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EDWARD YOUNG, LL.D.
DR. EDWARD YOUNG.
This celebrated and excellent writer was the son of Dr. Edward Young, a learned and eminent divine, who was Dean of Sarum, Fellow of Winchester College, and Rector of Upham, in Hampshire. Our author was born at Upham, in the year 1681, and had his education at Winchester College, till he was chosen on the foundation of New College, Oxford, October 13, 1703, but removed in less than a year to Corpus Christi, where he entered himself a Gentleman Commoner.
Archbishop Tennison put him into a law fellowship, in 1708, in the College of All Souls. He took the degree of Bachelor in 1714, and became LL.D. in 1719. His tragedy of Busiris came out the same year; the Revenge in 1721; the Brothers in 1723; and soon after, his elegant poem of the Last Day, which engaged the greater attention for being written by a layman. The Force of Religion, or Vanquished Love, a poem, also gave much plea
These works procured him the friendship of some among the nobility, and the patronage of the Duke of Wharton, by whom he was induced to stand a candidate for a seat in parliament for Cirencester, but without success. The bias of his mind was strongly turned towards divinity, which drew him away from the law, before he had begun to
practise. On his taking orders, he was appointed chaplain in ordinary to George II. in April, 1728. His first work in his new character was a Vindication of Providence, published, as well as his Estimate of Human Life, in quarto. Soon after, in 1730, his College presented him to the rectory of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire, worth 3001. per annum, besides the lordship of the manor which pertained to it. He married Lady Betty Lee, widow of Col. Lee, in 1731. She was daughter of the Earl of Lichfield. By her he had a son.
Notwithstanding the high estimation in which he was held, his familiar intercourse with many of the first rank, his being a great favourite of Frederic Prince of Wales, and paying a pretty constant attendance at Court, he never rose to higher preferment; if, however, we except his being made clerk of the closet to the Princess Dowager of Wales in 1761, when he was fourscore years of age.
His fine poem of the Night Thoughts, it is well known, was occasioned by a family distress; the loss his wife and the two children, a son and a daughter, whom she had by her first husband: these all died within a short time of each other in 1741. The son-in-law is characterized in this work by the name of Philander, and the young lady, who sunk into a decline through grief for the loss of her mother, by that of Narcissa. He removed her, in hope of her deriving benefit from a warmer climate, to Montpelier, in the south of France; but she died soon after their arrival in that city. The circumstance of his being obliged to bury her in a field by night, not being allowed interment in a churchyard, on account of her being a Protestant, is indelibly recorded in Night III. of this divine poem.
He was upwards of eighty when he wrote his Conjectures on Original Composition, in which many beauties appear, notwithstanding the age of its author; and Resignation, his last poem, contains proofs in every stanza, that it was not written