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The Traveller, a Poem
Postscript to ditto .
The Hermit, a Ballad
Mr. Boswell's Letter
Elegysson Mås, Mary Blaize.;
Prologue to Zobeide, a Tragedy
Of this very pleasing writer (to whom has been well applied the line of Pope, that he was “In wit a man, simplicity a child”) much has been published in the way of Memoir and of Anecdote: too much, indeed, and in many instances too absurd, to induce belief, or to deserve refutation. The account which it is thought necessary to prefix to the present edition of his Poems will be confined to such particulars as are generally allowed to be authentic; and it is hoped that they will be found sufficient and satisfactory.
Our author was the third son, of four, of the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, a most respect
able, though not a wealthy divine *, and was born at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon, Ireland, on the 29th of November, in the year 1728 f. Having been well grounded in the classics at the school of the Rev. Patrick Hughes, at Edgeworthstown, and being intended for the church, he was admitted a sizer in Trinity-college, Dublin, on the 11th of June, 1744; and was contemporary with Edmund Burke; but while there he discovered so little of that genius which in maturer years so highly exalted his character, that it was not till Feb. 27, 1749 (two years after the regular time), that he proceeded B. A. He now turned his thoughts to physic as a profession (having observed that his elder brother Henry could scarcely get a living by his clerical functions), and, after attending some courses of anatomy in Dublin, went, in 1751, to Edinburgh, where he pursued his studies in the several branches of medicine under different professors in that university. Here, however, that, incautious spirit of benevolence, which so strongly marked his life, soon involved him in difficulties. Having imprudently engaged as security in a considerable sum of
* Goldsmith is supposed to have twice alluded to this parent in his writings; once, as the Village Preacher, in his Poem; and again, as the Man in Black, in the Citizen of the World.
+ The epitaph written by Dr. Johnson for his monumental stone states, that he was born in 1731 ; but there are two pretty strong proofs that this was not the case ; and they are these : 1st, In a letter to his brother Henry, dated 1759, he mentions himself as being thirty-one years of age: 2dly, The record of his entrance at college runs thus: “ 1744, June 11. Olivarius Goldsmith, Siz. Filius Caroli, Clerici, ann, agens 15,” &c. &c. Johnson has also in the epitaph described him as having been born at a place called Pallas, in the parish of Forney, and county of Longford ; but this is unequivocally contradicted by a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine (Vol. XLIX. p. 173) on the most authentic information. The record of his admission at college says,
“ natus in comitatu WESTMEATH ;" but this mistake appears to have been occasioned by his father being at that time settled at Westmeath, having obtained the living of Kilkenny West, in that county.