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by a Latin Visitation Sermon, preached in 1686, and by two volumes of Sermons, printed in 1702, and which he dedicated to Lord Bradford, through whose interest he probably received some of his promotions. The Dean died at Saruni in 1705, aged 63; after a very short illness, as appears by the exordium of Bi. shop Burnet's sermon at the Cathredal on the following Sunday. “ Death (said he) has been of late walking round us, and making breach upon
upon us, and has now carried away the head of this “ body with a stroke ; so that he, whom you saw a 6 week ago distributing the holy mysteries, is now “ laid in the dust. But he still lives in the many ex“ cellent directions he has left us, both how to live < and how to die."
Our author, who was an only son, was born at his father's rectory, in 1681, and received the first part of his education (as his father had formerly done) at Winchester College ; from whence, in his 19th year, he was placed on the foundation of New College, Oxford; whence again, on the death of the Warden in the same year, he was removed to Corpus Christi. In 1908, Archbishop Tennison nominated him to a law fellowship at All Souls, where, in 1714, he took the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law, and five years afterward that of Doctor.
Between the acquisition of these academic honoursą Young was appointed to speak the Latin Oration on the foundation of the Codrington Library; which he afterwards printed, with a dedication to the Ladies of that family, in English.
In this pürt of his life, our author is said not to have been that ornament to virtue and religion which he afterwards became. This is easy to be accounted for. He had been released from parental authority by his father's death; and his genius and conversation had introduced him to the notice of the witty and profligate Duke of Wharton*, and his gay companions, by whom his finances might be improved, but not his morals. This is the period at which Pope is said to have told Warburton, our young author had“ much genius
* At the instigation of this peer, he was once candidate for a seat in Parliament, but without success, and the expences were paid by Wharton.
< without common sense :” and it should seem like. wise, that he possessed a zeal for religion with little of its practical influence ; for, with all his gaiety and ambition, he was an advocate for Revelation and Christianity. Thus when Tindal, the atheistical philosopher, used to spend much of his time at All Souls, he complained: “ The other boys I can always an. swer, because I know whence they have their
arguments, which I have read an hundred times; but " that fellow Young, is continually pestering me with
something of his own.”
This apparent inconsistency is rendered the more striking from the different kinds of composition in which, at this period, he was engaged : viz. a political Panegyric on the new Lord Lansdowne, and a sacred Poem on the Last Day, which was written in 1710, but not published till 1713. It was dedicated to the Queen, and acknowledges an obligation, which has been differently understood, either as referring to her having been his godmother, or his patron; for it is in
l ferred from a couplet of Swift's, that Young was a pen
ned advocate of government :
66 Whence Gay was banish'd in disgrace,
This, however, might be mere report, at this period, since Swift was not over nice in his authorities, and nothing is more common than to suppose the advocate, and the flatterer of the great, an hireling. Flattery seems indeed to have been our poet's besetting sin through life; but if interest was his object, he must have been frequently disappointed : and to those disappointments we probably owe some of his best re. flections on human life.
Of his Last Day, (his first considerable performe ance) Dr. Johnson observes, that it, “has an equabi.
lity and propriety which he afterwards either never 16 endeavoured for, or never attained. Many para.
graphs are noble, and few are mean; yet the whole " is languid: the plan is too much extended, and a s6 succession of images divides and weakens the genc“ ral conception: But the great reason why the read. “ er is disappointed is, that the thought of The Last
every man more than poetical, by spreading over his mind a general obscurity of sa6 cred horror, that oppresses distinction and disdains
expression.” The subject is indeed truly awful, and was peculiarly affecting to this celebrated critic, who never could, without trembling, meditate upon death, or the eternal world. The poet's theological system, moreover, was not, at least when he wrote this, the most consistent and evangelical : I mean he had not those views of the Christian atonement, and of pardoning grace, which give such a glory to his Night Thoughts, and would much more have illumined this composition. All the preparation he seems to have there in view, is
By tears and groans, and never-ceasing care,
to fit himself for the Tribunal. Moreover, the project of future misery is too awful for pcetic enlargement, and makes the piece too terrible to be read with pleasure; while the attempt to particularize the solemnities of judgment, lowers their sublimity, and makes