תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

himself above the want of affistance, and was contented with doing good without ftipulating for encomiums.

Mr. Savage however was not at liberty to make exceptions, but was ravished with the favours which he had received, and probably yet more with those which he was promised; he considered himself now as a favourite of the Queen, and did not doubt but a few annual poems would establish him in some

profitable employment.

He therefore assumed the title of Volunteer Laureat, not without some reprehensions from Cibber, who informed him, that the title of Laureat was a mark of honour conferred by the King, from whom all honour is derived, and which therefore no man has a right to bestow upon himself; and added, that he might, with equal propriety, style himself a Volunteer Lord, or Volunteer Baronet. It cannot be denied that the remark was just; but Savage did not think any title, which was conferred upon Mr. Cibber, so honourable as that the usurpation of it could be imputed to him as an instance of

very exorbitant vanity,

and

and therefore continued to write under the fame title, and received every year the same reward.

He did not appear to consider these encomiums as tests of his abilities, or as any thing more than annual hints to the Queen of her promise, or acts of ceremony, by the performance of which he was intitled to his pension, and therefore did not labour them with great diligence, or print more than fifty each year, except that for some of the last years he regularly inserted them in The Gentleman's Magazine, by which they were difpersed over the kingdom.

Of some of them he had himself fo low an opinion, that he intended to omit them in the collection of poems, for which he printed proposals, and folicited subscriptions; nor can it seem strange, that, being confined to the same subject, he should be at some times indolent, and at others unsuccessful; that he should sometimes delay a disagreeable task, till it was too late to perforin it well; or that he should sometimes repeat the same sentiment on the same occasion, or at others be misled

by an attempt after novelty to forced conceptions and far-fetched images.

He wrote indeed with a double intention, which supplied him with some variety; for his business was to praise the Queen for the favours which he had received, and to complain to her of the delay of those which she had promised; in some of his pieces, therefore, gratitude is predominant, and in some discontent; in some he represents himself as happy in her patronage, and in others as difconsolate to find himself neglected,

Her promise, like other promises made to, this unfortunate man, was never performed, though he took fufficient care that it should not be forgotten. The publication of his Volunteer Laureat procured him no other reward than a regular remittance of fifty pounds.

He was not so depressed by his disappointments as to neglect any opportunity that was offered of advancing his interest. When the Princess Anne was married, he wrote a poem* upon her departure, only, as he de

# Printed in the late collection.

clared,

clared, " because it was expected from him," and he was not willing to bar his own profpects by any appearance of neglect.

He never mentioned any advantage gained by this poem, or any regard that was paid to it; and therefore it is likely that it was considered at court as an act of duty to which he was obliged by his dependence, and which it was therefore not necessary to reward by any new favour: or perhaps the Queen really intended his advancement, and therefore thought it fuperfluous to lavish presents upon a man whom the intended to establish for life.

About this time not only his hopes were, in danger of being frustrated, but his penfion likewise of being obstructed, by an accidental calumny. The writer of The Daily Courant, a paper then published under the direction of the ministry, charged him with a crime, which, though not very great in itself, would have been remarkably invidious in him, and might very justly have incensed the Queen against him. He was accused by name of influencing elections against the court, by appearing at the head

of

[ocr errors]

of a tory mob; nor did the accuser fail to aggravate his crime, by representing it as the effect of the most atrocious ingratitude, and a kind of rebellion against the Queen, who had first preserved him from an infamous death, and afterwards distinguished him by her favour, and supported him by her charity. The charge, as it was open and confident, was likewise by good fortune very particular. The place of the transaction was mentioned, and the whole series of the rioter's conduct related. This exactness made Mr. Savage's vindication easy; for he never had in his life seen the place which was declared to be the scene of his wickedness, nor ever had been present in any town when its representatives were chosen. This answer he therefore made haste to publish, with all the circumstances necessary to make it credible; and very reasonably demanded, that the accusation should be retracted in the same paper, that he might no longer suffer the imputation of sedition and ingratitude. This demand was likewise preffed by him in a private letter to the author of the paper, who, either trusting to the protection of those whose defence he had undertaken, or

« הקודםהמשך »