John Wilmot Earl of Rochester

J
John Wilmot Earl of Rochester
Upon Nothing
Nothing! thou elder brother even to Shade:
That hadst a being ere the world was made,
And well fixed, art alone of ending not afraid.

Ere Time and Place were, Time and Place were not,
When primitive Nothing Something straight begot;
Then all proceeded from the great united What.

Something, the general attribute of all,
Severed from thee, its sole original,
Into thy boundless self must undistinguished fall;

Yet Something did thy mighty power command,
And from fruitful Emptiness’s hand
Snatched men, beasts, birds, fire, air, and land.
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Constancy
I cannot change, as others do,
Though you unjustly scorn;
Since that poor swain, that sighs for you
For you alone was born.
No, Phyllis, no, your heart to move
A surer way I’ll try:
And to revenge my slighted love,
Will still love on, will still love on, and die.
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The Disabled Debauchee
As some brave admiral, in former war
Deprived of force, but pressed with courage still,
Two rival fleets appearing from afar,
Crawls to the top of an adjacent hill;

From whence, with thoughts full of concern, he views
The wise and daring conduct of the fight,
Whilst each bold action to his mind renews
His present glory and his past delight;

From his fierce eyes flashes of fire he throws,
As from black clouds when lightning breaks away;
Transported, thinks himself amidst the foes,
And absent, yet enjoys the bloody day;

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The Imperfect Enjoyment
Naked she lay, clasped in my longing arms,
I filled with love, and she all over charms;
Both equally inspired with eager fire,
Melting through kindness, flaming in desire.
With arms, legs, lips close clinging to embrace,
She clips me to her breast, and sucks me to her face.
Her nimble tongue, love’s lesser lightning, played
Within my mouth, and to my thoughts conveyed
Swift orders that I should prepare to throw
The all-dissolving thunderbolt below.
My fluttering soul, sprung with the pointed kiss,
Hangs hovering o’er her balmy brinks of bliss.
But whilst her busy hand would guide that part
Which should convey my soul up to her heart,
In liquid raptures I dissolve all o’er,
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Love and Life: A Song
All my past life is mine no more,
The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams giv’n o’er,
Whose images are kept in store
By memory alone.

The time that is to come is not;
How can it then be mine?
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The Mock Song
I swive as well as others do,
I’m young, not yet deformed,
My tender heart, sincere, and true,
Deserves not to be scorned.

Why Phyllis then, why will you swive,
With forty lovers more?
Can I (said she) with Nature strive,
Alas I am, alas I am a whore.

Were all my body larded o’er,
With darts of love, so thick,
That you might find in ev’ry pore,
A well stuck standing prick;

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A Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover
Ancient person, for whom I
All the flattering youth defy,
Long be it ere thou grow old,
Aching, shaking, crazy, cold;
But still continue as thou art,
Ancient person of my heart.

On thy withered lips and dry,
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To His Mistress
Why dost thou shade thy lovely face? O why
Does that eclipsing hand of thine deny
The sunshine of the Sun’s enlivening eye?

Without thy light what light remains in me?
Thou art my life; my way, my light’s in thee;
I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.
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