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I few select friends paying the last sad offices to In addition to this eulogium on the literary qua. lais remains. A short time afterwards, however, lities of his friend, Johnson afterwards honoured the members of the Literary Club suggested, and his memory with the following tet rastick in Greek, zealously promoted, a subscription to defray the expense of a monument to his memory. The neces
Το ταφον είσοραας του Ολιβαριοιο, κονην sary funds were soon realized, and the chisel of
Αφρoσι μη σμran, Ξινε, πωισσι πατι Nollekens was employed to do honour to the poet.
Οισι μιμηλι φυσις μετρων χαρις, έργα παλαιων The desigas and workmanship of this memorial
KOGNITI TOMTNI, iotopinoy, quo ixor. were purposely simple and inexpensive. It was "Thou beholdest the tomb of Oliver! press not, O stranger, erected in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, with the foot of folly, the venerable dust Ye who care for between the monument of Gay and that of the
nature, for the charms of song, for the deeds of ancient day Duke of Argyll. On this occasion, the statuary
weep for the historian, the naturalist, the poet." is admitted to have produced a good likeness of the The general cast of Goldsmith's figure and phyperson commemorated. The bust of Goldsmith is siognomy was not engaging, and the impression exhibited in a large medallion, embellished with made by his writings, on the mind of a stranger, literary ornaments, underneath which is a tablet of white marble , with the following Latin inscription propese them to him! At last it was hinted, that there could was not confirmed by the external graces of their consistent with probability. The truth, however, author. In stature he was somewhat under the may have been, that Goldsmith, having constant. midddle size; his body was strongly built, and his ly before him the example of extraordinary corrlimbs, as one of his biographers expresses it, were versational abilities in Johnson, either from the more sturdy than elegant. His forehead was low. spirit of competition, or the ambition to excel in and more prominent than is usual ; his complexion such a fascinating talent, was tempted to a frepallid; his face almost round, and pitted with the quent display of his own powers in the same line. small-pox. His first appearance was therefore by Our excessive anxiety to do any thing well, often no means captivating: yet the general lineaments defeats the end we have in view; and it is not unof his countenance bore the stamp of intellect, and likely that, on such occasions, this was the fate of exhibited traces of deep thinking; and when he Goldsmith. Yet, notwithstanding all his mistakes, grew easy and cheerful in company, he relaxed in- he had gleams of eloquence; and, although Mr. to such a display of benevolent good-humour, as Boswell studies to make him a foil to Johnson, soon removed every unfavourable impression. His there are instances among the conversations repleasantry in company, however, sometimes de- ported by that gentleman, where Goldsmith shines generated into buffoonery; and this circumstance, as the most rational and elegant interlocutor of the coupled with the inelegance of his person and de- whole. Hence it is reasonable to conclude, that portment, often prevented him from appearing to the accounts which have been transmitted of the so much advantage as might have been expected weakness or absurdity of Goldsmith's conversation from his learning and genius.
be no way so good as that of a Round Robin, as the sailora by Dr. Johnson.
call in which they make ux of when they enter into a conspiOLIVARI GOLDSMITH,
racy, so as not to let it be known who puts his name first or
last to the paper. This proposition was instantly arsenied 105 Poetæ, Physici, Historiei,
and Dr. Barnard, dean of Derry, now bishop of Killaloe, drew Qui nullum ferè scribendi genus
up an address to Dr. Johnson on the occasion, replete with wit non tetigil,
and humour, but which, it was feared, the Doctor might think Nullum quod teugit non ornavit:
created the subject with too much levity. Mr. Burke then proSive risus essent movendi,
posed the address as it stands in the paper in writing (the paSive lacrymæ,
per was enclosed,] to which I had the honour w officiate as Affectuum polens at lenis dominator:
clerk Ingenio sublimis, vividus, versatilis,
“Sir Joshua agreed to carry it to Dr. Johnson, who received Oratione grandis, nitidus, venustus:
it with much good-humour, and desired Sir Joshua to tell the Iloc monumento memoriam coluit
gentlemen that he would alter the epitaph in any manner they Sodalium amor,
pleased, as to the sense of it; but he would never consent to Amicorum fides,
disgrace the toalls of Westminster Abbey with an English Lectorurn veneratio.
