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"The chief object of attraction is Lissoy, once the parsonage house of Henry Goldsmith, that brother to whom the poet dedicated his 'Traveller,' and who is represented as the village pastor,
'Passing rich with forty pounds a year.'
"When I was in the country, the lower chambers were inhabited by pigs and sheep, and the drawing-rooms by oats. Captain Hogan, however, has, I believe, got it since into his. possession, and has, of course, improved its condition.
"Though at first strongly inclined to dispute the identity of Auburn, Lissoy House overcame my scruples. As I clambered over the rotten gate, and crossed the grass-grown lawn or court, the tide of association became too strong for casuistry: here the poet dwelt and wrote, and here his thoughts fondly recurred when composing his 'Traveller' in a foreign land. Yonder was the decent church, that literally 'topped the neighboring hill.' Before me lay the little hill of Knockrue, on which he declares, in one of his letters, he had rather sit with a book in hand than mingle in the proudest assemblies. And, above all, startlingly true, beneath my feet was
'Yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild.'
"A painting from the life could not be more exact. 'The stubborn currant-bush' lifts its head above the rank grass, and the proud hollyhock flaunts where its sisters of the flower-knot
are no more.
"In the middle of the village stands the old 'hawthorn-tree,'
built up with masonry to distinguish and preserve it; it is old and stunted, and suffers much from the depredations of postchaise travellers, who generally stop to procure a twig. Opposite to it is the village alehouse, over the door of which swings The Three Jolly Pigeons.' Within every thing is arranged according to the letter:
The whitewash'd wall, the nicely-sanded floor,
The pictures placed for ornament and use,
"Captain Hogan, I have heard, found great difficulty in obtaining the twelve good rules,' but at length purchased them at some London bookstall to adorn the whitewashed parlor of 'The Three Jolly Pigeons.' However laudable this may be, nothing shook my faith in the reality of Auburn so much as this exactness, which had the disagreeable air of being got up for the occasion. The last object of pilgrimage is the quondam habitation of the schoolmaster,
'There, in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule.'
It is surrounded with fragrant proofs of identity in
The blossom'd furze, unprofitably gay.'
There is to be seen the chair of the poet, which fell into the hands of its present possessors at the wreck of the parsonagehouse; they have frequently refused large offers of purchase;
THE POET'S CHAIR.
but more, I dare say, for the sake of drawing contributions from the curious than from any reverence for the bard. The chair is of oak, with back and seat of cane, which precluded all hopes of a secret drawer, like that lately discovered in Gay's. There is no fear of its being worn out by the devout earnestness of sitters as the cocks and hens have usurped undisputed possession of it, and protest most clamorously against all attempts to get it cleansed or to seat one's self.
"The controversy concerning the identity of this Auburn was formerly a standing theme of discussion among the learned of the neighborhood; but, since the pros and cons have been all ascertained, the argument has died away. Its abettors plead the singular agreement between the local history of the place and the Auburn of the poem, and the exactness with which the scenery of the one answers to the description of the other. To this is opposed the mention of the nightingale,
'And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made;
there being no such bird in the island. The objection is slighted, on the other hand, by considering the passage as a mere poetical license. 'Besides,' say they, 'the robin is the Irish nightingale.' And if it be hinted how unlikely it was that Goldsmith should have laid the scene in a place from which he was and had been so long absent, the rejoinder is always, 'Pray, sir, was Milton in hell when he built Pandemonium ?'
"The line is naturally drawn between; there can be no doubt that the poet intended England by
The land to hast'ning ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.'
But it is very natural to suppose that, at the same time, his imagination had in view the scenes of his youth, which give such strong features of resemblance to the picture."
Best, an Irish clergyman, told Davis, the traveller in America, that the hawthorn-bush mentioned in the poem was still remarkably large. "I was riding once," said he, "with Brady, titular Bishop of Ardagh, when he observed to me, 'Ma foy Best, this huge overgrown bush is mightily in the way. I will order it to be cut down.' —'What, sir!' replied I, 'cut down the bush that supplies so beautiful an image in "The Deserted Village?"'—' Ma foy!' exclaimed the bishop, 'is that the hawthornbush? Then let it be sacred from the edge of the axe, and evil be to him that should cut off a branch.'"-The hawthorn-bush, however, has long since been cut up, root and branch, in furnishing relics to literary pilgrims.
THE POET AMONG THE LADIES.
The Poet among the ladies-description of his person and manners.-Expedition to Paris with the Horneck family.-The traveller of twenty and the traveller of forty.-Hickey, the special attorney.-An unlucky exploit.
THE Deserted Village had shed an additional poetic grace round the homely person of the author; he was becoming more and more acceptable in ladies' eyes, and finding himself more and more at ease in their society; at least in the society of those whom he met in the Reynolds circle, among whom he particularly affected the beautiful family of the Hornecks.
But let us see what were really the looks and manners of Goldsmith about this time, and what right he had to aspire to ladies' smiles; and in so doing let us not take the sketches of Boswell and his compeers, who had a propensity to represent him in caricature; but let us take the apparently truthful and discriminating picture of him as he appeared to Judge Day, when the latter was a student in the Temple.
"In person," says the judge, "he was short; about five feet five or six inches; strong, but not heavy in make; rather fair in complexion, with brown hair; such, at least, as could be distinguished from his wig. His features were. plain, but not repulsive, certainly not so when lighted up by conversation. His manners were simple, natural, and perhaps on the whole, we may