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“What have we got here?—Why, this is good eating! Your own, I suppose—or is it in waiting ?” “ Why, whose should it be?” cried I, with a flounce, “I get these things often;"_but that was a bounce. “ Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the nation, Are pleas'd to be kind—but I hate ostentation.” 1
“ If that be the case, then," cried he, very gay, 45 “I'm glad I have taken this house in my way: To-morrow you take a poor dinner with me; No words—I insist on't-precisely at three: We'll have Johnson, and Burke, all the wits will be there ; My acquaintance is slight, or I'd ask my lord Clare. 50 And, now that I think on't, as I am a sinner! We wanted this venison to make out the dinner. What say you—a pasty ? it shall, and it must, And my wife, little Kitty, is fainous for crust. Here, porter—this venison with me to Mile-end: No stirring, I beg—my dear friend—my dear friend !”2 Thus, snatching his hat, he brusht off like the wind, And the porter and eatables followed behind.
Left alone to reflect, having emptied my shelf, And " nobody with me at sea but myself;" 3
60 Though I could not help thinking my gentleman hasty, Yet Johnson, and Burke, and a good venison pasty, Were things that I never disliked in my life, Though clogg'd with a coxcomb, and Kitty his wife. So next day, in due splendour, to make my approach, 65 I drove to his door in my own hackney coach.
When come to the place where we all were to dine, (A chair lumber'd closet, just twelve feet by nine,) My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb With tidings that Johnson and Burke would not come;
· This couplet is an addition to the second edition.-ED.
First edition. 3 A quotation from some love-letters that passed between his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland and Lady Grosvenor (12mo., 1769), of which the newspapers were at the time making fun.-ED.
“For I knew it,” he cried, “ both eternally fail,
At the top, a fried liver and bacon were seen ; At the bottom, was tripe in a swingeing tureen; At the sides, there was spinnage, and pudding made hot; In the middle, a place where the pasty-was not. Now, my Lord, as for tripe, it's my utter aversion, 85 And your bacon I hate like a Turk or a Persian ; So there I sat stuck like a horse in a pound, While the bacon and liver went merrily round : 3 But what vex'd me most was that d- 'd Scottish rogue, With his long-winded speeches, hissmiles and his brogue, 90 And,“ Madam,” quoth he, “ may this bit be my poison, A prettier dinner I never set eyes on : Pray, a slice of your liver, though, may I be curst, But I've eat of your tripe till I'm ready to burst." “ The tripe!” quoth the Jew, with his chocolate cheek, 95 “I could dine on this tripe seven days in the week: I like these here dinners, so pretty and small; But your friend there, the Doctor, eats nothing at all." “ O-ho!” quoth my friend," hell come on in a trice, He's keeping a corner for something that's nice: 100
1 An eminent London brewer, M.P. for the borough of Southwark, at whose table Dr. Johnson was a frequent guest.-B. 2 Var.–Who dabble and write in the papers—like you.
First edition. 3 This couplet is one of the additions to the second edition.-- ED. 4 Prior Life,' v. ii., p. 277] and Forster [v. ii., p. 262], say this Scotchman is “ Parson Scott,” who was a paid writer in support of the North ministry. He wrote in the Public Advertiser with the signatures Panurge and Anti-Sejanus; and it was he who unsuccessfully offered pay to Goldsmith to induce him to write for the North faction. -ED.
There's a pasty.”—“A pasty !” repeated the Jew, “I don't care if I keep a corner for 't too." “ What the deil mon, a pasty!" re-echo'd the Scot, « Though splitting, I'll still keep a corner for thot." I “ We'll all keep a corner," the lady cried out; 105 “ We'll all keep a corner," was echo'd about. While thus we resolved, and the pasty delay'd, With looks that quite petrified, enter'd the maid: A visage so sad, and so pale with affright, Wak'd Priam, in drawing his curtains by night. 110 But we quickly found out for who could mistake her?-That she came with some terrible news from the baker : And so it fell out; for that negligent sloven Had shut out the pasty on shutting his oven. Sad Philomel thus—but let similes dropAnd now that I think on't, the story may stop.?
To be plain, my good Lord, it's but labour misplac'd, To send such good verses to one of your taste: You've got an odd something—a kind of discerningA relish–a taste-sicken’d over by learning ;
120 At least it's your temper, 'tis very well known, That you think very slightly of all that's your own :. So, perhaps, in your habits of thinking amiss, You may make a mistake—and think slightly of this.
