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" you are for making a monarchy of what should grace and simplicity, peculiar to the general style be a republic.”
of their author, and are well calculated to attract He was still more mortified, when, talking in a young readers by the graces of composition. But company with fluent vivacity, and, as he flattered the more advanced student of history must resort himself, to the admiration of all who were present, to other sources for information. a German who sat next him, and perceived Johnson In the History of England, in particular, there rolling himself, as if about to speak, suddenly stop- are several mis-statements; and one instano: may ped him, saying, "Stay, stay; Toctor Shonson is be given from his account of a remarkable occurgoing to say something.” This was very provok- rence in the affairs of his own country, to which ing to one so irritable as Goldsmith, who frequently it might have been expected he would have paid mentioned it with strong expressions of indigna- more than ordinary attention. This is to be found tion.
in his narrative of the famous siege of LondonThere is thus much to be said, however, for the derry, in 1689, sustained against the French army envy of Goldsmith. It was rarely excited but on oc. during a hundred and four days, after the city was casions of mere literary competition ; and, perhaps, found to be without provisions for little more than appeared much more conspicuous in him than other a week, and had besides been abandoned by the men, because he had less art, and never attempted military commanders as utterly untenable. For to conceal it. Mr. Boswell used to defend him this memorable defence the country was indebted against Dr. Johnson for this fault, on the ground to the courage, conduct, and talents of the Rev. of his frank and open avowal of it on all occasions; George Walker, a clergyman who happened to but Johnson had the best of the argument. “He take refuge in the city after it was abandoned by talked of it to be sure often enough,” said the latter, the military. Under the direction of Walker, as“but he had so much of it that he could not consisted by two officers accidentally in the place, the ceal it. Now, sir, what a man avows, he is not defence was conducted with so much skill, courage, ashamed to think; though many a man thinks what and perseverance, and the citizens displayed such he is ashamed to avow.
We are all envious na- valour, patience, and fortitude, under innumerable turally; but by checking envy, we get the better hardships and privations, that the city was finally of it. So we are all thieves naturally; a child al-saved.* For his services on this occasion Mo. ways tries to get at what it wants the nearest way: by good instructions and good habits this is cured, till a man has not even an inclination to seize what
" Russell street, Covent Garden.
"It is agreed between Oliver Goldsmith, M. B., on the one is another's; has no struggle with himself about hand, and Thomas Davies, bookseller, of Russell street Covent it.” But, after all, if ever envy was entitled to be Garden, on the other, that Oliver Goldsmith shall write for called innocent, it certainly was so in the person Thomas Davies, a History of England, from the birth of the of Goldsmith. Whatever of this kind appeared in British Empire, to the death of Goorge the II., in four volumes, his conduct was but a momentary sensation, which octavo
, of the size and letter of the Roman Ilistory, written by
Oliver Goldsmith. The said History of England shall be he knew not like other men how to disguise or con- written and compiled in the space of two years from the date ceal. Rarely did it influence the general tenor of hereof. And when the said History is written and delivered his conduct, and, it is believed, was never once in manuscript, the printer giving his opinion that the quan:ity known to have embittered his heart.
above mentioned is completed, that then Oliver Goldsmith
shall be paid by Thomas Davies the sum of 5001. sterling, for While Goldsmith was occupied with his comedy having written and compiled the same. his agreed also, tha of the “Good-natured Man," he was, as usual, Oliver Goldsmith shall print his name to the said work. In busily employed in the compilation of various pub- witness whereos we have set our names the 13th of June, 1769 lications for the booksellers, particularly a serics
" Oliver Goldsmith.
" Thomas Davies." of histories for the instruction of young readers. These were, his “History of Rome,” in 2 vols. 8vo.
UMEMORANDUM. and the “History of England,” in 4 vols. 8vo.
