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affluent yet he gave instant attention to this letter, and the verses which it enclosed. He immediately appointed an hour for my father to call upon him at his house in London; and the short interview that ensued entirely, and for ever, changed the nature of his worldly fortunes. He was, in the common phrase, "a made man” from that hour. He went into Mr. Burke's room, a poor young adventurer, spurned by the opulent, and rejected by the publishers, his last shilling gone, and all but his last hope with it; he came out virtually secure of almost all the good fortune that, by successive steps, afterwards fell to his lot-his genius acknowledged by one whose verdict could not be questioned-his character and manners appreciated and approved by a noble and capacious heart, whose benevolence knew no limits but its power-that of a giant in intellect, who was, in feeling, an unsophisticated child— a bright example of the close affinity between superlative talents, and the warmth of the generous affections. Mr. Crabbe had afterwards many other friends, kind liberal, and powerful, who assisted him in his professional career; but it was one hand alone that rescued him when he was sinking. In reflecting upon the conse quences of the letter to Burke-the happiness, the exultation, the inestimable benefits that resulted to my father, ascribing, indeed, my own existence to that great and good man's condescension and prompt kindness, I may be pardoned for dwelling upon that interview with feelings of gratitude which I should but in vain endeavour to express.

But, sensible as I am of the importance of Mr. Burke's interference in my father's behalf, I would not imply that there was not ample desert to call it forth. Enlarged as was Mr. Burke's benevolence, had not the writings which were submitted to his inspection possessed the marks of real genius, the applicant would probably have been dismissed with a little pecuniary assistance. I must add that, even had his poems been eminently meritorious, it is not to be supposed that the author would have at once excited the strongest personal interest in such a mind, unless he had, during this interview, exhibited the traits of a pure and worthy character. Nay. had there appeared any offensive peculiarities of manner and address-either presumption or meanness-though the young poet might have received both kindness and patronage, can any one dream that Mr. Burke would have at once taken up his cause with the zeal of a friend, domesticated him under his own roof, and treated him like a son? In mentioning his new protégé, a few days afterwards, to Reynolds Burke said, "He has the mind and feelings of a gentleman." Sir Joshua told this years later, to my grateful father himself.

115. THE HISTORY OF A PHILOSOPHIC VAGABOND.

GOLDSMITH.

[THE name of OLIVER GOLDSMITH is, by most persons who are familiar with his writings pronounced with a sort of affectionate warmth, not unmingled with pity. We know that h wanted strength of purpose, and that he was a creature of impulse, but we do not love him the less for these failings. He stands in singular contrast with the one other great literary name of his generation, Samuel Johnson; and, if truth be told, we have an irrepressible sympathy for Johnson's butt, "who wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll," which we cannot altogether feel for the literary dictator whom Boswell has immortalised. We should like to have some record of how "poor Poll" did talk, more full and less prejudiced than the testimony of the wondering Scot, whose only notion of conversation was discussion, dises. sion, discussion. We have no such record; but we have 'The Vicar of Wakefield,' 'The Citizen of the World,' 'She Stoops to Conquer,' 'Retaliation,' and who then shall dare to think that Oliver Goldsmith could be prosy? We have, moreover, the admirable 'Life' of Mr. Forster, who has estimated Goldsmith at a higher worth than any previous biographer; and has cleared away many of the common notions of his loose gabble and childish vanity derived from Boswell. We give the following extract from The Vicar of Wakefield,' because it is generally thought to contain an outline of some passages of Goldsmith's own

chequered

life. He was born in 1728, in the county of Longford, Ireland, being the fifth of seven children of a poor elergyman; was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; studied physic at Leyden; led a wandering life for some time; and came to London a literary adventurer, about 1756. Much of his employment was task-work; but in all he did there are to be found the traces of a facile genius. He died in 1774, at the early age of forty-five.]

The first misfortune of my life, which you all know, was great; but, though it distressed, it could not sink me. No person ever had a better knack at hoping than I. The less kind I found Fortune at one time, the more I expected from her another; and being now at the bottom of her wheel, every new revolution might lift, but could not depress me. I proceeded, therefore, towards London in a fine morning, no way uneasy about to-morrow, but cheerful as the birds that carolled by the road, and comforted myself with reflecting that London was the mart where abilities of every kind were sure of meeting distinction and reward.

