their fondness of what, by his own confession, affords pleasure, and abounds in harmony.

The next paragraph in his Essay did not occur to him when he talked of “ that great turn" in the stanza just quoted.. " But then the writer must “ take care that the difficulty is overcome. That “ is, he must make rhyme consist with as perfect “ sense and expression, as could be expected if he 66 was perfectly free from that shackle.”

other part of this Essay will convict the following stanza of, what every reader will discover in it, “ involuntary burlesque :"

The northern blast,

The shatter'd mast,
The syrt, the whirlpool, and the rock,

The breaking spout,

The stars gone out,
The boiling streight, the monster's shock.

| But would the English poets fill quite so many volumes, if all their productions were to be tried, like this, by an elaborate Essay on each particular species of poetry of which they exhibit specimens ? · If Young be not a lyric poet, he is at least a critic in that sort of poetry; and, if his lyric poetry can be proved bad, it was first proved so by his own criticism. This surely is candid.

Milbourne was styled by Pope “ the fairest of “ critics,” only because he exhibited his own version of Virgil to be compared with Dryden's which he condemned, and with which every reader had it not otherwise in his power to compare it. Young was surely not the most unfair of poets for prefix

ing to a lyric composition an Essay on Lyric Poetry, so just and impartial as to condemn him


We shall soon come to a work, before which we find indeed no critical essay, but which disdains to shrink from the touchstone of the severest critic; and which certainly, as I remember to have heard you say, if it contain some of the worst, it contains · also some of the best things in the language.

Soon after the appearance of “ Ocean, when he was almost fifty, Young entered into Orders. In April 1728, not long after he had put on the gown, he was appointed chaplain to George the Second.

The tragedy of “ The Brothers,” which was already in rehearsal, he immediately withdrew from the stage. The managers resigned it with some reluctance to the delicacy of the new clergyman. The Epilogue to “ The Brothers,” the only appendages to any of his three plays which he added himself, is, I believe, the only one of the kind. He calls it an historical Epilogue. Finding that “ Guilt's dreadful close his narrow scene denied,” he in a manner, continues the tragedy in the Epilogue, and relates how Rome revenged the shade of Demetrius, and punished Perseus “ for this “ night's deed.”

Of Young's taking Orders something is told by the biographer of Pope, which places the easiness and simplicity of the poet in a singular light. When he determined on the Church, he did not address himself to Sherlock, to Atterbury, or to Hare, for the best instructions in Theology ; but to Pope, who, in a youthful frolic, advised the diligent pe

rusal of Thomas Aquinas. With this treasure Young retired from interruption to an obscure place in the suburbs. His poetical guide to godliness hearing nothing of him during half a year, and apprehending he might have carried the jest too far, sought after him, and found him just in time to prevent what Ruffhead calls “ an irretrievable “ derangement."

That attachment to his favourite study, which made him think a poet the surest guide to his new profession, left him little doubt whether poetry was the surest path to its honours and preferments. Not long indeed after he took orders, he published in prose, 1728, “A true Estimate of Human Life," dedicated, notwithstanding the Latin quotations with which it abounds, to the Queen ; and a sermon preached before the House of Commons, 1729, on the martyrdom of King Charles, intituled, “An “ Apology for Princes, or the Reverence due to “ Government,” But the “ Second Course,” the counterpart of his “ Estimate,” without which it cannot be called “A true Estimate," though in 1728, it was announced as “soon to be published,” never appeared ; and his old friends the Muses were not forgotten. In 1730 he relapsed to poetry, and sent into the world “ Imperium Pelagi : a Naval “ Lyric, written in imitation of Pindar's Spirit, “ occasioned by his Majesty's return from Hanover, “ September 1729, and the succeeding Peace.” It is inscribed to the Duke of Chandos. In the Preface we are told, that the Ode is the most spirited kind of Poetry, and that the Pindaric is the most spirited kind of Ode. “ This I speak,” he adds, “ with sufficient candour, at my own very great “ peril. But truth has an eternal title to our con“ fession, though we are sure to suffer by it.'i. Behold, again, the fairest of poets. Young's '« Impe“ rium Pelagi” was ridiculed in Fielding's “Tom “ Thumb;" but let us not forget that it was one of his pieces which the author of the “Night “ Thoughts” deliberately refused to own.

Not long after this Pindaric attempt he published two Epistles to Pope, “ concerning the “ Authors of the Age,” 1730. Of these poems one occasion seems to have been an apprehension lest, from the liveliness of his satires, he should not be deemed sufficiently serious for promotion in the Church. .

In July 1730, he was presented by his College to the rectory of Welwyn in Hertfordshire. In May 1731, he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, daughter of the Earl of Litchfield, and widow of Colonel Lee. His connexion with this lady arose from his father's acquaintance, already mentioned, with Lady Anne Wharton, who was co-heiress of Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley in Oxfordshire.' Poetry had lately been taught by Addison to aspire to the arms of nobility, though not with extraordinary happiness.

We may naturally conclude that Young now gave himself up in some measure to the comforts of his new 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 “ The Sea6 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 this 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 just 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 sooth’d with gentle rhymes ?

By “ Dorset downs” he probably meant Mr. Dodington's seat. In Pitt's Poems is “ An Epistle s to Dr. Edward Young, at Eastbury, in Dorset- i "shire, on the Review at Sarum, 1722."

While with your Dodington retir'd you sit,
Charm'd with his flowing Burgundy and Wit, &c.

Thomson, in his Autumn, addressing Mr. Dodington, calls his seat the seat of the Muses,

Where, in the secret bower and winding walk,
For virtuous Young and thee they twine the bay.'

« 前へ次へ »