An example of a handwritten verse.
A letter from Rochester to his mother.
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 ;)
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.