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Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame,
Where kings have toil'd, and poets wrote for fame,
One sink of level avarice shall lie,

And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonor'd die.' “ Such is the poem on which we now congratulate the public, as on a production to which, since the death of Pope, it will not be easy to find any thing equal”—Critical Review, Dec. 1764.

“ Goldsmith's poetry,” says Mr. Campbell,“ enjoys a calm and steady popularity. It inspires us, indeed, with no admiration of daring design or of fertile invention ; but it presents, within its narrow limits, a distinct and unbroken view of poetical delightfulness. Ilis descriptions and sentiments have the pure zest of nature. lle is refined without false delicacy, and correct without insipidily Perhaps there is an intellectual composure in his manner, which may, in some pa.sages, be said to approach to the reserved and prosaic; but he unbends from this graver strain of reflection to tenderness, and even to playfulness, with an ease and grace almost exclusively his own ; and connects extensive views of the happiness and interests of society, with pictures of life that touch the heart by their familiarity. His language is certainly simple, though it is not cast in a rugged or careless mouki lle is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school or simplicity. Deliberately as he wrote, he cannot be accused of wanting natural and idiomatie capres-ion, He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish true poetry from prose ; and when he adopts colloquial plainne-s, it is with the nano-t care ani shiil, to avoid a vulgar hunjility. There is more of this sustained simplicity, of this cha-te cconomy and choice of worus, in Gol 1-mith, than in any modern port, or perhaps than would be attainable or desirable as a standard for every writer of thyme. But let us not imagine that the serene graers of this poet were pot admirably adapted to his sul-jerts. His poetry is not that of impitons, but of contemplative sensibility; of a spirit breathin its retrees and recollections, in a tone that has no dissonane with the calm of piilosophical reflection. He betinys so little effort to make us ri-ionary by the usual anel palpabli. fictions of his art; he keeps apparently so close to realities, and draws certain confusions, respecting the radical interrsis of man, so bollly and decidedly, that we pay him a compli:nent, not always extended to the tuneful tribe',-ihiat of judging huis sentiments by their strict and logical interpretation. In thus judging him by the cost of his philosophical spirit, I am not prepared to say that lie is a purely impartial theorist. He advaners general positions, rispecting the brappiness of society, founded on limited vions of unh, and under the bias of local feelinus. lle contemplates only one side of the que-tjon. It must be always thus in poetry Let the mind be ever so tranquilly Ji-po-rd 10 redlertion, yet if it retains proeli al srpatull, it will embare only those speculative opinions that tall in with til top of the imagination.”-- Sperimens of British Poets, vol. vi p. 261.)



Dear Sir,

I am sensible that the friendship between us can acquire no new force from the ceremonies of a Dedication; and perhaps it demands an excuse thus to prefix your name to my attempts, which you decline giving with your own.

But as a part of this poem was formerly written to you from Switzerland, the whole can now, with propriety, be only inscribed to you. It will also throw a light upon many parts of it, when the reader understands that it is addressed to a man, who, despising fame and fortune, has retired early to happiness and obscurity, with an income of forty pounds a year.

I now perceive, my dear brother, the wisdom of your humble choice. You have entered upon a sacred office, where the harvest is great and the laborers are but few; while you have left the field of ambition, where the laborers are many and the harvest not worth carrying away. But of all kinds of ambition, what from the refinement of the times, from different systems of criticism, and from the divisions of party, that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest.*

* {“ But of all kinds of ambition, as things are now circumstanced, perhaps that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest. What from the increased

ese offer

Poetry makes a principal amusement among 1 polished nations; but in a country verging to the extremes refinement, painting and music come in for a share. As 1 the feeble mind a less laborious entertainment, the at first rival poetry, and at length supplant her; they en ross all that favor once shown to her, and, though but young sisters, seize upon the elder's birthright.

Yet, however this art may be neglected by the owerful, it is still in great danger from the mistaken effort of the learned to improve it. What criticisms have we not 1 card of late in favor of blank verse, and Pindaric odes, chorusses, anapests, and iaubies, alliterative care and happy negligence ! Every absurdity has now a champion to defend it and its he is generally much in the wrong, so he has always much to say; for error is ever talkative.

But there is an enemy to this art still more dangerous-I mean party Party entirely distorts the judgment and destroys the taste. When the mind is once infected with this disease, it can only find pleasure in what contributes to increase the distemper. Like the tiger that seldom desists from pursuing man, after having onee preyed upon human flesh, the reader, who has once gratified his appetite with calunny, makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputation. Such readers generally admire some half-witted thing, who wants to be thought a bold man, having lost the character of a wise one. Him they dignify with the name of poet: his tawdry lampoous are called satires; his turbulence is said to be force, and his frenzy fire.

refinement of the times, from the diversity of judgments produced by opposing systems of criticisin, and from the inore prevalent divisions of opinion intluenced by party, the strongest and happiest efforts can expect to please but in a very narrow circle. Though the port were as sure of his aim as the imperial archer of antiquity, who boasted that he never misured the heart; yet would many of his chatis now fly at randum, for the heart is too often in the wrong place.”First edit

What reception a poem may find waich has neither abuse, party, nor blank verse to support it, I cannot tell, nor am I solicitous to know. My aims are right. Without espousing the cause of any party, I have attempted to moderate the rage of all. I have endeavored to show, that there may be equal happiness in states that are differently governed from our own; that every state has a particular principle of happiness, and that this pripciple in each may be carried to a mischie

There are few can judge better than yourself, how far these positions are illustrated in this poem.

I am, dear Sir,

vous excess.

Your most affectionate Brother, ,


* [“ And that this principle in each state, and in our own in particular, may be carried to a mischievous excess.”First edit.]

+ (A feeling worthy of all praise produced this dedication to his brother. Careless of any interests of his own which might be promoted by conciliating the powerful or the wealthy, it was intended not merely as a return of respect and attention for the kindness shown to his earlier years, but to bring into notice, and perhaps preferment, should the work become popular, a worthy, though friendless clergyman. Allusions to the motive took place in conversation with his friends, and afterwards found its way into the newspapers; in a paragraph in imitation of a paper of Swist, where, among other instances of men who have acted nobly, is the following :-“ Dr. Goldsmith, when he dedicated his beautiful poem, the Traveller, to a man of no greater income than forty pounds a year."-See Life, ch. xiv.]

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