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John Wilmot, the notorious Earl of Rochester, was the darling of the polished, profligate court of Charles II. One of the finest poets of the Restoration, patron to important playwrights, model for countless witty young rakes in Restoration comedies, he lived a full but short life, dying in 1680 (with a dramatic deathbed renunciation of his atheism) at the age of 33. This edition of Rochester's poetry is annotated and introduced by David M. Vieth. Rochester had many admirers: Graham Greene wrote "Lord Rochester's Monkey"; Daniel Defoe quoted him often; Tennyson recited his poems; Voltaire admired Rochester's satire for "energy and fire"; Goethe could quote Rochester in English, and Hazlitt said that "his verses cut and sparkle like diamonds" and "his contempt for everything that others repsect almost amounts to sublimity".
David M. Vieth was professor of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.