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OLIVER GOLDSMITH, an eminent poet, and a mis- with uncommon favour. Although this was a oellaneous writer, was born in 1729, according to gainful year to him, yet thoughtless profusion, and one account, at Elphin ; according to another, at a habit of gaming, left him at its close considerably Pallas, in the county of Longford, Ireland. From | in debt. In the two succeeding years he supplied his father, who was a clergyman, he received a li- | the booksellers with a “ Grecian History," and terary education, and was sent at an early period to “ A History of the Earth and Animated Nature," Dublin College. Thence he was removed as a me- the last chiefly taken from Buffon. He had planned dical student to the University of Edinburgh, some other works, but these were cut off by his unwhere he continued from 1751 to the beginning of timely death. In March 1774 he was attacked 1754. From the slight tincture of science which with the symptoms of a low fever; and having he seems to have acquired, it is probable that he taken, upon his own judgment, an over-dose of a paid little attention to the studies of the place; and powerful medicine, he sunk under the disease, or the his necessity for quitting Edinburgh to avoid paying remedy, and died on the tenth day, April 4th. He a debt, said to have been contracted by a fellow was buried, with little attendance, in the Temple student, augurs but little for 'his moral character. | Church ; but a monument has since been raised With these unfavourable beginnings, in the midst of to his memory, with a Latin inscription by Dr. penury, he resolved to indulge his curiosity in a Johnson. visit to the continent of Europe ; and after a long Goldsmith was a man of little correctness either ramble, and various fortune, he found means to get in his conduct or his opinions, and is rather adback to England in 1758. For a considerable mired for his genius, and beloved for his benevotime he supported himself by his pen, in an obscure lence, than solidly esteemed. The best part of his situation, when, in 1765, he suddenly blazed out as character was a warmth of sensibility, which made a poet, in his “ Traveller; or, A Prospect of So- him ready to share his purse with the indigent, and ciety.” It was at the instigation of Dr. Johnson in his writings rendered him the constant advocate that he enlarged this piece, and finished it for pub- of the poor and oppressed. The worst feature was lication ; and that eminent critic liberally and justly a malignant envy and jealousy of successful rivals, said of it, that “ there had not been so fine a poem which he often displayed in a manner not less ridisince Pope's time." It was equally well received culous than offensive. He was one of those who by the public; and conferred upon Goldsmith a are happier in the use of the pen than the tongue ; celebrity which introduced him to some of the most his conversation being generally confused, and not distinguished literary characters of the time. seldom absurd ; so that the wits with whom he kepe
The poet continued to pursue his career, and in company seem rather to have made him their butt, 1766 was published his novel of the “ Vicar of than to bave listened to him as an equal. Yet, Wakefield,” which was received with deserved ap- perhaps, no writer of his time was possessed of plause, and has ever since borne a distinguished more true humour, or was capable of more poigrank among similar compositions. Some of his nancy in marking the foibles of individuals. This most pleasing and successful works in prose were talent he has displayed in a very amusing manner given to the world about this time; and he paid his in his unfinished poem of “ Retaliation," written respects to the Theatre, by a comedy entitled “ The as a kind of retort to the jocular attacks made upon Good-Natured Man," acted at Covent-Garden in him in the Literary Club. Under the masă of 1768, which, however, defects of plot, and igno-Epitaphs, he has given masterly sketches of some rance of dramatic effect, rendered not very success of the principal members, with a mixture of serious ful. His poetical fame reached its summit in 1770, praise and good-humoured raillery. It may indeed by the publication of “ The Deserted Village," a be said that the latter sometimes verges into tartdelightful piece, which obtained general admiration. ness, which is particularly the case with his delines
The price offered by the bookseller, amounting to tion of Garrick. nearly five shillings a couplet, appeared to Gold On the whole, his literary fame must be corisasmith so enormous, that he at first refused to take dered as rising the highest in the character of a it, but the sale of the poem convinced him that he poet, for it would be difficult, in the compass of might fairly appropriate to himself that sum out of English verse, to find pieces which are read with the profits. In 1772 he produced another co- more gratification than his Traveller and his Demedy, entitled “ She Stoops to Conquer; or, The serted Village. There are, besides, his elegant Nistakes of a Night;" and though in character and ballad of The Hermit, his stanzas on Woman, and plot it made a near approach to farce, yet such some short humorous and miscellaneous pieces were its comic powers that the audience received it which are never without interest.
