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The Debt To Pleasure

John Wilmot - Earl of Rochester

Edited by John Adlard

Cover Picture of The Debt To Pleasure
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Categories: 17th Century, Erotic
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Jan 1992)
£6.95 £6.25
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(Pub. Jan 1992)
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Some few, from wit, have this true maxim got,
    That 'tis still better to be pleased than not,
    And therefore never their own torment plot;
    While the malicious critics still agree
    To loathe each play they come, and pay, to see.
    The first know 'tis a meaner part of sense
    To find fault than taste an excellence;
    Therefore they praise and strive to like, while these
    Are dully vain of being hard to please.
    Poets and women have an equal right
    To hate the dull, who, dead to all delight,
    Feel pain alone, and have no joy but spite.
    'Twas impotence did first this vice begin:
    Fools censure wit as old men rail of sin,
    Who envy pleasure which they cannot taste
    And, good for nothing, would be wise at last
    Since therefore to the women it appears
    That all these enemies of wit are theirs,
    Our poet the dull herd no longer fears.
    Whate'er his fate shall prove, 'twill be his pride
    To stand or fall with beauty on his side.

    Epilogue to Circe
    Rochester, incontestably the greatest of the Restoration poets and reprobates, is presented in The Debt to Pleasure both in his own words and the words of those who loved or loathed him. The book is a mosaic in which the poet's voice and the voice of his age sound with a startling, ribald and riotous clarity.

    Table of Contents


    1 'Those Shining Parts...Began to Show Themselves'

    2 'Many Wild and Unaccountable Things'

    3 'The Imperfect Enjoyment'

    4 'The Right Vein'

    5 'A Man Half in the Grave

    6 Epilogue (1685)


    John Wilmot - Earl of Rochester
    John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1648-1680) was born near Oxford and studied at Wadham College, Oxford, where he was awarded an MA. He travelled until 1664, but was then imprisoned in the Tower of London for a time, allegedly for trying to abduct a Somerset heiress, whom he married upon ... read more
    John Adlard
    John Adlard has taught in universities in Eastern and Western Europe. He was the author of a study of folklore in William Blake and edited a selection of Blake's poems. His anthology of the work of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, is published in the Fyfield series as The Debt to ... read more
    'Mr Andrew Marvell (who was a good Judge of Witt) was wont to say that [Rochester] was the best English Satyrist and had the right veine. Twas pitty Death tooke him off so soon.'

    John Evelyn

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