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clesfield and Lord Rivers. The lady openly avowed her profligacy, in order to obtain a divorce from her husband, with whom she lived on unhappy terms, and the illegitimate child was born after their separation. He was placed under the charge of a poor woman, and brought up as her son. The boy, however, obtained a superior education through the care and generosity of his maternal grandmother, Lady Mason, who placed him at a grammar-school in St Albans. Whilst he was there Lord Rivers died, and in his last illness, it is said the countess had the inhumanity and falsehood to state that Savage was dead, by which he was deprived of a provision intended for him by his father. Such unnatural and unprincipled conduct almost exceeds belief. The boy was now withdrawn from school, and placed apprentice to a shoemaker; but an accident soon revealed his birth and the cause of its concealment. His nurse and supposed mother died, and among her effects Savage found some letters which disclosed the circumstances of his paternity. The discovery must have seemed like the opening of a new world to his hopes and ambition. He was already distinguished for quickness and proficiency, and for a sanguine enthusiastic temperament. A bright prospect had dawned on him; he was allied to rank and opulence; and though his birth was accompanied by humiliating circumstances, it was not probable that he felt these deeply, in the immediate view of emancipation from the low station and ignoble employment to which he had been harshly condemned. We know also that Savage was agitated by those tenderer feelings which link the child to the parent, and which must have burst upon him with peculiar force after so unexpected and wonderful a discovery. The mother of the youth, however, was an exception to ordinary humanity—an anomaly in the history of the female heart. She had determined to disown him, and repulsed every effort at acknowledgment and recognition—
Alone from strangers every comfort flowed.
His remarkable history became known, and friends sprang up to shield the hapless youth from poverty. Unfortunately, the vices and frailties of his own character began soon to be displayed. Savage was not destitute of a love of virtue and principles of piety, but his habits were low and sensual. His temper was irritable and capricious; and whatever money he received, was instantly spent in the obscure haunts of dissipation. In a tavern brawl he had the misfortune to kill a Mr James Sinclair, for which he was tried and condemned to death. His relentless mother, it is said, endeavoured to intercept the royal mercy; but Savage was pardoned by Queen Caroline, and set at liberty. He published various poetical pieces as a means of support; and having addressed a birth-day ode to the queen, calling himself the “Volunteer Laureate (to the annoyance, it is said, of Colley Cibber, the legitimate inheritor of the laurel), her majesty sent him £50, and continued the same sum to him every year. His threats and menaces induced Lord Tyrconnel, a friend of his mother, to take him into his family, where he lived on equal terms, and was allowed a sum of £200 per annum. This, as Johnson remarks, was the ‘golden period' of Savage's life. As might have been foreseen, however, the habits of the poet differed ve
widely from those of the peer; they soon quarrelled, and the former was again set adrift on the world. The death of the queen also stopped his pension; but his friends made up an annuity for him of equal amount, to which Pope generously contributed £20. Savage agreed to withdraw to the country to avoid the temptations of London. He selected Swansea,
but stopping at Bristol, was treated with great kindness by the opulent merchants and other inhabitants, whom he afterwards libelled in a sarcastic poem. In Swansea he resided about a year; but on revisiting Bristol, he was arrested for a small debt, and being unable to find bail, was thrown into prison. His folly, extravagance, and pride, though it was “pride that licks the dust, had left him almost without a friend. He made no vigorous effort to extricate or maintain himself. Pope continued his allowance; but being provoked by some part of his conduct, he wrote to him, stating that he was “determined to keep out of his suspicion by not being officious any longer, or obtruding into any of his concerns.’ Savage felt the force of this rebuke from the steadiest and most illustrious of his friends. He was soon afterwards taken ill, and his condition not enabling him to procure medical assistance, he was found dead in his bed on the morning of the 1st of August 1743. The keeper of the prison, who had treated him with great kindness, buried the unfortunate poet at his own expense.
