat and talk and laugh, and mighty merry. We spent most of the morning talking and reading of "The Siege of Rhodes", which is certainly (the more I read it the more I think so) the best poem that ever was wrote. We breakfasted betimes and come to the fleete about two of the clock in the afternoon, having a fine day and a fine winde. My Lord received us mighty kindly, and after discourse with us in general left us to our business, and he to his officers, having called a council of wary, we in the meantime settling of papers with Mr. Pierce and everybody else, and by and by with Captain Cuttance.
Anon called down to my Lord, and there with him till supper talking and discourse; among other things, to my great joy, he did assure me that he had wrote to the King (35) and Duke (31) about these prize-goods, and told me that they did approve of what he had done, and that he would owne what he had done, and would have me to tell all the world so, and did, under his hand, give Cocke (48) and me his certificate of our bargains, and giving us full power of disposal of what we have so bought. This do ease my mind of all my fear, and makes my heart lighter by £100 than it was before. He did discourse to us of the Dutch fleete being abroad, eighty-five of them still, and are now at the Texell, he believes, in expectation of our Eastland ships coming home with masts and hempe, and our loaden Hambrough ships going to Hambrough. He discoursed against them that would have us yield to no conditions but conquest over the Dutch, and seems to believe that the Dutch will call for the protection of the King of France (27) and come under his power, which were to be wished they might be brought to do under ours by fair means, and to that end would have all Dutch men and familys, that would come hither and settled, to be declared denizens; and my Lord did whisper to me alone that things here must break in pieces, nobody minding any thing, but every man his owne business of profit or pleasure, and the King (35) some little designs of his owne, and that certainly the Kingdom could not stand in this condition long, which I fear and believe is very true.
So to supper and there my Lord the kindest man to me, before all the table talking of me to my advantage and with tenderness too that it overjoyed me.
So after supper Captain Cocke (48) and I and Temple on board the Bezan, and there to cards for a while and then to read again in "Rhodes" and so to sleep. But, Lord! the mirth which it caused me to be waked in the night by their snoaring round about me; I did laugh till I was ready to burst, and waked one of the two companions of Temple, who could not a good while tell where he was that he heard one laugh so, till he recollected himself, and I told him what it was at, and so to sleep again, they still snoaring.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 05 August 1666. 05 Aug 1666. Lord's Day. Up, and down to the Old Swan, and there called Betty Michell and her husband, and had two or three a long salutes from her out of sight of 'su mari' [Note. her husband], which pleased me mightily, and so carried them by water to West minster, and I to St. James's, and there had a meeting before the Duke of Yorke (32), complaining of want of money, but nothing done to any purpose, for want we shall, so that now our advices to him signify nothing. Here Sir W. Coventry (38) did acquaint the Duke of Yorke (32) how the world do discourse of the ill method of our books, and that we would consider how to answer any enquiry which shall be made after our practice therein, which will I think concern the Controller most, but I shall make it a memento to myself.
Thence walked to the Parish Church to have one look upon Betty Michell, and so away homeward by water, and landed to go to the church, where, I believe, Mrs. Horsely goes, by Merchant-tailors' Hall, and there I find in the pulpit Elborough, my old schoolfellow and a simple rogue, and yet I find him preaching a very good sermon, and in as right a parson-like manner, and in good manner too, as I have heard any body; and the church very full, which is a surprising consideration; but I did not see her.
So home, and had a good dinner, and after dinner with my wife, and Mercer, and Jane by water, all the afternoon up as high as Morclaeke with great pleasure, and a fine day, reading over the second part of "The Siege of Rhodes", with great delight. We landed and walked at Barne-elmes, and then at the Neat Houses I landed and bought a millon, [melon] and we did also land and eat and drink at Wandsworth, and so to the Old Swan, and thence walked home. It being a mighty fine cool evening, and there being come, my wife and I spent an houre in the garden, talking of our living in the country, when I shall be turned out of the office, as I fear the Parliament may find faults enough with the office to remove us all, and I am joyed to think in how good a condition I am to retire thither, and have wherewith very well to subsist. Nan, at Sir W. Pen's (45), lately married to one Markeham, a kinsman of Sir W. Pen's (45), a pretty wench she is.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 22 January 1667. 22 Jan 1667. Up, and there come to me Darnell the fiddler, one of the Duke's house, and brought me a set of lessons, all three parts, I heard them play to the Duke of York (33) after Christmas at his lodgings, and bid him get me them. I did give him a crowne for them, and did enquire after the musique of "The Siege of Rhodes", which, he tells me, he can get me, which I am mighty glad of.
