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happier hour,' nothing can permanently depress. Johnson sent him a guinea, and promised to be with him directly.27 When he arrived, he found that Goldsmith had purchased a bottle of Madeira with the money, and was regaling himself in his sorrow. Johnson wisely corked up the bottle, bid him be calm, went out and sold the novel88 for £60 to Newbery; and Goldsmith when he had paid his rent rated his landlady soundly for using him so ill. I suppose the bookseller was induced to purchase the manuscript partly from the recommendation of Johnson, for he was doubtful of its success, and kept it by him till Goldsmith's reputation, firmly established and widely extended by the 'Traveller,' ensured a profitable sale.
This accidental circumstance produced a fur
27 This story has been related with singular inaccuracy by Mrs. Piozzi, in her anecdotes of Johnson, p. 119; and still more so by the Rev. Edmund Mangin, in his Essay on Light Reading, p. 134. It has been remarked that it has been told by Boswell (v. Life, i. 360), by Mrs. Piozzi (Anecd. p. 119), and by Cumberland (v. Life, p. 273), all from Johnson's own relation, and all differently, so difficult it is to come at the truth.
28 'I do not love a man who is zealous for nothing.'— 'When I was a young man, being anxious to distinguish myself, I was perpetually starting new propositions; but I soon gave this over, for I found that generally what was new was false.' These two passages Goldsmith expunged from his novel. Bosw. Johnson, vol. iv. p. 245. vol. i. p. 454.
ther acquaintance between Goldsmith and Newbery. In 1763, the Poet was in lodgings in Canonbury House, Islington, revising and correcting different publications, particularly the Artof Poetry,2 vols. 12mo.; a Lifeof Beau Nash; the Chinese Letters, a work highly, and I think most justly, praised by his biographer, for a nice perception, and a delicate delineation of life and manners; for its wit and humour, and for touching the vices and follies of the day with the most playful and diverting satire; to this, I would add mention, of the pure and graceful style in which his observations are conveyed. Soon after this, or early in 1764, he collected and published his fugitive pieces, under the title of Essays. They also were justly popular; for Goldsmith has written nothing that may not be read with delight; a native grace, an innate delicacy of taste is seen in the selection of his language, and the harmony of his style. May I say without offence, that I am inclined to prefer it to that of Addison; for while it is not inferior in ease and elegance, it excels even the Virgil of English prose in compactness and precision.
The name of Goldsmith had now been for seven years before the public. His various works had proved him to be a man of talent, a clever, humorous, and well informed writer; but he had as yet published no book of consequence, and he was not very eminently distinguished. He felt that he had powers within him which were not generally known, and he was not a little anxious to assume that station in the world of letters which his genius had a right to demand. The publication of his ' Traveller' at once realized his hopes, and procured him the reputation of the first poet of his age.
This poem was commenced in Switzerland, and long kept back by the author, till 29 Johnson's praise of part of it induced him to prosecute the plan, and prepare it for the press. It is said that while, for two years previous to its publication, he was employed in the drudgery of laborious compilations for the booksellers, his few vacant hours were fondly devoted to the patient revisal and correction of this his greatest poem; pruning its luxuriences, or supplying its defects; till it appeared at length finished with exactness, and polished into beauty. It came out in 1765, ° was received with the applause it so well deserved, and Johnson,31 delighted with its success, pointed out its merits in a review.
a Johnson was seen to weep while he repeated Goldsmith's character of the English in his Traveller, 'Stern o'er each bosom/ Olc. V. Bosw. Johnson, vol. iii. p. 40. vol. v. p. 227. I forgot to mention, that Johnson wrote the four last lines of the Deserted Village, v. Bosw. Johnson, vol.ii. p.7.
30 'The manner of Carolan's death (the blind bard of Ireland) is related with several degrading circumstances in a life of him which appeared in the European Magazine, October 1765, and in the Hibernian Magazine, November, 1765, and is ascribed to the late Dr. Goldsmith, though unworthy of the pen of that elegant writer.'
Walker's Irish Bards, App. 95.
And here let me claim the indulgence of the reader, while I venture a few observations, which a repeated perusal of the poetry of Goldsmith has suggested. I should say, that it is equally calculated both to satisfy the taste of the refined, and to delight the general class of readers. It does not depart too widely from our ordinary habits of thought, nor does it make too imperious demands on our imaginative faculties. It awakens associations which all acknowledge, and it makes an appeal to the heart, with a tenderness that all enjoy. To delight in the magnificent creations of Milton, and the elaborate language in which they are embodied, we must possess a profound knowledge drawn from books; to understand and value the brilliant poetry of Pope, we must have a thorough acquaintance with the habits of society, and the characters of men. But in the poetry of Goldsmith, there is at once an exercise of the understanding not too severe, and an appeal to the affections of the heart not too powerful. A soft and serene colouring pervades all his subjects; a chaste simplicity, a gentle moderation in his touch breathes throughout. We are not, as with other poets, distracted from pursuing the views of nature, or trains of thought that open before us, by too elaborate a display of skill in the artist, or too subtle and laborious a study in ourselves. His language is rich without being luxuriant, and his verse is musical without being affected. He occasionally rises on the wing into sublimity and grandeur; but he more often descends into the bosom of domestic scenes and descriptions, in which the gracefulness of his fancy, the softness and tenderness of his thoughts, and the fine delicacy of his taste are chiefly seen. His poem, like a chaste and mellow Venetian picture, amid its varied hues, its picturesque descriptions, its beautiful allusions, and its vivid and minute details, possesses a pure and universal harmony of tone; there is a close unison of the thought and language that in its magic links binds and connects the whole.
31 Johnson wrote line 420,
'To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,' and the concluding ten lines, except the last couplet but one. Sir Egerton Brydges (venerabile nomen) has mentioned a forgotten poem of Blackmore, called 'The Nature of Man, in three Books,' with the motto,' Quid quteque ferat regio, et quid queque recusal,' 1711, 8vo. in which the second book is filled with topics similar to those of Goldsmith in the Traveller; the couplet most resembling the style of our Poet from the passage quoted by Sir Egerton seems to be, speaking of the French,
'Still in extremes their passions they employ,