Savage was the author of two plays, and a volume of miscellaneous poems. Of the latter, the principal piece is The Wanderer, written with greater care than most of his other productions, as it was the offspring of that happy period of his life when he lived with Lord Tyrconnel. Amidst much puerile and tawdry description, ‘The Wanderer’ contains some impressive passages. The versification is easy and correct. The Bastard is, however, a superior poem, and bears the impress of true and energetic feeling. One couplet is worthy of Pope. Of the bastard he says,
He might have lived till folly died in shame, |
Till kindling wisdom felt a thirst for fame.
| All I was wretched by to you I owed; Alone from strangers every comfort flowed | Lost to the life you gave, your son no more, | And now adopted, who was doomed before, | New born, I may a nobler mother claim, | But dare not whisper her immortal name; | Supremely lovely, and serenely great,
Majestic mother of a kneeling state; | Queen of a people's heart, who ne'er before | Agreed—yet now with one consent adore | One contest yet remains in this desire,
| Who most shall give applause where all admire.
[From The Wanderer.] | Yon mansion, made by beaming tapers gay, Drowns the dim night, and counterfeits the day; From lumined windows glancing on the eye, ' Around, athwart, the frisking shadows fly. There midnight riot spreads illusive joys, : And fortune, health, and dearer time destroys. Soon death's dark agent to luxuriant ease | Shall wake sharp warnings in some fierce disease. 0 man thy fabric's like a well-formed state; Thy thoughts, first ranked, were sure designed the great; Passions plebeians are, which faction raise; Wine, like poured oil, excites the raging blaze; Then giddy anarchy's rude triumphs rise: Then sovereign Reason from her empire flies: That ruler once deposed, wisdom and wit, To hoise and folly place and power submit; Like a frail bark thy weakened mind is tost, Unsteered, unbalanced, till its wealth is lost. The miser-spirit eyes the spendthrift heir, And mourns, too late, effects of sordid care. His treasures fly to cloy each fawning slave, Yet e a stone to dignify his grave. For this, low-thoughted craft his life employed; For this, though wealthy, he no wealth enjoyed; For this, he griped the poor, and alms denied, Unfriended lived, and unlamented died. Yet smile, grieved shade: when that unprosperous store Fast lessens, when gay hours return no more; Smile at thy heir, beholding, in his fall, Men once obliged, like him, ungrateful all ! Then thought-inspiring wo his heart shall mend, And prove his only wise, unflattering friend. Folly exhibits H. untmanly sport, | While plotting mischief keeps reserved her court. | Lo! from that mount, in blasting sulphur broke, Stream flames voluminous, enwrapped with smoke! !. In chariot-shape they whirl up yonder tower, Lean on its brow, and like destruction lower! | From the black depth a fiery legion springs; | Each bold bad spectre claps her sounding wings: | And straight beneath a summoned, traitorous band, On horror bent, in dark convention stand : From each fiend's mouth a ruddy vapour flows, Glides through the roof, and o'er the council glows: The villains, close beneath the infection pent, "Feel, all possessed, their rising galls ferment; | And burn with faction, hate, and vengeful ire, For rapine, blood, and devastation dire! But justice marks their ways: she waves in air The sword, high-threatening, like a comet's glare. " _While here dark villany herself deceives, There studious honesty our view relieves. A feeble taper from yon lonesome room, *: thin rays, just glimmers through the gio-om. sits the sapient bard in museful mood, And glows impassioned for his country's good All the bright spirits of the just combined, Inform, refine, and prompt his towering mind!
