1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Aaron Hill

Richard Savage, "The Friend. Addressed to To Aaron Hill, Esq." Savage, Miscellaneous Poems and Translations (1726) 126-28.



O lov'd Hillarius, thou by Heav'n design'd
To charm, to mend, and to excel Mankind!
To thee my Hopes, Fears, Joys, and Sorrows tend,
Thou Brother, Father, nearer yet! — Thou Friend!
Thou dearer far (Oh, what can equal thee?)
Than Int'rest, Kindred, Love, or Fame, to me.

The Rich, the Great, of envious Care complain,
I, from unenvy'd Want, a Triumph gain;
Kind are my Wrongs, I thence thy Friendship own!
What State cou'd bless, were I to thee unknown?
Oft thy Reproof has flush'd me o'er with Shame,
From thy rich Soul I caught Ideal Flame!
While shun'd, obscur'd; or thwarted and expos'd,
By Friends abandon'd, and by Foes enclos'd,
Thy guardian Counsel softens ev'ry Care,
To Ease charms Anguish, and to Hope Despair.

If meaner Views extort reluctant Lays,
I rob thy Virtues to give others Praise;
Think not to swell vain Minds my Theft's applied,
No — in thy Worth I'd paint a gen'rous Pride.
Fain wou'd I count thy wondrous Virtues o'er,
Aid me, ye Bards; with me the Theme explore!
With me Hillarius sing! — the Theme implies
Sweetness and Strength, A Mind serene and wise.
Mark him, ye Proud — Beneficent he lives,
Urges no Wrongs, is injur'd, and forgives;
Peerage he honours, when by Worth acquir'd;
Worth is by Worth in ev'ry Rank admir'd:
Peerage he scorns, when Titles Insult speak,
Proud to vain Pride, to honour'd Meekness meek.
In ev'ry Thought, in ev'ry Action, Great,
In Leisure active, and in Care sedate.
Nature, enobled, here delights to blend
Th' aspiring Bard and condescending Friend:
While some with cold, superior Looks, redress,
Relief seems Insult, and confirms Distress:
He, when he views the Soul with Wrongs besieg'd,
While warm he acts th' Obliger, seems th' Oblig'd.
That venal Bliss which others court, he flies,
That worthy Woe they shun, attracts his Eyes.
The humane Virtues his sweet Life compose,
The humane Frailties are alone his Foes.

Hillarius, ever lov'd, and ever kind,
Thou just, thou gen'rous, thou exalted Mind!
Thou, clear in Cares, can'st Fortune's Smiles outshine:
What wou'd'st thou not, were Wealth and Greatness thine?