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k is related by Ruff head, that, when he determined on the church, he addressed himself to Fope, for inftru&ions in theology; who, in a frolic, advised the diligent perusal of Thomas Aquinas. With this treasure, he retired from interruption, to an obscure place in the suburbs. Pope hearing nothing of him during half a year, and apprehending he might have carried the jest too far, sought after him, and found him just in time to prevent what Ruff head calls“ an irretrieveable derangement.”.
Not long after he took orders, he published, in prosé, A True Eftimate of Human Life, 1728, dedicated to the Queen ; and a Sermon, preached before the House of Cummons, January 30. 1729, in. tituled, An Apology for Princes, or the Reverence due to Government. The True Estimate of Human Life, exhibits only the dark side. Being asked, why he did not give, as he promised, the bright representation; he is said to have replied, that he could not. By others it has been said, that this was finish. ed; but that, before there existed any copy, it was torn in pieces by a lady's monkey.
In 1730, he relapsed to poetry, and published Imperium Pelagi, a Naval Lyric; written in imitation of Pindar's Spirit, occafioned by bis Majesty's return from Hanover, September 1729, and the succeeding Peuce. It is inscribed to the Duke of Chandos. In the prcsace he observes, that the ode is the most spirited kind of poetry, and that the Pindaric is the most spirited kind of ode. “This I speak,” he adds, with fufficierit tandour, " at my own very great peril. But truth has an eternal title to our confellion, though we are sure to suffer by it.” It was one of the pieces which he deliberately refused to own. It was ridiculed in Fielding's “ Tom Thumb."
Not long after this Pindaric attempt, he published Two Epifles to Mr. Pipe, concerning the Authors of the Age, 1730. In July the same year, he was presented, by his college, to the rectory of Wėlwyn, in Hertfordshire, worth above sool.-a-year.
in May 1731, he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, daughter of the Earl of Litchfield, and widow of Colonel Lee, who left a son and two daughters. His connection with this lady, arose from his father's acquaintance with Mrs. Anne Wharton, who was the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, in Oxfordhire, and lister of the Countess of Abingdon, celebrated by Drydet in fuderal panegyric, intituled, “ Eleanora."
His next publication was The Sea-Piece, in two odes, with a poetical dedication to Voltaire, whom he had seen when he was in England, at Eastbury, the seat of Mr. Dolington, in Dorsetshire, which Thomson, in his “ Autumn,” calls the.“ Seat of the Muses,"
Where in the secret bower, and winding walk,
For vircuous Young and thee they cwine the bay. He enjoys the credit of an extempore Epigram on the French poct, who ridiculed, in the company of the jealous English poet, Milton's " Allegory of Sin and Death.”
You are fo witty, profligate, and thin,
At once we think thee Milton, Death, and Sin.
· No ftranger, Sir, though born in foreign climes;
Thy rage provok'd, who sooth'd with gentle rhymes.
In 1941, he was deprived of his wife. She brought him one child, Frederick, now living, to
« that the occasion of the poem was real, not Aditions; and that the fa&s mentioned did naturally pour these reflections on the thought of the Writer."
Whatever hamos belong to these facts, or if the names be those generally fupposed; whatever Keightening a poet's forrow nray have given the facto, it is generally understood, that he had sealig
felt domestie grief; and that disappointed prospects afforded him an offensible and sufficient cause of complaint.
The passages respecting Philander, Narcissa, Lucia, and Lorenzo, bave been applied to his son-in. Jaw, his daughter-in-law, his wife, and his son. It is probable, that he had his wife and daughterin-law in view for the characters of Lucia and Narcisa; but all the circumstances relating to Pbilan. der, do not appear to suit his son-in-law. He thus deplores his loss in an apostrophe to death.
Insatiate archer ! could not one suffice ?
And Ibrice, ere ibrice yon moon had fill'd her horn.
When Young married Lady Elizabeth Lee, she had a son and ewo daughters living by her former husband. The son was an officer; he married, and died soon after, leaving no child. The eldest daughter was married to Mr. Temple, son of Lord Palmerston. She fell into a declining state of health, and was accompanied by her mother, &c. to the south of France, and died at Lyons, on her way to Nice, in 1736, within a year after her marriage, and only seventeen years old. le is more than poetically true, that Young accompanied her to the Continent.
