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provide them with decent apparel; and after the death of the said Mrs. Godolphin, and William Godolphin, Esq. her nephew, such as have neither father or mother; which same young gentlewomen are not to be admitted before they are eight years old, nor to be continued after the age of nineteen, and are to be brought up in the city of New Sarum, or some other town in the county of Wilts, under the care of some prudent governess or schoolmistress, a communicant of the Church of England: and the overplus, after an allowance of five pounds a-year for collecting the said rent-charge, is to be applied to binding out one or more poor children apprentices, whose parents are of the Church of England. In perpetual memory whereof, Mrs. Frances Hall, executrix to her aunt, Mrs. Godolphin, has, according to her will, and by order, caused this inscription to be engraven on their monument, 1772.”
High over the south door in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey is an embellished medallion, by Nollekins, with a bust in profile of the author whose name stands prefixed to this sketch. So slight a tribute to his memory is certainly a very inadequate testimony of the variety or the greatness of his talents. The bust, though unpleasing to contemplate, has been praised for the fidelity of its resemblance to the originai; and the Latin epitaph,” upon the tablet under it, has been admired as the composition of his friend Dr. Johnson. It may be thus translated:—
The Memory of
A powerful, yet lenient master
Of the affections,
* Olivarii Goldsmith, Poetae, Physici, Historici Qui nullum sere scribendi genus Non tetigit; Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit, Sive Risus essent movendi Sive Lacrymae; Affectuum potens et lenis Dominator; Ingenio sublimis—vividus, versatilis
In genius sublime, vivid, and versatile,
Is cherished in this monument
By the love of his companions,
And the admiration of his readers.
- At a place named Pallas,
On the 29th November, 1731.
And died in London,
On the 4th of April, 1774.
To this epitaph several exceptions have been taken, of which, however, only two shall be repeated here:-it has been confidently asserted that Goldsmith was born not in Fernes, or at Pallas, but at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon ; and not in the year 1731, but 1728. He was the third son of the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, a clergyman of the Protestant Church, whose labours were piously exercised at Elphin. The common accounts state that young Oliver was first instituted in the classics at a school kept by Mr. Hughes, at Elphin; but the editor of the Biographia Dramatica places the school at Edgeworthstown—the disagreement is not very important. In June, 1744, he was admitted into Trinity College, Dublin, as a sizar, the name by which those students are recognized who receive subsistence as well as instruction upon the foundation. Neither at school, nor at the univer
Oratione grandis, nitidus, venustus,
sity did he evince any superiority of mind or application above his companions: diffident by nature, his genius lay suppressed from the world, and was perhaps unsuspected by himself. He took his degree of B.A. on the 27th of February, 1749, and then directed his views to the medical profession. After attending some courses of anatomy in the theatre of Dublin College, pursuant to this choice, he repaired to Edinburgh in 1751, and investigated those other branches of science which are requisite to accomplish the character of a physician. Goldsmith was the poet of feeling, and in the commonest occurrences of life was always prompt, even to the extremities of improvidence, in realising all those natural sympathies he could so beautifully describe. His own exquisite lines,
Taught by the power that pities me,
were the rule of his ordinary actions alike in youth and in age. This sensibility of relief on the one hand, and an insensibility of the value of money on the other, kept him almost invariably distressed, even at those periods when his publications were most frequent, and his resources most considerable. He had never the heart to hear the prayer of distress and refuse to relieve it; and when called on for assistance, as he often was by his poor countrymen, if he had not money, he would give away his clothes, and desire them to turn the only things he could part with into the direct substance of their desires. This beneficence of disposition early involved him in difficulties. A fellow-student prevailing on him to become security for the payment of a tailor's bill, he was soon obliged, in consequence of his inability to keep the engagement, to leave Edinburgh precipitately. But the tailor pursued him in his retreal with the long arm of the law; he was arrested in Sunderland, and conducted back to the college by bailiffs. From this predicament, however, the friendly interposition of Dr. Sleigh, and Laughlin Maclane, Esq. who were then Professors at the Metropolitan University of Scotland, effected his liberation; but, ere long, abandoning the scene of his imprudence and disgrace, he embarked on board a Dutch ship for Rotterdam. This event took place in 1744: his maternal uncle, the Rev. T. Contarine, promised him funds to continue his studies at Leyden, and his situation was comparatively easy until death deprived him of that relation in 1746. Being thus abandoned to his own impulses, he undertook to gratify a passion for travelling. Having already passed through the greater part of Flanders, he proceeded to Strasbourg, and thence to Louvaine, where he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Physic. In this latter city he became travelling companion to an English gentleman, whom he accompanied to Geneva, and was then recommended for a tutor to another countryman, a youth who, suddenly elevated from the desk of an attorney's clerk to the possession of independent fortune, the bequest of a pawnbroker his uncle, resolved to enjoy the distinction of seeing the world. With this child of fortune Goldsmith made the tour of Switzerland, and journeyed into the South of France. At Marseilles some disagreement, supposed to have been pecuniary, occurred between the pupil and his instructor, which ended in the receipt by the latter of a small portion of salary, which happened to be due to him, and an immediate separation. Thus again left to himself, and the world at large, the poet made his way slowly and unaided through the heart of France, and finally arrived at Dover in the winter of the year 1758. This is a brief outline of the scenes he visited, and the course he pursued; but the circumstances under which he travelled are still to be told. At the moment of his embarkation his supplies were exceedingly limited; these soon failed entirely; and what renders the character of the undertaking still more singular, he could not look even to a probability of obtaining money to carry him forward. Twice during the period of his absence he had the fortune to obtain connexions by which his immediate expenses were defrayed, and a moderate profit derived; but they were only of partial duration, and for the rest of the time he was forced to wander in quest of a college where his learning would insure him hospitality, and the chivalrous habits then observed in such institutions entitle him to challenge any member to the disputation of a theses, in which the victor was usually rewarded with a prize of money. In those districts, however, where such establishments were not to be found, he had to seek the shelter of a roof, and the satisfaction of a meal, by a resource