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We left the country, travell'd to the north,
Bought flocks and herds, and gradually brought forth
Meanwhile the stripling grew in years and beauty;
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.
STUDIES IN POETRY.
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.
FROM THE TRAVELLER.
REMOTE, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
But me, not destin'd such delights to share,
Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view:
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
Even now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend :
When thus creation's charms around combine,
That good which makes each humbler bosom vain ?
Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendour crown'd;
As some lone miser, visiting his store,
Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
But where to find that happiest spot below,
CHARACTER OF THE ITALIANS.
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:
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
That opulence departed leaves behind;
For wealth was theirs, not far remov'd the date,
Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supplied
Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp array'd,