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tack nearly two years before, but then they were administered by Dr. James himself in person. This happened in September 1772. But now the progress of the disease was as unfavourable as possible ; for from the time above mentioned every symptom became more and more alarming, till Monday, April 4th, when he died, aged forty-five.”
His remains were privately interred in the Temple burial-ground, on Saturday, April 9th ; but afterwards, by a subscription raised among his friends, and chiefly by his brethren of the club, a marble monument was erected to his memory in West. minster Abbey, with an inscription by Dr. Johnson, the history of which the reader may find in Boswell's Life, where are likewise many curious traits of our poet's variegated character.
“ He was,” adds his biographer, “ generous in the extreme, and so strongly affected by compassion, that he has been known at midnight to abandon his rest, in order to procure relief and an asylum for a poor dying object who was left dcstitute in the streets. Nor was there ever a mind whose general feelings were more benevolent and friendly. He is however supposed to have been often soured by jealousy or envy, and many little instances are mentioned of this tendency in his character : but whatever appeared of this kind was a mere momen• tary sensation, which he knew not how like other men to conceal: it was never the result of principle, or the suggestion of reflection : it never em bittered his heart, nor influenced his conduct. Nothing could be more amiable than the ge. neral features of his mind : those of his person were not perhaps so engag. ing.
“ His stature was under the middle size, his body strongly built, and his limbs more sturdy than elegant; his complexion was pale, his forehead low, his face almost round and pitted with the small-pox, but marked with strong lines of thinking. His first appearance was not captivating : but when he grew easy and cheerful in company, he relaxed into such a display of good-humour as soon removed every unfavourable impression.
66 Yet it must be acknowledged that in company he did not appear to so much advantage as might have been expected from his genius and talents. He was too apt to speak without reflection, and without a sufficient knowledge of the subject: which made Johnson observe of him, “No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had.” Indeed with all his defects, (to conclude nearly in the words of that great critic) “ as a writer he vas of the most distinguished abilities. Whatever he composed he did it better than any other man could. And whether we consider him as a poet, as a comic writer, or as an historian (so far as regards his powers of composition), he was one of the first writers of his time, and will ever stand in the foremost class."
Although this charaeter may be thought in some respects exaggerated, it cannot be denied that the indelible stamp of genius rests on his Vicar of Wakefield; and on his poems, The Traveller, Deserted Village; and Edwin and Angelina. In description, pathos, and even sublimity, he has not been exceeded by any of the poets of his age, except that in the latter quality he 'must yield to Gray. But it is unnecessary to enter into a minute examination of poems whose popularity for 30
many years has known no abatement. Those who wish to ascertain his precise rank among English poets will find many valuable remarks in an Essay on the Poetry of Goldsmith, by Dr. Aikin, prefixed to a beautiful edition of his poems published in 1804; and in a Critica! Life of Dr. Goldsmith, by Mr.Egerton Brydges, in the fifth volume of his Censura Literaria.
The present edition of his poems is copied from the octavo principally, with the addition of the Threnodia Augustalis, a piece which has hitherto escaped the re. searches of his editors. It is now printed from a copy given by the author to his friend Joseph Cradock, esq. of Gumley, author of Zobeide, &c. and obligingly lent to me by Mr. Nichols. If it adds little to his fame, it exhibits a curious instance of the facility with which he gratified his employers on a very short notice,
the powerful, it is still in greater danger from THE TRAVELLER: OR, A PRO- the mistaken efforts of the learned to improve SPECT OF SOCIETY.
it. What criticisms have we not heard of late
in favour of blank verse, and Pindaric odes, FIRST PRINTED IN 1765.
chorusses, anapests and iambics, alliterative care, and happy negligence! Every absurdity has
now a champion to defend it; and as he is geTO THE REV. HENRY GOLDSMITH. nerally much in the rong, so he has always
much to say; for errour is ever talkative.
But there is an enemy to this art still more I Am sensible that the friendship between us dangerous, 1 mean party. Party entirely distorts can acquire no new force from the ceremonies the judgment, and destroys the taste. When of a dedication; and perhaps it demands an the mind is once infected with this disease, it excuse thus to prefix your name to my attempts, can oniy find pleasure in what contributes to which you decline giving with your own. But increase the distemper. Like the tiger, that as a part of this poem was formerly written to seldom desists from pursuing man after havingt you from Switzerland, the whole can now, with once preyed upon human flesh, the reader, who propriety, be only inscribed to you. It will also has once gratified his appetite with calumny, throw a light upon many parts of it, when the makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon reader understands that it is addressed to a man, murdered reputation. Such readers generally who, despising fame and fortune, has retired admire some half-witted thing, who wants to be early to happiness and obscurity, with an income thought a bold man, having lost the character of forty pounds a year.