“Sepiember 15, 1770 The “ History of Greece," in 2 vols. 8vo. pub- Davies, or Covent Garden, bookseller
, that Oliver Goldsmith
" It is agreed between Oliver Goldsmith, M. B., and Thomas lished under his name after his death, can not shall abridge, for Thomas Davies, the book entitled Gołu. with certainty be ascribed to his pen. For the snith's Roman History, in two volumes
, 8vo, into one volume “History of England,” Davies the bookseller con- in 12mo, so as to fit it for the use of such as will not be as the tracted to pay him 5001. and for an abridgment of expense of that in 8vo. For the abridging of the said history,
and for putting his name thereto, said Thomas Davies shall the Roman history, the sum of fifty guineas.*
pay Oliver Goldsmith fifty guineas; to be paid him on the These historical compilations possess all the case, avridgment and velivering of the copy. As witness our hands
« Oliver Goldsmith * The articles of agreement relative to those works between
" Thomas Datics." the bookseller and Goldsmith having been preserved, we quote • A curious journal which Mr. Walker had kept of all the them for the gruification of our realer's curiosity, especially occurrences during the siege, was published at that period, in M they were drawn by the doctor hinault.
| 460, and was afterwards republished by the late Dr. Rrok
Walker, who belonged to the Established Church, | could have opposed and refuted. But the whole is was afterwards created Bishop of Dromore by King truly excellent as a composition. About the same William; but his military zeal prompted him to time, he drew up a preface or introduction to Dr. volunteer his services at the battle of the Boyne, Brookes's “System of Natural History,” in 6 vols. where he was unfortunately killed. Of this ex- 12mo, in itself a very dull and uninteresting work; traordinary character Goldsmith takes a very slight but such an admirable display of the subject was and rather disrespectful notice, stating him to have given in the preface, which he rendered doubly capbeen a dissenting minister, which he was not, and tivating by the charms of his style, that the book. neglecting to record either his promotion or his sellers immediately engaged him to undertake his death..
own larger work of the “History of the Earth and Goldsmith, besides his regular employment in the Animated Nature.” It was this work which Dr. compilation of these histories, had now all the other Johnson emphaticaily said, its author would“ make business of an author by profession. Either through as entertaining as a Persian Tale.” The result friendship or for money, but oftener from charity to proved the accuracy of the judgment thus passed on the needy or unsuccessful of his brethren, he was it; for, although it contains numerous defects, yet frequently engaged in the composition of prefaces, the witchery of its language has kept it buoyant in dedications, and introductions to the performances spite of criticism. The numerous editions through of other writers. These exhibit ingenious proofs which it has passed attest, that, if not a profound, of his ready talent at general writing, and for the it is at least a popular work; and few will be disposmost part gave a much better display of the subjects ed to deny, that with all its faults, if not the most treated of than could have been done by their own instructive, it is undoubtedly the most amusing work authors. But in this view he is rather to be con- of the kind yet published. It would be absurd to sidered as an advocate pleading the cause of ano- aver, that an adept would find himself enlightened ther, than as delivering the sentiments of his own by the doctor's labours in that science: but a commind; for he often recommends the doubtful pecu- mon reader will find his curiosity gratified, and that liarities, and even the defects of a work, which it is time agreeably disposed of which he bestows on this obvious, had been engaged on the other side, he work. When our author engaged in this compicould with equal ability have detected and exposed. lation, he resolved to make a translation of Pliny, Something like this our readers will find in an Ad- and, by the help of a commentary, to make that dress to the Public, which was to usher in propo- agreeable writer more generally acceptable to the sals for "A New History of the World, from the public; but the appearance of Buffon's work induced creation to the present time,” in 12 vols. 8vo. by him to change his plan, and instead of translating Guthrie and others, to be printed for Newberry. an ancient writer, he resolved to imitate the last This undertaking was to torm an abridgment of all and best of the moderns who had written on the the volumes of the ancient and modern universal his- same subject. To this illustrious Frenchman Goldtories; and our author urges a great variety of topics smith acknowledges the highest obligations, but, in praise of such contractions and condensing of his- unluckily, he has copied him without discrimina- , torical materials, which, with equal ingenuity, he tion, and, while he selected his beauties, heedlessly
adopted his mistakes. author of the Estimate, etc. One very providential circum
In a serio-comical apostrophe to the author, Mr. elance happened to the besieged. Being reduced by the ex. Cumberland observes, on the subject of this work, iremity of famine to eat every kind of unwholesome food, they that “ distress drove Goldsmith upon undertakings were dying in great numbers of the bloody flux; but the acci. neither congenial with his studies, nor worthy of his dental discovery of some concealed barrels of starch and tal. low, relieved their hunger, and cured the dysentery at the talents. I remember him, when, in his chambers in Rme time.