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease :
The naked Negro, panting at the Line,
Boasts of his golden sands, and palmy wine, Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Basks in the glare or stems the tepid wave, Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po;
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave, Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam, Against the houseless stranger shuts the door; His first, best country, ever is at home. Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare, A weary waste expanding to the skies ;
And estimate the blessings which they share, Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find My heart, untravell’d, fondly turns to thee : An equal portion dealt to all mankind : Still to my brother turns with ceaseless pain, As diff'rent good, by Art or Nature giv'ı And drags at each remove a length'ning chain. To diff'rent nations, makes their blessings cy'n. Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
Nature, a mother kind alike to all, And round his dwelling guardian saints attend; Still grants her bliss at labour's earnest call; Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire With food as well the peasant is supply'd To pause from toil, and trim their ev’ning fire; On Idra's cliff as Arno's shelvy side ; Blest that abode, where want and pain repair, And though the rocky-crested summits frown, And ev'ry stranger finds a ready chair;
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down. Blest be those feasts with simple plenty crown'd, From art more various are the blessings sent; Where all the ruddy family around
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content: Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Yet these each other's pow'r so strong contest, Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale ;
That either seems destructive of the rest. Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails; And learn the luxury of doing good.
And honour sinks where commerce long prevails, But me, not destin'd such delights to share, Hence every state, to one lov'd blessing prone, My prime of life in wand'ring spent and care; Conforms and models life to that alone : Impell’d with steps unceasing to pursue
Each to the favourite happiness attends, Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view; And spurns the plan that aims at other ends; That, like the circle bounding earth and skies, Till, carried to excess in each domain, Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies;
This fav'rite good begets peculiar pain. My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
But let us try these truths with closer eyes, And find no spot of all the world my own.
And trace them through the prospect as it lies : Ev'n now, where Alpine solitudes ascend, Here for awhile, my proper cares resign'd, I sit me down a pensive hour to spend;
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind; And plac'd on high above the storm's career, Like yon neglected shrub, at random cast, Look downward where an hundred realms appear ; | That shades the steep, and sighs at ev'ry blast. Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide,
Far to the right, where Appenine ascends,
When thus creation's charms around combine, Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
While oft some temple's mould'ring tops between
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast, These little things are great to little man ;
The sons of Italy were surely blest. And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Whatever fruits in diff'rent climes are found, Exults in all the good of all mankind. [crown'd, That proudly rise or humbly court the ground; Ye glitt'ring towns, with wealth and splendour Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear, Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round, Whose bright succession decks the varied year; Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale, Whatever sweets salute the northern sky Ye bending swains, that dress the flow'ry vale, With vernal lives, that blossom but to die; For me your tributary stores combine;
These here disporting own the kindred soil, Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine. Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ; As some lone miser, visiting his store,
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er, To winnow fragrance round the smiling land. Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows, Yet still be sighs, for hoards are wanting still ; And sensual bliss is all the nation knows. Thus to my breast alternate passions rise, splies ; | In florid beauty groves and fields appear, Pleas'd with each good that Heav'n to man sup- Man seems the only growth that dwindles here. Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign; To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain; And oft I wish, amidst the scene to find
Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue ; Some spot to real happiness consign'd,
And ev'n in penance planning sins anew. Where my worn soul, each wand'ring hope at rest, i All evils here contaminate the mind, May gather bliss, to see my fellows blest.
That opulence departed leaves behind; But where to find that happiest spot below, For wealth was theirs ; not far remov'd the date, Who can direct, when all pretend to know? When commerce proudly flourish'd thro' the state; The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone
At her command the palace learnt to rise, Boldly proclaims that happiest spot lis own; | Again the long-fall'n column sought the skies;
The canvass glow'd, beyond e'en Nature warm, | So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, The pregnant quarry teein'd with human form: But bind him to his native mountains more. Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Such are the charms to barren states assign'd: Commerce on other shores display'd her sail ; Their wants but few, their wishes all confin'd: While nought remain'd of all that riches gave, Yet let them only share the praises due, But towns unmann'd, and lords without a slave : If few their wants, their pleasures are but few ; And late the nation found, with fruitless skill, For ev'ry want that stimulates the breast Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest: Yet still the loss of wealth is here supply'd Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies, By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride ; That first excites desire, and then supplies; From these the feeble heart and long-fall'n mind Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy, An easy compensation seem to find.
To fill the languid pause with finer joy ; Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp array'd, Unknown those pow'rs that raise the soul to flame, The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade : Catch ev'ry nerve, and vibrate through the frame. Processions form’d for piety and love,
Their level life is but a mould'ring fire, A mistress or a saint in ev'ry grove.