Upon my arrival in town, sir, my first care was to deliver your letter of recommendation to our cousin, who was himself in little better circumstances than I. My first scheme, you know, sir, was to be usher at an academy, and I asked his advice on the affair. Our cousin received the proposal with a true sardonic grin. Ay, cried he, this is indeed a very pretty career that has been chalked out for you. I have been an usher at a boarding-school myself; and may I die by an anodyne necklace, but I had rather be an under-turnkey in Newgate. I was up early and late; I was browbeat by the master, hated for my ugly face by the mistress, worried by the boys within, and never permitted to stir out to meet civility abroadBut are you sure you are fit for a school? Let me examine you a little. Have you been bred apprentice to the business? No. Then you won't do for a school. Can you dress the boys hair? No. Then you won't do for a school. Have you had the small-pox? No, Then you won't do for a school. Can you lie three in a bed? No. Then you will never do for a school. Have you got a good stomach? Yes. Then you will by no means do for a school. No, sir, if you are for a genteel, easy profession, bind yourself seven years as an apprentice to turn a cutler's wheel; but avoid a school by any means. Yet come, continued he, I see you are a lad of spirit and some learning, what do you think of commencing author, like me? You have read in books, no doubt, of men of genius starving at the trade; at present I'll show you forty very dull fellows about town that live by it in opulence. All honest jog-trot men, who go on smoothly and dully, and write history and politics, and are praised-men, sir, who, had they been bred cobblers, would all their lives have only mended shoes, but never made them,

Finding that there was no great degree of gentility affixed to the character of an usher, I resolved to accept his proposal, and, having the highest respect for literature, hailed the antiqua mater of Grub-street with reverence. I thought it my glory to pursue a track which Dryden and Otway trod before me, I considered the goddess of this region as the parent of excellence; and, however an intercourse with the world might give us good sense, the poverty she entailed I supposed to be the nurse of genius. Big with these reflections, I sat down, and, finding that the best things remained to be said on the wrong side, I resolved to write a book that should be wholly new. I therefore dressed up three paradoxes with ingenuity. They were false, indeed, but they were new. The jewels of truth have been so often imported by others, that nothing was left for me to import, but some splendid things that, at a distance, looked every bit as well. Witness, you powers, what fancied importance sat perched upon my quill while I was writing! The whole learned world, I made no doubt, would rise to oppose my systems; but then I was prepared to oppose the whole learned world. Like the porcupine I sat self-collected, with a quill pointed against every opposer.

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The learned world said nothing to my paradoxes-nothing at all. Every man of them was employed in praising his friends and himself, or condemning his enemies; and unfortunately, as I had neither, I suffered the cruellest mortification, neglect.

As I was meditating one day in a coffee-house on the fate of my paradoxes, a little man, happening to enter the room, placed himself in the box before me, and after some preliminary discourse, finding me to be a scholar, drew out a bundle of proposals, begging me to subscribe to a new edition he was going to give to the world of Propertius, with notes. This demand necessarily produced a reply that I had no money; and that concession led him to inquire into the nature of my expectations. Finding that my expectations were just as great as my purse, I see, cried he, you are unacquainted with the town: I'll teach you a part of it. Look at these proposals; upon these very proposals I have subsisted very comfortably for twelve years. The moment a nobleman returns from his travels, a Creolian arrives from Jamaica, or a dowager from her country seat, I strike for a subscription. I first besiege their hearts with flattery, and then pour in my proposals at the breach. If they subscribe readily the first time, I renew my request to beg a dedication fee. If they let me have that, I smite them once more for engraving their coat of arms at the top. Thus, continued he, I live by vanity, and laugh at it. But between ourselves, I am now too well known; I should be glad to borrow your face a bit: a nobleman of distinction has just returned from Italy; my face is familiar to his porter; but if you bring this copy of verses, my life for it you succeed, and we divide the spoil.

