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laid aside till the vigour of his imagination was about that time, but was too wise to publish, spent, and the effervescence of invention had and of which only some fragments have apsubsided; but soon gave way to some other de- peared, inserted by him in the “ Magazine" sign, which pleased by its novelty for awhile, after his retirement. and then was neglected like the former.
To despair was not, however, the character He was still in his usual exigencies, having of Savage; when one patronage failed, he had no certain support but the pension allowed him recourse to another. The prince was now exby the Queen, which, though it might have kept tremely popular, and had very liberally reward an exact economist from want, was very far edhe merit of some writers whom Mr. Savago from being sufficient for Mr. Savage, who had dia not think superior to himself; and therefore never been accustomed to dismiss any of his he resolved to address a poem to him. appetites without the gratification which they For this purpose he made choice of a subject solicited, and whom nothing but want of money which could regard only persons of the highest withheld from partaking of every pleasure that rank and greatest affluence, and which was fell within his view,
therefore proper for a poem intended to procure His conduct with regard to his pension was the patronage of a prince; and having retired very particular. No sooner haut he changed the for some time to Richmond, that he might pro. bill, than he vanished from the sight of all his secute his design in full tranquillity, without acquaintance, and lay for some time out of the the temptations of pleasure, or the solicitations reach of all the inquiries that friendship or cu- of creditors by which his meditations were in riosity could make after him. At length he ap- equal danger of being disconcerted, he produced peared again, pennyless as before, but never in- a poem “ On Public Spirit, with regard to formed even those whom he seemed to regard | Public Works." most, where he had been; nor was his retreat The plan of this poem is very extensive, and ever discovered.
comprises a multitude of topics, each of which This was his constant practice during the might furnish matter sufficient for a long perwhole time that he received the pension of the formance, and of which some have already emQueen : he regularly disappeared and returned. ployed more eminent writers; but as he was He, indeed, affirmed that he retired to study, perhaps not fully acquainted with the whole and that the money supported him in solitude extent of his own design, and was writing to for many months ; but his friends declared, that obtain a supply of wants too pressing to admit the short time in which it was spent sufficiently of long or accurate inquiries, he passes negliconfuted his own account of his conduct. gently over many public works, which, even in
His politeness and his wit still raised him his own opinion, deserved to be more elaborately friends, who were desirous of setting him at treated. length free from that indigence by which he But, though he may sometimes disappoint his had been hitherto oppressed ; and therefore so- reader by transient touches upon these subjects, licited Sir Robert Walpole in his favour with so which have often been considered, and therefore much earnestness that they obtained a promise naturally raise expectations, he must be allowed of the next place that should become vacant, amply to compensate his omissions, by expatiatnot exceeding two hundred pounds a year. This ing, in the conclusion of his work, upon a kind promise was made with an uncommon decla- of beneficence not yet celebrated by any eminent ration, “ that it was not the promise of a poet, though it now appears more susceptible of minister to a petitioner, but of a friend to his embellishments, more adapted to exalt the ideas, friend."
