Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Goldsmith English Men of Letters Series   By: (1841-1898)

Book cover

First Page:

English Men of Letters

EDITED BY JOHN MORLEY

GOLDSMITH

BY

WILLIAM BLACK

London

MACMILLAN AND CO

1878

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY

CHAPTER II.

SCHOOL AND COLLEGE

CHAPTER III.

IDLENESS, AND FOREIGN TRAVEL

CHAPTER IV.

EARLY STRUGGLES. HACK WRITING

CHAPTER V.

BEGINNING OF AUTHORSHIP. THE BEE

CHAPTER VI.

PERSONAL TRAITS

CHAPTER VII.

THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. BEAU NASH

CHAPTER VIII.

THE ARREST

CHAPTER IX.

THE TRAVELLER

CHAPTER X.

MISCELLANEOUS WRITING

CHAPTER XI.

THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD

CHAPTER XII.

THE GOOD NATURED MAN

CHAPTER XIII.

GOLDSMITH IN SOCIETY

CHAPTER XIV.

THE DESERTED VILLAGE

CHAPTER XV.

OCCASIONAL WRITINGS

CHAPTER XVI.

SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER

CHAPTER XVII.

INCREASING DIFFICULTIES. THE END

GOLDSMITH

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

"Innocently to amuse the imagination in this dream of life is wisdom." So wrote Oliver Goldsmith; and surely among those who have earned the world's gratitude by this ministration he must be accorded a conspicuous place. If, in these delightful writings of his, he mostly avoids the darker problems of existence if the mystery of the tragic and apparently unmerited and unrequited suffering in the world is rarely touched upon we can pardon the omission for the sake of the gentle optimism that would rather look on the kindly side of life. "You come hot and tired from the day's battle, and this sweet minstrel sings to you," says Mr. Thackeray. "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." And it is to be suspected it is to be hoped, at least that the cheerfulness which shines like sunlight through Goldsmith's writings, did not altogether desert himself even in the most trying hours of his wayward and troubled career. He had, with all his sensitiveness, a fine happy go lucky disposition; was ready for a frolic when he had a guinea, and, when he had none, could turn a sentence on the humorous side of starvation; and certainly never attributed to the injustice or neglect of society misfortunes the origin of which lay nearer home.

Of course, a very dark picture might be drawn of Goldsmith's life; and the sufferings that he undoubtedly endured have been made a whip with which to lash the ingratitude of a world not too quick to recognise the claims of genius. He has been put before us, without any brighter lights to the picture, as the most unfortunate of poor devils; the heart broken usher; the hack ground down by sordid booksellers; the starving occupant of successive garrets. This is the aspect of Goldsmith's career which naturally attracts Mr. Forster. Mr. Forster seems to have been haunted throughout his life by the idea that Providence had some especial spite against literary persons; and that, in a measure to compensate them for their sad lot, society should be very kind to them, while the Government of the day might make them Companions of the Bath or give them posts in the Civil Service. In the otherwise copious, thorough, and valuable Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith , we find an almost humiliating insistance on the complaint that Oliver Goldsmith did not receive greater recognition and larger sums of money from his contemporaries. Goldsmith is here "the poor neglected sizar"; his "marked ill fortune" attends him constantly; he shares "the evil destinies of men of letters"; he was one of those who "struggled into fame without the aid of English institutions"; in short, "he wrote, and paid the penalty... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books