I few, I snatched her from the rigid north,
And bore her nearer to the sun. Her funeral was attended with the difficulties painted in such animated colours in Night Tbird. She was secretly buried in the King's Garden at Montpelier. “ The spot, a little gloomy grove, is known-1 saw it," says Lord Gardenstone; “ it is indeed a doleful foade.” After her death, the remainder of the party passed the ensuing winter at Nice. Mr. Temple married again, and left a fon by his second wife, a daughter of Sir John Barnard's, who, in 1757, succeeded to his grandfather's title. He died in 1740, and the poet's wife seven months after, in 1741. How could the infatiate arcber thrice llay his peace in these three persons,“ ere thrice the moon had fill'd her horn!"
From the great friendship which constantly sublifted between Mr. Temple and Young, as well as from other circumstances, Mr. Croft seems to be of opinion, that Mr. Temple was the person whom he laniented under the name of Philander. It is not, however, 'very probable, that fo young a man as Mr. Temple must have been, should have been the friend of twenty years, whoni the poet mouincd. Besides, Philander died before Mrs. Temple.
Narcissu follows ere his tomb is clos’d, &c. Perhaps those passages respeding Philander, which do not appear to suit Mr. Temple, may be found applicable to Mrs. Temple's brother, the officer, who died before her ;. and
with more. probability be reckoned the third victim over whom Young has hitherto been piticd, for having to pour the midnight sorrows of his religious poetry.
Lady Elizabeth left her youngest daughter under the care of Young, with whom she lived till her marriage with Major Haviland, whom the accompanied to Ireland, and lived but a short time after.
Mr. Croft has taken much pains to prove, that the character of Lorenzo, applied to the poet's son in the “ Biographia,” could not be meant for him; nor, indeed, does it seem pollible. Mr. Free derick Young was not born till June 1733. In 1741, this Lorenzo, this finihed infidel, this father, to whose education vice had, for some years, put the last hand, was only eight years old, Lorenzo is evidently a feigned character; and the rçaders of the Night Tbougbts are much indebted to Mr. Croft, “ for discovering that no such character ever yet disgraced human nature, or broke a father's heart."
This report, fo open to contradiction, and so impoflible to be true, seems to have arisen from an uphappy misunderstanding between Young and his son; whose boyish sollies, it is faid, “, cafta gloon over the evening of his father's days,” and, at last, brought "his gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.”
On this accusation, and on the charge advanced in the “ Biographia,” of his having been forbide den his college at Oxford for misbehaviour, Mr. Croft observes, “ Fron juvenile follies who is free? But whatever the “ Biographia” choose to relate, the son of Young experienced no dismission from bis college, either lasting or temporary: Yet, were nature to indulge him with a fia
cond youth, and to leave him, at the same time, the experience of that which is past, he would probably spend it differently-who would not? He would certainly be the occasion of lefs uneasiness to bis father. But, from the same experience, he would certainly, in the same case, be treated differently by his father.
" Young was a poet: poets, with reverence be it spoken, do not make the best parents. Fancy and imagigation seldom deign to stoop from their heights; always foop unwillingly to the low level of common duties.
" But the son of Young would sooner, I know, pass for a Lorenzo, than see himself vindicated at the expence of his father's memory; from follies which, if it may be thought blameable in a boy to ha re committed them, it is surely praiseworthy in a man to lament, and certainly not only unnecese fary, but cruel in a biographer to record.
" The famous De mortuis nil nifi banum, always appeared to me to favour more of female weakDess than of manly reason. He that has too much feeling to speak ill of the dead (who, if they cannot defend themselves, are at least ignorant of his abuse), will not hesitate, by the most wanton calumny, to dettroy the quiet, the reputation, and the fortune of the living. Yet cenfure is not heard beneath the tomb, any more than praise. De mortuis nil nisi verum- - De vivis nil nije bonum, would be nearer to the truth."
The claborate zeal Mr. Croft exhibits in defence of his injured friend, does equal credit to his genius and humanity: but the traits and resemblances in the picture of Lorenzo, were not sufficiently ftrong to reuder so much industry and effort necessary to prevent our mistaking it for a family likeDels.
Of the Nigbt Thoughts, all, except the seventh and eigbtb, are inscribed to great, or to growing Dames-Mr. Onslow, Lord Wilmington, the Duke of Portland, the Earl of Litchfield, Mr. Pelham, and the Duke of Newcastle.
The fourth Nigbt was addressed, by " a much-indebted muse,” to the Honourable Mr. Yorke, the late Lord Hardwickc, who meant to have laid the muse under still greater obligations, by the living of Shenfield in Elsex, if it had become vacant.
