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dence of Diogenes, who boafted his furly fatisfaction with his tub.
Of the domeftick manners and petty habits of the Author of the Night Thoughts, I hoped to have given you an account from the beft authority ;-but who shall dare to fay, To-morrow I will be wife or virtuous, or tomorrow I will do a particular thing? Upon enquiring for his housekeeper, I learned that she was buried two days before I reached the town of her abode.
In a Letter from Tfcharner, a noble foreigner, to Count Haller, Tfcharner fays, he has lately spent four days with Young at Welwyn, where the author tastes all the ease and pleasure mankind can defire. "Every thing "about him fhews the man, each individual being "placed by rule. All is neat without art. He is "very pleasant in converfation, and extremely polite."
This, and more, may poffibly be true; but Tfcharner's was a first visit, a visit of curiofity and admiration, and a visit which the author expected.
Of Edward Young an anecdote which wanders among readers is not true, that he was Fielding's Parfon Adams. The original of that famous painting was William Young. He too was a clergyman. He fupported an uncomfortable existence by tranflating for the bookfellers from Greek; and, if he was not his own friend, was at least no man's enemy. Yet the facility with which this report has gained belief in the world, argues, were it not fufficiently known, that the author of the Night Thoughts bore fome refemblance to Adams.
The attention Young bestowed upon the perufal of books is not unworthy imitation. When any paffage pleafed him, he appears to have folded down
the leaf. On these paffages he bestowed a fecond reading. But the labours of man are too frequently vain. Before he returned, a fecond time, to much of what he had once approved, he died. Many of his books, which I have seen, are by thofe notes of approbation fo fwelled beyond their real bulk, that they will not fhut.
What though we wade in wealth, or foar in fame!
The author of these lines is not without his hic jacet.
By the good fenfe of his fon, it contains none of that praise which no marble can make the bad or the foolish merit; which, without the direction of a stone or a turf, will find its way, fooner or later, to the deferving.
EDWARDI YOUNG, LL. D.
Is it not strange that the author of the Night Thoughts has infcribed no monument to the memory of his lamented wife? Yet what marble will endure as long as the poems ?
Such, my good friend, is the account I have been able to collect of Young. That it may be long before VOL. IV.
any thing like what I have juft tranfcribed be neceffary for you, is the fincere wish of,
Oxford, Sept. 1782.
Your greatly obliged Friend,
P. S. This account of Young was feen by you in manuscript, you know, Sir; and, though I could not prevail on you to make any alterations, you infifted on striking out one paffage, only because it said, that, if I did not wish you to live long for your fake, I did for the fake of myself and of the world. But this poftfcript you will not fee before it is printed; and I will fay here, in spite of you, how I feel myself honoured and bettered by your friendship-and that, if I do credit to the church, after which I always longed, and for which I am now going to give in exchange the bar, though not at fo late a period of life as Young took Orders, it will be owing, in no fmall measure, to my having had the happiness of calling the author of The Rambler my friend.
OF Young's Poems it is difficult to give any general character; for he has no uniformity of manner : one of his pieces has no great resemblance to another. He began to write carly, and continued long; and at different times had different modes of poetical excellence in view. His numbers are fometimes smooth, and fometimes rugged; his ftyle is fometimes concatenated, and fometimes abrupt; fometimes diffusive, and fometimes concife. His plan seems to have started in his mind at the prefent moment, and his thoughts
appear the effect of chance, fometimes adverse, and fometimes lucky, with very little operation of judge
He was not one of the writers whom experience improves, and who obferving their own faults become gradually correct. His Poem on the Last Day, his first great performance, has an equability and propriety, which he afterwards either never endeavoured or never attained. Many paragraphs are noble, and few are mean, yet the whole is languid; the plan is too much extended, and a fucceffion of images divides and weakens the general conception; but the great reason why the reader is disappointed is, that the thought of the LAST DAY makes every man more than poetical, by fpreading over his mind a general obfcurity of facred horror, that oppreffes diftinction, and difdains expreffion.
His story of Jane Grey was never popular. It is written with elegance enough, but Jane is too heroic to be pitied.
The Univerfal Paffion is indeed a very great performance. It is faid to be a feries of Epigrams: but if it be, it is what the author intended: his endeavour was at the production of striking diftichs and pointed fentences; and his diftichs have the weight of folid fentiment, and his points the fharpnefs of refiftless truth. His characters are often felected with difcernment, and drawn with nicety; his illuftrations are often happy, and his reflections often juft. His fpecies of fatire is between thofe of Horace and of Juvenal; he has the gaiety of Horace without his laxity of numbers, and the morality of Juvenal with greater variation of images. He plays, indeed, only on the T 2 furface
furface of life; he never penetrates the receffes of the mind, and therefore the whole power of his poetry is exhausted by a single perufal; his conceits please only when they surprise.
To tranflate he never condefcended, unless his Paraphrafe on Job may be confidered as a verfion; in which he has not, I think, been unsuccessful; he indeed favoured himself, by chufing thofe parts which most easily admit the ornaments of English poetry.
He had least fuccefs in his lyrick attempts, in which he feems to have been under fome malignant influence: he is always labouring to be great, and at last is only turgid.
In his Night Thoughts he has exhibited a very wide display of original poetry, variegated with deep reflections and striking allufions, a wilderness of thought, in which the fertility of fancy scatters flowers of every hue and of every odour. This is one of the few poems in which blank verfe could not be changed for rhyme but with difadvantage. The wild diffufion of the fentiments, and the digreffive fallies of imagination, would have been compreffed and reftrained by confinement to rhyme. The excellence of this work is not exactness but copioufnefs; particular lines are not to be regarded; the power is in the whole, and in the whole there is a magnificence like that afcribed to Chinese plantation, the magnificence of vaft extent and endless diverfity.
His laft poem was the Refignation; in which he made, as he was accustomed, an experiment of a new mode of writing, and fucceeded better than in his Ocean or his Merchant. It was very falfely represented