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

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. at the same time prominent and vilified, he personified the rake-hell. Libertine, profane, promiscuous, he stunned 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 courtroom. This account of Rochester and his instances presents the proof in the back of his mythical attractiveness as a rake and his deathbed repentance. in spite of the fact that, it additionally demonstrates that he was once a loving if untrue husband, a faithful father, a faithful buddy, a major pupil, a social critic, and an aspiring patriot.

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1 But family problems may have delayed his entering for a time. Frank Lee was sick and convalescing after returning from his Grand Tour, and at the end of March, another blow fell on the Ditchley household. One of his correspondents told Edward Hyde on March 25: H Sir Harry Lee is much bewailed, who, having obtained leave [from Parliament] to hunt for three or four days, overheated his blood and died on Monday last at Ditchley of the smallpox. ”2 Since the dead Harry’s only child was a ten-month-old girl, Eleonora, and laws of primogeniture pertained, the succession of the Lee estate had to await the birth and determine the sex of the posthumous infant.

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.

John Fell, Dr. Thomas Pierce, and other University officials. He also took on protégés, notably John Oldham, and established friendships with William Wycherley, Francis Fane, and other Oxford alumni. His affection for his alma mater had been firmly established during his reckless student days. qxd 9/20/04 1:19 PM Page 40 4 THE GRAND TOUR (1662–1664) The Knowledge of these Secrets, I gathered in my Travels abroad (where I have spent my Time ever since I was Fifteen Years old . . in France and Italy.

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