Mr Southey has incautiously ventured a statement in his ‘Life of Cowper,' that Blair's Grave is the only poem he could call to mind which has been composed in imitation of the “Night Thoughts.” “The Grave' was written prior to the publication of the ‘Night Thoughts,' and has no other resemblance to the work of Young, than that it is of a serious devout cast, and is in blank verse. The author was an accomplished and exemplary Scottish clergyman, who enjoyed some private fortune, independent of his profession, and was thus enabled to live in a superior style, and cultivate the acquaintance of the neighbouring gentry. As a poet of pleasing and elegant manners, a botanist and florist, as well as a man of scientific and general knowledge, his society was much courted, and he enjoyed the correspondence of Dr Isaac Watts and Dr Doddridge. Blair was born in Edinburgh in 1699, his father being minister of the Old Church there. In 1731 he was appointed to the living of Athelstaneford, a parish in East Lothian. Previous to his ordination, he had written ‘The Grave,’ and submitted the manuscript to Watts and Doddridge. It was published in 1743. Blair died at the age of forty-seven, in February 1746. By his marriage with a daughter of Mr Law, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh (to whose memory he dedicated a poem), he left a numerous family; and his fourth son, a distinguished lawyer, rose to be Lord President of the Court of Session.
“The Grave' is a complete and powerful poem, of limited design, but masterly execution. The subject precluded much originality of conception, but, at the same time, is recommended by its awful importance and its universal application. The style seems to be formed upon that of the old sacred and puritanical poets, elevated by the author's admiration of Milton and Shakspeare. There is a Scottish presbyterian character about the whole, relieved by occasional flashes and outbreaks of true genius. These coruscations sometimes subside into low and vulgar ideas, as towards the close of the following noble passage:–
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war? The Roman Caesars and the Grecian chiefs, The boast of story ! Where the hot-brained youth, Who the tiara at his pleasure tore From kings of all the then discovered globe; And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hampered, And had not room enough to do its work? Alas, how slim—dishonourably slim ' And crammed into a space we blush to name ! Proud royalty How altered in thy looks How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue ! Son of the morning ! whither art thou gone? Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head, And the majestic menace of thine eyes Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now : Like new-born infant wound up in his swathes, Or victim tumbled flat upon his back, That throbs beneath his sacrificer's knife; Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues, And coward insults of the base-born crowd, That grudge a privilege thou never hadst, But only hoped for in the peaceful grave— Of being unmolested and alone! Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs, And honours by the heralds duly paid In mode and form, e'en to a very scruple; (Oh cruel . !) these come too late, And only mock whom they were meant to honog
The death of the strong man is forcibly depicted—
Strength, too ! thou surly and less gentle boast Of those that laugh loud at the village ring ! A fit of common sickness pulls thee down With greater ease than e'er thou didst the stripling That rashly dared thee to the unequal fight. What groan was that I heard? Deep groan, indeed, With anguish heavy laden let me trace it: From yonder bed it comes, where the strong man, By stronger arm belaboured, gasps for breath Like a hard-hunted beast. How his great heart Beats thick his roomy chest by far too scant To give the lungs full play ! ... What now avail The strong-built sinewy limbs and well-spread
See, how he tugs for life, and lays about him,
In our extracts from Congreve, we have quoted a passage, much admired by Johnson, descriptive of the awe and fear inspired by a cathedral scene at midnight, ‘where all is hushed and still as death.’ Blair has ventured on a similar description, and has imparted to it a terrible and gloomy power—
See yonder hallowed fane ! the pious work Of names once famed, now dubious or forgot, And buried midst the wreck of things which were: There lie interred the more illustrious dead. The wind is up : hark 1 how it howls! methinks Till now I never heard a sound so dreary' Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul bird, Rocked in the spire, screams loud: the gloomy aisles, Black - plastered, and hung round with shreds of
And tattered coats of arms, send back the sound,
With tenderness equal to his strength, Blair laments the loss of death-divided friendships—
Invidious Gravel how dost thou rend in sunder Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one l A tie more stubborn far than nature's band. Friendship ! mysterious cement of the soul! Sweetener of life I and solder of society I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me Far, far beyond what I can ever pay. Oft have I proved the labours of thy love, And the warm efforts of thy gentle heart, Anxious to please. Oh! when my friend and I In some thick wood have wandered heedless on, Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down Upon the sloping cowslip-covered bank, Where the pure limpid stream has slid along In grateful errors through the underwood, Sweet murmuring, methought the shrill-tongued
Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird
Some of his images are characterised by a Shakspearian force and picturesque fancy: of suicides he says—
The common damned shun their society,
And look upon themselves as fiends less foul.
