« ПретходнаНастави »
FROM THE OLD BALLAD.
And grew soe coy and nice to please,
Thus being wearyed with delayes,
And there hee dyed without releeffe.
And for his sake these weeds I weare,
Thus every day I fast and pray,
FROM THE HERMIT.
For still I tried each fickle art,
And while his passion touch'd my heart,
Till, quite dejected by my scorn,
He left me to my pride;
And sought a solitude forlorn,
But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
gratification of being recognized by a man of the duke's high rank as a literary friend.
This distinguished peer and his duchess were accustomed to spend part of each summer at Bath; and one year, after their return to London, her grace related to Dr. Percy, with considerable humour, the following occurrence, characteristic of our author's occasional abstraction of mind. On one of the parades at Bath, the duke and Lord Nugent had hired two adjacent houses. Goldsmith, who was then resident on a visit with the latter, one morning walked up into the duke's dining room, as he and the duchess were preparing to sit down to breakfast. In a manner the most free and easy he threw himself on a sofa; and, as he was then perfectly known to them both, they inquired of him the Bath news of the day. But perceiving him to be rather in a meditative humour, they rightly guessed there was some mistake, and endeavoured, by easy and cheerful conversation to prevent his becoming embarrassed. When breakfast was served up, they invited him to stay and partake of it; and then poor Goldsmith awoke from his reverie, declared he thought he had been in the house of his friend Lord Nugent, and with confusion hastily withdrew; not, however, till the goodhumoured duke and duchess had made him promise to dine with them.
Something akin to this incident, is the well known blunder committed by our author during a conversation with the Earl of Shelbourne. One evening, while in company with this nobleman, Goldsmith, after a variety of conversation, fell into a fit of musing. At last, as if suddenly recovering
There has been an attempt, in later days, to cast from his abstraction, he addressed his lordship aba doubt upon the title of Goldsmith to the whole ruptly in this manner;-"My lord, I have often of this poem. It has been asserted that the "Her-wondered why every body should call your lordship mit" was a translation of an ancient French poem Malagrida; for Malagrida, you know, was a very entitled "Raimond and Angeline." The pretend-good man." The well bred peer only replied to ed original made its appearance in a trifling peri- this awkward compliment by a smile, and the odical publication, entitled "The Quiz." It bears heedless poet went on totally unconscious of his internal evidence of being in reality an imitation of error. It was afterwards remarked by Dr. John'Goldsmith's poem. The frivolous source of this son, that this mistake of Goldsmith was only a flippant attack, and its transparent falsity, would have caused it to pass unnoticed here, had it not been made a matter of grave discussion in some periodical journals. To enter into a detailed refutation would be absurd.
blunder in emphasis, and that the expression meant nothing more than, "I wonder they should use Malagrida as a term of reproach,"
About this period, or perhaps a little earlier, Goldsmith, in addition to the apartments he occuThe poem of "The Hermit" was at first in-pied in the Temple, took a country-house on the scribed to the Countess (afterwards Duchess) of Edgeware-road, in conjunction with a Mr. Bott, Northumberland, who had shown a partiality for one of his literary friends, for the benefit of good productions of this kind, by patronizing Percy's air, and the convenience of retirement. To this "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry." This led little mansion he gave the jocular appellation of Shoeto a renewed intercourse with the duke, to whom maker's Paradise, the architecture being in a fanwe have already narrated Goldsmith's first visit; tastic style, after the taste of its original possessor, but the time had gone by when his grace could who was one of the craft. Here he began and have been politically useful, and we do not know finished one of his most pleasing and successful that our author reaped any other advantage from compilations, a "History of England, in a Series the notice that nobleman took of him, than the of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son," This
little work was at first published anonymously, suring him that "he had exceeded his own ides and was very generally ascribed to the pen of Lord of the character, and that the fine comic richness Lyttleton. That nobleman then held some rank of his colouring made it almost appear as new to in the world of letters, and as the chief feature in him as to any other person in the house." Dr. the performance was an easy elegance of language, Johnson furnished the prologue, and publicly dewithout much depth of thought, or investigation, clared, that in his opinion, "The Good-natured the public were the more easily betrayed into a be- Man" was the best comedy that had appeared lief that it was the work of his lordship. It had since "The Provoked Husband." He dwelt with likewise the honour to be ascribed to the Earl of much complacency on the character of Croaker, Orrery, and some other noble authors of that period. and averred that none equal to it in originality That it was really