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Having a mind too proud to stoop to such indignities, ana yet a fortune too humble to hazard a second attempt for fame, I was now obliged to take a middle course, and write for bread. But I was unqualified for a profession where mere industry alone was to ensure success. I could not suppress my lurking passion for applause; but usually consumed that time in efforts after excellence, which takes up but little room, when it should have been more advantageously employed in the diffusive productions of fruitful mediocrity. My little piece would therefore come forth in the midst of periodical publications, unnoticed and unknown. The public were more importantly employed than to observe the easy simplicity of my style, or the harmony of my periods. Sheet after sheet was thrown off to oblivion. My essays were buried among the essays upon liberty, eastern tales, and cures for the bite of a mad dog; while Philantos, Philalethes, Philelutheros, and Philanthropos all wrote better, because they wrote faster than I.

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Now, therefore, I began to associate with none but disappointed authors like my self, who praised, deplored, and despised each other. The satisfaction we found in every celebrated writer's attempts was inversely as their merits. I found that no genius in another could please me. My unfortunate paradoxes had entirely dried up that source of comfort. I could neither read nor write with satisfaction; for excellence in another was my aversion, and writing was my trade. * My patience was now quite exhausted; stung with the thousand indignities I had met with, I was willing to cast myself away, and only wanted the gulf to receive me I regarded myself as one of those vile things that nature designed should be thrown by into her lumber-room, there to perish in obscurity. I had still, however, half a guinea left, and of that I thought fortune herself should not deprive me; but, in order to be sure of this, I was resolved to go instantly and spend it while I had it, and then trust to occurrences for the rest. As I was going along with this resolu tion, it happened that Mr. Crispe's office seemed invitingly open to give me a welcome reception. In this office Mr. Crispe kindly offers all his majesty's subjects a generous promise of £30 a year, for which promise all they give in return is their liberty for life, and permission to let him transport them to America as slaves. I

was happy at finding a place where I could lose my fears in desperation, and entered this cell, for it had the appearance of one, with the devotion of a monastic. Here I found a number of poor creatures, all in circumstances like myself, expecting the arrival of Mr. Crispe, presenting a true epitome of English impatience. Each untractable soul at variance with fortune wreaked her injuries on their own hearts; but Mr. Crispe at last came down, and all our murmurs were hushed. He deigned to regard me with an air of peculiar approbation, and indeed he was the first man who for a month past talked to me with smiles. After a few questions, he found I was fit for every thing in the world. He paused awhile upon the properest means of providing for me, and, slapping his forehead as if he had found it, assured me that there was at that time an embassy talked of from the synod of Pennsylvania to the Chickasaw Indians, and that he would use his interest to get me made secretary. I knew in my own heart that the fellow lied, and yet his promise gave me pleasure, there was something so magnificent in the sound. I fairly, therefore, divided my half-guinea, one half of which went to be added to his thirty thousand pound, and with the other half I resolved to go to the next tavern to be there more happy than he.

As I was going out with that resolution, I was met at the door by the captain of a ship, with whom I had formerly some little acquaintance, and he agreed to be my companion over a bowl of punch. As I never chose to make a secret of my circumstances, he assured me that I was upon the very point of ruin in listening to the office-keeper's promises; for that he only designed to sell me to the plantations. But, continued he, L fancy you might, by a much shorter voyage, be very easily put into a genteel way of bread. Take my advice. My ship sails to-morrow for Amsterdam. What if you go in her as a passenger? The moment you land all you have to do is to teach the Dutchmen English, and I'll warrant you'll get pupils and money enough. I suppose you understand English, added he, by this time, or the deuce is in it. I confidently assured him of that, but expressed a doubt whether the Dutch would be willing to learn English. He affirmed with an oath that they were fond of it to distraction; and upon that affirmation I agreed with his proposal, and embarked the next day to teach the Dutch English in Holland. The wind was fair, our voyage short, and, after having paid my passage with half my moveables, I found myself as fallen from the skies a stranger in one of the principal streets of Amsterdam. In this situation I was unwilling to let any time pass unemployed in teaching. I addressed myself, therefore, to two or three of those I met, whose appearance seemed most promising; but it was impossible to make ourselves mutually understood. It was not till this very moment I recollected, that in order to teach the Dutchmen English, it was necessary that they should teach me Dutch. How I came to overlook so obvious an objection is to me amazing; but certain it is I overlooked it.

