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of the burial, at Montpelier, of his favorite Mrs. Temple, his wife's daughter by her first husband, for whom,
"With pious sacrilege, a grave I stole,"
remains, a burst of indignation still echoed in public meetings and government expostulations against the inhospitable priestcraft of Europe, which, after the lapse of more than a century, "in the cursed ungodliness of zeal," denies the privilege of public worship to the living and the rites of burial to the dead. Young's step-daughter was buried in a common field, now within the inclosure of the Botanic Garden, where a brief Latin inscription tells the story,
"Manibus Narcissæ Placatis."
The husband of Narcissa, the Philander of the poem, survived this event four years; and shortly after, Young's own wife, the "Lucia," followed to the tomb. "Insatiate archer!" shrieks the poet to the King of Terrors, "would not one suffice?" As for Lorenzo, he has the credit of being a reminiscence of the Duke of Wharton. So he may have been in some particulars, but that personage is quite too much in demand to be any one individual. We suspect him to be a generic representation of this present world, kept by Young conveniently at his elbow, as the famous Sarah Gamp's still more famous Mrs. Harris.
The Night Thoughts were published in separate books, from 1741 to 1745. The poet meanwhile had grown old, and had settled down into a character at Welwyn. He was occasionally sought out by literary ladies and travelling critics, who were struck by the sublimity of his conversation. In 1753 he put upon the stage at Drury Lane his tragedy of "The Brothers," the proceeds of which he made up to a thousand pounds and gave to the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." In 1754 he sent forth a satirical attack in prose upon infidelity," Centaur not Fabulous," the idea of which was, that the race of mingled man and beast was not extinct in the world. The preface is witty, but so plain-spoken an account of wickedness that it is not quotable at the present day. In 1759, when Young was seventy-eight, he published a prose "Essay on Original Composition," which has
been considered a masterpiece for that period of life, which is more than can be said of the feeble poem of "Resignation" that concluded his labors in print. He died in 1765, at the age of eighty-four. In his latter days he was imperiously henpecked by a domineering housekeeper, a type of the not unfrequent viragoes of that description; and an affecting story is told of his estrangement from his son in his last years, chargeable in the first instance to the management of the said Mrs. Hallows. Yet he sent a message to that son on his death-bed, saying that his bodily pains were too great to see him with composure, but that he would find himself remembered in his will; for he never meant to carry his displeasure to the
Such was the life of Edward Young, a curious contrast of worldliness and piety, of luxury and devotion, plays mixed with sermons, profligates with angels, and dross with stars. The statue of Young, if one half of gold, rests below upon baser metal. Noble instincts were always strong within him; but the world, to the end, divided, in different degrees, his affection with the Church. A dramatist himself, his own life offered violent dramatic contrasts. His style, which is the image of the man, is as eccentric as his life. His description of death is vivacity itself, and his muse shows us the depth of the grave while dancing on its edge. His poetry warns the world of the folly of building below the skies, while he is seeking to establish himself by the help of the wickedness of earth. His portrait, leering sideways on the world, has a very suspicious look for saintship. The most simple-hearted and most earnest-minded men cannot be his greatest admirers. His studies of life want variety and repose. He is somewhat too much in glare and gas-light. Theologically regarded, the topics of his poem are disproportionately treated. He dwells too much upon single arguments. His writings may frighten a sinner, but they will hardly construct a saint.
Yet we cannot part with Young without anew expressing our admiration of his genius and our sympathy with the solemn humors of the man. If he was not exactly of the stuff out of which heroes and martyrs are made, his life and writings furnish matter enough to touch us with tender apprecia
tion. As readers grow older, they probably find more which comes home to them in Young. The world then has a hollow sound, which echoes to their own hearts the satirical mockery of the poet's verses. They too would fain sing at heaven's gate, and exult in the hope of immortality. Old men are Young's best readers. Nor should it be forgotten how much the pulpit owes to the Night Thoughts, how often the listless attention of the somnolent audience has been roused by the momentary thunder of their startling appeals. Many a dull sermon has been suddenly invigorated by an apt quotation from the rector of Welwyn. If his associations, as we have seen, were at times at war with his convictions, we should remember that his experience may have been necessary to supply his eloquence, and that it is not easy to understand how a man can write with such accurate knowledge of the world, who has not lived in it. As Dr. Johnson said in a similar case," he must not be too hastily condemned." Satire and profligacy-painting argue an acquaintance with strange company, but, it may be, not a very close participation in their habits. When Young retired from the world he cultivated "a melancholy of his own," as the philosophic Jaques claimed for himself. We fancy him out at night with the stars, or walking among the devices and inscriptions of his garden, or contemplating his literary achievements in his library, feeling there, too, that "the paths of glory lead but to the grave." It is a dark heart that will not be moved by the growing solitariness of Young, and his pains and penalties of age, as he retires farther and farther from his once brilliant world of youth and that hard-living eighteenth century. It is a weak imagination which will not rise with him on his sounding strains to the contemplation of the world unseen.