the production of Goldsmith, had for a long time been exhibited on the stage, however, was soon afterwards generally known; a Goldsmith used to acknowledge, that for his concircumstance, which in all probability, greatly en- ception of this character he was indebted to John. hanced its value in the estimation of the world. son's Suspirius in the "Rambler." That of HoneyFew books have had a more extensive sale or wood, in its undistinguishing benevolence, bear wider circulation. some resemblance to his own. "The Good-naThe fame our author had now acquired as a tured Man" has undoubtedly great merit; and critic, a novelist, and a poet, prompted him to ad- though deficient in effect for the stage, will always venture in the drama. His first effort produced be a favourite in the closet. Mr. Cumberland re"The Good-natured Man." This comedy was marks, that it "has enough to justify the good offered to Garrick, to be brought out at his theatre opinion of its literary patrons, and secure its auof Drury-Lane; but after much fluctuation between thor against any loss of reputation; for it has the doubt and encouragement, with his customary hesi- stamp of a man of talents upon it, though its poputation and uncertainty, he at length declined it. The larity with the audience did not quite keep pace with conduct of Garrick in this instance was the more sur- the expectations that were grounded on the fiat it prising, as the piece had been read and applauded in had antecedently been honoured with." Short as manuscript by most of the author's literary friends, its career was, however, its author by the sale of the and had not only the sanction of Burke's critical copy, and the profits of his three nights, acquired judgment, but Johnson himself had engaged to not less than five hundred pounds, a sum which write the prologue. Colman, the manager of Cov- enabled him to enlarge his domestic establishment, ent-Garden Theatre, was, however, not so scrupu- and improve his style of living, though it is believlous; especially when he found it presented under ed on rather a too expensive scale. On removing, such patronage. It was therefore agreed that it at this time from an attic in the Inner-Temple, to should be produced at his theatre; and it was repre- elegant chambers in Brick-court, Middle-Temple, sented there for the first time on the 29th of Janu- he is said to have laid out upwards of four hundred ary, 1768. Contrary to the expectations of the au- pounds. thor and his friends, it did not meet with unquali
Goldsmith's improved circumstances, did not, fied applause; and though it kept possession of the however, compensate for the vexations he suffered stage nine nights, it was finally withdrawn. The from the virulence of some of the periodical critics. peculiar genius of its author was apparent in the "At that time," says Mr. Cumberland, "there ease and elegance of the dialogue, and throughout was a nest of vipers in league against every name the whole there were many keen remarks on men to which any degree of celebrity was attached; and and manners; but the piece was deficient in stage- they kept their hold upon the papers till certain of effect. The Bailiff scene, in particular, was gene- their leaders were compelled to fly their country, rally reprobated, though the characters were well some to save their ears, and some to save their drawn. This scene was afterwards greatly abridg- necks. They were well known; and I am sorry ed. Whatever were the faults of the piece as a to say, some men whose minds should have been whole, it was admitted that many of the parts pos- superior to any terrors they could hold out, made sessed great comic effect, and these were highly suit to them for favour, nay even combined with applauded. The part of Croaker, in particular, was them on some occasions, and were mean enough allowed to be excellent. It was admirably sup- to enrol themselves under their despicable banported by Shuter, the most popular comedian of his ners." From this class of critics, poor Goldsmith's day. The drollery of his manner while reading sensitive feelings suffered the horrors of crucifixion. the incendiary letter in the fourth act, and his ex- To add to his mortification, the comedy of "False pression of the different passions by which he was Delicacy," written by his friend Kelly, came out at agitated, were so irresistibly comical, that he brought Drury-Lane Theatre about the same time with down thunders of applause. Goldsmith himself was "The Good-natured Man" at Covent-Garden, and so overcome with the acting of Shuter, that he ex- had such an unexampled run of success, that it pressed his delight before the whole company, as was said to have driven its opponent fairly off the
