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Buckingham George Villiers

Buckingham, George Villiers, second Duke of (1627-1688), after an education at Cambridge and a continental tour, threw in his lot with the Royal cause, and shared in its downfall, and the exciting adventures and hairbreadth escapes of Charles II. He was not without a touch of his father's hardihood and romance, for having lost his estates, which were given by Parliament to Lord Fairfax, he returned secretly to England and married that nobleman's daughter. With the king's return he received the reward of his loyalty and devotion, and became one of the most influential men in the country, doing to it and to the king about as much harm as he possibly could, more perhaps from want of principle and utter fickleness than from any badness of heart. That in common with the king and the rest of the court he was profligate, is, in his case and theirs, as much the fault of those who had driven the king and his friends to a wandering and shiftless life, and had made even the name of virtue hateful in England, as it was the fault of those whom a shiftless life of recklessness had driven into the adoption of a cynical philosophy which stopped at nothing in the gratification of its whims and desires. Buckingham's literary works were of considerable merit, though there was no love lost between him and Dryden, as witness The Rehearsal, and Dryden's portrait of Zimri in Absalom and Ahitophel.