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not to earth but when obliged by necessity. The prose of ordinary occurrences is beneath the dignity of poetry.
He who is connected with the Author of the Night Thoughts only by veneration for the Poet and the Christian may be allowed to observe, that Young is one of those, concerning whom, as you reinark in your account of Addison, it is proper rather to say “ nothing that is « false than all that is true.”
But the son of Young would almost sooner, I know, pass for a Lorenzo, than see himself vindicated, at the expence of his father's memory, from follies which, if it was blameable in a boy to have committed them, it is surely praise-worthy in a man to lament, and certainly not only unnecessary but cruel in a biographer to record.
Of the Night Thoughts, notwithstanding their author's professed retirement, all are inscribed to great or to growing names. He had not yet weaned himself from Earls and Dukes, from Speakers of the House of Commons, Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and Chancellors of the Exchequer. In Night Eight the politician plainly betrays himself—
Think no post needful that demands a knave,
So P- thought: think better if you can.
And leave the racers of the world their own.
The Fourth Night was addressed by “a much-ida, " debted Muse” to the Honourable Mr. Yorke, now Lord Hardwicke; who meant to have laid the Muse under still greater obligations, by the living of Shenfield in Effex, if it had become vacant,
The first Night concludes with this passage-
To the author of these lines was dedicated, in 1756, the first volume of an Elay on the Writings and Genius of Pope, which attempted, whether justly or not, to pluck from Pope his Wing of Fire, and to reduce him to a rank at least one degree lower than the first class of English poets. If Young accepted and approved the ; dedication, he countenanced this attack upon the fame
; of him whom he invokes as his Muse.
Part of “paper-íparing” Pope's Third Book of the Odiler, deposited in the Museum, is written' upon the back of a Letter signed E. Žoling, which is clearly the hand-writing of our Young. The Letter, dated only May the 2d, seems obscure; but there can be little doubt that the friendship he requests was a literary onc, and that he had the highest literary opinion of Pope. The request was a prologue, I am told.
66 Dear Sir,
May the 2d. Having been often from home, I know not if you “ have done me the favour of calling on me. But, “ be that as it will, I much want that instance of
your * friendship I nientioned in my last; a friendship “I am very sensible I can receive from no one but “ yourself. I should not urge this thing fo much but “ for very particular reasons ; nor can you be at a loss " to conceive how a trifle of this nature may be of se" rious moment to me; and while I am in hopes of the
great advantage of your advice about it, I shall not be « so absurd as to make any further step without it. I * know you are much engaged, and only hope to hear k of you at your entire leisure.
“I am, Sir, your most faithful
" and obedient servant,
« E. YOUN G." Nay, even after Pope's death, he says, in Night Seven:
Pope, who could'st make immortals, art thou dead ? Either the Essay, then, was dedicated to a patron who disapproved his doctrine, which I have been told by the author was not the case; or Young, in his old age, bartered for a dedication an opinion entertained of his friend through all that part of life when he must have been best able to form opinions.
From this account of Young, two or three short passages, which stand almost together in Night Four, should not be excluded. They afford a picture, by his own hand, from the study of which my readers may choose to form their own opinion of the features of his mind, and the complexion of his life.
Ah me! the dire effect
I've been so long remember'd, I'm forgot.
When in his courtiers' ears I pour my plaint,
Twice-told the period spent on stubborn Troy,
If this song lives, Posterity shall know
Deduct from the writer's age twice told the period spent on stubborn Troy, and you will still leave him more than 40 when he sate down to the miserable siege of court favour. He has before told us
“ A fool at 40 is a fool indeed." After all, the fiege seems to have been raised only in consequence of what the General thought his death-bed.
By these extraordinary Poems, written after he was fixty, of which I have been led to say so much, I hope, by the wish of doing justice to the living and the dead, it was the desire of Young to be principally known. I le entitled the four volumes which he published himfelf, The Forks of the Author of the Night Thoughts.
While it is remembered that from these he excluded many of his writings, let it not be forgotten that the rejected pieces contained nothing prejudicial to the cause of virtue, or of religion. Were every thing that Young ever wrote to be published, he would only appear perhaps in a less respectable light as a poet, and more despicable as a dedicator : he would not pass for a worse christian, or for a worse man.—This enviable praise is due to Young. Can it he claimed by every writer? His dedications, after all, he had perhaps no right to suppress. They all, I believe, speak, not a little to the credit of his gratitude, of favours received ; and I know not whether the author, who has once solemnly printed an acknowledgement of a favour, should not always print it.
Is it to the credit or to the discredit of Young, as a poet, that of his Night Thoughts the French are particularly fond?
Of the Epitaph on Lord Aubrey Beauclerk, dated 1740, all I know is, that I find it in the late body of English Poetry, and that I am sorry to find it there.
Notwithstanding the farewell which he seemed to have taken in the Night Thoughts of every thing which bore the least resemblance to ambition, he dipped again in politics. In 1745 he wrote. Refte Etions on the publick Situation of the Kingdom, addressed to the Duke of News castle-indignant, as it appears, to behold,
- a pope-bred Princeling crawl afhore, And whistle cut-throats, with those fwords that scrap'd Their barren rocks for wretched fuftenance,
To cut his paffage to the British throne. This political poem might be called a Night Thought. Indeed it was originally printed as the conclufion of