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[“ The Traveller" was published in December 1764, and was the earliest production to which Goldsmith prefixed his name. As Dr. Johnson was the first to introduce it to the good opinion of the public, in a manner which could not fail to draw attention, it will not be uninteresting to look back at what he then said, and observe how perfectly all judges of poetry have concurred in his opinion :

“ The author has, in an elegant dedication to his brother, a country clergyman, given the design of his poem. 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 other states, though differently governed from our own ; that each state has a peculiar principle of happiness, and that this principle in each state, and in our own in particular, may be carried to a mischievous excess. That he may illustrate and enforce this important position, the author places himself on a summit of the Alps, and turning his eyes around in all directions, upon the different regions that lie before him, compares not merely their situation and policy, but those social and domestic manners which, after a very few deductions, make the sum total of human life.

• Evn now where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend;
And, plac'd on high above the storm's career,
Look downward where an hundred realms appear ;
Lakes, forests, cities, plains, extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus Creation's charms around combine,
Amidst the store should thankless pride repine ?
Say, should the philosophic mind disdain
That good which makes each humbler bosom vain ?
Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind

Exults in all the good of all mankind.'
“ The author already appears by his numbers to be a versifier, and by his
scenery to be a poet; it therefore only remains that his sentiments discover
him to be a just estimator of comparative happiness. The goods of life are
either given by nature or procured by ourselves. Nature has distributed her
gifts in very different proportions, yet all her children are content; but the
acquisitions of art are such as terminate in good or evil, as they are dif-
ferently regulated or combined.

• Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at Labor's earnest call;
With food as well the peasant is supplied
On Ida's cliffs as Arno's shelvy side ;
And though the rocky crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.
From Art more various are the blessings sent ;
Wealth, commerce, honor, liberty, content.
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
'That either seems destructive of the rest.
Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails,
And honor sinks where commerce long prevails.
Hence every state to one lov'd blessing prone,

Conforms and models life to that alone.' “ This is the position which he conducts through Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland, and England ; and which he endeavors to confirm by remarking the manners of every country. Having censured the degeneracy of the modern Italians, he proceeds thus :

• My soul, turn from them ; turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display,
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread;
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword;
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingering chills the lap of May:
No Zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,

But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.' “But having found that the rural life of a Swiss has its evils as well as comforts, he turns to France:

To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,
I turn ; and France displays her bright domain.
Gay, sprightly land of mirth and social ease,
Pleas'd with thyself, whom all the world can please.
So blest a life these thoughtless realms display,
Thus idle busy rolls their world away:
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honor forms the social temple here.
Honor, that praise which real merit gains,
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
It shifts in splendid traffic round the land;

From courts to camps, to cottages it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise ;
They please, are pleas'd, they give to get esteem,

Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem. « Yet France has its evils

• For praise, too dearly lov’d, or warmly sought,

Enfeebles all internal strength of thought ;
And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart ;
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace;
Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a year;
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,

Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause.'
Having thus passed through Holland, he arrives at England

• Stern o'er each bosom Reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great ;
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human kind pass by;
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,

By forms unfashion'd fresh from Nature's hand.' “ With the inconveniences that harass the sons of freedom, this extract shall be concluded

· That independence Britons prize too high,
Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie;
The self-dependent lordlings stand alone,
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown;
Here by the bonds of nature feebly held,
Minds combat minds, repelling and repellid;
Ferments arise, imprison’d factions roar,
Represt ambition struggles round her shore.
Nor this the worst. As Nature's ties decay,
As duty, love, and honor fail to sway,
Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,
Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe.
Hence all obedience bows to those alone,
And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown;
Till time may come, when stript of all her charms,
The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms ;

Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame,
Where kings have toild, 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. His descriptions and sentiments have the pure zest of nature. He is refined without false delicacy, and correct without insipidity. Perhaps there is an intellectual composure in his manner, which may, in some passages, 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 mould. He is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school of simplicity. Deliberately as he wrote, he cannot be accused of wanting natural and idiomatic expression. He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish true poetry from prose ; and when he adopts colloquial plainness, it is with the utmost care and skill, to avoid a vulgar humility. There is more of this sustained simplicity, of this chaste economy and choice of words, in Goldsmith, than in any modern poet, or perhaps than would be attainable or desirable as a standard for every writer of rhyme. Bnt let us not imagine that the serene graces of this poet were not admirably adapted to his subjects. His poetry is not that of impetuous, but of contemplative sensibility; of a spirit breathing its regrets and recollections, in a tone that has no dissonance with the calm of philosophical reflection. He betrays so little effort to make us visionary by the usual and palpable fictions of his art; he keeps apparently so close to realities, and draws certain conclusions, respecting the radical interests of man, so boldly and decidedly, that we pay him a compliment, not always extended to the tuneful tribe,-that of judging his sentiments by their strict and logical interpretation. In thus judging him by the test of his philosophical spirit, I am not prepared to say that he is a purely impartial theorist. He advances general positions, respecting the happiness of society, founded on limited views of truth, and under the bias of local feelings. He contemplates only one side of the question. It must be always thus in poetry. Let the mind be ever so tranquilly disposed to reflection, yet if it retains poetical sensation, it will embrace only those speculative opinions that fall in with the tone of the imagination.”—Specimens of British Poets, vol. vi. p. 261.)

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