Young, Edward

Young, Edward, 1683–1765, English poet and dramatist. After a disappointing political life he took holy orders about 1724, serving for a time as the royal chaplain before becoming rector of Welwyn in 1730. He achieved great renown in his own time, both in England and on the Continent, for his long poem The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (1742–45), a Christian apologetic inspired by the deaths of his wife, stepdaughter, and the latter's husband. Besides writing a series of satires, The Universal Passion (1725–28), he was the author of three bombastic tragedies, Busiris (1719), The Revenge (1721), and The Brothers (1753). His last important work was his prose Conjectures on Original Composition (1759).

See his correspondence, ed. by H. Pettit (1972); biography by I. S. Bliss (1969); H. Forster, Edward Young: Poet of the Night Thoughts (1986).

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