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principles have poisoned my friend, my extrav- He, who employed his pious pen for almost the agance has beggared my boy, my unkindness has last time in thus doing justice to the exemplary murdered my wife.” Either Altamont and deathbed of Addison, might probably, at the Lorenzo were the twin production of fancy, or close of his own life, afford no unuseful lesson Young was unlucky enough to know two char. for the deaths of others. acters who bore no little resemblance to each In the postscript, he writes to Richardson, other in perfection of wickedness. Report has that he will see in his next how far Addison is been accustomed to call Altamont Lord Euston. an original. But no other letter appears.
“ The Old Man's Relapse, occasioned by an The few lines which stand in the last edition, Epistle to Walpole, if written by Young, which as " sent by Lord Melcombe to Dr. Young, not I much doubt, must have been written very late long before his Lordship’s death,” were indeed in life. It has been seen, I am told, in a Mis 80 sent, but were only an introduction to what cellany published thirty years before his death. was there meant by “ The Muse's latest Spark.” In 1758, he exhibited “ The Old Man's Re- The poem is necessary, whatever may be its lapse” in more than words, by again becoming a merit, since the Preface to it is already printed. dedicator, and publishing a sermon addressed to Lord Melcombe called his Tusculum - La the King.
Trappe.” The lively Letter in prose,
Love thy country, wish it well, Composition,” addressed to Richardson, the
Not with too intense a care, author of “ Clarissa," appeared in 1759. Though
'Tis enough, that when it fell, he despair « of breaking through the frozen ob
Thou its ruin didst not share. structions of age and care's incumbent cloud, into that flow of thought and brightness of ex
Envy's censure, Flattery's praise,
With unmoved indifference view; pression which subjects so polite require;" yet
Learn to tread life's dangerous maze, is it more like the production of untamed, un.
With unerring Virtue's clue. bridled youth, than of jaded fourscore. Some sevenfold volumes put him in mind of Ovid's Void of strong desire and fear,
Life's wide ocean trust no more; sevenfold channels of the Nile at the conflagretion:
Strive thy little bark to steer
With the tide, but near the shore. ostia soptem
Thus prepared, thy shorten'd sail Pulverulenta vocant, septem sine flumine valles.
Shall, whene'er the winds increase,
Seizing each propitious gale Such leaden labours are like Lycurgus's iron
Waft thee to the port of peace. money, which are so much less in value than in bulk, that it required barns for strong boxes,
Keep thy conscience from offence, and a yoke of oxen to draw five hundred pounds.
And tempestuous passions free, If there is a famine of invention in the land,
So, when thou art call'd from hence,
Easy shall thy passage be; we must travel, he says, like Joseph's brethren, far for food; we must visit the remote and rich Easy shall thy passage be, ancients. But an inventive genius may safely
Cheerful thy allotted stay, stay at home; that, like the widow's cruise, is
Short th' account 'twixt God and thee
Hope shall meet thee on the way: divinely replenished from within, and affords us a miraculous delight. He asks why it should Truth shall lead thee to the gate, seem altogether impossible, that Heaven's latest
Mercy's self shall let thee in, editions of the human mind may be the most
Where its never-changing state, correct and fair ? and Jonson, he tells us, was
Full perfection shall begin, very learned, as Samson was very strong, to his own hurt. Blind to the nature of tragedy, he
The poem was accompanied by a letter. pulled down all antiquity on his head, and buried
“ La Trappe, the 27th of Oct. 1761. himself under it.
« DEAR SIR, Is this " care's incumbent cloud,” or “ the 6 You seemed to like the ode I sent you for frozen obstructions of age ?"
your amusement: I now send it you as a preIn this Letter Pope is severely censured for sent. If you please to accept of it, and are willhis “ fall from Homer's numbers, free as air, ing that our fi'iendship should be known when lofty and harmonious as the spheres, into child we are gone, you will be pleased to leave this ish shackles and tinkling sounds ; for putting among those of your own papers that may possiAchilles into petticoats a second time:" but we bly see the light by a posthumous publication. are told that the dying swan talked over an epic God send us health while we stay, and an easy plan with Young a few weeks before his decease. journey! Young's chief inducement to write this Letter
My dear Dr. Young, was, as he confesses, that he might erect a mon
Your's, most cordially, umental marble to the memory of an old friend.
