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providence. He remained single, and made all that were in suffering his family, and helped them even when he needed help himself. I know not whether more to admire the exquisite beauty of his poetry, the life and virtues of the Vicar of Wakefield, or the gloriously unworldly texture of his heart. Thousands of brilliant spirits have risen, glittered, and died in the field of our literature, having astonished and wounded their neighbours, as they have gone along in their pride, dreaming of an everlasting reputation, who are now justly forgotten, or are remembered without respect or emotion. They had intellect unallied to heart, and the cold meteor dazzled in its descent to earth, and left no blessing behind it. But the genial spirit of Goldsmith, all love and pity in itself, is and will be for ever remembered with love and reverence,—the last the very quality that he received least of in his lifetime. One of the most amiable and attractive points of view in which we contemplate Dr. Johnson, is that of his attachment to Goldsmith and of his acknowledgment of his genius.
The life of Oliver Goldsmith has been well written by Mr. Prior. It is almost the only one that I have found, during the researches necessary for this work, which might have rendered unnecessary a visit to the actual “ homes and haunts” of the poet under notice. It is a most rare circumstance that a biographer possesses the faculty of landscape-painting, and besides detailing the facts of a person's life, can make you see the places where that life was passed. Mr. Prior possesses this faculty in a high degree. He was at the pains to visit Ireland, and see, with his own eyes, the scenes where Goldsmith was born, and where he lived; and the different sojourns of Goldsmith in that country are so accurately sketched, that they might have been transferred literally to these pages with advantage, had not I myself also gone over the same ground.
Goldsmith was of a very respectable family in Ireland, many of whom had been clergymen, residing principally in the counties of Roscommon, Westmeath, and Longford. Two of them were deans of Elphin, another dean of Cloyne. Goldsmith used to boast that, by the female side, he was remotely descended from Oliver Cromwell, from whom his Christian name was derived. It seems, however, more likely, that he owed his name to his mother's father, the Rev. Oliver Jones, master of the diocesan school at Elphin. The poet's own father, Charles Goldsmith, was a poor curate at the time of the poet's birth. He had married Ann Jones at a time when he was without occupation, and therefore to the great dissatisfaction of her friends. Mrs. Goldsmith's uncle, however, was rector of Kilkenny West, near Lissoy, afterwards to become the residence of Goldsmith himself, and to receive from him the immortal name and celebrity of Auburn. This uncle provided the young couple with a house, about six miles from Kilkenny West, at a small hamlet called Pallasmore, and with a salary for officiating at the church of the parish in which Pallas or Pallasmore was situated, and also in that of his own, Kilkenny West. It seems Goldsmith's parents continued to reside twelve years at Pallas; and here the poet was born, on the 10th of November, 1728. He was one of eight children, five boys and three girls. He was the second son, his elder brother being Henry, who afterwards became curate of Kilkenny West, and lived at Lissoy, where Oliver addressed to him his poem, “ The Traveller.” That Goldsmith was come of a good stock, we may infer by the character of simple piety which both his poetry and local tradition give to his father, the good parish priest, — passing rich with forty pounds a year;” and not the less from the spirit and decision which his grandmother, Mrs. Jones, displayed, in order to improve the scanty income of Oliver's parents. The husband of this lady, the Rev. Oliver Jones, was now dead; she was a widow, her daughter and son-in-law were living at Pallas, on the poor stipend derived from his curacy. Her husband had rented a considerable tract of land on very advantageous terms, which now fell out of lease. She determined, if possible, to secure this for her son-in-law and daughter. She was refused: but, nothing daunted, she mounted behind her own son on a pillion, and set out on the long and arduous journey to Dublin, to try her personal influence with the landlord. Here the same refusal met her; but, as a last argument, she took out a hundred guineas, which she had provided herself with, and held them open in her hand while she pleaded. This had the effect that she procured half the land on the same easy terms as before; and she used jocularly to regret that she had not taken two hundred guineas, and thus got the whole. This noble act of maternal heroism is the more to be admired, as it cost her the life of her son, who received an injury of some kind on the journey.
Pallasmore, where Oliver Goldsmith was born, is a mere cluster of two or three cottages, called in Ireland farm-houses, but which, to an English eye, would present only the appearance of huts. The place lies quite out of the track of high-roads, about a mile and a half from Ballymabon in a direct line, but perhaps three, taking in all the windings of the ways to it. It is now the property of the Edgeworths. There is nothing remarkable in the aspect of the country. It is rather flat, naked of trees, and cultured by small tenants. It was with some difficulty that I reached it. My car-driver from Edgeworthstown knew nothing more of it than its name; and we had proceeded somewhat beyond the proper turning, as it lay quite off the highway, and were obliged to obtain permission to pass through the park of Newcastle, in order to reach it without making a great circuit. Having approached to within half-a-mile, a peasant pointed it out, as a group of white cottages standing in a clump of trees. The lanes were now become so narrow and stony that I was obliged to quit my car, as Mr. Prior describes himself to have done, and proceed across the fields on foot. I passed along the deep, stony, and narrow lanes; here and there a regular Irish cabin sticking in the bank, the smoke coming out of the door, or issuing from the thatched roof about on a level with the fields above. A boy who was teaching school in one of these came out with his book in his hand, and directed me into a footpath across the fields. I advanced through the standing corn, and at length reached this out-of-theworld spot, dignified with the sounding title of Pallasmore. Here about three whitewashed cottages, of a superior description to the cabins I had passed in the narrow lanes, stood amid a number of ashtrees looking out over an ordinary sort of country. A man, the inhabitant of one of them, advanced to show me the spot where the poet was born. He plunged into a potato-field, and at a few hundred yards from the cottages, in the bank of the next field, showed me a few stones, like the foundation of a wall, which have the reputation of being the sole remains of the house where the poet was born. Poets are, certainly, often born in odd places, but it nevertheless struck me strangely, that the man who was destined to spend the greater portion of his life in the dense crowd of London should have sprung out of this obscure and almost inaccessible location. There is nothing in the view around to suggest to the mind the most faint dream of poetry. Oliver Goldsmith, however, was a mere infant when first removed from this place. His father, two years after his birth, succeeded, on the death of his wife's uncle, to the rectory of Kilkenny West, and removed to Lissoy; but Oliver was accustomed to come hither, and make considerable sojourns with his brother Henry, who lived here when Oliver was grown up. The house is said to have been a good country house, looking towards Forney church, at which Oliver's father and brother used to preach, and which still rises to view between it and some distant woods, one of the most pleasing objects of the scene.
