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that—although so skilful a correspondent must have been fully sensible of his gifts-until, under the pressure of circumstances, he drifted into literature, the craft of letters seems never to have been his ambition. He thinks of being a lawyer, a physician, a clergyman,anything but an author; and when at last he engages in that profession, it is to free himself from a scholastic servitude which he appears to have always regarded with peculiar bitterness, yet to which, after a first unsatisfactory trial of what was to be his true vocation, he unhesitatingly returned. If he went back once more to his pen, it was only to enable him to escape from it more effectually, and he was prepared to go as far as Coromandel. But Literature" toute entière à sa proie attachée”—refused to relinquish him; and, although he continued to make spasmodic efforts to extricate himself, detained him to the day of his death.

If there is no evidence that he had written much when he entered upon what has been called his second period, he had not the less formed his opinions on many literary questions. Much of the matter of the Polite Learning is plainly manufactured ad hoc; but in its references to the profession of authorship, there is a personal note which is absent elsewhere; and when he speaks of the tyranny of publishers, the sordid standards of criticism, and the forlorn and precarious existence of the hapless writer for bread, he is evidently reproducing a condition of things with which he had become familiar during his brief bondage on the Monthly Review. As to his personal views on poetry in particular, it is easy to collect them from this, and later utterances. Against blank verse he protests from the first, as suited only to the sublimest themes-which is a polite way of shelving it altogether; while in favour of rhyme he alleges that the very restriction stimulates the fancy, as a fountain plays higher when the aperture is diminished. Blank verse, too (he asserted), imported into poetry a "disgusting solemnity of manner" which was fatal to "agreeable trifling," an objection intimately connected with the feeling which afterwards made him the champion on the

stage of character and humour. Among the poets who were his contemporaries and immediate predecessors, his likes and dislikes were strong. He fretted at the fashion which Gray's Elegy set in poetry; he considered it a fine poem, but "overloaded with epithet," and he deplored the remoteness and want of emotion which distinguished the Pindaric Odes. Yet from many indications in his own writings, he seems to have genuinely appreciated the work of Collins. Churchill, and Churchill's satire, he detested. With Young he had some personal acquaintance, and had attentively read his Night Thoughts. Of the poets of the last age, he admired Dryden, Pope and Gay, but more than any of these, if imitation is to be regarded as the proof of sympathy, Prior, Addison and Swift. By his inclinations and his , training, indeed, he belonged to this school. But he was in advance of it in thinking that poetry, however didactic after the fashion of his own day, should be simple in its utterance and directed at the many rather than the few. This is what he meant when, from the critical elevation of Griffiths' back parlour, he recommended Gray to take the advice of Isocrates, and "study the people." If, with these ideas, he had been able to divest himself of the " warbling groves and "finny deeps" of the Popesque vocabulary (of much of the more "mechanic art" of that supreme artificer he did successfully divest himself), it would have needed but little to make him a prominent pioneer of the new school which was coming with Cowper. As it is, his poetical attitude is a little that intermediate one of Longfellow's maiden

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Most of his minor and earlier pieces are imitative. In A New Simile, and The Logicians Refuted, Swift is his acknowledged model; in The Double Transformation it is Prior, modified by certain theories personal to himself. He was evidently well acquainted with collections like the Ménagiana, and with the French minor poets of the

eighteenth century, many of which latter were among his

books at his death. These he had carefully studied,

probably during his continental wanderings, and from them he derives, like Prior, much of his grace and metrical buoyancy. The Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog, and Madame Blaize, are both more or less constructed on the old French popular song of the hero of Pavia, Jacques de Chabannes, Seigneur de la Palice (sometimes Galisse), with, in the case of the former, a tag from an epigram by Voltaire, the original of which is in the Greek Anthology, though Voltaire simply "conveyed" his version from an anonymous French predecessor. Similarly the lively stanzas To Iris, in Bow Street, the lines to Myra, the quatrain called A South American Ode, and that On a Beautiful Youth struck blind with Lightning, are all confessed or unconfessed translations. It is possible that if Goldsmith had lived to collect his own works, he would have announced the source of his inspiration in these instances as well as in one or two other cases-the epitaph on Ned Purdon, for example,-where it has been reserved to his editors to discover his obligations. On the other hand, he might have contended, with perfect justice, that whatever the source of his ideas, he had made them his own when he got them; and certainly in lilt and lightness, the lines To Iris are infinitely superior to those of La Monnoye, on which they are based. But even a fervent admirer may admit that, dwelling as he did in this very vitreous palace of Gallic adaptation, one does not expect to find him throwing stones at Prior for borrowing from the French, or commenting solemnly in the life of Parnell upon the heinousness of plagiarism. "It was the fashion," he says, "with the wits of the last age, to conceal the places from whence they took their hints or their subjects. A trifling acknowledgment would have made that lawful prize, which may now be considered as plunder." He might judiciously have added to this latter sentence the quotation which he struck out of the second issue of the Polite Learning,-" Haud inexpertus loquor."

