Page images
PDF
EPUB

YALDEN

HOMAS YALDEN, the sixth son of Mr. John Yalden of 1

Sussex, was born in the city of Exeter in 1671?. Having been educated in the grammar-school belonging to Magdalen College in Oxford, he was in 1690, at the age of nineteen 3, admitted commoner of Magdalen Hall, under the tuition of Josiah Pullen, a man whose name is still remembered in the university 4. He became next year one of the scholars of Magdalen College, where he was distinguished by a lucky accident.

It was his turn one day to pronounce a declamation, and 2 Dr. Hough, the president, happening to attend, thought the

* Yalden is one of the four poets in matriculated in 1685, aged sixteen, cluded in the Collection on Johnson's and was elected a Demy or scholar recommendation. Post, WATTS, I. (ante, ADDISON, 8) in 1690. Ib. p. “The publishers of the English Poets 112. have been censured for admitting 4 'He was a great master of logic Yalden. ... His poems had never and no bad tutor, but one of the before been collected.' NICHOLS, rough diamonds of the university A Select Collection of Poems, 1780, Biog. Brit. p. 4379. The writer tells iii. 167.

a coarse story of him, which, he In this Life Johnson follows Jacob's adds, was preserved in my time.' Poetical Register, ii. 238, and Biog. In Aubrey's Brief Lives, i. 377, is Brit. p. 4379.

a letter of Hobbes, dated Feb. I, 2. Anthony Wood is more correct 1672–3, 'For my much honored in his statement of both date and freind Mr. Josias Pullen, Vice-prinplace of the poet's birth. “Thomas cipall of Magdalen Hall. He was Youlding,” he writes (Ath. Oxon. iv. the chaplain who gave Bishop San601), “a

younger son of John Yould- derson absolution before his death, ing, a Page of the Presence and as told in Walton's Lives, 1838, p. Groom of the Chamber to Prince 401. Ath. Oxon. iii. 626. I have Charles, afterwards a sufferer for his the honour,' writes The Guardian in cause, and an exciseman in Oxford No. 2, 'to be well known to Mr. after the Restoration of King Charles Joseph [sic] Pullen, and attribute the II, was born in ... Oxford on the Aorid old age I now enjoy to my 2nd day of January, 1669–70.” The constant morning walks up HeadingMerton College Register of Baptisms ton Hill in his cheerful company.' confirms this account: “Jan. 16, His name still lives in ‘Joe Pullen's 1669–70, Thomas, son of John Yald- tree' at the top of the Hill, whither ing, an exciseman, was baptized. Gibbon and his tutor used to take Born and Jan.". Bloxam's Register their evening walks from Magdalen of Magdalen College, vi. 113. It will College. Gibbon's Memoirs, p. 61. be noticed that, including the form 5 For declamations see Boswell's Yalden, the name is spelt three dif- Johnson, i. 71; Gibbon's Memoirs, ferent ways.

He was a chorister of the College 6 Hough was the President who from 1678-89, with an interval in so boldly withstood James II and his 1687-8, when he was ejected. He Ecclesiastical Commissioners when

pp, 59, 288.

3

composition too good to be the speaker's. Some time after, the doctor, finding him a little irregularly busy in the library, set him an exercise for punishment, and, that he might not be deceived by any artifice, locked the door. Yalden, as it happened, had been lately reading on the subject given, and produced with little difficulty a composition, which so pleased the president that he told him his former suspicions, and promised to favour him?.

Among his contemporaries in the college were Addison and Sacheverell, men who were in those times friends, and who both adopted Yalden to their intimacy? Yalden continued throughout his life to think as probably he thought at first, yet did not lose the friendship of Addison.

When Namur was taken by king William Yalden made an ode:. There was never any reign more celebrated by the poets than that of William, who had very little regard for song himself, but happened to employ ministers who pleased themselves with the

praise of patronage *. 5 Of this ode mention is made in an humorous poem of that

time, called The Oxford Laureat, in which, after many claims had
been made and rejected, Yalden is represented as demanding the
laurel, and as being called to his trial instead of receiving a
reward.
*His crime was for being a felon in verse,

And presenting his theft to the king ;
The first was a trick not uncommon or scarce,

But the last was an impudent thing :
Yet what he had stol'n was so little worth stealing,

They forgave him the damage and cost;
Had he ta'en the whole ode, as he took it piece-mealing,

They had fin'd him but ten pence at most.' they trampled on the statutes of the Apollo smiles on Magd'len's peaceCollege. Macaulay's Hist. Eng. iii. ful bowers, 34.

