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hair in a particular manner; for he held that the fashion was no rule of dress, and that every man was to suit his appearance to his natural form*.
His mind was not very comprehensive, nor his curiosity active; he had no value for those parts of knowledge which he had not himself cultivated.
His life was unstained by any crime; the Elegy on Jesse, which has been supposed to relate an unfortunate and criminal amour of his own, was known by his friends to have been suggested by the story of Miss Godfrey in Richardsun's “ Pamela."
What Gray thought of his character, from the perusal of his Letters, was this :
« I have read too an octavo volume of Shenstone's Letters. Poor man! « he was always wishing for money, for fame, and other distinctions; and “ his whole philosophy consisted in living against his will in retirement, and " in a place which his taste had adorned; but which he only enjoyed when “ people of note came to see and commend it: his correspondence is about “ nothing else but this place and his own writings, with two or three neigh“ bouring clergymen, who wrote verses too."
His poems consist of elegies, odes and ballads, humorous sallies and moral pieces.
His conception of an Elegy he has in his Preface very judiciously and discriminately explained. It is, according to his account, the effusion of a conteinplative mind, sometimes plaintive, and always serious, and therefore superior to the glitter of slight ornaments. His compositions suit not ill to this description. His topicks of praise are the domestic virtues, and his thoughts are pure and simple; but, wanting combination, they want variety. The peace of solitude, the innocence of inactivity, and the unenvied security of an humble station, can fill but a few pages. That of which the essence is uniformity will be soon described. His Elegies have therefore too much resemblance of each other.
The lines are sometimes, such as Elegy requires, smooth and easy; but • to this praise his claim is not constant; his diction is often harsh, improper, and affected ; his words ill-coined, or ill chosen, and his phrase unskilfully inverted.
The Lyrick Poems are almost all of the light and airy kind, such as trip lightly and nimbly along, without the load of any weighty meaning. From these, however, " Rural Elegance” has some right to be excepted. I once heard it praised by a very learned lady; and though the lines are irregular, and the thoughts diffused with too much verbosity, yet it cannot be deņied to contain both philosophical argument and poetical spirit.
• These," says Mr. Graves, " were not precisely his sentiments; though he thought right 4 enough, that every one should, in some degree, consult his particular shape and complexion “ in adjusting his dress; and that no fashion ought to sanctify what was ungraceful, absurd, or t really deformed." E.
Of the rest I cannot think any excellent; the “ Skylark” pleases me best, which has however more of the epigram than of the ode.
But the four parts of his “ Pastoral Ballad” demand particular notice. I cannot but regret that it is pastoral; an intelligent reader, acquainted with thie scenes of real life, sickens at the mention of the crook, the pipe, the sheep, and the kids, which it is not necessary to bring forward to notice, for the poet's art is selection, and he ought to shew the beauties without the grossness of the country life. His stanza seems to have bsen chosen in imitation of Rowe's “ Despairing Shepherd.”
In the first part are two passages, to which if any mind denies its sympathy, it has no acquaintance with love or nature:
I priz'd every hour that went by,
Beyond all that had pleas'd me before ;
And I grieve that I priz'd them no more.
What anguish I felt in my heart !
'Twas with pain that she saw me depart.
My path I could hardly discern; i
I thought that she bade me return.
In the second this passage has its prettiness, though it be not equal to the
I have found out a gift for my fair;
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed:
She will say 'cwas a barbarous deed :
Who could rob a poor bird of its young;
Such tenderness fall from her tongue.
In the third he mentions the common-places of amorous poetry with some address :
'Tis his with mock passion to glow!
'Tis his in smooth tales to unfold, How her face is as bright as the snow, And her bosom, be sure, is as cold:
How the nightingales labour the strain,
With the notes of his charmer to vie ;
Repine at her triumphs, and die.
Alas! from the day that we met,
What hope of an end to my woes?
The glance that undid my repose.
The flower, and the shrub, and the tree,
In time may have comfort for me. His « Levities” are by their title exempted from the severities of criticism; yet it may be remarked in a few words, that his humour is sometimes gross, and seldom spritely.
Of the Moral Poems the first is the “ Choice of Hercules," from Xeno. phon. 'The numbers are smooth, the diction elegant, and the thoughts just; but something of vigour is still to be wished, which it might have had by brevity and compression. His “Fate of Delicacy” has an air of gaiety, but not a very pointed and general moral. His blank verses, those that can read them may probably find to be like the blank verses of his neighbours. “ Love and honour” is derived from the old ballad, “Did you not hear of a Spanish Lady?"-I wish it well enough to wish it were in rhyme.
