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the Rev. T. Contarine, promised him funds to continue his studies at Leyden, and his situation was comparatively easy until death deprived him of that relation in 1746.
Being thus abandoned to his own impulses, he undertook to gratify a passion for travelling. Having already passed through the greater part of Flanders, he proceeded to Strasbourg, and thence to Louvaine, where he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Physic. In this latter city he became travelling companion to an English gentleman, whom he accompanied to Geneva, and was then recommended for a tutor to another countryman, a youth who, suddenly elevated from the desk of an attorney's clerk to the possession of independent fortune, the bequest of a pawnbroker his uncle, resolved to enjoy the distinction of seeing the world. With this child of fortune Goldsmith made the tour of Switzerland, and journeyed into the South of France. At Marseilles some disagreement, supposed to have been pecuniary, occurred between the pupil and his instructor, which ended in the receipt by the latter of a small portion of salary, which happened to be due to him, and an immediate separation. Thus again left to himself, and the world at large, the poet made his way slowly and unaided through the brart of France, and finally arrived at Dover in the winter of the year 1758.
This is a brief outline of the scenes he visited, and the course he pursued; but the circumstances under which he travelled are still to be told. At the moment of his embarkation his supplies were exceedingly limited; these soon failed entirely; and what renders the character of the undertaking still more singular, he could not look even to a probability of obtaining money to carry him forward. Twice during the period of his absence he had the fortune to obtain connexions by which his immediate expenses were defrayed, and a moderate profit derived; but they were only of partial duration, and for the rest of the time he was forced to wander in quest of a college where his learning would insure him hospitality, and the chivalrous habits then observed in such institutions entitle him to challenge any member to the disputation of a theses, in which the victor was usually rewarded with a prize of money. In those districts, however, where such establishments were not to be found, he had to seek the shelter of a roof, and the satisfaction of a meal, by a resource as interesting to the imagination as it is painful to more serious consideration. Among the few articles of his travelling stock was a German Aute, upon which he was a tolerable performer ; so that, when all other means were exhausted, he played the wild melodies of his native isle to the peasantry of France or Flanders, and thus recommended himself to the benevolence of their charity by the melancholy charms of music. Such are the sufferings which the most honourable of ambitions, the thirst of experimental knowledge, will embolden the ingenious mind to undergo ; and thus did Goldsmith, destitute in fortune, but enriched with the philosophy of the heart, sustain the utmost toil, with a body in. different to the exercise of its fatigues, and brave adversity with thoughts superior to the cares of its mortifications.
Arrived in London with only a few pence in his pocket, his mind became filled with apprehensions the most gloomy; for the usages of English life afforded no such reliefs to the shades of distress as those which were formerly peculiar to the continent. He applied to several apothecaries for the humble occupation of a journeyman chemist, but, so rough was his appearance, and so broad his Irish accents that ridicule and insult were always provoked by appeals which should never have excited any thing but compassion. At length a chemist on Fishstreet Hill, touched by his forlorn condition and the simplicity of his manners, received him into his laboratory, and there he continued, until he discovered that his former benefactor, Doctor Sleigh, was in London. To him he repaired without delay, but the Doctor scarcely knew his old pupil;—“Such,” according to his own words, " is the tax the unfortunate pay to poverty.” When, however, a recognition did take place, his heart was found as warm as ever; and the more fortunate friend, while he remained in London, shared both his purse and his heart with the poet.
From this state of kindred dependance Goldsmith becomingly emancipated himself upon the first opportunity that presented itself. This was an offer of the place of classical assistant in an academy kept by a Reverend Dr. Milner, at Peckham, in Surrey. That such a man gave perfect satisfaction in such a situation, will be taken for granted; but it involved higher things, for while thus engaged he became an author. His first publication, according to some, was “ The Memoirs of a Protestant condeiun.
d to the Gallies of France for his Religion. Written by himelf. Translated from the original, just published at the Hague, -y James Willington.' This performance was printed by Edward Dilly, in 2 vols. 8vo., 1758, and rewarded with a present f twenty guineas. Towards the close of the same year, he was vited from the academy by Griffiths, the bookseller, who enaged to give him board, lodging, and a fixed salary, for conduct. ng the Monthly Review. The terms of this agreement were educed to writing, but broken by mutual consent, after a trial of even or eight months. He then bired a room immediately over Breakneck Steps, in Green Arbour Court, Snowhill; finished • His Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Literature,' published -y Dodsley in 1759, and became a liberal contributor to the magazines.
In the Critical Review, the merit he displayed in an article pon some miserable translation of “Ovid's Fasti,' by a pedantic choolmaster, attracted the eyes of Smollet, then editor of the BriEsh Magazine, who immediately sought him out and secured his o-operation. His contributions to this periodical were afterwards ollected together, and published in a separate volume, with the itle of · Essays and Tales.' Newberry, the bookseller in St. Paul's Church Yard, was the last to hire his abilities, by giving aim 1001. a year to write in the Public Ledger. The Chinese Cetters, afterwards printed by themselves, and called the Citizen of the World,' were the fruit of this compact. He also started,
n 1749, a weekly paper, called the · Bee,' but it proceeded no Farther than the eighth number.
