By James William Johnson
Of the glittering, licentious court docket round King Charles II, John Wilmot the second one Earl of Rochester used to be the main infamous. concurrently well-liked 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 robust of the courtroom. This account of Rochester and his occasions offers the evidence in the back of his mythical attractiveness as a rake and his deathbed repentance. although, 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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Extra info for A Profane Wit : The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
For his great Fidelity and Care of him, when he was under his trust. But no part of it affected him more sensibly, than that he engaged him by many tricks (so he expressed it) to delight in Books and reading. . 6 The books Balfour used to trick Rochester were the classical works, even the French romances, referred to in his Letters. As a student, Rochester learned some French and Italian during his stay abroad, and he grew acquainted with plays, satires, and libertin works in those languages. The travelers and their entourage set out for France in late 1661, or early 1662, when John Wilmot was in his fifteenth year.
Once again, he managed to get his place at Merton, where he returned sometime before 1660. Indefatigable, eternally optimistic, he turned coat, confident that he would succeed under Stuart patronage. He began composing a series of verse tributes to every potential sponsor: Charles II, Lord Clarendon, Catherine of Braganza, the Duke of Monmouth, and James II. (Poor Queen Catherine fled London in 1665 to escape the Plague, only to face Robert Whitehall in Oxford. )18 In 1660 he was, as a raffish punster noted, “loyned with sack and faced with claret”––a bibulous, bumptuous, redfaced, rhyming Falstaff on the lookout for a Prince Hal to help make his fortune.
In France and Italy. . ) ––Rochester, Dr. 1 The King appointed Dr. Andrew Balfour, a graduate in medicine at the University of Caen, as Wilmot’s Gubernator (governor); and a pass was issued on November 21, 1661, permitting him to travel beyond seas without restriction. 2 Dr. Balfour, a Scot, had lived abroad for fifteen years and had absorbed sophisticated tolerance with his continental education. , medicine), he was like Robert Whitehall, but the similarity stopped there. Balfour was a genuine scholar and intellectual who went on to eminence as a botanist and physician.