inscription. I consider this Round Robin," continues Sit Natus in Hiberniâ Forniæ Longsordiensis, William, “ as a species of literary curiosity worth preserving, In loco cui nomen Pallas,
as it marks, in a certain degree, Dr. Johnson's character." Nov. xxix, MDCCXXXL
The following transcript of is, as given by Mr. Boswell, may Eblanæ literis institutus.
gratisy such of our readers as are curious in literary anecdote. Obiit Londini,
We, the circumscribers, having read with great pleasure an April. iv. MDCCLXXIV.'
intended epitaph for the monument of Dr. Goldsmith, which,
considered abstractedly, appears to be, for elegant composi. *This Latin inscription having been undertaken at the sug. tion and masterly style, in every respect worthy of the pen gestion of a meeting which took place in the house of Mr. of its learned author, are yet or opinion, that the character Cumberland, when some members of the Literary Club were of the deceased, as a writer, particularly as a puel, is perpresen, Johnson, either out of deference to them, or from the haps not delineated with all the exactness which Dr. Johncarelessness and modesty which characterised him as to his son is capable of giving it. We, therefore, with deference own writings submitted the composition to the revisal of Sir to his superior judgment, humbly request that he would as Joshua Reynolds, with a request to show it afterwards to the least take the trouble of revising il, and of making such adClub for their approval. “I have been kept away from you,”
diuions and allerations as he shall think proper, upon a fur. ways he, in a card to Sir Joshua, “I know not well how; and ther perusal. But if we might venture to express our wishes, of these vexatious hindrances I know not when there will be they would lead us to request, that he would write the epi. an end. I therefore send you the poor dear Docwr's epitaph. taph in English, rather than in Latin; as we think that the Read it first yourself; and, if you then think it right, show il la memory of so eminent an English writer ought to be perpetuthe Club. I am, you know, willing to be corrected. If you think ated in the language to which his works are likely to be so any thing much amiss, keep it to yourself till we come to
Jasting an ornament, which we also know to have been the gether." The epitaph was accordingly laid before the Club opinion of the late Doctor himself. soon afterwards, and though no alteration was made, yet it The circumscribers to this curious remonstrance, agreeably gave rise to a great deal of discussion, and was productive of co their respective signatures, were as follows: viz-Edm. a curious literary jeu d'esprit, not only singular in itself, but Burke, Tho. Franklin, Ant Chamier, G. Colman, Win. Vackremarkable for the celebrated names connected with it. ell
, J. Reynolds, W. Forbes, T. Barnard, R. B. Sheridan, P. “This jeu d'esprit," says Sir William Forbes, in a letter to Metcalfe, E. Gibbon, Jos. Warton. This hasty composition, Mr. Boswell, "wok iu rise one day at dinner at our friend Sir as remarked by Mr. Boswell, is one of the thousand instances Joshua Reynolds'e. All the company presens, except myself, which evince the extraordinary promptitude of Mr. Burke, were friends and acquaintance of Dr. Goldsmith. The epi- who, while he was equal to the greatest things, could adora Laph, written for him by Dr. Johnson, became the subject of the least; could with equal facility embrace the vast and comconservation, and various emendations were suggested, which plicated speculations of politice, or the ingenious topics of It was a greed should be submitted to the Locior's considera- literary investigation. It is also an eminert proof of the re kell. Dul Liu question hik, Who should bave the courage wverence with which Jolinson was regarded by some of the
are greatly overcharged. Be that as it may, if the The aptitude of Goldsmith to blunder in conver- conversation of Goldsmith was so confused and sation has excixed considerable surprise when con- inaccurate as has been generally reported, it is an trasted with his powers as a writer. His literary eminent instance, among many others, in which associates used to be struck with the disparity, and the conversation of literary men has been found some of them puzzled themselves to account for it. strikingly unequal to their works. It forms also Sir Joshua Reynolds once mentioned that he had an illustration of the observation of Cicero, that it frequently heard Goldsmith talk warmly of the is very possible for