Manningham's Diary
[ Issue 23 ]

Manningham's Diary keeps Emily Bronto occupied for hours

Let Bikwil introduce you to Manningham's Diary

Manningham's Diary

In this piece Fizzgig tells us what little there is to know about the 17th century diarist John Manningham.  Naturally, there's an excerpt.

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From the Back Verandah — Fizzgig


My piece on how the lustful Richard Burbage got pipped at the post by the even more self-indulgent William Shakespeare (Bikwil No. 19, May 2000) didn’t pass without comment, so much so that I’ve been urged to tell all about the originator of that gossip, John Manningham, and to quote some more goings-on from his diary.

Unfortunately, little is known of Manningham’s life. So far, all I’ve been able to uncover is that he was a lawyer in the so-called Middle Temple at the end of the reign of Elizabeth I. He may have been a friend of Shakespeare's friend and "cousin" Thomas Greene, who was then completing his law studies.

Indeed, had it not been for his diary (which he kept only for 1602-3), Manningham may well have rested in permanent obscurity.

Ever grateful for small mercies, however, today I offer an entry verbatim from October 1602. It tells of just how much simple fun a 17th century prankster can have, provided of course that his conceited victim towers well above him:

One Mr Ousley of the Middle Temple, a young gallant, but of a short cut, overtaking a tall stately stalking cavalier in the streets, made no more ado but slipt into an ironmonger’s shop, threw off his cloak and rapier, fitted himself with bells, and presently came skipping, whistling, and dancing the morris about that long swaggerer, who staringly demanding what he meant; "I cry you merry.” said the gent, “I took you for a maypole.”

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