the Temple, he showed me the beginning of his *Our author's inaccuracy, with regard to Mr. Walker, was · Animated Nature;' it was with a sigh, such as gecorrected in the following letter addressed to him by Mr. nius draws, when hard necessity diverts it from its Woolsey, of Dundalk: "To Dr. Goldsmith. ---Sir, I beg leave bent to drudge for bread, and talk of birds, and beasts, to acquaint you, there is a mistake in your abridgment of the History of England, respecting Dr. Walker, viz. "one Walker, and creeping things, which Pidcock's showinan a dissenting minister.'
would have done as well. Poor fellow, he hardly "I venture to assure you, Mr. Walker was a clergymani knew an ass from a mule, nor a turkey from a goose, the Established Church of Ireland, who was appointel Bishop but when he saw it on the table. But publishers of Dromore by King William, for his services at Derry, but was unfortunately killed at the battle of the Boyne; which I
hate poetry, and Paternoster-row is not Parnassus. hope you will be pleased to insert in future editions of your Even the mighty Dr. Hill, who was not a very deli. lace book.
cate feeder, could not make a dinner out of the "The Duke of Schomberg was certainly killed in passing press, till, by a happy transformation into Hannah the river Boyne. I am, Sir, with great respect, your most Glass, he turned himself into a cook, and sold reobedient humble servant,
“ Thomas Woolsey," ceipts for made-dishes to all the savoury readers mi "Dundalk, April 10, 1772."
the kingdom. Then, indeed, the press acknow
ledged him second in fame only to John Bunyan:fed, "was certainly too much, because more than be his feasts kept pace in sale with Nelson's Fasts; thought any publisher could afford, or, indeed, than and when his own name was fairly written out of any modern poetry whatever could be worth.” credit, he wrote himself into immortality under an The sale of this poem, however, was so rapid and alias. Now, though necessity, or I should rather extensive, that the bookseller soon paid him the full say, the desire of finding money for a masquerade, amount of the note he had returned, with an acdrove Oliver Goldsmith upon abridging histories, knowledgment for the disinterestedness he had and turning Buffon into English, yet I much doubk, evinced on the occasion. if, without that spur, he would ever have put his Although criticism has allotted the highest rank Pegasus into action : no, if he had been rich, the to “The Traveller,” there is no doubt that “The world would have been poorer than it is, by the Deserted Village” is the most popular and favourite loss of all the treasures of his genius, and the con- poem of the two. Perhaps no poetical piece of tributions of his pen."
equal length has been more universally read by all Much in the same style was Goldsmith himself classes or has more frequently supplied extracts accustomed to talk of his mercenary labours. A for apt quotation. It abounds with couplets and poor writer consulted him one day on what subjects single lines, so simply beautiful in sentiment, su he might employ his pen with most profit: “My musical in cadence, and so perfect in expression, dear fellow," said Goldsmith, laughing, indeed, but that the ear is delighted to retain them for their in good earnest, “pay no regard to the draggle-tail truth, while their tone of tender melancholy indeli Muses; for my part, I have always found produc- bly engraves them on the heart.—The character tions in prose more sought after and better paid istic of our author's poetry is a prevailing simplicifor."
