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brother Henry's school, fished and played the flute, and amused a club of jolly fellows at the old inn by his songs and stories.
It was now time to think of a profession: and, naturally enough, in view of his connections, he turned his thoughts to the church. To the Bishop of Elphin he applied for orders, and was rejected; why, we are not fully informed. Some say that he offended his reverence by appearing in scarlet breeches; others, that the bishop had been made acquainted with his juvenile irregularities. He tried private teaching a year, whereby he laid up thirty pounds, which he squandered; and was again fitted out by uncle Contarine for London and the law. On his way, he fell in with a sharper at Dublin, was stripped of his last farthing at play, and returned, a penitent, to Ballymahon. Now he left his mother's house, and lived a while with his brother. Here, too, he seems to haveworn out his welcome, and became an inmate of his uncle Contarine's household till with his ever ready aid he started for Edinburgh in the autumn of 1752, as a student of medicine. Eighteen months he passed here, not altogether unprofitably, though he gained more repute by his social qualities than in the schools. From Edinburgh he went to Leyden, where he is said to have attended the lectures on chemistry and anatomy, but again gave way to the seductions of gambling, till he was the owner again of only an empty purse. In this extremity he borrowed of a fellow-student, Mr. Ellis, a little money, to enable him to get away; but spent it nearly all in the purchase of some rare and costly flowerroots for his uncle Contarine, and started on his travels with a guinea, one shirt, and a flute. It was in February, 1755.
He visited Louvain, where he took a degree as medical bachelor, and passed some little time at Brussels. He travelled chiefly on foot, and lived seemingly by his wits. It is as great a marvel how a poor medical student could get through Flanders, Italy and France, without money, as that a poet should manage to die two thousand pounds in debt. He, no doubt, was quick in making friends. At the establishments of learning and religion he recommended himself by his scholarship; and he sometimes obtained a night's lodging among the peasants by playing " one of his most merry tunes." He visited Verona, Venice, Florence, remained six months at Padua, and passed some time at Geneva, where it was, probably, that he met Voltaire. In Switzerland he saw Schaffhausen frozen quite across, eat a savory dinner on the top of the Alps, flushed woodcocks on Mount Jura, and sent off to his brother eighty lines of the Traveller. In Paris he attended the lectures of Professor Rouelle, and admired the celebrated actress, Mademoiselle Clairon; and thence he returned to England, poorer than when he left it, and found himself among a people where his music and his learning were less convertible than on the continent. He made a " shift to live," however,as assistant to a chemist, corrector of the press, medical practitioner, and usher in a classical academy kept by Dr. Milner. At the table of the doctor, one day, he met Griffiths the bookseller, proprietor of the most flourishing journal of the time. Griffiths was attracted by some remarks of the usher, and invited him to furnish a few specimens of criticism. The specimens were furnished, and led to an engagement by which Goldsmith bound himself, for a small money consideration, to board and lodge with Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths, and work on their Monthly Review.
In his twenty-ninth year, Goldsmith thus commenced the career of authorship, and wrote a number of critical articles in the Review, which are marked with Griffiths' hand-writing in a copy of the work now preserved at Oxford. These are printed in the collection of Goldsmith's works edited by Mr. Prior, and in that of Mr. Cunningham. The engagement with Mr. Griffiths terminated in its fifth month. As Goldsmith was merely a stipendiary, and the editorial charge of the work was in the hands of Mrs. Griffiths and her husband, the critic's labors were subjected, no doubt, to an annoying supervision; and the worthy couple did not find their boarder and lodger quite so constant at his desk as he was expected to be; and so, by mutual consent, they parted company. When, after the poet'sdeath, it was stated that Goldsmith had at one time " superintended the Monthly Review," Griffiths contradicted it in very offensive style, and thus described the nature of their relations: "It is true, however, that he had for a while a seat at our board; and that, so far as his knowledge of books extended, he was not an unuseful assistant."*
In February, 1758, there appeared two duodecimo volumes, entitled 'Memoirs of a Protestant condemned to the Galleys of France for his Religion." This was a free translation from the autobiography of Jean Marteilhe, then recently published at the Hague. The name of the translator was given as James Willington; but Mr. Forstei says that the " writer could only write as Goldsmith." Any name was as good, no doubt, in the eyes of Mr. Griffiths, as that of his quondam " not unuseful assistant" in the Review.
Goldsmith now returned to London, from a temporary employment at Dr. Milner's, and took lodgings at No. 12 Green Arbor Court, Old Bailey. The doctor having promised his influence to obtain for him some medical appointment in the gift of the East India Company, to raise the necessary outfit he began the Inquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe, which was published by the Dodsleys in 1759. Meanwhile, he supplied his daily wants by writing for the Critical Review, and persuaded Griffiths to become his security for a suit of clothes, that he might present himself in a decent garb for examination before the college of surgeons. In consideration of this indispensable aid, he reviewed four books, which were furnished him, for the Monthly. The reviews written, the suit was provided , but the Court of Examiners found Goldsmith "not qualified for mate to an hospital." A few days after his rejection he pawned his clothes to raise money for his landlady, and obtained a small sum from a friend on a pledge of the four volumes sent him by Griffiths. A humiliating dispute with the brutal bibliopole ensued, which ended in a contract to write for him a Life of Voltaire for twenty pounds, from which the price of the clothes was to be deducted.