and affect the passions, than many of those Mr. Savage now concluded himself set at ease
which have hitherto been thought most worthy for ever, and, as he observes in a poem written of the ornaments of verse. The settlement of on that incident of his life, trusted and was colonies in uninhabited countries, the establishtrusted; but soon found that his confidence was ment of those in security whose misfortunes jll-grounded, and this friendly promise was not have made their own country no longer pleasinviolable. He spent a long time in solicita-ing or safe, the acquisition of, property without tions, and at last despaired and desisted. injury to any, the appropriation the waste
He did not indeed deny, that he had given and Inxuriant bounties of nature, and the enthe minister some reason to believe that he joyment of those gifts which Heaven has scatshould not strengthen his own interest by ad-tered upon the regions uncultivated and unocvancing him ; for he had taken care to distin- cupied, cannot be considered without giving riso guish himself in coffee-houses as an advocate for to a great number of pleasing ideas, and be the ministry of the last years of Queen Anne, wildering the imagination in delightful progand was always ready to justify the conduct, pects; and, therefore, whatever speculations and exalt the character of Lord Bolingbroke, they may produce in those who have confined whom he mentions with great regard in an themselves to political studies, naturally fixed “ Epistle upon Authors," which he wrote the attention, and excited the applause of a
poet. The politician, when he considers men ! power and the familiarity of greatness; an 1, driven into other countries for shelter, and accidentally mentioning this passage to one of obliged to retire to forests and deserts, and his friends, declared, that in his opinion all the pass their lives, and fix their posterity, in the virtue of mankind was comprehended in that remotest corners of the world, to avoid those state. hardships which they suffer or fear in their na- In describing villas and gardens he did not tive place, may very properly inquire, why the omit to condemn that absurd custom which legislature does not provide a remedy for these prevails among the English, of permitting sermiseries, rather than encourage an escape from vants to receive money from strangers for tho them. He may conclude that the fight of entertainment that they receive, and therefore every honest man is a loss to the community ; inserted in his poem these lines : that those who are unhappy without guilt ought to be relieved; and the life which is overbur- But what the flowering pride of gardens rare, dened by accidental calamities set at ease by However royal, or however fair, the care of the public; and that those who have If gates, which to access should still give way, by misconduct forfeited their claim to favour, Ope but, like Peter's paradise, for pay; ought rather to be made useful to the society And each new walk must a new tax demand ;
If perquisited varlets frequent stand, which they have injured, than be driven from What foreign eye but with contempt surveys ? it. But the poet is employed in a more pleas- What muse shall from oblivion snatch their praise ! ing undertaking than that of proposing laws which, however just or expedient, will never But before the publication of his performance be made; or endeavouring to reduce to rational he recollected that the Queen allowed her garschemes of government societies which were den and cave at Richmond to be shown for formed by chance, and are conducted by the money; and that she so openly countenanced the private passions of those who preside in them. practice, that she had bestowed the privilege of He guides the unhappy fugitive, from want showing them as a place of profit on a man, And persecution, to plenty, quiet and security, whose merit she valued herself upon rewarding, and seats himself in scenes of peaceful solitude, though she gave him only the liberty of disgracand undisturbed peace.
ing his country. Savage has not forgotten, ámidst the pleasing He therefore thought, with more prudence centiments which this prospect of retirement sug- than was often exerted by him, that the publigested to him, to censure those crimes which have cation of these lines might be officiously reprebeen generally committed by the discoverers of sented as an insult upon the Queen, to whom new regions, and to expose the enormous wicked- he owed his life and his subsistence; and that ness of making war upon barbarous nations be- the propriety of his observation would be no cause they cannot resist, and of invading countries security against the censures which the unsea. because they are fruitful; of extending naviga- sonableness of it might draw upon him : he tion only to propagate vice, and of visiting dis- therefore suppressed the passage in the first editant lands only to lay them waste. He has tion, but after the Queen's death thought the asserted the natural equality of mankind, and same caution no longer necessary, and restored endeavoured to suppress that pride which in- it to the proper place. clines men to imagine, that right is the conse- The poem was, therefore, published without quence of power.
any political faults, and inscribed to the Prince; His description of the various miseries which, but Mr. Savage, having no friend upon whom force men to seek for refuge in distant countries, he couid prevail to present it to him, had no affords another instance of his proficiency in other method of attracting his observation than the important and extensive study of human the publication of frequent advertisements, and life; and the tenderness with which he recounts therefore received no reward from his patron, them, another proof of his humanity and bene- however generous on other occasions. volence.
This disappointment he never mentioned It is observable that the close of this poem without indignation, being by some means or discovers a change which experience had made other confident that the Prince was not ignoin Mr. Savage's opinions. In a poem written rant of his address to him; and insinuated, by him in his youth, and published in his Mis- that if any advances in popularity could have cellanies, he declares his contempt of the con- been made by distinguishing him, he had not tracted views and narrow prospects of the mid- written without notice, or without reward. dle state of life, and declares his resolution ei- He was once inclined to have presented his ther to tower like the cedar, or be trampled like poem in person, and sent to the printer for a the shrub; but in this poem, though addressed copy with that design ; but either his opinion to a prince, he mentions this state of life, as changed, or his resolution deserted him, and he comprising those who ought most to attract re- continued to resent neglect without attempting gard, those who'merit most the confidence of to force himself into regard.
