Imatges de pàgina

Beaux Esprits, where Wit Sparkled sometimes at the expence of Good-nature.--- It was propofid to write Epitaphs on him; his Country, Dialet and Perfon, furnished subjects of Witticism! He was called on for Retaliation, and at their next meeting he produced the following Poem, which I think adds one Leaf to his immortal Wreath.


Some ACCOUNT of the LIFE of the late


year 1731. His father, who pofflid a small estate in that county, had nine sons, of which Oliver was the third. He was originally intended for the church ; and with that view, after being well instructed in the classics, was, with his brother the Rev. Henry Goldsinith, placed in Trinity-college, Dublin, about the latter end of the year 1749. In this seminary of learning he continued a few years, when he took a Bachelor's degree; but, his brother not being able to obtain any preferment after he left the college, Oliver, by the advice of Dean Goldfinith of Cork, turned his thoughts to the profession of physic, and, after attending some courses of anatomy in Dublin, proceeded to Edinburgh in the year 1751, where he studied the several branches of medicine under the different Professors in that University, which was deservedly ranked among the first schools of physic in Europe. His beneficent disposition foon involved him in unexpected difficulties, and he was obliged precipitately to leave Scotland, in consequence of engaging himself to pay a considerable sum of for a fellow-student.

A w days after, about the beginning of the year 1754, he arrived at Sunderland, near Newcastle, where he was arrested at the fuit of one Barclay, a taylor in Edinburgh, to whom he had given security for his friend. By the good graces of Laughlin Maclane, Esq; and Dr. Sleigh, who were then in the college, he was soon delivered out of the hands of the Bailiff, and took his passage on board a Dutch Thip to Rotterdam, where, after a short stay, he proceeded to Brutiels. He then visited great part of Flanders, and, after passing some time at Strasbourg and Louvain, where he obtained a degree of Bachelor in physic, he accompanied an English gentleman to Geneva.

It is undoubtedly fact, that this ingenious, unfortunate man, made most part of his tour on foot! He had left England with very little money, and, being of a philosophical turn, and at that time possessing a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified at danger, he became an enthusiast to the design he had


formed of seeing the manners of different countries. He had some knowledge of the French language, and of music; he played tolerably well on the German Aute; which, from an amusement, became at some times the means of subsistence. His learning produced him an hospitable reception at most of the religious houses, and his mulic made him welcome to the peasants of Flanders and Germany. • Whenever I approached a peasant's house towards night-fall,' he ufed to say, ' I played one of my most merry tunes, and that genesally procured me not only a lodging, but subgstence for the next day: but in truth, his constant expreslion, 'I must own, whenever I attempted to entertain persons of a higher rank, they always thought my performance odious, and never made me any return for my endeavours to please them.'

On his arrival at Geneva, he was recommended as a proper person for a travelling tutor to a young man, who had been unexpectedly left a considerable sum of money by his uncle Mr. S: This youth, who was articled to an attorney, on receipt of his fortune determined to see the world; and, on his er.gaging with his preceptor, made a proviso, that he thould be permitted to govern himself; and our traveller foon found his pupil understood the art of dirating in money concerns extremely well, as avarice was his prevailing pallion.

During Goldsmith's continuance in Switzerland, he assiduously cultivated his poetical talent, of which he had given some striking proofs at the college of Edinburgh. It was from hence he sent the first sketch of his delightful epistle, called the Traveller, to his brother the clergyman in Ireland, who, giving up fame and fortune, had retired, with an amiable wife, to happiness and obscurity, on an income of only 401. a year.

From Geneva Mr. Goldfinith and his pupil visited the south of France, where the young man, upon some disagreement with his preceptor, paid him the {mall part of his falary which was due, and embarked at Marseilles for England. Our wanderer was left once more upon the world at large, and passed through a number of difficulties. in traversing the greatest part of France. At length his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at Dover, the beginning of the winter, in the year 1758.




