John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester is buried under a plain stone
in the graveyard of Spelsbury Church, Oxfordshire, England.
In his late teens Rochester abducted the highly
eligible heiress Elizabeth Malet in a coach-and-six. After 18 months, and
considerable opposition from her family, they were married.
whilst married, Rochester had several
mistresses and spent much of his time roistering in London with his friends the Earl of Dorset
(Charles Sackville) and the Duke of Buckingham. He once boasted that he had been drunk continuously for five years.
He also trained his pet monkey to defecate on people.
During his early thirties Rochester became seriously ill and this caused
him to adopt a more religious frame of mind - culminating in his
eventual deathbed repentance which was heard and later written up by
Gilbert Burnet in: Some Passages in the Life and Death of the Right
Honourable John Wilmot Earl of Rochester (1680).
at High Lodge in
Woodstock on the 26th July 1680 (He had been appointed Ranger of Woodstock Forest by
Charles II). It is
commonly assumed that Rochester died from syphilis.
emotional nature of Rochester's work has led some to consider him as the
last of the
Metaphysical Poets. However, his skill as a satirist has led others
to regard him the first of the
Much of his work deals
explicitly with sex or sexual mores - in a manner not seen until the 20th century.
In 2004, Johnny Depp starred in The Libertine - a film version of
the poet's debauched life.
See also lampoon.