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Goldsmith, upon the company's laughing very heartily, grew very thoughtful, and either would not or could not write anything at that time; however, he went to work, and some weeks after produced the following printed poem, called 'Retaliation,' which has been much admired, and gone through several editions. The public in general have been mistaken in imagining that this poem was written in anger by the doctor; it was just the contrary; the whole on all sides was done with the greatest good humor."
(293) 1. Scarron: Paul Scarron (1610-60), a French burlesque poet and dramatist. ¶5. Our Dean: Thomas Barnard, Dean of Derry, Ireland. ¶6. Burke: Edmund Burke, the orator. ¶7. Will: William Burke, a cousin of Edmund. ¶8. Dick: Richard Burke, brother of Edmund. 19. Cumberland's: Richard Cumberland was a writer of popular sentimental plays. ¶ 10. Douglas: John Douglas, a Scotchman, Canon of Windsor. ¶ 11. Garrick: David Garrick, the actor. 14. Ridge John Ridge, an Irish barrister. anchovy: a small fish of rich flavor. Reynolds: Sir Joshua Reynolds, the painter. lamb see ll. 87-96. 15. Hickey: Tom Hickey, an Irish attorney. ¶ 28. Townshend: a member of Parliament and minor politician. ¶ 32. nice: particular, fastidious, intellectually and morally. 33. a drudge: i e., a party drudge, merely doing the will of his political superiors.
(294) 38. Terence: the famous writer of Roman comedies, living in the second century B. C. mender of hearts: see the following lines. 44. rout: a social assemblage.
(295) 77. Kenricks: William Kenrick, a reviewer and play-writer, was an enemy of Goldsmith. Kellys: Hugh Kelly was a writer of sentimental comedy, with whom Goldsmith had had some differences, while Garrick had taken him into favor. Woodfalls: William Woodfall was the publisher of The Morning Chronicle. 80. be-Rosciused: see note on Churchill's "Rosciad," p. 487. ¶86. Beaumonts: Francis Beaumont (1584-1616), in collaboration with John Fletcher, wrote many excellent plays. Bens: Ben Jonson (1573?-1637) was Shaks pere's greatest contemporary in the drama. ¶94. hard of hearing: while studying the pictures in the Vatican, Reynolds caught a cold which resulted in deafness and obliged him to use an ear-trumpet. 95. Correggios: Correggio (1494-1534) was one of the most famous of the Italian painters contemporary with Raphael.
"The author already appears, by his numbers, to be a versifier, and by his scenery to be a poet; it therefore only remains that his sentiments discover him to be a just estimator of comparative happiness. . . . . Such is the poem [" The Traveller"], on which we now congratulate the public as on a production to which, since the death of Pope, it will not be easy to find anything equal."-The Critical Review, December, 1764. (Boswell attributes the article to Johnson.)
""The Traveller' is one of those delightful poems that allure by the beauty of their scenery, a refined elegance of sentiment, and a correspondent happiness of expression. . . . But though our author makes no great figure in political philosophy, he does not fail to entertain us with his poetical descriptions. . . . . We must now refer the reader to the poem itself, which we cannot but recommend to him as a work of very considerable merit."-The Monthly Review, January, 1765.
"That luxury is at present depopulating our country, not only by preventing marriage, but driving our villagers over the western ocean, we may perhaps be disposed to deny with the best and wisest of Dr. Goldsmith's friends, but we do not therefore read his poem with the less pleasure. As a picture of fancy it has great beauty; and if we shall occasionally remark that it is nothing more, we shall very little derogate from its merit. . . . . In this extract [ll 1-48] there is a strain of poetry very different from the quaint phrase and forced construction into which our fashionable bards are distorting prose. . . . .. This ll. 57-74] is fine painting and fine poetry, notwithstanding the absurdity of supposing that there was a time when England was equally divided among its inhabitants by a rood to a man: if it was possible that such an equal division could take place, either in England or any other coun
try, it could not continue ten years; wherever there is property, there must of necessity be poverty and riches. . . . . This passage [ll. 97-112] though it is fine, is fanciful. Does he who retires into the country to crown 'a youth of labor with an age of ease' use no knife, eat no sugar, and wear neither shirt nor breeches? If he does, for him the mine must be explored, the deep tempted, and 'the pale artist ply the sickly trade.' The following description of the parish priest would have done honor to any poet of any age."-The Monthly Review June, 1770, in a review of "The Deserted Village."