ty, which conceals all the artifices of versification: On another occasion, one of his noble friends, but it is not confined to his expression alone, for it whose classical taste he knew and admired, lament- pervades every feature of the poem. His delineaed to him his neglect of the Muses, and enquired tion of rural scenery, his village portraits, his moral, of him why he forsook poetry, to compile histories, political, and classical allusions, while marked by and write novels? "My lord,” said our author, singular fidelity, chasteness, and elegance, are all "by courting the Muses 1 shall starve, but by my chiefly distinguished for this pleasing and natural other labours, I eat, drink, and have good clothes, character. The finishing is exquisitely delicale, and enjoy the luxuries of life.” This is
, no doubt, without being overwrought; and, with the feelings the reason that his poems bear so small a propor. of tenderness and melancholy which runs through tion to his other productions; but it is said, that he the poem, there is occasianally mixed up a slight always reflected on these sacrifices to necessity with tincture of pleasantry, which gives an additionat the bitterest regret.
interest to the whole. Although Goldsmith thus toiled for a livelihood “ The Deserted Village” is written in the same in the drudgery of compilation, we do not find that style and measure with “The Traveller," and may he had become negligent of fame. His leisure in some degree be considered a suite of that poem: hours were still devoted to his Muse; and the next pursuing some of the views and illustrating in their voluntary production of his pen was the highly results some of the principles there laid down. But finished poem of "The Deserted Village." Pre- the poet is here more intimately interested in his vious to its publication, the bookseller who had bar- subject. The case is taken from his own experigained for the manuscript, gave him a note for one ence, the scenery drawn from his own home, and hundred guineas. Having mentioned this soon the application especially intended for his own afterwards to some of his friends, one of them re- country. marked, that it was a very great sum for so short a The main intention of the poem is to contrast performance. “In truth,” said Goldsmith, “I agriculture with commerce, and to maintain that think so too; it is much more than the honest man the former is the most worthy pursuit, both as it can afford, or the piece is worth : I have not been regards individual happiness and national prosperieasy since I received it; I will therefore go back and ty. He proceeds to show that commerce, while it return him his note :" which he actually did, and causes an influx of wealth, introduces also luxury, left it entirely to the bookseller to pay him accord- and its attendant vices and miseries. He dwells ing to the success of the sale and the profits it might with pathos on the effects of those lordly fortunes produce. His estimate of the value of this perform- which create little worlds of solitary magnificence ance was formed from data somewhat singular around them, swallowing up the small farms in for a poet, who most commonly appreciates his la- their wide and useless domains ; thus throwing an bours rather by their quality than their quantity. air of splendour over the country, while in fact they he computed, that a hundred guineas was equal to hedge and wall out its real life and soul-its hardy five shillings a couplet, which, he modestly observ- peasantry,
II fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey,
| as might be applied to village-life in England, and Where wealth accumulates and men decay;
modified them accordingly. He took what bePrinces and lords may flourish, or may fade; A breach can make them as a breath has made;
longed to human nature in rustic life, and adapted Rut a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
it to the allotted scene. In the same way a painter When once destroyed, can never be supplied. takes his models from real life around him, even
when he would paint a foreign or a classic group. The poet, again personified in the traveller, re- There is a verity in the scenes and characters of turns from his wanderings in distant countries to “The Deserted Village” that shows Goldsmith to the village of his childhood. In the opening of the have described what he had seen and felt; and it poem he draws from memory a minute and beauti- is upon record that an occurrence took place at ful picture of the place, and fondly recalls its sim- Lishoy, during his life time, similar to that which ple sports and rustic gambols. In all his journey-produced the desolation of the village in the poem. ings, his perils, and his sufferings, he had ever look- This occurrence is thus related by the Rev. Dr. ed forward to this beloved spot, as the haven of re- Strean, of the diocese of Elphin, in a letter to Mr. pove for the evening of his days.
