By James William Johnson

ISBN-10: 1580461700

ISBN-13: 9781580461702

ISBN-10: 1580466761

ISBN-13: 9781580466769

Of the glittering, licentious courtroom round King Charles II, John Wilmot the second one Earl of Rochester used to be the main infamous. concurrently popular and vilified, he personified the rake-hell. Libertine, profane, promiscuous, he surprised his pious contemporaries together with his doubts approximately faith and his blunt verses that handled intercourse or vicious satiric attacks at the excessive and robust of the court docket. This account of Rochester and his instances presents the proof in the back of his mythical popularity as a rake and his deathbed repentance. even if, it additionally demonstrates that he was once a loving if untrue husband, a loyal father, a devoted good friend, a major pupil, a social critic, and an aspiring patriot.

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Additional info for A Profane Wit : The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Sample text

Rochester’s schoolboy exercises introduced him to ways of translating, paraphrasing, metaphrasing, and parody that he later used as a poet. Some of his extant writings are English versions of the Augustans he might have studied at Burford. Ovid was the first to contribute models for translation, adaptation, and loose imitation when Wilmot began his poetic career as Courtier to Charles II in 1665. 31 Horace’s Satires also became a significant source for Rochester later in works discovered under Martin.

Knowing his fear of death, Burnet asked him why “ill men” felt such terror at the prospect of dying whereas good men felt joy. ”33 If his education at Burford introduced him to pagans whose works suggested possible alternatives to Christian salvation or damnation, the Burford ritual also reinforced the somber Protestant beliefs he learned as an impressionable child at Ditchley. When he left Burford at the age of twelve or so, he took with him strictures and fears built into his mind by his schooling.

In 1661, when Lord Clarendon came to Oxford for the Convocation at which Rochester graduated, he reproved the Principal of Magdalen, Dr. ” Clarendon said proctors had told him that more Magdalene scholars were taken at “innes, alehouses, and whorehouses than any other house in Oxford hath; to which the Doctor replied but little. . qxd 9/20/04 1:18 PM Page 35 Growing Debauched at Oxford 35 If Robert Whitehall did not directly arrange Rochester’s entry into sexual sophistication, he certainly assisted it by providing the youth with the license of disguise.

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A Profane Wit : The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester by James William Johnson

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