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and his reflections often just. His species of satire is between those of Horace and Juvenal; and 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 suriace of life; he never penetrates the recesses of the mind, and therefore the whole power of his poetry is exhausted by a single perusal; bis conceits please only when they surprise.
To translate be never condescended, unless his 'Para, phrase on Job' may be considered as a version: in which he has not, I think, been unsuccessful; be indeed favoured himself, by choosing those parts which most easily admit the ornaments of English poetry.
He had least success in his lyric attempts, in wbich he seems to have been under somé 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 allusions, a wilderness of thought, in avhich the fertility of fancy scatters flowers of every hue und of every odour. This is one of the few poems in which blank verse could not be changed for rhyme but with disadvan. tage. The wild diffusion of the sentiments, and the digres. sive sallies of imagioation, would lrave been compressed and restrained by confinement to rhyme. The excellence of this work is not exactness, but copiousness; particolar linės 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 maguificence of vast extent and endless diversity.
His last poem was ‘Resignation ;' in which he made, as he was accustomed, an experiment of a new mode of writ. ing, and succeeded betler than in his ‘Ocean' or his · Mer. cbant.' It was very falsely represented as a proof of de cayed faculties. There is Yoong in every stanza, such as be often was in the highest vigour.
His tragedies, not making part of the Collection, I had forgotten, till Mr. Stevens 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 which, as Dryden reinarked, a poet easily rids his scene of persons whom he wants not to keep alive. In • Busiris there are the greatest ebullitions of imagination: but the pride of Busiris is such as no other man can have, and the whole is too remote from known life to raise either grief, terror, or indignation. The 'Revenge' approaches much nearer to human practices and manners, and therefore keeps possession of the stage: the first design seems suggested by ‘Othello;' but the reflections, the incidents, and the diction, are original. The moral observations are so introduced, and so expressed, as to bave all the novelty that can be required. Of The Brothers' I may be allowed to say nothing, since nothing was ever said of it by the public.
It must be allowed of Young's poetry that it abounds in thought, but without much accuracy or selection. When he lays hold of an illustration, he pursues it beyond expectation, sometimes happily, as in his parallel of Quicksilver, with Pleasure, which I have heard repeated with approbation by a lady, of whose praise he would bave been justly proud, and which is very ingenious, very subtle, and almost exact; but sometimes he is less lucky, as when, in his' Night Thoughts,'it having dropped into his mind, that the orbs, floating in space, might be called the cluster of creation, he thinks on a cluster of grapes, and
says, that they all hang on the great vine, drinking the nectareous juice of immortal life.'
His conceits are sometimes yet less valuable. In The Last Day' he hopes to illustrate the re-assembly of the atoms that compose the human body at the ‘Trump of Doom' by the collection of bees into a swarm at the tink. ling of a pan.
The prophet says of Tyre, that her merchants are princes.' Young says of Tyre in his ' Merchant,'
Her merchants princes, and each deck a throne. Let burlesque try to go beyond him.
He bas the trick of joining the turgid and familiar: to buy the alliance of Britain, 'Climes were paid down.' Antithesis is his favourite. They for kindness hate:' and because she's right she's ever in the wrong.'
His versification is his own; neither his blank nor his rhyming lines have any resemblance to those of former writers; he picks up no hemistichs, he copies no favourite
expressions; he seems to have laid up no stores of thought or diction, but to owe all to the fortuitous suggestions of the present moment. Yet I have reason to believe that, when once he had formed a new design, he then laboured it with very patient industry; and that he composed with great Jabour and frequent revisions.
His verses are formed by no certain model; he is no more like himself in his different productions than he is like others. He seems never to have studied prosody, por to have had any direction but from his own ear. But with all his defects, he was a man of genius and a poet.
Or DAVID MALLET, having no written memorial, I am able to give no other account than such as is supplied by the unauthorised loquacity of common fame, and a very slight personal kuowledge.
He was by his original one of the Macgregors, a clan, that became, about sixty years ago, under the conduct of Robin Roy, so formidable and so infamous for violence and robbery, that the name was appulled by a legal abo, lition; and when they were all to denominate themselves anew, the father, I suppose, of this author, called himself Malloch.