In 1762, a short time before his death, Young When Heaven would kindly set us free, published “ Resignation.” Notwithstanding
And earth's enchantment end;
It tikes the most effectual means, the manner in which it was really forced from
And robs us of a friend. him by the world, criticism has treated it with no common severity. If it shall be thought To “ Resignation" was prefixed an Apology not to deserve the highest praise, on the other for its appearance: to which more credit is due side of fourscore, by whom, except by Newton than to the generality of such apologies, from and by Waller, has praise been merited ? Young's unusual anxiety that no more produc
To Mrs. Montagu, the famous champion of tions of his old age should disgrace his former Shakspeare, I am indebted for the history of fame. In his will dated February 1760, he de“ Resignation.” Observing that Mrs. Bosca- sires of his executors, in a particular manner, wen, in the midst of her grief for the loss of that all his manuscript books and writings the admiral, derived consolation from the per- whatever might be burned, except his book of usal of the “ Night Thoughts,” Mrs. Montagu accounts. proposed a visit to the Author.
In September, 1764, he added a kind of codiversing with Young, Mrs. Boscawen derived cil, wherein he made it his dying intreaty to his still further consolation; and to that visit she housekeeper, to whom he left. 1000l. “ that all and the world were indebted for this poem. his manuscripts might be destroyed as soon as It compliments Mrs. Montagu in the follow- he was dead, which would greatly oblige her ing lines :
It may teach mankind the uncertainty of Yet write I must. A lady sues :
worldly friendships, to know that Young, either How shameful her request!
by surviving those he loved, or by outliving My brain in labour with dull rhyme,
their affections, could only recollect the names Hers teeming with the best
of two friends, his housekeeper and a batter, to
mention in his will; and it may serve to repress And again
that testamentary pride, which too often seeks
for sounding names and titles, to be informed And friend you have, and I the same,
that the Author of the “ Night Thoughts” did Whose prudent, soft address Will bring to life those healing thoughts
“not blush to leave a legacy to his friend Henry Which died in your distress.
Stevens, a hatter at the Templegate.” Of these
two remaining friends, one went before Young. That friend, the spirit of thy theme
But at eighty-four, " where," as he asks in Extracting for your ease,
The Centaur, « is that world into which we Will leave to me the dreg, in thoughts
were born ?” Too common; such as these.
The same humility which marked a hatter
and a housekeeper for the friends of the Author By the same lady I was enabled to say, in her of the “ Night Thoughts,” had before bestowed own words, that Young's unbounded genius ap- the same title on his footman, in an epitaph in peared to greater advantage in the companion his “ Church-yard” upon James Baker, dated than even in the author ; that the Christian 1749; which I am glad to find in the late colwas in him a character still more inspired, inore lection of his works. enraptured, more sublime, than the poet; and Young and his housekeeper were ridiculed that, in his ordinary conversation,
with more ill-nature than wit, in a kind of no
vel published by Kidgell in 1755, called “ The -letting down the golden chain from high, Card,” under the names of Dr. Elwes and He drew his audience upward to the sky.
In April, 1765, at an age to which few attain, Notwithstanding Young had said, in his a period was put to the life of Young. “ Conjectures on original Composition,” that He had performed no duty for three or four “ blank verse is verse unfallen, uncurst; verse years, but he retained his intellects to the last. reclaimed, re-enthroned in the true language of Much is told in the “ Biographia,” which the gods :” notwithstanding he administered I know not to have been true, of the manner consolation to his own grie in this immortal of his burial ; of the master and children of a language, Mrs. Boscawen was comforted in charity school, which he founded in his parish, rhyme.
who neglected to attend their benefactor's While the poet and the Christian were apply-corpse ; and of a bell which was not caused to ing this comfort, Young had himself occasion toll as often as upon those occasions bells usually for comfort, in consequence of the sudden death toll. Had that humanity, which is here laof Richardson, who was printing the former vished upon things of little consequence either part of the poem Of Richardson's death he to the living or to the dead, been shown in its says
proper place to the living, I should have had
less to say about Lorenzo. They who lament At last, at the age of fourscore, he was apthat these misfortunes happened to Young, for- pointed, in 1761, clerk of the closet to the Pringet the praise he bestows upon Socrates, in the cess Dowager. preface to “ Night Seven,” for resenting his One obstacle must have stood not a little in friend's request about his funeral.
the way of that preferment after which his During some part of his life Young was whole life seems to have panted. Though he abroad, but I have not been able to learn any took orders, he never entirely shook off politics. particulars.
