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"Pirates of Silicon Valley" kept reminding me of another long poem by Wilmot -- not his best, but memorable -- to which I once referred in a discussion of nonverbal online communication:
When poet John Wilmot whipped off that tribute to Charles II's tiny brain and huge penis which ended: "I hate all kings and the thrones that they sit on / From the hector of France to the culley of Britain," he was banished from court.
Now imagine how much easier things would've been for him if he'd instead only written: "I hate all kings and the thrones that they sit on / From the hector of France to the culley of Britain. :-)"
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The Earl of Rochester gossips, November 1679
The lousiness of affairs in this place is such (forgive the unmannerly phrase! Expressions must descend to the nature of things expressed) 'tis not fit to entertain a private gentleman, much less one a public character, with the retail of them. The general heads under which this whole island may be considered are spies, beggars and rebels. The transpositions and mixtures of these make an agreeable variety: busy fools and cautious knaves are bred out of them and set off wonderfully, though of this latter sort we have fewer now than ever, hypocrisy being the only vice in decay amongst us. Few men here dissemble their being rascals and no woman disowns being a whore.
Mr. Oates was tried two days ago for buggery and cleared. The next day he brought his action to the King's Bench against his accuser, being attended by the Earl of Shaftesbury and other peers to the number of seven, for the honour of the Protestant cause.
I have sent you herewith a libel in which my own share is not the least. The King having perused it is no ways dissatisfied with his. The author is apparently Mr. Dryden, his patron my Lord Mulgrave, having a panegyric in the midst; upon which happened a handsome quarrel between his Lordship and Mrs. Buckley at the Duchess of Portsmouth's. She called him the hero of the libel and complimented him upon having made more cuckolds than any man alive, to which he answered she very well knew one he never made nor never cared to be employed in making. 'Rogue!' and 'Bitch!' ensued, till the King, taking his grandfather's character upon him, became the peace-maker.
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The Earl of Rochester ends a seduction, c. 1679
I am far from delighting in the grief I have given you by taking away the child; and you, who made it so absolutely necessary for me to do so, must take that excuse from me for all the ill nature of it. On the other side, pray be assured I love Betty so well that you need not apprehend any neglect from those I employ, and I hope very shortly to restore her to you a finer girl than ever. In the meantime you would do well to think of the advice I gave you, for how little show soever my prudence makes in my own affairs, in yours it will prove very successful if you please to follow it. And since discretion is the thing alone you are like to want, pray study to get it.
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