Rochester, John Wilmot, 2d earl of, 1647–80, English poet and courtier, b. Ditchley, Oxfordshire. Most notorious and dissolute of the Restoration rakes, he lost the favor of Charles II on several occasions because of his recklessness. His most celebrated poem is his Satyr Against Mankind (1675). Although his poetry is primarily characterized by its wit, its polish, and its licentiousness, an undercurrent of piety runs through much of his work. In the last years of his life, Rochester underwent a religious conversion.
See his Complete Poems, ed. by D. M. Vieth (1968); V. de S. Pinto, Enthusiast in Wit (1962); D. H. Griffin, Satires Against Man (1974); G. Greene, Lord Rochester's Monkey (1974).