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A few select friends paying the last sad offices to his remains. A short time afterwards, however, the members of the Literary Club suggested, and zealously promoted, a subscription to defray the expense of a monument to his memory. The necessary funds were soon realized, and the chisel of Nollekens was employed to do honour to the poet. The design and workmanship of this memorial were purposely simple and inexpensive. It was erected in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, between the monument of Gay and that of the Duke of Argyll. On this occasion, the statuary is admitted to have produced a good likeness of the person commemorated. The bust of Goldsmith is exhibited in a large medallion, embellished with literary ornaments, underneath which is a tablet of white marble, with the following Latin inscription by Dr. Johnson.
Poete, Physici, Historici,
Qui nullum ferè scribendi genus
Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit:
Affectuum potens at lenis dominator:
Natus in Hibernia Fornia Longfordiensis,
In loco cui nomen Pallas,
•This Latin inscription having been undertaken at the sug gestion of a meeting which took place in the house of Mr. Cumberland, when some members of the Literary Club were present, Johnson, either out of deference to them, or from the carelessness and modesty which characterised him as to his own writings, submitted the composition to the revisal of Sir Joshua Reynolds, with a request to show it afterwards to the Club for their approval. "I have been kept away from you,” says he, in a card to Sir Joshua, "I know not well how; and of these vexatious hindrances I know not when there will be an end. I therefore send you the poor dear Doctor's epitaph. Read it first yourself; and, if you then think it right, show it to the Club. I am, you know, willing to be corrected. If you think any thing much amiss, keep it to yourself till we come together." The epitaph was accordingly laid before the Club soon afterwards, and though no alteration was made, yet it gave rise to a great deal of discussion, and was productive of a curious literary jeu d'esprit, not only singular in itself, but remarkable for the celebrated names connected with it.
propose them to him? At last it was hinted, that there could
be no way so good as that of a Round Robin, as the sailors call it, which they make use of when they enter into a conspi racy, so as not to let it be known who puts his name first or last to the paper. This proposition was instantly assented to; and Dr. Barnard, dean of Derry, now bishop of Killaloe, drew up an address to Dr. Johnson on the occasion, replete with wit and humour, but which, it was feared, the Doctor might think treated the subject with too much levity. Mr. Burke then proposed the address as it stands in the paper in writing [the pa per was enclosed,] to which I had the honour to officiate as clerk.
"Sir Joshua agreed to carry it to Dr. Johnson, who received it with much good-humour, and desired Sir Joshua to tell the gentlemen that he would alter the epitaph in any manner they pleased, as to the sense of it; but he would never consent to disgrace the walls of Westminster Abbey with an English inscription. I consider this Round Robin," continues Sir William, "as a species of literary curiosity worth preserving, as it marks, in a certain degree, Dr. Johnson's character." The following transcript of it, as given by Mr. Boswell, may gratify such of our readers as are curious in literary anecdote. We, the circumscribers, having read with great pleasure an intended epitaph for the monument of Dr. Goldsmith, which, considered abstractedly, appears to be, for elegant composi tion and masterly style, in every respect worthy of the pen of its learned author, are yet of opinion, that the character of the deceased, as a writer, particularly as a poet, is perhaps not delineated with all the exactness which Dr. Johnson is capable of giving it. We, therefore, with deference to his superior judgment, humbly request that he would at least take the trouble of revising it, and of making such additions and alterations as he shall think proper, upon a further perusal. But if we might venture to express our wishes, they would lead us to request, that he would write the epitaph in English, rather than in Latin; as we think that the memory of so eminent an English writer ought to be perpetuated in the language to which his works are likely to be so lasting an ornament, which we also know to have been the opinion of the late Doctor himself.
The circumscribers to this curious remonstrance, agreeably to their respective signatures, were as follows: viz-Edm. Burke, Tho. Franklin, Ant. Chamier, G. Colman, Win. Vackell, J. Reynolds, W. Forbes, T. Barnard, R. B. Sheridan, P. "This jeu d'esprit," says Sir William Forbes, in a letter to Metcalfe, E. Gibbon, Jos. Warton. This hasty composition, Mr. Boswell, "took its rise one day at dinner at our friend Sir as remarked by Mr. Boswell, is one of the thousand instances Joshua Reynolds's. All the company present, except myself, which evince the extraordinary promptitude of Mr. Burke, were friends and acquaintance of Dr. Goldsmith. The epi- who, while he was equal to the greatest things, could adorn Laph, written for him by Dr. Johnson, became the subject of the least; could with equal facility embrace the vast and comconversation, and various emendations were suggested, which plicated speculations of politics, or the ingenious topics of it was agreed should be submitted to the Doctor's considera- literary investigation. It is also an eminent proof of the re tion. But the question wae, Who should have the courage to verence with which Johnson was regarded by some of the
was not confirmed by the external graces of their consistent with probability. The truth, however,
ablest men of his time, in various departments, and even by such of them as lived most with him.
