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arose from his father's acquaintance, already to turn his ambition to some original species of mentioned, with Lady Anne Wharton, who poctry. This poem concludes with a formal was cobeiress of Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, in farewell to Ode, which few of Young's readers Oxfordshire. Poetry had lately been taught by will regret : Addison to aspire to the arms of nobility, though
My shell, which Clio gave, which Kings applaud, not with extraordinary happiness.
Which Europe's bleeding Genius call'd abroad, We may naturally conclude that Young now
Adieu! gave himself up in some measure to the comforts of his new connection, and to the expectations In a species of Poetry altogether his own, he of that preferment which he thought due to his next tried his skill, and succeeded. poetical talents, or, at least, to the manner in Of his wife he was deprived 1741. Lady which they had so frequently been exerted. Elizabeth had lost, after her marriage with
The next production of his Muse was The Young, an amiable daughter, by her former Sea-piece, in two odes.
husband, just after she was married to Mr. Young enjoys the credit of what is called an Temple, son of Lord Palmerston. Mr. Temple « Extempore Epigram on Voltaire;" who when did not long remain after his wife, though he he was in England, ridiculed, in the company was married a second time, to a daughter of Sir of the jealous English poet, Milton's allegory of John Barnard's, whose son is the present peer. 6 Sin and Death”.
Mr. and Mrs. Temple have generally been con
sidered as Philander and Narcissa. From the You are so witty, profligate, and thin,
great friendship which constantly subsisted beAt once we think thee Milton, Death, and Sin.
tween Mr. Temple and Young, as well as from From the following passage in the poetical other circumstances, it is probable that the Poet Dedication of his Sea-priece to Voltaire, it seems had both him and Mrs. Temple in view for that this extemporaneous reproof, if it must be these characters; though at the same time some extemporaneous (for what few will now affirm passages respecting Philander do not appear to Voltaire to have deserved any reproof) was
suit either Mr. Temple or any other person something longer than a distich, and something with whom Young was known to be connected more gentle than the distich just quoted. or acquainted, while all the circumstances relat
ing to Narcissa have been constantly found apNo stranger, Sir, though born in foreign climes, plicable to Young's daughter-in-law. On Dorset downs, when Milton's page,
At what short intervals the Poet tells us he With Sin and Death provoked thy rage,
was wounded by the deaths of the three persons Thy rage provoked, who soothed with gentle rhymes? particularly lamented; none that has read “The By Dorset downs he probably meant Mr. Dod- Night Thoughts” (and who has not read them ? ington's seat. In Pitt's Poems is “ An Epistle needs to be informed. to Dr. Edward Young, at Eastbury, in Dorset
Insatiate Archer! could not one suffice ? shire, on the Review at Sarum, 1722.”
Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was While with your Dodington retired you sit, Charm'd with his flowing Burgundy and wit, &c.
And thrice, ere thrice yon moon had fill'd her horn. Thomson, in his Autumn, addressing Mr.
Yet how is it possible that Mr. and Mrs. Dodington, calls his seat the seat of the Muses, Temple and Lady Elizabeth Young could be
these three victims, over whom Young has Where, in the secret bower and winding way hitherto been pitied for having to pour the For virtuous Young and thee they twine the bay “ Midnight Sorrows” of his religious poetry; The praises Thomson bestows but a few lines
Mrs. Temple died in 1736; Mr. Temple four before on Philips, the second
years afterwards, in 1740; and the Poet's wife
seven months after Mr. Temple, in 1741. How Who nobly durst, in rhyme unfetter'd verse,
could the insatiate Archer thrice slay his peace With British freedom sing the British song,
in these three persons, “ ere thrice the moon
had fill'd her horn?” added to Thomson's example and success, might But in the short Preface to “ T'he Complaint perhaps induce Young, as we shall see present- he seriously tells us, “ that the occasion of this ly, to write his great work without rhyme. poem was real, not fictitious; and that the facts
In 1734, he published “ The Foreign Address," mentioned did naturally pour these moral reflecor the best Argument for Peace, occasioned by tions on the thougni of the writer.” It is prothe British fleet and the Posture of Affairs. bable, therefore, that in these three contradictory Written in the Character of a Sailor.” It is lines the Poet complains more than the fathernot to be found in the Author's four volumes. in-law, the friend, or the widower.
