1742 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Savage

William Saunders, "On Richard Savage, Esq. Son of the late Earl Rivers" Gentleman's Magazine 12 (November 1741) 597.



While the lov'd muse, with various fancy fraught,
To plan some recent theme employs my thought;
While o'er the verdant meads, or vocal hills,
Meandring brooks, or softly-purling rills;
Or subjects more sublime, far loftier things,
The acts of heroes, or the praise of kings
Alternate court the string, and claim the lay—
Methought — I heard the tuneful sisters say,
No longer doubt! — no king, nor purling stream,
But friendship ever sacred be the theme,
A friendship, which from worth derives its fire,
Which poesy excites, and we inspire.
This, Savage justly claims, (whose well-tun'd lays
Our darling son endures, and stoops to praise!)
Best-natur'd bard! still ready to commend,
And aid the flights of each poetick friend;
Who void of envy loves each laurel'd name,
Well-pleas'd that others brighten into fame,
Best-pleas'd when wide-extending rumours tell,
That these come near, and those, his works, excell;
Pleasing associate! still with winning ease
He studies every method how to please,
Complies with each proposal, — this! — or that!
With time-beguiling cards, or harmless chat;
Or moralizes — o'er the sprightly bowl,
The feast of reason, and the flow of soul:
Quells the deep sigh, conceals the pungent pain,
Which less philosophy cou'd not restrain;
Fearful, of woes unnumber'd one t' impart,
To ease his own, and grieve another's heart;
For errors past, still ready to attone,
Forgive another's, and repent his own.
Even to forget, forgive a mother's hate!
And patient hear the rudest shocks of fate:
Can praise Tyrconnel, Orford still revere,
Nor think on CAROLINE — without a tear.

To grateful strains then instant tune the string,
And sing his worth — who taught thee how to sing.
Chearful I snatch the lyre — the limpid stream,
To venal bards I leave these meaner things,
To sing of titles, — statesmen — heroes — kings!
My friend far more resplendent honours grace,
Virtues far more illustrious than his race!
'Tis mine deserted merit to commend,
Nor blush to own that Savage is my friend.
Great Magdalen lane,
Bristol, Oct. 15, 1742.