A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Savage, Richard

Savage, Richard (1697?-1743). -- Poet, was probably of humble birth, but claimed to be the illegitimate s. of the Countess of Macclesfield. He was the friend of Johnson in the early and miserable days of the latter in London; and in The Lives of the Poets J. has given his story as set forth by himself, which is, if true, a singular record of maternal cruelty. There are strong reasons, however, for doubting whether it was anything but a tissue of falsehoods mingled with gross exaggerations of fact. He led a wildly irregular life, killed a gentleman in a tavern brawl, for which he was sentenced to death, but pardoned; and by his waywardness alienated nearly all who wished to befriend him. For a time he had a pension of £50 from Queen Caroline on condition of his writing an ode yearly on her birthday. He wrote Love in a Veil (1718) (comedy) and Sir Thomas Overbury (1723) (tragedy), and two poems, The Bastard (1728) and The Wanderer (1729). He d. in prison at Bristol.