This scheme thus blown up, I had some thoughts of fairly shipping back to England again; but falling into company with an Irish student who was returning from Louvain, our conversation turning upon topics of literature, (for by the way it may be observed, that I always forgot the meanness of my circumstances when I could converse upon such subjects,) from him I learned that there were not two men in his whole university who understood Greek. This amazed me; I instantly resolved to travel to Louvain, and there live by teaching Greek; and in this design I was heartened by my brother student, who threw out some hints that a fortune might be got by it.

I set boldly forward the next morning. Every day lessened the burthen of my moveables, like sop and his basket of bread, for I paid them for my lodgings to the Dutch as I travelled on. When I came to Louvain, I was resolved not to go

[GOLDSMITH. sneaking to the lower professors, but openly tendered my talents to the principal himself. I went, had admittance, and offered him my service as a master of the Greek language, which I had been told was a desideratum in his university. The principal seemed at first to doubt my abilities, but of these I offered to convince him, by turning a part of any Greek author he should fix upon into Latin. Finding me perfectly earnest iu my proposal, he addressed me thus :-You see me, young man, continued he; I never learned Greek, and I don't find that I have ever missed it. I have had a doctor's cap and gown without Greek; I have ten thousand florins a year without Greek; I cat heartily without Greek; and in short, continued he, as I don't know Greek, I do not believe there is any good in it.

I was now too far from home to think of returning, so I resolved to go forward. I had some knowledge of music, with a tolerable voice, and now turned what was my amusement into a present means of subsistence. I passed among the harmless peasants of Flanders, and among such of the French as were poor enough to be very merry, for I ever found them sprightly in proportion to their wants. Whenever I approached a peasant's house towards night-fall, I played one of my most merry tunes, and that procured me not only a lodging, but subsistence for the next day. I once or twice attempted to play for people of fashion, but they always thought my performance odious, and never rewarded me, even with a trifle. This was to me the more extraordinary, as whenever I used in better days to play for company, when playing was my amusement, my music never failed to throw them into raptures, and the ladies especially; but as it was now my only means it was received with contempt-a proof how ready the world is to underrate those talents by which a man is supported.

In this manner I proceeded to Paris, with no design but just to look about me, and then to go forward. The people of Paris are much fonder of strangers that have money than of those that have wit. As I could not boast much of either, I was no great favourite. After walking about the town four or five days, and seeing the outsides of the best houses, I was preparing to leave this retreat of venal hospitality, when, passing through one of the principal streets, whom should I meet but our cousin, to whom you first recommended me. This meeting was very agreeable to me, and I believe not displeasing to him. He inquired into the nature of my journey to Paris, and informed me of his own business there, which was to collect pictures, medals, intaglios, and antiques of all kinds, for a gentleman in London, who had just stepped into taste and a large fortune. I was the more surprised at seeing our cousin pitched upon for this office, as he himself had often assured me he knew nothing of the matter. Upon asking how he had been taught the art of a cognoscento so very suddenly, he assured me that nothing was more easy. The whole secret consisted in a strict adherence to two rules; the one, always to observe the picture might have been better if the painter had taken more pains; and the other, to praise the works of Pietro Perugino. "But," says he, "as I once taught you to be an author in London, I'll now undertake to instruct you in the art of picturebuying at Paris.”

With this proposal I very readily closed, as it was living, and now all my ambition was to live. I went therefore to his lodgings, improved my dress by his assistance, and after some time accompanied him to auctions of pictures, where the English gentry were expected to be purchasers. I was not a little surprised at his intimacy with people of the best fashion, who referred themselves to his judgment upon every picture or medal, as to an unerring standard of taste. He made very good use of my assistance upon these occasions; for, when asked his opinion, he would ly take me aside and ask mine, shrug, look wise, return, and assure the comat he could give no opinion upon an affair of so much importance. Yet there

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