Unquench'd by want, unfann'd by strong desire; By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd, Untit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer The sports of children satisfy the child :
On some high festival of once a year, Each nobler aim, represt by long control,
In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire, Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire. While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow; In happier meanness occupy the mind :
Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low; As in those domes, where Cesars once bore sway, For, as refinement stops, from sire to son Defac'd by time, and tott'ring in decay,
Unalter'd, unimprov'd, the manners run; There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
And love's and friendship's finely pointed dart The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed; Falls blunted from each indurated heart. And, wond'ring man could want the larger pile, Some sterner virtues o'er the mountain's breast Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
May sit, like falcons cow'ring on the nest : My soul, turn from them, turn we to survey But all the gentler morals, such as play Where rougher climes a nobler race display,
Thro' life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way, Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansions tread, These, far dispers'd, on tim'rous pinions fly, And force a churlish soil for scanty bread:
To sport and flutter in a kinder sky. No product here the barren hills afford
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign, But man and steel, the soldier and his sword : I turn; and France displays her bright domain : No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, But winter ling'ring chills the lap of May: Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please, No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast, How often have I led thy sportive choir, But meteors glare, and stormy glooins invest. With tuneless pipe, beside the murm'ring Loire!
Yet still, e'en here, content can spread a charm, Where shading elms along the margin grew, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
And freshen'd from the wave the zephyr flew : Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts tho'small, And haply, though my harsh touch, falt'ring still, He sees his little lot the lot of all;
But mock'd all tune, and marr'd the dancer's skill; Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
Yet would the village praise my wond'rous pow'r, To shame the meanness of his humble shed:
And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour.
Have led their children thro' the mirthful maze; But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore, Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
llas frisk'd beneath the burthen of threescore, Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose, So blest a life these thoughtless realms display, Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes; Thus idly busy rolls their world away : With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear, Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the steep; For honour forms the social temper here: Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way, Honour, that praise which real merit gains, And drags the struggling savage into day.
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains, At night returning, ev'ry labour sped,
Here passes current; paid from hand to hand, He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
It shifts, in splendid traffic, round the land: Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays, His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze; And all are taught an avarice of praise ; While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard, They please, are pleased, they give to get esteen, Displays her cleanly platter on the board :
Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seeilia And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies, With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
It gives their follies also room to rise ; Thus ev'ry good his native wilds impart
For praise too dearly lov'd, or warmly sought, Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought; And e'en those hills, that round his mansion rise, | And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies :
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art, And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms; Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; And as a child, when scaring sounds molest, Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, | And trims her rohes of frieze with copper lace;
Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, | Ferments arise, imprison'd factions roar,
Nor this the worst. As nature's ties decay, Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies. As duty, love, and honour, fail to sway, Methinks her patient sons before me stand, Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law, Where the broad ocean leans against the land, Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe. And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Hence all obedience bows to these alone, Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride.
And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown ; Onward, methinks, and diligently slow,
Till time may come, when, stript of all her charms, The firm connected bulwark seems to grow;
The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms, Spreads its long arms amidst the wat’ry roar, Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame, Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore : Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame, While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile, | One sink of level avarice shall lie, Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile: | And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour'd die. The slow canal, the yellow-blossom'd vale,
Yet think not, thus when freedom's ills I state, The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great : The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
Ye pow'rs of truth, that bid my soul aspire, A new creation rescu'd from his reign.
Far from my bosom drive the low desire ! Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil And thou, fair Freedom, taught alike to feel Impels the native to repeated toil,
The rabble's rage, and tyrant's angry steel ; Industrious habits in each bosom reign,
Thou transitory fow'r, alike undone And industry begets a love of gain.
By proud contempt, or favour's fost'ring sun; Hence all the good from opulence that springs, Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure ! With all those ills superfluous treasure brings, I only would repress them to secure; Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth For just experience tells, in ev'ry soil, imparts
That those who think must govern those that toil ; Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts;
| And all that freedom's highest aims can reach But view them closer, craft and fraud appear, Is but to lay proportion'd loads on each. E'en liberty itself is barter'd here.
