1743 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Savage

Y., "On the Death of Richard Savage, Esq. Son of the late Earl Rivers" Gentleman's Magazine 13 (August 1743) 439



Born with a manly Heart, — of noble Blood,
Happy thy Genius, and thy temper good,
How fair a prospect, gen'rous youth was thine,
Had but propitious fortune pleas'd to shine,
But science scarce had wo'd thee to her breast,
'Ere rising clouds thy dawn of life o'ercast:
Loud blew the storm — its tumult now is vain,
And friendly death has set thee free from pain.

What boots it now, that Rivers was thy sire?
That Caroline approved thy tuneful lyre?
Or that the good Tyrconnel's bounteous smile
Witness'd thy worth — and fed thy lamp with oyl.
Then smiling fortune su'd thee to be blest,
And pointed out the way to certain rest:
But easy nature led thy steps astray,
From wisdom's dictates, and from safety's way;
Such is the star too oft the muse awaits,
Doom'd to lament the mischiefs she creates;
Thro' life with fond credulity we run,
Still cheated on to be at last undone!
So Chaucer's eldest born, tho' wreath'd with bays,
Immortal Dryden, starv'd on endless praise;
So Wilmot's judgment vice's martyr dy'd,
And Wharton's fancy lean'd to folly's side;
A Foible by the hand of nature wrought,
Mix'd with our frame — and heighten'd to a fault:
Which nor can Prudence cure, Experience teach,
Nor even the tender probe of friendship reach,
Which hangs upon our steps with bias strong,
And imperceptibly directs us wrong.

Lamented bard! forgive the weeping muse,
Who points the failings where she can't accuse;
Like thee on life's tempestuous ocean tost,
Oppress'd by sorrows, by misfortunes crost:
Yet let her pay these honours to thy Tomb,
There let the Lawrels smile — the Myrtle bloom!
There let the Graces pleasing vigils keep,
And kindly watch their bard's untroubl'd sleep;
Let one eternal verdure there be seen,
Hid all thy faults beneath the flow'ry green!
Each passion lost, thy easy nature sway'd,
Each devious step conceal'd — those passions made;
Let kind indulgence every frailty blot,
All but thy merit — and thy lays forgot;
The lays that to endearing fame consign'd,
Shall mark thee as the friend of human kind.