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To the Miscellaneous Works of Goldsmith, in four volumes octavo, a Memoir of his life is prefixed, written with considerable elegance, and presenting the most copious, and apparently the most authentic materials for the life of the Poet. The late Dr. Percy is supposed to be the author of it: it appears to be the source whence other biographers have drawn their information; and I am willing to confess that it has been the foundation of my own.

Some characteristic anecdotes of the Poet's life and manners have appeared in subsequent publications. I should with reluctance have deprived my readers of what information might be collected from them; but I am not sufficiently satisfied of the veracity of all to authorise their reception in the narrative of the Poet's life. I have therefore collected them into an Appendix, where they appear under the sanction of the narrators' names, who are responsible for their truth.




Books of anecdotes are so numerous, and many so fugitive and obscure, that some circumstances relating to the life of Goldsmith may have escaped my diligence; “nam quis cuncta legit, vel cuncta quæ legit meminisse potest?” (vide Boissonade ad Holstenii Epist. p. xi. ;) but my omissions will be less regretted, when it is known that copious materials for a new life of our Poet are now collecting by the industrious and elegant author of the Life of Burke.*

The poems, I hope, will be found more complete than in any preceding edition.


Benhall, Aug. 10, 1831.

* Dr. Johnson intended to write the life of Goldsmith, and to insert his poems in his Collection: he assisted a female relation of Goldsmith, and desired her to procure authentic particulars of the life of the Poet. Malone also was employed by him in collecting materials in Ireland. The poems were omitted in consequence of soine exclusive interest in some of them, vested in Mr. Carnan, a bookseller.

See Boswell's Johnson, i. p. 464, 482.

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