'I abhorr what I Soe long lov'd': An Exploration of Rochester's 'death bed repentance'

Fisher, Nicholas
October 2010
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2010, Vol. 25 Issue 2, p323
Academic Journal
The accounts by Gilbert Burnet and Robert Parsons of the earl of Rochester's spectacular 'death bed repentance' provided a staple of the popular devotional diet for a century after the poet's death. This paper explores the context and validity of Rochester's volte face with reference to his upbringing, the contemporary political and religious background, his correspondence and poetry, and the observations of Burnet and Parsons. It concludes that while Rochester's action had a significant long-term impact on the Church, the earlier decline of the Wits as a force in Government meant that the political ramifications were minimal.


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