Diary of the Plague Year: Day 23 7 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-80)

John Wilmot


To the Postboy


Son of a whore, God damn you, can you tell
A peerless peer the readiest way to Hell?
I’ve outswilled Bacchus, sworn of my own make
Oaths would fright Furies and make Pluto quake.
I’ve swived more whores more ways than Sodom’s walls
E’er knew, or the college of Rome’s cardinals.
Witness heroic scars, look here, ne’er go.
Cerecloths and ulcers from top to toe.
Frighted at my own mischiefs I have fled
And bravely left my life’s defender dead,
Broke houses to break chastity, and dyed
That floor with murder which my lust denied.
Pox on’t, why do I speak of these poor things?
I have blasphemed my God and libelled kings.
The readiest way to Hell? Come quick, ne’er stir.


BOY:                    The readiest way, my lord, ‘s by Rochester


John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Selected Works

Penguin Classics