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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Earl of Rochester

Diego Velazquez. Los Borrachos (The Triumph of Bacchus), 1629. Detail.

The Platonic Lady.

I could love thee till I die,
Wouldst thou love me modestly,
And ne'er press, whilst I live,
For more than willingly I would give:
Which should sufficient be to prove
I'd understand the art of love.
I hate the thing is called enjoyment:
Besides it is a dull employment,
It cuts off all that's life and fire
From that which may be termed desire;
Just like the bee whose sting is gone
Converts the owner to a drone.
I love a youth will give me leave
His body in my arms to wreathe;
To press him gently, and to kiss;
To sigh, and look with eyes that wish
For what, if I could once obtain,
I would neglect with flat disdain.
I'd give him liberty to toy
And play with me, and count it joy.
Our freedom should be full complete,
And nothing wanting but the feat.
Let's practice, then, and we shall prove
These are the only sweets of love.

Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. David M. Vieth, ed.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. 25-26.


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Restoration & 18th-century:

Samuel Butler
John Dryden
Samuel Pepys
John Bunyan
Aphra Behn
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea
Mary Astell
William Congreve
Matthew Prior
Daniel Defoe
John Gay
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Jonathan Swift
Joseph Addison
Sir Richard Steele
James Thomson
Alexander Pope
Dr. Samuel Johnson
Thomas Gray
William Collins
Christopher Smart
Oliver Goldsmith
George Crabbe
William Cowper
James Boswell
Essays and Articles
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