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the incidents, and the diction, are original. The moral observations are so introduced, and so expressed, as to have all the novelty that can be required. Of “The Brothers” I may be allowed to say nothing, since nothing was ever said of it by the public.
It must be allowed of Young's poetry, that it abounds in thought, but without much accuracy or selection. When he lays hold of an illustration, he
pursues it beyond expectation, sometimes happily, as in his parallel of Quicksilver with Pleasure, which I have heard repeated with approbation by a lady, of whose praise he would have been justly proud, and which is very ingenious, very subtle, and almost exact; but sometimes he is less lucky, as when, in his “ Night Thoughts,” having it drop
, ped into his mind, that the orbs floating in space, might be called the cluster of creation, he thinks of a cluster of grapes, and says, that they all hang on
, the great vine, drinking the “ nectareous juice of immortal life."
His conceits are sometimes yet less valuable. In the “ Last Day" he hopes to illustrate the reassembly of the atoms that compose the human body at the “ Trump of Doom” by the collection of bees into a swarm at the tinkling of a pan.
The prophet says of Tyre, that “ her Merchants “ are Princes.” Young says of Tyre, in his “ Mer• chant,”
Her merchants Princes, and each deck a Throne. Let burlesque try to go beyond him.
He has the trick of joining the turgid and fami
liar : to buy the alliance of Britain, “Climes were “ paid down."
Antithesis is his favourite, “ They “ for kindness hate :" 'and“ because she's right, " she's ever in the wrong.
His versification is his own; neither his blank nor his rhyming lines have any resemblance to those of former writers; he picks up no hemistics, he copies no favourite expressions; he seems to have laid up no stores of thought or diction, but to owe all to the fortuitous suggestions of the present moment. Yet I have reason to believe that, when once he had formed a new design, he then laboured it with very patient industry; and that he composed with great labour, and frequent revisions.
His verses are formed by no certain model; he is no more like himself in his different productions than he is like others. He seems never to have studied prosody, nor to have had any direction but from his own ear.
But with all his defects, he was a man of genius and a poet.
M A L L E T.
OF DAVID MALLET, having no written memorial, I am able to give no other account than such as is supplied by the unauthorised loquacity of common fame, and a very slight personal knowledge.
He was by his original one of the Macgregors, a clan, that became, about sixty years ago, under the conduct of Robin Roy, so formidable and so infamous for violence and robbery, that the name was annulled by a legal abolition; and when they were all to denominate themselves anew, the father, I suppose, of this author, called himself Malloch.
David Malloch was, by the penury of his parents, compelled to be Janitor of the High School at Edinburgh; a mean office, of which he did not afterwards delight to hear. But he surmounted the disadvantages of his birth and fortune; for, when the Duke of Montrose applied to the College of Edinburgh for a tutor to educate his sons, Malloch was recommended; and I never heard that he dishonoured his credentials.
When his pupils were sent to see the world, they were entrusted to his care; and, having conducted them round the common circle of modish travels, he returned with them to London, where, by the influence of the family in which he resided, he naturally gained admission to many persons of the highest rank, and the highest character, to wits, nobles, and statesmen.
Of his works, I know not whether I can trace the series. His first production was “ William and “ Margaret;"* of which, though it contains nothing very striking or difficult, he has been envied the reputation; and plagiarism has been boldly charged, but never proved.
Not long afterwards he published the “Excur“sion” (1728); a desultory and capricious view of such scenes of Nature as his fancy led him, or his knowledge enabled him, to describe. It is not devoid of poetical spirit. Many of his images are striking, and many of the paragraphs are elegant. The cast of diction seems to be copied from Thomson, whose “Seasons" were then in their full blossom of reputation. He has Thomson's beauties and his faults.
His poem on “ Verbal Criticism” (1733) was written to pay court to Pope, on a subject which he either did not understand, or willingly misre
• William and Margaret' was printed in Aaron Hill's • Plain Dealer,' No. 36, July 24, 1724. In its original state was very different from what it is in the last edition of his works.
presented; and is little more than an improvement, or rather expansion, of a fragment which Pope printed in a Miscellany long before he engrafted it into a regular poem.
There is in this piece more pertness than wit, and more confidence than knowledge. The versification is tolerable, nor criticisin allow it a higher praise.
His first tragedy was “Eurydice," acted at Drury Lane in 1731 ; of which I know not the reception nor the merit, but have heard it mentioned as a mean performance. He was not then too high to accept a Prologue and Epilogue from Aaron Hill, neither of which can be much commended.
Having cleared his tongue from his native pronunciation so as to be no longer distinguished as a Scot, he seems inclined to disencumber himself from all adherences of his original, and took upon him to change his name from Scotch Malloch to English Mallet, without any imaginable reason of preference which the eye or ear can discover. What other proofs he gave of disrespect to his native country, I know not; but it was remarked
; of him, that he was the only $cot whom Scotchmen did not commend.
About this time Pope, whom he visited familiarly, published his “Essay on Man,” but concealed the author ; and, when Mallet entered one day, Pope
; asked him slightly, what there was new. Mallet told him, that the newest piece was something called an
Essay on Man," which he had inspected idly, and seeing the utter inability of the author, who had neither skill in writing nor knowledge of the subject,