The fire fic ft Nigbts have been perused, perhaps, more eagerly and more frequently than the rest. Pbilerder and Narcisa, are often mentioned and often lamented. He seems, perhaps, to dwell with more melancholy on the death of Philander and Narcisa, than of his wife. When he got as far as the fixth or seventh, his original motive for taking up the pen was answered; his grief was naturaily either diminished or exhaused. We ftill find the same pious poct; but we hear less of Pbis, lorder and Narcisa, and less of the mourner whom he loved to pity.
By these extraordinary poems, written after he was fixty, it was the desire of Young to be principally known. He intituled the four volumes which he published himself, The Works of the Autbor of the Night Tboughts. From these he excluded many of his writings; but the rejected pieces contained nothing prejudicial to the cause of virtue, or of religion.
lo them he would only appear, perhaps, in a less respe&able light as a poet; and though despi-, able as a dedicator, he would not pass for a worfe Chriftian, or for a worse man. This enviable praise, which cannot be claimed by every writer, is due to the author of the Night Thoughts.
Notwithstanding the farewell which he seemed to have taken in the Night Tloughts, of ambition, he relapsed igro politics. In 1745, he wrote Some Thoughts, occafioned by the Present Furciure, inscribed
the Duke of Newcastle. This political poem might be called a Nigbt Tbongbt. Indeed it was originally priated as the conclusion of the Night 'Tbouglts, though he omitted it in his works.
Prefired to the second edition of " Rowe's Devout Meditations,” is a letter from Young, addrelied to Archibald Macaulay, Esq., thanking kim for the booki; which, he says," he shall never lay las cut of his reach; for a greater demonstration of a found head, and a sincere heart, he never saw.”,
lo 1753, his tragedy of The Brot bers, when it had lain by him above thirty years, was acted at the theatre in Drury-Lane. The plot is taken from the history of Macedonia, in the reign of the lalt Philip. The two characters of Demetrius and Perfeus, ase well drawn, and the contest before their father, in the third ad, is a fine piece of oratory; but their speeches are, in a great meature,translations from Livg. The play itself, though the profits were generously bestowed on the Society for the Propaga, tion of the Gospel, was but coldly reccived, bring undrammatical ia it: conduct, and imperfect in its
catalltrophe. This latter defe& is acknowledged in his own epilogue, which was never used; the place of it being supplied by one furnished by Mallet, at the instigation of Garrick. Some indelicare allusions in it to the author's charity, gave just offetice. Young was much offended by it; nor would he suffer it to be printed at the end of his piece.
The profits of The Bro!bers, he hoped, would aniount to a thousand poun.ds. In his calculation he was deceived; boe, by the bad fuccess of his play, the society was not a loser. He made up the fum he originally intended, from his own pocket. While it failed to increase his reputation for genias, it added to the character of his humanity."
His next publication was, Tbe Ceritaur not fibulous, in fix Letters to a friend, on the Life in Vogue. In the third letter, is described the death-bed of the “ gay, young, noble, ingenious, accomplished, and most wretched Altamont.” His last words were : " My principles have poifoned my friend, my extravagance has beggared my boy, and my unkindness has murdered my wife.” The character of Altamont bears no ficele resemblance, in the perfe&ion of wickedness, to the Lorenzo of the Night Thoughts. Report has been accustomed to call .9/tumont Lord Eufton.
In 1756, Dr. Warton dedicated the first volume of his admirable" Essay on the Writings and Ge. nius of Pope," to Young; who " appears," says Mr. Croft, " in his old age, to have bartered for a dedication an opinion entertained of his frieud, through all that part of life, when he muft have been best able to form opinions."
" I know not," says an intelligent writer in the “ Gen:leman's Magazine," Vol. LII. p 71,
why it should be fupposed, because Dt. Warton dedicated his “ Efsay" to Young, thae, therefore, he muft either have changed his opinion of Pope, or have bartered his opinion for a dedication. He was neither greedy of praile, nor was he reduced to the necessity of bartering any thing to procute it. The compliment paid him, I have no doubt, was a vó!untary compliment."
In 1758, he again became a dedicator, and published A Sermon, preached before their Majeflies at Keno fington, addressed to the King. If he composed many sermons, he did not oblige the public with many.
The following letter, from Becker to Yonng, dated July 8. 1758., given by Mr. Croft, ferves to fhow at what a late period of life the author of the Night Thotrg bts solicited prefermetit.
