« 이전계속 »
professor of rhetoric: instancing the lawyer who, on 'hearing his adversary talk of the war of Troy, the beau'teous Helen, and the river Scamander, entreated the 'court to observe that his client was christened, not Scamander, but Simon.'
And here I will sum up briefly as I may, what remain to be noticed of these humble and unacknowledged labours in the Critical Review. The tone is more confident than in The Dunciad days; the just appreciation is the same. Obscure and depressed as the writer was, his free running hand very frankly betrays its work, amid the cramped laborious penmanship with which Smollett's big-wigged friends surrounded it. No man wishing to hide under cover of a mean fortune, was ever so easily detected. Favourite expressions, which to the end of his life continued so, are here: thoughts he had turned to happy use in his Irish letters, reappear again and again : and disguise himself for Scroggen or James Willington as he may, he cannot write from other inspiration, or with a less natural instinctive
than his own. The work I now refer to connects itself, for this reason, with the most brilliant to follow. The foibles and social vanities which his Chinese friend is soon with indulgent humour to correct, are here already clear to him: the false poetic taste which he will shortly supplant with his natural manly verse, he does his best thus early to weaken and expose: and the do-me-good family romances, with which the moralmongers of the day would make stand against the Roderick
Randoms and Tom Joneses, are thrust back from before the Vicar's way.
Among his reviews, then, were Murphy's Orphan of China ; containing good-natured evidence of curiosity as to the Chinese people, and of interest in the plans of his recent reverend visitor, at that time preparing a Chinese translation for the press .. Butler's Remains; in which, bewailing the indigence in which the poet lived and died,' he protested with generous 'horror' at 'the want of dis
cernment, the more than barbarous ingratitude, of his con'temporaries '.. Marriott's Answer to the Critical Review; containing whimsical and humourous apology for his own satirical comparisons of three months before . . and Dunkins's Epistle to Lord Chesterfield; which he closed with a story of a traveller passing through the city of Burgos in Spain, who, desirous of knowing their most learned men, applied to one of the inhabitants for information. What,' replied the Spaniard, who happened to be a scholar, ‘have you never heard of the admirable Brandellius, or the ingenious Mogusius? One the eye, and the other the heart
of our university, known all over the world ?' 'Never,' cried the traveller ; but pray inform me what Brandellius is particularly remarkable for.'
"You must be very ' little acquainted in the republic of letters,' said the other, ‘to ask such a question. Brandellius has written a 'most sublime panegyric on Mogusius.” “And prithee,
what has Mogusius done to deserve so great a favour ?' * He has written an excellent poem in praise of Brandel
lius.' Well! and what does the public, I mean those 'who are out of the university, say of those mutual com
pliments ?' 'The public are a parcel of blockheads, and 'all blockheads are critics, and all critics are spiders, and spiders are a set of reptiles that all the world despises.'
Noticeable, also, in recapitulation of this drudgery, are papers on President Goguet's Origin of Laws, and Formey's Philosophical Miscellanies, written with lively understanding of the characters of French and German intellect : on Van Egmont's Travels in Asia, wherein a scheme of later life was shadowed forth; "a man shall 'go a hundred miles to admire a mountain, only because ' it was spoken of in Scripture, yet what information can
be received from hearing, that Ægidius Van Egmont 'went up such a hill, only in order to come down again?
Could we see a man set out upon this journey, not with "an intent to discover rocks and rivers, but the manners, the mechanic inventions, and the imperfect learning
of the inhabitants; resolved to penetrate into countries 'as yet little known, and eager to pry into all their 'secrets, with a heart not terrified at trifling dangers; if 'there could be found a man who could thus unite true
courage with sound learning, from such a character we 'might expect much information :' on Guicciardini's History of Italy, showing considerable knowledge of Italian literature : on Montesquieu's Miscellaneous Pieces, justifying, by many expressions, such rapid indication as I now give of his own earlier and less known performances;
Cicero observes, that we behold with transport the little 'barren spot, or ruins of a house, in which a person cele'brated for his wisdom, his valour, or his learning, lived; 'when he coasted along the shore of Greece, all the heroes,
statesmen, orators, philosophers, and poets of those famed republics, rose in his memory, and were present 'to his sight; how much more would he have been
delighted with any of their posthumous works, however inferior to what he had before seen :' and finally, for my summary must be brief, on Parson Hawkins' Miscellanies; where, he having before reviewed the tragedy, 'the Siege of Something' (whereof Boswell records a Johnsonian sneer against Garrick, at which the little man
started, and twisted himself, and seemed sorely vexed'), and the author now retorting on the reviewer, Goldsmith thus drily put the difference between himself and the reverend writer. He was for putting his own works beside Milton and Shakspeare; he would have the delicacy of Addison, and the purity of Hawkins, talked of in the same breath; and the reader who praises Pope's · Rape of the Lock, speak with like feeling of Hawkins' ' Thimble. But we, alas ! could not so speak of Mr. 'Hawkins. Perhaps our malevolence in this might have ! been, that Mr. Hawkins stood between us and a good - living: yet we can solemnly assure him, we are quite 'contented with our present situation in the church, are
quite happy in a wife and forty pounds a year, nor have "the least ambition for pluralities.'
I close this rapid account of his labours in the Critical Review, with a curious satire of the fashionable Family Novel of that day : the work with which the stately mother, and the boarding-school miss, were instructed to fortify themselves against the immoralities of Smollett and of Fielding. As with Jonathan Wild in the matter of Caucus, Goldsmith ‘knew a better way :' and in this witty exposure of Jemima and Louisa, he seems preparing to make it known. The tale professed to be written by a lady, in a series of letters: and thus he described it.
“ The female muse, it must be owned, has of late been tolerably fruitful. Novels written by ladies; poems, morality, essays, and letters, all written by ladies ; shew that this beautiful sex are resolved to be, one way or other, the joyful mothers of children. Happy it is that the same conveyance which brings an heir to a family, shall at the same time produce a book to mend his manners ; or to teach him to make love, when ripe for the occasion. Yet let not the ladies carry off all the glory of the late productions ascribed to them : it is plain by the style, and a nameless somewhat in the manner, that pretty fellows, coffee-critics, and dirtyshirted dunces, have sometimes a share in the achievement. We have detected so many of these impostors already, that for the future it is resolved to look upon every publication that shall be ascribed to a lady, as the work of one of this amphibious fraternity. Thus, by wholesome severity, many a fair creature may be
prevented from writing, that cannot spell ; and many a blockhead may be deterred from commencing author, that never thought. The plan of the work is as follows: Two Misses, just taken home from the boarding-school, are prodigious great friends, and so they tell each other their secrets by way of letter. It cannot be expected, and