An Epistle Of The Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole

Richard Savage 1697 (England) – 1743

Still let low wits, who sense nor honour prize,
Sneer at all gratitude, all truth disguise;
At living worth, because alive, exclaim,
Insult the exil'd, and the dead defame!
Such paint what pity veils in private woes,
And what we see with grief, with mirth expose;
Studious to urge-(whom will mean authors spare?)
The child's, the parent's, and the consort's tear:
Unconscious of what pangs the heart may rend,
To lose what they have ne'er deserv'd-a friend.
Such, ignorant of facts, invent, relate,
Expos'd persist, and answer'd still debate:
Such, but by foils, the clearest lustre see,
And deem aspersing others praising thee.

Far from these tracks my honest lays aspire,
And greet a gen'rous heart with gen'rous fire.
Truth be my guide! Truth, which thy virtue claims!
This, nor the poet, nor the patron shames!
When party-minds shall lose contracted views,
And hist'ry question the recording Muse;
'Tis this alone to after-times must shine,
And stamp the poet and his theme divine.

Long has my Muse, from many a mournful cause,
Sung with small pow'r, nor sought sublime applause;
From that great point she now shall urge her scope;
On that fair promise rest her future hope;
Where policy, from state-illusion clear,
Can through an open aspect shine sincere;
Where Science, Law, and Liberty depend,
And own the patron, patriot, and the friend;
(That breast to feel, that eye on worth to gaze,
That smile to cherish, and that hand to raise!)
Whose best of hearts her best of thoughts inflame,
Whose joy is bounty, and whose gift is fame.

Where, for relief, flees innocence distress'd?
To you, who chase oppression from th' oppress'd:
Who, when complaint to you alone belongs,
Forgive your own, tho' not a people's wrongs:
Who still make public property your care,
And thence bid private griefs no more despair.

Ask they what state your shelt'ring care shall own?
'Tis youth, 'tis age, the cottage, and the throne:
Nor can the prison 'scape your searching eye,
'You ear still opening to the captive's cry.
Nor less was promis'd from thy early skill,
Ere power enforc'd benevolence of will!
To friends refin'd, thy private life adher'd
By thee improving, ere by thee prefer'd.
Well hadst thou weigh'd what truth such friends afford,
With thee resigning, and with thee restor'd.
Thou taught'st them all extensive love to bear,
And now mankind with thee their friendship share.

As the rich cloud by due degrees expands,
And show'rs down plenty thick on sundry lands,
Thy spreading worth in various bounty fell,
Made genius flourish, and made art excel.

How many, yet deceiv'd, all pow'r oppose?
Their fears increasing, as decrease their woes;
Jealous of bondage, while they freedom gain,
And most oblig'd, most eager to complain.

But well we count our bliss, if well we view,
When pow'r oppression, not protection grew;
View present ills that punish distant climes;
Or bleed in mem'ry here from ancient times.

Mark first the robe abus'd Religion wore,
Story'd with griefs, and stain'd with human gore?
What various tortures, engines, fires, reveal,
Study'd, empower'd, and sanctify'd by zeal?

Stop here, my Muse!-Peculiar woes descry!
Bid 'em in sad succession strike thy eye!
Lo, to her eye the sad succession springs!
She looks, she weeps, and, as she weeps, she sings.

See the doom'd Hebrew of his stores bereft!
See holy murder justify the theft!
His ravag'd gold some useless shrine shall raise,
His gems on superstitious idols blaze
His wife, his babe, deny'd their little home,
Strip'd, starv'd, unfriended, and unpity'd roam.

Lo, the priest's hand the Wafer-God supplies!-
A king by consecrated poison dies!

See learning range yon broad ethereal plain,
From world to world, and god-like Science gain!
Ah! what avails the curious search sustain'd,
The finish'd toil, the god-like Science gain'd?
Sentenc'd to flames th' expensive wisdom fell,
And truth from heav'n was sorcery from hell.

See Reason bid each mystic wile retire,
Strike out new light! and mark!-the wise admire!
Zeal shall such heresy, like Learning, hate;
The same their glory, and the same their fate.

Lo, from sought mercy, one his life receives!
Life, worse than death, that cruel mercy gives:
The man, perchance, who wealth and honours bore,
Slaves in the mine, or ceaseless strains the oar.
So dom'd are these, and such perhaps, our doom,
Own'd we a Prince, avert it heaven! from R
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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Richard Savage

Richard Savage was an English poet. He is best known as the subject of Samuel Johnson's Life of Savage, on which is based one of the most elaborate of Johnson's Lives of the English Poets. more…

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"An Epistle Of The Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 8 Aug. 2020. <>.

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