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AS the occasion of this poem was real, and not fictitious ; so the method pursued in it was rather imposed, by what spontaneously arose in the Author's mind, on that occasion, than meditated or designed, which will appear very probable from the nature of it; for it differs from the common mode of poetry, which is, from long narrations, to draw short morals. Here, on the contrary, the narrative is short, and the morality arising from it, makes the bulk of the poem. The reason of it is, that the facts mentioned, did naturally pour these moral reflections on the thought of the writer.
Turs edition of the Night THOUGHTS, it is hoped, will be found more accurate than most of the late editions of that work. To render it so, much time has been spent in comparing copies of different dates, one of which was printed as early as 1758 ; by this comparison, many errors in modern editions were discovered and rectified. The copy selected as a standard for this edition, was published soon after Dr. Young's death, and not long after his revision of his works. Lines not found in that edition, but in some others, are inserted in this, (between brackets,] or given as variations at the foot of the page. These variations are mostly confined to the four first Nights.
DR. EDWARD YOUNG.
THE pen of biography cannot be better employe ed than in the service of an author, who displayed eminent genius and abilities in the cause of virtue and religion. Such was Dr. Young, the subject of these memoirs.
His father, whose name was also Edward Young, was Fellow of Winchester College, Rector of Upham in Hampshire, and, in the latter part of his life, Dean of Sarum ; chaplain to William and Mary, and afterwards to queen Ann. Jacob tells us that the latter, when Princess Royal, did the honour to stand godmother to our poet; and that, upon her ascending the throne, he was appointed Clerk of the Closet to her Majesty.
It does not appear that this gentleman distinguished himself in the Republic of Letters, otherwise than by a Latin Visitation Sermon, preached in 1686, and by two volumes of Sermons, printed in 1702, and which he dedicated to Lord Bradford, through whose interest he probably received some of his promotions,