Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 46
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libertine and a follower of right reason (1. 48). Donaldson interprets impotence as "[having] its
'pains,' but also bring[ing] its pleasures and excitements" (Donaldson 32). The debauchee,
instead of resigning himself to living without enjoyment-conceivably in solitude due to his
physical impotence-and forsaking libertinism in the process, he looks forward to recounting his
adventures with young libertines he befriends in the future and using his newly acquired wisdom.
Rather than allowing impotence to hinder him from enjoying life, he sees it as a "source of
strength" and looks forward to living through reflections about his past and vicariously through
the libertine adventures the young men will eventually recount to him (Silverman 210).
Friendship and Libertinism in "Upon His Drinking A Bowl"
Rochester, in addition to writing about libertine sexuality and impotence, writes about
libertines and their views regarding male friendship. The libertines in his poetry engage in
homosocial activities with fellow libertines, which theoretically makes them model libertines
young, affluent men who rebel against social institutions and value male friendship more than
romantic relationships with women. In "Upon His Drinking a Bowl," the narrator exhibits
characteristics of the ideal libertine friendship in his preferring participation in homosocial
activities over participation in heterosocial and heterosexual activities. However, his return to
reason and institutional authority transforms his portrayal of himself from a typical libertine to a
self-contradictory libertine. Moreover, the poem as a whole, including the seemingly
contradictory concluding line, exemplifies the idea of libertine self-contradiction, especially in
terms of constantly changing the definition of "libertine" to accommodate personal agendas.
The ideals of friendship that the poetic persona upholds include making homosocial
friendships with men take precedence over romantic relationships and casual liaisons with
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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/m1/52/?q=rochester: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .