Talk:Edward Young

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Edward Young was a proto-Romantic, doing with Nature and the Self in the 1740s some of the things that we tend to associate with Wordsworth after 1798 ('Lyrical Ballads'). Like James Thomson (of 'The Seasons' fame, 1748) Young was very well known in his day but has been eclipsed by Pope and Swift in our estimate of the earlier 18th century.

Young's 'Night Thoughts' is a highly readable poem that proposes a theology not entirely alien to modern Physics when the physicist isn't too much of a classical materialist. He is a Lockean mentalist, a subjectivist, a believer in the creativity of consciousness. Try this, on the human faculty of sight:

Our Senses, as our Reason, are Divine. But for the magic Organ's powerful charm, Earth were a rude, uncoloured Chaos still. Objects are but th'Occasion; ours th'exploit; Ours is the Cloth, the Pencil, and the Paint, Which Nature's admirable Picture draws; And beautifies Creation's ample Dome.


  • Tomorrow is the day when idlers work, and fools reform.