Young, Edward (2)
Young, Edward (2)
a celebrated English poet and clergyman, was born at Upham in Hampshire, in 1684. He was educated at Winchester School and at Oxford University, where he received a law fellowship in All-Souls College in 1708. He devoted himself, however, more to poetry and religious studies than to law; but received the degree of B.C.L. in 1714, and that of D.C.L. in 1719. 'His first appearance as a poet was in 1713, in an Epistle to George, Lord Lansdowne, on his being created a peer. He, however, became ashamed of its fulsome flattery and suppressed it. In the same year he also published two other poems of some length, entitled respectively The Last Day and The Force of Religion, or Vanquished Love. The year following he published A Poem on the Death of Queen Anne.. These efforts gave him some immediate reputation, and in 1719 he ventured on the more ambitious effort of a tragedy, under the title of Busiris, which was brought out at Drury Lane with fair success. This attracted to him the notice of the duke of Wharton, with whom he went abroad at the end of this year. At the death of the duke, Young received an annuity of £200. In 1721 his tragedy The Revenge was produced, but was unsuccessful at the time, though it has since had greater acceptance. Between 1725 and 1728
appeared in succession his satires entitled The Love of Fame, the Universal Passion, which had great success, and brought to their author both money and fame. In 1726 he issued The Installment, a poem addressed to Sir Robert Walpole on his being made a Knight of the Garter, for which service it is believed he obtained his pension. In 1727 he took holy orders, and was appointed one of the royal chaplains; and in 1730 he became rector of Welwyn, Hertfordshire, which post he retained, much against his will (for he was an anxious seeker for ecclesiastical preferment), until his death, April 12, 1765. In 1731 he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, daughter of the Earl of Lichfield and widow of Colonel Lee. He exhibited great grief at her death, in 1741; and it is believed that he received the suggestion of the Night Thoughts from the solemn meditations on that event. By this work, begun shortly afterwards and published 1742-46, almost solely is he remembered. He published numerous other works of no present importance. In 1762 he superintended an edition of his collected works in 4 vols. 12mo, from which he excluded some of his most gushing productions. The Night Thoughts has passed through editions innumerable both in England and America. Various other editions of his collected works have also appeared from time to time, for which see Allibone, Dict. of Brit and Amer. Authors, s.v. See also Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.; Johnson, Lives of the Poets; Hazlitt, Lectures on the Eng. Poets, lect. 6.