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it praised by a very learned lady; and though the lines are irregular, and the thoughts diffused with too much verbosity, yet it cannot be denied to contain both philosophical argument and poetical spirit.
Of the rest I cannot think any excellent: 'The Skylark' pleases me best, which has, however, more of the epigram than of the ode.
But the four parts of his 'Pastoral Ballad' demand particular notice. I cannot but regret that it is pastoral; an intelligent reader, acquainted with the scenes of real life, sickens at the mention of the crook, the pipe, the sheep; and the kids, which it is not necessary to briog forward to potice, for the poet's art is selection, and he ought to shew the beauties without the grossness of the country life. His stanza seems to have been chosen in imitation of Rowe's Despairing Shepherd.'
In the first part are two passages, to which if any mind denies it sympathy, it has no acquaintance with love or nature.
I priz'd every hour that went by,
Beyond all'that had pleas'd me before ;
And I grieve that I priz'd them no more.
What anguish I felt in my heart !
'Twas with pain that she saw me depart.
My path I could hardly discern;
I thought that she bade me return. In the second this passage has its prettiness, though it be not equal to the former :
I have found out a gift for my fair;
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed;
Who could rob a poor bird of its young;
Such tenderness fall from her tongue. Iu the third be mentions the commod-places of amorous poetry with some address :
'Tis his with mock-passion to glow!
'Tis his in smooth tales to unfold, How her face is as bright as the snow,
And her bosom, be sure, is as cold;
How the nightingales labour the strain,
With the notes of his charmer to vie;
Repine at her triumphs, and die. In the fourth I find nothing better than this natural strain of Hope:
Alas! from the day that we met,
What hope of an end to my woes,
The glance that uudid my repose ?
The flower, and the shrub, and the tree,
In time may have comfort for me. His Levities are by their title exempted from the severities of criticism; yet it may be remarked in a few words, that his humour is sometimes gross, and seldom sprightly.
Of the moral poems, the first is “The Choice of Hercules,' from Xenophon. The numbers are smooth, the diction elegant, and the thoughts just; but something of vigour is still to be wished, which it might have had by brevity and compression. His ' Fate of Delicacy' has an air of gaiety, but not a very pointed and general moral. His blank verses, those that can read them may probably find to be like the blank verses of his neighbours, Love and Honour' is derived from the old ballad, “Did you not hear of a Spanish Lady ?-I wish it well enough to wish it were in rhyme.
"The School-Mistress,' of which I know not what claim it has to stand among the moral works, is surely the most pleasing of Shenstone's performances. The adoption of a particular style, in light and short compositions, contributes much to the increase of pleasure: we are entertained at once with two imitations, of nature in the sentiments, of the original author in the style; and between them the mind is kept in perpetual employment.
The general recommendation of Shenstone is easiness and simplicity; his general defect is want of comprehension and variety. Had his mind been better stored with knowledge, whether he could have been great, I know not; he could certainly have been agreeable.
YOUNG. The following life was written, at my request, by a gentle. man who had better information than I could easily have obtained ; and the public will perhaps wish that I had sa licited and obtained more such favours from him.
DEAR SIR, 'In consequence of our different conversations about au. thentic materials for the life of Young, I send you the fol. lowing detail.
*Of great men, something must always be said to gra. tify curiosity. Of the illustrious Author of the.“ Night Thoughts” much has been told of which there never could have been proofs; and little care appears to bave been taken to tell that, of which proofs, with little trouble, might have been procured.' EDWARD YOUNG was born at Upham, near Winchester, in June, 1681. He was the son of Edward Young, at that time fellow of Winchester College and rector of Upbam; who was the son of Jo. Young, of Woodhay, in Berkshire, styled by Wood, gentleman. In September, 1682, the Poet's father was collated to the prebend of Gillingham Minor, in the church of Sarum, by Bishop Ward. When Ward's faculties were impaired through age, his duties were necessarily performed by others. We learn from Wood, that at a visitation of Sprat's, July the 12th, 1686, the prebendary preached a Latin sermon, afterward published, with which the bishop was so pleased, that he told the chapter he was concerned to find the preacher had one of the worst prebends in their church. Some time after this, in consequence of his merit and reputation, or of the interest of Lord Bradford, to whom, in 1702, he dedicated two volumes of sermons, he was appointed chaplain to King William and Queen Mary, and preferred to the deanery of Sarum. Jacob, who wrote in 1720, says, he was chaplain and clerk of the closet to the late Queen, who honoured him by standing godmother to the Poet.' His fellowship of Winchester he resigned in favour of a gentleman of the name of Harris, who married his only daughter. The Dean died at Sarum, after a short illness, in 1705, in the sixty
* See Gent. Mag. vol. lxx. p. 225,-N.
