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among others, to which a place is given in the library, rather from courtesy than affection. On the contrary, if popularity arises gradually, if a production gains the favor of the public by slow degrees, by the approbation of the judicious, or of the lovers of simplicity and nature ; if it pleas. es by an appeal to the affections, and is correspondeat with the honest and unsophisticated feelings of the heart; if by such means it becomes generally real, and generally admired, it may safely be predicted of such a work, that it will live as long as the language in which it is writ. ten shall be current, and the taste which discoy. ered its merits shall remain pure.
Nor can we reckon popularity, although, in the opinion of some, the word is degrading, a matter of inferior importance to a poet, As the the business of poetry is to please, the greater the number to whom a poet affords pleasure, the better he has attained the principal object of his art. And, perhaps, it will be found, that the best poets in our language have been, at the same time, the most popular ; pot those who have flashed for a time with all the brilliancy of fashion, and injudicious admiration, but those who worked their way, slowly and surely, into the favor of the world, and have survived many revolutions of fashion and criticism.
The first of Goldsmith's poems, which procured him the reputatiou of a poet, was the Traveller, published in 1765. The outlines, or first sketches of this appear to have been formed du. ring his travels in Europe ; but the characters which he has given of some of the pations of Europe, were probably the result of subsequent reflections, and reading, although originally founded on what he witnessed while performing his journeys on foot, and mixing with those classes of society, which other travellers are apt to overlook. Of this poem it has been justly said, that the sentiments are always interesting, and often new ; that the imagery is elegant, picturesque, and occasionally sublime; and the language nervous, highly finished, and full of harmony. Dr. Johnson's opinion was, that since the death of Pope, it would not be easy to find any thing equal to the Traveller,' and the late celebrated Mr. Fox, declared it was one of the finest poems in the Eng. lish language.
The same year, he published his pathetic ballad, The Hermit, which added considerably to bis fame, aud recommended him to the patronage of the late Dutchess of Northumberland. It is singular, that he had written and sold his nov. el, The Vicar of Wakefield, to a bookseller, sometime before these poems appeared; but the bookseller had scarcely courage to publish it, until their reputation assured him, that the au. thor's name was now of importance. Accordinge ly the novel, on its appearance, was universally read and admired, and is still one of the standard books, of that kind, in our language. His lesser poems are not without various degrees of merit. The Haunch of Venison, and Retaliation, are
admirable specimens of that delicate humor in which Goldsmith excelled as much when he took up
his pen, as he fell short of it when in conversation. In the opinion of some critics, Dr. Gold. smith's reputation as a poet wanted not the aid of The Deserted Village, which they have considered as inferior to his Traveller.
This opinion, however, if we mistake not, has not coincided with that of the publlc at large. If mere popuularity be to decide, The Deserted Village has certainly been oftener printed, and will be found oftener io he hands of Goldsmith's admirers. Perhaps, however, no critic of modern times has discriminated their respective merits with more nicety than Dr. Aikin. 'If,' says this judicious critic, 'we compare these two principal poems of. Goldsmith, we may say, that the Traveller is formed upon a more regular plan, has a higher purpose in view, more abounds in thoughts, and in the expression of moral and philosophical ideas. The Deserted Village has more imagery, more variety, more pathos, more of the peculiar character of poetry. In the first, the moral and natural descriptions are more general and elevated: in the second, they are more particular and interesting, Both are truly origical productions; but the Deserted Village has less peculiarity, aud, indeed, has given rise to imitations, wbich may stand in some parallel with it, while the Traveller remains an unique.
Adieu, sweet bard ! to each fine feeliog trae,