Great-Britain and Ireland.
By Mr. CIBBER, and other Hands.
M DCC LIII
Aaron Hill V Addison III Amhurst V Anne, Countess of Winchelsea III
Bancks III Banks V Barclay I Barton Booth IV Beaumont I Behn, Aphra III Betterton III Birkenhead II Blackmore V Booth, Vid. Barton Boyce V Boyle, E. Orrery II Brady IV Brewer II Brooke, Sir Fulk Greville I Brown, Tom III Buckingham, Duke of II Budgell V Butler II
Carew I Cartwright I Centlivre, Mrs. IV Chandler, Mrs. V Chapman I Chaucer I Chudleigh, Lady III Churchyard I Cleveland II Cockaine II Cockburne, Mrs. V Codrington IV Concanen V Congreve IV Corbet I Cotton III Cowley II Crashaw I Creech III Crowne III Croxal V
Daniel I Davenant II Davies I Dawes, Arch. of York IV Day I Decker I De Foe IV Denham IV Dennis IV Donne I Dorset, Earl of I Dorset, Earl of III Drayton I Drummond I Dryden III D'Urfey III
Eachard IV Etheredge III Eusden V Eustace Budgel V
Fairfax I Fanshaw II Farquhar I Faulkland I Fenton IV Ferrars I Flecknoe III Fletcher I Ford I Frowde V
Garth III Gay IV Gildon III Goff I Goldsmith II Gower I Granville, Lord Landsdown IV Green I Greville, Lord Brooke I Grierson V
Harrington II Hall, Bishop I Hammond V Hammond, Esq; IV Harding I Harrington I Hausted I Head II Haywood, John I Haywood, Jasper I Haywood, Thomas I Hill V Hinchliffe V Hobbs II Holliday II Howard, Esq; III Howard, Sir Robert III Howel II Hughes IV
Johnson, Ben I Johnson, Charles V
Killegrew, Anne II Killegrew, Thomas III Killegrew, William III King, Bishop of Chichester II King, Dr. William III
Lauderdale, Earl of V Langland I Lansdown, Lord Granville IV Lee II L'Estrange IV Lillo V Lilly I Lodge I Lydgate III
Main II Manley, Mrs. IV Markham I Marloe I Marston I Marvel IV Massinger II May II Maynwaring III Miller V Middleton I Milton II Mitchel IV Monk, the Hon. Mrs. III Montague, Earl of Hallifax III More, Sir Thomas I More, Smyth IV Motteaux IV Mountford III
Nabbes II Nash I Needler IV Newcastle, Duchess of II Newcastle, Duke of II
Ogilby II Oldham II Oldmixon IV Orrery, Boyle, Earl of II Otway II Overbury I Ozell IV
Pack IV Phillips, Mrs. Katherine II Phillips, John III Phillips, Ambrose V Pilkington V Pit V Pomfret III Pope V Prior IV
Raleigh I Randolph I Ravenscroft III Rochester II Roscommon, Earl of III Rowe, Nicholas III Rowe, Mrs. IV Rowley I
Sackville, E. of Dorset I Sandys I Savage V Sedley III Settle III Sewel IV Shadwell III Shakespear I Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham III Sheridan V Shirley II Sidney I Skelton I Smith, Matthew II Smith, Edmund IV Smyth, More IV Southern V Spenser I Sprat III Stapleton II Steele IV Stepney IV Stirling, Earl of I Suckling I Surry, Earl of I Swift V Sylvester I
T Tate III Taylor II Theobald V Thomas, Mrs. IV Thompson V Tickell V Trap V
Waller II Walsh III Ward IV Welsted IV Wharton II Wharton, Philip Duke of IV Wycherley III Winchelsea, Anne, Countess of III Wotton I Wyatt I
* * * * *
EUSTACE BUDGELL, Esq;
was the eldest son of Gilbert Budgell, D.D. of St. Thomas near Exeter, by his first wife Mary, the only daughter of Dr. William Gulston, bishop of Bristol; whose sister Jane married dean Addison, and was mother to the famous Mr. Addison the secretary of state. This family of Budgell is very old, and has been settled, and known in Devonshire above 200 years.
Eustace was born about the year 1685, and distinguished himself very soon at school, from whence he was removed early to Christ's Church College in Oxford, where he was entered a gentleman commoner. He staid some years in that university, and afterwards went to London, where, by his father's directions, he was entered of the Inner-Temple, in order to be bred to the Bar, for which his father had always intended him: but instead of the Law, he followed his own inclinations, which carried him to the study of polite literature, and to the company of the genteelest people in town. This proved unlucky; for the father, by degrees, grew uneasy at his son's not getting himself called to the Bar, nor properly applying to the Law, according to his reiterated directions and request; and the son complained of the strictness and insufficiency of his father's allowance, and constantly urged the necessity of his living like a gentleman, and of his spending a great deal of money. During this slay, however, at the Temple, Mr. Budgell made a strict intimacy and friendship with Mr. Addison, who was first cousin to his mother; and this last gentleman being appointed, in the year 1710, secretary to lord Wharton, the lord lieutenant of Ireland, he made an offer to his friend Eustace of going with him as one of the clerks in his office. The proposal being advantageous, and Mr. Budgell being then on bad terms with his father, and absolutely unqualified for the practice of the Law, it was readily accepted. Nevertheless, for fear of his father's disapprobation of it, he never communicated his design to him 'till the very night of his setting out for Ireland, when he wrote him a letter to inform him at once of his resolution and journey. This was in the beginning of April 1710, when he was about twenty five years of age. He had by this time read the classics, the most reputed historians, and all the best French, English, or Italian writers. His apprehension was quick, his imagination fine, and his memory remarkably strong; though his greatest commendations were a very genteel address, a ready wit and an excellent elocution, which shewed him to advantage wherever he went. There was, notwithstanding, one principal defect in his disposition, and this was an infinite vanity, which gave him so insufferable a presumption, as led him to think that nothing was too much for his capacity, nor any preferment, or favour, beyond his deserts. Mr. Addison's fondness for him perhaps increased this disposition, as he naturally introduced him into all the company he kept, which at that time was the best, and most ingenious in the two kingdoms. In short, they lived and lodged together, and constantly followed the lord lieutenant into England at the same time.
It was now that Mr. Budgell commenced author, and was partly concerned with Sir Richard Steele and Mr. Addison in writing the Tatler. The Spectators being set on foot in 1710-11, Mr. Budgell had likewise a share in them, as all the papers marked with an X may easily inform the reader, and indeed the eighth volume was composed by Mr. Addison and himself, without the assistance of Sir Richard Steele. The speculations of our author were generally liked, and Mr. Addison was frequently complimented upon the ingenuity of his kinsman. About the same time he wrote an epilogue to the Distress'd Mother, which had a greater run than any thing of that kind ever had before, and has had this peculiar regard shewn to it since, that now, above thirty years afterwards, it is generally spoke at the representation of that play. Several little epigrams and songs, which have a good deal of wit in them, were also written by Mr. Budgell near this period of time, all which, together with the known affection of Mr. Addison for him, raised his character so much, as to make him be very generally known and talked of.
His father's death in 1711 threw into his hands all the estates of the family, which were about 950 l. a year, although they were left incumbered with some debts, as his father was a man of pride and spirit, kept a coach and six, and always lived beyond his income, notwithstanding his spiritual preferments, and the money he had received with his wives. Dr. Budgell had been twice married, and by his first lady left five children living after him, three of whom were sons, Eustace, our author, Gilbert, a Clergyman, and William, the fellow of New College in Oxford. By his last wife (who was Mrs. Fortescue, mother to the late master of the rolls, and who survived him) he had no issue. Notwithstanding this access of fortune, Mr. Budgell in no wise altered his manner of living; he was at small expence about his person, stuck very close to business, and gave general satisfaction in the discharge of his office.
Upon the laying down of the Spectator, the Guardian was set up, and in this work our author had a hand along with Mr. Addison and Sir Richard Steele. In the preface it is said, those papers marked with an asterisk are by Mr. Budgell.
In the year 1713 he published a very elegant translation of Theophrastus's Characters, which Mr. Addison in the Lover says, 'is the best version extant of any ancient author in the English language.' It was dedicated to the lord Hallifax, who was the greatest patron our author ever had, and with whom he always lived in the greatest intimacy.
Mr. Budgell having regularly made his progress in the secretary of State's office in Ireland; upon the arrival of his late Majesty in England, was appointed under secretary to Mr. Addison, and chief secretary to the Lords Justices of Ireland. He was made likewise deputy clerk of the council in that kingdom, and soon after chose member of the Irish parliament, where he became a very good speaker. The post of under secretary is reckoned worth 1500 l. a year, and that of deputy clerk to the council 250 l. a year. Mr. Budgell set out for Ireland the 8th of October, 1714, officiated in his place in the privy council the 14th, took possession of the secretary's office, and was immediately admitted secretary to the Lords Justices. In the same year at a public entertainment at the Inns of Court in Dublin, he, with many people of distinction, was made an honorary bencher. At his first entering upon the secretary's place, after the removal of the tories on the accession of his late Majesty, he lay under very great difficulties; all the former clerks of his office refusing to serve, all the books with the form of business being secreted, and every thing thrown into the utmost confusion; yet he surmounted these difficulties with very uncommon resolution, assiduity, and ability, to his great honour and applause.
