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Our author, during his residence at the college of Edinburgh, had given marks of his rising genius for poetry, which Switzerland greatly contributed to bring to maturity. It was here he wrote the first sketch of his Traveller, which he sent to his brother Henry, a clergyman in Ireland, who, despising fame and fortune, had retired with an amiable wife, on an income of only forty pounds per annum, to pass a life of happiness and obscurity.
Mr. Goldsmith and his pupil continued together until they arrived at the south of France, where, on a disagreement, they parted, and our author was left to struggle with all the difficulties that a man could experience, who was in a state of poverty, in a foreign country, without friends. Yet, notwithstanding all his difficulties, his ardour for travelling was not abated ; and he persisted in his scheme, though he was frequently obliged to be beholden to his flute and the peasants. At length, his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at Dover about the beginning of the winter in 1758.
On his arrival at London his situation was by nó means enviable. It is true, that he brought with him a strong mind, plentifully stored with images ; but upon reviewing the state of his finances, he
found them to consist of only a few halfpence. What must be the gloomy apprehensions of a man in so forlorn a situation, and an utter stranger in the metropolis! He applied to several apothecaries for employment; but his awkward appearance, and his broad Irish accent, were so much against him, that he met only with ridicule and contempt. At last, however, merely through motives of humanity, he was taken notice of by a chymist, who employed him in his laboratory.
He continued in this situation till he was in formed that his old friend Dr. Sleigh was in London. He then quitted the chymist, and lived some time upon the liberality of the doctor ; but, disliking a life of dependance on the generosity of his friend, and being unwilling to be burdensome to him, he soon accepted an offer that was made him, of assisting the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in the education of young gentlemen at his academy at Peck. ham. During the time he remained in this situation, he gave much satisfaction to his employer ; but as he had obtained some reputation from criticisms he had written in the Monthly Review, he eagerly engaged in the compilation of that work, with Mr. Griffiths, the principal proprietor. He accordingly returned to London, took an obscure
lodging in Green-Arbour Court, in the Old Bailey, and commenced a professed author.
This was in the year 1759, before the close of which he produced several works, particularly a periodical publication, called The Bee, and An Enquiry into the present State of polite Learning in Europe. He also became a writer in the Public Ledger, in which his Citizen of the World originally appeared under the title of Chinese Letters. His reputation extended so rapidly, and his connections became so numerous, that he was soon enabled to emerge from his mean lodgings in the Old Bailey to the politer air in the Temple, where he took chambers in 1762, and lived in a more creditable manner. At length, his reputation was fully established by the publication of The Traveller, in the year 1765. His Vicar of Wakefield succeeded his Traveller, and his History of England was followed by the performance of his comedy of the Goodnatured Man, all which contributed to place him in the first rank of the writers of his
age. The Good-natured Man was acted at Coventa Garden theatre in the year 1768. Many parts of this play exhibit the strongest indications of our author's comic talents. There is perhaps no character on the stage more happily imagined, and
more highly finished, than Croaker's; nor do we recollect so original and successful an incident, as that of the letter, which he conceives to be the composition of the incendiary, and feels a thousand ridiculous horrors in consequence of his absurd
apprehension. The audience, however, having been just before exalted on the sentimental stilts of False Delicacy, a comedy by Mr. Kelly, they regarded a few scenes in Mr. Goldsmith's piece as too low for their entertainment, and therefore treated them with unjustifiable severity. Nevertheless the Good-natured Man succeeded, though in a degree inferior to its merit. The prologue to it, which is excellent, was written by the author's friend Dr. Samuel Johnson.
In 1773, the comedy of She Stoops to Conquer, or The Mistakes of a Night, was acted at CoventGarden theatre. This piece was considered as a farce by some writers; even if so, it must be ranked among the farces of a man of genius. One of the most ludicrous circumstances it contains, which is that of the robbery, is said to be borrowed from Albamazar.
Mr. Colman, who was then a manager of the theatre, had very little opinion of this piece, and made so keen a remark on it while in rehearsal, that the Doctor never forgave him : it however suc.
ceeded contrary to Mr. Colman's expectations, being received with uncommon applause by the audience. The success of this comedy produced a very illiberal and personal attack, which appeared in one of the public prints, of which the following is a copy:
« To Dr. GOLDSMITH.
" Vous vous noyez en vanité.
“ The happy knack which you have learnt of puffing your own compositions, provokes me to come forth. You have not been the editor of news. papers and magazines, not to discover the trick of literary humbug. But the gauze is so thin, that the very foolish part of the world see through it, and discover the Doctor's monkey face and cloven foot. Your poetic vanity is as unpardonable as your personal. Would man believe it, and will woman bear it, to be told, that for hours the great Goldsmith will stand surveying his grotesque oranthotan's figure in a glass ? Was but the lovely Hm-k as much enamoured, you would not sigh, my gentle swain, in vain. But your vanity is preposterous. How will this same bard of Bedlam ring the changes in praise of Goldy! But what has he to be either