ART. II. The Life of HARMAN BLENNERHASSETT. Comprising an Authentic Narrative of the Burr Expedition; and containing many additional Facts, not heretofore published. By WILLIAM H. SAFFORD. Cincinnati. 1853. 12mo. pp. 239.
AARON BURR was born at Newark, New Jersey, on the 6th of February, 1756. His father, a divine of eminence, was the first President of Princeton College; his maternal grandfather, Jonathan Edwards, the metaphysician, was the second President. Burr gave early indications of talent, and was graduated with distinction at the age of sixteen. The Revolution, just opening, aroused the enthusiasm of all the ardent youth of the country. It reached its crisis when the battle of Lexington was fought, on the 19th of April, 1775; and Burr, in company with many others, in the following July, joined the American army at Cambridge. Quebec, the most important fortress on the Canadian frontier, was at that time the stronghold of the British at the North. An expedition for its capture was projected by Arnold. It was generally conceived to be a desperate project: the winter would set in before the troops could reach the St. Lawrence; Maine at that time was a perfect wilderness, and its dark pine-forests were supposed to be almost impenetrable; but Arnold was firm, and Burr, eager for excitement and martial glory, proposed to join the expedition.
They marched from Cambridge on the 14th of September. After sixty or seventy days of incredible toil, they effected a junction with Montgomery, then commanding that portion of our army stationed on the St. Lawrence. The combined forces made an attack, under cover of a snow-storm, on the morning of the 31st of December. The result was disastrous to the Americans. They were repulsed; and Montgomery fell, mortally wounded, into the arms of Burr, who conducted himself throughout the march and attack as a skilful tactician and a courageous man. Recommended to the esteem of Washington by his gallant bearing on this occasion, he received an appointment near the person of the Commander-inchief. A few weeks were sufficient to arouse distrust on one
side and aversion on the other. The circumstances of this affair are yet involved in mystery; but until a satisfactory explanation is produced, his sudden departure must reflect upon the character of Burr. Washington was never hasty, and seldom incorrect in his judgment; and from that period he declared that his confidence in Burr was for ever destroyed. He afterwards refused to sanction his nomination as Ambassador to France.
Burr was about to quit the service; but, at the solicitation of Hancock, he joined the staff of General Putnam, and exhibited his usual intrepidity at the battle of Long Island Heights, and the subsequent night's retreat to New York. He served in the army, with the rank of colonel, until March, 1777, and was considered a faithful, brave, and efficient officer. Under the plea of ill health, he handed in his commission, stating the reasons which induced him to resign it. The reply of Washington was courteous, but laconic. He regretted the loss which the service would sustain by the absence of Burr, and also the cause which rendered his absence necessary, and closed by notifying him that, when he found it convenient to transmit a settlement of his public accounts, the resignation would receive a final acceptance. Although Burr's promotion had been commensurate with his services, we have good reason to believe that his resignation was partially induced by a feeling that he had been slighted. Burr had sided with Gates and Lee against Washington, when the rupture took place during the winter of 1777-8, at Valley Forge; and he felt that his conduct during this affair would do nothing toward ameliorating the early impressions that Washington had formed against him. Not powerful enough to supplant him, and too proud to endeavor to conciliate his esteem, he determined to escape the overshadowing influence of Washington's command and popularity.
Shortly after his retirement, he married the widow of Colonel Prevost, of the British army, studied law, and was admitted to the bar at Albany. The Revolutionary war was now drawing to a close; the preliminary treaties of peace were signed; and in the autumn of 1783, New York having been evacuated by the British soldiery, Burr removed to that city, where his legal