John Wilmot (Earl of Rochester)



John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester is buried under a plain stone in the graveyard of Spelsbury Church,  Oxfordshire, England. 

Spelsbury Churchyard

In his late teens Rochester abducted the highly eligible heiress Elizabeth Malet in a coach-and-six. After 18 months, and considerable opposition from her family, they were married.

However, whilst married, Rochester had several mistresses and spent much of his time roistering in London with his friends the Earl of Dorset (Charles Sackville) and the Duke of Buckingham. He once boasted that he had been drunk continuously for five years. He also trained his pet monkey to defecate on people.

During his early thirties Rochester became seriously ill and this caused him to adopt a more religious frame of mind - culminating in his eventual deathbed repentance which was heard and later written up by Gilbert Burnet in: Some Passages in the Life and Death of the Right Honourable John Wilmot Earl of Rochester (1680).

Rochester died at High Lodge in Woodstock on the 26th July 1680 (He had been appointed Ranger of Woodstock Forest by Charles II). It is commonly assumed that Rochester died from syphilis.

The complex emotional nature of Rochester's work has led some to consider him as the last of the Metaphysical Poets. However, his skill as a satirist has led others to regard him the first of the Augustan Poets.

Much of his work deals explicitly with sex or sexual mores - in a manner not seen until the 20th century.

In 2004, Johnny Depp starred in The Libertine - a film version of the poet's debauched life.

See also lampoon.

Earl of Rochester



Her father gave her dildoes six;
  Her mother made 'em up to a score;
But she loves nought but living pricks,
   And swears by God she'll frig no more.

From On Cary Frazier

Read more of Wilmot's Poetry






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