So to the office, where among other things I read the Councill's order about my Lord Bruncker (47) and Sir W. Pen (45) to be assistants to the Comptroller, which quietly went down with Sir J. Minnes (67), poor man, seeming a little as if he would be thought to have desired it, but yet apparently to his discontent; and, I fear, as the order runs, it will hardly do much good.
At noon to dinner, and there comes a letter from Mrs. Pierce, telling me she will come and dine with us on Thursday next, with some of the players, Knipp, &c., which I was glad of, but my wife vexed, which vexed me; but I seemed merry, but know not how to order the matter, whether they shall come or no.
After dinner to the office, and there late doing much business, and so home to supper, and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 13 February 1667. 13 Feb 1667. Up, and by water to White Hall, where to the Duke of York (33), and there did our usual business; but troubled to see that, at this time, after our declaring a debt to the Parliament of £900,000, and nothing paid since, but the debt increased, and now the fleete to set out; to hear that the King (36) hath ordered but £35,000 for the setting out of the fleete, out of the Poll Bill, to buy all provisions, when five times as much had been little enough to have done any thing to purpose. They have, indeed, ordered more for paying off of seamen and the Yards to some time, but not enough for that neither.
Another thing is, the acquainting the Duke of York (33) with the case of Mr. Lanyon, our agent at Plymouth, who has trusted us to £8000 out of purse; we are not in condition, after so many promises, to obtain him a farthing, nor though a message was carried by Sir G. Carteret (57) and Sir W. Coventry (39) to the Commissioners for Prizes, that he might have £3000 out of £20,000 worth of prizes to be shortly sold there, that he might buy at the candle and pay for the goods out of bills, and all would [not] do any thing, but that money must go all another way, while the King's service is undone, and those that trust him perish. These things grieve me to the heart.
The Prince (47), I hear, is every day better and better. So away by water home, stopping at Michell's, where Mrs. Martin was, and I there drank with them and whispered with Betty, who tells me all is well, but was prevented in something she would have said, her 'marido venant' just then, a news which did trouble me, and so drank and parted and home, and there took up my wife by coach, and to Mrs. Pierce's, there to take her up, and with them to Dr. Clerke's, by invitation, where we have not been a great while, nor had any mind to go now, but that the Dr., whom I love, would have us choose a day. Here was his wife, painted, and her sister Worshipp, a widow now and mighty pretty in her mourning. Here was also Mr. Pierce and Mr. Floyd, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of Prizes, and Captain Cooke (51), to dinner, an ill and little mean one, with foul cloth and dishes, and everything poor. Discoursed most about plays and the Opera, where, among other vanities, Captain Cooke (51) had the arrogance to say that he was fain to direct Sir W. Davenant (61) in the breaking of his verses into such and such lengths, according as would be fit for musick, and how he used to swear at Davenant (61), and command him that way, when W. Davenant (61) would be angry, and find fault with this or that note—but a vain coxcomb I perceive he is, though he sings and composes so well. But what I wondered at, Dr. Clerke did say that Sir W. Davenant (61) is no good judge of a dramatick poem, finding fault with his choice of Henry the 5th, and others, for the stage, when I do think, and he confesses, "The Siege of Rhodes" as good as ever was writ.
After dinner Captain Cooke (51) and two of his boys to sing, but it was indeed both in performance and composition most plainly below what I heard last night, which I could not have believed. Besides overlooking the words which he sung, I find them not at all humoured as they ought to be, and as I believed he had done all he had sett. Though he himself do indeed sing in a manner as to voice and manner the best I ever heard yet, and a strange mastery he hath in making of extraordinary surprising closes, that are mighty pretty, but his bragging that he do understand tones and sounds as well as any man in the world, and better than Sir W. Davenant (61) or any body else, I do not like by no means, but was sick of it and of him for it. He gone, Dr. Clerke fell to reading a new play, newly writ, of a friend's of his; but, by his discourse and confession afterwards, it was his own. Some things, but very few, moderately good; but infinitely far from the conceit, wit, design, and language of very many plays that I know; so that, but for compliment, I was quite tired with hearing it. It being done, and commending the play, but against my judgment, only the prologue magnifying the happiness of our former poets when such sorry things did please the world as was then acted, was very good.