"This is a very elegant poem, written with great pains, yet bearing every possible mark of facility. In our last number we gave an extract from it containing the picture of a country curate; we shall now present the public with the description of a country schoolmaster and a village ale-house, which we think particularly picturesque."-The London Magazine, June, 1770.
(295) THE MINSTREL. Book I. xix-xxii, xxxii-xxxv, liii-lv. "The design was to trace the progress of a poetical genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a minstrel. . . . I have endeavored to imitate Spenser in the measure of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, and variety of his composition. Antique expressions I have avoided. ... To those who may be disposed to ask what could induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I can only answer that it pleases my ear, and seems, from its Gothic structure and original, to bear some relation to the subject and spirit of the poem. It admits both simplicity and magnificence of sound and of language, beyond any other stanza that I am acquainted with. It allows the sententiousness of the couplet as well as the more complex modulation of blank verse. What some critics have remarked, of its uniformity growing at last tiresome to the ear, will be found to hold true only when the poetry is faulty in other respects."-Preface.
(298) BRISTOWE TRAGEDIE. Stanzas 1-3, 54-88, 92-98. "Bristowe" is an early form for "Bristol." The historical basis of the ballad is probably the execution of Sir Baldwin Fulford, at Bristol, in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses; Fulford, a partisan of the house of Lancaster, had opposed the claim of Edward IV to the throne of England. ¶ 2. han-has.
(300) 63. enshone=showed. moe more. 171. weedes-garments. ¶72. plyghte condition. 78. Echone-each one. 179. of by. Henric's: the reference is to Henry VI, who had recently been deposed and whom Edward IV had succeeded-illegitimately, as the Lancastrians believed.
(301) 85. moeTM more. ¶ 105. mynsterr=minster, cathedral.
(302) 135. Gloucester: the Duke of Gloucester, afterward Richard III. ¶ 138. Ne
(303) 160. stroke-struck. ¶ 169. Kynwulph-hylle: "So called from Kenwulf, king of Mercia, and probably the same spot which still bears the name of King's Down, a very eminent part of the city."-Dean Milles. ¶ 173. Powle's-Paul's.
(303) THE ACCOUNTE OF W. CANYNGES FEAST. William Canynge was the imaginary friend and patron of the imaginary poet-priest Rowley, to whom Chatterton attributed most of his poems in imitation of poetry of the fifteenth century; this poem, however, he ascribes to Canynge. 1. han has. ¶ 2. Byelecoyle=fair welcoming. beseeme=appear.
(304) 4. snoffelle-snuff up. cheorte cheerful, pleasant. 16. Swotelye-sweetly. 17. Syche-so. coyne-keen. ¶9. Heie stylle-they still, i. e., when the minstrels became silent. ne-nothing. 11. echone each one, every. deene dine. ¶ 12. Gyf=if. Iscamm Tyb. Gorges: other imaginary friends of Canynge.
(304) MYNSTRELLES SONGE. From "Ælla." ¶ 1. boddynge-budding. ¶ 2. mees= meadows. sprenged-sprinkled. 4. nesh tender. ¶5. enlefed-leafed out. straughte stretched. ¶6. whestlyng-whistling. dynnedin, noise. ¶8. roddie ruddy. welkynne welkin, sky. ¶9. ale-stake: a stake with a bush of twigs at the top, projecting from the front of an ale-house as a sign. 15. alleyne-alone. 16. the kynde = the species; here, womankind.
