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of the domestic manners, and petty babits of the author of the Night Thoughts," Mr. Croft writes Dr. Johnson, September 1780. : “ I hoped to have given you an account from the best authority; but who shall dare to say, to-morrow I will be wise or virtuous; or, to.morrow I will do a particular thing? Upon inquiring for his housekeeper, I learned that he was buried two days before I reached the town of her abode."
It appears from the epistolary correspondence of Mr. Jones, his curate, and executor, printed in the Gentlenian's Magazine, Vol. Jii. p. 283. that the last years 'of his life were embittered by the unhappy economy of his family. The letters are well authenticated, and not incurious. If they difcover the foibles of a great man, they illustrate a part of his personal history'; and Mr: Croft has well remarked that we ought to say De mortuis nil miji verim-De vivis nil nifi bonum.
“ The old gentleman here,” says Mr, Jones, in a letter to his friend in London, dated Welwyn, July 25. 1762., "seems to me to be in a pretty odd way of late, moping, dejected, felf willed, and as if surrounded with some perplexing circumstances. There is much mystery'in almost all his temporal affairs, as well as in many other of his fpeculative opinions: There is thought to be an irremoveable obstruction to his happiness within his walls, as well as another without them; but the former is the more powerful, and likely to continue lo. He has this day been trying anew 'to engage me to stay with hini. No lucrative views' can tempt me to sacrifice my liberty of my health to such mieafures as are proposed here."
“ You remember,” he writes his friend, St. Neots, Hunts, August 28. 1762., “ what I suggested to you about my resolution of leaving Welwyn, of which I had given very early notice to the worthy Doctor, that he might have sufficient time to provide. After repeated triais, and repeated disappointments, though seven or eight offered, he, thought proper to apply to me anew; and though lucrative motives could not, earnest importunities did prevail with me at last to cheer up his dejected heart, by promising to continue with him for some time longer at least. By the way, I privately intimated to you, the Doctor is, in various respects, a very unhappy man. Few know so much of him as I do in these respects, and have often observed with concern. If he would be advised by some who wish him well, he might be happy, though his state of health is lately much altered for the worse."
• The mismanagement too well known,” he writes bis friend, Welwyn, January 1. 1963., “ happily continues, and, still more unhappily, seems to be increasing, to the grief of friends, and, I need not say, to the ridicule of others, who are not a few. Penuriousness and obstinacy are two bad things, and a disregard to the general judgment and friendly wishes of the wiser part of mankind, another. There seems to be no hope, fo long as the ascendency is so great.”
• My ancient gentleman here," he writes his friend, Welwyn, September 4. 1764., '" is Aill full of troubles, which moves my concern,- though it moves only the secret laughter of many, and some uptoward surmises in di-favour of him and his household. The loss of a very large sum of money, 200 l., is talked of, whereof this vilf and neighbourhood are full. Some 'disbelieve, others say it is no wonder, where about'eighteen,' or more fervants, are sometimes taken and dismifred in the course of a year. The gentleman hin:self, is allowed by all to be far more harmless and easy in his family than some one else, who hath too much the lead in it,”
Of his last illness, the following account is given by Mr. Jones, in a letter to his friend, dated Welwyn, April 2. 1765.: " As soon as I got home, I inquired after Dr. Young, and found that he had gone through very great pains since I left him ; and the pains return pretty frequently. Dr. Cotton of St. Albans, and Dr. Yates of Hertford, meet at his house every day, on consultation. find that epiures are frequently administered to him, I suppose to render him less sensible of his pain. His intellects, l'am told, are still clear; though what effc&t the frequent use of opiates may hy de. grees have upon him, I know not. I am pretty much of his son's sentiments as to this, viz. that those ingredients, if for some time longer continued, may have an ill effect upon the brain. Having mentioned this young gentleman, I would acyuaint you next, that he came hither this morning, having been sent for, as I am told, by the direction of Mrs. Halle ws. lodeed, the intimated to me as much herself. And, if this be so, I mult fay it is one of the most prudent acts she ever did, or could have done, in such a case as this, as it may prove a means of preventing much confusion. I
have had some little discourse with the son. He seems much affected, and, I believe, really is fo. He earnestly wishes his father may be pleased to ask after him. For, you must know, he has not Jet done this, nor is, in my opinion, likely to do it. And it has been said farther, upon a very late application made tu him on the behalf of his son, he desired that no more might be said to him about it. Mrs. H. has fitted up a suitable apartment in the house for Mr. Young, where, I suppose, be will continue till some farther event. I heartily with the ancient man's heart may grow tender towards his son; though, knowing him so well, I can scarce hope to hear such desirable news. He took to his bed yesterday, about eleven in the forenoon, and has not been up fince."' I called foou af. ter my coming home, but did not see him : he was then in a dose."