Although Johnson was in great good-humour with the pro
duction as a jeu d'esprit, yet, on seeing Dr. Warton's name to
If it must be admitted that Goldsmith had no
not the language fit for his epitaph, which should be in ancient it is, be a fault in a writer, is a question that will and permanent language. Consider, sir, how you should feel admit of a considerable dispute; but it will not be were you to find at Rotterdam an epitaph on Erasmus in denied, that when he pictures the woes and vaniDutch Perhaps on this subject Mr. Boswell's suggestion is ties of existence, he only repeats the lessons of exthe best. "For my part," says he, "I think it would be pro- perience. It ought also to be recollected that an
per to have epitaphs written both in a learned language and in
the language of the country, so that they might have the ad-author's writings are generally a transcript of his vantage of being more universally understood, and, at the own feelings. If the moral productions of Gold smith are sometimes gloomy and despondent, we
De time, be secured of classical stability."
should take into account the circumstances under again." A similar impression, or something anawhich they were written:-when he was obscure logous to it, is felt by every reader of the poetry and friendless, oppressed with want, sick of the of Goldsmith. His course has been through a rich past, and almost despairing of the future. The and highly cultivated country, where sweet fruits language of his prose works, in general, is admitted and fragrant flowers regaled his senses at every step; to be a model of perfection. His very enemies where every object that he passed was blooming in used to acknowledge the superiority of his taste in beauty, and pregnant with interest; and where he composition, and the unrivalled excellence of his himself never for a moment felt any intermission style. It was not without reason, therefore, that of enjoyment. Johnson at one time exclaimed, "Where is there now a man who can pen an essay with such ease and elegance as Goldsmith?"
From the characteristics of the poet we turn to the qualities of the man. Goldsmith was mild and gentle in his manners, warm in his friendships, In poetry Goldsmith confessedly shines with and active in his charity and benevolence. So great lustre. But, viewing him as a scholar, it is strongly did he use to be affected by compassion, surprising how little of his imagery is drawn from that he has been known at midnight to abandon reminiscences of the classics. His verses are ut- his rest in order to procure relief and an asylum terly void of the machinery of ancient polytheism, for a poor dying object who was left destitute in and scarcely a single mythological person is ever the streets. The humanity of his disposition was invoked by him. In truth, he seems to have had manifested on every occasion that called for its exno partiality for the family of gods, goddesses, and ercise; and so large was his liberality, that his last demi-gods, and to have discarded as useless the guinea was the general boundary of his munifiwhole race of fauns, satyrs, dryads, and hamadry-cence. He had two or three poor authors always ads. He is one of those who seek to please chiefly as pensioners, besides several widows and poor by an exhibition of nature in her simplest and housekeepers; and when he happened to have no most familiar views. From these he selects his money to give the latter, he sent them away with objects with equal taste and discretion; and in no shirts or old clothes, and sometimes with the coninstance does he ever represent what would excite tents of his breakfast table, saying, with a smile of disgust, or cause pain. In the poetry of Goldsmith satisfaction after they were gone, "Now let me there is nothing that strikes us as merely ideal. suppose I have eaten a heartier breakfast than Every thing is clear, distinct, and palpable. His usual, and I am nothing out of pocket." His gevery imagery is tangible. He draws it from ob- nerosity, it is truc, used often to be carried to exjects that act at once upon the senses, and the cess. He gave frequently on the mere impulse of reader is never for a moment at a loss to discover the moment, and without discrimination. If the its application. It is this that makes Goldsmith so applicants for his bounty were poor and friendless, easily understood, and so generally admired. His it was all that he asked to know. Like his own poetical landscapes and portraits are so many tran- village pastor, he overflowed with benevolence, and scripts from living nature; while every image, every "Careless their merits or their faults to scan, thought, and every sentiment connected with them, His pity gave ere charity began." have a corresponding expression of unaffected truth and simplicity. It was said of him by Mr. Bos-sometimes been imputed to him as a fault; but it well, that "his mind resembled a fertile but thin at least attested the excellence of his intentions soil; there was a quick, but not a strong vegetation and the kindness of his heart. The humanity and of whatever chanced to be thrown upon it. No benevolence, however, that characterised the poet's deep root could be struck. The oak of the forest disposition, were unhappily contaminated by a did not grow there; but the elegant shrubbery, jealousy of the attainments and the reputation of and the fragrant parterre, appeared in gay suc-others. He was feelingly conscious of this failing, cession." This is a poetical description, and, with and often used to complain of the uneasiness it cost some limitation, may be admitted as an approach him. In the minds of those who heard him on to the truth. The characteristics of Goldsmith's such occasions, all sense of the evil passion was poetry are ease, softness, and beauty. He can be lost in their amusement at the novelty and simplicommended for the elegance of his imagery, the city of his confessions. Vanity was another of the depth of his pathos and the flow of his numbers. weaknesses of Goldsmith; but it was rather amusHe is uniformly tender and impressive, but rarely ing than offensive in its operation. He was vain sublime. The commendation which he himself of his literary consequence, as was strongly discohas bestowed on the poetry of Parnell may justly vered in the complaint he once made with regard be applied to his own. "At the end of his course," to Lord Camden.-"I met him," said he, "at says he, "the reader regrets that his way has been Lord Clare's house in the country, and he took no so short; he wonders that it gave him so little more notice of me than if I had been an ordinary trouble; and so resolves to go the journey over man.”