He now appears to have given up all hopes of Whatever names belong to these facts, or, if overtaking Pinďar, and perhaps at last resolved the names be those generally supposed, whatever
beigbitening a poet's sorrow may have given the ' In the prayer which concludes the second book facts; to the sorrow Young felt from them, re of the same poem, he saysligion and morality are indebted for the “ Night
Thoughts.” There is a pleasure sure in sadness -Oh! permit the gloom of solemn night which mourners only know!
To sacred thought may forcibly invite. Of these poems the two or three first have
Oh! how divine to tread the milkyway, been perused perhaps more eagerly and more
To the bright palace of Eternal Day ! frequently than the rest. When he got as far as the fourth or fifth, his original motive for taking When Young was writing a tragedy, Grafton up the pen was answered ; his grief was natur- is said by Spence to have sent him a human ally either diminished or exhausted. We still skull, with a candle in it, as a lamp; and the find the same pious poet; but we hear less of Poet is reported to have used it. Philander and Narcissa, and less of the mourner What he calls “ The true Estimate of Huwhom he loved to pity.
man Life,” which has already been mentioned, Mrs. Temple died of a consumption at Lyons, exhibits only the wrong side of the tapestry; in her way to Nice, the year after her marriage; and, being asked why he did not show the right, that is, when poetry relates the fact, “ in her he is said to have replied, that he could not. bridal hour.” It is more than poetically true, By others it has been told me that this was that Young accompanied her to the Continent: finished; but that, before there existed any copy,
it was torn in pieces by a lady's monkey. I flew, I snatch'd her from the rigid North, Still, is it altogether fair to dress up the Poet And bore her nearer to the sun.
for the man, and to bring the gloominess of the
“ Night Thoughts” to prove the gloominess of But in vain. Her funeral was attended with Young, and to show that his genius, like the the difficulties painted in such animated colours genius of Swift, was in some measure the sullen in “ Night the Third.” After her death, the inspiration of discontent? remainder of the party passed the ensuing win
From them who answer in the affirmative it ter at Nice.
should not be concealed that, though Invisibilia The Poet seems perhaps in these compositions non decipiunt appeared upon a deception in to dwell with more melancholy on the death of Young's grounds; and Ambulantes in horto audiPhilander and Narcissa, than of his wife. But erunt vocem Dei on a building in his garden, his it is only for this reason. He who runs and parish was indebted to the good humour of the reads may remember, that in the “ Night Author of the “ Night Thoughts” for an asThoughts" Philander and Narcissa are often sembly and a bowling-green. mentioned and often lamented. To recollect la Whether you think with me I know not; but mentations over the Author's wife, the memory the famous De mortuis nil nisi bonum always apmust have been charged with distinct passages. peared to me to savour more of female weakness This lady brought hiin one child, Frederick, to than of manly reason. He that has too much whom the Prince of Wales was godfather. feeling to speak ill of the dead, who, if they can
That domestic grief is, in the first instance, to not defend themselves, are at least ignorant of be thanked for these ornaments to our language, his abuse, will not hesitate by the most wanton it is impossible to deny. Nor would it be com- calumny to destroy the quiet, the reputation, mon hardiness to contend, that worldly discon- the fortune of the living. Yet censure is not tent had no hand in these joint productions of heard beneath the tomb, any more than praise. poetry and piety. Yet am I by no means sure De mortuis nil nisi verum-De vivis nil nisi bothat, at any rate, we should not have had some num-would approach much nearer to good thing of the same colour from Young's pencil, sense. After all, the few handfuls of remainnotwithstanding the liveliness of his satires. In ing dust which once composed the body of the so long a life, causes for discontent and occasions Author of the “ Night Thoughts,” feel not much for grief must have occurred. It is not clear to concern whether Young pass now for a man of me that his Muse was not sitting upon the sorrow, or for a “ fellow of infinite jest.” To watch for the first which happened. “ Night this favour must come the whole family of Yo
Thoughts” were not uncommon to her, even rick. His immortal part, wherever that now when first she visited the Poet, and at a time dwells, is still less solicitous on this head. when he himself was remarkable neither for But to a son of worth and sensibility it is of gravity nor gloominess. In his “ Last Day," some little consequence whether contemporaries almost his earliest poem, he calls her “ the me believe, and posterity be taught to believe, that lancholy maid,"
his debauched and reprobate life cast a Stygian
gloom over the evening of his father's days, Whom dismal scenes delight,
saved him the trouble of feigning a character Prequent at tombs and in the realms of Night. completely detestable, and succeeded at lust in
bringing his “ grey hairs with sorrow to the In “ Night Five”-
So wept Lorenzo fair Clarissa'. fate;
Who gave that angel boy on whom he dotes; with inventing perhaps a melancholy disposi
And died to give him, orphau'd in his birth! tion for the father, proceeds next to invent an argument in support of their invention, and At the beginning of the “ Fifth Night” we chooses that Lorenzo should be Young's own
Lorenzo, to recriminate is just,
I grant the man is vain who writes for praise.
