The Wits is in Jacobean and Restoration Plays.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 18 April 1667. 18 Apr 1667. Up, and to read more in the "Origines", and then to the office, where the news is strong that not only the Dutch cannot set out a fleete this year, but that the French will not, and that he hath given the answer to the Dutch Embassador, saying that he is for the King (36) of England's, having an honourable peace, which, if true, is the best news we have had a good while. At the office all the morning, and there pleased with the little pretty Deptford woman I have wished for long, and she hath occasion given her to come again to me. After office I to the 'Change a little, and then home and to dinner, and then by coach with my wife to the Duke of York's (33) house, and there saw "The Wits", a play I formerly loved, and is now corrected and enlarged: but, though I like the acting, yet I like not much in the play now. The Duke of York (33) and Sir W. Coventry (39) gone to Portsmouth, makes me thus to go to plays.
So home, and to the office a little and then home, where I find Goodgroome, and he and I did sing several things over, and tried two or three grace parts in Playford's (44) new book, my wife pleasing me in singing her part of the things she knew, which is a comfort to my very heart. So he being gone we to supper and to bed.
Samuel Pepys' Diary 20 April 1667. 20 Apr 1667. Up, with much pain in my eare and palate. To the office out of humour all the morning.
At noon dined, and with my wife to the King's house, but there found the bill torn down and no play acted, and so being in the humour to see one, went to the Duke of York's house, and there saw "The Witts" again, which likes me better than it did the other day, having much wit in it. Here met with Mr. Rolt, who tells me the reason of no play to-day at the King's house. That Lacy (52) had been committed to the porter's lodge for his acting his part in the late new play, and that being thence released he come to the King's house, there met with Ned Howard (42), the poet of the play, who congratulated his release; upon which Lacy (52) cursed him as that it was the fault of his nonsensical play that was the cause of his ill usage. Mr. Howard (42) did give him some reply; to which Lacy (52) [answered] him, that he was more a fool than a poet; upon which Howard (42) did give him a blow on the face with his glove; on which Lacy (52), having a cane in his hand, did give him a blow over the pate. Here Rolt and others that discoursed of it in the pit this afternoon did wonder that Howard (42) did not run him through, he being too mean a fellow to fight with. But Howard did not do any thing but complain to the King (36) of it; so the whole house is silenced, and the gentry seem to rejoice much at it, the house being become too insolent. Here were many fine ladies this afternoon at this house as I have at any time seen, and so after the play home and there wrote to my father, and then to walk in the garden with my wife, resolving by the grace of God to see no more plays till Whitsuntide, I having now seen a play every day this week till I have neglected my business, and that I am ashamed of, being found so much absent; the Duke of York (33) and Sir W. Coventry (39) having been out of town at Portsmouth did the more embolden me thereto.
So home, and having brought home with me from Fenchurch Street a hundred of sparrowgrass1, cost 18d. We had them and a little bit of salmon, which my wife had a mind to, cost 3s.
So to supper, and my pain being somewhat better in my throat, we to bed.
Note 1. A form once so commonly used for asparagus that it has found its way into dictionaries.