third year of his age. On the Sunday after his decease Bishop Burnet preached at the cathedral, and began his sermon with saying, 'Death has been of late walking round us, and making breach upon breach upon us, and has now carried away the head of this body with a stroke ; so that he, whom you saw a week ago distributing the holy mysteries, is now laid in the dust. But he still lives in the many excellent directions he has left us, both how to live and how to die.'
The Dean placed his son upon the foundation at Wiachester College, where he had himself been educated. At this school Edward Young remained till the election after his eighteenth birth-day, the period at which those upon the foundation are superannuated. Whether he did not betray his abilities early in life, or his masters had not skill enough to discover in their pupil any marks of genius for which he merited reward, or no vacancy at Oxford offered them an opportunity to bestow upon him the reward provided for merit by William of Wykeham; certain it is, that to an Oxford fellowship our Poet did not succeed. By chance, or by choice, New College cannot claim the ho. nour of numbering among its fellows him who wrote the * Night Thoughts.'
On the 13th of October, 1703, he was entered an independent member of New College, that he might live at little expense in the warden's lodgings, who was a particular friend of his father's, till he should be qualified to stand for a fellowship at All Souls. In a few months the warden of New College died. He then removed to Corpus College. The president of this society, from regard also for his father, invited him thither in order to lessen his academical expenses. In 1708, he was nominated to a law-fellowship at All Souls by Archbishop Tenison, into whose hands it came by devolution. Such repeated patronage, while it jus. tifies Burnet's praise of the father, reflects credit on the conduct of the son: the manner in which it was exerted seems to prove that the father did not leave behind much wealth.
On the 23d of April, 1714, Young took his degree of bachelor of civil laws, and his doctor's degree on the 10th of June, 1719.
Soon after he went to Oxford, he discovered, it is said, an inclination for pupils. Whether he ever commenced tutor is not known. None has hitherto boasted to have re. ceived his academical instruction from the author of the 'Night Thoughts.'
It is probable that his College was proud of him no less as a scholar than as a poet; for, in 1716, when the foun. dation of the Codrington Library was laid, two years after he had taken his bachelor's degree, Young was appointed to speak the Latin oration. This is at least particular for being dedicated iu English To the Ladies of the Codring. ton Family.' To these ladies he says, that he was unavoidably flung into a singularity, by being obliged to write an epistle dedicatory void of common-place, and such a one was never published before by any author whatever ; that this practice absolved them from any obligation of reading what was presented to them; and that the bookseller approved of it, because it would make people stare, was absurd enough, and perfectly right.'
Of this oration there is no appearance in his own edition of his works; and prefixed to an editon by Curll and Tonson, 1741, is a letter from Young to Curll, if we may credit Curll, dated December the 9th, 1739, wherein he says, that he has not leisure to review what he formerly wrote, and adds; ' I have not the “Epistle to Lord Lansdowne.” If you will take my advice, I would have you omit that, and the Oration on Codrington. I think the collection will sell better without them.'
There are who relate, that when first Young found him. self independent, and his own master at All Souls, he was not the ornament to religion and morality which he after. ward became.
The authority of his father, indeed, had ceased, some time before, by his death ; and Young was certainly not ashamed to be patronised by the infamous Wharton. But Wharton befriended in Young, perhaps, the poet, and par. ticularly the tragedian. If virtuous authors must be patronised only by virtuous peers, who shall point them out ?
Yet Pope is said by Ruffhead to have told Warburton, that “Young had much of a sublime genius, though with. out common sense ; so that his genius, having no guide, was perpetually liable to degenerate into bombast. This made him pass a foolish youth, the sport of peers and