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Born at Upham, in Hampshire-Educated at Winchester and Oxford-His first Poetry-Is patronised by the Duke of Wharton-Publishes his Universal Passion -Writes for the Stage-Enters into Holy Orders-Receives a Pension of 2007. a-year from George I —Marries -Death of His Wife-Publishes 'The Complaint, or Night Thoughts'-Presented to the Liv. ing of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire-His only Son-Death and Burial at Welwyn-Works and Character.
THE following Life was written, at my request, by a gentleman' who had better information than I 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 for 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 that 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 Winchester College and rector of Upham; who was the son of Jo. Young of Woodhay in Berkshire, styled by Wood gentleman. In
1 Mr. (afterwards Sir Herbert) Croft. He died at Paris after fifteen years' residence in that city, April 27, 1816.
"This 'Life' of Young was written by a friend of his son. What is crossed with black is expunged by the author; what is crossed with red is expunged by me. If you find anything more that can be well omitted, I shall not be sorry to see it yet shorter."-JOHNSON to Nichols. 2 of the house in which Young was born (now no longer standing) there is a view in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for March, 1829. When Joseph Warton had the living of Upham, he placed the following inscription in the room in which the poet was born:-" In hoc cubiculo natus erat eximius ille Poeta Edvardus Young, 1681." This inscription is preserved in the new rectory.
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 Sprat'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 church. Some time after this, in consequence of his merit and reputation, or of the interest of Lord Bradford, to whom, in 1702, 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 chaplain and clerk of the close to the late Queen [Anne], 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 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 rewards provided for
'The Poetical Register,' 8vo., 1723, vol. ii. p. 241.
✦ And was buried in Salisbury Cathedral, where a monument to his memory it still to be seen. On a stone in Chiddingford Church, in Surrey, is this inscription:-" Here lyeth the body of Judeth, widow of the Rev. Edward Young, late Dean of Sarum, who dyed Dec. ye Sth, in the 69th year of her age, Anno Doma: 1714." This was the poet's mother.