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The Debt To Pleasure
Edited by John Adlard
RRP: GBP 9.95
ISBN: 978 1 847776 25 9
Categories: 17th Century
Published: October 2012
144 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
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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.
As John Evelyn recalls: '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.'
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)
'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.'
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