(305) 19. blake bleak, bare. 20. guylteynge=gilding. 23. woddie= =woody? ¶24. levynne lightning. lemes gleams. ¶ 25. rudde=ruddy. ¶26. fructyle-fruitful. ¶27. peres pears. die-dye, color. 30. hartys-heart's. steynced-stained. ¶31. wrogle wrought, made. neidher neither. kynde sex. ¶¶32. chafe chafing, warm. 33 Dheere= there. 35. botte-but. tere muscle. ¶ 39. ynutylle membere-useless member, i. e., Adam's rib. 42. kynde nature. 43. Albeytte-albeit. pheeres-mates. 44. salvage kynde== savage species, i. e., wild animals. slea-slay. 45. efte often. cheres cheers. ¶ 46. Tochclod joined? dowered with? heie they. 147. swythyn quickly. ¶48. bantecursed. hie-highly.
(306) O, SYNGE UNTOE MIE ROUNDELAIE. From "Ella." 13. ne moe no more. hallie daie holiday. ¶4. reynynge-running. ¶8. cryne-hair (Latin "crinis," hair). ¶9. rode=skin. ¶ 10. Rodde ruddy. ¶ 11. Cale-cold. ¶ 15. Swole-sweet. ¶ 17. Defte hys taboure: i. e., he was skilful in playing on the tabor; the tabor was a stringed instrument somewhat like a guitar. codgelle stote=cudgel stout. ¶31. yanne than (cf. "ye" for "the").
(307) 38. Nee-not. hallie-holy. ¶39. celness-coldness. ¶43. dente-fasten. ¶44. gre-grow. 145. Ouphant-elfin. ¶53. nete=night. ¶ 57. reytes-water-flags. ¶58. yer your. Leathalle-deadly.
(307) AN EXCELENTE BALADE OF CHARITIE. Subheading. "As wroten bie the gode prieste Thomas Rowleie, 1464." "Thomas Rowley, the author, was born at Norton Malreward, in Somersetshire, educated at the convent of St. Kenna, at Keynesham, and died at Westbury, in Gloucestershire."-Chatterton. ¶ 1. In Virgynè: in that part of the zodiac called the Virgin, which the sun enters in August. ¶ 2. mees-meads. 3. rodded-reddened. ¶ 4. molesoft (Latin "mollis," soft). ¶5. peede=pied, variegated. chelandri-goldfinch. 17. defte neat. aumere-mantle.
(308) 10. arist = arose. ¶ 13. Hiltring=hiding. allenes at once.
fetyve-festive. 15. holme: a kind of oak. ¶ 16. Seyncte Godwine's covent: “It would have been charitable if the author had not pointed at personal characters in this 'Ballad of Charity.' The abbot of St. Godwin's at the time of writing of this was Ralph de Bellomont, a great stickler for the Lancastrian family. Rowley was a Yorkist."-Chatterton. ¶ 17. moneynge=moaning. ¶ 18. viewe-appearance. ungentle=not like that of a gentleman, beggarly. weede dress. ¶ 19. bretful-brimful. ¶ 20. almer receiver of alms, beggar. ¶ 22. glommèd=gloomy, clouded, dejected. ¶ 23. forwynd-dry, sapless. ¶24. church-glebe-house-the grave ("glebe" -soil, ground). ashrewed accursed. ¶ 25. kiste chest, coffin. dortoure-sleeping. ¶ 26. Cale-cold. gre=grow. ¶ 27. aminge among. ¶ 30. forswat-sunburnt. smethe=smoke. drenche-drink. ¶31. ghastness-ghastliness, terror. pall-appal. 33. flott-fly. ¶34. levynne lightning. ¶ 35. smothe-steam, vapors. lowings-flashings. ¶ 36. clymmynge=noisy. ་ Cheves moves. embollen swelled. 139. gallard-frighted. ¶ 40. swanges=swings 42. braste burst. attenes at once. stonen=stony.
