Readersforum's Blog

April 1, 2014

Of Rochester and Rakes

John Wilmot    (1647 - 1680)

John Wilmot
(1647 – 1680)

By Steve King.

On this day in 1647 John Wilmot, perhaps the most notorious of the Restoration rakes, was born. By poem and play, song and satire, maid and monkey — some say he trained his pet monkey to excrete upon his guests, others say he merely encouraged it — the 2nd Earl of Rochester became the talk of town and Court. If, as Samuel Johnson said, he “blazed out his youth and health in lavish voluptuousness,” he also wrote, said Hazlitt, verses that “cut and sparkle like diamonds.”

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