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Dr. Goldsmith and some oi his friends occasionally dined at the St. James's Coffeehouse. One day it was proposed to write epitaphs on him. His country dialect and person furnished subjects of witticism. He was called on for ReTaliation, and at their next meeting produced the following poem.
See an account of the origin of this poem in Northcote's Life of Reynolds, p. 126. Garrick wrote, off hand, with a good deal of humour, an epitaph on Goldsmith. Dr. Bernard also gave him an epitaph. Sir Joshua sketched his bust in pen and ink. This prompted the poem of the Retaliation.
Hints for this poem might have been suggested by Pope's poem to Mr. Thomas Southern, on his Birthday (v. Warlnn, ii. p. 352); and by Motteux's Prologue to Farquhar's' Inconstant,' see vol. ii. p. 10, ed. 1772. Ed.
Of old, when Scarron his companions invited, Each guest brought his dish, and the feast was united;If our1 landlord supplies us with beef and with fish, Let each guest bring himself, and he brings the best dish:Our 2dean shall be venison, just fresh from the plains; [brains;
Our 3Burke shall be tongue, with the garnish of Our * Will shall be wildfowl, of excellent flavour, And 5Dick with his pepper shall heighten their savour: [tain, Our 6 Cumberland's sweetbread its place shall ob
1 The master of the St. James's coffeehouse, where the Doctor, and the friends he has characterised in this poem, occasionally dined.
* Doctor Bernard, Dean of Derry, in Ireland.
3 Mr. Edmund Burke.
4 Mr. William Burke, late secretary to General Conway, and member for Bedwin.
5 Mr. Richard Burke, collector of Grenada.
6 Mr. Richard Cumberland, author of the ' West Indian,' 'Fashionable Lover,' 'The Brothers,' and other dramatic pieces.
And 7 Douglas is pudding, substantial and plain:
14Here lies the good dean,13 reunited to earth, Who mixt reason with pleasure, and wisdom with mirth:
7 Doctor Douglas, canon of Windsor, an ingenious Scotch gentleman, who has no less distinguished himself as a citizen of the world, than a sound critic, in detecting several literary mistakes (or rather forgeries) of his countrymen; particularly Lauder on Milton, and Bower's History of the Popes.
'David Garrick, Esq.
9 Counsellor John Ridge, a gentleman belonging to the Irish Bar.
10 Sir Joshua Reynolds.
"An eminent attorney, whose hospitality and good humour acquired him in his club the title of 'honest Tom Hickey.'
13 Here lies the good dean] See a poem by Dean Bernard to Sir J. Reynolds, in Northcote's Life of Reynolds, p. 130.
"Vide page 63.
If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt,
Here lies our good u Edmund, whose genius was such, We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much; Who, born for the universe, narrow'd his mind, And to party gave up what was meant for mankind. Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his
To persuade 15Tommy Townshend to lend him a Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining, And thought of convincing, while they thought of
dining;Though equal to all things, for all things unfit, Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit; For a patriot too cool; for a drudge disobedient; And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient. In short, 'twas his fate, unemploy'd, or in place, sir, To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.
Here lies honestl6 William, whose heart was a mint, [in't;
While the owner ne'er knew half the good that was
"Vide page 63.
16 Mr. T. Townshend, member for Whitchurch. See H. Walpole's Letter to Lord Hertford, p. 6. 16 Vide page 63.