網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

twelvemonth. The beginning of 1717 carried him to Ireland; where, says the Biographia,“ on the score of his extra“ ordinary qualities, he had the honour “ done him of being admitted, though 6 under age, to take his seat in the House 56 of Lords.”

With this unhappy character we might have presumed, almost without evidence, that Young went to Ireland. From his Letter to Richardson on Original Composition, it is clear he was, at some period of his life, in that country. “I “ remember,” says he, in that Letter, speaking of Swift, “ as I and others were “ taking with him an evening walk, “ about a mile out of Dublin, he stopt “ Thort; we passed on; but, perceiving

" he

he did not follow us, I went back, “ and found him fixed as a statue, and "" earnestly gazing upward at a noble * elm, which in its uppermost branches -66 was much withered and decayed. -“ Pointing at it, he said, “ I Mall be “ like that tree, I shall die at top.”— A note from Wharton, among Swift's Letters, clearly shews that this visit to Ireland was paid when he had an opportunity of going thither with his avowed friend and patron.

From The Englishman it appears that a tragedy by Young was in the theatre so early as 1713; yet Busiris was not brought upon Drury-Lane Stage till 1719. It was inscribed to the Duke of Newcastle, “ because the late instances he

“ had

“ had received of his Grace's undeserved “ and uncommon favour, in an affair of .“ some consequence, foreign to the thea“ tre, had taken from hin the privilege “ of chuling a patron.” The Dedication he afterwards suppressed.-- This was followed in the year 1721 by The Revenge. Left at liberty now to chuse his patron, he dedicated this famous tragedy to the Duke of Wharton. “ Your “Grace,” says the Dedication, “ has * been pleased to make yourself acceso s fary to the following scenes, not only “ by suggesting the most beautiful inci“ dent in them, but by making all pof“sible provision for the succca; of the 66 whole."

That

es

· That his Grace should have suggested the incident to which he alludes, whatever that incident be, is not unlikely. The last mental exertion of the unhappy superannuated young man, in his quarters at Lerida in Spain, was some scenes of a tragedy on the story of Mary Queen of Scots.

Dryden dedicated Marriage à la Mode to Wharton's infainous relation Rochefter; whom he acknowledges not only as the defender of his poetry, but as the promoter of his fortune. Young concludes his address to Wharton thus-“ My pre“ sent fortune is his bounty, and my “ future his care ; which I will venture " to say will be always remembered to “ his honour, since he, I know, intended

“ his

“his generosity as an encouragement to “ merit, though, through his very par“ donable partiality to one who bears “ him fo fincere a duty and respect, I s happen to receive the benefit of it.” That he ever had such a patron as Wharton, Young took all the pains in his power to conceal from the world, by excluding this Dedication from his works. He should have remembered, that he at the same time concealed his obligation to Wharton for the most beautiful incident in what is surely not his least beautiful composition. The paffage just quoted is, in a poem afterwards addressed to Walpole, literally copied : Be this thy partial smile from censure free; 'Twas meant for merit, though it fell on

me.

While

« 上一頁繼續 »