I have long wondered, that more suitable notice of your great merit hath not been taken by persons in power. But how to remedy the omiffion, I fee not. "No encouragement hath ever been given me to mention things of this nature to his Majesty; and, therefore, in all likelihood, the onlý consequence of doing is, would be weakening the little infaence, which else I may pofibly have on fome other occasions. Your fortune and your reputation, fer you above the need of advance. ment; and your sentiments above that concern for it, on your own account, which, on that of the public, is sincerely felt by your, &c."
The negle&t of Young is, by fome, ascribed to his having attached himself to the Prince of Wales, and to his having preached an offensive.fermon at St. James's. It is said, however, that he had two hundred a year in the lare reign, by the patronage of Walpole; and that whenever any one 5s. minded the King of Young, his only answer was, " he has a pension."
One obl.acle mut have stood not a little in the way of that preferment, after which his whole life seems to have panted. Though he took orders, he never entirely fhook off politics. By this conduct, if he gained fome friends, he made many enemies. Besides, in the latter part of his life, he was fond of holding himself out for a man retired from the world. He who retires from the world, will find himself in reality deserted as fast, if not faster, by the world. Young seems to have been taken at his word. Notwithstanding his frequent coniplaints of being neglected, to hand was reached out to pull him from that retirement, of which he declared himself enamoured.
In 1757, he en:ployed his pious pen for almost the last time, in doing jufice to the death.be of Addison, in a Leiter, on Original Corrigation, addressed to Richardson, the author of " Clae rissa." His chief inducement to write it, was, as he conferis, that he might “ erect a monumental marble to the memory of an old friend." In this lively letter, Pope is severely censured for his “ fall from Homer's punibers, free as air, lofty and harmonious as the fpheres, into childish fhack. les and tinkling founds ; for putting Achilles into perticoats a second time." But we are told, that our English Homes talked over an epic plan with Young a few weeks before his death. In the
poftfeript, he writes to Richardson, that he will see, in his next, how far Addison" is an original. But no other letter appears.
In 1761, his friend Lord Melcombe, not long before his death, sent him an“ Ode," which he called " The Mufe's Late Spark," accompanied by a letter ; in which he says, “ if you are wil ling that our friendship should be known when we are gone, you will be pleased to leave this among those of your papers chat may posibly see the light by a posthumous publication.”
At the accellon of his present Majesty, his name was ftruck oue from the list of Court-Chape lains; but he was almof immediately after, upon the death of De. Hales, appointed Clerk of the Closet to the Princess-Dowager of Walesi .
In 1762, be published Refignation, in two parts, and A Poffcript to Mrs. B, 4ta It wasi written at the requelt of Mrs. Montague, the famous champion of Shakspeare, and is addressed to the Hon. Mrs. Bofcawen, the Admiral's widow, to teach her resignation under the affidion caused by the death of her husband. Notwithstanding he administered consolation to his own grief in blank verse—“ verse unfallen, uncurft ; verse reclaimed, re-inthroned in the truc language of the gods;" he comforted Mrs. Bofcawen in rhyme.
While the poet and the Christian were applying this comfort, Young had himself occasion for comfort, in consequence of the sudden death of Richardson, who was engaged in printing the firkt, edition of the poem. He laments him as a friend, and has given fume ketches of his genius.
To touch our paflions' secret springs,
Was his peculiar care;
In bofoms of the fair.
- All art beyond imparts,
The key of human hearts.
" This was not intended for the public : there were many and Atrong reasons against it, and are so fill; but some extracts of it, from the few copies which were given away (a few copies were : prioted, and given to the author's friends), being got into the printed papers; it was thought neo cellary to publish fomething, left a copy ftill more imperfect than this should fall into the press; and, it is hoped, that this unwelcon.e occasion of publication may be fonie excuse for it."
It must be owned, that the reasons were sufficient for reprinting the poem; but then it may. be aked, why did he ever fuffer fo imperfect a performance to pass through the press? He Tould have, considered that true observation of Horace ::
Semel emissum, volat irrevocabile verbum.
Spectatum satis, et donatum jam rude, quæris
Non eadem eft ætas, non mens
of Mrs. Hallows, the writer in the “ Gentleman's Magazine,” above quoted, tells us, that fe was the daughter of a Rector of All-Hallows, Hertford; and that, upon the marriage of Miss Caroline Lee, sặc was invited by Young, who knew her family, to his house; that she had some fortune of her own, perhaps very small, as her father left many children; that she was advanced in years, and was a woman of piery, improved by reading; and that he was always treated by hiin and by his guests, even chose of the highest rank, with the politeness and respect due to a gentle