a man to think rightly, and yes pleasure of being liked, and observe how hard it want the power of conveying his sentiments in be would be if literary excellence should preclude a coming language: "Fieri potest ut recte quis senman from that satisfaction, which he perceived ittiat, sed id quod sentit polite eloqui non possit." often did, from the envy that attended it. "I am, Perhaps the chief fault of Goldsmith in conversatherefore, convinced,” said Sir Joshua, "that he tion, as has been remarked by one of his biograwas often intentionally absurd in conversation, in phers, lay in his being always overhurried; so that order to lessen himself in social intercourse, trust- he was too apt to speak without reflection, and ing that his character would be sufficiently sup- without a sufficient knowledge of the subject. He ported by his works.” But this appears to be the himself humorously used to remark, that he always excess of refinement in conjecture; and Mr. Bos argued best when he argued alone. The same well's reason, which ascribed it to Goldsmith's circumstance was noticed by Johnson, and gave “vanity, and an eager desire to be conspicuous rise to the observation, "that no man was more wherever he was," though less charitable, is more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more
wise when he had.” ablest men of his time, in various departments, and even by
If it must be admitted that Goldsmith had no puch of them as lived most with him. Although Johnson was in great good-humour with the pro
talent for oral display, it will not be disputed that duction as a jeu d'esprit, yet, on seeing Dr. Warton's name to in the solitude of the closet, “when he argued the suggestion that the epitaph should be in English, he ob- alone,” he was almost unrivalled. A celebrated verved to Sir Joshua, "I wonder that Joe Warton, a scholar by critic remarked of him, that “whatever he comprofession, should be such a fool.” He said 100, "I should have thought Mund Burke would have had more sense.” Mr. posed, he did it better than any other man could.” Langton, who was one of the company at Sir Joshua's, like a It has been objected to the moral essays of GoldBurdy scholar, resolutely refused to sign the Round Robin. smith, that they present life under a gloomy as On another occasion, when somebody endeavoured to argue pect, and leave an impression of despondency ou in favour of is being in English, Johnson said, “The Lan, the mind of the reader. Whether to paint life as guage of the country of which a learned man was a native, is it is, be a fault in a writer, is a question that will not the language tit for his epitaph, which should be in ancient and pernu neni language. Consider, sir, how you shoull feel admit of a considerable dispute; but it will not be were you to find ai Rotterdam an epicaph on Erasmus in denied, that when he pictures the woes and vani. Dutch" Perhaps on this subject Mr. Boswell's suggestion is ties of existence, he only repeats the lessons of ex
“For my part," says he, “I think it would be pro perience. It ought also to be recollected that ax per to have epitaphs writen both in a learned language and in the language of the country, so that they might have the ad. author's writings are generally a transcript of his valitage of being more universally understood, and, at the own feelings. If the moral productions of Gold. wide kni, be secured of classical stability,"
sunith are sometimes gloomy and Jespondent, we
should take into account the circumstances under again.” A similar impression, or something anawhich they were written:-when he was obscure logous to it, is felt by every reader of the poetry and friendless, oppressed with want, sick of the of Goldsmith. His course has been through a rich past, and almost despairing of the future. The and highly cultivated country, whére sweet fruits language of his prose works, in general, is admitted and fragrant flowers regaled his senses at every step; to be a model of perfection. His very enemies where every object that he passed was blooming in used to acknowledge the superiority of his taste in beauty, and pregnant with interest; and where he composition, and the unrivalled excellenoe of his himself never for a moment felt any intermission style. It was not without reason, therefore, that of enjoyment. Johnson at one time exclaimed, “Where is there From the characteristics of the poet we turn to now a man who can pen an essay with such ease the qualities of the man. Goldsmith was mild and and elegance as Goldsmith ?”
