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His time was spent in the prison for the most part in ftudy, or in receiving visits; but sometimes he descended to lower amusements, . and diverted himself in the kitchen with the conversation of the criminals; for it was not pleasing to him to be much without company; and though he was very capable of a judicious choice, he was often contented with the first that offered: for this he was sometimes reproved by his friends, who found him furrounded with felons; but the reproof was on that, as on other occasions, thrown away; he continued to gratify himself, and to set very little value on the opinion of others.
But here, as in every other scene of his life, he made use of such opportunities as occurred of benefiting those who were more miserable than himself, and was always ready to perform any office of humanity to his fellow-prisoners.
He had now ceased from corresponding with any of his subscribers except one, who yet
continued to remit him the twenty pounds a year which he had promised him, and by
whom it was expected that he would have been in a very short time enlarged, because he had directed the keeper to enquire after the state of his debts.
However, he took care to enter his name according to the forms of the court, that the creditor might be obliged to make him some allowance, if he was continued a prisoner, and when on that occasion he appeared in the hall was treated with very unusual respect.
But the resentment of the city was afterwards raised by some accounts that had been spread of the satire, and he was informed that some of the merchants intended to pay the allowance which the law required, and to detain him a prisoner at their own expence.
This he treated as an empty menace; and perhaps might have haftened the publication, only to shew how much he was superior to their insults, had not all his schemes been suddenly destroyed.
When he had been fix months in prison, he received from one of his friends *, in
• Mr. Pope.
whose kindness he had the greatest confidence, and on whose affıstance he chiefly depended, a letter, that contained a charge of very atrocious ingratitude, drawn up in such terms as sudden resentment dictated. : Mr. Savage returned a very folemn protestation of his innocence, but however appeared much difturbed at the accusation. Some days afterwards he was seized with a pain in his back and side, which, as it was not violent, was not suspected to be dangerous; but growing daily more languid and dejected, on the 25th of July he confined himself to his
and a fever seized his spirits. The symptoms grew every day more formidable, but his condition did not enable him to procure any affistance. The last time that the keeper faw him was on July the 31st*; when Savage, seeing him at his bed-fide, said, with an uncommon earnestness, “ I have something to
say to you, Sir;” but, after a pause, moved his hand in a melancholy manner; and, finding himself unable to recollect what he was going to communicate, said, “ 'Tis “ gone!" The keeper soon after left him;
and the next morning he died. He was buried in the church-yard of St. Peter, at the expence of the keeper,
Such were the life and death of Richard Savage, à man equally distinguished by his virtues and vices; and at once remarkable for his weaknesses and abilities.
He was of a middle stature, of a thin habit of body, a long visage, coarse features, and melancholy afpect; of a grave and manly deportinent, a solemn dignity of mien; but which, upon a nearer acquaintance, foftened into an engaging easiness of manners. His walk was slow, and his voice tremulous and mournful. He was easily excited to smiles, but very seldom provoked to laughter.
His mind was in an uncommon degree vigorous and active. His judgement was accurate, his apprehension quick, and his memory so tenacious, that he was frequently observed to know what he had learned from others in a short time, better than those by whom he was informed; and could frequently recollect incidents, with all their combi
nation of circumstances, which few would have regarded at the present time, but which the quickness of his apprehension impressed , upon him. He had the peculiar felicity, that
his attention never deserted him; he was present to every object, and regardful of the most trifling occurrences.
He had the art of escaping from his own reflections, and accommodating himself to every new scene.
To this quality is to be imputed the extent of his knowledge, compared with the small time which he spent in visible endeavours to acquire it. He mingled in cursory conversation with the same steadiness of attention as others“ apply to a lecture; and, amidst the appearance of thoughtless gaiety, loft no new idea that was started, nor any hint that could be improved. He had therefore made in coffee-houses the same proficiency as in other studies; and it is remarkable, that the writings of a man of little education and little reading have an air of learning scarcely to be found in any other performances, but which perhaps as often obscures as embellishes them.