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than to support or improve the sense ; but the first and last parts are worked up with great spirit and elegance.
His time was spent in the prison for the most part in study, or in receiving visits ; but sometimes he descended to lower amusements, and diverted himself in the kitchen with the conversation of the criminals; for it was not pleas. ing to him to be much without company; and, though he was very capable of a judicious choice, he was often contented with the first that offered: for this he was sometimes reproyed by his friends, who found him surrounded with felons : but the reproof was on that, as on other occasions, thrown away; he continued to gratify himself, and to set very little value on the opinion of others.
But here, as in every other scene of his life, he made ase of such opportunities as occurred of benefiting those who were more miserable than himself, and was always ready to perform any office of humanity to his fellow-prisoners.
He had now ceased from corresponding with any of his subscribers except one, who yet continued to remit him the twenty pounds a year which he had promised him, and by whom it was expected that he would have been in a very short time enlarged, because he had directed the keeper to inquire after the state of his debts.
However, he took care to enter his name according to the forms of the court,* that the creditor might be obliged to make some allowance, if he was continued a prisoner, and, when on that occasion he appeared in the ball, was treated with very unusual respect.
But the resentment of the city was afterward raised by some accounts that had been spread of the satire ; and he was informed that some of the merchants intended to pay the allowance which the law required, and to detain him a prisoner at their own expense.
This he treated as an empty menace: and perhaps might have hastened the pub. lication, only to shew, how much he was superior to their insults, had not all his schemes been suddenly destroyed.
When he had been six months in prison, he received from one of his friends,t in whose kindness he had the greatest confidence, and on whose assistance he chiefly de
# See Gent. Mag. vol. Ivii. 1040.N. + Mr. Pope. See some extracts of letters that gentleman to and concerning Mr. Savage, in Ruff head's Life of Pope, p. S02. - R.
pended, a letter, that contained a charge of a very atrocious ingratitude, drawn up in such terms as sudden rešentment dictated. Henley, in one of his advertisements, had mentioned, Pope's treatment of Savage.' This was sup. posed by Pope to be the consequence of a complaint made by Savage to Hepley, and was therefore mentioned by him with much resentment. Mr. Savage returned a very solemn protestation of his innocence, but however appeared much disturbed at the accusation. Some days afterward he was seized with a pain in his back and side, which, as it was not violent, was not suspected to be dangerous; but, growing daily more languid and dejected, on the 25th of July he confined himself to his room, and a fever seized his spirits. The symptoms grew every day more formidable, but his condition did not enable him to procure any assistance. The last time that the keeper saw him wason July the 31st, 1743; when Savage, seeing him at his bedside, said, with an uncommon earnestness, *I have something to say to you, Sir;' but, after a pause, moved his hand in a me. lancholy manner; and, finding himself unable to recollect what he was going to communicate, said, 'Tis gone!' The keeper soon' after left him; and the next morning he died. He was buried in the church-yard of St. Peter, at the ex. pense of the keeper.
Such was the life and death of Richard Savage, a man equally distinguished by his virtues and vices; and at once remarkable for his weaknesses and abilities.
He was of a middle stature, of a thin habit of body, a long visage, coarse features, and melancholy aspect; of a grave and manly deportment, a solemn dignity of mien, but which, upon a nearer acquaintance, softened into an engaging easiness of manners. His walk was slow, and his voice tremulous and mournful. He was easily excited to smile, but very seldom provoked to laughter.
His mind was in an uncommon degree vigorous and active. His judgment was accurate, his apprehension quick, and his memory so tenacious, that he was frequently observed to know what he had learned from others, in a short time, better than those by whom he was informed ; and could frequently recollect incidents, with all their combination of circumstances, which few would have regarded at the preseột time, but which the quickness of his appre..
bension impressed upon him. He had the peculiar felicity that his attention never deserted him; he was present to every object, and regardful of the most trifling occurrences. He had the art of escaping from his owo reflections, and accommodating himself to every new scene.
To this quality is to be imputed the extent of his know. ledge, compared with the small time which he spent in visible endeavours to acquire it. He mingled in cursory conversation with the same steadiness of attention as others apply to a lecture : and, amidst the appearance of thoughtless gaiety, lost no new idea that was started, nor any hint that could be improved. He had therefore made in coffeehouses the same proficiency as others in their closets : and it is remarkable, that the writings of a man of little educa. tion and little reading have an air of learning scarcely to be found in any other performances, but which perhaps as often obscures as embellishes them.
