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OLIVER GOLDSMITH

“The most beloved of English writers," what a title that is for a man! Oliver Goldsmith, a wild youth, wayward, but full of tenderness and affection, quits the country village where his boyhood has been passed in happy musing, in fond longing to see the great world, and to achieve a name and a fortune for himself.

After years of dire struggle, of neglect and poverty, - his heart turning back as fondly to his native place as it had longed eagerly for change when sheltered there, — he writes a book and a poem, full of the recollections and feelings of home, — he paints the friends and scenes of his youth, and peoples Auburn and Wakefield with remembrances of Lissoy. Wander he must, but he carries away a home-relic with him, and dies with it on his breast.

His nature is truant; in repose, it longs for change, as, on the journey, it looks back for friends and quiet. He passes to-day in building an air castle for to-morrow, or in writing yesterday's elegy; and he would Ay away this hour, but that a cage and necessity keep him. What is the charm of his verse, of his style, and humor, — his sweet regrets, his delicate compassion, his soft smile, his tremulous sympathy, the weakness which he owns? Your love for him is half pity,

VIII. - - 9

You come, hot and tired, from the day's battle, and this sweet minstrel sings to you. Who could harm the kind, vagrant harper? Whom did he ever hurt? He carries no weapon, save the harp on which he plays to you, and with which he delights great and humble, young and old, the captains in the tents, or the soldiers round the fire, or the women and children in the villages, at whose porches he stops and sings his simple songs of love and beauty. With that sweet story, “ The Vicar of Wakefield,” he has found entry into every castle and every hamlet in Europe. Not one of us, however busy or hard, but, once or twice in our lives, has passed an evening with him, and undergone the charm of his delightful music.

Think of him, reckless, thriftless, vain — if like - but merciful, gentle, generous, full of love and pity. Think of the wonderful and unanimous response of affection with which the world has paid back the love he gave it. His humor delights us still; his song is fresh and beautiful as when first he charmed with it; his very weaknesses are beloved and familiar, - his benevolent spirit seems still to smile upon us, to do gentle kindnesses, to succor with sweet charity, to soothe, caress, and forgive; to plead with the fortunate for the unhappy

- W. M. THACKERAY.

if you

and the poor.

THE VILLAGE OF AUBURN

SWEET AUBURN! loveliest village of the plain, Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain ; Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid, And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed ; Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease, Seats of my youth, when every sport could please ; How often have I loitered o'er thy green, Where humble happiness endeared each scene ! How often have I paused on every charm! The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm, The never-failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topped the neighboring hill, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, For talking age and whispering lovers made !

How often have I blessed the coming day, When toil remitting lent its turn to play! And all the village train, from labor free, Led

up their sports beneath the spreading tree; While many a pastime circled in the shade, The young contending as the old surveyed; And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground, And sleights of art and feats of strength went round. And still, as each repeated pleasure tired, Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired :

The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter tittered round the place;
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron's glance that would those looks reprove
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like

these,
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please.

- OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

THE VILLAGE PREACHER

NEAR yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild,
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.

A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns, he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his

place.

Unskillful he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

His house was known to all the vagrant train ;
He chid their wand'rings, but relieved their pain.
The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
Whose beard, descending, swept his aged breast;
The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed ;

The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talked the night away, —
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shouldered his crutch and showed how fields were

won !

Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave, ere charity began.

Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And even his failings leaned to virtue's side;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all:

And as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt her new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.

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