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Sentimentalism, in the meantime, had still a majority. Kelly, it is true, was now no longer to be feared. His sudden good fortune had swept him into the ranks of the party-writers, with the result that the damning of his next play, A Word to the Wise, had been exaggerated into a political necessity. But the school which he represented had been recruited by a much abler man, Richard Cumberland, and it was probably the favourable reception of Cumberland's West Indian that stimulated Goldsmith into striking one more blow for legitimate comedy. At all events, in the autumn of the year in which The West Indian was produced, he is hard at work in the lanes at Hendon and Edgware, "studying jests with a most tragical countenance" for a successor to The Good-Natur'd Man.

To the modern spectator of She Stoops to Conquer, with its unflagging humour and bustling action, it must seem almost inconceivable that its stage qualities can ever have been questioned. Yet questioned they undoubtedly were, and Goldsmith was spared none of his former humiliations. Even from the outset, all was against him. His differences with Garrick had long been adjusted, and the Drury Lane manager would now probably have accepted a new play from his pen, especially as that astute observer had already detected signs of a reaction in the public taste. But Goldsmith was morally bound to Colman and Covent Garden; and Colman, in whose hands he placed his manuscript, proved even more disheartening and unmanageable than Garrick had been in the past. Before he had come to his decision, the close of 1772 had arrived. Early in the following year, under the irritation of suspense and suggested amendments combined, Goldsmith hastily transferred his proposal to Garrick; but, by Johnson's advice, as hastily withdrew it. Only by the express interposition of Johnson was Colman at last induced to make a distinct promise to bring out the play at a specific date. To believe in it, he could not be persuaded, and his contagious anticipations of its failure passed insensibly to the actors, who, one after the other, shuffled out of their parts. Even over the

epilogue there were vexatious disputes, and when at last, in March, 1773, She Stoops to Conquer was acted, its jeune premier had previously held no more exalted position than that of ground-harlequin, while one of its most prominent characters had simply been a post-boy in The Good-Natur'd Man. But once fairly upon the boards neither lukewarm actors nor an adverse manager had any further influence over it, and the doubts of everyone vanished in the uninterrupted applause of the audience. When, a few days later, it was printed with a grateful dedication to its best friend, Johnson, the world already knew the certainty that a fresh masterpiece had been added to the roll of English Dramatic Literature, and that "genteel comedy had received a decisive blow.

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The effect of this blow, it must be admitted, had been aided not a little by the appearance, only a week or two earlier, of Foote's clever puppet-show of The Handsome Housemaid; or, Piety in Fattens, which was openly directed at Kelly and his following. But ridicule by itself, without some sample of a worthier substitute, could not have sufficed to displace a persistent fashion. This timely antidote She Stoops to Conquer, in the most unmistakable way, afforded. From end to end of the piece there is not a sickly or a maudlin word. Even Sheridan, writing The Rivals two years later, thought it politic to insert "Faulkland" and "Julia" for the benefit of the sentimentalists. Goldsmith made no such concession, and his wholesome hearty merriment put to flight the Comedy of Tears, even as the Coquecigrues vanished before the large-lunged laugh of Pantagruel. If, as Johnson feared, his plot bordered slightly upon farceand of what good comedy may this not be said ?—at least it can be urged that its most farcical incident, the mistaking of a gentleman's house for an inn, had really happened, since it had happened to the writer himself. But the superfine objections of Walpole and his friends are now ancient history,-history so ancient that it is scarcely credited, while Goldsmith's manly assertion (after Fielding) of the author's right "to stoop among the low to copy nature," has been ratified by successive genera

tions of novelists and playwrights. What is beyond dispute is the healthy atmosphere, the skilful setting, the lasting freshness and fidelity to human nature of the persons of the drama. Not content with the finished portraits of the Hardcastles (a Vicar and Mrs. Primrose promoted to the squirearchy),--not content with the incomparable and unapproachable Tony, the author hast managed to make attractive what is too often insipid, his heroines and their lovers. Miss Hardcastle and Miss Neville are not only charming young women, but charming characters, while Marlow and Hastings are much more than stage young men. And let it be remembered -it cannot be too often remembered—that in returning to those Farquhars and Vanbrughs "of the last age,' who differed so widely from the Kellys and Cumberlands of his own, Goldsmith has brought back no taint of their baser part. Depending solely for its avowed intention to "make an audience merry," upon the simple development of its humorous incident, his play (wonderful to relate!) attains its end without resorting to the aid of equivocal intrigue. Indeed, there is but one married. woman in the piece, and she traverses it without a stain upon her character.