Being thus enabled to better the respectability of his address, by removing his lodgings into Wine Office Court, Fleet-street, ne put the finishing touches to the “ Traveller,' and · Vicar of Wakefield;' yet such was his diffidence, that he kept them by him until the pressure of debt compelled him to resort to the friendly aid of Dr. Johnson, who exerted himself with equal honour and success, to procure their publication. Accordingly, the poem was sent from the press in 1765, and the novel in 1766: and it is cheering to add, that as the beauty of both compositions was extraordinary, so their reception was most flattering. The * Traveller' is a poem which delights by a refinement of imagery, and a happiness of expression, such as few authors have attained,
ahas been very pre excellence, uon in our lan
and not one surpassed. Upon the melody of its versification it has been very properly observed, that Pope had no competitor in that attribute of excellence, until Goldsmith appeared. Perhaps there is no similar production in our language which philosophizes so charmingly; and certainly, for correctness, Pope must yield the palm of superiority to Goldsmith. Nor is there less to be said of the “Vicar of Wakefield,' a tale which has not been exceeded in chastity of diction, a natural interest of plot, or the delicate variety with which humour and sentiment are combined. It teaches the purest lessons of morality with a simplicity that enchants while it instructs; and exhibits the duties and foibles of .ife with a fidelity the least artificial or affected. · These two labours established his fame, and his finances prospered with rapidity. Becoming a member of the Literary Club, he added to the advantages of an intimacy with Drs. Johnson and Percy, the reputation of an acquaintance with Lord Nugent, Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, &c. &c., and was employed upon several profitable works. Distinguishing what he wrote principally for gain, a • Life of Nash,' and `Selections of English Poetry,' were produced during the summer of 1763, while lodging at Canonbury House, Islington. Of the latter performance he was particularly vain, for he used to remark, that above all his other publications it showed the strength and propriety of a judgment, to the cultivation of which he had devoted twenty years. A History of England, in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son,' followed, in 2 vols. 8vo., and was so much distinguished for elegance and liberality as to be generally ascribed to Lord Lyttleton. A · History of Rome,' 2 vols. 8vo. came out in 1769, a · History of England, 2 vols. 8vo. in 1771, for which Davies the bookseller gave 5001. ; • Parnell's Poems and Lite' in 1773, and a · History of Greece,' 2 vols. 8vo. concluded the cata. logue, 1774. Of these, one and all, it may be observed briefly, that expressed with neatness, and condensed with propriety, they fully answered the purposes for which they were designed, and remain to this day decidedly popular. Requiring but little time, less reflection, and being well paid for, they were written peculiarly con amore ; for this was the sort of work the author most liked to be employed upon.
Goldsmith's dramatic compositions are now to be reviewed
they began with the comedy of the Good-natured Man,' acted at the theatre in Covent-garden, on the 29th of January, 1768, Though confessedly imbued with many strong marks of genius, and very keen strokes of wit, this play was not at first by any means so successful as might have been expected. Some curtailments, however, were made, and it was soon secured in a fixed place of high rank on the English stage. The popularity of its early attractions may be judged from the fact, that his profits from the third representation and copy-right amounted to no less a sum than 500l. But the satisfaction caused by this union of wealth and increased reputation was considerably lessened by the un: warrantable severities with which the composition was criticised in some of the public prints. A passion raged at that time in favour of sentimental comedies, of which Kelly had just then finished a specimen, entitled 'False Delicacy,' which was introduced by Garrick on the boards of Drury Lane, and received with a run of patronage which far eclipsed the fortune of Goldsmith's piece, The most invidious comparisons were instituted between the two comedies, and the most rigid strictures passed upon the Good. natured Man' by some writers, who could only affect a miserable character in letters, by stiiving to abuse the excellencies of a production which it was far beyond their powers to rival. Goldsmith felt this injustice with a depth of mortification he could ill conceal; and to such an extreme were these differences urged, that from intimate friends he and Kelly became the most averted enemies.
From a sense of such ignoble grievances, however, he soon roused his spirits. From an attic in the library staircase of the Inner Temple, le descended to an elegantly furnished first-floor in Brick court, Middle Temple, and aspired to habits of ease and dignity. In 1770 he gave the world his · Deserted Village,' a most polished composition, which had occupied his constant study for two years. The bookseller gave a note for a hundred guineas for the copy, which Goldsmith modestly returned, explaining to a friend, that the sum was more than the honest man could afford to give, or any modern poetry was worth. He made his own estimate, and would only receive at the rate of five shillings the coup'et. But the sale was so rapid that in a shoit time the bookseller was enabled to show how well he could afford