Men see their friends
The divisions of churchmen are for ever closed—
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast-coming harvest. Then, oh then,
| Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears, | Shrunk to a thing of nought! Oh, how he longs |To have his passport signed, and be dismissed! |'Tis done—and now he's happy! The glad soul Has not a wish uncrowned. E'en the lag flesh Rests, too, in hope of meeting once again Its better half, never to sunder more. Nor shall it hope in vain: the time draws on | When not a single spot of burial earth, | Whether on land, or in the spacious sea, | But must give back its long-committed dust | Inviolate; and faithfully shall these *Make up the full account; not the least atom Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale. | Each soul shall have a body ready furnished; | And each shall have his own. Hence, ye profanel |Ask not how this can be? Sure the same power |That reared the piece at first, and took it down, Can re-assemble the loose scattered parts, And put them as they were. Almighty God | Hath done much more: nor is his arm impaired | Through length of days; and what he can, he will; | His faithfulness stands bound to see it done. When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumbering dust, Not unattentive to the call, shall wake; | And every joint possess its proper place, | With a new elegance of form, unknown | To its first state. Nor shall the conscious soul |Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd, Singling its other half, into its arms Shall rush, with all the impatience of a man | That's new come home, and, having long been absent, | With haste runs over every different room, | In pain to see the whole. Thrice-happy meeting ! | Nortime, nor death, shall ever part them more. | Tis but a night, a long and moonless night; | We make the grave our bed, and then are gone | Thus, at the shut of even, the weary bird Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake | Cowers down, and dozes till the dawn of day, | Then claps his well-fledged wings, and bears away.
| Abney House.
| in 1712 into the house of a benevolent gentleman of . There is no circumstance in English literary biogra
| his neighbourhood, Sir Thomas
| Park, where he spent all the remainder of his life. |
the house of a friend for the long period of ow. six years. Abney House was a handsome mansion, surrounded by beautiful pleasure-grounds. He had apartments assigned to him, of which he enjoyed the use as freely as if he had been the master of the house. Dr Gibbons says, “Here, without any care of his own, he had everything which could contribute to the enjoyment of life, and favour the pursuit of his studies. Here he dwelt in a family which, for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was a house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages to soothe his mind and aid his restoration to health; to yield him, whenever he chose them, most grateful intervals from his laborious studies, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigour and delight.” The death of Sir Thomas Abney, eight years after he went to reside with him, made no change in these agreeable arrangements, as the same benevolent patronage was extended to him by the widow, who outlived him a year. While in this retirement, he preached occasionally, but gave the most of his time to study, and to the composition of those works which have grwen him a name in the annals of literature. His treatises on Logic and on the Improvement of the Mind are still highly prized for their cogency of argument and felicity of illustration. Watts also wrote several theological works and volumes of sermons. His poetry consists almost wholly of devotional hymns, which, by their simplicity, their unaffected ardour, and their imagery, powerfully arrest the attention of children, and are never forgotten in mature life. In infancy we learn the hymns of Watts, as part of maternal instruction, and in youth his moral and logical treatises impart the germs of correct reasoning and virtuous selfgovernment. The life of this good and useful man terminated on the 25th of November 1748, having been prolonged to the advanced age of seventy-five.
Edward YouNg, author of the Night Thoughts, was born in 1681 at Upham, in Hampshire, where his father (afterwards dean of Salisbury) was rector. He was educated at Winchester school, and subsequently at All Souls' college, Oxford. In 1712 he commenced public life as a courtier and poet, and he continued both characters till he was past eighty. One of his patrons was the notorious Duke of Wharton, “the scorn and wonder of his days,’ whom Young accompanied to Ireland in 1717. He was next tutor to Lord Burleigh, and was induced to give | this situation by Wharton, who promised to provide for him in a more suitable and ample