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Goldsmith continued to do hack writing for the booksellers, but did not neglect original composition. In 1768 appeared his comedy of "The Good-Natured Man." It was refused by Garrick, notwithstanding the intercession of Reynolds, and was brought out at Covent Garden. It did not gain the applause it merited, but as a financial venture it was a success. It was acted for nine nights; and including the copyright, it brought the author no less than five hundred pounds. That was a dangerous sum for a man of his improvident habits. He at once rented elegant lodgings at a cost of four hundred pounds, and gave dinners to Johnson, Reynolds, and other friends of note. His chambers were often the scene of gay festivities; and Blackstone, who occupied rooms immediately below, and was engaged on his "Commentaries," used to complain of the racket overhead. At this rate his means were of course soon exhausted.

His labors for the booksellers included his "Animated Nature," "History of Rome," "History of England," and "History of Greece." These compilations were hardly worthy of his genius, but they brought him the means of livelihood. "I cannot afford to court the draggle-tail muses," he once said; "they would let me starve; but by my other labors I can make shift to eat, and drink, and have good clothes." But even his compilations bore the trace of his genius in the clear arrangement of facts and in his felicitous mode of treatment. "Whether indeed, we take him as a poet, as a comic writer, or as an historian," declared Johnson, "he stands in the first class."

In 1770 appeared the "Deserted Village." In this he cast a glory around his native village, to which, as he approached the end of his life, his mind reverted with peculiar tenderness. The political economy presented is indeed false; but the pictures the poem brings before us are as enduring as the language. Every one is acquainted with Paddy Byrne :—

"In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill;

For e'en though vanquished, he could argue still."

And then the village preacher - a portrait of Goldsmith's father and his brother Henry. It is one of the most delightful descriptions in the English language, rivalled alone by Chaucer's parson :

"And as a bird each fond endearment tries

To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way."

The poem was at once successful, and has since retained, through all changes of taste, its place as a classic.

In 1773 he gave his comedy, "She Stoops to Conquer," to the public. The plot turns on an incident suggested by his blunder as a school-boy. The theatrical manager predicted a complete failure, and Goldsmith was in great distress. But the night of the first presentation the theatre was filled; and the humorous dialogue and the ridiculous incidents kept the audience in a roar of laughter. It has since retained its place on the stage.

During the last years of his life Goldsmith's income was about four hundred pounds a year. With a little economy this would have enabled him to live in comfort and ease. But his extravagance and heedless benevolence left him in debt.

The end came April 3, 1774. When the news was brought to Burke, he burst into tears. Sir Joshua Reynolds laid aside his pencil. But more significant than all was the lamentation of the old and the infirm on his stairs-helpless creatures to whose supplications he had never turned a deaf ear. Johnson wrote his epitaph, in which it is said that he "left scarcely any style of writing untouched, and touched nothing that he did not adorn." In the words of Thackeray, "Think of him reckless, thriftless, vain if you like but merciful, gentle, generous, full of love and pity. He passes out of our life, and goes to render his account beyond it. Think of the poor pensioners weeping at his grave; think of the noble spirits that admired and deplored him; think of the righteous pen that wrote his

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epitaph and the wonderful and unanimous response of affec tion with which the world has paid back the love he gave it. His humor delighting us still; his song fresh and beautiful as when he first charmed with it; his words in all our mouths; his very weaknesses beloved and familiar - his benevolent spirit seems still to smile upon us; to do gentle kindnesses; to succor with sweet charity; to caress, soothe, and forgive; to plead with the fortunate for the unhappy and the poor."


SWEET AUBURN! loveliest village of the plain;
Where health and plenty cheered the labouring swain.
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,

And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed:
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,

Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loitered o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared each scene!
How often have I paused on every charm,
The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whispering lovers made!
How often have I blest the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree.
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old surveyed;
And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round.
And still, as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown
By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter tittered round the place;
The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove.
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught even toil to please:
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed:
These were thy charms - but all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn ;




Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries;
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made:
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintained its man;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life required, but gave no more:
His best companions, innocence and health;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.

But times are altered; trade's unfeeling train
Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose,
And every want to opulence allied,

And every pang that folly pays to pride.

These gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that asked but little room,
Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene,


Lived in each look, and brightened all the
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.

Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.





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