1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Savage

William Henry Ireland, "Richard Savage" Neglected Genius (1812) 47-49.



On downy pinions love now wings his flight,
And leaves the muse absorb'd in mental night;
Mis'ry again assumes its blighting reign,
And yearning nature here appeals in vain;
Not baby innocence could hate controul,
And waken feeling in a mother's soul:
Obdurate Macclesfield, fell, ruthless dame,
Disgrace of woman, and thy sex's shame;
Thou parent void of each maternal thrill,
Thou mother rul'd by no parental will,
Thou mortal in the shape of womankind,
In heart a tygress, and the fiend in mind:—
What must I call thee? — by what title own
A wretch that stands on nature's page — alone?
Yet such the nameless creature was that prov'd
Parent of Savage, by the muses lov'd;
Savage, whose name the mother should have borne,
From whose fell bosom feeling's germ was torn;
Who, like the stern Eumenides of yore,
The blood-born furies, ray'd in snakes and gore,
Cou'd first disown her babe, the boon of Heav'n,
Then toil to rob that life herself had giv'n;
Cou'd hear the wand'ring youth in pity pine,
Claiming one tender thought, one look benign;
Cou'd view him feel a son's affection true,
See struggling anguish ev'ry thought subdue;
Yet, cold as marble, spurn great nature's charm,
And rear herself the homicidal arm;
With malice deadly, supplicate the throne
To close soft mercy's portal on her own.
Avaunt, dread thought, the sick'ning muse no more
Shall toil a mind demoniac to explore:
Aghast I contemplate the mental storm,
The task my hand refuses to perform;
Nerveless, my fingers now the pen resign,
Till mis'ry wakes anew the sorrowing nine.