Within a twelvemonth of his entering upon his employments, the rebellion broke out, and as, for several years (during all the absences of the lord lieutenant) he had discharged the office of secretary of state, and as no transport office at that time subsisted, he was extraordinarily charged with the care of the embarkation, and the providing of shipping (which is generally the province of a field-officer) for all the troops to be transported to Scotland. However, he went through this extensive and unusual complication of business, with great exactness and ability, and with very singular disinterestedness, for he took no extraordinary service money on this account, nor any gratuity, or fees for any of the commissions which passed through his office for the colonels and officers of militia then raising in Ireland. The Lords Justices pressed him to draw up a warrant for a very handsome present, on account of his great zeal, and late extraordinary pains (for he had often sat up whole nights in his office) but he very genteely and firmly refused it.
Mr. Addison, upon becoming principal secretary of state in England in 1717, procured the place of accomptant and comptroller general of the revenue in Ireland for Mr. Budgell, which is worth 400 l. a year, and might have had him for his under secretary, but it was thought more expedient for his Majesty's service, that Mr. Budgell should continue where he was. Our author held these several places until the year 1718, at which time the duke of Bolton was appointed lord lieutenant. His grace carried one Mr. Edward Webster over with him (who had been an under clerk in the Treasury) and made him a privy counsellor and his secretary. This gentleman, 'twas said, insisted upon the quartering a friend on the under secretary, which produced a misunderstanding between them; for Mr. Budgell positively declared, he would never submit to any such condition whilst he executed the office, and affected to treat Mr. Webster himself, his education, abilities, and family, with the utmost contempt. He was indiscreet enough, prior to this, to write a lampoon, in which the lord lieutenant was not spared: he would publish it (so fond was he of this brat of his brain) in opposition to Mr. Addison's opinion, who strongly persuaded him to suppress it; as the publication, Mr. Addison said, could neither serve his interest, or reputation. Hence many discontents arose between them, 'till at length the lord lieutenant, in support of his secretary, superseded Mr. Budgell, and very soon after got him removed from the place of accomptant-general. However, upon the first of these removals taking place, and upon some hints being given by his private secretary, captain Guy Dickens (now our minister at Stockholm) that it would not probably be safe for him to remain any longer in Ireland, he immediately entrusted his papers and private concerns to the hands of his brother William, then a clerk in his office, and set out for England. Soon after his arrival he published a pamphlet representing his case, intituled, A Letter to the Lord—— from Eustace Budgell, Esq; Accomptant General of Ireland, and late Secretary to their Excellencies the Lords Justices of that Kingdom; eleven hundred copies of which were sold off in one day, so great was the curiosity of the public in that particular. Afterwards too in the Post-Boy of January 17, 1718-19, he published an Advertisement to justify his character against a report that had been spread to his disadvantage: and he did not scruple to declare in all companies that his life was attempted by his enemies, or otherwise he should have attended his feat in the Irish Parliament. His behaviour, about this time, made many of his friends judge he was become delirious; his passions were certainly exceeding strong, nor were his vanity and jealousy less. Upon his coming to England he had lost no time in waiting upon Mr. Addison, who had resigned the seals, and was retired into the country for the sake of his health; but Mr. Addison found it impossible to stem the tide of opposition, which was every where running against his kinsman, through the influence and power of the duke of Bolton. He therefore disswaded him in the strongest manner from publishing his case, but to no manner of purpose, which made him tell a friend in great anxiety, 'Mr. Budgell was wiser than any man he ever knew, and yet he supposed the world would hardly believe he acted contrary to his advice.' Our author's great and noble friend the lord Hallifax was dead, and my lord Orrery, who held him in the highest esteem, had it not in his power to procure him any redress. However, Mr. Addison had got a promise from lord Sunderland, that as soon as the present clamour was a little abated, he would do something for him.
Mr. Budgell had held the considerable places of under secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, and secretary to the Lords Justices for four years, during which time he had never been absent four days from his office, nor ten miles from Dublin. His application was indefatigable, and his natural spirits capable of carrying him through any difficulty. He had lived always genteelly, but frugally, and had saved a large sum of money, which he now engaged in the South-Sea scheme. During his abode in Ireland, he had collected materials for writing a History of that kingdom, for which he had great advantages, by having an easy recourse to all the public offices; but what is become of it, and whether he ever finished it, we are not certainly informed. It is undoubtedly a considerable loss, because there is no tolerable history of that nation, and because we might have expected a satisfactory account from so pleasing a writer.
He wrote a pamphlet, after he came to England, against the famous Peerage Bill, which was very well received by the public, but highly offended the earl of Sunderland. It was exceedingly cried up by the opposition, and produced some overtures of friendship at the time, from Mr. Robert Walpole, to our author. Mr. Addison's death, in the year 1719, put an end, however, to all his hopes of succeeding at court, where he continued, nevertheless, to make several attempts, but was constantly kept down by the weight of the duke of Bolton. In the September of that year he went into France, through all the strong places in Flanders and Brabant, and all the considerable towns in Holland, and then went to Hanover, from whence he returned with his Majesty's retinue the November following.
But the fatal year of the South-Sea, 1720, ruined our author entirely, for he lost above 20,000 l. in it; however he was very active on that occasion, and made many speeches at the general courts of the South-Sea Company in Merchant-Taylors Hall, and one in particular, which was afterwards printed both in French and English, and run to a third edition. And in 1721 he published a pamphlet with success, called, A Letter to a Friend in the Country, occasioned by a Report that there is a Design still forming by the late Directors of the South-Sea Company, their Agents and Associates, to issue the Receipts of the 3d and 4th Subscriptions at 1000 l. per Cent. and to extort about 10 Millions more from the miserable People of Great Britain; with some Observations on the present State of Affairs both at Home and Abroad. In the same year he published A Letter to Mr. Law upon his Arrival in Great Britain, which run through seven editions very soon. Not long afterwards the duke of Portland, whose fortune had been likewise destroyed by the South-Sea, was appointed governor of Jamaica, upon which he immediately told Mr. Budgell he should go with him as his secretary, and should always live in the same manner with himself, and that he would contrive every method of making the employment profitable and agreeable to him: but his grace did not know how obnoxious our author had rendered himself; for within a few days after this offer's taking air, he was acquainted in form by a secretary of state, that if he thought of Mr. Budgell, the government would appoint another governor in his room.
After being deprived of this last resource, he tried to get into the next parliament at several places, and spent near 5000 l. in unsuccessful attempts, which compleated his ruin. And from this period he began to behave and live in a very different manner from what he had ever done before; wrote libellous pamphlets against Sir Robert Walpole and the ministry; and did many unjust things with respect to his relations; being distracted in his own private fortune, as, indeed, he was judged to be, in his senses; torturing his invention to find out ways of subsisting and eluding his ill-stars, his pride at the same time working him up to the highest pitches of resentment and indignation against all courts and courtiers.
His younger brother, the fellow of New-College, who had more weight with him than any body, had been a clerk under him in Ireland, and continued still in the office, and who bad fair for rising in it, died in the year 1723, and after that our author seemed to pay no regard to any person. Mr. William Budgell was a man of very good sense, extremely steady in his conduct, and an adept in all calculations and mathematical questions; and had besides great good-nature and easiness of temper.
Our author as I before observed, perplexed his private affairs from this time as much as possible, and engaged in numberless law-suits, which brought him into distresses that attended him to the end of his life.
In 1727 Mr. Budgell had a 1000 l. given him by the late Sarah, duchess dowager of Marlborough, to whose husband (the famous duke of Marlborough) he was a relation by his mother's side, with a view to his getting into parliament. She knew he had a talent for speaking in public, and that he was acquainted with business, and would probably run any lengths against the ministry. However this scheme failed, for he could never get chosen.
In the year 1730 and about that time, he closed in with the writers against the administration, and wrote many papers in the Craftsman. He likewise published a pamphlet, intitled, A Letter to the Craftsman, from E. Budgell, Esq; occasioned by his late presenting an humble complaint against the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole, with a Post-script. This ran to a ninth edition. Near the same time too he wrote a Letter to Cleomenes King of Sparta, from E. Budgell, Esq; being an Answer Paragraph by Paragraph to his Spartan Majesty's Royal Epistle, published some time since in the Daily Courant, with some Account of the Manners and Government of the Antient Greeks and Romans, and Political Reflections thereon. And not long after there came out A State of one of the Author's Cases before the House of Lords, which is generally printed with the Letter to Cleomenes: He likewise published on the same occasion a pamphlet, which he calls Liberty and Property, by E. Budgell, Esq; wherein he complains of the seizure and loss of many valuable papers, and particularly a collection of Letters from Mr. Addison, lord Hallifax, Sir Richard Steele, and other people, which he designed to publish; and soon after he printed a sequel or second part, under the same title.
The same year he also published his Poem upon his Majesty's Journey to Cambridge and New-market, and dedicated it to the Queen. Another of his performances is a poetical piece, intitled A Letter to his Excellency Ulrick D'Ypres, and C——, in Answer to his excellency's two Epistles in the Daily Courant; with a Word or Two to Mr. Osborn the Hyp Doctor, and C——. These several performances were very well received by the public.