Perfumes the air, and paints the For ' Hough's unsullied mitre' see grot with flowers, Pope's Epil. Sat. ii. 240.

Where Yalden learned to gain the This story was communicated myrtle crown, by the author himself to an acquain And every Muse was fond of Additance.' Biog. Brit. p. 4379.

son.' 2 Addison matriculated two years TICKELL, Eng. Poets, xxxix. 296. and Sacheverell four years later than For Sacheverell see ante, ADDISON, Yalden. In June 1713 is the follow 14: ing entry :

-Dr. Yalden et Dr. Eng. Poets, xxxix. 105; ante, Sacheverell, beneficia adepti ecclesia PRIOR, 58. stica, recessere. Reg. of Mag. Coll. Ante, ADDISON, 17. vi. 98, 112.

4

The poet whom he was charged with robbing was Congreve!

He wrote another poem on the death of the duke of 6 Gloucester 2.

In 1710 he became fellow of the college 3 ; and next year, 7 entering into orders, was presented by the society with a living in Warwickshire, consistent with his fellowship, and chosen lecturer of moral philosophy, a very honourable office 4.

On the accession of queen Anne he wrote another poem '; and 8 is said, by the author of the Biographia, to have declared himself of the party who had the honourable distinction of Highchurchmen 6.

In 1706 he was received into the family of the duke of 9 Beaufort 7. Next year he became doctor in divinity, and soon

* Ante, CONGREVE, 37.

the College or not. In 1673 Whyte's ‘Of arms and war my Muse aspires Professorship of Moral Philosophy to sing,

became a perquisite of the Proctors, And strikes the lyre upon an un and continued so till 1829. It was so try'd string :

forgotten that it was never mentioned New fire informs my soul, unfelt in the Oxford Calendar.' before,

5 Not included in Eng. Poets. And on new wings to heights un Biog. Brit. p. 4379. The High known I soar.'

Churchmen had their city poet and CONGREVE, Eng. Poets, xxxiv. 139. tavern. 'Mr. Edward Ward, a very Once more, my Muse, resume thy voluminous poet, of late years has lyre !

kept a public-house in the City (but Of heroes, arms, and lofty triumphs in a genteel way), and with his wit, sing :

humour, and good liquor has afforded Strike, boldly strike th'unpractis'd his guests a pleasurable entertainstring;

ment; especially the High Church 'Tis William's acts my soaring party, which is composed of men of thoughts inspire,

his principles, and to whom he is And animate my breast with nobler very much obliged for their constant

fire.' YALDEN, ib. xxxix. 105. resort. Poetical Register, ii. 225. * Not included in Eng. Poets. It ; As Chaplain. Hearne's Collecwas published in 1700. Cunningham's tions, ed. Doble, i. 237. This was the Lives of the Poets, ii. 312.

second Duke, a young man of two-and3. Probationer Fellow' in 1698, twenty. Swift, on March 6, 1711-12, and “True and Perpetual Fellow' in wrote of the Brotherhood (ante, PRIOR, 1699. Vice President's Reg. Mag. 45):- The Duke of Beaufort had Coli.

the confidence to propose his brother* He became Vicar of Willoughby in-law, the Earl of Danby, to be a in 1700, and Waynflete's Lecturer member ; but I opposed it so warmly in 1705. It was a very honour that it was waived. Danby is not able office because it was much above twenty, and we will have no more than a College appointment. more boys.' Works, ii. 497. Waynflete's three Praelectors, the Horace Walpole wrote in 1787:President of Magdalen informs me, “There never was a Duke of Beaufort were to give instruction without fee that made it worth knowing which to all comers, whether members of Duke it was.' Letters, ix. 92.

after resigned his fellowship and lecture"; and as a token of his

gratitude gave the college a picture of their founder ?. 10 He was made rector of Chalton and Cleanville, two adjoining

towns and benefices in Hertfordshire 3, and had the prebends or sinecures of Deans, Hains, and Pendles in Devonshire. He had before been chosen, in 16984, preacher of Bridewell Hospital,

upon the resignation of Dr. Atterbury. 11 From this time he seems to have led a quiet and inoffensive life,

till the clamour was raised about Atterbury's plots. Every loyal eye was on the watch for abettors or partakers of the horrid conspiracy; and Dr. Yalden, having some acquaintance with the bishop, and being familiarly conversant with Kelly his secretary,

fell under suspicion, and was taken into custody. 12 Upon his examination he was charged with a dangerous corre

spondence with Kelly. The correspondence he acknowledged, but maintained that it had no treasonable tendency?. His papers were seized; but nothing was found that could fix a crime upon him except two words in his pocket-book, thorough-paced doctrine.' This expression the imagination of his examiners had impregnated with treason, and the doctor was enjoined to explain them. Thus pressed he told them that the words had lain unheeded in his pocket-book from the time of queen Anne, and that he was ashamed to give an account of them; but the truth was that he had gratified his curiosity one day by hearing Daniel Burgess in the pulpit, and those words were a memorial