But to cut short all inquiry; if any one of deniable evidence. Readers I know there are
these passages, if any passage in the poems, be of a strange turn of mind, who will hereafter applicable, my friend shall pass for Lorenzo. peruse the “ Night Thoughts” with less satis- The son of the Author of the “ Night Thoughts” faction; who will wish they had still been de
was not old enough, when they were written, ceived; who will quarrel with me for discover
to recriminate, or to be a father. The “ Night ing that no such character as their Lorenzo ever Thoughts” were begun immediately after the yet disgraced human nature, or broke a father's mournful event of 1741. The first “ Night's” heart. Yet would these admirers of the su
appear, in the books of the Company of Stablime and terrible be offended, should you set tioners, as the property of Robert Dodsley, in them down for cruel and for savage.
1742. The Preface to " Night Seven” is dated Of this report, inhuman to the surviving son, July the 7th, 1744. The marriage, in conseif it be true, in proportion as the character of
quence of which the supposed Lorenzo was Lorenzo is diabolical, where are we to find the born, happened in May, 1731. Young's child proof? Perhaps it is clear from the poems.
was not born till June, 1733. In 1741 this LoFrom the first line to the last of the “ Night renzo, this finished infidel, this father to whose Thoughts” not one expression can be discovered education Vice had for some years put the last which betrays any thing like the father. In hand, was only eight years old. the “ Second Night” I find an expression which An anecdote of this cruel sort, so open to conbetrays something else ; that Lorenzo was his tradiction, so impossible to be true, who could friend ; one, it is possible, of his former com
propagate? Thus easily are blasted the reputapanions, one of the Duke of Wharton's set.
tions of the living and of the dead. The Poet styles him “ gay friend;" an appella
Who, then, was Lorenzo ? exclaim the readers tion not very natural from a pious incensed fa- I have mentioned. If we cannot be sure that ther to such a being as he paints Lorenzo, and he was his son, which would have been finely that being his son.
terrible, was he not his nephew, his cousin ? But let us see how he has sketched this dread
These are questions which I do not pretend to ful portrait, from the sight of some of whose
For the sake of human nature, I features the artist himself must have turned could wish Lorenzo to have been only the creaaway with horror. A subject more shocking, tion of the Poet's fancy : like the Quintus of if his only child really sat to him, than the cru: Anti Lucretius, quo nomine, says Polignac, cifixion of Michael Angelo; upon the horrid
quemvis Atheum intellige. That this was the story told of which, Young composed a short case, many expressions in the “ Night Thoughts” poem of fourteen lines in the early part of would seem to prove, did not a passage in his life, which he did not think deserved to be
Night Eight” appear to show that he had republished.
something in his eye for the ground-work at
least of the painting. Lovelace or Lorenzo In the “ First Night,” the address to the Poet's supposed son is,
may be feigned characters; but a writer does
not feign a name of which he only gives the iniLorenzo, fortune makes her court to thee.