Mangin, and inserted in that gentleman's “Essay And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue, on light reading." Pants to the place from whence at first he flew,
“The poem of "The Deserted Village,” says I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Dr. Strean, "took its origin from the circumstance Here to return, and die at home at last.
of General Robert Napier, the grandfather of the With these expectations he returns, after the gentleman who now lives in the house, within lapse of several years, and finds the village deserted half a mile of Lishoy, built by the general, having and desolate. A splendid mansion had risen in its purchased an extensive tract of the country surneighbourhood ; the cottages and hamlets had been rounding Lishoy, or Auburn; in consequence of demolished; their gardens and fields were thrown which, many families, here called cottiers, were reinto parks and pleasure-grounds; and their rustic moved to make room for the intended improveinhabitants, thrust out from their favourite abodes, ments of what was now to become the wide do.' bad emigrated to another hemisphere.
main of a rich man, warm with the idea of chang. To distant climes, a dreary scene,
ing the face of his new acquisition, and were forcWhere hall the convex world intrudes between, ed, 'with fainting steps,' to go in search of 'torrid Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, tracts,' and 'distant climes.' Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
“This fact might be sufficient to establish the Dejected at this disappointment of his cherished seat of the poem; but there can not remain a doubt hope, the poet wanders among the faint traces of in any unprejudiced mind, when the following are past scenes, contrasting their former life and gaiety added ; viz. that the character of the village.preachwith their present solitude and desolation. This er, the above-named Henry, the brother of the poet, gives occasion for some of the richest and mellow-is copied from nature. He is described exactly as est picturing to be found in any poetry. The he lived: and his 'modest mansion' as it existed. village-preacher and his modest mansion; the Burn, the name of the village-master, and the site schoelmaster and his noisy troop; the ale-house of his school-house, and Catherine Giraghty, a and its grotesque frequenters, are all masterpieces lonely widow, of their kind.
The wretched matron, forced in age, for bread, The village alluded to in this poem is at present
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread. sufficiently ascertained to be Lishoy, near Ballymahon, in the county of Westmeath, Ireland, in (and to this day the brook and ditches near the which Goldsmith passed his youth. It has been spot where her cabin stood abound with cresses), remarked, that the description of the place and still remain in the memory of the inhabitants, and the people, together with the introduction of the Catherine's children live in the neighbourhood. nightingale, a bird, it is said, unknown in the Irish The pool, the busy mill, the house where 'nutornithology, savour more of the rural scenery and brown draughts inspired,' are still visited as the rustic life of an English than an Irish village. But poetic scene; and the ‘hawthorn bush,' growing this presents no insuperable difficulty. Such lin in an open space in front of the house, which I censes are customary in poetry; and it is notorious knew to have three trunks, is now reduced to one, that the clear blue sky and the delicious tempera- the other two having been cut, from time to time, ture of Italy, have with much greater freedom by persons carrying pieces of it away to be made been appropriated by English bards to deck out into toys, etc. in honour of the hard, and of the their descriptions of an English spring. It is evi- celebnty of his poem. All these contribute to the dent, indeed, that Goldsmith meant to represent same proof; and the 'decent church,' which I athis village as an English one. He took from Lis-tended for upwards of eighteen years, and which boy, therefore, only such traits and characteristics 'wps the neighbouring hill,' is exactly described
as seen from Lishoy, the residence of the preach- Goldsmith dedicated "The Deserted Village" to
his friend Sir Joshua Reynolds, from motives of afTo the honour of Ireland, and in particular of fection. “I can have no expectations,” said the a gentleman named Hogan, grandson to General poet, "in an address of this kind, either to add to Napier the destroyer, we are enabled to add that your reputation, or to establish my own. You can the village of Lishoy, now bearing its poetical gain nothing from my admiration, as I am ignoname of Auburn, has been renovated and restor- rant of that art in which you are said to excel : ed, at least as to its localities, to what it was in its and I may lose much by the severity of your judghappiest days. The parsonage, rescued from ment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than a legion of pigs and poultry, which had taken you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I possession of its lower apartments, and relieved never paid much attention, I must be indulged at from loads of grain and fodder, under which its present in following my affections. The only upper chambers had for some years groaned, has dedication I ever made was to my brother, because resumed its ancient title of Lishoy-house: the I loved him better than most other men. He is church yet crowns the hill, and is again entitled since dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to to the appellation of decent; the school-house you." maintains its station; and the village-inn, with its sign repainted, its chambers re-whitewashed, and bouring hill' Before me lay the little hill of Knockrue, on
which he declares, in one of his letters, he had rather sit with the varnished clock replaced in its corner, echoes
a book in hand, than mingle in the proudest assemblies. And once more with the voices of rustic politicians, above all, startingly true, beneath my feet was merry peasants, and buxom maids,
Yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild Who kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
"A painting from the life could not be more exact. "The
stubborn currant-bush' litts its head above the rank grass, ani To render the dispensation of poetical justice still the proud hollyhock flaunts where its sisters of the flower more complete, the usurping mansion, the erection knot are no more. of which occasioned the downfall of the village,
“In the middle of the village stands the old 'hawthornhas become dismantled and dilapidated, and has uree, built up with masonry, to distinguish and preserve it.
