chapter  44
2 Pages

DAVID HUME on Rochester 1757

Most of the celebrated writers of this age remain monuments of genius, perverted by indecency and bad taste. [Hume discusses Dryden here before turning to Rochester.] The very name of Rochester is offensive to modern ears; yet does his poetry discover such energy of style and such poignancy of satyre, as give ground to imagine what so fine a genius, had he fallen in a more happy age and followed better models, was capable of producing. The ancient satyrists often used great liberty in their expressions; but their freedom no more resembles the licence of Rochester than the nakedness of an Indian does that of a common prostitute.