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WILMOT, John (Earl of Rochester)


I cannot change as others do

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.

When, killed with grief, Amintas lies

And you to mind shall call,

The sighs that now unpitied rise,

The tears that vainly fall,

That welcome hour that ends this smart

Will then begin your pain;

For such a fauthful tender heart

Can never break, can never break in vain.


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;

So, when my days of impotence approach,

   And I’m by pox and wine’s unlucky chance

Forced from the pleasing billows of debauch

   On the dull shore of lazy temperance,

My pains at least some respite shall afford

   While I behold the battles you maintain

When fleets of glasses sail about the board,

   From whose broadsides volleys of wit shall rain.

Nor let the sight of honorable scars,

   Which my too forward valor did procure,

Frighten new-listed soldiers from the wars:

   Past joys have more than paid what I endure.

Should any youth (worth being drunk) prove nice,

   And from his fair inviter meanly shrink,

’Twill please the ghost of my departed vice

   If, at my counsel, he repent and drink.

Or should some cold-complexioned sot forbid,

   With his dull morals, our bold night-alarms,

I’ll fire his blood by telling what I did

   When I was strong and able to bear arms.

I’ll tell of whores attacked, their lords at home;

   Bawds’ quarters beaten up, and fortress won;

Windows demolished, watches overcome;

   And handsome ills by my contrivance done.

Nor shall our love-fits, Chloris, be forgot,

   When each the well-looked linkboy strove t’ enjoy,

And the best kiss was the deciding lot

   Whether the boy fucked you, or I the boy.

With tales like these I will such thoughts inspire

   As to important mischief shall incline:

I’ll make him long some ancient church to fire,

   And fear no lewdness he’s called to by wine.

Thus, statesmanlike, I’ll saucily impose,

   And safe from action, valiantly advise;

Sheltered in impotence, urge you to blows,

   And being good for nothing else, be wise.