gentie in his manners, warm in his friendships, In poetry Goldsmith confessedly shines with and active in his charity and benevolence. So great lustre. Bul, viewing him as a scholar, it is strongly did he use to be affected by compassion, surprising how little of his imagery is drawn from that he has been known at midnight to abandon reminiscences of the classics. His verses are ut- his rest in order to procure relief and an asylum terly void of the machinery of ancient polytheism, for a poor dying object who was left destitute in and scarcely a single mythological person is ever the streets. The humanity of his disposition was invoked by him. In truth, he seems to have had manifested on every occasion that called for its exno partiality for the family of gods, goddesses, and ercise ; and so large was his liberality, that his last demi-gads, and to have discarded as useless the guinea was the general boundary of his munifiwhole race of fauns, satyrs, dryads, and hamadry-cence. He had two or three poor authors always ads. He is one of those who seek to please chiefly as pensioners, besides several widows and puor by an exhibition of nature in her simplest and housekeepers; and when he happened to have no zaost familiar views. From these he selects his money to give the latter, he sent them away with objects with equal taste and discretion; and in no shirts or old clothes, and sometimes with the coninstance does he ever represent what would excite tents of his breakfast table, saying, with a smile of disgust, or cause pain. In the poetry of Goldsmith satisfaction after they were gone, "Now let me there is nothing that strikes us as merely ideal. suppose I have eaten a heartier breakfast than Every thing is clear, distinct, and palpable. His usual, and I am nothing out of pocket." His gevery imagery is tangible. He draws it from ob- nerosity, it is true, used often to be carried to exjects that act at once upon the senses, and the cess. He gave frequently on the mere impulse of reader is never for a moment at a loss to discover the moment, and without discrimination. If the its application. It is this that makes Goldsmith so applicants for his bounty were poor and friendless, easily understood, and so generally admired. His it was all that he asked to know. Like his own poetical landscapes and portraits are so many tran- village pastor, he overflowed with benevolence, and scripts from living nature; while every image, every "Careless their merits or their faults to scan, thought, and every sentiment connected with them, His pily gave ere charity began." bave a corresponding expression of unaffected truth This profuse and undistinguishing liberality has and simplicity. It was said of him by Mr. Bos- sometimes been imputed to him as a fault; but it well, that “his mind resembled a fertile but thin at least attested the excellence of his intentions soil; there was a quick, but not a strong vegetation and the kindness of his heart. The humanity and of whatever chanced to be thrown upon it. No benevolence, however, that characterised the poet's deep root could be struck. The oak of the forest disposition, were unhappily contaminated by a did not grow there; but the elegant shrubbery, jealousy of the attainments and the reputation of and the fragrant parterre, appeared in gay suc- others. He was feelingly conscious of this failing, cession.” This is a poetical description, and, with and often used to complain of the uneasiness it cost some limitation, may be admitted as an approach him. In the minds of those who heard him on to the truth. The characteristics of Goldsmith's such occasions, all sense of the evil passion was poetry are ease, softness, and beauty. He can be lost in their amusement at the novelty and simplicommended for the elegance of his imagery, the city of his confessions. Vanity was another of the depth of his pathos and the flow of his numbers. weaknesses of Goldsmith; but it was rather amus He is uniformly tender and impressive, but rarely ing than offensive in its operation. He was vain sublime. The commendation which he himself of his literary consequence, as was strongly discohas bestowed on the poetry of Parnell may justly vered in the complaint he once made with regard be applied to his own. “At the end of his course," to Lord Camden. "I met him,” said he, "at says he, "the reader regrets that his way has been Lord Clare's house in the country, and he took no so short; he wonders that it gave him so little more notice of me than if I had been an ordinary trouble; and so resolves to go the journey over man."
