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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. 149 '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. 150 ‘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
Filius superstes. 151 '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 ? 152 'Such, my good friend, is the account I have been able to
collect of Young. That it may be long before any thing like
• Dear Sir,
*HERBERT CROFT, Jun. * 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 manner': 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
obscurity of sacred horror, that oppresses distinction and disdains
expression! 156 His story of Jane Grey' was never popular. It is written
with elegance enough, but Jane is too heroick to be pitied. 157 The Universal Passion 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 4: 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. His characters are often selected with discernment and drawn with nicetyo; 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 8. 158 To translate he never condescended”, unless his Paraphrase
Ante, COWLEY, 146; MILTON, 248 ; JOHN PHILIPS, 7.
• The Force of Religion, or Van-
Love of Fame, The Universal
Dr. Warton writes in his Dedica-
Johnson repeated two passages
Young, in the Preface to his
Univ.zrsal Passion, writes:-'Horace appears in good humour while he
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,
8 Swift, in 1732, says of his brother. satirists :—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.
on yob? 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 turgid?.
In his Night Thoughts 3 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 5. 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 times when I am on horseback.' but dulì. Ann. Reg. 1765, ii. 33. Spence's Anec. p. 378.
* The following stanza from his Coleridge, writing of Schiller's Ocean is a sample (Eng. Poets, lx. Robbers and its imitations, continues: 191):
- About that time, and for some All aether burns !
years before it, three of the most Chaos returns!
popular books in the German lanAnd blends once more the seas and guage were the translations of Young's
Night Thoughts, Hervey's Medita-
tions and Clarissa.' Biographia
Literaria, ed. 1847, ii. 259.
“The last time I saw Dr. Young in 1807, ‘has ever been so popular he was severely censuring the false the Continent as the Night pomp of fustian writers and the
Thoughts. It pleases all readers ; nauseousness of bombast.' J. WAR- for there is genius enough for the TON, Essay on Pope, ii. 205.
few, and folly enough for the many." 3
The Complaint, Night Specimens, ii. 333. Thoughts on Life, Death, and Im- Young, I believe, is not mentioned mortality, Night i, is in the June list by Voltaire, though to him was dediof books in Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 336, cated in 1730 À Sea Piece. Eng. under Divinity. An extract from Poets, lxii. 223. Night ii is given ib. Dec. 1742, p.
Danton took the Night Thoughts 656. Nights i-iv are in the June to prison with him. J. G. Alger's list, and Night v in the Dec. list of Englishmen in the French Revolu1743, pp. 336, 672. Night vi is in the
tion, p. 144. April list and Night vii in the July
• Burns was
a great reader of list, 1744, pp. 232, 400; Night viii in Young, as the Scotch indeed unithe July list, 1745, p. 392, and Night ix versally are.' T. CAMPBELL, British in the Jan. list, 1746, p. 48. He Poets, p. 467. received of Dodsley 200 guineas See also Dict. Nat. Biog. Ixiii. 372 for the first three Nights.' Swift's for his popularity abroad. Works, 1803, xviii. 320 n.
Ante, MILTON, 276; THOMSON, * The title of my poem, Young 47: Post, AKENSIDE, 18. Gray sufsaid, was not affected; for I never compose but at night, except some- fered 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 161 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 Oceans or his Merchantó.
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. 162 His Tragedies not making part of the Collection, I had for
gotten, till Mr. Steevens 8 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, dancy of thought.". Mitford's Gray,
production, the Night Thoughts.'
ments' and want of cheerfulness see : Boswell's Johnson, ii. 96, v. 269. Boswell's Johnson, iii. 251, iv. 1 20. The power of the poem, instead of
* It begins :"being in the whole," lies in short, "The days how few, how short the vivid and broken gleams of genius.' years CAMPBELL, British Poets, p. 466. of man's too rapid race !
For Wesley's amending the poem Each leaving, as it swiftly flies, see his Journal, 1827, iii. 341.
A shorter in its place.' * Johnson refers to Sir William
Works, ii, 217. Chambers's Dissertation on Oriental Eng. Poets, lx, 187. Gardening, 'in which,' writes Bos- Post, YOUNG, 165. well, we are told all odd, strange, ? 'That taper which blazed as it ugly and even terrible objects are declined was at last shamefully exintroduced for the sake of variety.' hibited to the public as burning in Boswell's Johnson, v. 186.
the socket in Resignation. Ann. Goldsmith
wrote of the Night Reg. 1765, ii. 35. Thoughts (Works, iii. 439):- They George Steevens, who repubare spoken of differently, either with lished Johnson's Shakespeare.' Bos
. exaggerated applause or contempt, well's Johnson, ii. 204: as the reader's disposition is either Young is said to have been the turned to mirth or melancholy.'. great poet and ode-maker,' humo
6“The fault of Young in his Night rously described by Pope, who had Thoughts,” said Gray," was redun- never heard of the blade-bone in a