field. This might, perhaps, be in some measure better than I should have done; for I should have owing to the able management of Garrick, under bowed and stammered through the whole of it." whose special superintendence it was got up; but On another occasion, during an interesting arat that time sentimental writing was the prevailing gument carried on by Johnson, Mayo, and Toptaste of the town, and Kelly's piece was the finest lady, at the table of Messrs. Dilly, the booksellers, specimen of the sentimental school that had ap-'Goldsmith sat in restless agitation, from a wish to peared. Although "False Delicacy," according get in and shine. Finding himself excluded, he to Dr. Johnson, was "totally devoid of character," had taken his hat to go away, but remained for no less than ten thousand copies were sold in the some time with it in his hand, like a gamester who, course of only one season; and the booksellers con- at the close of a long night, lingers for a little while, cerned in the copyright, as a mark of the sense to see if he can have a favourable opening to finish they entertained of the comedy, evinced by its ex-with success. Once when he was beginning to traordinary sale, presented Kelly with a piece of speak, he found himself overpowered by the loud plate of considerable value, and gave a sumptuous voice of Johnson, who was at the opposite end of entertainment to him and his friends. These cir- the table, and did not perceive Goldsmith's attempt. cumstances so wrought upon the irritable feelings Thus disappointed of his wish to obtain the attenof Goldsmith, in whose disposition, warm and tion of the company, Goldsmith in a passion threw generous as it was, envy had an unhappy predomi- down his hat, looking angrily at Johnson, and exnance, that he renounced the friendship of Kelly, claiming in a bitter tone "Take it." When Topand could with difficulty be brought to forgive him lady was going to speak, Johnson uttered some this temporary success. Our author, though in sound, which led Goldsmith to think that he was the chief features of his character the original of his beginning again, and taking the words from Topown "Good-natured Man," was yet strangely lady. Upon which he seized this opportunity of jealous of the success of others, and particularly venting his own spleen, under the pretext of supin whatever regarded literary fame. porting another person: "Sir," said he to Johnson,
We find it difficult to reconcile the possession "the gentleman has heard you patiently for an of so odious a quality with affectionate habits and hour: pray allow us now to hear him." Johnson benevolent propensities like his. True it is, how-replied, "Sir, I was not interrupting the gentleever, that he was prone to indulge this unamiable man; I was only giving him a signal of my attenpassion to so ridiculous an excess, that the instances tion. Sir, you are impertinent." Goldsmith made of it are hardly credible. When accompanying no reply. Johnson, Boswell, and Mr. Langton, two beautiful young ladies,* with their mother, on towards the evening, adjourned to the club, where a tour in France, he was amusingly angry that they found Burke, Garrick, and some other memmore attention was paid to them than to him. And bers, and amongst them their friend Goldsmith, once, at the exhibition of the Fantoccini in Lon-who sat silently brooding over Johnson's reprimand don, when those who sat next him observed with to him after dinner. Johnson perceived this, and what dexterity a puppet was made to toss a pike, said aside to some of them, "I'll make Goldsmith he could not bear that it should have such praise, forgive me;" and then called to him in a loud and exclaimed with some warmth, "Pshaw! I can voice, "Dr. Goldsmith,-something passed to-day do it better myself." In fact, on his way home where you and I dined; I ask your pardon." Goldwith Mr. Burke to supper, he broke his shin, by smith answered placidly, "It must be much from attempting to exhibit to the company how much you, sir, that I take ill." And so at once the difbetter he could jump over a stick than the puppets. ference was over; they were on as easy terms as His envy of Johnson was one day strongly exever, and Goldsmith rattled away as usual.' hibited at the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds. The tincture of envy thus conspicuous in the disWhile the doctor was relating to the circle there position of our author, was accompanied by another assembled the particulars of his celebrated inter- characteristic feature, more innocent but withal exview with the king, Goldsmith remained unmoved ceedingly ridiculous. He was vain of imaginary upon a sofa at some distance, affecting not to join qualifications, and had an incessant desire of being in the least in the eager curiosity of the company. conspicuous in company; and this was the occasion At length, however, the frankness and simplicity of his sometimes appearing to such disadvantage as of his natural character prevailed. He sprung one should hardly have supposed possible in a man from the sofa, advanced to Johnson, and in a kind of his genius. When his literary reputation had of flutter, from imagining himself in the situation risen deservedly high, and his society was much he had just been hearing described, exclaimed, courted, his jealousy of the great attention paid to Johnson was more strikingly apparent. One eve"Well, you acquitted yourself in this conversation ning, in a circle of wits, he found fault with BosThe Miss Hornecks, one of whom was afterwards married well for talking of Johnson as entitled to the honour to Henry Bunbury, Esq. and the other to Colonel Gwyn. of unquestionable superiority. "Sir," said he,
"you are for making a monarchy of what should grace and simplicity, peculiar to the general style of their author, and are well calculated to attract be a republic."
He was still more mortified, when, talking in a young readers by the graces of composition. But company with fluent vivacity, and, as he flattered the more advanced student of history must resort himself, to the admiration of all who were present, to other sources for information.
