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connexion, and to the expectations of that preferment which he thought due to his poetical talents, or, at least, to the manner in which they had so frequently been exerted.
The next production of his Muse was Tbe Sea-piece, in two odes.
Young enjoys the credit of what is called an Extempore Epigram on Voltaire ; who, when he was in England, ridiculed, in the company of the jealous English poet, Milton's allegory of Sin and Death
You are so witty, profligate, and thin,
At once we think thee Milton, Death, and Sin. From the following passage in the poetical Dedication of his Sea-piece to Voltaire, it seems that his extemporaneous reproof, if it must be extemporaneous, for what few will now affirm Voltaire to have deserved any reproof, was something longer than a distich, and something more gentle than the distich juft quoted. No stranger, Sir, though born in foreign climes.
On Dorset downs, when Milton's page,
With Sin and Death provok'd thy rage, Thy rage provok’d, who footh'd with gentle rhymes ? By Dorset downs he probably meant Mr. Dodington's seat. In Pitt's Poems is An Epistle to Dr. Edward Young, at Eastbury in Dorfeifhire, on the Review at
While with your Dodington retired you fit,
Thomfon, in his Autumn, addressing Mr. Dodington, calls his seat the fear of the Muses,
Where, in the secret bower and winding walk,
The praises Thomson bestows but a few lines before on Philips, the second
Who nobly durst, in rhyme-un fettered verse,
With British freedom fing the British song, added to Thomson's example and success, might perhaps induce Young, as we shall see presently, to write his
great work without rhyme. In 1734 he published The Foreign Address, or the best Argument for Peace; occafioned by the British Fleet and the Posture of Affairs. Written in the Character of a Sailor. It is not to be found in the author's four volumes.
He now appears to have given up all hopes of overtaking Pindar, and perhaps at last resolved to turn his ainbition to some original species of poetry.
This poem concludes with a formal farewel to Ode, which few of Young's readers will regret :
My shell which Clio gave, which Kings applaud,
Adieu ! In a species of poetry altogether his own he next tried his skill, and succeeded.
Of his wife he was deprived in 1741. Lady Elizabeth had loft, after her marriage with Young, an amiable daughter, by her former husband, just after the was married to Mr. Temple, son of Lord Palmerston. Mr. Temple did not long remain after his wife, though he was married a second time to a daughter of Sir John Barnard, whose son is the present peer. Mr. and Mrs. Temple have generally been considered as Philander and Narcissa. From the great friendship which constantly subsisted between Mr. Temple and Young,
as well as from other circumstances, it is probable the poet had both him and Mrs. Temple in view for these characters; though at the same time there are some passages respecting Philander which do not appear to suit either Mr. Temple or any other person with whom Young was known to be connected or acquainted, while all the circumstances relating to Narciffa have been constantly found applicable to Young's daughterin-law.
At what short intervals the poet tells us he was wounded by the deaths of the three persons particularly lamented, none that has read the Night Thoughts (and who has not read them ?) needs to be informed.
Insatiate Archer! could not one suffice ?
And thrice, ere thrice yon moon had fillid her horn. Yet how is it possible that Mr. and Mrs. Temple and Lady Elizabeth Young could be these three victims over whom Young has hitherto been pitied for having to pour the Midnight Sorrows of his religious poetry? Mrs. Temple died in 1736; Mr. Temple four years afterwards in 1740; and the poet's wife seven months after Mr. Temple in 1741. How could the insatiate Archer thrice flay his peace, in these three persons, ere thrice the moon had filled her horn?
But in the short Preface to The Complaint he seriously tells us, “ the occasion of this poem was real,
not fictitious; and that the facts mentioned did
naturally pour these moral reflections on the “ thought of the writer.” It is probable, therefore, that in these three contradictory lines, the poet complains more than the father-in-law, the friend, or the widower.
Whatever names belong to these facts, or, if the names be those generally fupposed, whatever heightening a poet's forrow may have given the facts; to the forrow Young felt from them, religion and morality are indebted for the Night Thoughts. There is a pleafure sure in sadness which mourners only know !
Of these poems the two or three first have been perused perhaps more eagerly and more frequently than the rest. When he got as far as the fourth or fifth, his original motive for taking up the pen was answered; his grief was naturally either diminished or exhausted. We still find the fame pious poet; but we hear less of Philander and Narciffa, and less of the mourner whom we loved to pity.
Mrs. Temple died of a consumption at Lyons, in her way to Nice, the year after her marriage; that is, when poetry relates the fact, in her bridal bour. It is more than poetically true, that Young accompanied her to the continent.
I few, I snatch'd her from the rigid North,
And bore her nearer to the fun. But in vain. Her funeral was attended with the difficulties painted in such animated colours in Night the Third. After her death, the remainder of the party passed the ensuing winter at Nice.
The poet seems perhaps in these compositions to dwell with more melancholy on the deaths of Philander and Narcissa, than of his wife. But it is only for this reason. He who runs and reads may remember, that in the Night Thoughts Philander and Narcisla are often mentioned, and often lamented. To recollect lamentations over the author's wife, the memory must have been charged with distinct passages. This Lady
brought him one child, Frederick, now living, to whom the Prince of Wales was godfather.
That domestick grief is, in the first instance, to be thanked for these ornaments to our language, it is impossible to deny. Nor would it be common hardiness to contend, that worldly discontent had no hand in these joint productions of poetry and piety. Yet am I by no means sure that, at any rate, we should not have had something of the same colour from Young's pencil, notwithstanding the liveliness of his fatires. In so long a life, causes for discontent and occasions for grief must have occurred. It is not clear to me that his Mufe was not fitting upon the watch for the first which happened. Nigbt Thoughts were not uncommon to her, even when first she visited the poet, and at a time when he himself was remarkable neither for graviry nor gloominess. In his Last Day, almost his earliest poem, he calls her the melancholy Maid,
whom dismal scenes delight, Frequent at tombs and in the realıns of Night. In the prayer
which concludes the second book of the same poem, he says
-Oh! permit the gloom of solemn night To sacred thought may forcibly invite. Oh ! how divine to tread the milky way, To the bright palace of Eternal Day! When Young was writing a tragedy, Grafton is said by Spence to have sent him a human skull, with a candle in it, as a lamp; and the poet is reported to have used it.
What he calls “ The true estimate of Human Life,” which has already been mentioned, exhibits only the