The bastard: A poem, inscribed with all due reverence to Mrs. Bret, once Countess of Macclesfield. By Richard Savage, son of the late Earl Rivers.
Savage, Richard, d. 1743.
The BASTARD. A POEM.
IN Gayer Hours, when high my Fancy run,
The Muse, exulting, thus her Lay be|gun.
BLEST be the Bastard's Birth! thro' won|d'rous Ways,
He shines excentric like a Comet's Blaze!
No sickly Fruit of faint Compliance He!
He! stampt in Nature's Mint of Extacy!
Page 2 He lives to build, not boast a generous Rac•…
No tenth Transmitter of a foolish Face.
His daring Hope, no Sire's Example bounds:
His first-born Lights no Prejudice con+founds.
He, kindling from within, requires no Flame
He glories in a Bastard's glowing Name.
BORN to himself, by no Possession led,
In Freedom foster'd, and by Fortune fed;
Nor Guides, nor Rules, his sov'reign Choic•… controul,
His Body independent, as his Soul.
Loos'd to the World's wide Range,—en+joyn'd no Aim;
Prescrib'd no Duty, and assign'd no Name:
Nature's unbounded Son, he stands alone,
His Heart unbyass'd, and his Mind his own
O Mother, yet no Mother!—'tis to you,
My Thanks for such distinguish'd Claims are due.
Page 3 You, unenslav'd to Nature's narrow Laws,
Warm Championess for Freedom's sacred Cause,
From all the dry Devoirs of Blood and Line,
From Ties maternal, moral and divine,
Discharg'd my grasping Soul; push'd me from Shore,
And launch'd me into Life without an Oar.
WHAT had I lost, if conjugally kind,
By Nature hating, yet by Vows confin'd,
Untaught the matrimonial Bounds to slight,
And coldly conscious of a Husband's Right,
You had faint-drawn me with a Form alone,
A lawful Lump of Life by Force your own!
Then, while your backward Will re|trench'd Desire,
And unconcurring Spirits lent no Fire,
I had been born your dull, domestic Heir;
Load of your Life, and Motive of your Care;
Page 4 Perhaps been poorly rich, and meanly great;
The Slave of Pomp, a Cypher in the State;
Lordly neglectful of a Worth unknown,
And slumb'ring in a Seat, by chance my own.
FAR nobler Blessings wait the Bastard's Lot;
Conceiv'd in Rapture, and with Fire begot!
Strong as Necessity, he starts away,
Climbs against Wrongs and brightens into Day.
THUS unprophetic, lately misinspir'd,
I sung: Gay flatt'ring Hope, my Fancy fir'd;
Inly secure, thro' conscious Scorn of Ill,
Nor taught by Wisdom, how to ballance Will,
Rashly deceiv'd, I saw no Pits to shun;
But thought to purpose, and to act were one;
Heedless what pointed Cares pervert his Way,
Whom Caution arms not, and whom Woes betray;
Page 5 But now expos'd and shrinking from distress,
I flie to Shelter, while the Tempests press;
My Muse to Grief resigns the varying Tone,
The Raptures languish, and the Numbers groan.
O Memory!—thou Soul of Joy, and Pain!
Thou Actor of our Passions o'er again!
Why dost thou aggravate the Wretches Woe?
Why add continuous Smart to ev'ry Blow?
Few are my Joys; alas! how soon forgot!
On that kind Quarter thou invad'st me not,
While sharp, and numberless my Sorrows fall;
Yet thou repeat'st, and multiply'st 'em all!
Is Chance a Guilt? that my disast'rous Heart,
For Mischief never meant, must ever smart
Page 6 Can Self-defence be Sin—Ah, plead no more!
What tho' no purpos'd Malice stain'd thee o'er?
Had Heav'n befriended thy unhappy Side,
Thou had'st not been provok'd—Or Thou had'st died.
FAR be the Guilt of homeshed Blood from All,
On whom unsought, embroiling Dangers fall!
Still the pale Dead revives, and lives to me,
To me! thro' Pity's Eye condemn'd to see.
Remembrance veils his Rage, but swells his Fate;
Griev'd I forgive, and am grown cool too late.
Young, and unthoughtful then; who knows, one Day,
What ripening Vertues might have made their Way!
Page 7 He might have liv'd, till Folly died in Shame,
Till kindling Wisdom felt a Thirst for Fame.
He might perhaps his Country's Friend have prov'd;
Been happy, gen'rous, candid, and belov'd.
He might have sav'd some Worth, now doom'd to fall;
And I, perchance in him, have murder'd all.
O Fate of late Repentance! always vain:
Thy Remedies but lull undying Pain.
Where shall my Hope find Rest?—No Mother's Care
Shielded my Infant Innocence with Prayer:
No Father's Guardian Hand my Youth maintain'd,
Call'd forth my Vertues, or from Vice re|strain'd.
Page 8 Is it not time to snatch some pow'rful Arm,
First to advance, then screen from future Harm?
Am I return'd from Death, to live in Pain?
Or wou'd Imperial Pity save in vain?
Distrust it not—What blame can Mercy find,
Which gives at once a Life, and rears a Mind?
MOTHER, miscall'd, Farewel—of Soul severe,
This sad Reflection yet may force one Tear:
All I was wretched by to you I ow'd,
Alone from Strangers ev'ry Comfort flow'd!
LOST to the Life you gave, Your Son no more,
And now adopted, who was doom'd before,
Page 9New-born, I may a nobler Mother Claim,
But dare not whisper her Immortal Name?
Supreamly Lovely and Serenely Great!
Majestick Mother of a kneeling State!
QUEEN of a People's Hearts, who ne'er before
Agreed—Yet now with one Consent adore!
One Contest yet remains in this Desire,
Who most shall give Applause, where all Admire.