1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Savage

Anonymous, Review of Savage, Poems (1805); Monthly Anthology and Boston Review 3 (April 1806) 215-16.



Perhaps no poet of equal pretensions is so little read as Richard Savage: many remember his misfortunes, but few mention his verses. Why it has so fallen out is difficult to say. Pope commended his muse and Johnson pronounced him a genius, and would suppose the suffrages of such men were a sure indication of his durable renown. But, if the Bastard be excepted, there is little now that he is recalled by beside the Epigram on Dennis and the Biography of his Friend. Among the wits of his day he was as brilliant and ragged as Apollo could wish, and, though his life was irregular, his muse was correct. Poor Savage! in the melancholy records of that description of gentlemen denominated bards, thy history is mournfully pre-eminent, and, though thy song may be neglected, thy errors will be remembered for a humiliation to genius.

This edition, enriched by Johnson's life of the author, is correctly put out of hand, but its typography is so diminutive, that it appears to have issued from the press of the Pigmies.