field he was late, and accompanied as his second by a great life-guardsman whom no one knew. Then he said that he was afflicted with a complaint that made it impossible for him to fight; thus in a moment vanished the reputation for bravery which he had won as a lad, his courage having been destroyed by the extravagance of his life.

Of him says Bishop Burnet: "He was unhappily made for drunkenness, for he had drunk all his friends dead, and was able to subdue two or three sets of drunkards one after another; so it scarce ever appeared that he was disordered after the greatest drinking an hour or so of sleep carried all off so entirely that no sign remained.” For five out of his fifteen years of manhood Rochester said he had never been sober, and he blamed the town for it. "As soon as I get to Brentford (from the country), I feel the Devil enter into me, and he never leaves me until I leave London again." By the time he was thirty he began to show signs of old age, and during a bad illness he turned his thoughts to religion. For a whole winter Dr. Burnet gave at least one evening a week to him, discussing natural and revealed religion. When during the following year another illness fell upon him, he felt that it was the last; whereupon he thought more and more upon God, and avowed that he had resolved to become a new man; "to wash out the stains of his lewd courses with tears, and to weep over the profane and unhallowed abominations of his former doings. Yet, he said, if he might choose, he would rather die than live, for he feared that if he lived he might relapse."

There can be little doubt that his repentance was sincere, though how it would have stood another lease of life is a question. He was not thirty-three at his death.

Great as were Rochester's faults he has given us sweet, lilting songs such as none of his poet friends could

From Grave to Gay


write-tender, pathetic, and simple-of which the follow

ing is an example:

My dear Mistress has a heart

Soft as those kind looks she gave me ;

When with love's resistless art,

And her eyes she did enslave me;

But her constancy's so weak,

She's so wild and apt to wander,

That my jealous heart would break,
Should we live one day asunder.

Mr. Edmund Gosse says of him: "He was the last of the Cavalier lyrists, and in some respects the best"; but that his muse resembles nothing so much as a beautiful child which has wantonly rolled itself in the mud.

M. Taine saw in Rochester only a lawless and wretched mountebank, a licentious drunkard, a participator in all that is low and vile, in nothing that is good. But, in fact, he showed more capacity for goodness than many of the other Cavaliers; and there is little doubt but that he and others were the products of their time-they were at the extreme of the swing of the pendulum. During the Commonwealth the Royalist boys were sent abroad to be educated, and there learned many habits which were unusual in England; those who remained at home were kept under unnatural restrictions. Had the Puritans been less puritanic, the Court of Charles would have been less licentious. Beauty and song had been banished from the land, and like those who live in the slums, the Cavaliers, when once more free, became crude in their tastes and coarse in their habits. They loved bright colours as a coster-girl loves long feathers and glaring shades. Their recoil against an excess of religion made them blasphemous. In addition to this they had no occupation, no wars, no great events-nothing but play to fill their time.


And so they rioted in excess, not the least of their excesses being that of dress. Charles II. had brought the flowing wig to England, its thick curls straying over chest and back, and, with it, dainty combs for public When Cibber played Sir Fopling Flutter, his wig was so much admired that he had it carried to the foot-lights each evening in a sedan chair, from which it was handed to him that he might put it on his head. Wycherley, the dramatist, gave his name to sets of beautifully engraven tortoiseshell combs, with which the Beaux adjusted their curls while talking with the ladies, in much the same way as a man twirls his moustachios.

The ladies had accentuated the custom of wearing patches by bringing from France many strange designs, -" methinks the mourning coach and horses, all in black, and plying in their foreheads, stands ready harnessed to whirl them to Acheron." The Beau wore a broadbrimmed hat, surrounded with feathers, a falling collar of richest lace encircled his throat, his short cloak-carried or slung over his shoulders-as well as his doublet, was edged deep with wide gold lace. "Petticoat breeches" puffed beneath, ornamented with rows of ribbons above the knee, and deep lace ruffles below, while the shoes were tied with large bows of ribbon.

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