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the credit of his encomiast, or lest others should endea, •vour to obtain the like praises by the fame means.
But though these excuses may be often plausible, and sometimes juft, they are very seldom satisfactory to mankind; and the writer, who is not constant to his subject, quickly finks into contempt, his fatire loses its force, and his panegyrick its value, and he is only considered at one time as a flatterer, and as a calumniator at another.
To avoid these imputations, it is only necessary to follow the rules of virtue, and to preserve an unvaried. regard to truth. For though it is undoubtedly possible that a man, however cautious, may be sometimes deceived by an artful appearance of virtue, or by false evidences of guilt, such errors will not be frequent; and it will be allowed, that the name of an author would never have been made contemptible, had ng man ever said what he did not think, or misled others but when he was himself deceived,
The Author to be let was first published in a single pamphlet, and afterwards inserted in a collection of pieces relating to the Dunciad, which were addressed by Mr. Savage to the Earl of Middlesex, in a * dedi. cation which he was prevailed upon to sign, though he did not write it, and in which there are some positions, that the true author would perhaps not have published under his own name, and on which Mr, Savage after, wards reflected with no great satisfaction; the enumeration of the bad effects of the uncontroled freedom of the press, and the assertion that the “ liberties taken ~ by the writers of Journals with their fuperiors were 46 exorbitant and unjustifiable,” very ill became men,
* See his Works, vol. II. p. 233:
who have themselves not always shewn the exacteft regard to the laws of subordination in their writings, and who have often fatirised those that at least thoughe themselves their superiors, as they were eminent for their hereditary rank, and employed in the highest offices of the kingdom. But this is only an instance of that partiality which almost every man indulges with regard to himself: the liberty of the press is a blessing, when we are inclined to write against others, and a calamity when we find ourfelves averborne by the multitude of our assailants; as the power of the crown is always thought too great by those who suffer by its influence, and too little by those in whole favour it is exerted; and a standing army is generally accounted pecessary by those who command, and dangerous and oppressive by those who support it.
Mr. Savage was likewise very far from believing, that the letters annexed to each species of bad poets in the Bathos were, as he was directed to assert, “ set down
at random;" for when he was charged by one of his friends with putting his name to such an improbability, he had no other answer to make, than that “ he did “ not think of it;" and his friend had too much tenderness to reply, that next to the crime of writing contrary to what he thought, was that of writing without alinking
After having remarked what is false in this dedica. tion, it is proper that I observe the impartiality which I recommend, by declaring what Savage asserted, that the account of the circumstances which attended the publication of the Dunciad, however ftrange and improbable, was exactly true.
The publication of this piece at this time raifed Mr, Savage a great number of enemies among those that were attacked by Mr. Pope, with whom he was confidered as a kind of confederate, and whom he was sufpected of supplying with private intelligence and secret incidents: so that the ignominy of an informer was added to the terror of a satirist.
That he was not altogether free from literary hypoerisy, and that he fometimes spoke one thing, and wrote another, cannot be denied; because he himself confessed, that, when he lived in great familiarity with Dennis, he wrote an epigram * against himn.
Mr. Savage however set all the malice of all the pigmy writers at defiance, and thought the friendship of Mr. Pope cheaply purchased by being exposed to their censure and their hatred; nor had he any reason to repent of the preference, for he found Mr. Pope a fteady and unalienable friend almost to the end of his life.
About this time, notwithstanding his avowed neutrality with regard to party, he published a panegyrick on Sir Robert Walpole, for which he was rewarded by him with twenty guineas, a sum not very large, if either the excellence of the perforinance, or the affluence of the patron be considered; but greater than he
* This epigram was, I believe, never published.
Should Dennis publish you had stabb'd your brother,
afterwards obtained from a person of yet higher rank, and more desirous in appearance of being distinguished as a patron of literature.
As he was very far from approving the conduct of Sir Robert Walpole, and in conversation mentioned him sometimes with acrimony, and generally with contempt; as he was one of those who were always zealous in their assertions of the justice of the late oppofition, jealous of the rights of the people, and alarmed by the long continued triumph of the court; it was natural to ask him what could induce him to employ his poetry in praise of that man who was, in his opinion, an enemy to liberty, and an oppressor of his coustry? He alleged, that he was then dependent upon the Lord Tyrconnel, who was an implicit follower of the ministry; and that being enjoined by him, not without menaces, to write in praise of his leader, he had not resolution sufficient to sacrifice the plezfure of affluence to that of integrity.
On this, and on many other occasions, he was ready to lament the misery of living at the tables of other men, which was his fate from the beginning to the end of his life; for I know not whether he ever had, for three months together, a settled habitation, in which he could claim a right of residence.
To this unhappy state it is just to impute much of the inconstancy of his conduct; for though a readiness to comply with the inclination of others was no part of his natural character, yet he was sometimes obliged to relax his obstinacy, and submit his own judgement, and even his virtue, to the government of those by whom he was supported: so that, if his miseries were sometimes the consequences of his faults, he
ought not yet to be wholly excluded from compassion, because his faults were very often the effects of his misfortunes.
In this gay period * of his life, while he was furrounded by affluence and pleasure, he published, The Wanderer, a moral poem, of which the design is comprised in these lines :
I fly all public care, all venal ftrife,
Inspirits and adorns the thinking mind.
By woe, the foul to daring action swells;
Renown :-whate'er men cover and caress.
him more pleafure at the second perusal, and delighted him till more at the third.
It has been generally objected to The Wanderer, that the disposition of the parts is irregular; that the detign is obscure, and the plan perplexed; that the images, however beautiful, succeed each other without order; and that the whole performance is not