In the History of England, in particular, there a German who sat next him, and perceived Johnson rolling himself, as if about to speak, suddenly stop-are several mis-statements; and one instance may ped him, saying, "Stay, stay; Toctor Shonson is be given from his account of a remarkable occurgoing to say something." This was very provok-rence in the affairs of his own country, to which ing to one so irritable as Goldsmith, who frequently it might have been expected he would have paid mentioned it with strong expressions of indigna- more than ordinary attention. This is to be found in his narrative of the famous siege of Londontion. There is thus much to be said, however, for the derry, in 1689, sustained against the French army envy of Goldsmith. It was rarely excited but on oc- during a hundred and four days, after the city was casions of mere literary competition; and, perhaps, found to be without provisions for little more than appeared much more conspicuous in him than other a week, and had besides been abandoned by the men, because he had less art, and never attempted military commanders as utterly untenable. For to conceal it. Mr. Boswell used to defend him this memorable defence the country was indebted against Dr. Johnson for this fault, on the ground to the courage, conduct, and talents of the Rev. of his frank and open avowal of it on all occasions; George Walker, a clergyman who happened to but Johnson had the best of the argument. "He take refuge in the city after it was abandoned by talked of it to be sure often enough," said the latter, the military. Under the direction of Walker, as"but he had so much of it that he could not consisted by two officers accidentally in the place, the ceal it. Now, sir, what a man avows, he is not defence was conducted with so much skill, courage, ashamed to think; though many a man thinks what and perseverance, and the citizens displayed such he is ashamed to avow. We are all envious na- valour, patience, and fortitude, under innumerable turally; but by checking envy, we get the better hardships and privations, that the city was finally of it. So we are all thieves naturally; a child al- saved.* For his services on this occasion Mr. ways tries to get at what it wants the nearest way: by good instructions and good habits this is cured, till a man has not even an inclination to seize what is another's; has no struggle with himself about it." But, after all, if ever envy was entitled to be called innocent, it certainly was so in the person of Goldsmith. Whatever of this kind appeared in his conduct was but a momentary sensation, which Oliver Goldsmith. The said History of England shall be he knew not like other men how to disguise or con-written and compiled in the space of two years from the date ceal. Rarely did it influence the general tenor of hereof. And when the said History is written and delivered his conduct, and, it is believed, was never once known to have embittered his heart.
"Russell street, Covent Garden. "It is agreed between Oliver Goldsmith, M. B., on the one hand, and Thomas Davies, bookseller, of Russell street Covent Garden, on the other, that Oliver Goldsmith shall write for Thomas Davies, a History of England, from the birth of the British Empire, to the death of George the II., in four volumes, octavo, of the size and letter of the Roman History, written by
in manuscript, the printer giving his opinion that the quantity above mentioned is completed, that then Oliver Goldsmith shall be paid by Thomas Davies the sum of 5002, sterling, for having written and compiled the same. It is agreed also, tha Oliver Goldsmith shall print his name to the said work. In
While Goldsmith was occupied with his comedy of the "Good-natured Man," he was, as usual, busily employed in the compilation of various pub-witness whereof we have set our names the 13th of June, 1769.
"Oliver Goldsmith. "Thomas Davies."
"September 15, 1770.
lications for the booksellers, particularly a series of histories for the instruction of young readers. These were, his "History of Rome," in 2 vols. 8vo. and the "History of England," in 4 vols. 8vo. "It is agreed between Oliver Goldsmith, M.B., and Thomas The "History of Greece," in 2 vols. 8vo. pub-Davies, of Covent Garden, bookseller, that Oliver Goldsmith lished under his name after his death, can not shall abridge, for Thomas Davies, the book entitled Goldwith certainty be ascribed to his pen. For the smith's Roman History, in two volumes, 8vo, into one volume "History of England," Davies the bookseller con- in 12mo, so as to fit it for the use of such as will not be at the tracted to pay him 500l. and for an abridgment of expense of that in 8vo. For the abridging of the said history, and for putting his name thereto, said Thomas Davies shall the Roman history, the sum of fifty guineas.* pay Oliver Goldsmith fifty guineas; to be paid him on the abridgment and delivering of the copy. As witness our hands.
These historical compilations possess all the ease,
The articles of agreement relative to those works between the bookseller and Goldsmith having been preserved, we quote them for the gratification of our reader's curiosity, especially as they were drawn up by the doctor himself.
"Oliver Goldsmith. "Thomas Davies."