In the year 1733 he began a weekly pamphlet (in the nature of a Magazine, though more judiciously composed) called The Bee, which he continued for about 100 Numbers, that bind into eight Volumes Octavo, but at last by quarrelling with his booksellers, and filling his pamphlet with things entirely relating to himself, he was obliged to drop it. During the progress of this work, Dr. Tindall's death happened, by whose will Mr. Budgell had 2000 l. left him; and the world being surprised at such a gift, immediately imputed it to his making the will himself. This produced a paper-war between him and Mr. Tindall, the continuator of Rapin, by which Mr. Budgell's character considerably suffered; and this occasioned his Bee's being turned into a meer vindication of himself.
It is thought he had some hand in publishing Dr. Tindall's Christianity as old as the Creation; and he often talked of another additional volume on the same subject, but never published it. However he used to enquire very frequently after Dr. Conybear's health (who had been employed by her late majesty to answer the first, and had been rewarded with the deanery of Christ-Church for his pains) saying he hoped Mr. Dean would live a little while longer, that he might have the pleasure of making him a bishop, for he intended very soon to publish the other volume of Tindall which would do the business. Mr. Budgell promised likewise a volume of several curious pieces of Tindall's, that had been committed to his charge, with the life of the doctor; but never fulfilled his promise.
During the publication of the Bee a smart pamphlet came out, called A Short History of Prime Ministers, which was generally believed to be written by our author; and in the same year he published A Letter to the Merchants and Tradesmen of London and Bristol, upon their late glorious behaviour against the Excise Law.
After the extinction of the Bee, our author became so involved with law-suits, and so incapable of living in the manner he wished and affected to do, that he was reduced to a very unhappy situation. He got himself call'd to the bar, and attended for some time in the courts of law; but finding it was too late to begin that profession, and too difficult for a man not regularly trained to it, to get into business, he soon quitted it. And at last, after being cast in several of his own suits, and being distressed to the utmost, he determined to make away with himself. He had always thought very loosely of revelation, and latterly became an avowed deist; which, added to his pride, greatly disposed him to this resolution.
Accordingly within a few days after the loss of his great cause, and his estates being decreed for the satisfaction of his creditors, in the year 1736 he took boat at Somerset-Stairs (after filling his pockets with stones upon the beach) ordered the waterman to shoot the bridge, and whilst the boat was going under it threw himself over-board. Several days before he had been visibly distracted in his mind, and almost mad, which makes such an action the less wonderful.
He was never married, but left one natural daughter behind him, who afterwards took his name, and was lately an actress at Drury-Lane.
It has been said, Mr. Budgell was of opinion, that when life becomes uneasy to support, and is overwhelmed with clouds, and sorrows, that a man has a natural right to take it away, as it is better not to live, than live in pain. The morning before he carried his notion of self-murder into execution, he endeavoured to persuade his daughter to accompany him, which she very wisely refused. His argument to induce her was; life is not worth the holding.—Upon Mr. Budgell's beauroe was found a slip of paper; in which were written these words.
What Cato did, and Addison approv'd, Cannot be wrong.—
Mr. Budgell had undoubtedly strong natural parts, an excellent education, and set out in life with every advantage that a man could wish, being settled in very great and profitable employments, at a very early age, by Mr. Addison: But by excessive vanity and indiscretion, proceeding from a false estimation of his own weight and consequence, he over-stretched himself, and ruined his interest at court, and by the succeeding loss of his fortune in the South-Sea, was reduced too low to make any other head against his enemies. The unjustifiable and dishonourable law-suits he kept alive, in the remaining part of his life, seem to be intirely owing to the same disposition, which could never submit to the living beneath what he had once done, and from that principle he kept a chariot and house in London to the very last.
His end was like that of many other people of spirit, reduced to great streights; for some of the greatest, as well as some of the most infamous men have laid violent hands upon themselves. As an author where he does not speak of himself, and does not give a loose to his vanity, he is a very agreeable and deserving writer; not argumentative or deep, but very ingenious and entertaining, and his stile is peculiarly elegant, so as to deserve being ranked in that respect with Addison's, and is superior to most of the other English writers. His Memoirs of the Orrery Family and the Boyle's, is the most indifferent of his performances; though the translations of Phalaris's Epistles in that work are done with great spirit and beauty.
As to his brothers, the second, Gilbert, was thought a man of deeper learning and better judgment when he was young than our author, but was certainly inferior to him in his appearance in life; and, 'tis thought, greatly inferior to him in every respect. He was author of a pretty Copy of Verses in the VIIIth Vol. of the Spectators, Numb, 591, which begins thus,
Conceal, fond man, conceal the mighty smart, Nor tell Corinna she has fir'd thy heart.
And it is said that it was a repulse from a lady of great fortune, with whom he was desperately in love whilst at Oxford, and to whom he had addressed these lines, that made him disregard himself ever after, neglect his studies, and fall into a habit of drinking. Whatever was the occasion of this last vice it ruined him. A lady had commended and desired to have a copy of his Verses once, and he sent them, with these lines on the first leaf—
Lucretius hence thy maxim I abjure Nought comes from nought, nothing can nought procure.
If to these lines your approbation's join'd, Something I'm sure from nothing has been coin'd.
This gentleman died unmarried, a little after his brother Eustace, at Exeter; having lived in a very disreputable manner for some time, and having degenerated into such excessive indolence, that he usually picked up some boy in the streets, and carried him into the coffee-house to read the news-papers to him. He had taken deacon's orders some years before his death, but had always been averse to that kind of life; and therefore became it very ill, and could never be prevailed upon to be a priest.
The third brother William, fellow of New-College in Oxford, died (as I mentioned before) one of the clerks in the Irish secretary of state's office, very young. He had been deputy accomptant general, both to his brother and his successor; and likewise deputy to Mr. Addison, as keeper of the records in Birmingham-Tower. Had he lived, 'tis probable he would have made a considerable figure, being a man of sound sense and learning, with great prudence and honour. His cousin Dr. Downes, then bishop of London-Derry, was his zealous friend, and Dr. Lavington the present bishop of Exeter, his fellow-collegian, was his intimate correspondent. Of the two sisters, the eldest married captain Graves of Thanks, near Saltash in Cornwall, a sea-officer, and died in 1738, leaving some children behind her; and the other is still alive, unmarried. The father Dr. Gilbert Budgell, was esteemed a sensible man, and has published a discourse upon Prayer, and some Sermons.
 See Budgell's Letter to Cleomenes. Appendix p. 79.
 See The Bee, vol. ii. p. 854.
 'Till then it was usual to discontinue an epilogue after the sixth night. But this was called for by the audience, and continued for the whole run of this play: Budgell did not scruple to sit in the it, and call for it himself.
 Vide Bee, Vol. II. page 1105.
 Alluding to Cato's destroying himself.
 There is an Epigram of our author's, which I don't remember to have seen published any where, written upon the death of a very fine young lady.
She was, she is, (What can theremore be said) On Earth [the] first, In Heav'n the second Maid. [Transcriber's note: Print unclear, word in square bracket assumed.]
See a Song of our author's in Steele's Miscellanies, published in 1714. Page 210.
There is an Epigram of his printed in the same book and in many collections, Upon a Company of bad Dancers to good Music.
How ill the motion with the music suits! So fiddled Orpheus—and so danc'd the Brutes.
* * * * *
THOMAS TICKELL, Esq.
This Gentleman, well known, to the world by the friendship and intimacy which subsisted between him and Mr. Addison, was the son of the revd. Mr. Richard Tickell, who enjoy'd a considerable preferment in the North of England. Our poet received his education at Queen's-College in Oxford, of which he was a fellow.
While he was at that university, he wrote a beautiful copy of verses addressed to Mr. Addison, on his Opera of Rosamond. These verses contained many elegant compliments to the author, in which he compares his softness to Corelli, and his strength to Virgil.
The Opera first Italian masters taught, Enrich'd with songs, but innocent of thought; Britannia's learned theatre disdains Melodious trifles, and enervate strains; And blushes on her injur'd stage to see, Nonsense well tun'd with sweet stupidity.
No charms are wanting to thy artful song Soft as Corelli, and as Virgil strong.
These complimentary lines, a few of which we have now quoted, so effectually recommended him to Mr. Addison, that he held him in esteem ever afterwards; and when he himself was raised to the dignity of secretary of state, he appointed Mr. Tickell his under-secretary. Mr. Addison being obliged to resign on account of his ill-state of health, Mr. Craggs who succeeded him, continued Mr. Tickell in his place, which he held till that gentleman's death. When Mr. Addison was appointed secretary, being a diffident man, he consulted with his friends about disposing such places as were immediately dependent on him. He communicated to Sir Richard Steele, his design of preferring Mr. Tickell to be his under-secretary, which Sir Richard, who considered him as a petulant man, warmly opposed. He observed that Mr. Tickell was of a temper too enterprising to be governed, and as he had no opinion of his honour, he did not know what might be the consequence, if by insinuation and flattery, or by bolder means, he ever had an opportunity of raising himself. It holds pretty generally true, that diffident people under the appearance of distrusting their own opinions, are frequently positive, and though they pursue their resolutions with trembling, they never fail to pursue them. Mr. Addison had a little of this temper in him. He could not be persuaded to set aside Mr. Tickell, nor even had secrecy enough to conceal from him Sir Richard's opinion. This produced a great animosity between Sir Richard and Mr. Tickell, which subsisted during their lives.