He was always the lion of his master Milton, In his seventh satire he says,
“ pawing to get free his hinder parts." By this
conduct, if he gained some friends, he made When, after battle, I the field have seen Spread o'er with ghastly shapes which once were
Again : Young was a poet; and again, with
reverence be it spoken, poets by profession do It is known also, that from this or from some not always make the best clergymen. If the other field he once wandered into the camp with Author of the “ Night Thoughts” composed a classic in his hand, which he was reading in- many sermons, he did not oblige the public with tently; and had some difficulty to prove that he many. was only an absent poet, and not a spy.
Besides, in the latter part of life, Young was The curious reader of Young's life will natu- fond of holding himself out for a man retired rally inquire to what it was owing, that though from the world. But he seemed to have forgothe lived almost forty years after he took orders, ten that the same verse which contains “oblitus which included one whole reign uncommonly meorum,"contains also “obliviscendus et illis." long, and part of another, he was never thought The brittle chain of worldly friendship and paworthy of the least preferment. The Author tronage is broken as effectually, when one goes of the “ Night Thoughts” ended his days upon beyond the length of it, as when the other does. a living which came to him from his college To the vessel which is sailing from the shore, it without any favour, and to which he probably only appears that the shore also recedes ; in life it had an eye when he determined on the church. is truly thus. He who retires from the world will To satisfy curiosity of this kind is, at this dis- find himself, in reality, deserted as fast, if not tance of time, far from easy. The parties them- faster, by the world. The public is not to be selves know not often, at the instant, why they treated as the coxcomb treats his mistress; to are neglected, or why they are preferred. The be threatened with desertion, in order to in. neglect of Young is by some ascribed to his hav crease fondness. ing attached himself to the Prince of Wales, Young seems to have been taken at his word. and to his having preached an offensive sermon Notwithstanding his frequent complaints of beat St. James's. It has been told me that he had ing neglected, no hand was reached out to pull two hundred a year in the late reign, by the pa- him from that retirement of which he declared tronage of Walpole; and that, whenever any himself enamoured. Alexander assigned no one reminded the King of Young, the only an- palace for the residence of Diogenes, who boastswer was, “ he has a pension.” All the light ed his surly satisfaction with his tub. thrown on this inquiry, by the following letter Of the domestic manners and petty habits of from Secker, only serves to show at what a late the Author of the “ Night Thoughts," I hoped period of life the Author of the “ Night to have given you an account from the best auThoughts” solicited preferment:
thority: but who shall dare to say, To-morrow
I will be wise or virtuous, or to-morrow I will “ Deanery of St. Paul's, July 8, 1758.
do a particular thing? Upon inquiring for his " Good Dr. Young,
housekeeper, I learned that she was buried two “ I have long wondered, that more suitable days before I reached the town of her abode. notice of your great merit hath not been taken In a letter from Tscharner, a noble foreigner, by persons, in power: but how to remedy the to Count Haller, Tscharner says, he has lately omission I see not. No encouragement hath spent four days with Young at Welwyn, where ever been given me to mention things of this na the Author takes all the ease and pleasure manture to his Majesty. And therefore, in all like- kind can desire. “ Every thing about him lihood, the only consequence of doing it would shows the man, each individual being placed by be weakening the little influence which I may rule. All is neat without art.
