Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

threatened by wretches that are low in every sense; to be forced to drink himself into pains of the body, in order to get rid of the pains of the mind, is a misery, &c." He died July 19, 1742, and was buried at Wotton, near Henley-in-Arden.

His distresses need not be much pitied: his estate is said to have been fifteen hundred a-year, which by his death devolved to Lord Somerville of Scotland. His mother, indeed, who lived till ninety, had a jointure of six hundred.

It is with regret that I find myself not better enabled to exhibit memorials of a writer, who at least must b allowed to have set a good example to men of his ow class, by devoting part of his time to elegant knov ledge; and who has shewn, by the subjects which poetry has adorned, that it is practicable to be at on a skilful sportsman and a man of letters.

Somervile has tried many modes of poetry, & though perhaps he has not in any reached such cellence as to raise much envy, it may commonly said at least, that "he writes very well for a ge man.” His serious pieces are sometimes eleva and his trifles are sometimes elegant. In his ve to Addison the couplet which mentions Clio is wr with the most exquisite delicacy of praise; it exl one of those happy strokes that are seldom att In his Odes to Marlborough there are beg but in the second Ode he shews that h

his hero, when

subjects are c of thought

Walks of his privat

such as requi of expression.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

SAVAGE.

has been observed in all ages, that the advantages of nature or of fortune have contributed very little to the promotion of happiness; and that those whom the splendour of their rank, or the extent of their capacity, have placed upon the summit of human life, have not often given any just occasion to envy in those who look up to them from a lower station: whether it be that apparent superiority incites great designs, and great designs are naturally liable to fatal miscarriages; or that the general lot of mankind is. misery, and the misfortunes of those whose eminence drew upon them an universal attention have been more carefully recorded because they were more generally observed, and have in reality been only more conspicuous than those of others, not more frequent, or more severe.

That affluence and power, advantages extrinsic and adventitious, and therefore easily separable from those by whom they are possessed, should very often flatter the mind with expectations of felicity which they cannot give, raises no astonishment; but it seems rational to hope that intellectual greatness should produce better effects; that minds qualified for great attainments should first endeavour their own benefit; and that they who are most able to teach others the way

to happiness, should with most certainty follow it themselves.

But this expectation, however plausible, has been very frequently disappointed. The heroes of literary as well as civil history have been very often no less remarkable for what they have suffered than for what they have achieved; and volumes have been written only to enumerate the miseries of the learned, and relate their unhappy lives and untimely deaths.

To these mournful narratives, I am about to add the Life of Richard Savage, a man whose writings entitle him to an eminent rank in the classes of learning, and whose misfortunes claim a degree of compassion not always due to the unhappy, as they were often the consequences of the crimes of others rather than his own.

In the year 1697, Anne Countess of Macclesfield, having lived for some time upon very uneasy terms with her husband, thought a public confession of adultery the most obvious and expeditious method of obtaining her liberty; and therefore declared that the child with which she was then great was begotten by the Earl Rivers. This, as may be imagined, made her husband no less desirous of a separation than herself, and he prosecuted his design in the most effectual manner, for he applied not to the ecclesiastical courts for a divorce, but to the Parliament for an act by which his marriage might be dissolved, the nuptial contract annulled, and the children of his wife illegitimated. This act, after the usual deliberation, he obtained, though without the approbation of some,

who considered marriage as an affair only cognizable by ecclesiastical judges; and on March the 3rd was separated from his wife, whose fortune, which was very great, was repaid her, and who having, as well as her husband, the liberty of making another choice, was in a short time married to Colonel Brett.

While the Earl of Macclesfield was prosecuting this affair, his wife was, on the 10th of January 1697-8, delivered of a son, and the Earl Rivers, by appearing to consider him as his own, left none any reason to doubt of the sincerity of her declaration; for he was his godfather, and gave him his own name, which was by his direction inserted in the register of St. Andrew's parish in Holborn, but unfortunately left him to the care of his mother, whom, as she was now set free from her husband, he probably imagined likely to treat with great tenderness the child that had contributed to so pleasing an event. It is not indeed easy to discover what motives could be found to overbalance that natural affection of a parent, or what interest could be promoted by neglect or cruelty. The dread of shame or of poverty by which some wretches

This year was made remarkable by the dissolution of a marriage solemnized in the face of the Church.-Salmon's Review. The following protest is registered in the Books of the House of Lords:

"Dissentient.

"Because we conceive that this is the first bill of that nature that hath passed, where there was not a divorce first obtained in the Spiritual Court; which we look upon as an ill precedent, and may be of dangerous consequence in the future.

"HALIFAX.
"ROCHESTER."

« AnteriorContinua »