Mr. Tickell in his life of Addison, prefixed to his own edition of that great man's works, throws out some unmannerly reflexions against Sir Richard, who was at that time in Scotland, as one of the commissioners on the forfeited estates. Upon Sir Richard's return to London, he dedicates to Mr. Congreve, Addison's Comedy, called the Drummer, in which he takes occasion very smartly to retort upon Tickell, and clears himself of the imputation laid to his charge, namely that of valuing himself upon Mr. Addison's papers in the Spectator.
In June 1724 Mr. Tickell was appointed secretary to the Lords Justices in Ireland, a place says Mr. Coxeter, which he held till his death, which happened in the year 1740.
It does not appear that Mr. Tickell was in any respect ungrateful to Mr. Addison, to whom he owed his promotion; on the other hand we find him take every opportunity to celebrate him, which he always performs with so much zeal, and earnestness, that he seems to have retained the most lasting sense of his patron's favours. His poem to the earl of Warwick on the death of Mr. Addison, is very pathetic. He begins it thus,
If dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stray'd, And left her debt to Addison unpaid, Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan, And judge, O judge, my bosom by your own. What mourner ever felt poetic fires! Slow comes the verse, that real woe inspires: Grief unaffected suits but ill with art, Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
Mr. Tickell's works are printed in the second volume of the Minor Poets, and he is by far the most considerable writer amongst them. He has a very happy talent in versification, which much exceeds Addison's, and is inferior to few of the English Poets, Mr. Dryden and Pope excepted. The first poem in this collection is addressed to the supposed author of the Spectator.
In the year 1713 Mr. Tickell wrote a poem, called The Prospect of Peace, addressed to his excellency the lord privy-seal; which met with so favourable a reception from the public, as to go thro' six editions. The sentiments in this poem are natural, and obvious, but no way extraordinary. It is an assemblage of pretty notions, poetically expressed; but conducted with no kind of art, and altogether without a plan. The following exordium is one of the most shining parts of the poem.
Far hence be driv'n to Scythia's stormy shore The drum's harsh music, and the cannon's roar; Let grim Bellona haunt the lawless plain, Where Tartar clans, and grizly Cossacks reign; Let the steel'd Turk be deaf to Matrons cries, See virgins ravish'd, with relentless eyes, To death, grey heads, and smiling infants doom. Nor spare the promise of the pregnant womb: O'er wafted kingdoms spread his wide command. The savage lord of an unpeopled land. Her guiltless glory just Britannia draws From pure religion, and impartial laws, To Europe's wounds a mother's aid she brings, And holds in equal scales the rival kings: Her gen'rous sons in choicest gifts abound, Alike in arms, alike in arts renown'd.
The Royal Progress. This poem is mentioned in the Spectator, in opposition to such performances, as are generally written in a swelling stile, and in which the bombast is mistaken for the sublime. It is meant as a compliment to his late majesty, on his arrival in his British dominions.
An imitation of the Prophesy of Nereus. Horace, Book I. Ode XV.—This was written about the year 1715, and intended as a ridicule upon the enterprize of the earl of Marr; which he prophesies will be crushed by the duke of Argyle.
An Epistle from a Lady in England, to a gentleman at Avignon. Of this piece five editions were sold; it is written in the manner of a Lady to a Gentleman, whose principles obliged him to be an exile with the Royal Wanderer. The great propension of the Jacobites to place confidence in imaginary means; and to construe all extraordinary appearances, into ominous signs of the restoration of their king is very well touched.
Was it for this the sun's whole lustre fail'd, And sudden midnight o'er the Moon prevail'd! For this did Heav'n display to mortal eyes Aerial knights, and combats in the skies! Was it for this Northumbrian streams look'd red! And Thames driv'n backwards shew'd his secret bed!
False Auguries! th'insulting victors scorn! Ev'n our own prodigies against us turn! O portents constru'd, on our side in vain! Let never Tory trust eclipse again! Run clear, ye fountains! be at peace, ye skies; And Thames, henceforth to thy green borders rise!
An Ode, occasioned by his excellency the earl of Stanhope's Voyage to France.
A Prologue to the University of Oxford.
Thoughts occasioned by the sight of an original picture of King Charles the 1st, taken at the time of his Trial.
A Fragment of a Poem, on Hunting.
A Description of the Phoenix, from Claudian.
To a Lady; with the Description of the Phoenix.
Part of the Fourth Book of Lucan translated.
The First Book of Homer's Iliad.
Several Epistles and Odes.
This translation was published much about the same time with Mr. Pope's. But it will not bear a comparison; and Mr. Tickell cannot receive a greater injury, than to have his verses placed in contradistinction to Pope's. Mr. Melmoth, in his Letters, published under the name of Fitz Osborne, has produced some parallel passages, little to the advantage of Mr. Tickell, who if he fell greatly short of the elegance and beauty of Pope, has yet much exceeded Mr. Congreve, in what he has attempted of Homer.
In the life of Addison, some farther particulars concerning this translation are related; and Sir Richard Steele, in his dedication of the Drummer to Mr. Congreve, gives it as his opinion, that Addison was himself the author.
These translations, published at the same time, were certainly meant as rivals to one another. We cannot convey a more adequate idea of this, than in the words of Mr. Pope, in a Letter to James Craggs, Esq.; dated July the 15th, 1715.
'They tell me, the busy part of the nation are not more busy about Whig and Tory; than these idle-fellows of the feather, about Mr. Tickell's and my translation. I (like the Tories) have the town in general, that is, the mob on my side; but it is usual with the smaller part to make up in industry, what they want in number; and that is the case with the little senate of Cato. However, if our principles be well considered, I must appear a brave Whig, and Mr. Tickell a rank Tory. I translated Homer, for the public in general, he to gratify the inordinate desires of one man only. We have, it seems, a great Turk in poetry, who can never bear a brother on the throne; and has his Mutes too, a set of Medlers, Winkers, and Whisperers, whose business 'tis to strangle all other offsprings of wit in their birth. The new translator of Homer, is the humblest slave he has, that is to say, his first minister; let him receive the honours he gives me, but receive them with fear and trembling; let him be proud of the approbation of his absolute lord, I appeal to the people, as my rightful judges, and masters; and if they are not inclined to condemn me, I fear no arbitrary high-flying proceeding, from the Court faction at Button's. But after all I have said of this great man, there is no rupture between us. We are each of us so civil, and obliging, that neither thinks he's obliged: And I for my part, treat with him, as we do with the Grand Monarch; who has too many great qualities, not to be respected, though we know he watches any occasion to oppress us.'
Thus we have endeavoured to exhibit an Idea of the writings of Mr. Tickell, a man of a very elegant genius: As there appears no great invention in his works, if he cannot be placed in the first rank of Poets; yet from the beauty of his numbers, and the real poetry which enriched his imagination, he has, at least, an unexceptionable claim to the second.
* * * * *
Mr. WILLIAM HINCHLIFFE,
was the son of a reputable tradesman of St. Olave's in Southwark, and was born there May 12, 1692; was educated at a private grammar school with his intimate and ingenious friend Mr. Henry Needler. He made a considerable progress in classical learning, and had a poetical genius. He served an apprenticeship to Mr. Arthur Bettesworth, Bookseller in London, and afterwards followed that business himself near thirty years, under the Royal Exchange, with reputation and credit, having the esteem and friendship of many eminent merchants and gentlemen. In 1718 he married Jane, one of the daughters of Mr. William Leigh, an eminent citizen. Mrs. Hinchliffe was sister of William Leigh, esq; one of his Majesty's justices of the peace for the county of Surry, and of the revd. Thomas Leigh, late rector of Heyford in Oxfordshire, by whom he had two sons and three daughters, of which only one son and one daughter are now living. He died September 20, 1742, and was buried in the parish church of St. Margaret's Lothbury, London.
In 1714 he had the honour to present an Ode to King George I. on his Arrival at Greenwich, which is printed in a Collection of Poems, Amorous, Moral, and Divine, which he published in octavo, 1718, and dedicated them to his friend Mr. Needler.
He published a History of the Rebellion of 1715, and dedicated it to the late Duke of Argyle.
He made himself master of the French tongue by his own application and study; and in 1734 published a Translation of Boulainvillers's Life of Mahomet, which is well esteemed, and dedicated it to his intimate and worthy friend Mr. William Duncombe, Esq;
He was concerned, with others, in the publishing several other ingenious performances, and has left behind him in manuscript, a Translation of the nine first Books of Telemachus in blank Verse, which cost him great labour, but he did not live to finish the remainder.
He is the author of a volume of poems in 8vo, many of which are written with a true poetical spirit.
O come Lavinia, lovely maid, Said Dion, stretch'd at ease, Beneath the walnut's fragrant shade, A sweet retreat! by nature made With elegance to please.
O leave the court's deceitful glare, Loath'd pageantry and pride, Come taste our solid pleasures here. Which angels need not blush to share, And with bless'd men divide.
What raptures were it in these bow'rs, Fair virgin, chaste, and wise, With thee to lose the learned hours, And note the beauties in these flowers, Conceal'd from vulgar eyes.