Of his death, which happened April 5. 1765., in the eighty-fourth year of his age, the follow. ing account is given by Mr. Jones, in a letter to his friend, dated Welwyn, April 13. 1765.:"1 have now the pleasure to acquaint you, that the late Dr. Young, though he had' for many years kept his son at a distance, yet has now, at last, left him all his poffeffions, after the payment of certain legacies. So that the young gentleman, who bears a fair character, and behaves well, as far as I can hear or fee, will, I hope, soon enjoy, and make a prudent use of a very handsome fortune. The fa. ter, on his death-bed, and since my return from London, was applied to, in the tendereft manner, by one of his physicians, and by another person, to admit the son into his presence, to make subuiffon, entreat forgiveness, and obtain his blessing. As to an interview with his son, he intimated, he chose to decline it, as his spirits were then low, and his nerves weakı: with regard to the next particular, he said, “ I heartily forgive him;" and, upon mention of the last, he gently lifted up his hand, and gently letting it fall, pronounced these words—“God bless him!” After about a fortnight's illness, and bearing exceflive pains, he expired a little before eleven of the clock, in the night o Good Friday lat, the sth instant, and was decently buried yesterday, about fix in the afternoon, in the chancel of this church, close by the remains of his lady, under the communion-table. The Jergy, who are the trustees for his charity-school, and one or two more, attending the funeral, the lat office at interment being performed by' me.
" I know it will give you pleasure to be farther informed, that he was pleased to make respecte fal mention of me in his will, expressing his satisfaction in my care of his parish, bequeaching to me a handsome legacy, and appointing me one of his executors, next after his sister's son [Mr. Harris), a derzyman of Hampshire, who this morning set out for London, in order to prove the will in Doc. tor's Commons. So that, much according to my wishes, I shall have little or nothing to do, in refpct of executorship."
la his will, dated February 1760., he desires of his executors, in a particular manner, that all his madofcript-books, and writings whatever, night be burned, excepe his book of accounts. In a codicil, dared September 1764., he made it his dying entreaty to his housekeeper, to whom he left Icool," that all his manuscripts might be destroyed as soon as he was dead, which would greatly oblige her deceased friend." The legacy was not more than might be due to one whom he had neve degraded by paying her wages. She did not, however, fridly comply with his last injunctions, in destroying his manuscripts. He left also a legacy to his " friend Henry Stephens, a hatcer at the Temple-Gate,” who went before him.
The same humility which had marked a hatter and a housekeeper for his friends, had before beHowed the same title on his footman, in an Epitaph in Welwyn Churcb yard, upon James Barker,
The author of that Epitaph is not without a stone to mark the place of his dust. Though he infcribed no monument to the memory of his lamented wise, yet the piety of his son has erected a nonument, in Welwyn church, to the memory of his parents, with the following inscription ; which contains," says Mr. Croft, “'none of that praise, which no marble can make the bad or the foelih merit; which, without the direction of a stone or a turf, will find its way, sooner or later, to the deserving :"
Hujus ecclefiæ recte
Filius fuperftes. Jo the edition of Young's works, published during his life, in 4 vols, 12mo, several pieces, which he judged to be of a temporary nature, or of inferior merit, were omitted. Aster his death, a fifch volume was 'published, with the design of completing his works. Bue feveral pieces, and some of considerable length, were omitted. These were collected in an additional volume, making the sixth, în 1778. The contents are- - Epiftle to Lord Lansdowne, 1712; Imperium Pelagi, a Naval Lyrii, 1730; The Foreign Addresi, 1734 ; Reflections on the Public Situation of the Kingdom, 1745 ; Miscellanies (in yerle), viz. on Michael Angelo's famous piece of the Crucifixion ; To Mr. Addison, on the Tragedy of Carto; A Letter to Mr. Tickell, on tbe Dealb of Mr. Addison, 1719; Epitaph on Lord Aubrey Beatclers, killed at Carthagena, 1740; Mifcellanies in Profe, viz. Epitaph or Mr. James Barker, 1749; Oratio de Bibliotheca Codringtoniana, habita in Sacello Coll. Oma. Amn. 1716; A Discourse on Lyric Poetry; A Ser. Hon pregebed before the King at Kensington, June 1758; Preface to “Mrs. Rowe's Friendship on Death;" Dedications to the Lafi Day, to Vanquisted Love, to the Parapbrase on yob, to Buforis, and the Rivenge. The Merchant, en Ode on the Britis Trade and Navigation, is mentioned also in the contents as a sepasate poem, though it feems only a fecond title to the Lyric, or, perhaps, only a part of it; and that more was intended, seems probable from its being styled Ode the Firft. The Epitaph on Lord Aubrey Beauclerc, is improperly dated 1740. Lord Aubrey was killed at Carthagena, March 24. 1740-J. The epitaph, therefore, could not be written, at foonest, till the year after. The second line of the fecond couplet is, on the monument, expressed thus-D'er dauntless loyal, &c. The volume concludes with " some thoughts on reading Mr. Young's Last Day,” in a letter to Mrs. Rowe, by Dr. Bowden, a worthy physician and ingenious poet of Frome, the friend of Mrs. Rowe, Lord Orrery, &c.
