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After he had published some of his best performances, he acquired reputation enough to receive an invitation from some booksellers in London, who proposed to employ him in some works of literature, by which he might obtain a livelihood, in a manner more easy and honourable than that in which he had been hitherto engaged. Convinced of the propriety of acceding to this proposal, he repaired from Edinburgh to London; but had hardly set foot in the capital before he was satisfied of the impracticability of the scheme. The bookseller by whom he was to have been employed had stopped payment; and the attention of the public was so entirely engrossed by scandal and political altercation, that he left the town with precipitation after a short and disagreeable stay in it, and once more rejoined his friends in the North.
This was the only effort he ever made to emerge from the abject situation in which youthful imprudence had originally placed him. But with this state he appeared by no means dissatisfied. Competence and obscurity were all he desired. He had no views of ambition; and indolence had possessed him so entirely, that he never made a second attempt. In a letter to a friend he describes himself in these terms: “You may remember my last expedi
“tion to London. I think I may be convinced by it that I am not calcu
“lated for the business you mention. Though I scribble (but a little nei“ther) to amuse myself, the moment I considered it as my duty it would
“cease to be an amusement, and I should of consequence be weary on't. I
“ am not enterprizing; and tolerably happy in my present situation.” The remainder of his life passed in one uniform strain. A few months before his death, being incapable of any theatrical exertion, he was removed to the house of his friend Mr. Slack, of Newcastle, who with great kindness received him under his roof, and paid every attention to him which his state required. After singering some time under a nervous disorder, during which he burnt all his papers, he died the 18th of September, 1773, and
was buried in St. John's church-yard, Newcastle, where, on a tombstone
MATTHEw GREEN was of a family of good repute amongst the Dissenters, and had his education in that sect. He was a man of approved probity, and sweetness of temper and manners. His wit abounded in conversation, and was never known to give the least offence. He had a post in the Custom-house, and discharged the duty there with the utmost diligence and ability. He died about 1737, at the age of 41 years, in Nag's-head-court, Grace-church-street. To the above account, which was furnished by Mr. Glover, author of “Leonidas,” it may be added, that Mr. Green had not much learning, but knew a little Latin. He was very subject to the hyp, had some free notions on religious subjects; and, though bred amongst the Dissenters, grew disgusted, at the preciseness and formality of the sect. He was nephew to Mr. Tanner, clerk of Fishmonger's-Hall. His poem intituled “Spleen” was written by piece-meal; and would never have been compleated, had he not been pressed to it by his friend Mr. Glover. By this gentleman, (who pos. sessed, as he informed a person just before his death, many manuscripts of Mr. Green) it was committed to the press. Mr. Green published nothing in his life-time. In 1732 he printed and gave away a few copies of “The Grotto.” It has been observed by Mr. Melmoth, that there are more original thoughts thrown together in the poem of “Spleen,” than he had ever read in the same compass of lines. In the “European Magazine” for July 1785, are some further anecdotes of our author.
o - GOLDSMITH,
LIVER GOLDSMITH was the third son of the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, and was born at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon in Ireland, in the year 1729. After being instructed in the ciassicks at the school of Mr. Hughes, he was admitted as Sizer in Trinity College, Dublin, the 11th of June, 1744; and on the 27th of February, 1749, O.S. two years after the regular time, he obtained the degree of bachelor of arts. Intending to devote himself to the study of physick, he left Dublin, and proceeded to Edinburgh in 1751, where he continued until the beginning of the year 1754, when, having imprudently engaged to pay a considerable sum of money for a fellow student, he was obliged precipitately to quit the place. He made his escape as far as Sunderland, but there was overtaken by the emissaries of the law, and arrested. From this situation he was released by the friendship of Mr. Laughlin Maclane and Dr. Sleigh. He then took his passage on board a Dutch ship to Rotterdam; from whence, after a short stay he proceeded to Brussels. He then visited great part of Flanders; and after passing some time at Strasburgh and Louvain, where he obtained a degree of bachelor of physick, he accompanied an English gentleman to Geneva. This tour, we are told, was made for the most part on foot. He had left England with little money; and being of a thoughtless turn, and at that time possessing a body capable of sustaining any fatigue, he proceeded resolutely in gratifying his curiosity by the sight of different countries. He had some knowledge of the French Language, and of musick: he played tolerably well on the German flute, which now at times became the means of his subsistence. His learning produced him a hospitable reception at most of the religious houses that he visited, and his music made him welcome to the peasants of Flanders and Germany. “Whenever I approached a peasant's house toward nightfall,” he used to say, “I played one of my most merry “ tunes; and that generally procured me not only a lodging, but subsis“tence for the next day: but, in truth, (his constant expression) I must * own, whenever I attempted to entertain persons of a higher rank, they
