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of that famous painting was William Young. He too was a clergyman. He supported an uncomfortable existence by translating for the booksellers 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 sufficiently known, that the author of the Night Thoughts bore some resemblance to Adams.

'The attention 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 these passages he bestowed a second reading. But the labours of man are too frequently vain. Before he returned a second time to much of what he had 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 will not shut.

"What though we wade in wealth, or soar in fame!
Earth's highest station ends in, Here he lies!
And dust to dust concludes her noblest song!"

The author of these lines is not without his hic jacet.

'By the good sense of his son 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 sooner or later to the deserving.

M. S.
Optimi parentis

Hujus Ecclesiæ rect.
Et Elizabethæ

fæm. prænob.

Conjugis ejus amantissimæ

Pio et gratissimo animo
Hoc marmor posuit

F. Y.

Filius superstes.

'Is it not strange that the author of the Night Thoughts has inscribed 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 any thing like what I have just transcribed be necessary for you, is the sincere wish of,

'Dear Sir,

'Your greatly obliged Friend,

'Lincoln's Inn, Sept. 1780.'

'P.S. This account of Young was seen by you in manuscript 153 you know, Sir; and, though I could not prevail on you to make any alterations, you insisted on striking out one passage only because it said that if I did not wish you to live long for your sake, I did for the sake of myself and of the world. But this postscript you will not see before it is printed; and I will say 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 so late a period of life as Young took orders, it will be owing in no small measure to my having had the happiness of calling the author of The Rambler my friend. 'H. C.

'Oxford, Sept. 1782.'


OF Young's poems it is difficult to give any general char- 154 acter, for he has no uniformity of manner1 one of his pieces has no great resemblance to another. He began to write early and continued long, and at different times had different modes of poetical excellence in view. His numbers are sometimes smooth and sometimes rugged; his style is sometimes concatenated and sometimes abrupt, sometimes diffusive and sometimes concise. His plan seems to have started in his mind at the present moment, and his thoughts appear the effects of chance, sometimes adverse and sometimes lucky, with very little operation of judgement 3.

He was not one of the writers whom experience improves, and 155 who observing 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 succession 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 spreading over his mind a general

I 6

36 'Young's manner is unique; a compound of wit and religious madness; but that madness is the madness of a man of genius.' SOUTHEY, Specimens, i. Pref. 32.

2 For the concatenation of Akenside's verses see post, AKENSIDE,


'Johnson said he believed Young was not a great scholar, nor had studied regularly the art of writing.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 269. See ib. n. 3 for Mrs. Piozzi's remark on this.

A Poem on the Last Day. Oxford, 1713. Brit. Mus. Cata.



obscurity of sacred horror, that oppresses distinction and disdains expression'.

His story of Jane Grey was never popular. It is written with elegance enough, but Jane is too heroick to be pitied.

The Universal Passion3 is indeed a very great performance. It is said to be a series of Epigrams; but if it be it is what the author intended: his endeavour was at the production of striking distichs and pointed sentences; and his distichs have the weight of solid sentiment, and his points the sharpness of resistless truth 5. His characters are often selected with discernment and drawn with nicety; his illustrations are often happy and his reflections often just. His species of satire is between those 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 surface of life; he never penetrates the recesses of the mind, and therefore the whole power of his poetry is exhausted by a single perusal: his conceits please only when they surprise 3.

158 To translate he never condescended, unless his Paraphrase


Ante, COWLEY, 146; MILTON, 248; JOHN PHILIPS, 7.

2 The Force of Religion, or Vanquished Love, Eng. Poets, Ix. 45.

3 Love of Fame, The Universal Passion in Seven Characteristical Satires, ib. p. 69.

Dr. Warton writes in his Dedica-
tion to Young of An Essay on Pope,
p. 6:-'Had you written only these
satires you would have gained the
title of a man of wit and a man of
sense; but, I am confident, would
not insist on being denominated

'Should reason guide thee with her
brightest ray,

And pour on misty doubt resist-
less day.'
JOHNSON, Vanity of Human Wishes,

1. 145

Johnson repeated two passages from Young's Love of Fame-the characters of Brunetta and Stella, which he praised highly.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 270. For these passages see ib. n. 2 and Satires, v. 145, V.



Universal Passion, writes:-'Horace appears in good humour while he censures. Juvenal is ever in, a passion; he has little valuable but his eloquence and morality; the last of which I have had in my eye, but rather for emulation than imitation, through my whole work.' Eng. Poets, lx. 73.


Swift, in 1732, says of his brothersatirists:-'Dr. Young is the gravest among us, and yet his satires have many mixtures of sharp raillery.' Works, xvii. 398. See also ib. xii. 383 for Swift's verses On Reading Dr. Young's Satire, and ib. xiv. 360 for On Two Modern Celebrated Poets, which ends :

'Then in a saw-pit and wet weather Should Young and Philips drudge together.'