His Poétical Works have been frequently reprinted in 4 vols 12mn, and in 3 vols 8vo, 1792. Of the Night Thoughts, the editions are too numerous to be specified. The edition in 8vo
1794, namented with engravings, and illustrated with notes by Mr. de Coetlogon. A French translation of the Nigbe Tlougbts, by M. le Tourneur, was published in 2 vols 8vo, 1769, “ Observations on the Night Thoughts,” by Mr. Pratt, appeared in 8vo, 1776.
Of the private habits, and domestic manners of Young, whose great genius, abilities, and piety, placed him in the foremost rank of literature for almoft half a century, curiosity will scquire more ample suformation than is to be found in the few scattered notices which the diligence of his bio. graphers has collected, or the zeal and veneration of his friends have supplied.
Singularity is said to have predominated in his most juvenile pradices. The late Dr. Ridley re. membered a report current at Oxford, that, when he was composing, he would shut up his windows, and fit by a lamp, even at mid-day; and that skulls, boncs, and intruments of death, were among the ornaments of his study. Thus encouraging the habitual gloom that hung over his imagination, it foon became peopled with the phantoms of discontent. He indulged an early luxury in describing the miseries of a world, that did not immediately forward his designs and gratify his expectations. It has been said, that if he had been a bishop, he would never have written the Nigha Tlougbts. But he was far advanced in the pathethic strains of complaint, at a time when hope is warm in the bosom of other men; and had he attained the mitre, a disappointment in tbe primary might have produced the same effects on a mind which seems to have been endued with much sens fibility, and to have been depressed with temporary obstructions of his prospects, which every maa (ruggling through life naturally expects to meet with; and, if he cannot surmount them, does ning think himfelf justified in retiring to the cloister, or the hermitage. It cannot be supposed, that his disposition brightened up when he had suffered from real disappointments, and the weight of years fat heavier upon him. His discourse, even to the last, it is said, was rather expreslive of a reflefs than a fettled mind. In the character of Yo'ng, much of that melancholy cast of mind may be obferved which is ever attendant upon genius, but at the same time fo tempered by the fuber tints of (cience and philosophy, that it feldom breaks in upon the province of judgment and right ratiosis
sation. The melancholy of Young was so repressed by the chastening hand of reason and education, as never to infringe upon the duties of life. The spirit, the energy of his soul, his rational and sublime piety, powerfully with-held the accession of a fate of mind fo inimical to the rights of fociety.
It is generally known that Young, after his first sleep, spent the greatest part of the night in meditation, and in the composition of his works; and that he had only to transcribe them when he rose, which was at an early hour. Every night he read prayers to his family, and every morning when there was no public service.
While his health permitted him to walk abroad, he preferred a solitary ramble in his churchgard, to excrcise with a companion on a more cheerful spot He was moderate in his meals, and rarely drank wine, except when he was ill; being (as he said) unwilling to waste the fuccours of Echsess on the stability of health.
After a slight refreshment, he retired to bed at eight in the evening, although he might have guests in his house, who wished to prolong his Nay among them to a later hour. He lived at a mo. derate expence, rather inclining to parsimony than profusion, and yet continued anxious for increase es preferment, after it could have added nothing to his enjoyments; for he expended annually little more than half of his income.
"He appeared," says the writer in the" Gentleman's Magazine," above quoted, Vol. LII, p.92. * seither as a man of sorrow," nor yet as “ a fellow of infinite jest.” The dignity of a great and a good man appeared in all his a&ions and in all his words. He conversed on religious fubjects with the cheerfulness of vistue. His piety was undebased by gloom or enthusiasm; he was regular in the performance of all its duties, both in public and in private. I have been told that, before his time, disine service was performed only on Sunday morning, but he likewise read prayers in the afternoon, and on Wednesdays, Fridays, and all holidays."