For thee my gaudy garden blooms, And richly colour'd glows; Above the pomp of royal rooms, Or purpled works of Persian looms, Proud palaces disclose.
Haste, nymph, nor let me sigh in vain, Each grace attends on thee; Exalt my bliss, and point my strain, For love and truth are of thy train, Content and harmony.
 This piece is not in Mr. Hinchliffe's works, but is assuredly his.
* * * * *
MR. MATTHEW CONCANEN.
This gentleman was a native of Ireland, and was bred to the Law. In this profession he seems not to have made any great figure. By some means or other he conceived an aversion to Dr. Swift, for his abuse of whom, the world taxed him with ingratitude. Concanen had once enjoyed some degree of Swift's favour, who was not always very happy in the choice of his companions. He had an opportunity of reading some of the Dr's poems in MS. which it is said he thought fit to appropriate and publish as his own.
As affairs did not much prosper with him in Ireland, he came over to London, in company with another gentleman, and both commenced writers. These two friends entered into an extraordinary agreement. As the subjects which then attracted the attention of mankind were of a political cast, they were of opinion that no species of writing could so soon recommend them to public notice; and in order to make their trade more profitable, they resolved to espouse different interests; one should oppose, and the other defend the ministry. They determined the side of the question each was to espouse, by tossing up a half-penny, and it fell to the share of Mr. Concanen to defend the ministry, which task he performed with as much ability, as political writers generally discover.
He was for some time, concerned in the British, and London Journals, and a paper called The Speculatist. These periodical pieces are long since buried in neglect, and perhaps would have even sunk into oblivion, had not Mr. Pope, by his satyrical writings, given them a kind of disgraceful immortality. In these Journals he published many scurrilities against Mr. Pope; and in a pamphlet called, The Supplement to the Profound, he used him with great virulence, and little candour. He not only imputed to him Mr. Brome's verses (for which he might indeed seem in some degree accountable, having corrected what that gentleman did) but those of the duke of Buckingham and others. To this rare piece some body humorously perswaded him to take for his motto, De profundis clamavi. He afterwards wrote a paper called The Daily Courant, wherein he shewed much spleen against lord Bolingbroke, and some of his friends. All these provocations excited Mr. Pope to give him a place in his Dunciad. In his second book, l. 287, when he represents the dunces diving in the mud of the Thames for the prize, he speaks thus of Concanen;
True to the bottom see Concanen creep, A cold, long winded, native of the deep! If perseverance gain the diver's prize, Not everlasting Blackmore this denies.
In the year 1725 Mr. Concanen published a volume of poems in 8vo. consisting chiefly of compositions of his own, and some few of other gentlemen; they are addressed to the lord Gage, whom he endeavours artfully to flatter, without offending his modesty. 'I shall begin this Address, says he, by declaring that the opinion I have of a great part of the following verses, is the highest indication of the esteem in which I hold the noble character I present them to. Several of them have authors, whose names do honour to whatever patronage they receive. As to my share of them, since it is too late, after what I have already delivered, to give my opinion of them, I'll say as much as can be said in their favour. I'll affirm that they have one mark of merit, which is your lordship's approbation; and that they are indebted to fortune for two other great advantages, a place in good company, and an honourable protection.'
The gentlemen, who assisted Concanen in this collection, were Dean Swift, Mr. Parnel, Dr. Delany, Mr. Brown, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Stirling. In this collection there is a poem by Mr. Concanen, called A Match at Football, in three Cantos; written, 'tis said, in imitation of The Rape of the Lock. This performance is far from being despicable; the verification is generally smooth; the design is not ill conceived, and the characters not unnatural. It perhaps would be read with more applause, if The Rape of the Lock did not occur to the mind, and, by forcing a comparison, destroy all the satisfaction in perusing it; as the disproportion is so very considerable. We shall quote a few lines from the beginning of the third canto, by which it will appear that Concanen was not a bad rhimer.
In days of yore a lovely country maid Rang'd o'er these lands, and thro' these forests stray'd; Modest her pleasures, matchless was her frame, Peerless her face, and Sally was her name. By no frail vows her young desires were bound, No shepherd yet the way to please her found. Thoughtless of love the beauteous nymph appear'd, Nor hop'd its transports, nor its torments fear'd. But careful fed her flocks, and grac'd the plain, She lack'd no pleasure, and she felt no pain. She view'd our motions when we toss'd the ball, And smil'd to see us take, or ward, a fall; 'Till once our leader chanc'd the nymph to spy, And drank in poison from her lovely eye. Now pensive grown, he shunn'd the long-lov'd plains, His darling pleasures, and his favour'd swains, Sigh'd in her absence, sigh'd when she was near, Now big with hope, and now dismay'd with fear; At length with falt'ring tongue he press'd the dame, For some returns to his unpity'd flame; But she disdain'd his suit, despis'd his care, His form unhandsome, and his bristled hair; Forward she sprung, and with an eager pace The god pursu'd, nor fainted in the race; Swift as the frighted hind the virgin flies, When the woods ecchoe to the hunters cries: Swift as the fleetest hound her flight she trac'd, When o'er the lawns the frighted hind is chac'd; The winds which sported with her flowing vest Display'd new charms, and heightened all the rest: Those charms display'd, increas'd the gods desire, What cool'd her bosom, set his breast on fire: With equal speed, for diff'rent ends they move, Fear lent the virgin wings, the shepherd love: Panting at length, thus in her fright she pray'd, Be quick ye pow'rs, and save a wretched maid. [Protect] my honour, shelter me from shame, [Beauty] and life with pleasure I disclaim.
[Transcriber's note: print unclear for words in square brackets, therefore words are assumed.]
Mr. Concanen was also concerned with the late Mr. Roome [Transcriber's note: print unclear, "m" assumed], and a certain eminent senator, in making The Jovial Crew, an old Comedy, into a Ballad Opera; which was performed about the year 1730; and the profits were given entirely to Mr. Concanen. Soon after he was preferred to be attorney-general in Jamaica, a post of considerable eminence, and attended with a very large income. In this island he spent the remaining part of his days, and, we are informed made a tolerable accession of fortune, by marrying a planter's daughter, who surviving him was left in the possession of several hundred pounds a year. She came over to England after his death, and married the honourable Mr. Hamilton.
* * * * *
RICHARD SAVAGE, Esq;
This unhappy gentleman, who led a course of life imbittered with the most severe calamities, was not yet destitute of a friend to close his eyes. It has been remarked of Cowley, who likewise experienced many of the vicissitudes of fortune, that he was happy in the acquaintance of the bishop of Rochester, who performed the last offices which can be paid to a poet, in the elegant Memorial he made of his Life. Though Mr. Savage was as much inferior to Cowley in genius, as in the rectitude of his life, yet, in some respect, he bears a resemblance to that great man. None of the poets have been more honoured in the commemoration of their history, than this gentleman. The life of Mr. Savage was written some years after his death by a gentleman, who knew him intimately, capable to distinguish between his follies, and those good qualities which were often concealed from the bulk of mankind by the abjectness of his condition. From this account we have compiled that which we now present to the reader.
In the year 1697 Anne countess of Macclesfield, having lived for some time on very uneasy terms with her husband, thought a public confession of adultery the most expeditious method of obtaining her liberty, and therefore declared the child with which she then was big was begotten by the earl of Rivers. This circumstance soon produced a separation, which, while the earl of Macclesfield was prosecuting, the countess, on the 10th of January 1697-8, was delivered of our author; and the earl of Rivers, by appearing to consider him as his own, left no room to doubt of her declaration. However strange it may appear, the countess looked upon her son, from his birth, with a kind of resentment and abhorrence. No sooner was her son born, than she discovered a resolution of disowning him, in a short time removed him from her sight, and committed him to the care of a poor woman, whom she directed to educate him as her own, and enjoined her never to inform him of his true parents. Instead of defending his tender years, she took delight to see him struggling with misery, and continued her persecution, from the first hour of his life to the last, with an implacable and restless cruelty. His mother, indeed, could not affect others with the same barbarity, and though she, whose tender sollicitudes should have supported him, had launched him into the ocean of life, yet was he not wholly abandoned. The lady Mason, mother to the countess, undertook to transact with the nurse, and superintend the education of the child. She placed him at a grammar school near St. Albans, where he was called by the name of his nurse, without the least intimation that he had a claim to any other. While he was at this school, his father, the earl of Rivers, was seized with a distemper which in a short time put an end to his life. While the earl lay on his death-bed, he thought it his duty to provide for him, amongst his other natural children, and therefore demanded a positive account of him. His mother, who could no longer refuse an answer, determined, at least, to give such, as should deprive him for ever of that happiness which competency affords, and declared him dead; which is, perhaps, the first instance of a falshood invented by a mother, to deprive her son of a provision which was designed him by another. The earl did not imagine that there could exist in nature, a mother that would ruin her son, without enriching herself, and therefore bestowed upon another son six thousand pounds, which he had before in his will bequeathed to Savage. The same cruelty which incited her to intercept this provision intended him, suggested another project, worthy of such a disposition. She endeavoured to rid herself from the danger of being at any time made known to him, by sending him secretly to the American Plantations; but in this contrivance her malice was defeated.