* In 1708 he became D.D., and in 5 Post, POPE, 131. 1713 he resigned. Reg. of Mag. Coll. • Atterbury, in his defence before vi. 114. He could not hold his prefer the House of Lords on March 22, ments with his fellowship. Johnson, 1723, spoke of 'Mr. Kelly, my supin his Dictionary, does not give posed amanuensis,' and added :lecture in the sense of lectureship. That he is no stranger to me I own;

2 William of Waynflete. This but that he is in any degree intimate painting, placed over the High Table with me, or frequently saw me, I in the Hall, has no pretensions to be deny.' Atterbury Corres. ed. 1783, a correct portrait of the Founder. ii. 121, 138. Tradition states that some artist was 7 Motte, the bookseller, describing employed to pourtray a representation to Swift in 1735 the examination of of an Anglo-Catholic Bishop of the another bookseller about a libel, 15th century.' Reg. of Mag. Coll. says :—'He made a confession, like vi. 114.

poor Dr. Yalden's, of all that he 3 He was made Rector of Chal knew, and more too.' Swift's Works, ton-cum-Clanfield in Hampshire.'_16. Johnson followed Jacob's Poet. Reg. 8 "When Burgess deafens all the ii. 239 in the names of the towns, listening press [tiness, but changed Hampshire into Hert With peals of most seraphic empfordshire.

GARTH, The Dispensary, iv. II. * In 1713. Reg.of Mag. Coll.vi. 114. 'He knows very well that to brawi

xviii. 320.

hint of a remarkable sentence by which he warned his congregation to 'beware of thorough-paced doctrine, that doctrine which coming in at one ear passes through the head, and goes out at the other 1.'

Nothing worse than this appearing in his papers and no 13 evidence arising against him, he was set at liberty ?

It will not be supposed that a man of this character attained 14 high dignities in the church ; but he still retained the friendship and frequented the conversation of a very numerous and splendid set of acquaintance. He died July 16, 1736, in the 66th year of his age 3

Of his poems many are of that irregular kind which, when he 15 formed his poetical character, was supposed to be Pindarick +. Having fixed his attention on Cowley as a model, he has attempted in some sort to rival him, and has written a Hymn to Darkness", evidently as a counter-part to Cowley's Hymn to Lightó.

This hymn seems to be his best performance, and is for the 16 most part imagined with great vigour and expressed with great propriety. I will not transcribe it. The seven first stanzas are good; but the third, fourth, and seventh are the best ; the eighth seems to involve a contradiction; the tenth is exquisitely beautiful?; the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth are partly

out “My beloved!" and the words

iv. 30m. “grace! regeneration! sanctifica Sixty-seventh year. Ante, YALtion ! a new light! the day! ay, my DEN, I n. 2. beloved, the day! or rather the night! Ante, COWLEY, 124; CONGREVE, the night is coming!” and “judg 44: ment will come when we least think Eng. Poets, xxxix. 7. [It appeared of it!" and so forth-He knows to first with eight other poems by him be vehement is the only way to come in Dryden's Miscellany Poems, 1693. at his audience.' SWIFT, The Tatler, Seven of his poems also are included No. 66.

in the volume of 1694.] Hearne called him that old Pres 6 Eng. Poets, vii. 259. byterian rogue.' Remains, i. 187. ? Southey, giving this Hymn in

"But above all other pernicious his Specimens (i. 334), says :- What doctrines, take heed and beware, my has been admired may possibly find beloved, of the thorough-paced doc- admirers again. The following is trine, that doctrine, I mean, which stanza x:coming in at one ear passes straight ‘Thou dost thy smiles impartially through the head, and out at the oppo bestow, site ear. Biog. Brit. p. 4379. [Both And know'st no difference here bein the Lives and Biog. Brit.'passes low; is printed 'paces.')

All things appear the same by thee, He was taken into custody on Tho' light distinction makes, thou March 26, 1723, and admitted to bail giv'st equality.' on April 12. Atterbury Corres.

« PreviousContinue »