exhibit minute delicacy of touch, with perfect truth in the painting so that all the world shall see the likeness without the original having cause for reasonable offence in the display of his imperfections, is one of those happinesses that high genius alone can hope to accomplish, and this Goldsmith has done. We are not perhaps wholly conscious of the difficulty of such an attempt until we ourselves make it. The same felicitous qualities exhibited in a somewhat different manner, have given Horace a reputation that no time is likely to impair.

Immediate notice was drawn to the characters of Burke and Garrick as those on which he had bestowed the most pains, and directed the most pointed satire; for to each was given that specific appropriateness considered essential to the epitaph whether serious or jocular, by which what is said of one person cannot wholly be applied to another. Burke had incurred his playful indignation by practising some tricks and relating certain stories to his annoyance; he was likewise a Whig, of which body Goldsmith, like Johnson, entertained an indifferent opinion; he was also a leader of the opposition; and if we believe Northcote, had one day at Reynolds's spoken so freely of royalty as to give offence to Goldsmith. From this cause perhaps we have much of his public, and but little of his private character.

Garrick was a more serious offender. Notwithstanding some pecuniary favours, he had occasionally touched both the pride and interests of the

satirist; he had refused his plays; he had shown a disposition to be witty or unduly familiar with him in company, yet in private sometimes exhibited an air of reserve or superiority difficult not to resent, and of which the Poet complained to Reynolds, observing on one occasion that he would not suffer such airs of importance from one who was only a "poor player." An allusion to this conduct expressed in mild terms, occurs in the lines

"He casts off his friends as a huntsman his pack,

For he knows when he likes he can whistle them back."

To the list of his offences was now to be added the couplet forming the epitaph, and when we remember that it was a gratuitous and pointed attack upon one who gave no provocation, it will be admitted that "Retaliation" exhibits forbearance and good humour.

Two epigrams by Garrick are commonly supposed to have whetted the satire of Goldsmith ; but this is a mistake; they followed, not preceded, that poem, as the first sufficiently indicates. * The other, also written subsequently and not made public till 1776, bears traces of more deliberation


"Are these the choice dishes the Doctor has sent us?
Is this the great poet whose works so content us?
This Goldsmith's fine feast who has written fine books?
Heaven sends us good meat but the devil sends cooks!"


and labour, and aims to give the character of the Poet with all its foibles and contrarieties. So far it follows the idea of his own character in the poem, and it further imitates Goldsmith in being pungent without displaying ill nature; it is how. ever much overcharged for a correct portrait; and the idea is not original, but borrowed from Swift's lines on Mrs. Biddy Floyd, where Jove and Cupid unite their skill to form a beauty.


Sir Joshua Reynolds is drawn with less distinctness and precision than a little more labour would have bestowed, but like the poem itself his character was left unfinished. Whether it would have possessed equal spirit with either of the preceding is doubtful, for we can rarely touch even with the gentlest hand, the foibles of such

* "Here Hermes, says Jove, who with nectar was mellow, Go fetch me some clay, - I will make an odd fellow :

Right and wrong shall be jumbled — much gold and some dross,
Without cause be he pleased, without cause be he cross;
Be sure as I work to throw in contradictions,

A great love of truth, yet a mind turned to fictions;
Now mix these ingredients, which warm'd in the baking,
Turn'd to learning and gaming, religion and raking.
With the love of a wench, let his writings be chaste;
Tip his tongue with strange matter, his pen with fine taste;
That the rake and the poet o'er all may prevail,

Set fire to the head and set fire to the tail;

For the joy of each sex on the world I 'll bestow it,
This scholar, rake, christian, dupe, gamester and poet,
Though a mixture so odd he shall merit great fame,
And among brother mortals be Goldsmith his name;
When on earth this strange meteor no more shall appear,
You Hermes, shall fetch him to make us sport here."

as we cordially and unreservedly love; and of all whom he knew, Reynolds held the highest place in his affection and esteem, and deserved it by as warm a return of regard. Among several erasures in the manuscript sketch devoted to him, half a line containing one of the handsomest compliments to the good sense of the painter, remained unaltered—

"By flattery unspoiled"

It has been asked why a muse at once so delicate and accurate, which in painting even defects exhibited the tenderness of a friend, did not venture to portray Johnson. One reason probably is to be found in the unfinished state of the poem. He formed an admirable subject, great, varied, and peculiar, marked by strong lines, and though of rough conduct and a stinging tongue, yet with so many redeeming qualities of mind and heart, that a finished picture might serve to stamp the poetical character of any writer; and from long and intimate knowledge of him, none we are assured could have done it with such truth and good nature as the Irish Poet. An attempt to supply the omission came from an anonymous pen a few days after the appearance of the poem; but between the dauber and the accomplished artist, the distance is indeed

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* "Here rests our great Doctor, who held it high treason
With wine, punch, or ale to encumber his reason;
Yet may fairly be classed with the rest of the hive
While erect inhis chair, he's thus buried alive;

The following advertisement in the form of a letter to the publisher introduced Retaliation to the public:


"In some part of Doctor Goldsmith's works he confesses himself so unable to resist the attacks of hungry compilers, that he contents himself with the demand of the fat man who when at sea, and the crew in great want of provisions, was pitched on by the sailors as the properest subject to supply their wants; he found the necessity of acquiescence, at the same time making the most reasonable demand for the first cut off himself for himself.

"If the Doctor in his life-time was forced by

Unwieldy with knowledge, and buckram'd in pride,
No mirth could unbend him, no trifler abide ;

His sense when he deign'd some deep thought to unfold,
Spoke by starts or set phrase like the oracles old;
And his wit (as the sun when the rack rides on high,
With sudden effulgence beams full from the sky,
Then pops in his head and puts wheat-ears in terror,)
Flashed abroad for a moment, then left us in error;
Unless some new sophistry happen to strike,

poor Scotland come in from some quarter oblique ;
Then he flash'd like a fury, flea'd alive, tore to pieces,
With hail, wind, thunder, lightning, the storm still increase s
All to ruin a land not worth conquest or keeping,
Or slay some poor insect 'twixt waking and sleeping.
Thus I strike at his fame with which mine will not vie,

As men batter a fort who can't build a pig-stye;

Let his friends all attend to the worst I can say,
They must join in the cavil and call it fair play;
For none get their share from this miserly elf,
Of what all seem'd to value most highly- himself."

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