Nor was the public much more favourable | bave assisted the statesman, whose ideas of vir. than his patron; for only seventy, two were tue might have enlightened the moralist, whoso Bold, though the performance was much com- eloquence might have influenced senates, and mended by some whose judgment in that kind whose delicacy might have polished courts. of writing is generally allowed. But Savage It cannot but be imagined that such necessieasily reconciled himself to mankind, without ties might sometimes force him upon disreputinputing any defect to his work, by observing able practices ; and it is probable that these that his poem was unluckily published two days lines in “ The Wanderer" were occasioned by after the prorogation of the parliament, and by his reflections on his conduct: consequence at a time when all those who could be expected to regard it were in the hurry of Though misery leads to happiñess, and truth, preparing for their departure, or engaged in Unequal to the load this languid youth, taking leave of others upon their dismission (o, let pone censure, if, untried by grief,
If, amidst wo, untempted by reljef) from public affairs.
He stoop'd reluctant to low arts of shame, It must be however allowed, in justification which then, even then, he scorn'd, and blush'd to of the public, that this performance is not the most excellent of Mr. Savage's works; and that, though it cannot be denied to contain Whoever was acquainted with him was cermany striking sentiments, majestic lines, and tain to be solicited for small sums, which the just observations, it is in general not sufficiently frequency of the request made in time considerpolished in the language, or enlivened in the able: and he was therefore quickly shunned by Imagery, or digested in the plan.
those who were become familiar enough to be Thus his poem contributed nothing to the al trusted with his necessities; but his rambling leviation of his poverty, which was such as very manner of life, and constant appearance at few could have supported with equal patience; houses of public resort, always procured him a but to which it must likewise be confessed, that new succession of friends, whose kindness had few would have been exposed who received not been exhausted by repeated requests; so punctually fifty pounds a year; a salary, which, that he was seldom absolutely without rew though by no means equal to the demands of sources, but had in his utmost exigences this vanity and luxury, is yet found sufficient to comfort, that he always imagined himself sure support families above want, and was undoubt of speedy relief. edly more than the necessities of life require. It was observed, that he always asked favours
But no sooner had be received his pension, of this kind without the least submission or than he withdrew to his darling privacy, from apparent consciousness of dependance, and that which he returned in a short time to his former he did not seem to look upon a compliance with distress, and for some part of the year generally his request as an obligation that deserved any lived by chance, eating only when he was in extraordinary acknowledgments; but a refusal vited to the tables of his acquaintances, from was resented by him as an affront, or comwhich the meanness of his dress often excluded plained of as an injury; nor did he readily rehim, when the politeness and variety of bis concile himself to those who either denied to conversation would have been thought a suf- lend, or gave him afterwards any intimation ficient recompence for his entertainment. that they expected to be repaid.
He lodged as much by accident as be dined, He was sometimes so far compassioned by and passed the night sometimes in mean houses, those who knew both his merit and distresses, which are set open at night to any casual wan- that they received him into their families, but derers, sometimes in cellars among the riot and they soon discovered him to be a very incommofilth of the meanest and most profligate of the dious inmate; for, being always accustomed to rabble: and sometimes, when he had not money an irregular manner of life, he could not conto support even the expenses of these receptacles, fine himself to any stated hours, or pay any re walked about the streets till he was weary, and gard to the rules of a family, but would prolong lay down in the summer upon a bulk, or in the his conversation till midnight; without considerwinter, with his associates in poverty, among ing that business might require his friend's apthe ashes of a glass-house.