This profuse and undistinguishing liberality has
He had also the foible of being ambitious of eminent talent is united to spotless virtue, we are shining in such exterior accomplishments as nature awed and dazzled into admiration, but our admirahad denied him. This was whimsically illustrated tion is apt to be cold; while there is something in on one occasion, when he arrayed himself in a the harmless infirmities of poor human nature that bloom-coloured coat, and sported his ungainly pleads touchingly to the feelings, and the heart figure, with great self-complacency, in the sunshine yearns towards the object of our admiration, when in the Temple gardens. He declared to his friends, we find that, like ourselves, he is mortal, and is that his tailor was so confident of the impression frail. The epithet so often heard, and in such he should make, that he had entreated him to in-kindly tones, of "poor Goldsmith," speaks volumes. form all inquirers of the name of the maker of the Few, who consider the rich compound of admirable and whimsical qualities which form his characSuch is the amount of information which we ter, would wish to prune away its eccentricities, have procured concerning Goldsmith; and we have trim its grotesque luxuriance, and clip it down to given it almost precisely in the words in which we the decent formalities of rigid virtue. "Let not found it. From the general tenor of his biography, his frailties be remembered," said Johnson, “he it is evident that Goldsmith was one whose faults was a very great man." But, for our parts, we were at the worst but negative, not positive vices, rather say, "let them be remembered;" for we while his merits were great and decided. He was question whether he himself would not feel gratino one's enemy but his own, his errors inflicted fied in hearing his reader, after dwelling with adevil on none but himself, and were so blended with miration on the proofs of his greatness, close the humorous, and even affecting circumstances, as to volume with the kind hearted phrase, so fondly and disarm anger and conciliate kindness. Where familiarly ejaculated, of "POOR GOLDSMITIL"
The Vicar of Wakefield.
THERE are a hundred faults in this thing, and hundred things might be said to prove them beauties. But it is needless. A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity. The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth. He is a priest, a husbandman, and the father of a family. He is drawn as ready to teach, and ready to obey; as simple in affluence, and majestic in adversity. In this age of opulence and refinement, whom can such a character please? Such as are fond of high life, will turn with disdain from the simplicity of his country fire-side. Such as mistake ribaldry for humour, will find no wit in his harmless conversation; and such as have been taught to deride religion, will laugh at one whose chief stores of comfort are drawn from futurity. OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
lent contriver in housekeeping; though I could never find that we grew richer with all her contrivances.
The description of the family of Wakefield, in which a kindred likeness prevails, as well of minds as of persons.
However, we loved each other tenderly, and our fondness increased as we grew old. There was, in fact, nothing that could make us angry with the world or each other. We had an elegant house situated in a fine country, and a good neighbourhood. The year was spent in moral or rural amusements, in visiting our rich neighbours, and relieving such as were poor. We had no revolutions to fear, nor fatigues to undergo; all our adventures were by the fire-side, and all our migrations from the blue bed to the brown.
As we lived near the road, we often had the
traveller or stranger visit us to taste our gooseberry wine, for which we had great reputation; and I profess with the veracity of an historian, that I
never knew one of them find fault with it. Our cousins too, even to the fortieth remove, all remembered the affinity, without any help from the herald's office, and came very frequently to see us. Some of them did us no great honour by these claims of kindred; as we had the blind, the maim ed, and the halt amongst the number. However, I was ever of opinion, that the honest man who my wife always insisted, that as they were the married and brought up a large family, did more same flesh and blood, they should sit with us at service than he who continued single and only the same table. So that if we had not very rich, talked of a population. From this motive, I had we generally had very happy friends about us; for scarcely taken orders a year, before I began to think this remark will hold good through life, that the seriously of matrimony, and chose my wife, as she poorer the guest, the better pleased he ever is with did her wedding-gown, not for a fine glossy sur-being treated: and as some men gaze with admira. face, but for such qualities as would wear well. tion at the colours of a tulip, or the wings of a but To do her justice, she was a good-natured notable terfly, so I was by nature an admirer of happy hu woman; and as for breeding, there were few coun- man faces. However, when any one of our rela try ladies who could show more. She could read tions was found to be a person of very bad charac any English book without much spelling; but for ter, a troublesome guest, or one we desired to get pickling, preserving, and cookery, none could excel rid of, upon his leaving my house, I ever took care her. She prided herself also upon being an excel-to lend him a riding-coat, or a pair of boots or