(309) 45. chapournette: "A small round hat, not unlike the shapournette in heraldry, formerly worn by ecclesiastics and lawyers."-Chatterton. ¶46. pencte-painted. ¶ 47. He aynewarde tolde his bederoll: "He told his beads backwards; a figurative expression to signify cursing."-Chatterton. 49. mist-poor. 50. cope-cloak. Lyncolne clothe:
a green cloth, made particularly well in the town of Lincoln. 52. autremete: "A loose white robe worn by priests."-Chatterton. twynne-twine. ¶53. shoone-shoes. pyke= peaked. loverds-lord's. ¶55. trammels: shackles used to make a horse amble. ¶ 56. horse-millanare: "In a public part of Bristol, full in sight of every passer-by, was a sadler's
shop, over which was inscribed
'horse-milliner.' On the outside of one of the windows
of the same operator stood a wooden horse dressed out with ribbons, to explain the nature of horse-millinery."-Stevens, writing of a visit in 1776. ¶57. droppynge=drooping. 63. yalle that. crouche-crucifix. ¶66. Jaitour-a vagabond. ¶69. shettynge=shooting. ¶72. reyneynge-running. ¶74. jape: “A short surplus worn by friars of an inferior class and secular priests."-Chatterton. ¶75. limiloure: a friar licensed to beg within a certain limited area. of order: i. e., as to his order.
(310) 81. groate: a coin worth four pence. ¶82. mister-poor. halline-joy. ¶83. eathe ease. ¶84. nete-naught. ¶85. unhailie-unhappy. ¶86. Scathe scarce. ¶87. semecope: a short under-cloak. ¶89. aborde=went on. ¶90. gloure-glory. 191. mittee - mighty.
"On our first opening these poems, the smooth style of the harmony, the easy march of the verse, the regular station of the caesura, the structure of the phrase, and the cast and complexion of the thoughts made us presently conclude that they were mock ruins. If such they are, their merit is of no high estimation, it being as easy for a person accustomed to versification, and acquainted with obsolete terms, to fabricate an old poem as to write a new one; but if, on the contrary, they are really productions of the fifteenth century, they are the most extraordinary literary curiosities that this or any recent period has produced, for they would show us that the graces of numbers and the refinements of poetical melody are of no modern date, but belonged to one of the first adventurers in English poesy."-The Monthly Review, April, 1777.
"In these sentiments all readers of taste, even in these days, must agree with Master Lidgate when they peruse these truly classic poems, especially those capital performances, 'The Dethe of Syr Charles Bawdin,' . . . . ‘Ælla, a Tragycal Enterlude,' 'Goddwyn, a Tragedie,' and 'The Battle of Hastings,' all which, for pure poetry, simplicity, and solid sense, as well as harmony, may vie with the most elegant and harmonious of the moderns. And this last is certainly the most suspicious circumstance, as, with all their merit, all our other old bards, from Chaucer down to Donne, are in that particular so defective that many of their verses are mere prose and others hardly legible. Scarce one such line occurs in Rowley, scarce one but what Pope or Dryden, bating the old words, might have written and owned. In this same 'Battle' the picturesque variety in the deaths, descriptions, similes, etc., we cannot help observing, will not suffer by a comparison with the like imagery in the Greek or Roman epic, any more than Ælla' and 'Goddwyn,' with their sublime choruses (especially the 'Fragment to Freedom'), will be degraded by being classed with the most perfect models of the ancient or modern drama. .... On the whole, if Rowley was the author of these poems (and what modern who had such a talent would have buried it in the rubbish of obsolete words?), poetry arrived at maturity near two centuries sooner than has been hitherto apprehended."-The Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1777.
