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any eminent poet, though it now appears more fuf: ceptible of embellishments, more adapted to exalt the ideas, and affect the passions, than many of those which have hitherto been thought most worthy of the orna: ments of verse. The settlement of colonies in uninhabited countries, the establishinent of those in fecus rity, whose misfortunes have made their own country no longer pleasing or safe, the acquisition of property without injury to any, the appropriation of the waste and luxuriant bounties of nature, and the enjoyment of those gifts which heaven has fcattered upon regions uncultivated and unoccupied, cannot be considered without giving rise to a great number of pleasing ideas, and bewildering the iniagination in delightful profpects; and, therefore, whatever speculations they may produce in those who have confined themselves to political studies, naturally fixed the attention, and excited the applause, of a poet. The politician, when he confiders men driven into other countries for shelter, and obliged to retire to forests and deserts, and pass their lives and fix their pofterity in the remotest corners of the world, to avoid those hardships which they suffer or fear in their native place, may very properly enquire, why the legislature does not provide a remedy for these miseries, rather than encourage an escape from them. He may conclude, that the flight of every honeft man is a loss to the community; that those who are unhappy without guilt ought to be relieved; and the life, which is overburthened by accidental calamities, set at ease by the care of the publick; and that those, who have by misconduct forfeited their claim to favour, ought rather to be made useful to the society which they have injured, than be driven from it. But the
poét is employed in a more pleasing undertaking than that of propofing laws which, however just or expedient, will never be made, or endeavouring to reduce to rational fchemes of government focieties which were formed by chance, and are conducted by the private passions of those who preside in them. He guides the unhappy fugitive from want and perfecution, to plenty, quiet, and security, and seats him in scenes of peaceful solitude, and undisturbed repose.
Savage has not forgotten, amidst the pleasing sentiments which this profpect of retirement suggested to him, to censure those crimes which have been generally committed by the discoverers of new regions, and to expose the enormous wickedness of making war upon barbarous nations because they cannot resift, and of invading countries because they are fruitful; of extending navagation only to propagate vice, and of visiting distant lands only to lay them' waste. He has afferred the natural equality of mankind, and endeasoured to suppress that pride which inclines men to imagine that right is the consequence of power
* Learn, future natives of this promis'd land,
of Publick Spirito VOL. II.
His description of the various miseries which force men to seek for refuge in distant countries, affords another instance of his proficiency in the important and extensive study of human life; and the tenderness with which he recounts them, another proof of his humanity and benevolence.
It is observable, that the close of this poem discovers a change which experience had made in Mr. Savage's opinions. In a poem written by him in his youth, and published in his Miscellanies, he declares his contempt of the contracted views and narrow prospects of the middle state of life, and declares his refolution either to tower like the cedar, or be trampled like the shrub; but in this poem, though addressed to a prince, he mentions this state of life as comprising those who ought most to attract reward, those who mcrit most the confidence of power and the familiarity of greatness; and, accidentally mentioning this paffage to one of his friends, declared, that in his opinion all the virtue of mankind was comprehended in that state.
In describing villas and gardens, he did not omit to condemn that absurd custom which prevails among the English, of permitting servants to receive money from strangers for the entertainment that
The nameless tortures cruel minds invent,
they receive, and therefore inserted in his
poem these lines;
But what the flowering pride of gardens rare,
But before the publication of his performance he recollected, that the Queen allowed her garden and cave at Richmond to be shewn for money, and that the so openly countenanced the practice, that she had bestowed the privilege of shewing them as a place of profit on a man, whose merit fhe valued herself upon rewarding, though The gave him only the liberty of disgracing his country.
He therefore thought, with more prudence than was often exerted by him, that the publication of these lines might be officiously represented as an insult upon the Queen, to whom he owed his life and his subsistence; and that the propriety of his observation would be no security against the censures which the unseasonableness of it might draw upon him; he therefore suppressed the passage in the first edition, but after the Quecn's death thought the same caution no longer necesary, and restored it to the proper place.
The poem was therefore published without any · political faults, and inscribed to the Prince; but Mr. Savage, having no friend upon whom he could prevail to present it to him, had no other method of attracting his observation than the publication of frequent advertisements, and therefore received no reward from his patron, however generous on other occasions.
This disappointment he never mentioned without indignation, being by some means or other confident that the prince was not ignorant of his address to him; and infinuated, that, if any advances in popularity could have been made by distinguishing him, he had not written without notice, or without reward.
He was once inclined to have presented his poem in person, and fent to the printer for a copy with that defign; but either his opinion changed, or his resolution deserted him, and he continued to resent neglect without attempting to force himself into regard,
Nor was the publick much more favourable than his patron, for only feventy-two were fold; though the performance was much commended by fome whose judgement in that kind of writing is generally allowed. But Savage easily reconciled himself to mankind without imputing any defect to his work, by observing that his poem was unluckily published two days after the prorogation of the parliament, and by consequence at a time when all those who could be expected to regard it were in the hurry of preparing for their departure, or engaged in taking leave of others upon their dismission from publick affairs.
It must be however allowed, in justification of the publick, that this performance is not the most excellent of Mr. Savage's works; and that, though it cannot be denied to contain many striking sentiments, majestic lines, and just observations, it is in general not fufficiently polished in the language, or enlivened in, the imagery, or digested in the plan.
Thus his poem contributed nothing to the alleviation of his poverty, which was such as very few could have supported with equal patience; but to which, it