An example of a handwritten verse.

An example of a handwritten verse.

A letter from Rochester to his mother.

A letter from Rochester to his mother.

"Farewell, woman! I intend
Henceforth every night to sit
With my lewd, well-natured friend,
Drinking to engender wit."
John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester ~ (From: Love a woman! Y’are an ass)


No Paradise But Pleasure by Anna Lieff Saxby

I have just found the book that may have subconsciously set off my obsession with the Restoration court.

It came free with New Woman magazine in 1996, and is a Black Lace erotic fiction story. I’ve looked for it on Amazon but I don’t think it is still in print unfortunately. There are a couple of expensive second hand copies there. (It is a very small, short book, about ten by fifteen cm and only 95 pages)

The main protagonist, Caroline is obviously based loosely on Frances Stuart, the Duchess of Richmond. A lot of her time is spent avoiding the advances of Charles II, who becomes obsessed with her.

The main love interest is John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, who seems to be quite accurately portrayed as filthy, yet lovable rogue.

Unfortunately Charles is made out to be simply a well endowed lech who thinks he can get any woman he wants because he is king. There is a great scene where Caroline meets him for the first time at a masked ball and not knowing it’s him, stamps on his foot when he comes on to her :D

I would recommend you get it if you do happen to find it anywhere, though it is very dirty of course, but if you’re interested in the Restoration court and John Wilmot, you’re no doubt well prepared for that sort of thing ;)

"Here’s Monmouth the witty,
And Lauderdale the pretty,
And Frazier, that learned physician;
But above all the rest,
Here’s the Duke for a jest,
And the King for a grand politician"
John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester - ‘Impromptu on the English Court’ (via fuckyeahcharlesthesecond)
"…his birth on All Fool’s Day was more portentous. The future Earl of Rochester was a lifelong trickster and wearer of disguises. The capricious April weather which characterises its fools was reflected in his emotional and intellectual shifts; his wild swings from gaiety to despair, from insouciant skepticism to terrified faith. His birth date also symbolised the vicissitudes of the England he was born into." A Profane Wit: The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester by James William Johnson.
Unpublished - 1670

And after singing Psalm the Twelfth
He laid the book upon the shelf 
And looked much simply like himself;
With eyes turned up as white as ghost,
He cried ‘Ah, Lard! ah, Lard of Hosts!
I am a rascal and thou know’st!’” 

When John was born, John Gadbury, famous astrologist and almanac maker cast his horoscope. He declared that the conjunction of Venus and Mercury gave the infant an inclination to poetry. The position of the sun “bestowed a large stock of generous and active spirits, which constantly attended this excellent native’s mind, insomuch that no subject came amiss to him.”

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

My picture I cannot change as others do
John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester was a poet, playwright and self-confessed cynic of the Restoration era. He lived just thirty three short years (1647 - 1680) but in that time he got into more trouble and annoyed more people than most of the courtiers put together.

He is mostly famous for his rather excellent and often hilariously filthy poems.

This blog is therefore dedicated to the life and antics of this brilliant but also absurd gentleman.

Other blogs of note:


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