"My sole drift is to be useful; a point which, however, I knew I should in vain aim at unless I could be likewise entertaining. I have therefore fixed these two strings upon my bow, and by the help of both have done my best to send my arrow to the mark. My readers will hardly have begun to laugh before they will be called upon to correct that levity and peruse me with a more serious air. As to the effect, I leave it alone in His hands Who can alone produce it: neither prose nor verse can reform the manners of a dissolute age, much less can they inspire a sense of religious obligation, unless assisted and made efficacious by the Power Who superintends the truth He has vouchsafed to impart."-Letter to Mrs. Cowper, October 19, 1781, about his first volume of poems. "If I trifle [as in "John Gilpin"] and merely trifle, it is because I am reduced to it by necessity-a melancholy, that nothing else so effectu
ally disperses, engages me sometimes in the arduous task of being merry by force. And, strange as it may seem, the most ludicrous lines I ever wrote have been written in the saddest mood, and but for that saddest mood perhaps had never been written at all."-Letter to Unwin, November 18, 1782. "I considered that the taste of the day is refined, and delicate to excess, and that to disgust the delicacy of taste by a slovenly inattention to it would be to forfeit at once all hope of being useful; and for this reason, though I have written more verse this last year than perhaps any man in England, I have finished, and polished, and touched and retouched, with the utmost care."-Letter to Unwin, October 6, 1781. "I know that the ears of modern verse-writers are delicate to an excess, and their readers are troubled with the same squeamishness as themselves; so that if a line do not run as smooth as quicksilver they are offended. A critic of the present day serves a poem as a cook serves a dead turkey when she fastens the legs of it to a post and draws out all the sinews. For this we may thank Pope; but unless we could imitate him in the closeness and compactness of his expression as well as in the smoothness of his numbers, we had better drop the imitation, which serves no other purpose than to emasculate and weaken all we write. Give me a manly, rough line, with a deal of meaning in it, rather than a whole poem full of musical periods that have nothing but their oily smoothness to recommend them!"-Letter to Johnson, his publisher, undated. "My descriptions [in "The Task"] are all from nature: not one of them second-handed. My delineations of the heart are from my own experience: not one of them borrowed from books, or in the least degree conjectural. In my numbers, which I have varied as much as I could (for blank verse without variety of numbers is no better than bladder and string), I have imitated nobody, though sometimes perhaps there may be an apparent resemblance, because at the same time that I would not imitate I have not affectedly differed. . . . . Except the fifth book, which is rather of a political aspect, the whole has one tendency: to discountenance the modern enthusiasm after a London life, and to recommend rural ease and leisure, as friendly to the cause of piety and virtue.”—Letter to Unwin, October 10, 1784.
(310) THIS EVENING, DELIA, YOU AND I. "Delia" was the poet's cousin, Theodora Cowper; she returned his love, but her father forbade the marriage.
(311) TABLE TALK. Lines 610-55. 20. Circe: an enchantress of Greek legend, who turned men into swine; see the Odyssey, x. 210 ff.
(312) TRUTH. Lines 131-70. 19. lappet-head: "A head-dress made with lappets, or lace pendants."-The Century Dictionary.
(313) 38. Brahmins: Hindu priests.
(313) ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE. Subheading, "Written when the news arrived." While the "Royal George" was being refitted at Spithead, off the southern coast of England, August 29, 1782, the shifting of her guns made her suddenly heel over and sink; of the thousand sailors, marines, officers, and visitors aboard, about eight hundred, including Admiral Kempenfelt, were drowned.
(314) THE TASK.
(314) Rural Sights and Sounds. Book I. 154-209.
(316) Human Opression. Book II. 1-47. ¶ 1. Cf. Jer. 9:2: "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people." ¶ 16. fritha narrow arm of the sea. ¶ 20. devotes gives over by a vow (Latin "devovere," to vow); here, gives over to destruction.
(317) 40. Slaves cannot breathe in England: Lord Mansfield, in 1772, had given a decision to this effect.
(317) The Model Preacher. Book II. 395-413. ¶ 15. rostrum-pulpit.
(318) Cowper, the Religious Recluse. Book III. 108-33. ¶ 1. a stricken deer: Cowper's first attack of insanity, in which he tried three times to commit suicide, occurred in 1763-65; it necessitated permanent withdrawal from the profession of the law, on which he had entered, and a retired life in the country for the rest of his days.
(318) The Arrival of the Post. Book IV. 1-41.