He is very possibly have on some other occasions. Your for- pleasant in conversation, and extremely polite." tune and your reputation set you above the need This, and more, may possibly be true ; but of advancement; and your sentiments, above Tscharner's was a first visit, a visit of curiosity that concern for it, on your own account, which, and admiration, and a visit which the Author on that of the public, is sincerely felt by
expected. “ Your loving brother,
Of Edward Young an anecdote which wan" Tho. Cant." ders among readers is not true, that he was
Fielding's Parson Adams. The original of that for your sake, I did for the sake of myself and famous painting was William Young, who was of the world. But this postscript you will not A clergyman. He supported an uncomfortable see before the printing of it; and I will say here, existence by translating for the booksellers from in spite of you, how I feel myself honoured anı! Greek; and, if he did not seem to be his own bettered by your friendship: and that, if I do friend, was at least no man's enemy. Yet the credit to the church, after which I always longfacility with which this report has gained belief ed, and for which I am now going to give in in the world argues, were it not sufficiently exchange the bar, though not at so late a period known, that the Author of the “ Night of life as Young took orders, it will be owing, Thoughts” bore some resemblance to Adams. in no small measure, to my having had the hap
The attention which Young bestowed upon piness of calling the Author of “ The Rambler” the perusal of books is not unworthy imitation. my friend When any passage pleased him, he appears to
H. C. have folded down the leaf. On these passages Oxford, Oct. 1782. he bestowed a second reading. But the labours of map are too frequently vain. Before he re Of Young's poems it is difficult to give any turned to much of what he had once approved, general character; for he has no uniformity of he died. Many of his books, which I have seen, manner; one of his pieces has no great reseme are by those notes of approbation so swelled be- blance to another. He began to write early, yuad their real bulk, that they will hardly shut. and continued long; and at different times had
different modes of poetical excellence in view. What though we wade in wealth or soar in fame!
His numbers are sometimes smooth, and someEarth's highest station euds in Here he lies! And dust to dust concludes Ler noblest song!
times rugged; his style is sometimes concate
nated, and sometimes abrupt; sometimes difThe Author of these lines is not without his | fusive, and sometimes concise. His plan seems Hic jacet.
to have started in his mind at the present moBy the good sense of his son, it contains none ment; and his thoughts appear the effect of of that praise which no marble can make the chance, sometimes adverse, and sometimes lucky, bad or the foolish merit; which, without the with very little operation of judgment. direction of a stone or a turf, will find its way, He was not one of those writers whom exsooner or later, to the deserving.
perience improves, and who, observing their
own faults, become gradually corr His M. $.
poem on the “ Last Day," his first great perOptimi Parentis
formauce, has an equability and propriety, which EDVARDI YOUNG, LL.D
he afterwards either never endeavoured or never Hujus Ecclesiæ rect. Et Elizabethoe
attained. Many paragraphs are poble, and few fom. prænob.
are mean, yet the whole is languid ; the plan is Conjugis ejus amantissimæ,
too much extended, and a succession of images Pio et gratissimo apimo
divides and weakens the general conception ; but Hoc marmor posuit
the great reason why the reader is disappointed F. Y.
is, that the thought of the LAST DAY makes Filius superstes.
every man more than poetical, by spreading over Js it not strange that the Author of the “ Night his mind a general obscurity of sacred horror, "Thoughts” has inscribed no monument to the that oppresses distinction, and disdains expresmemory of his lamented wife? Yet, what mar sion. ble will endure as long as the poems?
His story of “ Jane Grey” was never popular. Such, my good friend, is the account which I It is written with elegance enough; but Jane is have been able to collect of the great Young. too heroic to be pitied. That it may be long before any thing like what The “ Universal Passion” is indeed a very I have just transcribed be necessary for you, is great performance. It is said to be a series of the sincere wish of,
epigrams; but if it be, it is what the Author Dear Sir,
intended: his endeavour was at the production Your greatly obliged friend, of striking distichs and pointed sentences; and
HERBERT CROFT, Jun. his distichs have the weight of solid sentiment, Lincoln's Inn,
and his points the sharpness of resistless truth. Sept. 1780.
His characters are often selected with discery:
ment, and drawn with nicety; his illustrations P.S. This account of Young was seen by you were often happy, and his reflections often just. in manuscript, you know, Sir; and, though I His species of satire is between those of Horace could not prevail on you to make any alteration, and Juvenal; and he has the gayety of Horace you insisted on striking out one passage, because without his laxity of numbers, and the morality it said, that, if I did not wish you to live long of Juvenal with greater variation of images
He plays, indeed, only on the surface of life ; , original.
