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THE

TRAVELLER;

OR,

A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.

A POEM.

["The Traveller" was published in December 1764, and was the earliest production to which Goldsmith prefixed his name. As Dr. Johnson was the first to introduce it to the good opinion of the public, in a manner which could not fail to draw attention, it will not be uninteresting to look back at what he then said, and observe how perfectly all judges of poetry have concurred in his opinion:

"The author has, in an elegant dedication to his brother, a country clergyman, given the design of his poem. 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 other states, though differently governed from our own; that each state has a peculiar principle of happiness, and that this principle in each state, and in our own in particular, may be carried to a mischievous excess.' That he may illustrate and enforce this important position, the author places himself on a summit of the Alps, and turning his eyes around in all directions, upon the different regions that lie before him, comparcs not merely their situation and policy, but those social and domestic manners which, after a very few deductions, make the sum total of human life.

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Ev'n now where Alpine solitudes ascend,

I sit me down a pensive hour to spend;

And, plac'd on high above the storm's career,
Look downward where an hundred realms appear;
Lakes, forests, cities, plains, extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus Creation's charms around combine,
Amidst the store should thankless pride repine?
Say, should the philosophic mind disdain

That good which makes each humbler bosom vain ?
Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,

These little things are great to little man;

And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.'

"The author already appears by his numbers to be a versifier, and by his scenery to be a poet; it therefore only remains that his sentiments discover him to be a just estimator of comparative happiness. The goods of life are either given by nature or procured by ourselves. Nature has distributed her gifts in very different proportions, yet all her children are content; but the acquisitions of art are such as terminate in good or evil, as they are dif ferently regulated or combined.

'Nature, a mother kind alike to all,

Still grants her bliss at Labor's earnest call;
With food as well the peasant is supplied
On Ida's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side;

And though the rocky crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.
From Art more various are the blessings sent;
Wealth, commerce, honor, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
That either seems destructive of the rest.

Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails,
And honor sinks where commerce long prevails.

Hence every state to one lov'd blessing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone.

"This is the position which he conducts through Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland, and England; and which he endeavors to confirm by remarking the manners of every country. Having censured the degeneracy of the modern Italians, he proceeds thus :

My soul, turn from them; turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display,

Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread;

No product here the barren hills afford,

But man and steel, the soldier and his sword;
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingering chills the lap of May:
No Zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.'

"But having found that the rural life of a Swiss has its evils as well as comforts, he turns to France :

To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,
I turn; and France displays her bright domain.
Gay, sprightly land of mirth and social ease,
Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please.
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display,
Thus idle busy rolls their world away:

Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honor forms the social temple here.

Honor, that praise which real merit gains,

Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
It shits in splendid traffic round the land;

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