By James William Johnson
Of the glittering, licentious court docket round King Charles II, John Wilmot the second one Earl of Rochester used to be the main infamous. concurrently well known and vilified, he personified the rake-hell. Libertine, profane, promiscuous, he stunned his pious contemporaries along with his doubts approximately faith and his blunt verses that handled intercourse or vicious satiric attacks at the excessive and effective of the courtroom. This account of Rochester and his occasions presents the proof at the back of his mythical recognition as a rake and his deathbed repentance. even if, it additionally demonstrates that he used to be a loving if untrue husband, a faithful father, a devoted buddy, a significant student, a social critic, and an aspiring patriot.
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Additional info for A Profane Wit : The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Published in 1700, the Letters Write [sic] to a Friend provides useful information about the probable Grand Tour he supervised for John Wilmot. 4 Assuming his role as Wilmot’s governor in 1661, Balfour soon realized what damage the lacuna in his charge’s education at Oxford had done. 5 Consequently, he began a strategy that his pupil long remembered. qxd 9/20/04 1:19 PM Page 41 The Grand Tour 41 Governour . . for his great Fidelity and Care of him, when he was under his trust. But no part of it affected him more sensibly, than that he engaged him by many tricks (so he expressed it) to delight in Books and reading.
Berry let the boy follow his own ways without much supervision. Though he may have succeeded Mr. Giffard, Berry did not truly replace him as Rochester’s mentor. With Giffard “supplanted,” it came as no surprise to him that the Earl “grew debauched,” as Giffard told Thomas Hearne. When Rochester entered Wadham, it was a new and comparatively poor college. qxd 9/20/04 30 1:18 PM Page 30 A Profane Wit outstanding scholars, but in 1660 it was a lesser-known college, seemingly out of the academic mainstream.
W. Fulman’s Academiae Oxoniensis Notitia (1665) could muster up little to say in praise of it. Wadham consisted of a Warden or Custos; fifteen Fellows (Socii ); fifteen pupils (Discipuli ); and assorted menials. 7 But these bare facts were not the complete story about Wadham. One of the former Fellows was Christopher Wren, still in Oxford in 1660 lecturing in astronomy. Under John Wilkins, a group of men interested in the New Science had begun to meet informally at lodgings and coffee houses, to discuss the so-called Natural Philosophy.