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In 1760 he contributed a series of papers to The Public Ledger, then established by Mr. John Newbery. He wrote, in imitation of Marana, as an Oriental—representing himself, however, as a native of China, to which empire a recent splendid publication of Sir William Chambers had drawn much attention. His papers, with some additions to complete the design, were afterward separately edited as The Citizen of the World.”
The next year, if it furnishes no proofs of his literary activity, was productive of an event which had considerable influence on his future life. On the 31st of May, 1761, he received a visit from Johnson, who afterward became one of his best advisers and friends. It was Goldsmith who said of Johnson: He has nothing of the bear but his skin.”
In 1762 he was variously occupied. He revised The Art of Poetry; edited The Citizen of the World — a work which seems to increase in popularity; made an abridgment, assisted by Mr. Joseph Collyer, of the biographical writings of Plutarch; and compiled The Life of Richard Nash, of Bath — which, as he obIn 1763 he proved his acquaintance with the science of animated nature by contributing to a System, published by Mr. Newbery, a preface, and introductions to the history of quadrupeds, birds, etc. Percy admired these introductions. In fact, they teem with picturesque description and apposite reflection.”
serves, may “supply a vacant hour with innocent amusement.” “
* Percy, p. 64. H- The Traveler, 1765. 4to. First edition. Advertisement.
* Percy, p. 62. — He was one of the party. --Boswell, ii. 67.
* “The art of Poetry on a new plan: illustrated with a great variety of examples, etc. London: printed for J. Newbery, 1762.” 12mo. Two volumes. H-Percy, p. 63. -- “The Citizen of the World; or Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, residing in London, to his friends in the East. London: printed for J. Newbery, 1762.” 12mo. Two volumes. -- “Plutarch's Lives, abridged from the original Greek, illustrated with notes and reflections, and embellished with copper-plate prints. London: printed for J. Newbery, 1762.” Sm. 12mo. Seven volumes. I ascribe this work to Goldsmith and Collyer, on the authority of Carnan and Newbery, 1778. -- “The life of Richard Nash, of Bath, Esq.; extracted principally from his original papers. London: printed for J. Newbery and W. Frederick, at Bath. 1762.” 8vo. Portrait.
To the year 1764, I ascribe the composition of The Vicar of Wakefield. It was, at all events, one of the most memorable of his literary life. In this year he produced the History of England ascribed to Lyttelton — an attractive piece of composition; The Captivity—an oratorio of merit; and The Traveler—a poem which was justly described, though by a friendly hand, as the finest which had appeared since the time of Pope. It is dedicated to his brother, the reverend Henry Goldsmith, and was the first work to which he prefixed his name. In 1764, moreover, was founded the literary club. The members were, Reynolds, Johnson, Burke, Nugent, Langton, Chamier, Hawkins, Beauclerk, and Goldsmith. This was an honorable mark of distinction, and it led to his intimacy with the excellent Reynolds—so stanch as a friend, yet in manners so gentle and complying.”
* “A new and accurate system of Natural History: containing, etc. By R. Brookes, M.D. London: printed for J. Newbery, 1763.” 12mo. Six volumes. + Percy, p. 83; and in Illustrations of literary history, vi. 584.
* Percy, p. 62. -- “An history of England, in a series of letters from a nobleman to his son. London: printed for J. Newbery, 1764.” 12mo. Two volumes. -- Percy, p. 63. -- “The Captivity. An oratorio.” MS. 4to. The authorship of The Captivity, and the time of its composition, are proved by this memorandum, dated October 31st, 1764. “Receiv'd from Mr. Dodsly ten guineas for an oratorio which Mr. Newbery and he are to share. O. Goldsmith.” + “The Traveler, or a prospect of society. A poem. Inscribed to the rev. Mr. Henry Goldsmith. By Oliver Goldsmith, M.B. London: printed for J. Newbery, 1765.” [1764.] 4to. + Malone. Account of Sir Joshua Reynolds, prefixed to his Works, 1809. 8vo. — i. 83.
In 1765 he gave a private impression of Edwin and Angelina, afterward revised; and published a portion of his fugitive pieces under the title of Essays, which, in the opinion of Drake, deserve to be admitted into every collection of our classical essayists. The volume also contains two of his minor poems.”
In 1766 appeared the admirable Vicar of Wakefield—a novel in which, as Sir Walter Scott handsomely says, “we find the best and truest sentiments enforced in the most beautiful language.” The manuscript had been disposed of two years before, by the friendly agency of Johnson, while the author was under arrest; and the non-appearance of the volumes at an earlier date is a problem which defies solution. The novelist now resumed translation. His choice fell on a small production of M. Formey.”