Hence, should one order disproportion'd grow, At gold's superior charins all freedom flies, Its double weight must ruin all below. The needy sell it, and the rich man buys;
Oh then how blind to all that truth requires, A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Who think it freedom when a part aspires ! Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms, And, calmly bent, to servitude conform,
Except when fast approaching danger warms : Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm. But when contending chiefs blockade the throne,
Heav'ns! how unlike their Belgic sires of old! Contracting regal pow'r to stretch their own; Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold; | When I behold a factious band agree War in each breast, and freedom on each brow; | To call it freedom when themselves are free ; How much unlike the sons of Britain now ! Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw,
Fir'd at the sound, my genius spreads her wing, Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law; And flies where Britain courts the western spring; The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam, Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride, Pillag'd from slaves to purchase slaves at home; And brighter streams than fam'd Hydaspis glide ; Fear, pity, justice, indignation, start, There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart; There gentle music melts on every spray :
Till half a patriot, half a coward grown, Creation's mildest charms are there combin’d, I fly from petty tyrants to the throne. Extremes are only in the master's mind;
Yes, brother, curse with me that baleful honr, Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state, When first ambition struck at regal pow'r; With daring aims irregularly great ;
And thus, polluting honour in its source, Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force. I see the lords of human kind pass by;
Have we not seen, round Britain's peopled shore, Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
Her useful sons exchang'd for useless ore? By forms unfashion'd, fresh from Nature's hand, Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste, Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
Like flaring tapers bright'ning as they waste? True to imagin'd right, above control ;
Seen Opulence, her grandeur to maintain, While e'en the peasant boasts these rights to scan, Lead stern Depopulation in her train, And learns to venerate himself as man.
And over fields where scatter'd hamlets rose, Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictur'd In barren solitary pomp repose ? here,
Have we not seen, at Pleasure's lordly call, Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear; The smiling long-frequented village fall ? Too blest indeed were such without alloy ;
Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay'd, But foster'd e'en by freedom, ills annoy;
The modest matron, and the blushing maid, That independence Britons prize too high,
Forc'd from their homes, a melancholy train, Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie; To traverse climes beyond the western main The self-dependent lordlings stand alone,
Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around, All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown; And Niagara stuns with thund'ring sound ? Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held,
E’en now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim serays Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid; Thro' tangled forests, and thro' dangerous ways;
While beasts with man divided empire claim, No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; The pensive exile, bending with his woe,
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies, To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
And tires their echoes with unvary'd cries. Casts a long look where England's glories shine, Sunk are thy bow'rs in shapeless ruin all, And bids his bosom sympathize with mine. And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall;
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, That bliss which only centres in the mind.
Far, far away thy children leave the land. Why have I stray'd froin pleasure and repose, Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey, To seek a good each government bestows?
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay; In ev'ry government, though terrours reign, Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade : Though tyrant kings or tyrant laws restrain, A breath can make them, as a breath has made : How small, of all that human hearts endure, But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, That part which laws or kings can cause or cure ! When once destroyed, can never be supply'd Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
A time there was, ere England's griefs began, Our own felicity we make or find :
When ev'ry rood of ground maintain'd its man; With secret course, which no loud storms annoy, For him light labour spread her wholesome store, Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.
Just gave what life requir'd, but gave no more: The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
His best companions, innocence and health;
But times are alter'd; trade's unfeeling train Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own. Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose,
And ev'ry want to luxury ally'd,
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
And rural mirth and manners are no more. Seats of my youth, when ev'ry sport could please : Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour, How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's pow't. Where humble happiness endear'd each scene! Here, as I take my solitary rounds, How often have I paus’d on ev'ry charm,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin'd grounds, The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
And, many a year elaps'd, return to view The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, The decent church that topt the neighb'ring hill, | Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. For talking age and whisp'ring lovers made !
In all my wand'rings round this world of care, How often have I bless'd the coming day,
In all my griefs -and God has giv'n my share When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
I still had hopes my latest hours to crown, And all the village train, from labour free,
Amidst these humble bow'rs to lay me down; Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree; To husband out life's taper at the close, While many a pastime circled in the shade, And keep the flame from wasting, by repose: The young contending as the old survey'd; I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill, And slights of art and feats of strength went round; Around my fire an ev'ning group to draw, And still, as each repeated pleasure tir'd,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw; Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir'd
And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue, The dancing pair that simply sought renown, Pants to the place from whence at first she flex, By holding out to tire each other down;
I still had hopes, my long vexations past, The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
Here to return - and die at home at last. While secret laughter titter'd round the place; O blest retirement, friend to life's decline, The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love, Retreats from care, that never must be mine, The matron's glance that would those looks reprove: | How blest is he who crowns, in shades like there, These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like A youth of labour with an age of ease; these
Who quits a world where strong temptations try, With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ; | And, since 't is hard to combat, learns to fly! These round thy bow'rs their cheerful influence shed, For him no wretches, born to work and weep, These were thy charms - but all these charms are fled. Explore the mine, or tempt the dang'rous deep;
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, No surly porter stands, in guilty state,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
Sinks to the grave with unperceiv'd decay, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain : While resignation gently slopes the way;