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in the interval of his prosperity, were always encouraging him to great undertakings by encomiums on his genius and assurances of success, now received any mention of his designs with coldness, thought that the subjects on which he proposed to write were very difficult, and were ready to inform him, that the event of -a poem was uncertain, that an author ought to employ much time in the consideration of his plan, and not presume to sit down to write in confidence of a few "cursory ideas, and a superficial knowledge ; difficulties were started on all sides, and he was no longer qualified for any performance but The Volunteer Laureat.
Yet even this kind of contempt never depressed him; for he always preserved a steady confidence in his own capacity, and believed nothing above his reach which he should at any time earnestly endeavour to attain, He formed schemes of the same kind with regard to knowledge and to fortune, and flattered himself with, advances to be made in science, as with riches, to be enjoyed in some distant period of his life. For the acquisition of knowledge he was indeed far better qualified than for that of riches; for he was naturally inquisitive and delirous of the conversation of those from whom any information was to be obtained, but by no ineans solicitous to improve those opportunities that were sometimes offered of raising his fortune; and he was remarkably retentive of his ideas, which, when once he was in poffeffion of them, rarely forsook him; a quality which could never be communicated to his money.
While he was thus wearing out his life in expectation that the Queen would some time recollect her promise, he had recourse to the usual practice of writers,
and published proposals for printing his works by subscription, to which he was encouraged by the success of many who had not a better right to the favour of the publick; but, whatever was the reason, he did not find the world equally inclined to favour him; and he observed with some discontent, that, though he offered his works at half a guinea, he was able to procure but a small number in comparison with those who subscribed twice as much to Duck.
Nor was it without indignation that he saw his proposals neglected by the Queen, who patronised Mr. Duck's with uncommon ardour, and incited a competition among those who artended the court, who should most promote his interest, and who should first offer a subscription. This was a distinction to which Mr. Savage made no scruple of asserting that his birth, his misfortunes, and his genius, gave him a fairer title, than could be pleaded by him on whom it was conferred.
Savage's applications were however not universally unsuccessful; for some of the nobility countenanced his design, encouraged his proposals, and subscribed s. 19 with great liberality. He related of the Duke of Chandos particularly, that, upon receiving his propofals, he sent him ten guineas.
But the money which his subscriptions afforded him was not less volatile than that which he received from his other schemes ; whenever a subscription was paid him, he went to a tavern; and, as money fo collected is necessarily received in small sums, he never was able to fend his poems to the press, but for many years continued his solicitation, and squandered whatever he pbtained
This project of printing his works was frequently revived; and, as his proposals grew obsolete, new ones were printed with fresher dates. To form fchemes for the publication, was one of his favourite amusements; not was he ever more at ease than when, with any friend who readily fell in with his fchémés, he was adjufting the print, forming the advertisements, and regulating the dispersion of his new edition, which he really intended some time to publish, and which, as long as experience had thewn him the impossibility of printing the volume together, he at last determined to divide into weekly or monthly numbers, that the profits of the first might fupply the expences of the next,
Thus he spent his time in mean expedients and tormenting suspense, living for the greatest part in fear of profecutions from his creditors, and confequently fkulking in obfcure parts of the town, of which he was no ftranger to the remoteft corners. But wherever he came, his address secured him friends, whom his neceffities soon alienated ; so that he had perhaps a more numerous acquaintance than any man ever before attained, there being scarcely any person eminent on any account to whom he was not known, or whose character he was not in fome degree able to delineate,
To the acquisition of this extensive acquaintance every circumstance of his life contributed. He excel, led in the arts of converfation, and therefore willingly practised them, He had feldom any home, or even a Jodging in which 'he could be private ; and therefore was driven into public-houses for the common conve. niences of life and supports of nature. He was always ready to comply with every invitation, having no em
ployment to withhold him, and often no money to provide for himself; and by dining with one company, he never failed of obtaining an introduction into another,
Thus diffipated was his life, and thus casual his subfiftence; yet did not the distraction of his views hinder him from reflection, nor the uncertainty of his condition depress his gaiety. When he had wandered about without any fortunate adventure by which he was led into a tavern, he sometimes retired into the fields, and was able to employ his mind in ftudy, to amuse it with pleasing imaginations; and seldom appeared to be me lancholy, but when some sudden misfortune had just fallen upon him, and even then in a few moments he would disentangle himself from his perplexity, adopt the subject of conversation, and apply his mind wholly to the objects that others presented to it.
This life, unhappy as it may be already imagined, was yet imbittered, in 1738, with new calamities. The death of the Queen deprived him of all the profpects of preferment with which he so long etertained his imaginacion; and, as Sir Robert Walpole had before given him reason to believe that he never intended the performance of his promise, he was now abandorsed again to fortune.
He was however, at that time, supported by a friend ; and as it was not his custom to look out for diftant ca. lamities, or to feel any other pain than that which forced itself upon his fenfes, he was not much afflicted at his lofs, and perhaps comforted himself that his pension would be now.continued without the annual tribute of a panegyric.
Another expectation contributed likewise to support him : he had taken a resolution to write a second tragedy upon the story of Sir Thomas Overbury, in which he preserved a few lines of his former play, but made a total alteration of the plan, added new incidents, and introduced new characters; so that it was a new tragedy, not a revival of the former.
Many of his friends blamed him for not making choice of another subject; but, in vindication of himself, he asserted, that it was not easy to find a better; and that he thought it his interest to extinguish the memory of the first tragedy, which he could only do by writing one less defective upon the fame story ; by which he should entirely defeat the artifice of the booksellers, who, after the death of any author of reputation, are always industrious to swell his works, by uniting his worst productions with his best.
In the execution of this scheme, however, he proceeded but slowly, and probably only employed himself upon it when he could find no other amufement; but he pleased himself with counting the profits, and perhaps imagined, that the theatrical reputation which he was about to acquire, would be equivalent'to all that he had lost by the death of his patroness.
He did not, in confidence of his approaching riches, neglect the measures proper to secure the continuance of his pension, though some of his favourers thought him culpable for omitting to write on her death; but on her birth-day next year, he gave a proof of the solidity of his judgement, and the power of his genius. He knew that the track of elegy had been so long beaten, that it was impossible to travel in it without treading in the footsteps of those who had gone before him;