By James William Johnson
Of the glittering, licentious court docket round King Charles II, John Wilmot the second one Earl of Rochester was once the main infamous. at the same time sought after 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 amazing of the court docket. This account of Rochester and his occasions offers the proof in the back of his mythical popularity as a rake and his deathbed repentance. even though, it additionally demonstrates that he used to be a loving if untrue husband, a loyal father, a devoted buddy, a major 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
The three most frequently used texts in the seventeenth century were Trogus Pompeius, whose condensation of Livy had been used as a school text by the Romans themselves; Justin, whose History of the World placed Roman events into the contexts (often fanciful or erroneous) of Jewish and Greek historiography; and Lucius Annaeus Florus, the most widely used of the three texts, which turned Livy into a biography of the Roman body politic. Mr. 17 Thus, along with the religious precepts given him by Mr.
His burgeoning sexuality, which probably began with solitary masturbation, initiated habits of concealment that were encouraged by his wearing the clothing of an older, more experienced man. 27 When the adolescent youth began his sexual experimentation, the moral strictures and fears of his childhood were still very strong. For years at Burford School, he had gone daily to services at Saint John Baptist and seen these words in Elizabethan lettering beneath the east window: 1 THE NYGHT IS PASSED AND THE DAY IS COME NYE.
Pagans such as Achilles, Aeneas, Damocles, Cincinnatus, Diogenes, Timon of Athens, and Timon of Phlius, and the subjects of Plutarch’s Lives (Anthony and Cleopatra) were exemplary of right and wrong conduct. Rochester’s works cite all of these. Above all, history was “useful,” teaching by examples. 18 In 1656, after two years of Giffard’s tutoring, the Countess decided that it was time for her promising son to enroll in a suitable grammar school. Sending her boys off for schooling away from home at a tender age was an item of conviction with Lady Wilmot, as with other English aristocrats, then and now; but the disastrous experience of the Lees at De Veau’s Academy in Paris had dampened her enthusiasm for continental education.