Being still restless in the persecution of her son, she formed another scheme of burying him in poverty and obscurity; and that the state of his life, if not the place of his residence, might keep him for ever at a distance from her, she ordered him to be placed with a Shoemaker in Holbourn, that after the usual time of trial he might become his apprentice. It is generally reported, that this project was, for some time, successful, and that Savage was employed at the awl longer than he was willing to confess; but an unexpected discovery determined him to quit his occupation.
About this time his nurse, who had always treated him as her own son, died; and it was natural for him to take care of those effects, which by her death were, as he imagined, become his own. He therefore went to her house, opened her boxes, examined her papers, and found some letters written to her by the lady Mason, which informed him of his birth, and the reasons for which it was concealed.
He was now no longer satisfied with the employment which had been allotted him, but thought he had a right to share the affluence of his mother, and therefore, without scruple, applied to her as her son, and made use of every art to awake her tenderness, and attract her regard. It was to no purpose that he frequently sollicited her to admit him to see her, she avoided him with the utmost precaution, and ordered him to be excluded from her house, by whomsoever he might be introduced, and what reason soever he might give for entering it.
Savage was at this time so touched with the discovery of his real mother, that it was his frequent practice to walk in the dark evenings for several hours before her door, in hopes of seeing her by accident.
But all his assiduity was without effect, for he could neither soften her heart, nor open her hand, and while he was endeavouring to rouse the affections of a mother, he was reduced to the miseries of want. In this situation he was obliged to find other means of support, and became by necessity an author.
His first attempt in that province was, a poem against the bishop of Bangor, whose controversy, at that time, engaged the attention of the nation, and furnished the curious with a topic of dispute. Of this performance Mr. Savage was afterwards ashamed, as it was the crude effort of a yet uncultivated genius. He then attempted another kind of writing, and, while but yet eighteen, offered a comedy to the stage, built upon a Spanish plot; which was refused by the players. Upon this he gave it to Mr. Bullock, who, at that time rented the Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields of Mr. Rich, and with messieurs Keene, Pack, and others undertook the direction thereof. Mr. Bullock made some slight alterations, and brought it upon the stage, under the title of Woman's a Riddle, but allowed the real author no part of the profit. This occasioned a quarrel between Savage and Bullock; but it ended without bloodshed, though not without high words: Bullock insisted he had a translation of the Spanish play, from whence the plot was taken, given him by the same lady who had bestowed it on Savage.—Which was not improbable, as that whimsical lady had given a copy to several others.
Not discouraged, however, at this repulse, he wrote, two years after, Love in a Veil, another Comedy borrowed likewise from the Spanish, but with little better success than before; for though it was received and acted, yet it appeared so late in the year, that Savage obtained no other advantage from it, than the acquaintance of Sir Richard Steele, and Mr. Wilks, by whom, says the author of his Life, he was pitied, caressed, and relieved. Sir Richard Steele declared in his favour, with that genuine benevolence which constituted his character, promoted his interest with the utmost zeal, and taking all opportunities of recommending him; he asserted, 'that the inhumanity of his mother had given him a right to find every good man his father.' Nor was Mr. Savage admitted into his acquaintance only, but to his confidence and esteem. Sir Richard intended to have established him in some settled scheme of life, and to have contracted a kind of alliance with him, by marrying him to a natural daughter, on whom he intended to bestow a thousand pounds. But Sir Richard conducted his affairs with so little oeconomy, that he was seldom able to raise the sum, which he had offered, and the marriage was consequently delayed. In the mean time he was officiously informed that Mr. Savage had ridiculed him; by which he was so much exasperated that he withdrew the allowance he had paid him, and never afterwards admitted him to his house.
He was now again abandoned to fortune, without any other friend but Mr. Wilks, a man to whom calamity seldom complained without relief. He naturally took an unfortunate wit into his protection, and not only assisted him in any casual distresses, but continued an equal and steady kindness to the time of his death. By Mr. Wilks's interposition Mr. Savage once obtained of his mother fifty pounds, and a promise of one hundred and fifty more, but it was the fate of this unhappy man, that few promises of any advantage to him were ever performed.
Being thus obliged to depend [Transcriber's note: 'depended' in original] upon Mr. Wilks, he was an assiduous frequenter of the theatres, and, in a short time, the amusements of the stage took such a possession of his mind, that he was never absent from a play in several years.
In the year 1723 Mr. Savage brought another piece on the stage. He made choice of the subject of Sir Thomas Overbury: If the circumstances in which he wrote it be considered, it will afford at once an uncommon proof of strength of genius, and an evenness of mind not to be ruffled. During a considerable part of the time in which he was employed upon this performance, he was without lodging, and often without food; nor had he any other conveniencies for study than the fields, or the street; in which he used to walk, and form his speeches, and afterwards step into a shop, beg for a few moments the use of pen and ink, and write down what he had composed, upon paper which he had picked up by accident.
Mr. Savage had been for some time distinguished by Aaron Hill, Esq; with very particular kindness; and on this occasion it was natural to apply to him, as an author of established reputation. He therefore sent this Tragedy to him, with a few verses, in which he desired his correction. Mr. Hill who was a man of unbounded humanity, and most accomplished politeness, readily complied with his request; and wrote the prologue and epilogue, in which he touches the circumstances [Transcriber's note: 'cirumstances' in original] of the author with great tenderness.
Mr. Savage at last brought his play upon the stage, but not till the chief actors had quitted it, and it was represented by what was then called the summer-company. In this Tragedy Mr. Savage himself performed the part of Sir Thomas Overbury, with so little success, that he always blotted out his name from the list of players, when a copy of his Tragedy was to be shewn to any of his friends. This play however procured him the notice and esteem of many persons of distinction, for some rays of genius glimmered thro' all the mists which poverty and oppression had spread over it. The whole profits of this performance, acted, printed, and dedicated, amounted to about 200 l. But the generosity of Mr. Hill did not end here; he promoted the subscription to his Miscellanies, by a very pathetic representation of the author's sufferings, printed in the Plain-Dealer, a periodical paper written by Mr. Hill. This generous effort in his favour soon produced him seventy-guineas, which were left for him at Button's, by some who commiserated his misfortunes.
Mr. Hill not only promoted the subscription to the Miscellany, but furnished likewise the greatest part of the poems of which it is composed, and particularly the Happy Man, which he published as a specimen. To this Miscellany he wrote a preface, in which he gives an account of his mother's cruelty, in a very uncommon strain of humour, which the success of his subscriptions probably inspired.
Savage was now advancing in reputation, and though frequently involved in very perplexing necessities, appeared however to be gaining on mankind; when both his fame and his life were endangered, by an event of which it is not yet determined, whether it ought to be mentioned as a crime or a calamity. As this is by far the most interesting circumstance in the life of this unfortunate man, we shall relate the particulars minutely.
On the 20th of November 1727 Mr. Savage came from Richmond, where he had retired, that he might pursue his studies with less interruption, with an intent to discharge a lodging which he had in Westminster; and accidentally meeting two gentlemen of his acquaintance, whose names were Marchant and Gregory, he went in with them to a neighbouring Coffee-House, and sat drinking till it was late. He would willingly have gone to bed in the same house, but there was not room for the whole company, and therefore they agreed to ramble about the streets, and divert themselves with such amusements as should occur till morning. In their walk they happened unluckily to discover light in Robinson's Coffee-House, near Charing-Cross, and went in. Marchant with some rudeness demanded a room, and was told that there was a good fire in the next parlour, which the company were about to leave, being then paying their reckoning. Marchant not satisfied with this answer, rushed into the room, and was followed by his companions. He then petulantly placed himself between the company and the fire; and soon afterwards kicked down the table. This produced a quarrel, swords were drawn on both sides; and one Mr. James Sinclair was killed. Savage having wounded likewise a maid that held him, forced his way with Gregory out of the house; but being intimidated, and confus'd, without resolution, whether to fly, or stay, they were taken in a back court by one of the company, and some soldiers, whom he had called to his assistance.
When the day of the trial came on, the court was crowded in a very unusual manner, and the public appeared to interest itself as in a cause of general concern. The witnesses against Mr. Savage and his friends, were the woman who kept the house, which was a house of ill-fame, and her maid, the men who were in the room with Mr. Sinclair, and a woman of the town, who had been drinking with them, and with whom one of them had been seen in bed.
They swore in general, that Marchant gave the provocation, which Savage and Gregory drew their swords to justify; that Savage drew first, that he stabb'd Sinclair, when he was not in a posture of defence, or while Gregory commanded his sword; that after he had given the thrust he turned pale, and would have retired, but that the maid clung round him, and one of the company endeavoured to detain him, from whom he broke, by cutting the maid on the head.
Sinclair had declared several times before his death, for he survived that night, that he received his wound from Savage; nor did Savage at his trial deny the fact, but endeavoured partly to extenuate it, by urging the suddenness of the whole action, and the impossibility of any ill design, or premeditated malice, and partly to justify it by the necessity of self-defence, and the hazard of his own life, if he had lost that opportunity of giving the thrust. He observed that neither reason nor law obliged a man to wait for the blow which was threatened, and which if he should suffer, he might never be able to return; that it was always allowable to prevent an assault, and to preserve life, by taking away that of the adversary, by whom it was endangered.