& lo his dometic character, he was as amiable as he was venerable in the Chriftian. His polite. dess was such as I never saw equalled; it was invariable; to his superiors in rank, to his equals, and to his inferiors, it differed only in the degrees of elegance. I never heard him speak with roughseís co his meanes servant ; yet he well knew how to keep up his dignity, and, with all the majelly of Superior worth, to repress the bold and the forward. "Io conversation upon lively subjects, ke bad a brilliancy of wit which was peculiar to himself. I know 110how to describe it, but by faying, that it was both heightened and softened by the great and the amiable qualities of his soul. I have seen him ill, and in pain, yet the serenity of his mind remained unruffled : 1 ocver heard a peerith expression fall from his lips ; oor was he, at such times, less kindly and politely attentive to those around him, than when in the company of Arangers, who came only to visit him for the firft time." ”
* Dr. Young,” says Dr. Warton, who knew him well, was one of the most amiable and bene. volent of med; molt exemplary in his life, and sincere in his religion : nobody ever faid more brilliant things in conversation. The late Lord Melcombe informed me, that when he and Voltaire were on a visit to his Lordship at Eastbury, the English poet was far superior to the French, in the variety and novelty of his bon-mots and repartees : and Lord Melcombe was himself a good judge of wit and humour, of which he had a large portion."
Tscharner, a noble foreigper, in a letter to Count Haller, says, he has lately spent four days with Young at Welwyn, where he tales all the case and pleafure man can desire. “Every thing about him shows the man; each individual being placed by rule. All is neat without art. pleasant in conversation, and extremely polite."
" That domestic grief,” says Mr. Croft, " is, in the first instance, to be thanked for thefe or naments to our language (The Night Thoughts), it is impoffible to deny. Nor would it be common hardiness to contend, that worldly discontent had no hand in these joint productions of poetry and piety. Yet I am by no means fure that, at any rate, we should not have had fomething of the same colour from Young's pencil, notwithstanding the liveliness of his fatires. In so long a life, capses for discontent, and occasions for grief, must have occurred. It is not clear to me that his seuse was not atting upon the watch for the first which happened. Night Thoughts were not un. common to her, even when firt loc visited the poct; and, at a time when he himself was remarkable,
He is very
neither for gravity nor gloominess. In his. Last Day, almost his earlicí poem, he calls her tbe melan. sboly maid;
whom dismal scenes delight
Frequent at tonibs, and in the realms of night. " When Young was writing a tragedy, Grafton is said by Spence to have sent him a human skull with a candle in it as a lamp; and the poet is reported to have used it.
“ Still, is it altogether fair to dress up the poet for the man, and to bring the gloominess of the Night Thoughts to prove the gloominess of Young ; and, to show that his genius, like the genius of Swift, was, in some measure, the fullen inspiration of discontent ?
" From them who answer in the affirmative, it should not be concealed, that, though Invisibili; non decipiunt appeared upon a deception in Young's grounds, and ambulantes in borto audierunt vocem Dei, in a building in bis garden, his parish was indebted to the good humour of the author of the Night Thoughts, for an assembly and a bowling-green.
“ Of Young, an anecdote which wanders among readers, it is not true, that he was Fielding's Parson Adams. The original of that famous painting was William Young, who was a clergyman, [author of the Latin and English Dictionary.) Yet, the facility with which this report has gained belief in the world, argues, were it not sufficiently known, that the author of the Night Thoughts, bore some resemblance to Adams. It is known, that, during some part of his life, Young was abroad; and, that he once wandered into the camp, with a classic in his hand, which he was reading intensely, and had some difficulty to prove that he was only an absent poet, and not a spy.
“ The attention which Young bestowed upon the perusal of books, is not unworthy imitation. When any passage pleased him, he appears to have folded down the leaf. On those passages be bestowed a second reading. But the labours of man are too frequently vain. Before he returned to much of what he once approved, he died. Many of his books which I have seen, are, by those notes of approbation, so swelled beyond their real bulk, that they would hardly shut.”
His extemporaneous wit and colloquial talents, have been much exrolled; bu:, from the few spe. cimens of his unprenieditated acuteness, and successful pleasantry which are preserved, it would seem, that his powers of delighting were, in great measure, confined to his pen. The following anecdotes are distinguished by their novelty and importance.
Young, walking in his garden at Welwyn, in company with two ladies (one of whom was Lady Elisabeth Lee), a servant came to tell him a gentleman wished to speak with him, " Tell him," says Young, “ I am too happily engaged to change my situation.” The ladies infifted upon it that he laould go, as his visitor was a man of rank, his patron, his friend; and, as persuasion had no effect, one took him by the right arm, and the other by the left, and led him to the garden-gate, when, find. ing resistance was vain, he bowed, laid his hand upon his heart, and in that exprelli ve manner for which he was so remarkable, spoke the following lines :
Thus Adam look'd, when from the garden driven,
His Eve went with him, but mine stays behind.
and cook an opportunity, in one of the dark walks, to tell the officer, that he expected him to meet him at such a place in the morning, to give him a gentleman's satisfaction; and, that he chose swords for the weapons. The officer was furprised on their meeting, to see Young advance towards him with a large horse pistol, with which he cold him he would instantly shoot him through the head if he did not dance a minuet.