#1 - Preface
Some Passages of the Life and Death of the Right Honourable John, Earl of Rochester
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I believe that the good Bishop of Salisbury's account of the last days of poor young Rochester would, if carefully read, make more impression on the mind of a fast young man (supposing him not utterly wanting in conscience and brains) than a hundred sermons from the pulpit would effect.
Can anything, indeed, be sadder than that one so highly gifted with intellect, courage, and good looks as Wilmot Lord Rochester, should have left a name almost proverbial for all that is most dissipated and abandoned; and that a career which might have rivalled in the reign of Charles II. that of Philip Sydney in that of Elizabeth, should (owing probably not a little to the general license of the time) have terminated in early life by a disease brought on from drink and debauchery? It is in the hope that some of these persons, if they meet with and read this book, may have their eyes opened to the reckless folly of leading what is called 'a fast life’, that I have had these pages reprinted.
If objection be taken by the over-refined to the almost medical details recorded by Bishop Burnet, I can only say that I do not expect his work to be placed in the hands of young ladies. (Summary by Ronald Gower, Extracted from Preface)
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