it is old and stunted, and suffers much from the depreda been converted into a barrack.*
Lions of post-chaise travellers, who generally stop to procure & twig. Opposite to it is the village ale-house, over the door of
which gwings “The Three Jolly Pigeons.' Within, every *The following account of the renovation of this village thing is arranged according to the letter: is extracted from a number of the New Monthly Magazine.
The white-waslı'd wall, the nicely sanded floor, "About three miles from Ballymahon, a very central town in the sister kingdom, is the mansion and village of Auburn, so
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door;
The chest contrived a double debt to pay, called by their present possessor, Captain Mlogan. Through
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; the taste and improvement of this gentleman, it is now a beau. tiful spol, although fifteen years since it presented a very bare
The pictures placed for ornament and use, and unpoetical aspect. This, however, was owing to a cause
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose. which serves strongly to corroborate the assertion, that Gold- “Captain Hogan, I have heard, found great difficulty in smith had this scene in view when he wrote his poem of 'The obtaining the twelve good rules,' but at length purchased Deserted Village.' The then possessor, General Napier, turn them at some London book-stall, to adorn the white-washed od all his tenants out of their farms, that he might enclose parlour of the “Three Jolly Pigeons. However laudable this them in his own private domain. Littleton, the mansion of may be, nothing shook my faith in the reality of Auburn so the General, stands not far off, a complete emblem of the deso much as this exacinese, which had the disagreeable air of belating spirit lamented by the poet, dilapidated and convened ing got up for the occasion. The last object of pilgrimage is into a barrack.
the quondam habitation of the schoolmaster, “The chief object of attraction is Lishoy, once the parson. age-house of Henry Goldsmith, that brother to whom the There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule. poet dedicated his . Traveller,' and who is represented as the
"It is surrounded with sragrant proofs of its identity in Village Pastor,
The blossom'd furze un profitably gay.
"Here is to be seen the chair of the port, which fell into the “When I was in the country, the lower chambers were in hands of its presents possessore at the wreck of the parsonhabited by pigs and sheep, and the drawing-rooms by oats. age-house: they have frequently refused large oflere or pur. Captain Mogan, however, has, I believe, got it since into his chase; but more, I dare say, for the sake of drawing contri. possession, and has, of course, improved its condition. butions from the curious than from any reverence for the
" Though at first strongly inclined to dispute the identity of bard. The chair is of oak, with hack and seat of cane, which Auburn, Lishoy-house overcame my scruples. As I clambered precluded all hopes of a secret drawer, like that lately disco. over the rotten gate, and crossed the grass-grown lawn, or vered in Gay's. There is no fear of its being worn out by the cour, the tide of association became 100 strong for casuistry: devout earnestness of sitten-as the cocks and hens have here the poet dwelt and wrote, and here his thoughts fondly usurpal undisputed possession or in and protest most cla recurred when composing his . Traveller,' in a foreign land. norously against all attemps to get it cleanved, or to seat one's Jiwler was 'he decent church, that literally 'topped the neigh- bell.