1 The second edition has " that;” but we think « thot,” as in the first edition, preferable. The four lines here ending are an amplification of two in the first edition.—ED.
2 The description of the dinner party in this poem is imitated from one of Boileau's satires. Boileau himself took the hint from Horace, Lib. ii. Sat. 8, which has also been imitated by Regnier, Sat. 10.-B.
3 From the first edition. The second has “as.”—ED.
4 Robert Nugent, created Viscount Clare in 1766, was a man of parts and also a merry companion. He published poems anonymously, through Dodsley. He and Goldsmith seem to have been fast friends : see · Life, p. 24, &c., v. i.-ED.
INCLUDING EPITAPHS ON THE MOST DISTINGUISHED WITS
OF THIS METROPOLIS.
(First published April 18, 1774, just a fortnight after the author's death. Several editions were published in the same year, the second being “ corrected, with explanatory notes and observations.” To the fourth (or, ? fifth) the “ Postscript" was added. In 1777, Kearsley, the publisher who had issued all the preceding editions, issued an eighth edition. Evans gives the following account of the origin of the poem :“ Dr. Goldsmith and some of his friends occasionally dined at the St. James's Coffee-house. One day, it was proposed to write epitaphs on him. His country, dialect, and person furnished subjects of witticism. He was called on for • Retaliation, and at their next meeting produced the following poem.”—Introduction to the poem, ‘Poems and Plays,' 1786. Other and somewhat contradictory accounts are given by Cumberland and others. The late Mr. Peter Cunningham added to these by being the first to print (in his edition of Goldsmith's Works, 4 vols. 8vo., 1854) Garrick's account, from a MS. found amongst that famous actor's papers and lent to Mr. Cunningham by the late Mr. George Daniel of Canonbury House, Islington. We are indebted to Mr. Cunningham's edition for the following extract from the Garrick MS., which is signed “D. Garrick.”—“At a meeting of a company of gentlemen, who were well known to each other, diverting themselves, among many other things, with the peculiar oddities of Dr. Goldsmith, who never would allow a superior in any art, from writing poetry down to dancing a hornpipe, the Doctor, with great eagerness, insisted upon trying his epigrammatic powers with Mr. Garrick, and each of them was to write the other's epitaph. Mr. Garrick immediately said that his epitaph was finished, and he spoke the following distich extempore :
“Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness calld Noll,
Who wrote like an angel, but talk'd like poor Poll.' 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 he produced the
following printed poem called “Retaliation, which has been much admired,
1 Garrick's epitaph, no doubt the chief, though not the sole, provocation of 'Retaliation' had been hitherto given (by Dr. M ́Donnel):
“ Here lies Poet Goldsmith, for shortness call’d Noll,
Who wrote like an angel, but talk'd like poor Poll.” and by another
“Here lies poor Goldsmith, &c.
Who wrote like Apollo, &c.”—En. 2 The master of the St. James's Coffee-house, where the Doctor, and the friends he has characterized in this poem occasionally dined. [The foot-notes here given with “ Retaliation, are mostly founded upon those given with the revised editions of the poem (two to eight, 1774 to 1777). Those notes were of course not by Goldsmith, who left even the text of his poem unfinished, and, no doubt, in more ways than one unlike what it would have been had he himself given it out for publication. Mitford asks, “ Why is there no portrait of Johnson in Retaliation ?' was it affection or fear that withheld the poet's hand ?" Had Goldsmith ever completed his poem, no doubt Johnson and others would have had their places. “ Affection” did not exclude Reynolds ; neither did “ fear" deter from the inclusion of Burke. -Ed.]
3 Dr. Barnard, Dean of Derry [afterwards successively Bishop of Killaloe and Limerick).
4 The Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke.
5 Mr. William Burke, a kinsman of Edmund, formerly secretary to General Conway, and member for Bedwin.
6 Mr. Richard Burke, younger brother of Edmund. He held a post in Spain at this time.
7 Mr. Richard Cumberland, author of The West Indian,' The Jew,' and other dramatic works.
8 Dr. John Douglas, Canon of Windsor, and afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, was himself a native of Scotland, and obtained considerable reputation by his detection of the forgeries of his countrymen, Lauder and Bower.' Vide post, notes.-B.
9 David Garrick, actor, and manager of Drury Lane Theatre.