Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature Rose of King Charles II Earl of Rochester

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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Lord Rochester bestowing a garland of laurel upon his monkey.

Earl of Rochester: Quotes and Quotations

The Gods no sooner give a Grace,
     But, fond of their own Art,
Severely Jealous, ever place,
To guard the Glories of a Face,
     A Dragon in the Heart.
     —A Pastoral Dialogue Between Alexis and Strephon

As Trees are by their Bark embrac'd,
     Love to my Soul doth cling.
     —A Pastoral Dialogue Between Alexis and Strephon

By Harmony the Universe does move,
And what is Harmony but mutual Love?
     —The Advice

Such sweet, dear, tempting Devils Women are.
     —To Love

Her hand, her foot, her very look's a cunt.
     —The Imperfect Enjoyment

Where'er it pierced, a cunt it found or made.
     —The Imperfect Enjoyment

Wit has to Pleasure been ever a Friend.
     —A Song ["To this Moment a Rebel"]

Then talk not of Inconstancy,
      False Hearts and broken Vows;
If I by Miracle can be,
This long-liv'd Minute true to thee,
      It's all that Heav'n allows.

     —A Song ["All my past Life is mine no more"]

Farewel Woman, I intend
Henceforth ev'ry Night to sit
With my Lewd Well-natur'd Friend,
Drinking, to engender Wit.
     —Song ["Love a Woman! y'are an Ass"]

Cupid and Bacchus my saints are,
May Drink and Love still reign!
With wine I wash away my cares,
And then to love again.

After Death nothing is, and nothing Death.
     —Translation from Seneca's Troas

Dead, we become the Lumber of the World;
And to that Mass of Matter shall be swept,
Where things destroy'd with things unborn are kept.
     —Translation from Seneca's Troas

No spleen or malice need on them be thrown:
Nature has done the business of lampoon,
And in their looks their characters has shown.
     —Tunbridge Wells

A tribe of curates, priests, canonical elves,
Fit company for none besides themselves.
     —Tunbridge Wells

Let him drink on, but 'tis not a whole flood
Can give sufficient sweetness to his blood
To make his nature or his manners good.
     —Tunbridge Wells

Ourselves with noise of reason we do please
In vain: humanity's our worst disease.
     —Tunbridge Wells

Were I (who to my cost already am
One of those strange, prodigious creatures, man)
A spirit free to choose, for my own share,
What case of flesh and blood I pleased to wear,
I'd be a dog, a monkey or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal
Who is so proud of being rational.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

His wisdom did his happiness destroy,
Aiming to know that world he should enjoy.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

For Wits are treated just like Common Whores:
First they're enjoyed, and then kicked out of doors.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

What they fear at heart, they hate.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

We have modern cloister'd coxcombs who
Retire to think, 'cause they have nought to do.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

Birds feed on birds, beasts on each other prey,
But savage man alone does man betray.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

All Men would be Cowards if they durst.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

The difference lies, as far as I can see,
Not in the thing itself, but the degree.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

Man differs more from Man, than Man from Beast.
     —Satire Against Reason and Mankind

Poetry's a Snare;
Bedlam has many Mansions; have a Care.
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

Cursed if you fail, and scorned though you succeed!
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

Love, the most generous Passion of the Mind,
The softest Refuge Innocence can find,
The safe director of unguided Youth,
Fraught with kind Wishes, and secured by Truth;
That Cordial drop Heaven in our cup has thrown
To make the nauseous Draught of Life go down.
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

For none did e'er so dull and stupid prove,
But felt a God, and blessed his power, in Love.
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

Wonder by clear Knowledge is destroyed.
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

Nothing suits worse with Vice than want of Sense:
Fools are still Wicked at their own Expense.
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

Readers must reap the dullness writers sow.
     —A Letter from Artemiza in the Town to Chloe in the Country

To Write what may securely stand in the Test
Of being well read over, thrice at least;
Compare each Phrase, examine ev'ry Line,
Weigh ev'ry Word, and ev'ry Thought refine.
Scorn all Applause the Vile Rout can bestow,
And be content to please those few who know.
     —Horace's Tenth Satire of the First Book, Imitated

But mark what creatures women are:
How infinitely vile, when fair!
     —A Ramble in St. James's Park

Such natural freedoms are but just:
There's something generous in mere lust.
     —A Ramble in St. James's Park

A merry monarch, scandalous and poor.
     —A Satyr on Charles II

There's not a thing on earth that I can name,
So foolish, and so false, as common fame.
     —An Epistolary Essay from M. G. to O. B.


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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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