A curious journal which Mr. Walker had kept of all the occurrences during the siege, was published at that period, in 4to, and was afterwards republished by the late Dr. Brown,
Walker, who belonged to the Established Church, | could have opposed and refuted. But the whole is was afterwards created Bishop of Dromore by King truly excellent as a composition. About the same William; but his military zeal prompted him to time, he drew up a preface or introduction to Dr. volunteer his services at the battle of the Boyne, Brookes's "System of Natural History," in 6 vols. where he was unfortunately killed. Of this ex- 12mo, in itself a very dull and uninteresting work; traordinary character Goldsmith takes a very slight but such an admirable display of the subject was and rather disrespectful notice, stating him to have given in the preface, which he rendered doubly capbeen a dissenting minister, which he was not, and tivating by the charms of his style, that the bookneglecting to record either his promotion or his sellers immediately engaged him to undertake his death.* own larger work of the "History of the Earth and Goldsmith, besides his regular employment in the Animated Nature." It was this work which Dr. compilation of these histories, had now all the other Johnson emphatically said, its author would "make business of an author by profession. Either through as entertaining as a Persian Tale." The result friendship or for money, but oftener from charity to proved the accuracy of the judgment thus passed on the needy or unsuccessful of his brethren, he was it; for, although it contains numerous defects, yet frequently engaged in the composition of prefaces, the witchery of its language has kept it buoyant in dedications, and introductions to the performances spite of criticism. The numerous editions through of other writers. These exhibit ingenious proofs which it has passed attest, that, if not a profound, of his ready talent at general writing, and for the it is at least a popular work; and few will be disposmost part gave a much better display of the subjects ed to deny, that with all its faults, if not the most treated of than could have been done by their own instructive, it is undoubtedly the most amusing work authors. But in this view he is rather to be con- of the kind yet published. It would be absurd to sidered as an advocate pleading the cause of ano- aver, that an adept would find himself enlightened ther, than as delivering the sentiments of his own by the doctor's labours in that science: but a commind; for he often recommends the doubtful pecu- mon reader will find his curiosity gratified, and that liarities, and even the defects of a work, which it is time agreeably disposed of which he bestows on this obvious, had been engaged on the other side, he work. When our author engaged in this compicould with equal ability have detected and exposed. lation, he resolved to make a translation of Pliny, Something like this our readers will find in an Ad- and, by the help of a commentary, to make that dress to the Public, which was to usher in propo- agreeable writer more generally acceptable to the sals for "A New History of the World, from the public; but the appearance of Buffon's work induced creation to the present time," in 12 vols. 8vo. by him to change his plan, and instead of translating Guthrie and others, to be printed for Newberry. an ancient writer, he resolved to imitate the last This undertaking was to form an abridgment of all and best of the moderns who had written on the the volumes of the ancient and modern universal his- same subject. To this illustrious Frenchman Goldtories; and our author urges a great variety of topics smith acknowledges the highest obligations, but, in praise of such contractions and condensing of his- unluckily, he has copied him without discriminatorical materials, which, with equal ingenuity, he tion, and, while he selected his beauties, heedlessly adopted his mistakes.
author of the Estimate, etc. One very providential circumstance happened to the besieged. Being reduced by the extremity of famine to eat every kind of unwholesome food, they were dying in great numbers of the bloody flux; but the accidental discovery of some concealed barrels of starch and tallow, relieved their hunger, and cured the dysentery at the
'Our author's inaccuracy, with regard to Mr. Walker, was corrected in the following letter addressed to him by Mr. Woolsey, of Dundalk: "To Dr. Goldsmith.-Sir, I beg leave to acquaint you, there is a mistake in your abridgment of the History of England, respecting Dr. Walker, viz. 'one Walker, a dissenting minister.'
In a serio-comical apostrophe to the author, Mr. Cumberland observes, on the subject of this work, that "distress drove Goldsmith upon undertakings neither congenial with his studies, nor worthy of his talents. I remember him, when, in his chambers in the Temple, he showed me the beginning of his Animated Nature;' it was with a sigh, such as genius draws, when hard necessity diverts it from its bent to drudge for bread, and talk of birds, and beasts, and creeping things, which Pidcock's showman would have done as well. Poor fellow, he hardly knew an ass from a mule, nor a turkey from a goose, but when he saw it on the table. But publishers hate poetry, and Paternoster-row is not Parnassus.
"I venture to assure you, Mr. Walker was a clergyman of the Established Church of Ireland, who was appointed Bishop of Dromore by King William, for his services at Derry, but was unfortunately killed at the battle of the Boyne; which I hope you will be pleased to insert in future editions of your Even the mighty Dr. Hill, who was not a very deli
cate feeder, could not make a dinner out of the "The Duke of Schomberg was certainly killed in passing press, till, by a happy transformation into Hannah the river Boyne. I am, Sir, with great respect, your most obedient humble servant,
"Dundalk, April 10, 1772."
Glass, he turned himself into a cook, and sold receipts for made-dishes to all the savoury readers in the kingdom. Then, indeed, the press acknow