Puslapio vaizdai

We left the country, travell'd to the north,

Bought flocks and herds, and gradually brought forth
Our secret wealth. But Heaven's all-seeing eye
Beheld our avarice, and smote us sore.
For one by one all our own children died,
And he, the stranger, sole remain'd the heir
Of what indeed was his. Fain then would I,
Who with a father's fondness lov'd the boy,
Have trusted him, now in the dawn of youth,
With his own secret; but my anxious wife,
Foreboding evil, never would consent.

Meanwhile the stripling grew in years and beauty;
And, as we oft observ'd, he bore himself,
Not as the offspring of our cottage blood;
For nature will break out; mild with the mild,
But with the froward he was fierce as fire,
And night and day he talked of war and arms.
I set myself against his warlike bent,

But all in vain.


Born 1728-Died 1774.

GOLDSMITH's father was a clergyman at Pallas, in Ireland, where the poet was born. He was educated at Dublin College, and afterwards studied the medical profession at the University of Edinburgh. His departure from this place was hastened on account of a debt contracted by becoming security for an acquaintance. He studied a year at Leyden, and then set out on foot to make the tour of Europe. After a variety of adventures, he returned to England in 1758, and for some years supported himself, though in comparative obscurity, by his prose writings. In 1765, the publication of The Traveller obtained for him a high poetical celebrity, with a circle of distinguished men of genius for his acquaintance and friends. From this period till his death, his personal history is that of his writings, which are numerous and well known. The Deserted Village was published in 1769, and the Vicar of Wakefield in 1767; his first comedy, The Goodnatured Man, in 1768, and his second, She Stoops to Conquer, in 1773. He died in his forty-sixth year.

His life and character are eccentric, but interesting. Generosity, carelessness, and imprudence, are the reigning features in his disposition. "There must have been something, however," says Campbell, (who has written an extremely beautiful sketch of his life and criticism of his poetry,) "with all his peculiarities, still endearing in his personal character.



Burke was known to recall his memory with tears of affe tion in his eyes. It cannot be believed that the better geni of his writings was always absent from his conversatio One may conceive-graces of his spirit to have been drav forth by Burke or Reynolds, which neither Johnson n Garrick had the sensibility to appreciate."

Both the poetry and prose of Goldsmith are read with a mo constant, steady, heartfelt, and quiet pleasure, than any oth perhaps in the English language. In the former, he capt vates the feelings with a power which is mild and gentle, b not less lasting and sure, than if he had been far more sublim in his design, and more magnificent and various in inventio Sweetness of fancy and tenderness of feeling are the peculia features of his genius, and his pensive delicacy of thought visible even in his humorous effusions. "His descriptions an sentiments all have the pure zest of nature." His expressio is natural and idiomatic, yet in the highest degree select an refined. His manner is beautifully tender and playful, posses ing likewise the easy, graceful union of unaffected simplicit with dignity and elegance.

He is chaste in his ornaments, and inimitably soft and swee in the colouring of his language. His serene and contempla tive sensibility, and his quiet enthusiasm for the joys of retired rural, and domestic life, are mingled with philosophical reflec tion, and made to harmonize with dignified and manly senti ment. He delights the fancy and at the same time softens the heart and diffuses a purity over the moral feelings. His famil iar pictures of the village life, enchant the imagination, and make us dwell fondly even on his most minute and simple re collections.

His delineations of character are original and exquisite The Parish Schoolmaster and the Village Clergyman are portraits that have no rivals; and his humorous poem of Retali ation contains many delightful and characteristic touches The national sketches in the Traveller are all admirable and exhibit great power of observation in seizing on the most expressive features, and conveying the general likeness in a few easy, and gracefully concise, lines. The illustrations in this poem are eminently beautiful. It would scarcely be possible to point out a simile more sweet and appropriate than that of the child at the close of his character of the Swiss. His ballad of the Hermit is written in a style of pensive and gentle pathos, which is singularly touching; while the short description of the cheerful little fireside in the hermitage, around which the cricket chirrups, and the kitten tries its tricks, is artless and captivating. His versification has all the polished elegance without the monotomy of Pope, and it flows with a spontaneous, unstudied ease, such as no other

Goldsmith. He never wrote a bad line, and yet never sacrificed sense or feeling to the harmony of sound. He has so much nature that his very rhymes might almost be said to find an answer in the heart.


REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po;
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door;
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies:
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravell'd, fondly turns to thee:
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.

Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian saints attend;
Bless'd be that spot, where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire:
Bless'd that abode, where want and pain repair,
And every stranger finds a ready chair;
Bless'd be those feasts with simple plenty crown'd,
Where all the ruddy family around

Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale;
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.

But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent and care;
Impell'd with steps unceasing to pursue

Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view:
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies;

My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.

Even 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 litttle things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.

Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendour crown'd;
Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale;
Ye bending swains, that dress the flowery vale;
For me your tributary stores combine;
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine!

As some lone miser, visiting his store,
Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o'er :
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still;
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
Pleas'd with each good that Heaven to man supplies ;
Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
Some spot to real happiness consign'd,

Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
May gather bliss, to see my fellows bless'd.

But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind :
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their blessings even.


FAR to the right, where Appenine ascends, Bright as the summer, Italy extends:

Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,

Woods over woods in gay theatric pride:
While oft some temple's mouldering tops between
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.

Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely bless'd.
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die;
These here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.

But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign;
Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain ;
Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue;
And even in penance planning sins anew.
All evils here contaminate the mind,

That opulence departed leaves behind;

For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the date,
When commerce proudly flourish'd through the state;
At her command the palace learn'd to rise,
Again the long-fall'n column sought the skies;
The canvass glow'd, beyond e'en Nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form:
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display'd her sail;
While nought remain'd of all that riches gave,
But towns unman'd, and lords without a slave:
And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.

Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supplied
By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride;
From these the feeble heart and long-fall'n mind
An easy compensation seem to find.

Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp array'd,
The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade:
By sports like these are all their cares beguil'd;
The sports of children satisfy the child:
Each nobler aim, repress'd by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;

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