So set Mrs. Pierce at home, and away ourselves home, and there to my office, and then my chamber till my eyes were sore at writing and making ready my letter and accounts for the Commissioners of Tangier to-morrow, which being done, to bed, hearing that there was a very great disorder this day at the Ticket Office, to the beating and bruising of the face of Carcasse very much. A foul evening this was to-night, and I mightily troubled to get a coach home; and, which is now my common practice, going over the ruins in the night, I rid with my sword drawn in the coach.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 21 May 1667. 21 May 1667. Up and to the office, where sat all the morning. At noon dined at home with my wife and find a new girle, a good big girle come to us, got by Payne to be our girle; and his daughter Nell we make our cook. This wench's name is Mary, and seems a good likely maid.
After dinner I with Mr. Commander and Mr. Hide's brother to Lincolne's Inne Fields, and there viewed several coach-houses, and satisfied ourselves now fully in it, and then there parted, leaving the rest to future discourse between us.
Thence I home; but, Lord! how it went against my heart to go away from the very door of the Duke's play-house, and my Baroness Castlemayne's (26) coach, and many great coaches there, to see "The Siege of Rhodes". I was very near making a forfeit, but I did command myself, and so home to my office, and there did much business to my good content, much better than going to a play, and then home to my wife, who is not well with her cold, and sat and read a piece of Grand Cyrus in English by her, and then to my chamber and to supper, and so to bed.
This morning the Captain come from Holland did tell us at the board what I have said he reported yesterday. This evening after I come from the office Mrs. Turner (44) come to see my wife and me, and sit and talk with us, and so, my wife not being well and going to bed, Mrs. Turner (44) and I sat up till 12 at night talking alone in my chamber, and most of our discourse was of our neighbours. As to my Lord Bruncker (47), she says how Mrs. Griffin, our housekeeper's wife, hath it from his maid, that comes to her house often, that they are very poor; that the other day Mrs. Williams was fain to send a jewell to pawn; that their maid hath said herself that she hath got £50 since she come thither, and £17 by the payment of one bill; that they have a most lewd and nasty family here in the office, but Mrs. Turner (44) do tell me that my Lord hath put the King (36) to infinite charge since his coming thither in alterations, and particularly that Mr. Harper at Deptford did himself tell her that my Lord hath had of Foly, the ironmonger, £50 worth in locks and keys for his house, and that it is from the fineness of them, having some of £4 and £5 a lock, such as is in the Duke's closet; that he hath several of these; that he do keep many of her things from her of her own goods, and would have her bring a bill into the office for them; that Mrs. Griffin do say that he do not keep Mrs. Williams now for love, but need, he having another whore that he keeps in Covent Garden; that they do owe money everywhere almost for every thing, even Mrs. Shipman for her butter and cheese about £3, and after many demands cannot get it.
Mrs. Turner (44) says she do believe their coming here is only out of a belief of getting purchase by it, and that their servants (which was wittily said of her touching his clerks) do act only as privateers, no purchase, no pay. And in my conscience she is in the right. Then we fell to talk of Sir W. Pen (46), and his family and rise. She [Mrs. Turner (44)] says that he was a pityfull [fellow] when she first knew them; that his lady (43) was one of the sourest, dirty women, that ever she saw; that they took two chambers, one over another, for themselves and child, in Tower Hill; that for many years together they eat more meals at her house than at their own; did call brothers and sisters the husbands and wives; that her husband was godfather to one, and she godmother to another (this Margaret) of their children, by the same token that she was fain to write with her own hand a letter to Captain Twiddy, to stand for a godfather for her; that she brought my Lady, who then was a dirty slattern, with her stockings hanging about her heels, so that afterwards the people of the whole Hill did say that Mrs. Turner (44) had made Mrs. Pen (43) a gentlewoman, first to the knowledge of my Lady Vane (50), Sir Henry's (54) lady, and him to the knowledge of most of the great people that then he sought to, and that in short his rise hath been his giving of large bribes, wherein, and she agrees with my opinion and knowledge before therein, he is very profuse. This made him General; this got him out of the Tower when he was in; and hath brought him into what he is now, since the King's coming in: that long ago, indeed, he would drink the King's health privately with Mr. Turner; but that when he saw it fit to turn Roundhead, and was offered by Mr. Turner to drink the King's health, he answered "No"; he was changed, and now, he that would make him drink the King's health, or