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as a proof of decaying faculties. There is Young in every stanza, such as he often was in his highest vigour.
His tragedies not making part of the Collection, I had forgotten, till Mr. Steevens 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 remarked, 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 poffeffion 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 have 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 Publick.
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! have heard repeated with approbation by a Laris, vt whose praise he would have been justly prouci, H. which is very ingenious, very subtle, and inca exact ; but sometimes he is less lucky, as when, his Night Thoughts, having it dropped into his mind that the orbs, floating in space, might be cali di cluster of Creation, he thinks on a cluster of cins
and says, that they all hang on the great Vine, drink, ing 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 fwarm at the tinkling 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 has the trick of joining the turgid and familiar; to buy the alliance of Britain, Clinies were paid down, Antithesis is his favourite. Tiey for kindness hate; and because she's righi, She's ever in the wrong.
His versification is his own, neither his blank nor his fhyming 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 fuggctions 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 labour, and frequent revisions.
His verses are formed by no certain model ; for he is no more like himself in his different productions than he is like others. He seems never to have ftudied prosody, nor to have had any direction but from his own ear. But, with all his defects, he was a man of genius and a poet,
M A L L E T.
F DAVID MALLET, having no written me
morial, I am able to give no other account than such as is supplied by the unauthorised loquacity of common fame, and a very flight personal knowledge.
He was by his original one of the Macgregors, a clan, that became, about fixty years ago, under the conduct of Robin Roy, so formidable and fo infamous for violence and robbery, that the name was annulled by a legal abolition ; 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 afterwards delight to hear. But he surmounted the disadvantages of his birth and fortune; for when the Duke of Montrofe applied to the College of Edinburgh for a tutor to educate his fons, Malloch 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 modifh 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 states
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 afterwards he 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 the images are striking, and many of the paragraphs are elegant. The cast of dicțion seems to be copied from Thomson, whose Seasons were then in theit 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 he 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
* 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. Orig. Edit.
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 no longer distinguished as a Scot, he seems inclined to difencumber himself from all ad. herences 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, I know not; but it was remarked of hin, that he was the only Scot whom Scotchmen did not commend.
About this time Pope, whom he visited familiarly, published his Elay on Man, but concealed the author; and when Mallet entered one day, Pope asked him Aightly what there was new. Mallet told him, that the newest pięce was something called an Esay on Man, which he had inspected idly, and seeing the utter inability of the author, who had neither skill in writing nor knowledge of his 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 (1740) 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 afterwards undertook the Life of Marlborough, Warburton remark. ed, that he might perhaps forget that Marlborough