(v) His finances were so low on his return to England, that he with difficulty got to this metropolis, his whole stock of cash amounting to no more than a few halfpence! An entire stranger in London, bis mind was filled with the most gloomy reflections in consequence of his embarrassed situation ! He applied to several apothecaries in hopes of being received in the capacity of a journeyman, but his broad Irish accent, and the uncouthnefs of his appearance, occasioned him to meet with insult, from most of the medicinal tribe. The next day, however, a chymist near Fish street, struck with his forlorn condition, and the simplicity of his manner, took him into his labo

where he continued till he discovered his old friend Dr. Sleigh was in London. This gentleman received him with the warmest affection, and liberally invited him to share his purse till some establishment could be procured for him, Goldsmith, unwilling to be a burden to his friend, a short time after eagerly embraced an offer which was made him to assist the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in instructing the young gentlemen at the Academy at Peckham; and acquitted himself greatly to the Doctor's satisfaction for a short time; but, having obtained some reputation by the criticisms he had written in the Monthly Review, Mr. Griffiths, the principal proprietor, engaged him in the compilation of it; and, resolving to pursue the profession of writing, he returned to London, as the mart where abilities of every kind were sure of meeting distinction and reward, Here he determined to adopt a plan of the strictest æconomy, and tuok lodgings in Green Arbour court in the Old Bailey, where he wrote several ingenious pieces. The late Mr. Newbery, who, at that time gave great encouragement to men of literary abilities, became a kind of patron to our young author, and introduced him as one of the writers in the Public Ledger, in which his Citizen of the World originally appeared, under the title of Chinese Letters.'

Fortune now seemed to take some notice of a man she had long neglected. The simplicity of his character, the integrity of his heart, and the merit of his productions, made his company very acceptable to a number of respectable persons, and he emerged from his Mabby apartments near the Old Bailey to the politer air of the Temple, where he took handsome chambers, and lived in a genteel style. The publication of his Traveller, his Vicar of Wakefield, and his Letters on the History of England, was followed by the performance of his co



medy of the Good-natured Man at Covent Garden theatre, and placed him in the first rank of the poets of the present age.

Our Doctor, as he was now universally called, had a constant levec of his diffrest countrymen ; whose wants, as far as he was able, he always relieved, and he has been often known to leave himselt even without a guinea, in order to supply the necessities of others!

Another feature in his character we cannot help laying before the reader. Previous to the publication of his Deserted Village, the Bookseller bad given him a note for one hundred guineas for the copy, which

which the Doctor mentioned, a few hours after, to one of his friends, who observed it was a very great sum for so Thort a performauce. • In truth,' replied Goldsmith, I think so too, it is much more than the honest man can afford, or the piece is worth, I have not been easy since I received it; therefore I will go back and return him his note, which he absolutely did, and left it entirely to the Bookseller to pay him according to the profits produced by the sale of the poem, which turned out very considerable.

During the last rehearsal of his comedy, intitled, She stoops to Conquer, which Mr. Coleman had no opinion would succeed, on the Doctor's objecting to the repetition of one of Tony Lumpkin's speeches, being apprehenfive it might injure the play, the Manager, with great keenness replied, Pfha, my dear Doctor, do not be fearful of fquibs, when we have been fitting almost these two hours upon à barrel of gunpowder.' The piece, however, contrary to Mr. Coleman's expectation, was received with uncommon applause by the audience; and Goldsmith's pride was so hurt by the severity of the above observation, that it entirely put an end to his friendship for the gentleman who made it.

Notwithstanding the great success of his pieces, by fome of which, it is asserted, upon good authority, he cleared 18ool. in one year, his circumstances were by no means in a prosperous situation! partly owing to the liberality of his disposition, and partly to an unfortunate habit he had contracted of gaming, the arts of which he knew very little of, and consequently became the prey of those who were unprincipled enough to take advantage of his ignorance.


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