Imatges de pÓgina

the heart, where the soul, without any aid from the imagination, spoke its most inward feelings, ever tender, ever new ?"-" Friend," replied the bard, with a frown, "what can I do in a place where I am refused both women and wine? When I came hither I found myself quite at a loss for employment; and as I knew nothing, I became a politician, for that is a trade that every body knows."

He had scarcely finished, when I heard before me a loud uproar of applause and invective; and turning round, I perceived an old man supported on his stick, and yet seemingly held up by two commentators on each side, who served to direct him along; and at the same time continued to assure the populace who were gathered round, that he was by no means so blind as he seemed, but that he frequently saw with the utmost perspicuity. As he walked along, however, at every four paces he seemed to have an inclination to sleep, and his attitude in this respect was so natural, that the spectators seemed almost to sympathize; but, drowsy as they were, they still continued to cry out, "The divine old man! the incomparable poet! the marvellous genius! the admirable philosopher! the sublime orator !" in short, there was scarcely a title of praise that was not lavished on the immortal Homer.

It would have excited pity to see how much the old bard, who in the main was a man of good sense, seemed ashamed of so much unmerited praise. In vain he attempted to steal away from the crowd that was gathered round him; the commentators were a set of attendants not easily shook off; they even made him frequently blush with their fulsome adulations. Like Sosia, in the comedy, he frequently felt himself all over, in order to know whether he was himself or no; and he could hardly be brought to conceive how his journey to hell could make such a prodigious change in his reputation; and, to confess a truth, he was right. While

he was alive, his whole fame consisted in being a good ballad singer, and he considered his poems only as a trade taken up for want of a better, by which he scarcely found a subsistence. It was a matter of wonder, that those very men who formerly denied Homer a little corner in some obscure hospital, in order to rest his muse, fatigued with her vagrant life, now offered him divine honours.(1) He, however, behaved with as much modesty as possible for a man in his circumstances. I could not avoid asking him, why there ran such a similarity through all the books of his Iliad, which must certainly fatigue every reader but those who are determined to admire. To which he very candidly replied, "Ask these gentlemen who support me; they will probably give you good reasons for what I have done, for faith! I am incapable of giving any myself.”

Upon applying to the commentators for a solution of my doubts, they heard me with the utmost contempt and indignation, and instead of argument, began to proceed to invective. Happily for me, they were but shades, otherwise I might have expected a much more injurious treatment; and I should certainly have fallen beneath the hands of this company of men, who gloried in the title of Modernicides. Eustathius, however, made up to me with looks of vehement indignation; and lifting up his nervous arm, would have made me feel the force of his resentment, had I not been happily saved from the blow by waking from my dream.

["Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead, Through which the living Homer begg'd his bread!" The names of the different places which laid claim to the birth of Homer were neatly brought together in a single line by Sannazarius

"6 Smyrna, Rhodos, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athenæ,
Cedite, jam cœlum patria Mœonidæ est."]

(2) [Eustathius, bishop of Thessalonica, lived in the twelfth century. His commentaries upon Homer were first published with the text of Rome, 1550.]



I am apt to fancy you are frequently imposed upon by your correspondents with fictitious stories of distress; such indeed may have real merit in the design, as they promote that tenderness and benevolent love to each other by example, which didactic writers vainly attempt by maxim or reproof: but as they happen to want the sanction of truth, so are they frequently unnatural, and often betray that art which it should be every writer's endeavour to conceal.

If the following story is found to have any real merit, it must be wholly ascribed to that sincerity which guides the pen. I am unused to correspond with magazines; nor should now have walked from obscurity, if not convinced that a true though artless tale would be useful, and sensible that I could not give it a better conveyance to the public, than by diffusing it by means of your magazine.

Within ten miles of H., a town in the north of England, Mr. Stanton, a clergyman with a small fortune, had long resided; and, by a continued perseverance in benevolence and his duty, was esteemed by the rich, and beloved by the poor. He entertained the little circle of his friends with the produce of his glebe; the repast was frugal, but amply recompensed by the cheerfulness of the entertainer. He every evening sat by the way-side to welcome the passing stranger, where he was brought in for the night, and welcomed to a cup of cheerful ale and a glimmering fire. The parson enquired the news of the day, was solicitous to know how

(1) [In this little narrative, which has not been included in any former edition of Goldsmith's works, we find something like the first rude germ of the Vicar of Wakefield; the catastrophe is indeed unnatural and abrupt. The story was probably hurried to a conclusion when the press required an immediate supply of matter. See Life, ch. ix.]

the world went, and, as the stranger told some new story, the entertainer would give some parallel instance from antiquity, or some occurrence of his youth. In this manner he had lived for twenty years, bound by every endearment to his parishioners, but particularly attached to one only daughter; the staff of his old age, the pride of the parish, praised by all for her understanding and beauty; and, what is more extraordinary, perfectly deserving all that praise.

As men increase in years, those attachments which are divided on a multiplicity of objects, gradually centre in one; the young have many objects of affection, the aged generally but one. This was the case of Mr. Stanton; every year his love to his dear Fanny increased; in her he saw all her mother's beauty; her appearance every moment reminded him of his former happiness, and in her he expected to protract his now declining life. Thoroughly to feel his tenderness for his child we must be parents ourselves; he undertook to educate her himself, taught his lovely scholar all he knew, and found her sometimes even surpass her master. He expected her every morning to take his lessons in morality, pointed out her studies for the day; and as to music and dancing, those he had her instructed in by the best masters the country could afford. Though such an education. generally forms a female pedant, yet Fanny was found to steer between those happy extremes of a thoughtless giggler and a formal reasoner; could heighten the hours of pleasure with gaiety and spirit, and improve every serious interval with good sense of her own, and a happy condescension for those qualities in others.

In this manner she and her father continued to improve each other's happiness; and as she grew up, she took the care of the family under her direction. A life of such tran

quillity and undisturbed repose seemed a foretaste of that to come; when a gentleman, whom I may be permitted to call

Dawson, happened to travel that way. A travelling rake seldom goes to church, except with a design of seeing the ladies of the country, and this induced the gentleman I refer to, to enter that of Mr. Stanton. Among the various objects that offered, none appeared half so lovely as the poor clergyman's daughter; she seemed, indeed, to surpass any thing he had ever seen before.

Mr. Dawson was thirty-six years of age, tolerably well made, and with such a face as is not much impaired by arriving at the middle period of life: but what he wanted in personal beauty, he made up in a perfect knowledge of the world; he had travelled through Europe, and been improved in sentiment and address. He knew perfectly all the windings of the human heart; had kept the very best company; and consequently appeared no way superior to those whose good opinions he endeavoured to conciliate.

This was only one side of his character; the reverse was marked with dissimulation, a passionate admiration, and yet what only seems an inconsistence, at the same time a perfect contempt for the beautiful sex. He had fortune to second this insiduous way of thinking, and perseverance to carry all his schemes into execution. If the passion he felt at church upon seeing the innocent subject of my story can be called love, he loved with the utmost ardour; he had been long unacquainted with any obstacles to his illicit desires, and therefore expected none now.

Dressing himself, therefore, in the habit of a scholar, with a stick in his hand, he, the evening following, walked with seeming fatigue before Mr. Stanton's door, where he expected to find him and his daughter sitting. As he expected, it happened: the old man, perceiving a stranger dressed in black, with a grey wig, passing wearily by his door, was touched at once with pity and curiosity, and instantly invited him in. To this the stranger testified some reluctance; but the

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