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OLIVER GOLDSMITH

[Illustration: Rischgitz Collection. ] OLIVER GOLDSMITH. (From the painting by Reynolds.)]

Bell's Miniature Series of Great Writers

Oliver Goldsmith

BY

E. S. LANG BUCKLAND

[Illustration]

LONDON GEORGE BELL & SONS 1909

PREFACE

It is only right to acknowledge my indebtedness in the compilation of this volume to John Forster, to whom as one of the most courageous, industrious, and sympathetic of the writers of biography, all students of Goldsmith must be profoundly grateful. To several other writers I must also express my thanks, and to save the time of my kind readers and to preserve a proper sense of obligation, it would perhaps be best to admit at once that if this little book has any merits, they are due to others, while its errors are all my own.

E. S. L. B.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. "THE BEST BELOVED OF ENGLISH WRITERS" 1 II. "THE DESERTED VILLAGE" 13 III. "THE TRAVELLER" 27 IV. LONDON 36 V. "THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD" 45 VI. THE LITERARY CLUB 50 VII. DEBTS AND DIGNITIES 59 VIII. CONSUMMATE COMEDY 66 IX. THE POET AND THE ESSAYIST 75 X. THE LIGHT OF LOVE 84

LIST OF THE WORKS OF OLIVER GOLDSMITH 88 SOME WORKS OF REFERENCE 89

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE OLIVER GOLDSMITH, FROM A PAINTING BY REYNOLDS Frontispiece GOLDSMITH AS A YOUNG MAN 28 DR. JOHNSON, BOSWELL, AND GOLDSMITH AT THE MITRE TAVERN 46 THE ORIGINAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN GOLDSMITH AND DODSLEY, 1763 52 GOLDSMITH IN MIDDLE AGE 56 NO. 2, BRICK COURT, TEMPLE (WHERE GOLDSMITH DIED) 63 STATUE OF GOLDSMITH 80

CHAPTER I

"THE BEST BELOVED OF ENGLISH WRITERS"

The Goldsmith family sprang originally from Crayford, a nestling village in Kent. This southern county, in all its loveliness, can thus add this high honour to its other though not greater glories. "To be the best beloved of English writers," said Thackeray, "what a title that is for a man!" This he gave to Goldsmith. It is a title that none will dispute. Here is a love that will never pass away from our hearts. Of Oliver Goldsmith, as poet and novelist, essay writer, wit and playwright, it may be said that his distinction and celebrity are essentially English. Erin, sweet sister island, that land of loving hearts, gave this child of sun and shade, his birthplace, his home and many dear delightful days, never to be forgotten. Across the separating years, to the very end and through all, the grateful heart of the poet looked back very fondly upon the gentle and pathetic land of his nativity. On November 10, 1728, Oliver Goldsmith first saw the light of that world which, to the last, he loved, and greeted that suffering heart and seeking aspiration of humanity, that above and beyond almost all other men he could, and did, unfailingly compassionate. It is needless to trace and recall, the ancestral traditions of the Goldsmith family. Of its early history in England and later settlement in Ireland, it will suffice that its annals are as honourable as they are obscure. It had its men of light and learning, but their power attained neither fame nor rank, and their virtues were rather domestic than distinguished... Continue reading book >>




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