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Nor shall it hope in vain : the time draws on.
When not a single spot of burial earth,
Whether on land or in the spacious sea,
But must give back its long committed trust
Inviolate, and faithfully shall these
Make up the full account, not the least atom
Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnished,
And each shall have his own. Hence, ye profane !
Ask not how this can be. Sure the same power
That reared the piece at first and took it down
Can reassemble the loose scattered parts
And put them as they were. Almighty God
Has done much more, nor is his arm impaired
With length of days, and what he can he will.
His faithfulness stands bound to see it done.
When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumbering dust,
Not unattentive to the call, shall wake,
And every joint possess its proper place
With a new elegance of form unknown
To its first state. Nor shall the conscious soul
Mistake its partner, but, amidst the crowd
Singling its other half, into its arms
Shall rush with all the impatience of a man
That's new come home, who having long been absent
With haste runs over ev'ry different room
In pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting !
Nor time nor death shall part them ever more.
'Tis but a night, a long and moonless night,
We make the grave our bed, and then are gone.

Thus at the shut of even the weary bird
Leaves the widē air and, in some lonely brake,
Cowers down and dozes till the dawn of day,
Then claps his well-fledged wings and bears away.


[The author of the Night Thoughts was born at Upham in Hampshire in 1684, and died on the 12th of April 1765. The Last Day was published in 1713, and was soon followed by The Force of Religion. Young's unlucky tendency to flattery and toadyism early showed itself in many small pieces to persons of rank which cannot be said to have been regularly published until long afterwards. In 1719 Busiris, his first tragedy, was performed; and in the same year the Letter to Tickell on the Death of Addison and the Paraphrase of the Book of Job appeared. The Revenge followed in 1721. The satires composing The Universal Passion made their appearance during the course of 1725 and the following three years. In 1728 they were collectively published. Meanwhile the accession of George II had been hailed with the so-called Odes to Ocean, &c. The Brothers, a tragedy, coincided pretty nearly with this. In 1730 appeared the Imperium Pelagi, and two Epistles to Pope. Some more Pindarics followed. The first Night Thought was published in 1742, the last in 1744. Of Young's remaining works, Resignation, which appeared three years before his death, need alone be mentioned.]

Except Wordsworth, Young is probably the most unequal of English poets. The difference between his best work and his worst is so great as to be almost unintelligible, and it is fair to him to say that he seems to have been aware of this. When his collected poems were reprinted, a large number were by his express direction left out. Publication however constitutes, as it has been well observed, in one sense an unpardonable sin ; and in estimating Young it is necessary to take the Odes and the Imperium Pelagi into consideration as well as the Night Thoughts and the Last Day. Of the class represented by the first-named works it may be said that hardly any worse poetry has ever been written. There is scarcely a stanza of the so-called Odes which does not read like an admirable and intentional burlesque. The author seems by his rhymes to have had no ear at all, and his gross and fulsome flattery is unspeakably nauseous. Of this latter peculiarity indeed even his c best work contains but too many instances. The fine passage, soon to be quoted, from the Last Day is disfigured by the insertion in the midst of it of a clumsy and foolish panegyric on Queen Anne, which any one but an eighteenth-century divine would have felt to be not only intrinsically in bad taste, but hopelessly inappropriate to the case.

The depths to which Young sinks at his worst are however compensated by the heights at which at his best he arrives. If poetry and poets could be judged by single lines, there are few save the highest who could safely challenge comparison with Young. He Kad an astonishing fertility of thought of a certain kind, and a cbrresponding richness of expression. Nor were his powers confined, as it has been asserted, to the production of gloomy epigram.' He stands pre-eminent among artists of blank verse, and a critic might well have asked him, as Jeffrey asked Macaulay, where he got his style from. The earlier eighteenth century is indeed remarkable for its mould of blank verse. Considering that though Young was a much older man than Thomson he did not produce his great work until many years after the appearance of Winter, it may be that The Seasons exercised some influencc over him ; but the influence was scarcely that of imitation. The different uses to which the two instruments were put may perhaps in some measure account for the difference of their sound. Both have in common the tendency to florid language and to antithesis which the Popian couplet had made popular, both use and indeed abuse the effect of strongly contrasted lights and shades. But Young, probably owing to his dramatic studies, is much more rhetorical than Thomson. Not a few passages in the Night Thoughts, especially that remarkable one in the Third Night about dying friends, where the confusion of metaphors does not obscure the grandeur of the verse, are of the finest tragic mould. It was inevitable that in the hands of a man of such uncritical taste as Young this tragic quality should often degenerate into mere declamation. The inequality indeed which is so characteristic of him exists even in detached passages of very small extent, so that it is difficult if not impossible to select any in which the taste shall not be offended. The Night Thoughts has accordingly long ceased to be the popular book it once was. poet of moral ideas however Young will always deserve attention,

As a

independently of the excellence of his versification. (The famous passage on Procrastination, which, hackneyed as it is, is so decidedly his masterpiece, that it cannot be left out in any

selection from his works, is in its way not to be surpassed, and its excellence fully accounts for the popularity of Young in a century such as the eighteenth, which, whatever its practice might be, was, in theory, nothing if not moralist. This popularity, as is pretty generally known, spread to France, where Young long had many fervent admirers, though he is probably to a great extent chargeable with the bad repute of England for spleen. Blake's remarkable illustrations also add considerable interest of the accidental kind to the book. Those of the minor poems which deserve notice at all are not dissimilar in characteristics to the Night Thoughts. The satires have almost as great, though scarcely so original a merit as these latter, and both in the Last Day and the Job fine and striking passages abound.



Sooner or later, in some future date,
(A dreadful secret in the book of Fate)
This hour, for aught all human wisdom knows,
Or when ten thousand harvests more have rose ;
When scenes are changed on this revolving Earth,
Old empires fall, and give new empires birth ;
While other Bourbons rule in other lands,
And, (if man's sin forbids not) other Annes;
While the still busy world is treading o'er
The paths they trod five thousand years before,
Thoughtless as those who now life's mazes run,
Of earth dissolved, or an extinguished sun;
(Ye sublunary worlds, awake, awake!
Ye rulers of the nation, hear and shake)
Thick clouds of darkness shall arise on day ;
In sudden night all Earth's dominions lay ;
Impetuous winds the scatter'd forests rend ;
Eternal mountains, like their cedars, bend ;
The valleys yawn, the troubled ocean roar
And break the bondage of his wonted shore ;
A sanguine stain the silver moon o'erspread ;
Darkness the circle of the sun invade ;
From inmost Heaven incessant thunders roll
And the strong echo bound from pole to pole.


[From Satire V, on Women.]

“But adoration ! give me something more,'
Cries Lycé on the borders of threescore.
Nought treads so silent as the foot of Time :

Hence we mistake our autumn for our prime.


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