“always thought my performance odious, and never made me any return “for my endeavours to please them.” On his arrival at Geneva he was recommended as a proper person for a travelling tutor to a young gentleman, who had unexpectedly been left a considerable sum of money by a near relation. This connexion lasted but a short time: they disagreed in the South of France, and parted. Friendless and destitute. Dr. Goldsmith was again left exposed to all the miseries of indigence in a foreign country. He, however, bore them with great fortitude ; and, having by this time satisfied his curiosity abroad, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at Dover the beginning of theyear 1758. On his return he found himself so poor that it was with difficulty he was enabled to reach the metropolis with a few half-pence only in his pocket. He was an entire stranger, and without any recommendation. He offered himself to several apothecaries in the character of a journeyman, but had the mortification to find every application without success. At length he was admitted into the house of a chemist, and was employed in his laboratory until he discovered the residence of his friend Dr. Sleigh, who patronized and supported him. He afterwards was an assistant to Dr. Milner, who kept an academy at Peckham ; but, being introducedto some booksellers, he relinquished his situation at the school, and commenced author. His first works were “The Bee,” a weekly pamphlet, and “The Enquiry into the pre“sent State of polite Literature in Europe.” He then resided in Greenarbour-court, near the Old-baily, from whence he removed to the Temple, where he lived during the rest of his life. From the year 1759 to the time of his death his works were very numerous, and on a great variety of subjects. In 1765 he established his fame by the publication of “The Traveller.” In 1766 “The Vicar of Wakefield" appeared. In 1768 “The Goodnatured Man” was acted at Covent Garden. In 1769 he published “The Deserted Village,” and in 1772 “She Stoops “ to Conquer” was represented at the same theatre. Besides these, he sub
mitted to the drudgery of compiling Histories of England, of Greece, of Rome, of “The Earth and Animated Nature,” which procured for him
more money than fame. Just before his death he had formed a design for executing an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences; a plan which met with no encouragement.
Though his writings produced great emolument, he was generally necessitous; to which an improvident generosity, and a ridiculous habit of gaming a good deal contributed. He had been for some years afflicted with a strangury, which brought on a kind of habitual despondency. At length in March 1774, finding himself out of order, he, against the advice of his physician, took so large a portion of a medicine of violent operation, that it was supposed to have contributed to his dissolution on the 4th of April, 1774. He was buried in the Temple Church-yard, and a monument has
been erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey. - P. WHITE
P. W H IT E H E A D.
AUL WHITEHEAD was the youngest son of Mr. Edmund Whitehead, a tradesman, said to have been a taylor in Castle-yard, Holborn, and was born in 1710, on St. Paul's day, from which circumstance he obtained the christian name he bore. He received his education from a clergyman at Hitchin in Hertfordshire. Being intended for trade, he was placed an apprentice to a mercer in London; but, disliking his situation, he soon quitted it, and entered himself of the Temple, in order to study the law. Being acquainted with Mr. Fleetwood, the manager of Drury-lane theatre, he was prevailed upon by that gentleman to become bound with him for the payment of a considerable sum of money, which, when it became due, the manager was unable to discharge. He absconded, therefore, and left Mr. Whitehead answerable for it, who, being arrested, was confined for several years within the walls of the Fleet Prison. His first performance was “The State Dunces,” inscribed to Mr. Pope, in 1733; and in 1738 he published “Manners,” a satire, in which some nobleman having been treated with very little respect, a complaint was made to the House of Lords, and on the 12th February, 1738-9, it was voted to be scandalous, and Dodsley the publisher of it was taken into custody by the Black Rod, and confined a week. On this occasion Mr. Whitehead withdrew until the storm was over. His next performance was “The Gymnasiad,” published in 1744; and that was succeeded by “Honour, a Satire,” in r"A7. At this period the Prince of Wales being in opposition to the Court, Mr. Whitehead connected himself with that party, and was author of the celebrated pamphlet, called “The Case of the honourable Alexander Murray,” which fell under the censure of the House of Commons, who procured Mr. Owen, the publisher
to be prosecuted for vending it. In 1755 he published “The Ppistle to Dr. Thompson,