The moral observations are so introhe never penetrates the recesses of the mind, duced, and so expressed, as to have all the noand therefore the whole power of his poetry is velty that can be required. Of “ The Broexhausted by a single perusal; bis conceits thers” I may be allowed to say nothing, since please only when they surprise.
nothing was ever said of it by the public. To translate he never condescended, unless It must be allowed of Young's poetry that it his “ Paraphrase on Job” may be considered as abounds in thought, but without much accua version : in which he has not, I think, been racy or selection. When he lays hold of an illus. unsuocessful; he indeed favoured himself, by tration, he pursues it beyond expectation, somechoosing those parts which most easily admit times happily, as in his parallel of Quicksilver the ornaments of English poetry.
with Pleasure, which I have heard repeated He had least success in his lyric attempts, in with approbation by a lady, of whose praise he which he seems to have been under some malig- would have been justly proud, and which is nant influence: he is always labouring to be very ingenious, very subtle, and almost exact; great, and at last is only turgid.
but sometimes he is less lucky, as when, in his In his “ Night Thoughts" he has exhibited a “ Night Thoughts," it having dropped into bis very wide display of original poetry, variegated mind, that the orbs, floating in space, might be with deep reflections and striking allusions, a called the cluster of creation, he thinks on a wilderness of thought, in which the fertility of cluster of grapes, and says, that they all hang fancy scatters flowers of every hue and of every
on the great ine, drinking the “nectareous odour. This is one of the few poems in which juice of immortal life.” blank verse could not be changed for rhyme but His conceits are sometimes yet less valuable. with disadvantage. The wild diffusion of the In “ The Last Day" he hopes to illustrate the sentiments, and the digressive sallies of ima- re-assembly of the atoms that compose the hugination, would have been compressed and re man body at the “ Trump of Doom" by the strained by confinement to rhyme. The excel- collection of bees into a swarm at the tinkling lence of this work is not exactness, but copious- of a pan. ness; particular lines are not to be regarded ; The prophet says of Tyre, that “ her merthe power is in the whole; and in the whole chants are princes.” Young says of Tyre in there is a magnificence like that ascribed to his “ Merchant," Chinese plantation, the magnificence of vast extent and endless diversity.
Her mercbants princes, and each deck a throne. His last poem was “ Resignation;" in which he made, as he was accustomed, an experiment Let burlesque try to go beyond him. of a new mode of writing, and succeeded better He has the trick of joining the turgid and fathan in his “ Ocean" or his “ Merchant." It miliar : to buy the alliance of Britain, “ Climes was very falsely represented as a proof of de-were paid down." Antithesis is his favourite. cayed faculties.
There is Young in every “ They for kindness hate :” and “ because she's stanza, such as he ofteņ was in the highest right she's ever in the wrong.' vigour.
His versification is his own; neither his His tragedies, not making part of the Collec- blank nor his rhyming lines have any resemtion, I had forgotten, till Mr. Stevens recalled blance to those of former writers; he picks up them to my thoughts by remarking, that he no hemistichs, he copies no favourite expresseemed to have one favourite catastrophe, as his sions ; he seems to have laid up no stores of three plays all concluded with lavish suicide; thought or diction, but to owe all to the fortuia method by which, as Dryden remarked, a tous suggestions of the present moment. " Yet poet easily rids his scene of persons whom he I have reason to believe that, when once he had wants not to keep alive. In “ Busiris” there formed a new design, he then laboured it with are the greatest ebullitions of imagination: but very patient industy; and that he composed the pride of Busiris is such as no other man with great labour and frequent revisions. can have, and the whole is too remote from His verses are formed by no certain model; known life to raise either grief, terror, or indig- he is no more like himself in his different pronation. The “ Revenge” approaches much ductions than he is like others. He seems nenearer to human practices and manners, and ver to have studied prosody, nor to have had therefore keeps possession of the stage; the first any direction but from his own ear. But design seems suggested by “ Othello;" but the with all his defects, be was a man of genius reflections, the incidents, and the diction, are and a poet.