plication in the morning; and, when he had In this manner were passed those days and persuaded himself to retire to bed, was not those nights which nature had enabled him to without equal difficulty called up to dinner: ithave employed in elevated speculations, useful was therefore impossible to pay him any disstudies, or pleasing conversation. On a bulk, tinetion without the entire subversion of all in a cellar, or in a glass-house, among thieves economy; a kind of establishment which, and beggars, was to be found the Author of wherever he went, he always appeared ambi• The Wanderer," the man of exalted senti- tious to overthrow. ments, extensive views, and curious observa- It must, therefore, be acknowledged, in justitions: the man whose remarks on life might | fication of mankind, that it was not always by
the negligence or coldness of his friends that mies in the different classes of mankind. Those Savage was distressed, but because it was in who thought themselves raised above him by reality very difficult to preserve him long in a the advantages of riches, hated him because they state of ease. To supply him with money was found no protection from the petulance of his a hopeless attempt; for no sooner did he see wit. Those who were esteemed for their write himself master of a sum sufficient to set him ings feared him as a critic, and maligned bim free from care for a day, than he became profuse as a rival ; and almost all the smaller wits were and luxurious. When once he had entered a his professed enemies. tavern, or engaged in a scheme of pleasure, he Among these Mr. Miller so far indulged his never retired till want of money obliged him to resentment as to introduce him in a farce, and some new expedient. If he was entertained in direct him to be personated on the stage, in a a family, nothing was any longer to be regarded dress like that which he then wore; a mean inthere but amusements and jollity; wherever sult, which only insinuated that Savage had but Savage entered, he immediately expected that one coat, and which was therefore despised by order and business should fly before him, that him rather than resented; for, though he wrote all should thenceforward be left to hazard, and a lampoon against Miller, he never printed it. that no dull principle of domestic management and as no other person ought to prosecute that should be opposed to his inclination, or intrude revenge from which the person who was injured upon his gayety. New
desisted, I shall not preserve what Mr. Savage His distresses, however, afflictive, never de suppressed; of which the publication would jected him; in his lowest state he wanted not indeed have been a punishment too severe for so spirit to assert the natural dignity of wit, and impotent an assault. was always ready to repress that insolence which The great hardships of poverty were to Sathe superiority of fortune incited, and to tram- vage not the want of lodging or of food, but the ple on that reputation which rose upon any neglect and contempt which it drew upon him other basis than that of merit; he never ad- He complained that, as his affairs grew despermitted any gross familiarities, or submitted to ate, he found his reputation for capacity visibly be treated otherwise than as an equal. Once, decline ; that his opinion in questions of critiwhen he was without lodging, meat, or clothes, cism' was no longer regarded, when bis coat was one of his friends, a man indeed not remarkable out of fashion; and that those who, in the infor moderation in his prosperity, left a message, terval of his prosperity, were always encouragthat he desired to see him about nine in the ing him to great undertakings encomiums on morning., Savage knew that his intention was his genius and assurances of success, now reto assist him ; but was very much disgusted ceived any mention of his design with coldness, that he should presume to prescribe the hour of thought that the subjects on which he proposed his attendance, and, I believe, refused to visit to write were very difficult, and were ready to him, and rejected his kindness.
inform him, that the event of a poem was unThe same invincible temper, whether firmness certain, that an author ought to employ much or obstinacy, appeared in his conduct to the time in the consideration of his plan, and not Lord Tyrconnel, from whom he very frequently presume to sit down to write in confidence of demanded, that the allowance which was once a few cursory ideas, and a superficial' knowpaid him should be restored, but with whom ledge; difficulties were started on all sides, and he never appeared to entertain for a moment he was no longer qualified for any performance the thought of soliciting a reconciliation, and but “ The Volunteer Laureat." whom he treated at once with all the haughti- Yet even this kind of contempt never deness of superiority, and all the bitterness of re pressed him; for he always preserved a steady sentment. He wrote to bim, not in a style of confidence in his own capacity, and believed supplication or respect, but of reproach, menace, nothing above his reach which he should at any and contempt; and appeared determined, if he time earnestly endeavour to attain. He formed ever regained his allowance, to hold it only by schemes of the same kind with regard to know the right of conquest.
