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That friend, the fpirit of my theme
Will leave to me the dreg, in thoughts
-letting down the golden chain from high, He drew his audience upward to the sky.
By the fame Lady I am enabled to fay, in her own words, that Young's unbounded genius appeared to greater advantage in the companion, than even in the author that the chriftian was in him a character ftill more infpired, more enraptured, more fublime than the poet-and that, in his ordinary converfation,
When heaven would kindly fet us free,
And earth's enchantment end;
It takes the most effectual means,
Notwithstanding Young had faid, in his Conjectures on original Compofition, that "blank yerfe is verfe unfallen, uncurft; verfe reclaimed, re-inthroned in the true language of the Gods"-notwithstanding he administered confolation to his own grief in this immortal language-Mrs, Bofcawen was comforted in rhyme.
While the poet and the christian were applying this comfort, Young had himself occafion for comfort, in confequence of the fudden death of Richardfon, who was printing the former part of the poem. Of Richardfon's death he fays
To Refignation was prefixed an Apology for its appearance to which more credit is due than to the generality of fuch apologies, from Young's unusual anxiety that no more productions of his old age fhould difgrace his former fame. In his will, dated February
1760, he defires of his executors, in a particular manner, that all his manufcript books and writings whatever might be burned, except his book of accounts.
In September 1764 he added a kind of codicil, wherein he made it his dying intreaty to his housekeeper, to whom he left 1000l. " that all his manufcripts might be destroyed as foon as he was dead, "which would greatly oblige her deceased friend.”
It may teach mankind the uncertainty of worldly friendships, to know that Young, either by furviving thofe he loved, or by outliving their affections, could only recollect the names of two friends, his houfekeeper and a hatter, to mention in his will; and it may serve to reprefs that teftamentary pride, which too often feeks for founding names and titles, to be informed that the author of the Night Thoughts did not blush to leave a legacy to his “friend Henry Stevens, "a hatter at the Temple-gate." Of these two remaining friends, one went before Young. But, at eghty-four" where," as he afks in The Centaur, "is "that world into which we were born?"
The fame humility which marked a hatter and a houfekeeper for the friends of the author of the Night Thoughts, had before beftowed the fame title on his footman, in an epitaph in his Church-yard upon James Barker, dated 1749; which I am glad to find in the late collection of his works.
Young and his houfekeeper were ridiculed, with more ill-nature than wit, in a kind of novel published by Kidgell in 1755, called The Card, under the names of Dr. Elwes and Mrs. Fufby.
In April 1765, at an age to which few attain, a period was put to the life of Young.
He had performed no duty for the laft three or four years of his life, but he retained his intellects to the last.
Much is told in the Biographia, which I know not to have been true, of the manner of his burial-of the mafter and children of a charity-fchool, which he founded in his parish, who neglected to attend their benefactor's corpfe; and of a bell which was not caused to toll fo often as upon thofe occafions bells ufually toll. Had that humanity, which is here lavished upon things of little confequence either to the living or to the dead, been fhewn in its proper place to the living, I fhould have had lefs to fay about Lorenzo. They who lament that these misfortunes happened to Young, forget the praise he beftows upon Socrates, in the Preface to Night Seven, for resenting his friend's request about his funeral.
During fome part of his life Young was abroad, but I have not been able to learn any particulars.
In his feventh Satire he fays,
When, after battle, I the field have seen
Spread o'er with ghaftly shapes which once were men.
And it is known that from this or from fome other field he once wandered into the enemy's camp, with a claffic in his hand, which he was reading intently; and had fome difficulty to prove that he was only an absent poet, and not a spy.
The curious reader of Young's life will naturally inquire to what it was owing, that, though he lived almoft forty years after he took Orders, which included one whole reign uncommonly long, and part of another, he was never thought worthy of the leaft preferThe author of the Night Thoughts ended his days upon a Living which came to him from his Col
lege without any favour, and to which he probably had an eye when he determined on the Church. To fatisfy curiofity of this kind is, at this diftance of time, far from eafy. The parties themselves know not often,' at the inftant, why they are neglected, nor why they are preferred. The neglect of Young is by fome ascribed to his having attached himself to the Prince of Wales, and to his having preached an offenfive fermon at St. James's. It has been told me, that he had two hundred a year in the late reign, by the patronage of Walpole; and that, whenever the King was reminded of Young, the only answer was, he has a penfion. Alf the light thrown on this inquiry, by the following Letter from Secker, only ferves to fhew at what a late period of life the author of the Night Thoughts folicited preferment.
"Good Dr. Young,
"I have long wondered, that more fuitable notice "of your great merit hath not been taken by perfons "in power. But how to remedy the omiffion I fee "not. No encouragement hath ever been given me
to mention things of this nature to his Majefty. "And therefore, in all likelihood, the only confequence of doing it would be weakening the little "influence, which elfe I may poffibly have on fɔme "other occafions. Your fortune and your reputa"tion fet you above the need of advancement; and your fentiments, above that concern for it, on your own account, which, on that of the Public, is "fincerely felt by
"Deanry of St. Paul's, July 8, 1758.
"Your loving Brother,
At last, at the age of fourfcore, he was appointed, in 1761, Clerk of the Closet to the Princess Dowager.
One obftacle must have stood not a little in the way of that preferment after which his whole life panted. Though he took Orders, he never intirely fhook off Politics. He was always the Lion of his master Milton, pawing to get free his hinder parts. By this conduct, if he gained fome friends, he made many ene
Again, Young was a poet; and again, with reverence be it fpoken, poets by profeffion do not always make the best clergymen. If the author of the Night Thoughts compofed many fermons, he did not oblige the publick with many.
Besides, in the latter part of life, Young was fond of holding himself out for a man retired from the world. But he seemed to have forgotten that the fame verfe which contains oblitus meorum, contains also oblivifcendus & illis. The brittle chain of worldly friendship and patronage is broken as effectually, when one goes beyond the length of it, as when the other does. To the veffel which is failing from the fhore, it only appears that the fhore also recedes; in life it is truly thus. He who retires from the world, will find himself, in reality, deferted as fast, if not faster, by the world. The publick is not to be treated as the coxcomb treats his miftrefs-to be threatened with defertion, in order to increase fondness.
Young feems to have been taken at his word. Notwithstanding his frequent complaints of being neglected, no hand was reached out to pull him from that retirement of which he declared himfelf enamoured. Alexander affigned no palace for the refi