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His degradation therefore from the condition which he had enjoyed with such wanton thoughtlessness, was considered by many as an occasion of triumph. Those who had before paid their court to him without success, foon returned the contempt which they had suffered; and they who had received favours from him, for of such favours as he could bestow he was very liberal, did not always remember them. So much more certain are the effects of resentment than of gratitude: it is not only to many more pleasing to recollect those faults which place others below them, than those virtues by which they are themselves comparatively depressed; but it is likewise more easy to neglect, than to recompense; and though there are few who will practise a laborious virtue, there will never be wanting multitudes that will indulge an cafy vice,
Savage however was very little disturbed at the marks of contempt which his ill-fortune brought upon him, from those whom he never esteemed, and with whom he never considered himself as levelled by any calamities; and though it was not without some T
uneafiness that he saw some, whose friendfhip he valued, change their behaviour; he yet observed their coldness without much emotion, considered them as the slaves of fortune and the worshipers of prosperity, and was more inclined to despise them, than to lament himself.
It does not appear, that, after this return of his wants, he found mankind equally fayourable to him, as at his first appearance in the world. His story, though in reality not less melancholy, was lefs affecting, because it was no longer new; it therefore procured him no new friends, and those that had formerly relieved him, thought they might now consign him to others. He was now like , wife considered by many rather as criminal, than as unhappy; for the friends of Lord Tyrconnel, and of his mother, were fufficiently industrious to publish his weaknesses, which were indeed very numerous; and nothing was forgotten, that might make him either hateful or ridiculous.
It cannot but be imagined, that such reprem sentations of his faults must make great num
bers less sensible of his distress; many, who had only an opportunity to hear one part, made no scruple to propagate the account which they received; many assifted their circulation from malice or revenge ; and perhaps many pretended to credit them, that they might with a better grace withdraw their regard, or withhold their assistance.
Savage however was not one of those, who fuffered himself to be injured without refiftance, nor was less 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 the wit and virulence of Savage, that he came with a number of attendants, that did no honour to his courage, to beat him at a coffeehoufe. But it happened that he had left the place a few minutes, and his lordship had, without danger, the pleasure of boasting how he would have treated him. Mr. Savage went next day to repay his visit at his own house; but was prevailed on, by his domeftics, to retire without insisțing upon seeing
insult; his superiority of wit supplied the dif
of his fortune, and enabled him to
Lord Tyrconnel was accused by Mr. Sær vage of some actions, which scarcely any provocations will be thought sufficient to jus, tify; such as seizing what he had in his lodgings, and other instances of wanton cru, elty, by which he increased the distress of Savage, without any advantage to himself.
These mutual accusations were retorted on both sides, for many years, with the utmost degree of virulence and rage; and time seemed rather to augment than diminish their resentinent. That the anger of Mr. Savage should be kept alive, is not strange, because he felt every day the confequences of the quarrel; but it might reasonably have been hoped, that Lord Tyrconnel might have relented, and at length have forgot those provocations, which, however they might have once inflamed him, had not in reality much hurt him,
The spirit of Mr. Savage indeed never suffered him to solicit a reconciliation; he returned reproach for reproach, and insult for advantages
form a party, and prejudice great numbers in his favour,
But though this might be some gratification of his vanity, it afforded very little relief to his necessities; and he was very frequently reduced to uncommon hardships, of which, however, he never made any mean or importunate complaints, being formed rather to bear misery with fortitude, than enjoy profperity with moderation,
He now thought himself again at liberty to expose the cruelty of his mother, and therefore, I believe, about this time, published The Bastard, a poem remarkable for the vivacious sallies of thought in the beginning, where he makes a pompous enumeration of the imaginary advantages of base birth; and the pathetic sentiments at the end, where he recounts the real calamities which he suffered by the crime of his
The vigour and spirit of the verses, the peculiar circumstances of the author, the novelty of the subject, and the notoriety of the story to which the allusions are made, pro