On Saturday, the 6th of October, 1759, there appeared " in crown octavo, and on good paper, containing two sheets, or thirty-two pages," the first number of The Bee. It was published by Wilkie, of the Bible, in St. Paul's church-yard. Pleasant and various as it was, the public would not buy; and with its eighth number it perished, on the 29th of November. Its author was immediately sought out by Dr. Smollett, and by Mr. John Newbery, the bookseller, who made him offers not to be declined. The Dodsleys soon after issued an edition of The Bee in an independent form; and Griffiths ordered it to be treated in the Monthly as the work "of an ingenious person." In a few weeks he was writing essays for Smollett's British Magazine, and the Chinese Letters for Newbery's new daily paper, The Public Ledger. The latter were collected and published under the title of The Citizen of the World.
His friend Mr. Percy visited Goldsmith in his lodgings in Green Arbor Court, and found him in a miserable, dirty-looking room, in which there was but one chair. In 1761, on the strength of his two guineas a week from Newbery, and his connection with The British Magazine and The Lady's Magazine, he went into chambers in Wine Office Court, where he was first visited by Dr. Johnson. Here he gave a supper to the great lexicographer, who honored the occasion by a new wig and a new suit of clothes. When Dr. Percy asked him the cause of such an unusual toilet, "Why, sir," he answered, " I hear that Goldsmith, who is a very great sloven, justifies his disregard of cleanliness and decency by quoting my practice; and I am desirous this night to show him a better example." Goldsmith's tailor's bill soon showed that he had improved upon it.
In 1762 his first undertaking was a pamphlet on the Cock Lane Ghost, which has perished. Sundry other jobs he executed for Mr Newbery, now for five guineas, now for ten pounds, and sometimes for twenty; but in money matters he went behind-hand, till he was glad to receive a guinea or two in advance from his bookseller, for incompleted task-work. This year he went, for his health, to Tunbridge and Bath. The recent death of Beau Nash suggested a topic for his pen; and he wrote the life of the king of fashion, for which he was paid fourteen guineas, in dribblets, by Mr. Newbery. It was published anonymously. While thus engaged, his social sphere was gradually enlarging. He made the acquaintance of Hogarth and Reynolds, the latter of whom, about this time, founded the club that has since become so famous in literary history, where Goldsmith soon found himself in intimate relations with Burke, Nugent, Langton, Chamier, Hawkins, Beauclerc, and Johnson— its original members.
While lodging at Islington, in 1764, Goldsmith wrote The Captivity, an oratorio, which remained in his desk unrepresented, and was not published during his lifetime. Here it was, no doubt, that Johnson rescued him from the hands of bailiffs, by the sale of The Vicar of Wakefield to Francis Newbery, the nephew, for sixty pounds. And here, too, Reynolds found him engaged in the completion of The Traveller, which was lying unpublished in the desk of the elder Newbery on the very day of Goldsmith's arrest. Shortly afterwards it was put to press. Johnson corrected the proof-sheets, added or amended a few lines, and wrote a hearty notice of it for the Critical Review, to appear simultaneously with the poem. When Bos well returned to London a year afterwards, he was amazed to hear the great doctor declare " that there had not been so fine a poem since Pope's time." Charles Fox pronounced it " one of the finest poems in the English language." Miss Reynolds, sister of the painter, after hearing Johnson read it aloud, protested that she never more should think Dr. Goldsmith ugly. Three months after its publication a second edition was issued; a third and fourth soon followed, and the ninth appeared in the year the poet died. It is doubtful if this large sale was of much advantage to Goldsmith, for he is supposed to have surrendered all his interest in the work for twenty guineas; and this at a time when Christopher Anstey commanded two hundred pounds for The New Bath Guide.
To this period is referred the authorship of The Hermit, a ballad, suggested in the course of his discussions with Percy, while the latter was engaged on his Reliques. It was first privately printed in 1764, with the following title-page: "Edwin and Angelina, a Ballad; by Mr. Goldsmith; printed for the amusement of the Countess of Northumberland." This edition is now rare, and is valuable from the light it throws on Goldsmith's habits of composition. His prose he wrote with great facility; " half a volume," as he told Mr. Cradock, " while you are nibbling about elegant phrases." But his poetry he elaborated with infinite care and pains-taking, changing the language, and trimming it of all superfluities. We have seen Gray rejecting one of the most beautiful stanzas in his Elegy because it made too long a parenthesis in the place where it was introduced. So Goldsmith, when he subsequently published his ballad, not only re-wrote four stanzas entirely, but removed the two concluding stanzas of the original copy, because the action of the piece was closed without them. Though thus rejected by the poet, they have been deemed well worthy of preservation:
"Here amidst sylvan bowers we '11 rove,
"To all that want, and all that wail,
This poem was first published in The Vicar of Wakefield, which was