Edward Young was born in July, 1683, the son of a prominent clergyman and godson of Princess Anne. At age eleven, he enrolled in Winchester College. In 1702, Young was admitted to New College, Oxford, but he left without a degree after his father’s death in 1705. He eventually completed both the bachelor of laws degree in 1714 and the doctor of laws degree in 1719 at All Souls College, Oxford. While working on his degrees, Young established himself as a poet and sought to secure financial support from a patron. In 1713, he published his first poem, An Epistle to the Right Honourable the Lord Landsdowne. During that same year, Young completed A Poem on the Last Day, which was dedicated to Queen Anne, whose illness and subsequent death provided the occasions for Young’s next poems in 1714: The Force of Religion and On the Late Queen’s Death, and His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne.
Young continued his search for patronage, eventually receiving an annuity from the duke of Wharton. In 1719, Young published A Paraphrase on Part of the Book of Job, which shows his continued interest in the religious sublime, and A Letter to Mr. Tickell Occasioned by the Death of Joseph Addison, a loving tribute to Young’s friend Addison, who died in 1719. Over the next several years, Young completed three plays and took deacon’s orders in the Anglican Church. Turning his attention toward satire, Young completed...
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