David Malloch was, by the penury of his parents, compelled to be janitor of the high school at Edinburgh; a mean office, of which he did not afterward delight to hear. But he surmounted the disadvantages of his birth and for tune; for when the Duke of Montrose applied to the College of Edinburgh for a tutor to educate his sons, Mallock was recommended; and I never heard that he dishonoured his credentials.
When his pupils were sent to see the world, they were entrusted to his care; and, having conducted them round the common circle of modish travels, he returned with them to London, where, by the influence of the family in which he resided, he naturally gained admission to many persons of the highest rank and the highest character, to wits, nobles, and statesmen.
Of his works, I know not whether I can trace the series, His first production was • William and Margaret ;'* of which, though it contains nothing very striking or difficult, he has been envied the reputation : and plagiarism has been boldly charged, but never proved.
Not long afterward be published “The Excursion;' (1728) a desultory and capricious view of such scenes of nature as his fancy led him, or his knowledge enabled him to describe. It is not devoid of poetical spirit. Many of his images are striking, and many of the paragraphs are ele. gant. Thecast of diction seems to be copied from Thomson, whose Seasons were then in their full blossom of reputation. He has Thomson's beauties and his faults.
His poem on Verbal Criticism' (1733) was written to pay court to Pope, on a subject which be either did not understand, or willingly misrepresented; and is little more than an improvement, or rather expansion, of a fragment which Pope printed in a Miscellany long before he engrafted it into a regular poem. There is in this piece more pertness than wit, and more confidence than knowledge. The versification is tolerable, nor can criticism allow it a higher praise.
His first tragedy was ' Eurydice,' acted at Drury-lane, in 1731 ; of which I know not the reception nor the merit, but have heard it mentioned as a mean performance. He was not then too high to accept a prologue and epilogue from Aaron Hill, neither of which can be much commended.
Having cleared his tongue from his native pronunciation so as to be uo longer distinguished as a Scot, be seems in. clined to disencumber himself from all adherences of his original, and took upon him to change his name from Scotch Malloch to English Mallet, without any imaginable reason of preference which the eye or ear can discover. What other proofs he gave of disrespect to his native country, know not; but it was remarked of him, that he was the only Scot whom Scotchmen did not commend.
About this time Pope, whom he visited familiarly, publisbed his . Essay on Man,' but concealed the author; and when Mallet entered one day, Pope asked him slightly what
* Mallet's "William and Margaret' was printed in Aaron Hill's • Plain Dealer,' No. 36, July 24, 1724. In its original state it was very different from what it is in the last edition of his works,
there was new. Mallet told him, that the newest piece was something called an “Essay on Man,' which he had inspected idly, and seeing the utter inability of the author, who had peither skill in writing nor knowledge of the subject, had tossed it away. Pope, to punish his self-conceit, told him the secret.
A new edition of the works of Bacon being prepared (1750) for the press, Mallet was employed to prefix a life, which he has written with elegance, perhaps with some affectation; but with so much more knowledge of history than of science, that when he afterward undertook the life of Marlborough, Warburton remarked, that he might per: haps forget that Marlborough was a general, as he had for. gotten that Bacon was a philosopher.
When the Prince of Wales was driven from the palace, and, setting himself at the head of the opposition, kept a separate court, he endeavoured to increase his popularity by the patronage of literature, and made Mallet his under secretary, with a salary of two hundred pounds a year; Thomson likewise had a pension; and they were associated in the composition of The Mask of Alfred,' which in its original state was played at Cliefden in 1740; it was after. ward almost wholly changed by Mallet, and brought upon the stage at Drury-Lane, in 1751, but with po great spc. cess.
Mallet, in a familiar conversation with Garrick, discoursing of the diligence which he was then exerting upon the Life of Marlborough let him know, that, in the series of great men quickly to be exhibited, he should find a niche for the hero of the theatre. Garrick professed to wonder by what artifice he could be introduced; but Mallet let him know, that, by a dexterous anticipation, he should fix him in a conspicuous place. Mr. Mallet,' says Garrick, in his gratitude of exultation, ‘have you left off to write for the stage?' Mallet then confessed that he had a drama in his hands. Garrick promised to act it; and • Alfred' was produced.
The long retardation of the Life of the Duke of Mart borough, shews, with strong conviction, how little confidence can be placed in posthumous renown. When he died, it was soon determined that his story should be delivered to posterity; and the papers supposed to contain the