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noble address to the genius of poetry, in which is compressed the moral of the whole, gives a dignified finishing to the work.
If we compare these two principal poems of GOLDSMITH, we may say, that the Traveller is formed upon a more regular plan, has a higher purpose in view, more abounds in thought, and in the expression of moral and philosophical ideas; the Deserted Village has more imagery, more variety, more pathos, more of the peculiar character of poetry. In the first, the moral and natural descriptions are more general and elevated; in the second, they are more particular and interesting. Both are truly original productions ; but the Deserted Village has less peculiarity, and indeed has given rise to imitations which may stand in some parallel with it; while the Traveller remains an unique.
With regard to GOLDSMITH's other poems, a few remarks will suffice. The Hermit, printed in the same year with the Traveller, has been a very popular piece, as might be expected of a tender tale prettily told. It is called a Ballad, but I think with no correct application of that term, which properly means a story related in language either naturally or affectedly rude and
simple. It has been a sort of fashion to admire these productions; yet in the really ancient ballads, for one stroke of beauty, there are pages of insipidity and vulgarity; and the imitations have been pleasing in proportion as they approached more finished compositions. In Goldsmith’s Hermit, the language is always polished, and often ornamented. The best things in it are some neat turns of moral and pathetic sentiment, given with a simple conciseness that fits them for being retained in the memory. As to the story, it has little fancy or contrivance to recommend it.
We have already seen that GOLDSMITH possessed humour; and, exclusively of his comedies, pieces professedly humorous form a part of his poetical remains. His imitations of Swift are happy, but they are imitations. His tale of the Double Transformation may vie with those of Prior. His own natural vein of easy humour flows freely in his Haunch of Venison and Retaliation; the first, an admirable specimen of a very ludicrous story made out of a common incident by the help of conversation and character; the other, an original thought, in which his talent at drawing portraits, with a mixture of the serious and the comic, is most happily displayed.
TO THE MEMORY OF
BY CONTEMPORARY WRITERS.
THE TEARS OF GENIUS.
BY MR. PRATT,
The village bell tolls out the tone of death,
Borne on the shoulders of the swains he lov'd,
gloom, Forlorn she hied; and there the crowding woe (Swelld by the parent) press’d on bleeding thought, Big ran the drops from her maternal eye, Fast broke the bosom-sorrow from her heart, And pale distress sat sickly on her cheek, As thus her plaintive elegy began :
And must my children all expire?
Scarce has the sun thrice urg'd his annual tour,
Sore hast thou thinn'd each pleasing art,
And struck a muse with ev'ry dart:
Then let a widow'd mother pay
The tribute of a parting lay;
Long, for thy sake, the peasant's tear shall flow,