ledge and to fortune, and flattering himself with As many more can discover that a man is , advances to be made in science, as with riches, richer than that he is wiser than themselves, su- to be enjoyed in some distant period of his life. periority of understanding is not so readily ac- For the acquisition of knowledge he was indeed knowledged as that of fortune; nor is that far better qualified than for that of riches ; for haughtiness which the consciousness of great he was naturally inquisitive, and desirous of Abilities incites borne with the same submission the conversation of those from whom any inas the tyranny of affluence; and therefore Sa- formation was to be obtained, but by no means vage, by asserting his claim to deference and re- solicitous to improve those opportunities that gard, and by treating those with contempt were sometimes offered of raising his fortune; whom better fortune animated to rebel against and he was remarkably retentive of his ideas, him, did not fail to raise a great number of ene- which, when once he was in possession of them, rarely forsook him-a quality which part in the fear of prosecutions from his credi could never be communicated to his money. tors, and consequently skulking in obscure parts
While he was thus wearing out his life in ex- of the town, of which he was no stranger to pectation that the Queen would some time re- the remotest corners. But wherever he came collect her promise, he had recourse to the usual his address secured him friends, whom his nepractice of writers, and published proposals for cessities soon alienated : so that he had, perhaps, printing his works by subscription, to which he a more numerous acquaintance than any man was encouraged by the success of many who ever before attained, there being scarcely any had not a better right to the favour of the person eminent on any account to whom he public; but, whatever was the reason, he did was not known, or whose character he was not not find the world equally inclined to favour in some degree able to delineate. him; and he observed, with some discontent, To the acquisition of this extensive acquainthat, though he offered his works at half-a-tarice every circumstance of his life contributed. guinea, he was able to procure but a small num- He excelled in the arts of conversation, and ber in comparison with those who subscribed therefore willingly practised them. He had twice as much to Duck.
seldom any home, or even a lodging in which Nor was it without indignation that he saw he could be private ; and therefore was driven his proposals neglected by the Queen, who pa- into public-houses for the common conveniences tronized Mr. Duck's with uncommon ardour, of life and supports of nature. He was always and incited a competition among those who at- ready to comply with every invitation, having no tended the court, who should most promote his employment to withhold him, and often no money interest, and who should first offer a subscrip- to provide for himself; and by dining with one tion. This was a distinction to which Mr. company, he never failed of obtaining an introSavage made no scruple of asserting, that his duction into another. birth, his misfortunes, and his genius, gave a Thus dissipated was his life, and thus casual fairer title than could be pleaded by him on his subsistence; yet did not the distraction of whom it was conferred.
his views hinder him from reflection, nor the Savage's applications were, however, not uni- uncertainty of his condition depress his gayety. versally unsuccessful; for some of the nobility When he had wandered about without any forcountenanced his design, encouraged his propo. tunate adventure by which he was led into a sals, and subscribed with great liberality. He tavern, he sometimes retired into the fields, and related of the Duke of Chandos particularly, was able to employ his mind in study, or amuse that, upon receiving his proposals, he sent bim it with pleasing imaginations; and seldom apten guineas.
peared to be melancholy, but when some sudden But the money which his subscriptions af- misfortune had fallen upon him; and even then forded him was not less volatile than that which in a few moments he would disentangle himself he received from his other schemes: whenever from his perplexity, adopt the subject of cona subscription was paid him, he went to a ta- versation, and apply his mind wholly to the vern; and, as money so collected is necessarily objects that others presented to it. This life, received in small sums, he was never able to unhappy as it may be already imagined, was send his poems to the press, but for many years yet embittered, in 1738, with new calamities. continued his solicitation, and squandered what. The death of the Queen deprived him of all the ever he obtained.
prospects of preferment with which he so long This project of printing his works was fre- entertained his imagination; and, as Sir Robert quently revived; and as his proposals grew ob- Walpole had before given him reason to besolete, new ones were printed with fresher lieve that he never intended the performance dates. To form schemes for the publication, of his promise, he was now abandoned again was one of his favourite amusements; nor was to fortune. he ever more at ease than when, with any friend He was, however, at that time, supported by who readily fell in with his schemes, he was a friend; and as it was not his custom to look adjusting the print, forming the advertisements, out for distant calamities, or to feel any other and regulating the dispersion of his new edi- pain than that which forced itself upon his tion, which he really intended some time to senses, he was not much afflicted at his loss, publish, and which, as long as experience had and perhaps comforted himself that his pension shown him the impossibility of printing the vo- would be now continued without the annual lume together, he at last determined to divide tribute of a panegyric. into weekly or monthly numbers, that the pro- Another expectation contributed likewise to tits of the first might supply the expenses of support him: he had taken the resolution to
write a second tragedy upon the story of Sir 'Thus he spent his time in mean expedients Thomas Overbury, in which he preserved a and tormenting suspense, living for the greatest ! few lines of his former play, but made a total