With regard to the violence with which he endeavoured his escape, he declared it was not his design to fly from justice, or decline a trial, but to avoid the expences and severities of a prison, and that he intended to appear at the bar, without compulsion. This defence which took up more than an hour, was heard by the multitude that thronged the court, with the most attentive and respectful silence. Those who thought he ought not to be acquitted, owned that applause could not be refused him; and those who before pitied his misfortunes, now reverenced his abilities.
The witnesses who appeared against him were proved to be persons of such characters as did not entitle them to much credit; a common strumpet, a woman by whom such wretches were entertained, and a man by whom they were supported. The character of Savage was by several persons of distinction asserted to be that of a modest inoffensive man, not inclined to broils, or to insolence, and who had to that time been only known by his misfortunes and his wit.
Had his audience been his judges, he had undoubtedly been acquitted; but Mr. Page, who was then upon the bench, treated him with the most brutal severity, and in summing up the evidence endeavoured to exasperate the jury against him, and misrepresent his defence. This was a provocation, and an insult, which the prisoner could not bear, and therefore Mr. Savage resolutely asserted, that his cause was not candidly explained, and began to recapitulate what he had before said; but the judge having ordered him to be silent, which Savage treated with contempt, he commanded that he should be taken by force from the bar. The jury then heard the opinion of the judge, that good characters were of no weight against positive evidence, though they might turn the scale, where it was doubtful; and that though two men attack each other, the death of either is only manslaughter; but where one is the aggressor, as in the case before them, and in pursuance of his first attack kills the other, the law supposes the action, however sudden, to be malicious. The jury determined, that Mr. Savage and Mr. Gregory were guilty of murder, and Mr. Marchant who had no sword, only manslaughter.
Mr. Savage and Mr. Gregory were conducted back to prison, where they were more closely confined, and loaded with irons of fifty pound weight. Savage had now no hopes of life but from the king's mercy, and can it be believed, that mercy his own mother endeavoured to intercept.
When Savage (as we have already observed) was first made acquainted with the story of his birth, he was so touched with tenderness for his mother, that he earnestly sought an opportunity to see her.
To prejudice the queen against him, she made use of an incident, which was omitted in the order of time, that it might be mentioned together with the purpose it was made to serve.
One evening while he was walking, as was his custom, in the street she inhabited, he saw the door of her house by accident open; he entered it, and finding no persons in the passage to prevent him, went up stairs to salute her. She discovered him before he could enter her chamber, alarmed the family with the most distressful out-cries, and when she had by her screams gathered them about her, ordered them to drive out of the house that villain, who had forced himself in upon her, and endeavoured to murder her.
This abominable falsehood his mother represented to the queen, or communicated it to some who were base enough to relate it, and so strongly prepossessed her majesty against this unhappy man, that for a long while she rejected all petitions that were offered in his favour.
Thus had Savage perished by the evidence of a bawd, of a strumpet, and of his mother; had not justice and compassion procured him an advocate, of a rank too great to be rejected unheard, and of virtue too eminent to be heard without being believed. The story of his sufferings reached the ear of the countess of Hertford, who engaged in his support with the tenderness and humanity peculiar to that amiable lady. She demanded an audience of the queen, and laid before her the whole series of his mother's cruelty, exposed the improbability of her accusation of murder, and pointed out all the circumstances of her unequall'd barbarity.
The interposition of this lady was so successful, that he was soon after admitted to bail, and on the 9th of March 1728, pleaded the king's pardon.
Mr. Savage during his imprisonment, his trial, and the time in which he lay under sentence of death, behaved with great fortitude, and confirmed by his unshaken equality of mind, the esteem of those who before admired him for his abilities. Upon weighing all the circumstances relating to this unfortunate event, it plainly appears that the greatest guilt could not be imputed to Savage. His killing Sinclair, was rather rash than totally dishonourable, for though Marchant had been the aggressor, who would not procure his friend from being over-powered by numbers?
Some time after he had obtained his liberty, he met in the street the woman of the town that had swore against him: She informed him that she was in distress, and with unparalleled assurance desired him to relieve her. He, instead of insulting her misery, and taking pleasure in the calamity of one who had brought his life into danger, reproved her gently for her perjury, and changing the only guinea he had, divided it equally between her and himself.
Compassion seems indeed to have been among the few good qualities possessed by Savage; he never appeared inclined to take the advantage of weakness, to attack the defenceless, or to press upon the falling: Whoever was distressed was certain at last of his good wishes. But when his heart was not softened by the sight of misery, he was obstinate in his resentment, and did not quickly lose the remembrance of an injury. He always harboured the sharpest resentment against judge Page; and a short time before his death, he gratified it in a satire upon that severe magistrate.
When in conversation this unhappy subject was mentioned, Savage appeared neither to consider himself as a murderer, nor as a man wholly free from blood. How much, and how long he regretted it, appeared in a poem published many years afterwards, which the following lines will set in a very striking light.
Is chance a guilt, that my disast'rous heart, For mischief never meant, must ever smart? Can self-defence be sin?—Ah! plead no more! What tho' no purpos'd malice stain'd thee o'er; Had Heav'n befriended thy unhappy side, Thou had'st not been provok'd, or thou had'st died.
Far be the guilt of home-shed blood from all, On whom, unfought, imbroiling dangers fall. Still the pale dead revives and lives to me, To me through pity's eye condemn'd to see. Remembrance veils his rage, but swells his fate, Griev'd I forgive, and am grown cool too late,
Young and unthoughtful then, who knows one day, What rip'ning virtues might have made their way? He might, perhaps, his country's friend have prov'd, Been gen'rous, happy, candid and belov'd; He might have sav'd some worth now doom'd to fall, And I, perchance, in him have murder'd all.
Savage had now obtained his liberty, but was without any settled means of support, and as he had lost all tenderness for his mother, who had thirsted for his blood, he resolved to lampoon her, to extort that pension by satire, which he knew she would never grant upon any principles of honour, or humanity. This expedient proved successful; whether shame still survived, though compassion was extinct, or whether her relations had more delicacy than herself, and imagined that some of the darts which satire might point at her, would glance upon them: Lord Tyrconnel, whatever were his motives, upon his promise to lay aside the design of exposing his mother, received him into his family, treated him as his equal, and engaged to allow him a pension of 200 l. a year.
This was the golden part of Mr. Savage's life; for some time he had no reason to complain of fortune; his appearance was splendid, his expences large, and his acquaintance extensive. 'He was courted, says the author of his life, by all who endeavoured to be thought men of genius, and caressed by all that valued themselves upon a fine taste. To admire Mr. Savage was a proof of discernment, and to be acquainted with him was a title to poetical reputation. His presence was sufficient to make any place of entertainment popular; and his approbation and example constituted the fashion. So powerful is genius, when it is invested with the glitter of affluence. Men willingly pay to fortune that regard which they owe to merit, and are pleased when they have at once an opportunity of exercising their vanity, and practising their duty. This interval of prosperity furnished him with opportunities of enlarging his knowledge of human nature, by contemplating life from its highest gradation to its lowest.'
In this gay period of life, when he was surrounded by the affluence of pleasure, 1729, he published the Wanderer, a Moral Poem, of which the design is comprised in these lines.
I fly all public care, all venal strife, To try the Still, compared with Active Life. To prove by these the sons of men may owe, The fruits of bliss to bursting clouds of woe, That ev'n calamity by thought refin'd Inspirits, and adorns the thinking mind.
And more distinctly in the following passage:
By woe the soul to daring actions swells, By woe in plaintless patience it excells; From patience prudent, clear experience springs, And traces knowledge through the course of things. Thence hope is form'd, thence fortitude, success, Renown—Whate'er men covet or caress.
This performance was always considered by Mr. Savage as his master-piece; but Mr. Pope, when he asked his opinion of it, told him, that he read it once over, and was not displeased with it, that it gave him more pleasure at the second perusal, and delighted him still more at the third. From a poem so successfully written, it might be reasonably expected that he should have gained considerable advantages; but the case was otherwise; he sold the copy only for ten guineas. That he got so small a price for so finished a poem, was not to be imputed either to the necessity of the writer, or to the avarice of the bookseller. He was a slave to his passions, and being then in the pursuit of some trifling gratification, for which he wanted a supply of money, he sold his poem to the first bidder, and perhaps for the first price which was proposed, and probably would have been content with less, if less had been offered. It was addressed to the earl of Tyrconnel, not only in the first lines, but in a formal dedication, filled with the highest strains of panegyric. These praises in a short time he found himself inclined to retract, being discarded by the man on whom he had bestowed them, and whom he said, he then discovered, had not deserved them.
Of this quarrel, lord Tyrconnel and Mr. Savage assigned very different reasons. Lord Tyrconnel charged Savage with the most licentious behaviour, introducing company into his house, and practising with them the most irregular frolics, and committing all the outrages of drunkenness. Lord Tyrconnel farther alledged against Savage, that the books of which he himself had made him a present, were sold or pawned by him, so that he had often the mortification to see them exposed to sale upon stalls.