The “ School-mistress," of which I know not what claim it has to stand among the Moral Works, is surely the most pleasing of Shenstone's performances. The adoption of a particular style, in light and short compo. sitions, contributes much to the increase of pleasure: we are entertained at once with two imitations, of nature in the sentiments, of the original author in the style, and between them the mind is kept in perpetual employment.
The general recommendation of Shenstone is easiness and simplicity; his general defect is want of comprehension and variety. Had his mind been better stored with knowledge, whether he could have been great I know not; he could certainly have been agreeable.
Y O UN G..
THE following life was written, at my request, by a gentleman who had
1 better information than ! could easily have obtained: and the public will perhaps wish that I had solicited and obtained more such favours from him. . “ DEAR SIR,
In consequence of our different conversations about authentic materials fór the life of Young, I send you the following detail.
Of great men something must always be said to gratify curiosity. Of the illustrious author of the “ Night Thoughts” much has been told of which there never could have been proofs; and little care appears to have been taken to tell thai of which proofs, with little trouble, might have been procured.
EDWARD YOUNG was born at Upham, near Winchester, in June, 1681. He was the son of Edward Young, at that time fellow of Win. chester College and rector of Upham; who was the son of Jo. Young of Woodhay in Berkshire, styled by Wood gentleman. In September, 1682, the Poet's father was collated to the prebend of Gillingham Minor, in the church of Sarum, by bishop Ward. When Ward's faculties were impaired through age, his duties were necessarily performed by others. We learn from Wood, that, at a visitation of Sprar's, July the 12th, 1686, the prebendary preached a Latin sermon, afterwards published, with which the bishop was so pleased, that he told the chapter he was concerned to find the preacher had one of the worst prebends in their chorch. Some time after this, in consequence of his merit and reputation, or of the interest of Lord Bradford, to whom, in 1902, he dedicated two volumes of sermons, he was appointed chaplain to King William and Queen Mary, and preferred to the deanery of Sarum. Jacob, who wrote in 1720, says, " he was chap“ lain and clerk of the closer to the late Queen, who honoured him by “ standing godmother to the Poet.” His fellowship of Winchester he resigned in favour of a gentleman of the name of Harris, who married his only daughter. The dean died at Sarum, after a short illness, in 1705, in VOL. I.
the sixty-third year of his age. On the Sunday after his decease Bishop Burnet preached at the cathedral, and began his sermon with saying “ Death “ has been of late walking round us, and making breach upon breach upon “ us, and has now carried away the head of this body with a stroke; so that " he, whom you saw a week ago distributing the holy mysteries, is now laid « in the dust. But he still lives in the many excellent directions he has left “us, both how to live and how to die.”
The dean placed his son upon the foundation at Winchester College, where he had himself been educated. At this school Edward Young remained till the election after his eighteenth birth day, the period at which those upon the foundation are superannuated. Whether he did not betray his abilities early in life, or his masters had not skill enough to discover in their pupil any marks of genius for which he merited reward, or no vacancy at Oxford afforded them an opportunity to bestow upon him the reward provided for merit by William of Wykeham; certain it is, that to an Oxford fellowship our poet did not succeed. By chance, or by choice, New College cannot claim the honour of numbering among its fellows him who wrote the “ Night Thoughts."
On the 13th of October, 1703, he was entered an independent member of New College, that he might live at little expence in the Warden's lodge ings, who was a particular friend of his father's, till he should be qualified to stand for a fellowship at All Souls. In a few months the warden of New College died. He then removed to Corpus College. The president of this society, from regard also for his father, invited him thither, in order to lessen his academical expences. In 1908, he was nominated to a law fellowship at All Souls by Archbishop Tenison, into whose hands it came by devolution. Such repeated patronage, while it justifies Burnet's praise of the father, reflects credit on the conduct of the son. The manner in which it was exerted seems to prove, that the father did not leave behind him much wealth.
On the 23d of April, 1714, Young took his degree of batchelor of civil laws; and his doctor's degree on the roth of June, 1719.
Soon after he went to Oxford, he discovered, it is said, an inclination for pupils. Whether he ever commenced rutor is not known. None has hitherto boasted to have received his academical instruction from the author of the “ Night Thoughts."
It is probable that his college was proud of him no less as a scholar than as a poet; for in 1716, when the foundation of the Codrington Library was laid, two years after he had taken his batchelor's degree, Young was appointed to speak the Latin oration. This is at least particular for being dedicated in English. “ To the Ladies of the Codrington Family.” To these ladies he says, “ that he was unavoidably flung into a singularity, by being “ obliged to write an epistle dedicatory void of common-place, and such an