any health but the Protector's and the State's, or to that purpose, he would be the first man should sheath his sword in his guts. That at the King's coming in, he did send for her husband, and told him what a great man Sir W. Coventry (39) was like to be, and that he having all the records in his hands of the Navy, if he would transcribe what was of most present use of the practice of the Navy, and give them him to give Sir W. Coventry (39) from him, it would undoubtedly do his business of getting him a principal officer's place; that her husband was at £5 charge to get these presently writ; that Sir W. Pen (46) did give them Sir W. Coventry (39) as from himself, which did set him up with W. Coventry (39), and made him what he is, and never owned any thing of Mr. Turner in them; by which he left him in the lurch, though he did promise the Duke of Albemarle (58) to do all that was possible, and made no question of Mr. Turner's being what he desired; and when afterwards, too, did propose to him the getting of the Purveyor's place for him, he did tell Mr. Turner it was necessary to present Sir W. Coventry (39) 100 pieces, which he did, and W. Coventry took 80 of them: so that he was W. Coventry's mere broker, as Sir W. Batten (66) and my Lady did once tell my Lady Duchess of Albemarle (48), in the case of Mr. Falconer, whom W. Pen (46) made to give W. Coventry £200 for his place of Clerk of the Rope Yard of Woolwich, and to settle £80 a year upon his daughter Pegg (16), after the death of his wife, and a gold watch presently to his wife.
Mrs. Turner (44) do tell me that my Lady and Pegg (16) have themselves owned to her that Sir W. Coventry (39) and Sir W. Pen (46) had private marks to write to one another by, that when they in appearance writ a fair letter in behalf of anybody, that they had a little mark to show they meant it only in shew: this, these silly people did confess themselves of him. She says that their son, Mr. William Pen (22), did tell her that his father did observe the commanders did make their addresses to me and applications, but they should know that his father should be the chief of the office, and that she hath observed that Sir W. Pen (46) never had a kindness to her son, since W. Pen told her son that he had applied himself to me. That his rise hath been by her and her husband's means, and that it is a most inconceivable thing how this man can have the face to use her and her family with the neglect that he do them. That he was in the late war a most devilish plunderer, and that got him his estate, which he hath in Ireland, and nothing else, and that he hath always been a very liberal man in his bribes, that upon his coming into this part of the Controller's business wherein he is, he did send for T. Willson and told him how against his knowledge he was put in, and had so little wit as to say to him, "This will make the pot boyle, will it not, Mr. Willson? will it not make the pot boyle?" and do offer him to come in and do his business for him, and he would reward him. This Mr. Willson did come and tell her presently, he having been their servant, and to this day is very faithful to them. That her husband's not being forward to make him a bill for Rere Admirall's pay and Generall's pay both at the same time after he was first made Generall did first give him occasion of keeping a distance from him, since which they have never been great friends, Pen having by degrees been continually growing higher and higher, till now that he do wholly slight them and use them only as servants. Upon the whole, she told me stories enough to confirm me that he is the most false fellow that ever was born of woman, and that so she thinks and knows him to be.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 19 December 1668. 19 Dec 1668. Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon, eating very little dinner, my wife and I by Hackney to the King's playhouse, and there, the pit being full, satin a box above, and saw "Catiline's Conspiracy", yesterday being the first day: a play of much good sense and words to read, but that do appear the worst upon the stage, I mean, the least diverting, that ever I saw any, though most fine in clothes; and a fine scene of the Senate, and of a fight, that ever I saw in my life. But the play is only to be read, and therefore home, with no pleasure at all, but only in sitting next to Betty Hall, that did belong to this house, and was Sir Philip Howard's (37) mistress; a mighty pretty wench, though my wife will not think so; and I dare neither commend, nor be seen to look upon her, or any other now, for fear of offending her. So, our own coach coming for us, home, and to end letters, and so home, my wife to read to me out of "The Siege of Rhodes", and so to supper, and to bed.
John Evelyn's Diary 09 January 1662. 09 Jan 1662. I saw acted the Third Part of "The Siege of Rhodes". In this acted the fair and famous comedian called Roxalana (19) from the part she performed; and I think it was the last, she being taken to be the Earl of Oxford's (34) Miss [Note. Probably Diana Kirke Countess Oxford -1719] (as at this time they began to call lewd women). It was in recitative music.