Of his longer pieces, The Traveller was apparently

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suggested to him by Addison's Letter from Italy to Lord Halifax, a poem to which, in his preliminary notes to the Beauties of English Poesy, he gives significant praise. "There is in it," he says, "a strain of political thinking that was, at that time, new in our poetry." He obviously intended that The Traveller should be admired for the same reason; and both in that poem and its successor, The Deserted Village, he lays stress upon the political import of his work. The one, we are told, is to illustrate the position that the happiness of the subject is independent of the goodness of the Sovereign; the other, to deplore the increase of luxury and the miseries of depopulation. But, as a crowd of commentators have pointed out, it is hazardous for a poet to meddle with "political thinking," however much, under George the Second, it may have been needful to proclaim a serious purpose. If Goldsmith had depended solely upon the professedly didactic part of his attempt, his work would be as dead as Freedom, or Sympathy, or any other of Dodsley's forgotten quartos. Fortunately he did more than this. Sensibly or insensibly, he suffused his work with that philanthropy which is "not learned by the royal road of tracts, and platform speeches, and monthly magazines," but by personal commerce with poverty and sorrow; and he made his appeal to that clinging love of country, of old association, of "home-bred happiness," of innocent pleasure, which, with Englishmen, is never made in vain. Employing the couplet of Pope and Johnson, he has added to his measure a suavity that belonged to neither; but the beauty of his humanity and the tender melancholy of his wistful retrospect hold us more strongly and securely than the studious finish of his style.

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Vingt fois sur le mêtier remettez votre ouvrage”—said the arch-critic whose name, according to Keats, the school of Pope displayed upon their "decrepit standard." Even in The Traveller and The Deserted Village, there are indications of over-labour; but in a poem which comes between them-the once famous Edwin and Angelina— Goldsmith certainly carried out Boileau's maxim to the full. The first privately-printed version differs consider

ably from that in the first edition of the Vicar; this again is altered in the fourth; and there are other variations in the piece as printed in the Poems for Young Ladies. "As to my 'Hermit "," said the poet complacently, "that poem, Cradock, cannot be amended," and undoubtedly it has been skilfully wrought. But it is impossible to look upon it now with the unpurged eyes of those upon whom the Reliques of Ancient Poetry had but recently dawned, still less to endorse the verdict of Sir John Hawkins that “it is one of the finest poems of the lyric kind that our language has to boast of." Its over-soft prettiness is too much that of the chromo-lithograph or the Parian bust (the porcelain, not the marble), and its "beautiful simplicity" is in parts perilously close upon that inanity which Johnson, whose sturdy good sense not even friendship could silence, declared to be the characteristic of much of Percy's collection. It is instructive as a study of poetical progress to contrast it with a ballad of our own day in the same measure-the Talking Oak of Tennyson.

The remaining poems of Goldsmith, excluding the Captivity, and the admittedly occasional Threnodia Augustalis, are not open to the charge of fictitious simplicity, or of that hyper-elaboration, which, in the words of the poet just mentioned, makes for the "ripe and rotten." The gallery of kit-cats in Retaliation, and the delightful bonhomie of The Haunch of Venison need no commendation. In kindly humour and not unkindly satire Goldsmith was at his best, and the imperishable portraits of Burke and Garrick and Reynolds, and the inimitable dinner at which Lord Clare's pasty was not, are as well known as any of the stock passages of The Deserted Village or The Traveller, though they have never been babbled "in extremis vicis" by successive generations of schoolboys. It is usually said, probably with truth, that in these poems and the delightful Letter to Mrs. Bunbury, Goldsmith's metre was suggested by the cantering anapasts of the New Bath Guide, and it is to be observed that "Little Comedy's "letter of invitation is to the same popular tune. But in preparing this



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