1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Savage

John Dyer, "To Richard Savage, Son of the late Earl Rivers" Richard Savage, Miscellaneous Poems and Translations (1726) 291-93.



Sink not, my Friend, beneath Misfortune's Weight,
Pleas'd to be found intrinsically Great.
Shame on the Dull, who think the Soul looks less,
Because the Body wants a glitt'ring Dress.
It is the Mind's for-ever bright Attire,
The Mind's Embroid'ry, that the Wise admire!
That which looks rich to the gross Vulgar Eyes,
Is the Fop's Tinsel, which the Grave despise.
Wealth dims the Eyes of Crowds, and while they gaze,
The Coxcomb's ne'er discover'd in the Blaze!
As Few the Vices of the Wealthy see,
So Vertues are conceal'd by Poverty.

Earl Rivers! — In that Name how would'st thou shine?
Thy Verse, how sweet! thy Fancy, how divine!
Criticks and Bards, wou'd, by thy Worth, be aw'd,
And All wou'd think it Merit to applaud.
But thou hast nought to please the vulgar Eye,
No Title hast, nor what might Titles buy.
Thou wilt small Praise, but much Ill-nature find,
Clear to thy Errors, to thy Beauties blind;
And if, tho' few, they any Faults can see,
How meanly bitter will cold Censure be?
But since we all, the wisest of us, err,
Sure, 'tis the greatest Fault to be severe.

A few, however, yet expect to find,
Among the misty Millions of Mankind,
Who proudly stoop to aid an injur'd Cause,
And o'er the sneer of Coxcombs force Applause.
Who, with felt Pleasure, see fair Virtue rise,
And lift her upward to the beck'ning Prize!
Or mark her lab'ring in the modest Breast,
And honour her the more, the more deprest.

Thee, Savage, These (the justly Great!) admire,
Thee, quick'ning Judgment's Phlegm with Fancy's Fire!
Thee, slow to censure, earnest to commend,
An able Critick, but a willing Friend.