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She Stoops to Conquer is Goldsmith's last dramatic work, for the trifling sketch of The Grumbler had never more than a grateful purpose. When, only a year later, the little funeral procession from 2, Brick Court laid him in his unknown grave in the Temple burying-ground, the new comedy of which he had written so hopefully to Garrick was still non-existent. Would it have been better than its last fortunate predecessor?-would those early reserves of memory and experience have still proved inexhaustible ? The question cannot be answered. Through debt, and drudgery, and depression, the writer's genius had still advanced, and these might yet have proved powerless to check his progress. But at least it was given to him to end upon his best, and not to outlive it. For, in that critical sense which estimates the value of a work by its excellence at all points, it can scarcely be contested that She Stoops to Conquer is his

best production. In spite of their beauty and humanity, the lasting quality of The Traveller and The Deserted Village is seriously prejudiced by his half-way attitude between the poetry of convention and the poetry of nature-between the gradus epithet of Pope and the direct vocabulary of Wordsworth. With The Vicar of Wakefield, again, immortal though it be, it is less his art that holds us, than his charm, his humour and his tenderness which tempt us to forget his inconsistency and his errors of haste. In She Stoops to Conquer, neither defect of art nor defect of nature forbids us to give unqualified admiration to a work which lapse of time has shown to be still unrivalled of its kind.


The following is a list of Oliver Goldsmith's works (17281774) :

Memoirs of a Protestant condemned to the Galleys of France for his Religion (translation), 2 vols., 1758; Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe, 1759; The Bee, being Essays on the Most Interesting Subjects (eight numbers of a weekly periodical), 1759; History of Mecklenburgh, 1762; The Mystery Revealed, containing a Series of Transactions and Authentic Testimonials respecting the supposed Cock-Lane Ghost, 1762; The Citizen of the World, or Letters from a Chinese Philosopher residing in London to his Friends in the East (from the Public Ledger, 1760, 1761), 2 vols., 1762; Life of Richard Nash, of Bath, Esquire, 1762; A History of England in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son, 2 vols., 1764; The Traveller, 1765; Essays, 1765; The Vicar of Wakefield, a tale supposed to be written by himself, 2 vols., 1766; The Good-Natured Man, a Comedy, 1768; The Roman History, from the foundation of the City of Rome to the destruction of the Western_Empire, 2 vols., 1769; Abridgment by the Author, 1772; The Deserted Village, 1770; The Life of Thomas Parnell, compiled from original papers and memoirs, 1770; Life of Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, 1770; The History of England, from the Earliest Times to the Death of George II., 4 vols., 1771; Abridged Edition, 1774; Threnodia Augustalis, sacred to the memory of Her Royal Highness the Princess Dowager of Wales, 1772; She Stoops to Conquer, or the Mistakes of a Night, 1773; Retaliation, a Poem, including Epitaphs on the most distinguished Wits of this Metropolis, 1774 (five editions were published this year; the fifth edition contains the postscript and epitaph on Caleb Whitefoord); The Grecian History, from the Earliest State to the Death of Alexander the

Great, 2 vols., 1774; An History of the Earth and Animated Nature, 8 vols., 1774; The Haunch of Venison, a Poetical Epistle to Lord Clare, 1776; another edition, with additions and corrections, appeared this same year; A Survey of Experimental Philosophy considered in its Present State of Improvement, 2 vols., 1776; The Captivity, an Oratorio, 1836 (first printed in the Trade edition of Goldsmith's Works, 1820. See Anderson's Bibl.).

Goldsmith contributed to the Monthly Review, Critical Review, Literary Magazine, Busy Body, Public Ledger, British Magazine, Lady's Magazine, Westminster Magazine, and Universal Magazine; he edited Poems for Young Ladies, 1766; Beauties of English Poesy, 1767; to him is attributed The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, published by Newbery, 3rd ed., 1766; and also A Pretty Book of Pictures for Little Masters and Misses, etc., 1767; and his translations include Formey's Concise History of Philosophy, 1766; Scarron's Comic Romance, 1780. An abridged edition of Plutarch's Lives was undertaken by him in collaboration with Joseph Collyer, 1762; The Grumbler, an adaptation of Brueys and Palaprat's Le Grondeur, was performed once at Covent Garden in 1773, but not printed by the author.

The miscellaneous works of Goldsmith (containing all his Essays and Poems) were published in 1775, 1792, and in 1801 with the • Percy Memoir; Poems and Plays, 1777; Poetical and Dramatic Works, 1780.

Among later editions are those by Prior, 4 vols., 1837; Cunningham, 4 vols., 1854; J. F. Waller, 1864, etc.; J. W. M. Gibbs, 1884-6; the Globe Edition, 1869; Bohn's Standard Library has also included Goldsmith's miscellaneous works. Many smaller collections have been published.

The complete Poetical works were edited by Austin Dobson (Oxford Edition), 1906.

The Vicar of Wakefield has appeared in innumerable editions, has been frequently illustrated, and translated into nearly every European language.

A bibliography of Goldsmith's works is appended to the Life by Austin Dobson.


Life: The life known as the " Percy Memoir (see above), 1801, and later editions; by James Prior, 1837; John Forster, Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith, 1848, 1854, 1855, 1903; Washington Irving (founded on two previous biographies), with selections, 1844, 1849, 1850; W. Black (English Men of Letters), 1878; Austin Dobson (Great Writers), 1888, 1899; Macaulay (Encyclopædia Britannica), ed. H. B. Cotterill, 1904, and published in Blackie's English Classics, 1901; Oliver Goldsmith (Cameo Classics, No. 4), 1905.

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