Authors are liable to reverses of fortune, and the year 1767 was inauspicious to Oliver Goldsmith. He failed as a candidate for the Gresham lectureship of civil law; he edited Poems for Young Ladies, in which he ascribed to Nugent the verses of Lyttelton; he edited The Beauties of English Poesy, in which he admitted some deformities; he wrote a drama to be acted at Drury-lane, but Garrick rejected it! His assemblage of beauties, The drama alluded to —The Good-natured Man—was accepted by Colman, and first acted at Covent-garden theater on the 29th of January, 1768. The prologue was contributed by Johnson. The piece was well performed, and met with considerable applause. It should be read, and especially the part of Croaker, by all those who are subject to hypochondriacism. At the close of this year he had the honor to be appointed Professor of Ancient History in the Royal Academy of Arts.”
however, must always interest by its critical notices.”
* “Edwin and Angelina, a ballad; by Mr. Goldsmith: printed for the amusement of the Countess of Northumberland.” [1765.] 18mo: + Percy, p. 74. + “Essays. By Mr. Goldsmith. London: printed for W. Griffin, 1765.” 12mo.
* “The Vicar of Wakefield: a tale. Supposed to be written by himself. Salisbury: printed by B. Collins, for F. Newbery, in Paternoster-row, London. 1766.” 12mo. Two volumes. The advertisement is signed, Oliver Goldsmith.-- Percy, p. 62.--Boswell, i. 397. -- “A concise history of Philosophy and Philosophers. By M. Formey, M.D. s. E., etc. London: printed for F. Newbery, 1766.” 12mo. I ascribe this translation to Goldsmith, on the authority of Carnan and Newbery, 1778. ,
* Isaac Reed, p. 16. -- “Poems for young ladies. In three parts. Devotional, moral, and entertaining. The whole being a collection of the best pieces in our language. London: printed for J. Payne, 1767.” Sm. 8vo. Frontispiece. +“The beauties of English Poesy. Selected by Oliver Gold. smith. London: printed for William Griffin, 1767.” 12mo. Two volumes. + Posthumous Letters to F. and G. Colman, 1820. 4to. p. 180. * “The good-natur'd Man: a comedy. As performed at the theater-royal in Covent-garden. By Mr. Goldsmith. London: printed for W. Griffin, 1768.” 8vo. + The Burney Theatrical Register. H-T, Davies, Memoirs of the life of David Garrick, Esq. Fourth edition. London, 1784. 8vo. — ii. 154. + Communication of Henry Howard, Esq., R.A., etc. * Percy, p. 36. Note: + “The Roman history, from the foundation of the city of Rome to the destruction of the western empire. By Dr. Goldsmith. London: printed for S. Baker and G. Leigh, T. Davies and L. Davis, 1769.” 8vo. Two volumes.-- Percy, p. 78. — Articles of agreement. * “The Deserted Village, a poem. By Dr. Goldsmith. London: printed for W. Griffin, 1770.” 4to. + The correspondence of Thomas Gray and the reverend Norton Nicholls, 1843. 8vo. p. 36. --Specimens of the British Poets, London, 1819. 8vo. — vi. 267. --Poems on several occasions. Written by Dr. Thomas Parnell, etc. A new edition. To which is prefixed, the life of Dr. Parnell, written by Dr. Goldsmith. London: printed for T. Davies, 1770. Sm. 8vo. + “The life of Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke. London: printed for T. Davies, 1770.” 8vo. Anonymous. * “The history of England, from the earliest times to the death of George II. By Dr. Goldsmith. London: printed for T. Davies, etc. 1771.” 8vo. Four volumes. + “The haunch of Venison, a poetical epistle to Lord Clare. By the late Dr. Goldsmith. With a head of the author, drawn by Henry Bunbury,
In 1769 he made an excursion to Oxford, in company with Johnson, and was incorporated M.B. He also published a Roman History, assigning, as the reasons of his choice, that other histories of the period were “either too voluminous for common use, or too meanly written to please.” It met with so much success, that he was immediately engaged to write a history of England.”
The Deserted Village, a poem which bears the most distinct impress of his genius, came out in 1770, dedicated to Sir Joshua Reynolds. It was received with enthusiasm. Gray, to whom it was read by the reverend Norton Nicholls, exclaimed—This man is a poet; and such were the feelings of the public. Of numberless criticisms, no one more deserves repetition than that of Campbell. “Fiction in poetry,” he says, “is not the reverse of truth, but her soft and enchanted resemblance; and this ideal beauty of nature has been seldom united with so much sober fidelity as in the groups and scenery of The Deserted Village.” Animated by its success, the author forthwith revised it, and also gave a revised edition of The Traveler. In the same year he wrote the lives of Archdeacon Parnell and Lord Bolingbroke— the former an interesting specimen of literary biography.”
The History of England, to which he could not have devoted more than two years, was published in 1771. It is chiefly compiled from Rapin, Carte, Smollet, and Hume, on whom he gives a short critique. “They have each,” he says, “their peculiar admirers, in proportion as the reader is studious of historical antiquities, fond of minute anecdote, a warm partisan, or a deliberate reasoner.” This work has been very extensively circulated. In the same year he seems to have written The Haunch of Venison. It is a poetical epistle to Lord Clare, with whom he had become intimate, and is remarkable for its fluent pleasantry.”