THE LIBERTINE WHO SPARKLED LIKE DIAMONDS

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The Mock Song by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester.

I swive as well as others do,

I`m young, not yet deformed,

My tender heart, sincere, and true,

Deserves not to be scorned.

               Why Phyllis then, why will you swive,

               With forty lovers more?

               Can I (said she) with Nature strive?

               Alas I am, alas I am a whore.

Were all my body larded o`er,

With darts of love so thick,

That you might find in ev`ry pore,

A well struck standing prick;

               Whilst yet mine eyes alone were free,

               My heart, would never doubt,

               In am`rous rage, and ecstasy,

               To wish those eyes, to wish those eyes fucked out.

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John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, under his most gracious majesty King Charles II, was never one to pull his verbal punches. His self destructive streak was self evident from the get-go when his poetic bombs were lobbed in anyone, and everyone`s direction, no matter who, or what they were – including the king.

He was evidently somewhat of an enduring embarrassment to his long suffering mother, not just because of his incessantly lewd poems, bawdy plays, dismissal from court for his prodigious whoring and drinking, or even the attempted abduction of the fabulously rich heiress who would make his future a financially secure and satisfying one, which would enable him to plough a single minded sexually lusty and alcoholic furrow into an early grave, but that he would not renounce his bad boy ways – even lying incapacitated on his death bed.

King Charles had expelled him from court, after years of over indulgence, for consistently taking the piss out of him, not just behind his back – as most sensible people did – but to his face in full view of witnesses. In short; John Wilmot did not give a damn about anyone or anything.

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Well, he did actually give a sort of death bed renunciation of the life-style which had brought him to his final predicament; but to be honest, he probably enjoyed every minute of dissolution and debauchery. A psychiatrist would probably have a field day with young John: self loathing would possibly be on the agenda as an explanation for his behaviour; but even so, he was a product of his time, even if an extreme one. Whether it was the effects of excessive alcoholic consumption or venereal disease brought on by his generous libido that eventually killed him is unknown; but he basically flogged his mind and body beyond their endurance and paid the price.

He`s not only an interesting poet, but a highly interesting, complicated and self destructive human being; just what you want in a poet really. He possessed an enormous energy, fire and voluptuous imagination to his writing which really does single him out from his peers – no easy task in an age of great writers.

He neither respected others, or what they stood for as a matter of personal honour, but had complete contempt for their beliefs and opinions on all matters without exception. He was a vibrant, fiery comet which blazed across the Restoration firmament for so brief a spell before crashing and burning into the undergrowth of general public disapproval. His anarchic genius burned twice as bright for too short a time……..His wit and acidic tongue sparkled and cut like diamonds. Would we have our bad boys behave in any other way?

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