Then old age and experience, hand in hand,  Lead him to death, and make him understand, After a search so painful and so long, That all his life he has been in the wrong. His wisdom did his happiness destroy, Aiming to know that world he should enjoy. And wit was his vain, frivolous pretense  Of pleasing others at his own expense.
Rochester's Satyr and the Theriophilic Paradox. The son of a loyal supporter of Charles II, he is also figured in the drama of his time as the quintessential Restoration rake. Rochester's Satyr against Reason and Mankind is a development and explication of what has come to be known as the theriophilic paradox, the notion that while the human being occupies a higher rung in the universal hierarchy than the beast, as indicated by human power over the animal world, human behaviour justifies the claim that human morality is on a lower level than that of the beasts.
The paradoxical nature of man's place in the broader hierarchy is also treated with in Rochester's Upon Nothing. In his discussion of theriophilic currents in seventeenth-century French thought George Boas locates the theoretical basis of theriophily in the claim that animals are in some way more "natural" than man, and therefore superior.
Theriophilists are challenged, of course, to justify this claim in the face of the counterargument that beasts, lacking reason, i. There may be, in other words, a theriophilic "Intentional Fallacy.
Some seventeenth-century theriophilists replied that bestial lack of reason was not a curse, while others denied that animals lack reason. The Primitivists [in 17th and 18th century France] were men who looked to their pre-civilized fellows as exemplars of human conduct.
Some of these exemplary people were held to have lived in the Golden Age, but others--even in pagan times--were held to be extant in outlying districts of the globe. The Scythians and the Hyperboreans sometimes the Aethiopians were the noble savages of the Ancients.
After the period of exploration set in and the American Indian was discovered, the inhabitants of the new world replaced the Scythians and Hyperboreans in the affections of the Primitivists. But at the same time some of their number, for one reason or another, turned their admiring glances below man and found the true models in the animals.
Reports of voyages to so-called "newly-discovered" parts of Asia, Africa and the New World, including depictions of unfamiliar flora, fauna, geological phenomena, climate and societies, led some seventeenth-century writers not only to rework what is now called Eurocentricity, but to rethink the assumed centrality of the human.
Liminal figures such as Rochester, born during the Civil War and coming of age during the Restoration, were conscious of living in a period characterized by sweeping change.
Rochester, according to Christopher Hill, "was unique among poets in challenging the Christian assumptions of his society. Man is alone in an irrational world. Our fallible reason is all we have to impose a limited coherence on an incoherent universe, to come to terms with the insoluble absurdity" David Farley-Hills has even suggested that Rochester may usefully be viewed as one of the first poets of the absurd; and indeed, in Rochester's positioning of the poet in the role of clown, as well as in his Satyr's "extraordinary exploration of a world without God, in which man is forced to impose his own limited coherence on an incoherent world,"there is something familiarly, yet uncomfortably, modern.
Most Christians in seventeenth-century England do not seem to have seriously doubted that one of the reasons for Satan's decision to rebel against God was his unwillingness to accept a lower place in what had been a fixed hierarchy in which the angels, headed by Satan himself, occupied an honorable position, second only to that of the Father.
When God decided to beget a divine, yet human son who would occupy a rung above the angels, he changed, complicated and irrevocably confused the hierarchy.
As told in Paradise Lost, when the rebel angels are defeated and sent howling into outer darkness the Father decides on the constitution of a new set of creatures, human and nonhuman, who will inhabit the new world--the earth--being prepared to receive them.
Not only is the strict hierarchy of heaven changed by the insertion of this new element; its previously clear, linear structure is further blurred by the Father's decision to clothe his Son in human form.
Concern about man's place in the hierarchy pertained not only to Satan. Tillyard then details the problematics of what he terms the "great commonplace": Man's rank between angel and animal, involving as it does the expectation that the human will adopt the morality of the divine while bearing the mortality--the senses and impulses--of the animal is a challenge to the human mind's ability to interpret and make sense of seeming incongruity.
In the Hebrew Bible nonhuman animals are generally ranked below the humans with whom they share the earth. Roy Flannagan suggests that animals' appetites serve to teach human beings "what to reject in ourselves as base motives [.
The entrance of sin into the world spreads the distance between the hierarchies. It also increases the distance between humans and God, making communication more difficult.
Sin creates enmity between humans and animals, and it makes the naturally subordinate into inferiors" How, then, can a claim for animals' superiority be sustained?
In his Satyr against Reason and Mankind, Rochester, according to Harold Love, explores "alternatives to the lampoon ethos,"  and while "both more and less than a satire," the poem "might be more usefully described by the Popean, or, rather, Warburtonian, term 'moral essay'" "Rochester and Traditions" “A Satire Against Mankind,” sometimes called “A Satire Against Reason and Mankind” or simply “Satire,” is one of John Wilmot, earl of Rochester’s best-known poems.
A Satyr against Reason and Mankind By John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester Edited and annotated by Jack Lynch. Were I (who to my cost already am One of those strange, prodigious 1 creatures, man) A spirit free to choose, for my own share What case of flesh and blood I pleased to wear.
Satyr (91; 7). Citations of Rochester's poems are to The Poems of John Wilmot Earl of Rochester, ed. Keith Walker. Citations are of page and line number/s. Walker entitles Rochester's most discussed poem Satyr; it is commonly known, however, as A Satyr against Reason and Mankind.
2. Satyr Against Mankind by John Wilmot (Lord Rochester). The text (as well as the material in the notes) has been supplied by Professor David M. Vieth who says: "Rochester evidently composed this satire, his best-known poem, about ; it is mentioned in a letter dated 23 March /6, and a single manuscript text assigns it to Analysis of Rochesters A Satire against Mankind.
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Download. Analysis of Rochesters A Satire against Mankind. Uploaded by. (WORD COUNT ) Analysis of Rochester’s (John Wilmot 2 nd Earl of. Analysis of Rochester's A Satyr Against Mankind Essay - Analysis of Rochester's A Satyr Against Mankind Although John Wilmot, better known as the Earl of Rochester, wrote "A Satyr Against Mankind" in , his ideas are still relevant over three centuries later.