His judgment was eminently exact both with regard to writings and to men. The knowledge of life was indeed his chief attainment; and it is not without some satisfaction, that I can produce the suffrage of Savage in favour of human nature, of which he never appeared to entertain such odious ideas as some, who perhaps had neither his judgment nor experience, have published, either in ostenta tion of their sagacity, vindication of their crimes, or gram tification of their malice.
His method of life particularly qualified him for conver. sation, of which he knew how to practise all the graces. He was never vehement or loud, but at once modest and easy, open and respectful; his language was vivacious and elegant, and equally happy upon gravę or humorous subjects. He was generally censured for not knowing when to retire ; but that was not the defect of his judgment, but of his fortune: when he left his company, he was frequently to spend the remaining part of the night in the street, or at least was abandoned to gloomy reflections, which is not strange that he delayed as long as he could; and sometimes forgot that he gave others pain to avoid it himself.
It cannot be said, that he made use of his abilities for the direction of his own conduct; an irregular and dissi. pated manner of life had made him the slave of every pas. sion that happened to be excited by the presence of its ob
ject, and that slavery to his passions reciprocally produced a life irregular and dissipated. He was not master of his own motions, nor could promise any thing for the next day.
With regard to his economy, nothing can be added to the relation of his life. He appeared to think himself born to be supported by others, and dispensed from all necessity of providing for himself; he therefore never prosecuted any scheme of advantage, nor endeavoured even to secure the profits which his writings might have afforded him. His temper was, in consequence of the dominion of his pas. sions, uncertain and capricious: he was easily engaged, and easily disgusted; but he is accused of retaining his hatred more tenaciously than his benevolence.
He was compassionate both by nature and principle, and always ready to perform offices of humanity; but when he was provoked (and very small offences were sufficient to provoke him) he would prosecute his revenge with the ut. most acrimony till his passion had subsided.
His friendship was therefore of little value; for, though he was zealous in the support or vindication of those whom he loved, yet it was always dangerous to trust him, because he considered himself as discharged by the first quarrel from all ties of honour or gratitude ; and would betray those secrets which in the warmth of confidence had been imparted to him. This practice drew upon him an uni versal accusation of ingratitude: nor can it be denied that he was very ready to set himself free from the load of an obligation ; for he could not bear to conceive bimself in a state of dependence, his pride being equally powerful with his other passions, and appearing in the form of insolence at one time, and of vanity at another. Vanity, the most innocent species of pride, was most frequently predominant: he could not easily leave off, when he had once begun to mention himself or his works; nor ever read his verses without stealing his eyes from the page, to discover in the faces of his audience, how they were affected with any fa. vourite passage
A kinder name than that of vanity ought to be given to the delicacy with which he was always careful to separate his own merit from every other man's, and to reject that praise to which he had no claim. He did not forget, in mentioning his performances, to mark every lige, that had
been suggested or amended ; and was so accurate, as to relate that he owed three words in 'The Wanderer,' to the advice of his friends.
His veracity was questioned, but with little reason ; his accounts, though not indeed always the same, were generally consistent. When he loved any man, he suppressed all his faults; and, when he had been offended by bim, concealed all his virtues; but his characters were generally true, so far as he proceeded; though it cannot be denied, that his partiality might have sometimes the effect of falsehood,
In cases indifferent, he was zealous for virtue, truth, and justice: he knew very well the necessity of goodness to the present and future happiness of mankind ; nor is there perhaps any writer, who has less endeavoured to please by flattering the appetites, or perverting the judgment.
As an author, therefore, and he now ceases to influence mankind in any other character, if one piece which he had resolved to suppress be excepted, he has very little to fear from the strictest moral or religious censure. And though he may not be altogether secure against the objections of the critic, it must however be acknowledged, that his works are the productions of a genius truly poetical; and, what many writers who have been more lavishly applauded can. not boast, they have an original air, which has no resem. blance of any foregoing writer, that the versification and sentiments have a cast peculiar to themselves, which no man can imitate with success, because what was nature in Savage would in another be affectation. It must be confessed, that his descriptions are striking, his images ani, mated, his fictions justly imagined, and all his, allegories artfully pursued; that his diction is elevated, though some. times forced, and his numbers sonorous and majestic, though frequently sluggish and encumbered. Of his style, the general fault is harshpess, and its general excellence is dignity; of his sentiments, the prevailing beauty is simplicity, and uniformity the prevailing defect.
For his life, or for his writings, none, who candidly consider his fortune, will think an apology either necessary or difficult. If he was not always sufficiently instructed on his subject, his knowledge was at least greater than could have been attained by others in the same state, If his works