tial letter': In the “ Fifth Night”
Tell not Calista. She will laugh thee dead,
Or send thee to her hermitage with L-
The Biographia, not satisfied with pointing
his father's Lorenzo, travels out of its way into
the history of the son, and tells us of his hav“ Eighth Night”
ing been forbidden his college at Oxford for
misbehaviour. How such anecdotes, were they In foreign realmns (for thou hast travell’d far)
true, 'tend to illustrate the life of Young, it is which even now does not apply to his son. not easy to discover. Was the son of the
Author of the “ Night Thoughts," indeed, for The “ Fourth Night” was addressed by “ a bidden his college for a time, at one of the uni-much indebted Muse” to the Honourable Mr. versities? The author of “ Paradise Lost,” is Yorke, now Lord Hardwicke; who meant to by some supposed to have been disgracefully have laid the Muse under still greater obligation, ejected from the other. From juvenile follies by the living at Shenfield, in Essex, if it had who is free? But, whatever the Biographia become vacant. chooses to relate, the son of Young experienced Do dismission from his college either lasting or The “ First Night” concludes with this pas temporary.
sageYet, were nature to indulge him with a second youth, and to leave him at the same time the Dark, though not blind, like thee, Meonides: experience of that which is past, he would pro- Or his who made Meonides our own!
Or Milton, thee. Ah! could I reach your strain ; bably spend it differently—who would not?-he would certainly be the occasion of less uneasiness Oh had he prest this theme, pursued the track
Man too he sung. Immortal man I sing. to his father. But, from the same experience, which opens out of darkness into day! he would as certainly, in the same case, be treat Oh had he mounted ov his wing of fire, ed differently by his father.
Soar'd, where I sink, and sung immortal manYoung was a poet : poets, with reverence be How had it blest mankind, and rescued me! it spoken, do not make the best parents. Fancy and imagination seldom deign to stoop from To the Author of these lines was dedicated, in their heights; always stoop unwillingly to the 1756, the first volume of “ An Essay on the low level of common duties. Aloof from vulgar Writings and Genius of Pope,” which attemptlife, they pursue their rapid flight beyond the ed, whether justly or not, to pluck from Pope ken of mortals, and descend not to earth but his “ Wing of Fire," and to reduce him to a when compelled by necessity. The prose of rank at least one degree lower than the first class ordinary occurrences is beneath the dignity of of English poets. If Young accepted and appoets.
proved the dedication, he countenanced this at He who is connected with the Author of the tack upon the fame of him whom he invokes as “ Night Thoughts,” only by veneration for the his Muse. poet and the Christian, may be allowed to ob Part of
paper-sparing" Pope's Third Book serve, that Young is one of those concerning of the “ Odyssey,” deposited in the Museum, is whom, as you remark in your account of Addi- written upon the back of a letter signed “ E. son, it is proper rather to say nothing that is Young,” which is clearly the hand-writing of false than all that is true.”
our Young. The letter, dated only May the But the son of Young would almost sooner, I 2d, seems obscure; but there can be little doubt know, pass for a Lorenzo, than see himself vin- that the friendship he requests was a literary dicated, at the expense of his father's memory, one, and that he had the highest literary from follies which, if it may be thought blame- opinion of Pope. The request was a prologue, able in a boy to have committed them, it is sure
I am told. ly praiseworthy in a man to lament, and certainly not only unnecessary, but cruel in a bio « DEAR SIR,
May the 2d. grapher to record.
“ Having been often from home, I know not Of the“ Night Thoughts,” notwithstanding if you have done me the favour of calling on me. their Author's professed retirement, all are in But, be that as it will, I much want that inscribed to great or to growing names. He had stance of your friendship I mentioned in my not yet weaned himself from earls and dukes, last; a friendship I am very sensible I can refrom the speakers of the House of Commons, ceive from no one but yourself. I should not lords commissioners of the Treasury, and chan- urge this thing so much but for very particular cellors of the Exchequer. In “ Night Eight” reasons; nor can you be at a loss to conceive the politician plainly betrays himself
how a “trifle of this nature' may be of serious
moment to me; and while I am in hopes of the Think no post needful that demands a knave : great advantage of your advice about it, I shall When late our civil helm was shifting hands, not be so absurd as to make any further step So P- thought: think better if you can.
without it. I know you are much engaged,
and only hope to hear of you at your entire Yet it must be confessed, that at the conclusion leisure. of “ Night Nine,” weary perhaps of courting
I am, Sir, your most faithful earthly patrons, he tells his soul,
And obedient servant,
E. YUUNG.” Henceforth Thy patron he, whose diadem has dropt Yon gems of Heaven; eternity thy prize;
Nay, even after Pope's death, he says, in And leave the racers of the world their own. “ Night Seven,"
Pope, who could'st make immortals, art thou dead? would not pass for a worse Christian, or for a
This enviable praise is due to Either the “ Essay,” then, was dedicated to Young. Can it be claimed by every writer? His a patron who disapproved its doctrine, which I dedications, after all, he had perhaps no right to have been told by the author was not the case ; suppress. They all, I believe, speak, not a little or Young appears, in his old age, to have bar- to the credit of his gratitude, of favours retered for a dedication, an opinion entertained of ceived ; and I know not whether the author, his friend through all that part of life when he who has once solemnly printed an acknowledge must have been best able to form opinions. ment of a favour, should not always print it.
