Atheist, hedonist and man of many disguises, John Wilmor, Earl of Rochester, was undoubtedly the brightest star at the court of Charles II. Voltaire recognized in him 'the man of genius, the great poet,' but not all his critics have been as generous and his work has always attracted a varied response. Yet the wit, humanity and emotional complexity of his lyrics, together with his passionately honest social and literary satires, estabish Rochester as a major English poet.
The first edition of the complete works in definitive form contains verse-tragedy and prose-comedy, translations, panegryics and epigrams, as well as all the songs and satires attributed to Rochester. Frank H. Ellis has edited the text to bring out the richness of Rochester's language and cadence, and he provides notes, a glossary and a biographical dictionary.