The film covers the life of 17th century poet, dramatist and, of course, libertine John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, who had a master's degree by 14 and died by the age of 33. He wrote love poems, dramas and scorn:
Were I - who to my cost already am
One of those strange, prodigious creatures, man -
A spirit free to choose for my own share
What sort of flesh and blood I pleased to wear,
I'd be a dog, a monkey, or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal,
Who is so proud of being rational...