By James William Johnson
Of the glittering, licentious courtroom round King Charles II, John Wilmot the second one Earl of Rochester was once the main infamous. at the same time well-known and vilified, he personified the rake-hell. Libertine, profane, promiscuous, he stunned his pious contemporaries along with his doubts approximately faith and his blunt verses that handled intercourse or vicious satiric attacks at the excessive and potent of the courtroom. This account of Rochester and his instances offers the evidence at the back of his mythical acceptance as a rake and his deathbed repentance. even though, it additionally demonstrates that he was once a loving if untrue husband, a faithful father, a devoted good friend, a significant student, a social critic, and an aspiring patriot.
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Additional resources for A Profane Wit : The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
18 Rochester delighted in music, and he retained his fondness for French aires all of his life, taking pleasure in them when other sources of pleasure failed him. Jean-Baptiste Lully, the Master of Court Music, had attained great prominence in 1661, and in 1662 he began his collaboration with Molière. Lully became a particular favorite of Rochester’s, whose own “Song” compositions possibly owed to his early delight in the sung music of Lully. Some of Rochester’s “Songs” were set to music during the Earl’s lifetime; and one scholar has suggested that they were actually sung at Court.
24 One of the Cotswold villages thriving on the wool trade, Burford was a pretty little town, sloping downhill in a row of stone buildings to the meandering Windrush River. The Free School stood at the bottom of the hill next to the Church of Saint John Baptist and its graveyard. Despite its picturesque appearance, the school building was low and dark inside with small windows. Mists from the stream chilled the rooms in winter and left cold drafts in the open stretches of the Church. The physical atmosphere was sometimes as oppressive as the memories of recent events were depressing to Royalists.
Accordingly, he began to study Latin at the age of seven under the watchful eye of Francis Giffard, and in time he read the authors who would influence his own thought and writing. Rochester’s various works––letters, lyric and satiric poetry, prose pamphlets, and plays––show directly his knowledge of Greek writers including Homer, Longinus, Pindar, Anacreon, and Plutarch. His acquaintance with Latin authors included Cicero, Livy, Seneca, Ovid, Horace, Catullus, Lucretius, Martial, Juvenal, Tibullus, Petronius, Lucan, and Augustine.