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friend Dr. Sleigh, in the situation of a journeyman to a chemist. By his friend's assistance he was enabled to take lodgings in the city, and endeavoured to establish himself in medical practice. In this attempt he was unsuccessful; but through the interest of Dr. Milner, a dissenting clergyman, he obtained the appointment of a physician to one of the factories in India; and, in order to defray the expense of getting thither, prepared to publish, by subscription, his . Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Literature in Europe.' For some unknown reason,
his appointment to India was dropped; and we find him, for seven or eight months, writing in Dr. Griffiths's Monthly Review, for a salary, and his board and lodging in the proprietor's house. Leaving this employment, he went into private lodgings, and finished his ‘ Enquiry into the State of Literature,' which was published in 1759. The rest of his history from this period becomes chiefly that of his well-known works. His principal literary employments, previous to his raising himself into notice by his poetry, were conducting the Lady's Magazine, writing a volume of essays, called the Bee,' 'Letters on English History,'
Letters of a Citizen of the World,' and the Vicar of Wakefield.' Boswell has related the affecting circumstances in which Dr. Johnson found poor Goldsmith, in lodgings at Wine-office court, Fleet. street, where he had finished the Vicar of Wakefield, immured by bailiffs from without, and threatened with expulsion by his landlady from within. The sale of the novel for 601. brought him present relief; and within a few years from that time, he emerged from his obscurity to the best society and literary distinction. But whatever change of public estimation he experienced, the man was not to be altered, and he continued to exhibit a personal character, which was neither much reformed by experience, nor dignified by reputation. It is but too well known, that with all his original and refined faculties, he was often the butt of witlings, and the dupe of impostors. He threw away bis money at the gaming table, and might also be said to be a losing gambler in conversation, for he aimed in all societies at being brilliant and argumentative ; but generally chose to dispute on the subjects which he least understood, and contrived to forfeit as much credit for common sense as could be got rid of in colloquial intercourse. After losing his appointment to India, he applied to Lord Bute for a salary, to be enabled to travel into the interior of Asia. The petition was neglected, because he was then unknown. The same boon, however, or some adequate provision, might have been obtained for him afterwards, when he was recommended to the earl of Northumberland, at that time lord-lietitenant of Ireland. But when he waited on the earl, he threw away his prepared compliments on his lordship’s steward, and then retrieved the mistake by telling the nobleman, (for whom he had meditated a courtly speech) that he had no confi«lence in the patronage of the great, but would rather rely upon The booksellers. There must have been something, however, with all his peculiarities, still endearing in his personal character. Burke was known to recal his memory with tears of affection in his eyes. It cannot be believed, that the betier ge. nius of his writings was always absent from his conversation. One may conceive graces of his spirit to have been drawn forth by Burke or Reynolds, which neither Johnson nor Garrick had the sensibility to appreciate.
For the last ten years of his life he lived in the Temple. He was one of the earliest members of the Literary Club. At tbe institution of the Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds procured for him the honorary appointment of professor of ancient history. Many tributes, both of envy and respect,
were paid to his celebrity; among the latter, an address is preserved, which was sent to him as a public character, by the since celebrated Thomas Paine. Paine was at that time an officer of excise, and was the principal promoter of an application to parliament for increasing the salaries of excisemen. He had written a pamphlet on the subject, which he sent to Goldsmith, and solicited an interview, for the sake of interesting him farther in the scheme.
The three important eras of Goldsmith's literary life were those of his appearance as a novelist, a poet, and a dramatic writer. The Vicar of Wakefield' was finished in 1763, but was not printed till two years after, when bis · Traveller,' in 1765, had es. tablished his fame. The ballad of Edwin and Angelina, came out in the following year, and in 1768 the appearance of his ‘Good Natured Man' made a bold and happy change in the reigning fashion of comedy, by substituting merriment for insipid sentiment. . His • Deserted Village' appear. ed in 1769; and his second comedy, 'She Stoops to Conquer,' in 1773. At intervals, between those works, he wrote his “ Roman and English Histories,' besides biographies and introductions to books. These were all executed as tasks for the booksell. ers: but with a grace which no other man could give to task-work. His ‘History of the Earth and Animated Nature' was the last, and most amusing, of these prose undertakings. In the mean time he had consumed more than the gains of all his labours by imprudent management, and had injured his healt by occasional excesses of application. His debts amounted to 40001. “Was ever poet,' said Dr. Johnson, 'so trusted before?' To retrieve his finances, he contracted for new works to the booksellers, engaged to write comedies for both the theatres, and projected an * Universal Dictionary of the Sciences. But his labours were termi. nated by a death not wholly unimputable to the imprudence which had pervaded his life. In a fever, induced by strangury and distress of mind, he made use of Dr. James's powders, under cir. cumstances which he was warned would render them dangerous. The symptoms of his disease grew immediately more alarming, and he expired at the end of a few days, in his forty-sixth year.
His remains were privately interred in the Temple burial-ground, but afterwards, by a subscription raised among his friends, and chiefly by his brethren of the club, a marble monument was erected to his memory, in Westminster Abbey, with an inscription by Dr. Johnson, the history of which, the realer may find in Boswell's Life, where are likewise many curious traits of Goldsmith's character.
‘He was,' adds his biographer, 'generous in the extreme, and so strongly affected by compassion, that he has been known at midnight to abandon his rest in order to procure relief and an asylum for a poor dying object, who was left destitute in the streets. Nor was there ever a mind whose general feelings were more benevolent and friendly. He is, however, supposed to have been often soured by jealousy or envy, and many little instances are mentioned of this tendency in his character : but whatever appeared of this kind was a mere momentary sensation, which he knew not how (like other men) to conceal : it was never the result of principle, or the suggestion of reflection; it never embittered his heart, nor influenced his conduct. Nothing could be more amiable than the general features of his mind : those of his person were not, perhaps, so engaging.
* His stature was under the middle size, his body strongly built, and his limbs more sturdy than elegant. His complexion was pale, his forebead low, his face almost round, and pitted with the small-pox, but marked with strong lines of think
ing. His first appearance was not captivating ; but when he grew easy and cheerful in company, he relaxed into such a display of good-humour, as soon removed every unfavourable impression.
'Yet it must be acknowledged, that in company he did not appear to so much advantage as might have been expected from his genius and talents. He was too apt to speak without reflection, and with. out a sufficient knowledge of the subject: which made Johnson observe of him—No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had.' Indeed, with all his defects, (to conclude nearly in the words of that great critic) as a writer, he was of the most distinguished abilities. Whatever he composed, he did it better than any other man could. And whether we consider him as a poet, as a comic writer, or as an historian, (so far as regards his powers of composition,) he was one of the first writers of his time, and will ever stand in the foremost class.'
Goldsmith's poetry enjoys a calm and steady popularity. It inspires us, indeed, with no admi. ration of daring design, or of fertile invention ; but it presents, within its narrow limits, a distinct and unbroken 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 farniliarity. 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