He had also the foible of being ambitious of eminent talent is united to spotless virtue, we are shining in such exterior accomplishments as nature awed and dazzled into admiration, but our admirahad denied him. This was whimsically illustrated tion is apt to be cold; while there is something in on one occasion, when he arrayed himself in a the harmless infirmities of poor human nature that bloom-coloured coat, and sported his ungainly pleads touchingly to the feelings, and the heart figure, with great self-complacency, in the sunshine yearns towards the object of our admiration, when in the Temple gardens. He declared to his friends, we find that, like ourselves, he is mortal, and is that his tailor was so confident of the impression frail. The epithet so often heard, and in such he should make, that he had entreated him to in- kindly tones, of “poor Goldsmith,” speaks volumes. form all inquirers of the name of the maker of the Few, who consider the rich compound of admiracoat.
ble and whimsical qualities which form his characSuch is the amount of information which we ter, would wish to prune away its eccentricities, have procured concerning Goldsmith; and we have trim its grotesque luxuriance, and clip it down to given it almost precisely in the words in which we the decent formalities of rigid virtue. “Let not found it. From the general tenor of his biography, his frailties be remembered," said Johnson, "he it is evident that Goldsmith was one whose faults was a very great man.” But, for our parts, we were at the worst but negative, not positive vices, rather say, “let them be remembered;" for we while his merits were great and decided. He was question whether he himself would not feel gratino one's enemy but his own, his errors inflicted fied in hearing his reader, after dwelling with adevil on none but himself, and were so blended with miration on the proofs of his greatness, close the humorous, and even affecting circumstances, as to volume with the kind hearted phrase, so fondly and disarm anger and conciliate kindness. Where familiarly ejaculated, of “Poor GOLDSMITIL”
The Vicar of Wakefield.
lent contriver in housekeeping; though I could
never find that we grew richer with all her conThere are a hundred faults in this thing, and a
trivances. Lundred things might be said to prove them beau
However, we loved each other tenderly, and our ties. But it is needless. A book may be amusing fondness increased as we grew old. There was, in with numerous errors, orit may be very dull without fact, nothing that could make us angry with the a single absurdity. The hero of this piece unites in world or each other. We had an elegant house himself the three greatest characters upon earth. situated in a fine country, and a good neighbourHe is a priest, a husbandman, and the father of a hood. The year was spent in moral or rural family. He is drawn as ready to teach, and ready amusements, in visiting our rich neighbours, and to obey; as simple in affluence, and majestic in relieving such as were poor. We had no revoluadversity. In this age of opulence and refinement, tions to fear, nor fatigues to undergo; all our adwhom can such a character please? Such as are ventures were by the fire-side, and all our migrafond of high life, will turn with disdain from the tions from the blue bed to the brown. simplicity of his country fire-side. Such as mis
As we lived near the road, we often had the take ribaldry for humour, will find no wit in his traveller or stranger visit us to taste our gooseberry harmless conversation; and such as have been taught to deride religion, will laugh at one whose wine, for which we had great reputation; and 1
profess with the veracity of an historian, that I chief stores of comfort are drawn from futurity.
never knew one of them find fault with it. Our OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
cousins too, even to the fortieth remove, all remem
bered their affinity, without any help from th CHAPTER I.
herald's office, and came very frequently to see us.
Some of them did us no great honour by these The description of the family of Wakefield, in which a kin. claims of kindred; as we had the blind, the maim dred likeness prevails, as well of minds as of persons.
ed, and the halt amongst the number. However, I was ever of opinion, that the honest man who my wife always insisted, that as they were the married and brought up a large family, did more same flesh and blood, they should sit with us at service than he who continued single and only the same table. So that if we had not very rich, talked of a population. From this motive, I had we generelly had very happy friends about us; for scarcely taken orders a year, before I began to think this remark will hold good through life, that the seriously of matrimony, and chose my wife, as she poorer the guest, the better pleased he ever is with did her wedding-gown, not for a fine glossy sur- being treated: and as some men gaze with admira. face, but for such qualities as would wear well. tion at the colours of a tulip, or the wings of a but To do her justice, she was a good-natured notable terfly, so I was by nature an admirer of happy hu woman; and as for breeding, there were few coun- man faces. However, when any one of our rela try ladies who could show more. She could real tions was found to be a person of very bad charac any English book without much spelling; but for ter, a troublesome guest, or one we desired to get pickling, preservi“g, and cookery, none could excel rid of, upon his leaving my house, I ever took care ker. She prideu herself also upon being an excel. Ito lend him a riding-coat, or a pair of boots se