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don as a literary lion, and was annoyed, at what he considered a slight, on the part of Lord Camden. He complained of it on his return to town at a party of his friends. “ I met him,” said he, • at Lord Clare's house in the country ; and he took no more notice of me than if I had been an ordinary man.” “ The company,” says Boswell, " laughed heartily at this piece of diverting simplicity.'” And foremost among the laughers was doubtless the rattle-pated Boswell. Johnson, however, stepped forward, as usual, to defend the poet, whom he would allow no one to assail but himself; perhaps in the present instance he thought the dignity of literature itself involved in the question. “ Nay, gentlemen,” roared he, “ Dr. Goldsmith is in the right. A nobleman ought to have made up to such a man as Goldsmith, and I think it is much against Lord Camden that he neglected him."
After Goldsmith's return to town he received from Lord Clare a present of game, which he has celebrated and perpetuated in his amusing verses entitled the “ Haunch of Venison.” Some of the lines pleasantly set forth the embarrassment caused by the appearance of such an aristocratic delicacy in the humble kitchen of a poet, accustomed to look up to mutton as a treat :
“ Thanks, my lord, for your venison; for finer or fatter
AN EMBARRASSING BLUNDER.
I had thought in my chambers to place it in view,
But hang it - to poets, who seldom can eat,
We have an amusing anecdote of one of Goldsmith's blunders which took place on a subsequent visit to Lord Clare's, when that nobleman was residing in Bath.
Lord Clare and the Duke of Northumberland had houses next to each other, of similar architec
Returning home one morning from an early walk, Goldsmith, in one of his frequent fits of absence, mistook the house, and walked up into the Duke's dining-room, where he and the Duchess were about to sit down to breakfast. Goldsmith, still supposing himself in the house of Lord Clare, and that they were visitors, made them an easy salutation, being acquainted with them, and threw himself on a sofa in the lounging manner of a man perfectly at home. The Duke and Duchess soon perceived his mistake, and, while they smiled internally, endeavored, with the considerateness of well-bred people, to prevent any awkward embarrassment.
They accordingly chatted sociably with him about matters in Bath, until, breakfast being served, they invited him to partake. The truth at once flashed upon poor heedless Goldsmith; he started up from his free-and-easy position, made a confused apology for his blunder, and would have retired perfectly disconcerted, had not the Duke and Duchess treated the whole as a lucky occurrence to throw him in their way, and exacted a promise from him to dine with them.
Dinner at the Royal Academy. - The Rowley Controversy.
Horace Walpole's Conduct to Chatterton.- Johnson at Redcliffe Church. — Goldsmith's History of England. Davies's Criticism. — Letter to Bennet Langton.
N St. George's day of this year (1771),
the first annual banquet of the Royal
Academy was held in the exhibitionroom; the walls of which were covered with works of art, about to be submitted to public inspection. Sir Joshua Reynolds, who first suggested this elegant festival, presided in his official character; Drs. Johnson and Goldsmith, of course, were present, as Professors of the academy; and, beside the academicians, there was a large number of the most distinguished men of the day as guests.
Goldsmith on this occasion drew on himself the attention of the company by launching out with enthusiasm on the poems recently given to the world by Chatterton, as the works of an ancient author by the name of Rowley, discovered in the tower of Redcliffe Church, at Bristol. Goldsmith spoke of them with rapture, as a treasure of old English poetry. This immediately raised the question of their authenticity ; they having been pronounced a forgery of Chatterton's. Goldsmith was warm for their being
genuine. When he considered, he said, the merit of the poetry, the acquaintance with life and the human heart displayed in them, the antique quaintness of the language and the familiar knowledge of historical events of their supposed day, he could not believe it possible they could be the work of a boy of sixteen, of narrow education, and confined to the duties of an attorney's office. They must be the productions of Rowley.
Johnson, who was a stout unbeliever in Rowley, as he had been in Ossian, rolled in his chair and laughed at the enthusiasm of Goldsmith. Horace Walpole, who sat near by, joined in the laugh and jeer as as he found that the “ trouvaille,” as he called it, “ of his friend Chatterton”
was in question. This matter, which had excited the simple admiration of Goldsmith, was no novelty to him, he said. “ He might, had he pleased, have had the honor of ushering the great discovery to the learned world.” And so he might, had he followed his first impulse in the matter, for he himself had been an original believer; had pronounced some specimen verses sent to him by Chatterton wonderful for their harmony and spirit ; and had been ready to print them and publish them to the world with his sanction. When he found, however, that his unknown correspondent was a mere boy, humble in sphere and indigent in circumstances, and when Gray and Mason pronounced the poems forgeries, he had changed his whole conduct towards the unfortunate author, and by his neglect and coldness had dashed all his sanguine hopes to the ground.