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infirmities and faults, that meekness under all calamities, that equanimity under all changes and chances, and the 'whole train of kindred virtues, whatever names they bear, proved my best education; and in the end,' he added with sound philosophy, 'these are the thoughts and feelings which have reclaimed us from all the errors of life.'
And why were they so enforced in that charming book, but because the writer had undergone them all; because they had reclaimed himself, not from the world's errors only, but also from its suffering and care; and because his own Life and Adventures had been the same chequered and beautiful romance of the triumph of good over evil.
Though what is called worldly success, then, was not attained by Goldsmith, it may be that the way to happiness was not missed wholly. The sincere and sad biographer of Savage, might have profited by the example. His own benefit' he had not successfully · endeavoured,' when the gloom of his early life embittered life to the last, and the trouble he had endured was made excuse for a sorrowful philosophy, and for manners that were an outrage to the kindness of his heart. Goldsmith had borne what Johnson bore. Of the calamities to which the literary life is subject,
* Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the gaol,' none had been spared to him. But they found him, and left him, gentle ; and though the discipline that taught him charity had little contributed to his social ease, by unfeigned sincerity and unaffected simplicity of heart he diffused every social
enjoyment. When his conduct least agreed with his writings, these characteristics failed him not. What he gained, was the gain of others; what he lost, concerned only himself; he suffered, but he never inflicted, pain. Insensibility was what he wanted most; and it is amazing to think how small an amount of it would have exalted Doctor Goldsmith's position in the literary circles of his day. He lost caste because he could not acquire it. He could not assume the habit of indifference, or trade upon the gravity of his own repute. Admirers in a room, whom his entrance had 'struck with
awe,' might be seen 'riding out upon his back. It was hard, he said to Reynolds, that literary fame should intercept people's liking and fondness; and for this, no doubt, he forfeited much dignity and fame. L'He is an inspired idiot,' cried Walpole. “He does not know the difference of a turkey from 'a goose,' said Cumberland. “Sir,' shouted Johnson, he knows nothing. He has made up his mind about nothing.' Few cared to think or speak of him but as little Goldy, honest Goldy; and every one laughed at him for the oddity of his blunders, and the awkwardness of his manners.
But I invite the reader to his Life and Adventures. No uninstructive explanation of all this may possibly await us there. We will together review the scene, and move among its actors as they play their parts.
1756. (February) In England 57
Apothecary's Journeyman 59
Press-corrector for Samuel
Attempts a tragedy
- Usher to the Peckham Academy 63
1757. (April) Undertakes to write re-
An Author's prospects
Origin of Grub-Street
Horace Walpole and young
The fashionable literature. 73
The Connoisseur of Thornton
Hopeless of Literature. 103
-Introduced to Mr. Percy
November 29) Close of the
(December, Smollett and New.
bery in Green Arbour Court 213
A Daily Paper then and now
Griffiths swallows the leek .