1735 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Savage

Wiltshire, "To the Reverend Descendant of John Bunyan" Gentleman's Magazine 5 (May 1735) 268.



Transform'd by thoughtless rage, and midnight wine,
From malice free, and push'd without design,
In equal brawl, if Savage lunge'd a thrust,
And brought the youth a victim to the dust,
So strong the hand of accident appears,
The royal hand from guilt and vengeance clears.

Instead of wasting "all thy future years,"
Savage, "in prayer and vain repentant tears,"
Exert thy pen to mend a vicious age,
To curb the priest, and sink his high-church rage;
To shew what frauds the holy vestments hide,
The nests of av'rice, lust, and pedant pride:
Then change the scene, let merit brightly shine,
And round the patriot twist the wreath divine;
The heav'nly guide deliver down to fame,
In well-tun'd lays transmit a Foster's name;
Touch ev'ry passion with harmonious art,
Exalt the genius, and correct the heart;
Thus future times, shall royal grace extoll,
Thus polish'd lines thy present fame enroll.

No more society her loss bemoans,
Thus Savage gloriously that loss bemoans,
And Sinclair's ghost looks smiling from his sphere
To see his life delight us, and inform us, here.

But grant—
Unaw'd by reason's, and religion's laws,
The deed inhuman, and unjust the cause,
Maliciously, that Savage plunge'd the steel,
And made the youth its shining veng'ance feel;
My soul abhors the act, the man detests;
But more the bigotry, in priestly breasts.
Not half so fierce, his midnight sword, or rage,
As Codex zeal, or W—bst—r's high church page.
The mitred Fury, and the cassock'd imp,
To hell an agent, and to Rome a pimp,
Bloated with priestly rage, and holy spite,
Consign to flames the wretch, that thinks not right,
In all the fury of hell's regents rise
Shake off humanity, and social ties.

Savage! a homicide of pigmy size,
Codex and W—bst—r to Goliahs rise,
Such priestly venom in their bosoms roll,
They'd burn the body, and then damn the soul.