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EDWARD YOUNG was born at Upham, near Winchester, in June, 1681. He was placed by his father, Dr. Edward Young, dean of Sarum, upon the foundation at Winchester College; and, in 1703, was entered an independent member of New College. Afterward, he removed to Corpus Christi, where he entered himself a gentleman-commoner. In 1708, Archbishop Tenison nominated him to a law-fellowship at All Souls.
On the 23d of April, 1714, Young took his degree of bachelor of civil law, and his doctor's degree on the 10th of June, 1719.
In 1721 he was ambitious of seat in parliament, and stood candidate for Cirencester, but failed; tiis circumstance, it is said, he constantly regretted i. after-life.
When he was alınost fifty, Young entered into orders; and was appointed chaplain to George II. in 1728.
In 1730, he was presented by his college to the rectory of Welwyn, in Hertforshire; and in the following year was married to Lady Elizaleth Lee, daughter to the Earl of Lichfield, and widow of Colonel Lee, who brought him a son and heir.
Of his wife he was deprived in 1741; and to this event the public are indebted for the composition of of his Night Thoughts;' in which he frequently refers to this afHictive dispensation. Ile had previously lost his daughter-in-law and her husband, whom he so pathetically laments under the names of Narcissa and Philander. It has generally been supposed that Lorenzo, the man of the world, represents his own son; but, (if he had any particular individual in view,) with greater probability, Young intended to characterize one of the companions of the Duke of Wharton, with whom, in the earlier part of his life, he was very intimate.
This production appears to have been considered by its author, as incomparably his best work; and certain it is, that, whatever celebrity Young might derive from his other writings, during his lise-time, to the Night Thoughts' alone he will owe his fame with future geneiations.
Dr. Young was a favourite of the l'rince of Wales, father of George III.; and, for some time, was a pretty constant attendant at court; but, upon the Prince's death, ail liis nopes of obtaining preferment were at an end; and the very desire of it, as appears from a passage in the Night Thoughts,' seemed to be laid aside; however, in 1761, he was made Clerk of the Closet to the Princess-dowager of Wales. He died in the parsonage-house at Welwyn, April 12, 1765, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and was buried under the altar-piece of that church, by the side of his wife.
The turn of Dr. Young's mind was naturally solemn; and he usually spent many hours in a day, when at home in the country, walking among the tombs in his own churchyard;—yet he was fond of innocent sports and amusements.
He instituted an assembly and a bowling-green in his parish, and ofteu promoted the mirth of the company
His wit was ever poignant, and always levelled at those who shewed any contempt for decency and religion. He was a popular preacher, and much followed for the grace and animation of his delivery. His writings were numerous, but their uniform tendency was the promotion of virtue, and the discou. ragement of vice.