Selected Poems (Oxford World's Classics)
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'If I by miracle can be
This livelong minute true to thee
'Tis all that heav'n allows.'
The Earl of Rochester was England's first celebrity poet, a byword for the theatricality, licentiousness, and scepticism of the Restoration age. But his scandalous reputation belies the variety and sophistication of his work: his love poems set new standards not only of sexual explicitness but also of psychological acuity and lyric grace, while his satires broke new ground as much by the refinement of their ironies as in the brutality of their invective. A fascinatingly contradictory figure,
Rochester emerges more clearly than ever from this new edition, the first selection of his work in modern spelling to take account of recent revolutionary advances in textual scholarship. It includes only poems now securely attributed to the poet, in texts based not on the posthumous and unreliable
printed editions but on the most authoritative manuscripts which circulated in his lifetime.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Explorer?’, in G. R. Hibbard (ed.), Renaissance and Modern Essays Presented to Vivian de Sola Pinto in Celebration of his Seventieth Birthday (New York, 1972). Farley-Hills, David, Rochester’s Poetry (London, 1978). ——(ed.), John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester: The Critical Heritage (London, 1972). Fisher, Nicholas (ed.), That Second Bottle: Essays on John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (Manchester, 2000). Greer, Germaine, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (Horndon, 2000). Gunn, Thom, ‘Saint John the
And their blest pow’rs united move, 10 While each brave Greek embraced his punk,° Lulled her asleep and then grew drunk. Love to a Woman Love a woman! Th’rt an ass: ’Tis a most insipid passion To choose out for thy happiness The dullest part of God’s creation. Let the porter and the groom, 5 Things designed for dirty slaves,° Drudge in fair Aurelia’s womb° To get supplies for age and graves. Farewell Woman!—I intend Henceforth every
nonconformist narratives of spiritual development such as The Pilgrim’s Progress. l. 21. scars. From brawling in taverns or venereal disease, rather than actual battle. l. 25. hopeful. Promising (as future rakes). worth being drunk. Deserving to have toasts drunk to them. nice. Too delicate. l. 27. Vice. ‘Depravity … Personified’ (OED). The debauchee now pictures himself as the villain in a medieval morality play. l. 28. If, at my counsel, they repent and drink. In several
copyist’s non-standard conjunctions look merely haphazard; others are suggestive of considerable poetic insight (see the headnote to ‘Fair Chloris in a pig-sty lay’). Portland University of Nottingham Library, Portland Collection, MS PwV 31 The only surviving source of copies of R.’s poems in his own hand, containing ten of his politest lyrics, as well as a number of pieces by his wife Elizabeth (see headnote to ‘Give me leave to rail at you’). The texts of these copies have accordingly been
just off Drury Lane, on the site of the present Theatre Royal, was finally completed in 1674. New developments in playhouse design and performance practice confirmed the theatre as an emblematic site of Restoration modernity. For the first time female roles were played not by boys, as they had been since Shakespeare’s day, but by professional actresses, and the chance to observe women’s bodies in states of semi-undress and postures of theatrical passion quickly became central to the appeal of