Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 48
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Let it no name of Planets tell,
Fixt Stars, or Constellations;
For I am no Sir Sydrophell,
Nor none of his Relations. (1. 9-16)
He wants "nought to do" with war, nor does he want his cup to display images of "planets," "fixt
stars, or Constellations" ("Drinking" 1. 10, 13, 14-15). The narrator does not want to associate
himself with "Sir Sydrofel/ [Or any] of his Relations" (1. 15, 16). Stanzas three and four contain
engravings "by which others might idealize war or the stars," Blair contends (Blair 128)-hence
the references to Mastrich, Yarmouth Leager, and Sir Sydrophell, an astrologer satirized in
Samuel Butler's Hudibras (Tillotson n. 11, 12, and 15). The narrator, however, requests that his
cup contain designs that portray what he idealizes. He desires a more romantic-in terms of love
and in terms of nature-homosocial and homosexual interaction with men, and this preference
manifests itself in the images displayed on the glass. Instead of settings of men engaging in
intellectual activities like studying the positions of the stars or fighting in wars, he wants the cup
to depict a more idyllic setting in which two men "their limbs in Amorous folds intwine"
("Drinking" 1. 19). In other words, the poetic persona wants this customized cup to represent
libertine friendships rather than sexual liaisons between men and women.
However, the narrator does not leave the reader with a mere celebration of male
homosexual interaction; he expresses a bias towards interacting with libertine boys and men over
interacting with women. The poetic persona spends the majority of the poem describing in
specific detail the adornments of the drinking cup, allowing only cursory attention to women in
the concluding line of the poem. Though John Patterson argues that the "homosexuality that is
emphasized... is the physical rather than the emotional experience of homosexuality," he does
not consider the complete fifth stanza in his interpretation of the picture depicted on the cup
(Patterson 11). The poetic persona instructs Vulcan to carve the following onto the cup:
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/m1/54/?q=rochester: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .