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Thos. Parkinson, pinxit
R. Laurie, fecit MR. SHUTER, MR. QUICK, AND Mrs. GREEN IN THE CHARACTERS OF HARDCASTLE,
Tony LUMPKIN, AND Mrs. HARDCASTLE. — Act V. Sc. 2.
By permission from the collecsina of
SHE STOOPS TO
BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH
THE INTRODUCTION AND BIOGRAPHICAL AND
CRITICAL MATERIAL BY
AUSTIN DOBSON, LL.D. (Edinburgh)
THE TEXT COLLATED BY
GEORGE P. BAKER, A.B.
BOSTON, U. S. A., AND LONDON
COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY
Printed in United States of America
ACCORDING to the generally accepted account, OLIVER GOLDSMITH was born on the 10th November, 1728, at Pallas, or Pallasmore, in County Longford, Ireland ; but it has also been contended that the place of his nativity was Smith Hill-House, Elphin, Roscommon, the residence of his maternal grandfather, the Rev. Oliver Jones, master of the Elphin diocesan school. He was the second son of the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, who, at the time of Oliver's birth, was acting as assistant to Mr. Green, Rector of Kilkenny West. When, in 1730, Mr. Green died, Charles Goldsmith became Rector in his stead, and removed to the hamlet of Lissoy in Westmeath, on the road from Ballymahon to Athlone. Here Oliver passed his childhood. As a boy he was said to be strong and athletic, but dull and thick-witted. He had, however, a marked liking for legends and balladry, tastes which his first schoolmaster, Thomas Byrne, a roving, romancing old soldier of Queen Anne, seems to have fostered to the full. From this preceptor, he passed to other teachers,
at Elphin, at Athlone, at Edgeworthstown; but without arousing any special suspicions of his genius. In June, 1744, he went, much against his will, to Trinity College, Dublin, as a sizar or poor scholar. His academic career was not distinguished. He became involved in a college riot. He gave a mixed party in his rooms, and was, in consequence, knocked down by his angry tutor.
Thereupon he ran away.
His elder brother persuaded him to return to his forgiving Alma Mater, where, on the 27th February, 1749, he took his degree. The only record of his residence at the University is his name scratched on a window-pane : the only tradition, that he wrote songs for street singers, and stole out at night to hear them sung.
By this time his father was dead, and his mother left without means. What was to be his calling ? The Church was the first thought. But either from insufficient knowledge, or eccentricity of costume, he was rejected for ordination by the Bishop of Elphin. He tried tutoring. Then he set out to learn law in London, and lost his funds to a Dublin sharper. Eventually, with a view to study medicine, he succeeded in arriving at Edinburgh, whence, in 1754, he migrated to Leyden. A year later, he set out upon a walking tour through France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, playing the flute and disputing at convents or universities for food and lodging. In February, 1756, he landed at Dover “ with a few half-pence” in his pocket. He was then seven and twenty.
For the next three years his experiences were equally varied. He was successively an apothecary's journeyman on Fish Street Hill; a poor physician (with a dubious diploma) in Southwark ; a corrector of the press Samuel Richardson, and an usher in a Peckham school. From this last employment he drifted to literature-of-allwork under Ralph Griffiths of the Monthly Review, with whom he speedily fell out. Then, in February,