From this account of Young, two or three Is it to the credit or to the discredit of Young, short passages, which stand almost together in as a poet, that of his “ Night Thoughts” the “ Night Four,” should not be excluded. They French are particularly fond ? afford a picture by his own hand, from the study Of the “ Epitaph on Lord Aubrey Beauof which my readers may choose to form their clerk,” dated 1740, all I know is, that I find it own opinion of the features of his mind, and in the late body of English Poetry, and that I the complexion of his life.
am sorry to find it there.
Notwithstanding the farewell which he Ah me! the dire effect seemed to have taken in the “ Night Thoughts” Of loitering here, of death defrauded long;
of every thing which bore the least resemblance Of old so gracious (and let that suffice)
to ambition, he dipped again in politics. In My very Master knows me not.
1745 he wrote “ Reflections on the public SituI've been so long remember'd I'm forgot.
ation of the Kingdom, addressed to the Duke of
Newcastle;" indignant, as it appears, to behold When in his courtiers' ears i
pour my plaint, They drink it as the Nectar of the Great;
- a pope-bred Princeling crawl ashore, And squeeze my hand, and beg me come to-morrow. And whistle cut-throats, with those swords that
Their barren rocks for wretched sustenance, Twice told the period spent on stubborn Troy, To cut his passage to the British throne. Court-favour, yet antaken, I besiege.
This political poem might be called a Night
Thought.” Indeed it was originally printed as If this song lives, Posterity shall know One, though in Britain born, with courtiers bred
the conclusion of the “ Night Thoughts,” though Who thought e'en gold might come a day too late ;
he did not gather it with his other works. Nor on his subtle death-bed plaun'd luis scheme
Prefixed to the second edition of Howe's . For future vacancies in church or state.
" Devout Meditations" is a Letter from Young,
dated Jan. 19, 1752, addressed to Archibald Deduct from the writer's age “ twice told the Macauly, Esq. thanking him for the book, period spent on stubborn Troy,” and you will which he says he shall “ never lay far out of still leave him more than forty when he sat his reach; for a greater demonstration of a down to the miserable siege of court favour. sound head and a sincere heart he never saw.” He has before told us
In 1753, when “ The Brothers” had lain by
him above thirty years, it appeared upon the A fool at forty is a frol indeed.
stage. If any part of his fortune had been acAfter all, the siege seems to have been raised quired by servility of adulation, he now deteronly in consequence of what the general thought mined to deduct from it no inconsiderable sum, his “ death-bed.”
as a gift to the Society for the Propagation of By these extraordinary poems, written after the Gospel. To this sum he hoped the profits he was sixty, of which I have been led to say of “ The Brothers” would amount. In his so much, I hope, by the wish of doing justice to calculation he was deceived ; but by the bad the living and the dead, it was the desire of success of his play the Society was not a loser. Young to be principally known. He entitled The Author made up the sum he originally inthe four volumes which he published himself, tended, which was a thousand pounds, from his “ The Works of the Author of the Night own pocket. Thoughts." While it is remembered that from The next performance which he printed was these he excluded many of his writings, let it a prose publication, entitled, “ The Centaur not not be forgotten that the rejected pieces con- fabulous, in Six Letters to a friend, on the tained nothing prejudicial to the cause of virtue, Life in Vogue.” The conclusion is dated No. or of religion. Were every thing that Young vember 29, 1754. In the third Letter is deever wrote to be published, he would only ap- scribed the death-bed of the “ gay, young, nopear, perhaps, in a less respectable light as a ble, ingenious, accomplished, and most wretched poet, and more despicable as a dedicator ; he Altamunt." His last words were" My