Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 43
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When he compares himself to "some brave Admiral, in former War" watching a battle from afar
instead of from the midst of the fray as he did in his youth, he ends the comparison speaking
positively about both his youth and his old age ("Maim'd" 1. 1). Though Kathleen Blair asserts
that in the poem, "the libertine life is shown to be worthy of condemnation, yet there is no sense
of remorse," the narrator does not condemn libertinism and reason or youth and old age (Blair
129). Since the debauchee initially has no remorse about his past, it is impossible for him to
regret or condemn the crimes he committed and the debauchery in which he engaged during his
youth. In other words, the debauchee cannot harbor any feelings of remorse about a past that he
reflects upon with such affective nostalgia. Most notably, the narrator considers his libertine
youth as a soldier and the accomplishments accompanying it as his "past delight" and his old age
as his "present glory"-hardly phrases that describe past or current eras the debauchee wishes to
forget or refuses to acknowledge ("Maim'd" 1.1, 8). These phrases foreshadow his concluding
commentary about impotence in which he accepts his impotence and old age. The poetic
persona, then, begins and ends the poem with celebratory encomiums about living according to
libertinism and obeying the edicts of reason.
As an older man, and thus presumably "impotent" and a follower of reason, the
debauchee expresses no guilt about his actions as a young libertine, nor does he completely
transform from a libertine to a follower of reason in his old age. He reminisces about specific
events in his past and tells his young libertine audience the following:
I'll tell of Whores Attacqu'd, their Lords at home,
Bawds Quarters beaten up, and Fortress won,
Windows demolisht, Watches overcome,
And handsome ills, by my contrivance done.
Nor shall our Love-fits Cloris be forgot,
When each the well-look'd Link-Boy, strove t' enjoy
Here’s what’s next.
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/49/?q=rochester: accessed February 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .