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The Rev. I. V., who had formerly been in the army, informed me, that when young, and quartered with his regiment at Gibraltar, he had obtained leave of absence, and travelled into Spain, and elsewhere; and that in the South of France, during his wanderings, he lighted on a little deformed man, of the name of Joveau, who undertook to teach him Italian. It happened that Joveau called upon Mr. V., and saw on his table a copy of a book, well known as “the Marquess Beccaria's Essay on Crimes and Punishments;" when he observed, that there was no such author as Beccaria; but that he himself wrote the work, and in the titlepage assigned it to the Marguess. He also stated that he had been travelling companion and secretary to the celebrated Montesquieu, who would not allow him, he said, to attend him into England, because the people there were sarcastic, and would say that Mons. M. performed his journeys with a baboon for his comrade.
I was well acquainted with a Mr. Carroll, who was bred to the bar, and one day, in conversation, he told me the following fact. He, and some other young Irishmen, having assembled in a room at C.'s lodgings in the Temple, amused themselves by quoting, with enthusiastic admiration, various passages from a newly published poem, “The Deserted Village;"> (published in 1770;) when a stranger entered, and, in a strong Irish accent, introduced himself as a fellowcountryman, desirous of their encouragement in a forthcoming work of his, then in the
This they vociferously promised him; and afterwards tried to put his pretensions to the test ; asking him, among other questions, as they repeated portions of the fine poem which had enraptured them, when he would be able to write verses like those? He smiled, and replied that he believed he could already do so, for that he was the author of the lines they were pleased to applaud. And thus the parties became acquainted with the eccentric and gifted Oliver Goldsmith.
This really fine copy of verses has long been, and is incessantly printed and published as a Scotch song; and made to begin with the words “O Nanny, wilt thou gang wi' me." This incomparable absurdity is the doing of some sage member of that very enlightened body known as the Musical World. But they must be most heedless readers, or amazingly stupid persons, who can, for a moment, imagine this refined and purely English poem to relate, in any one circumstance, to Scotland, or to a fernale Scottish peasant, partly implied by the dairy-maid name, Nanny. The lines are avowedly addressed by Doctor Percy, an Englishman, to an English lady, to whom he was afterwards married. Whether or not the Bishop's wife was a person of elevated rank originally, is a point of no consequence: indisputably the lady of the
song is such. The song, so justly the theme of admiration, may be seen by others, as it was seen and approved of by Dodsley, (who probably had the copy by the permission of Percy himself,) in “ “Dodsley's Collection, London, 1766;" and there the first line stands
“O Nancy, wilt thou go with me.”
Unless the author of the verses had been a fool, he would not have defiled the opening stanza of a poem totally English elsewhere, with the silly Scottish vulgarism—“O Nanny-wult thou gong wi' me.”
This is the title of a work published by Pinkerton, and, no doubt, a very amusing compilation; but it is probably, in many parts, unfaithful. There is in it,
one unpardonable instance of falsification on the part of the editor, who makes Horace Walpole say that he was a play-fellow of Lady M. Wortley Montagu, when both were children. Horace Walpole was born in 1718, the year in which Lady M. W. Montagu's daughter, and her second child, came into the world.
PRIOR'S LIFE OF OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
Mr. Prior says, page 10, vol. i. London, 1837, “At Pallas, Oliver Goldsmith was born, November 10, 1728.” The name of Goldsmith's birth-place should be written Pallis, not Pallas, as in Prior's book, and in the inscription in Westminster Abbey; a mistake in spelling which has caused a miserable play upon the word, by the translator of Johnson's Latin epitaph, who observes that the poet was born where Pallas had set her name. I have transcribed the word Pallis from a leaf of the family Bible confided to me, and from the hand-writing of Oliver Goldsmith's father.
Page 22 of vol. i. Mr. P. thus expresses himself: "writes Doctor Strean, Rector of Athlone, &c.” The Reverend Annesley Strean, who died in 1837, at nearly ninety years of age, was never Rector of Athlone. He held the perpetual cure of St. Peter's, in that town. He was Doctor of Medicine, not D.D.
In a note to page 102, Mr. Prior says, "the Reverend Doctor Strean, in an ‘Essay on Light Reading,' by the Reverend Edward Mangin; who has