of a wise one. Him they dignify with the name I now perceive, my dear brother, the wisdom of poet : his tawdry lampoons are called satires, of your humble choice. You have entered upon his turbulence is said to be force, and his phrenzy a sacred office; where the harvest is great, and fire. the labourers are but few; while you have left What reception a poem may find, which has the field of ambition, where the labourers are neither abuse, party, nor blank verse, to support many, and the harvest not worth carrying away. it, I cannot tell, nor am I solicitous to know. But of all kinds of ambition, what from the re- My aims are right. Without espousing the cause finement of the times, from different systems of of any party, I have attempted to moderate the criticism, and from the divisions of party, that rage of all. I have endeavoured to show, that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest. there may be equal happiness in states that are
Poetry makes a principal amusement among differently governed from our own ; that every unpolished nations; but in a country verging state has a particular principle of happiness, and to the extremes of refinement, painting and mu- thac this principle in each may be carried to a sic come in for a share. As these offer the fee- mischievous excess. There are few can judge ble mind a less laborious entertainment, they at better than yourself how far these positions are first rival poetry, and at length supplant her, illustrated in this poem. they engross all that favour once shewn to her, and, though but younger sisters, seize upon the
dear sir, elder's birth-right.
your most affectionate brotler, Yet, however this art may be neglected by
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease: Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow, The naked Negro, panting at the line, Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po; Boasts of his golden sands, and palmy wine, Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor Basks in the glare or stems the tepid wave, Against the houseless stranger shuts the door ; And thanks his gods for all the good they gave Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies, Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam, A weary waste expanding to the skies;
His first, best country, ever is at home. Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see, And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare, My heart, untravell’d, fondly turns to thee: And estimate the blessings which they sbare, Still to my brother turns with ceaseless pain, Though patriots flatter, still shal) wisdom fiod And drags at each remove a length’ning chain, An equal portion dealt to all mankind:
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend, As diff'rent good, by art or Nature gir'n And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; To diff'rent nations, makes their blessings er'a Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire Nature, a mother kind alike to all, To pause from toil, and trim their ev'ning fire ; Still grants her bliss at labour's earnest call; Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, With food as well tlie peasant is supply'd And ev'ry stranger finds a ready chair;
On Idra's cliff as Arnu's shelry side; Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crowu'd, And though the rocky-crested summits frown, Where all the ruddy family around
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down. Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail, From art more various are the blessings sent; Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale; Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content :* Or press the bashful stranger to his food, Yet these each other's pow'r so strong contest, And learn the luxury of doing good.
That either seems destructive of the rest. But me, not destin'd such delights to share, Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment My prime of life in wand'ring spent and care;
(vails. Impell’d with steps unceasing to pursue [view; | And honour sinks where commerce long preSume fleeting good, that mocks me with the Hence ev'ry state, to one lor'd blessing prone, That, like the circle bounding earth and skies, Conforms and models life to that alone: Allures from far, yet, as I follow, Aies;
Each to the fav'rite happir ess attends, My fortune leads to traverse realms alone, And spurns the plan that aims at other ends; And find no spot of all the world my own. Till, carried to excess in each domain,
Ev'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend, This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain. I sit me down a pensive hour to spend ;
But let us try these truths with closer eyes, And plac'd on high above the storm's career, And trace them through the prospect as it lies: Look downward where an hundred realms ap- Here for a while, my proper cares resign'd, pear;
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind; Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide, Like yon neglected shrub, at random cast, The pomp of kings, the shepherd's bumbler pride. That shades the steep, and sighs at ev'ry blast.
When thus creation's charms around combine, Far to the right, where Appennine ascends, Amidst the store should thankless pride repine ? Bright as the sommer, Italy extends : Say, should the philosophic mind disdain (vain? Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side, That good which makes each humbler bosom Woods over woods in gay theatric pride; Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can, While oft some temple's mould'ring tops beThese little things are great to little man;
tween And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
With memorable grandeur mark the scene. Exults in ah the good of all mankind.
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast, Ye glittring towns, with wealth and splendour | The sons of Italy were surely blest. crown'd,
(round, Whatever fruits in diff'rent climes are found, Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion That proudly rise or humbly court the ground; Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale, Whatever blooms jo torrid tracts appear, Ye bending swains, that dress the flow'ry vale, Whose bright succession decks the varied year; For me your tributary stores combine ;
Whatever sweets salate the northern sky Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine. With vernal lives, that blossom but to die;
As some lone miser, visiting his store, These here disporting own the kindred soil, Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er, Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ; Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill, While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still ; To wionow fragrance round the smiling land. Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,[plies : But small the bliss tbat sense alone bestows, Pleas'd with each good that Heav'n to man sup- and sensual bliss is all the nation knows. Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall, In florid beauty groves and fields appear, To see the hoard of human bliss so small; Man seems the only growth that dwindles Bere. And oft I wish, amidst the scene to find
Contrasted faults through all his manners oreign; Some 'spot to real happiness consign'd,
Though poor,luxurious; though submissive, vain; Where my wom soul, each wand'ring hope at rest, Though grave, yet trifling ; zealous, yet untree; May gather bliss, to see my fellows blest. And ev'nin penance planning sins anews
But where to find that happiest spot below, All evils here contaminate the mind, Who can direct, when all pretend to know? That opulence departed leares behind; The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone For wealth was theirs; not far remov'd the date, Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own; When commerce proudly flourish'd thro'the state;