« 前へ次へ »
since the grateful poet tells us, in the next couplet,
Her favour is diffus'd to that degree,
Her Majesty had stood godmother, and given her name, to the daughter of the Lady whom Young. married in 1731; and had perhaps shewn some attention to Lady Elizabeth's future husband.
The fifth Satire "On Women," was not published till 1727; and the sixth not till 1728.
To these poems, when, in 1728, he gathered them into one publication, he prefixed a preface; in which he observes, that "no man can converse "much in the world, but at what he meets with he "must either be insensible or grieve, or be angry or "smile. Now to smile at it, and turn it into ridi"cule," he adds, '' I think most eligible, as it hurts "ourselves least, and gives vice and folly the great"est offence. Laughing at the misconduct of the "world, will, in a great measure, ease us of any
more disagreeable passion about it. One passion .*' is more effectually driven out by another than by "reason, whatever some teach." So wrote, and so of course thought, the lively and witty Satirist at the grave age of almost fifty, who, many years earlier in life, wrote " The Last Day." After all, Swift pronounced of these Satires, that tihey should either have been more angry or more merry.
Is it not somewhat singular that Young preserved without any palliation, this Preface, so bluntly decisive in favour of laughing at the world, in the same collection of his works which contain the mournful, angry, gloomy, "Night Thoughts?"
At the conclusion of the Preface he applies Plato's beautiful fable of "The Birth of Love" to modern poetry, with the addition, "that Poetry, like Love, "is a little subject to blindness, which makes her "mistake her way to preferments and honours; and "that she retains a dutiful admiration of her father's "family; but divides her favours, and generally "lives with her mother's relations." Poetry, it is true, did not lead Young to preferments or to honours; but was there not something like blindness in the flattery which he sometimes forced her, and her sister Prose, to utter? She was always, indeed, taught by him to entertain a most dutiful admiration of riches; but surely Young, though nearly related to Poetry, had no connexion with her whom Plato makes the mother of love. That he could not well complain of being related to Poverty appears clearly from the frequent bounties which his gratitude records, and from the wealth which he left behind him. By ** The Universal Passion" he acquired no vulgar fortune, more than three thousand pounds. A considerable sum had already been swallowed up in the South Sea. For this loss he took the vengeance of an author. His Muse makes poetical use more than once of a South Sea Dream.
It is related by Mr. Spence, in his Manuscript Anecdotes, on the authority of Mr. Rawlinson that Young, upon the publication of his '* Universal "Passion," received from the Duke of Grafton two thousand pounds; and that, when one of his friends exclaimed, "Two thousand pounds for a poem!" be said it was the best bargain he ever made in bis life, for the poem was worth four thousand.
This story may be true; but it seems to have been raised from the two answers of Lord Burghley and Sir Philip Sidney in Spenser's Life.
After inscribing his Satires, not perhaps without the hopes of preferment and honours, to such names as the Duke of Dorset, Mr. Dodington, Mr. Spencer Compton, Lady Elizabeth Germaine, and Sir Robert W.alpole, he returns to plain panegyric. In 1726 he addressed a poem to Sir Robert Walpole, of which the title sufficiently explains the intention. If Young must be acknowledged a ready celebrator, he did not endeavour, or did not choose, to be a lasting one. The <f Instalment" is among the pieces he did not admit into the number of his excusable writings. Yet it contains a couplet which pretends to pant after' the power of bestowing immortality:
. . Oh! how I long, enkindled by the theme, In deep eternity to launch thy name!
The bounty of the former reign seems to have been continued, possibly increased, in this. Whatever it might have been, the poet thought he deserved it; for he was not ashamed to acknowledge what, without his acknowledgment, would now perhaps never have been known:
My breast, O Walpole, glows with grateful fire.
VOL. XI. x . v If the purity of modern patriotism will term Young a pensioner, it must at least be confessed he was a grateful one.
The reign of the new monarch was ushered in by Young., with " Ocean, an Ode." The hint of it was taken from the royal speech, which recommended the increase and the encouragement of the seamen; that they might be " invited, rather than "compelled by force and violence, to enter into "the service of their country a plan which humanity must lament that policy has not even yet been able, or willing, to carry into execution. Prefixed to the original publication were an "Ode to "the King, Pater Patriae," and an "Essay on "Lyric poetry." It is but justice to confess, that he preserved neither of them; and that the ode itself, which in the first edition, and in the last,' consists of seventy-three stanzas, in the author's own edition is reduced to forty-nine. Among the omitted passages is a " Wish," that concluded the poem, which few would have suspected Young of forming; and of which few, after having formed it, would confess something like their shame by suppression.
It stood originally so high in the author's opinion, that he entitled the poem, "Ocean, an Ode. "Concluding with a Wish." This wish consists of thirteen stanzas. The first runs thus: O may I steal Along the vale Of humble life, secure from foes! My friend sincere, My judgment clear, And gentle business my repose!
The three last stanzas are not more remarkable for just rhymes: but altogether they will make rather a curious page in the life of Young:
And golden dreams,
Have what I have,
And live, not leave,
My hours my own 1
My faults unknown!
Then leave one beam
Of honest fame!
Unhurt my urn
Till that great Turn
Time cease to glide,
With human pride,
It is whimsical that he, who was soon to bid adieu to rhyme, should fix upon a measure in which rhyme abounds even to satiety. Of this he said, in his " Essay on Lyric Poetry," prefixed to the poem—" For the more harmony likewise I chose the "frequent return of rhyme, which laid me under "great difficulties. But difficulties overcome, « give grace and pleasure. Nor can I account for "the pleasure of rhyme in general (of which the "moderns are too fond) but from this truth." Yet the moderns surely deserve not much censure for