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Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame,
Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame,
One sink of level avarice shall lie,

And scholars, soldiers, kings, un honor'd die.' “Such is the poem on which we now congratulate the public, as on a production to which, since the death of Pope, it will not be easy to find any thing equal”—Critical Review, Dec. 1764.

Goldsmith's poetry,” says Mr. Campbell,“ enjoys a calm and steady popularity. It inspires us, indeed, with no admiration of daring design or of fertile invention ; but it presents, within its narrow limits, a distinct and umbroken view of poetical delightfulness. Ilis descriptious and sentiments have the pure zest of nature. lle is refined without false delicacy, and correct without insipidity. Perhaps there is an intellectual composure in his manner, which may, in some passages, be said to approach to the reserved and prosaic; but he unbends from this graver strain of reflection to tenderness, and even to playfulness, with an ease and grace almost exclusively his own ; and connects extensive views of the happiness and interests of society, with pictures of life that touch the heart by their familiarity. Ilis language is certainly simple, though it is not cast in a rugged or careless mould. lle is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school of simplicity. Deliberately as he wrote, he cannot be accused of wanting natural and idiomatic expres-jon. He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish trup poetry from prose ; and when he adopts colloquial plainness, it is with the ntmost care and skill, to avoid a vulgar humility. There is more of this sustained simplicity, of this cha-te economny and choice of worus, in Col1-mith, than in any modern port, or perhaps than would be attainable or desirable as a standard for every writer of rhymne. But let us not imagine that the screne graers of this port were not admirably adapted to his sulijarts. This poetry is not that of inprtons, but of contemplative sensibility; of a spirit breathing its regrets and recollections, in a tone that has no dissovaner with the calm of philosophical reflection. He betrays so little effort to make us ri-ionary by the usual and pulpable fictions of his art; he keeps apparently so close to rralities, and draws certain conclusions, respecting the radieal interests of man, so bolilly and deciderlly, that we pray him a compliment, not always extended to the tuneful tribu', -that of judging his sentiments by their strict and logical interpretation. In this judring him by the test of liis philosophical spirit, I am not prepared to say that lie is in purely impartial theorist. He advanco's general positions, rrspecting the liappiness of society, founded on limited vions of unh, and under the bias of local feelings. Ile contemplates only one side of the que-tion. It must be always thus in poetry Let the mind be ever so tranquilly di-posed 10 radlertion, yet if it retnins pierci al sonlatiull, will embraer only those speculative opinions that tall in with the toile of the imagination." ---Vjecimens of British Poets, vol. vi p. 361.)



Dear Sir,

I am sensible that the friendship between us can acquire no new force from the ceremonies of a Dedication; and perhaps it demands an excuse thus to prefix your name to my attempts, which you decline giving with your own.

But as a part of this poem was formerly written to you from Switzerland, the whole can now, with propriety, be only inscribed to you. It will also throw a light upon many parts of it, when the reader understands that it is addressed to a man, who, despising fame and fortune, has retired early to happiness and obscurity, with an income of forty pounds a year.

I now perceive, my dear brother, the wisdom of your humble choice. You have entered upon a sacred office, where the harvest is great and the laborers are but few; while

you have left the field of ambition, where the laborers are many and the harvest not worth carrying away. But of all kinds of ambition, what from the refinement of the times, from different systems of criticism, and from the divisions of party, that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest.*

* [“ But of all kinds of ambition, as things are now circumstanced, perhaps that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest. What from the increased

Poctry makes a principal amusement among unpolished nations; but in a country verging to the extremes of refinement, painting and music come in for a share. As these offer the feeble mind a less laborious entertainment, they at first rival poetry, and at length supplant her; they engross all that favor once shown to her, and, though but younger sisters, seize upon the elder's birthright.

Yet, however this art may be neglected by the juwerful, it is still in great danger from the mistaken efforts of the learned to improve it. What criticisms have we not heard of late in favor of blank verse, and Pindaric odes, chorusses, anapests, and iambies, alliterative care and happy negligence ! Every absurdity has now a champion to defend it: and as he is generally much in the wrong, so he has always inuch to say; for error is ever talkative.

But there is an enemy to this art still more dangerous-[ mean party Party entirely distorts the judgment and destroys the taste. When the mind is once infected with this disease, it can only find pleasure in what contributes to in crease the distemper. Like the tiger that seldom desists from pursuing man, after having onec preyed upon human flesh, the reader, who has once gratified his appetite with alumny, makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon murdered

refinement of the times, from the diversity of juilaments produced by opposing systems of criticism, and from the inere prevalent divisions of opinion intluenced by pariy, the strongest and happiest efforts can expect to please but in a very narrow circle. Though the port wrre as sure of his aim as the imperial archer of antiquy, who boasted that he never missed their heart; y't would many of his chatix now fly at randui, for the heart is too often in the wrong place."- First edit)

reputation. Such readers generally admire some half-witted thing, who wants to be thought a bold man, having lost the character of a wise one. Ilim they dignify with the name of poct: his tawdry lampoons are called satires; his turbulence is said to be force, and his frenzy lire.

What reception a poem may find wich has neither abuse, party, nor blank verse to support it, I caynot tell, nor am I solicitous to know. My aims are right. Without espousing the cause of any party, I have attempted to moderate the rage of all. I have endeavored to show, that there may be equal happiness in states that are differently governed from our own; that every state has a particular principle of happiness, and that this priuciple in each may be carried to a mischie

There are few can judge better than yourself, how far these positions are illustrated in this poem.

VOUS excess.

I am, dear Sir,

Your most affectionate Brother,


* [“ And that this principle in each state, and in our own in particular, may be carried to a mischievous excess.”First edit.]

+ [A feeling worthy of all praise produced this dedication to his brother. Careless of any interests of his own which might be promoted by conciliating the powerful or the wealthy, it was intended not merely as a return of respect and attention for the kindness shown to his earlier years, but to bring into notice, and perhaps preferment, should the work become popular, a worthy, though friendless clergyman. Allusions to the motive took place in conversu tion with his friends, and afterwards found its way into the newspapers; in a paragraph in imitation of a paper of Switt, where, among other instances of men who have acted nobly, is the following :-“ Dr. Goldsmith, when he dedicated his beautiful poem, the Traveller, to a man of no greater income than forty pounds a year."-Sce Life, ch. xiv.)

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