Savage, it seems, was so accustomed to live by expedients, that affluence could not raise him above them. He often went to the tavern and trusted the payment of his reckoning to the liberality of his company; and frequently of company to whom he was very little known. This conduct indeed, seldom drew him into much inconvenience, or his conversation and address were so pleasing, that few thought the pleasure which they received from him, dearly purchased by paying for his wine. It was his peculiar happiness that he scarcely ever found a stranger, whom he did not leave a friend; but it must likewise be added, that he had not often a friend long, without obliging him to become an enemy.
Mr. Savage on the other hand declared, that lord Tyrconnel quarrelled with him because he would not subtract from his own luxury and extravagance what he had promised to allow him; and that his resentment was only a plea for the violation of his promise: He asserted that he had done nothing which ought to exclude him from that subsistence which he thought not so much a favour as a debt, since it was offered him upon conditions, which he had never broken; and that his only fault was, that he could not be supported upon nothing.
Savage's passions were strong, among which his resentment was not the weakest; and as gratitude was not his constant virtue, we ought not too hastily to give credit to all his prejudice asserts against (his once praised patron) lord Tyrconnel.
During his continuance with the lord Tyrconnel, he wrote the Triumph of Health and Mirth, on the recovery of the lady Tyrconnel, from a languishing illness. This poem is built upon a beautiful fiction. Mirth overwhelmed with sickness for the death of a favourite, takes a flight in quest of her sister Health, whom she finds reclined upon the brow of a lofty mountain, amidst the fragrance of a perpetual spring, and the breezes of the morning sporting about her. Being solicited by her sister Mirth, she readily promises her assistance, flies away in a cloud, and impregnates the waters of Bath with new virtues, by which the sickness of Belinda is relieved.
While Mr. Savage continued in high life, he did not let slip any opportunity to examine whether the merit of the great is magnified or diminished by the medium through which it is contemplated, and whether great men were selected for high stations, or high stations made great men. The result of his observations is not much to the advantage of those in power.
But the golden aera of Savage's life was now at an end, he was banished the table of lord Tyrconnel, and turned again a-drift upon the world. While he was in prosperity, he did not behave with a moderation likely to procure friends amongst his inferiors. He took an opportunity in the sun-shine of his fortune, to revenge himself of those creatures, who, as they are the worshippers of power, made court to him, whom they had before contemptuously treated. This assuming behaviour of Savage was not altogether unnatural. He had been avoided and despised by those despicable sycophants, who were proud of his acquaintance when railed to eminence. In this case, who would not spurn such mean Beings? His degradation therefore from the condition which he had enjoyed with so much superiority, was considered by many as an occasion of triumph. Those who had courted him without success, had an opportunity to return the contempt they had suffered.
Mean time, Savage was very diligent in exposing the faults of lord Tyrconnel, over whom he obtained at least this advantage, that he drove him first to the practice of outrage and violence; for he was so much provoked by his wit and virulence, that he came with a number of attendants, to beat him at a coffee-house; but it happened that he had left the place a few minutes before: Mr. Savage went next day to repay his visit at his own house, but was prevailed upon by his domestics to retire without insisting upon seeing him.
He now thought himself again at full liberty to expose the cruelty of his mother, and therefore about this time published THE BASTARD, a Poem remarkable for the vivacity in the beginning, where he makes a pompous enumeration of the imaginary advantages of base birth, and the pathetic sentiments at the close; where he recounts the real calamities which he suffered by the crime of his parents.
The verses which have an immediate relation to those two circumstances, we shall here insert.
In gayer hours, when high my fancy ran, The Muse exulting thus her lay began.
Bless'd be the Bastard's birth! thro' wond'rous ways, He shines excentric like a comet's blaze. No sickly fruit of faint compliance he; He! stamp'd in nature's mint with extasy! He lives to build, not boast a gen'rous race, No tenth transmitter of a foolish face. His daring hope, no fire's example bounds; His first-born nights no prejudice confounds. He, kindling from within requires no flame, He glories in a bastard's glowing name. —Nature's unbounded son he stands alone, His heart unbiass'd, and his mind his own. —O mother! yet no mother!—'Tis to you My thanks for such distinguish'd claims are due. —What had I lost if conjugally kind, By nature hating, yet by vows confin'd, You had faint drawn me with a form alone, A lawful lump of life, by force your own! —I had been born your dull domestic heir, Load of your life and motive of your care; Perhaps been poorly rich and meanly great; The slave of pomp, a cypher in the state: Lordly neglectful of a worth unknown, And slumb'ring in a feat by chance my own,
After mentioning the death of Sinclair, he goes on thus:
—Where shall my hope find rest?—No mother's care Shielded my infant innocence with prayer; No father's guardian hand my youth maintain'd, Call'd forth my virtues, and from vice refrain'd.
This poem had extraordinary success, great numbers were immediately dispersed, and editions were multiplied with unusual rapidity.
One circumstance attended the publication, which Savage used to relate with great satisfaction. His mother, to whom the poem with due reverence was inscribed, happened then to be at Bath, where she could not conveniently retire from censure, or conceal herself from observation; and no sooner did the reputation of the poem begin to spread, than she heard it repeated in all places of concourse; nor could she enter the assembly rooms, or cross the walks, without being saluted with some lines from the Bastard. She therefore left Bath with the utmost haste, to shelter herself in the crowds of London. Thus Savage had the satisfaction of finding, that tho' he could not reform, he could yet punish his mother.
Some time after Mr. Savage took a resolution of applying to the queen, that having once given him life, she would enable him to support it, and therefore published a short poem on her birth day, to which he gave the odd title of Volunteer-Laureat. He had not at that time one friend to present his poem at court, yet the Queen, notwithstanding this act of ceremony was wanting, in a few days after publication, sent him a bank note of fifty-pounds, by lord North and Guildford; and her permission to write annually on the same subject, and that he should yearly receive the like present, till something better should be done for him. After this he was permitted to present one of his annual poems to her majesty, and had the honour of kissing her hand.
When the dispute between the bishop of London, and the chancellor, furnished for some time the chief topic of conversation, Mr. Savage who was an enemy to all claims of ecclesiastical power, engaged with his usual zeal against the bishop. In consequence of his aversion to the dominion of superstitious churchmen, he wrote a poem called The Progress of a Divine, in which he conducts a profligate priest thro' all the gradations of wickedness, from a poor curacy in the country, to the highest preferment in the church; and after describing his behaviour in every station, enumerates that this priest thus accomplished, found at last a patron in the bishop of London.
The clergy were universally provoked with this satire, and Savage was censured in the weekly Miscellany, with a severity he did not seem inclined to forget: But a return of invective was not thought a sufficient punishment. The court of King's-Bench was moved against him, and he was obliged to return an answer to a charge of obscenity. It was urged in his defence, that obscenity was only criminal, when it was intended to promote the practice of vice; but that Mr. Savage had only introduced obscene ideas, with a view of exposing them to detestation, and of amending the age, by shewing the deformity of wickedness. This plea was admitted, and Sir Philip York, now lord Chancellor, who then presided in that court, dismissed the information, with encomiums upon the purity and excellence of Mr. Savage's writings.
He was still in his usual exigencies, having no certain support, but the pension allowed him from the Queen, which was not sufficient to last him the fourth part of the year. His conduct, with regard to his pension, was very particular. No sooner had he changed the bill, than he vanished from the sight of all his acquaintances, and lay, for some time, out of the reach of his most intimate friends. At length he appeared again pennyless as before, but never informed any person where he had been, nor was his retreat ever discovered. This was his constant practice during the whole time he received his pension. He regularly disappeared, and returned. He indeed affirmed that he retired to study, and that the money supported him in solitude for many months, but his friends declared, that the short time in which it was spent, sufficiently confuted his own account of his conduct.
His perpetual indigence, politeness, and wit, still raised him friends, who were desirous to set him above want, and therefore sollicited Sir Robert Walpole in his favour, but though promises were given, and Mr. Savage trusted, and was trusted, yet these added but one mortification more to the many he had suffered. His hopes of preferment from that statesman; issued in a disappointment; upon which he published a poem in the Gentleman's Magazine, entitled, The Poet's Dependance on a Statesman; in which he complains of the severe usage he met with. But to despair was no part of the character of Savage; when one patronage failed, he had recourse to another. The Prince was now extremely popular, and had very liberally rewarded the merit of some writers, whom Mr. Savage did not think superior to himself; and therefore he resolved to address a poem to him.
For this purpose he made choice of a subject, which could regard only persons of the highest rank, and greatest affluence, and which was therefore proper for a poem intended to procure the patronage of a prince; namely, public spirit, with regard to public works. But having no friend upon whom he could prevail to present it to the Prince, he had no other method of attracting his observation, than by publishing frequent advertisements, and therefore received no reward from his patron, however generous upon other occasions. His poverty still pressing, he lodged as much by accident, as he dined; for he generally lived by chance, eating only when he was invited to the tables of his acquaintance, from which, the meanness of his dress often excluded him, when the politeness, and variety of his conversation, would have been thought a sufficient recompence for his entertainment. Having no lodging, he passed the night often in mean houses, which are set open for any casual wanderers; sometimes in cellars, amongst the riot and filth of the meanest and most profligate of the rabble; and sometimes when he was totally without money, walked about the streets till he was weary, and lay down in the summer upon a bulk, and in the winter, with his associates in poverty, among the ashes of a glass-house.