'Young seems fonder of dazzling than pleasing; of raising our admiration for his wit than our dislike of the follies he ridicules.' GOLDSMITH, Works, iii. 439.

'These Satires are wearing out of fashion.' Ann. Reg. 1765, ii. 33. Ante, POPE, 75.

9 Young, in the Preface to his


on Job may be considered as a version, in which he has not, I think, been unsuccessful; he indeed favoured himself by chusing those parts which most easily admit the ornaments of English poetry.

He had least success in his lyrick attempts, in which he seems 159 to have been under some malignant influence: he is always labouring to be great, and at last is only turgid2.


In his Night Thoughts he has exhibited a very wide dis- 160 play of original poetry, variegated with deep reflections and striking allusions, 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 verse could not be changed for rhyme but with disadvantage. The wild diffusion of the sentiments and the digressive sallies of imagination would have been compressed and restrained by confinement to rhyme.

Eng. Poets, lx. 207. 'It is pious but dull.' Ann. Reg. 1765, ii. 33.

The following stanza from his Ocean is a sample (Eng. Poets, lx. 191):

'All aether burns!

Chaos returns! And blends once more the seas and skies;

No space between

Thy bosom green, O Deep! and the blue concave lies.' 'The last time I saw Dr. Young he was severely censuring the false pomp of fustian writers and the nauseousness of bombast.' J. WARTON, Essay on Pope, ii. 205.

3 The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality, Night i, is in the June list of books in Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 336, under Divinity. An extract from Night ii is given ib. Dec. 1742, p. 656. Nights i-iv are in the June list, and Night v in the Dec. list of 1743, pp. 336, 672. Night vi is in the April list and Night vii in the July list, 1744, pp. 232, 400; Night viii in the July list, 1745, p. 392, and Night ix in the Jan. list, 1746, p. 48. 'He received of Dodsley 200 guineas for the first three Nights.' Swift's Works, 1803, xviii. 320 n.

The title of my poem,' Young said, 'was not affected; for I never compose but at night, except some

times when I am on horseback.' Spence's Anec. p. 378.


Coleridge, writing of Schiller's Robbers and its imitations, continues: -'About that time, and for some years before it, three of the most popular books in the German language were the translations of Young's Night Thoughts, Hervey's Meditations and Clarissa! Biographia Literaria, ed. 1847, ii. 259.

'No English poem,' wrote Southey in 1807, 'has ever been so popular on the Continent as the Night Thoughts. It pleases all readers; for there is genius enough for the few, and folly enough for the many.' Specimens, ii. 333.

Young, I believe, is not mentioned by Voltaire, though to him was dedicated in 1730 A Sea Piece. Eng. Poets, lxii. 223.

'Danton took the Night Thoughts to prison with him.' J. G. Alger's Englishmen in the French Revolution, p. 144.

'Burns was a great reader of Young, as the Scotch indeed universally are.' T. CAMPBELL, British Poets, p. 467.

See also Dict. Nat. Biog. Ixiii. 372 for his popularity abroad.

5 Ante, MILTON, 276; THOMSON,

47% Post, AKENSIDE, 18. Gray suffered from rhyme in a different way.



The excellence of this work is not exactness, but copiousness; particular lines are not to be regarded: the power is in the whole, and in the whole there is a magnificence like that ascribed to Chinese Plantation, the magnificence of vast extent and endless diversity 2.


His last poem was the Resignation 3, in which he made, as he was accustomed, an experiment of a new mode of writing, and succeeded better than in his Ocean or his Merchant. It was very falsely represented as a proof of decaying faculties'. There is Young in every stanza, such as he often was in his highest vigour.

His Tragedies not making part of the Collection, I had forgotten, till Mr. Steevens recalled them to my thoughts by remarking, that he seemed to have one favourite catastrophe, as his three plays all concluded with lavish suicide'; a method by

'Extreme conciseness of expression,'
he wrote, 'yet pure, perspicuous and
musical, is one of the grand beauties
of lyric poetry: this I have always
aimed at, and never could attain.
The necessity of rhyming is one great
obstacle to it.' Mitford's Gray, ii.
Preface, p. 2.

""Poets are not upon oath, and
one for sense and one for rhyme is a
fair composition," said George Horne
[Bishop of Norwich].' H. D. Best's
Memorials, p. 267.

Boswell's Johnson, ii. 96, v. 269. 'The power of the poem, instead of "being in the whole," lies in short, vivid and broken gleams of genius.' CAMPBELL, British Poets, p. 466.

For Wesley's amending the poem see his Journal, 1827, iii. 341.


Johnson refers to Sir William Chambers's Dissertation on Oriental Gardening, in which,' writes Boswell, 'we are told all odd, strange, ugly and even terrible objects are introduced for the sake of variety.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 186.

Goldsmith wrote of the Night Thoughts (Works, iii. 439):-'They are spoken of differently, either with exaggerated applause or contempt, as the reader's disposition is either turned to mirth or melancholy.'

"The fault of Young in his Night Thoughts," said Gray, was redun


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