Popular tradition ascribes the utter destruction of the house to the fairies, who, on its becoming untenanted, used to take up their quarters there, and pursue their nocturnal sports in great content. But a tenant being found, and repairs of the house being commenced, a huge man in huge jackboots came every night, and making a horse of it by bestriding the roof, pushed his legs through the tiles, and, imitating galloping, shook the roof to pieces. It was therefore obliged to remain empty, till, falling into ruin, it was at length cleared away, with the exception of these few stones.
The very ordinary character of this scene, and of the country round, almost extinguished my desire for proceeding onwards five miles further to Lissoy, the reputed Auburn, especially as the Edgeworths had told me it was not worth my while. I inquired, however, of a farmer that I met on my return to the car that waited for me on the road, what sort of a place Lissoy, was.
“Oh, a very beautiful place !” said he, “a very beautiful place. You must see it—that was where Oliver Goldsmith lived and died.” “Lived, but not died," I replied: “he died in London.” “Oh no! your honour," replied the man; “I assure you he died there, and lies buried at Kilkenny West."
The accuracy of the man's account was about equal in all its parts. Lissoy was just as truly beautiful as Goldsmith was buried there. But this is always the way with the Irish peasantry. Unlike the Scotch, whose local knowledge is generally very correct, they seem to look upon all remarkable men as they do on their saints, and insist on their remains being preserved amongst them. At Kilcolman castle I was assured, with equal positiveness, that Spenser was buried just below the castle, and the spot pointed out to me. There was, however, sufficient charm in the farmer's assurance that Lissoy was a very beautiful place to turn the scale for going on. In such cases one is willing to be deceived, and follow the slightest word, though with an inward consciousness that we shall not find what we are promised. We drove on, therefore, six or seven miles further, over a very monotonous, naked country, only marked by a few banks for fences, and a few little smoky cabins with a poor population. It is a country that to Goldsmith's boyish fancy might be charming, but is certainly to an English eye by no means romantic. A part of an old round tower, however, stands near Auburn. There are the ruins of an old castle not far off, and old parks that are charming. One I passed, old, grey, craggy, and full of fern, but having not a single tree in it except old thorn-trees, large and of venerable age. There was a desolate antiquity about it that was attractive to the imagination. From the higher part of the road too, approaching Lissoy, you see the Shannon bastening on towards the west. Presently, at a turn of the road, we passed the public-house said to be that alluded to in the Deserted Village, and were in that “very beautiful place,” Lissoy. It consists, in fact, of a few common cottages by the road-side, on a flat and by no means particularly interesting scene. A few hundred yards beyond these cottages stand, at some distance from the road, the ruins of the house where Goldsmith's father lived, and which continued in the family till 1802, when it was sold by Henry, the son of Henry, Oliver Goldsmith's brother, the nephew of the poet, who had gone to America. This house was described in 1790 by the Rev. Mr. Hancock, of Athlone, who was intimately acquainted with the Goldsmith family, and indeed managed their property for them, as “a snug farm-house, in view of the high road, to which a straight avenue leads, with double rows of ash-trees, six miles north-east of this town-Athlone. The farm is still held under the Napier family, by a nephew of Goldsmith at present in America. In the front view of the house is the decent church' of Kilkenny West, that literally "tops the neighbouring hill;' and in a circuit of not more than half-a-mile diameter around the house, are 'the neverfailing brook,''the busy mill,' the hawthorn bush with seats beneath the shade,''the brook with mantling cresses spread,” “the straggling fence that skirts the way, with blossomed furze unprofitably gay, 'the thorn that lifts its head on high, where once the sign-post caught the passing eye,' the house where nut-brown_draughts inspired ;' in short, every striking object of the picture. There are, besides, many ruined houses in the neighbourhood, bespeaking a better state of population than at present."
Such it was. Prior's description of it, at his visit a few years ago, would very nearly do for it now.. “The house once occupied by the rector of Kilkenny West, pleasantly situated and of good dimensions, is now a ruin, verifying the truth of the pathetic lines of his son
• Vain, transitory splendours! could not all
The front, including a wing, extends, as nearly as could be judged by pacing it, sixty-eight feet by a depth of twenty-four; it consisted of two stories, with five windows in each. The roof has been off for a period of twenty years: the gable-ends remain, but the front and back walls of the upper story have crumbled away, and, if the hand of the destroyer be not stayed, will soon wholly disappear. Two or three wretched cottages for labourers, surrounded by mud, adjoin it on the left. Behind the house is an orchard of some extent, and the remains of a garden, both utterly neglected. In fact, the pretty avenue of double rows of ash-trees, which formed the approach from the high-road, about sixty yards distant, and at one time presented an object of interest to travellers, has, like every other trace of care or superintendence, disappeared-cut down by the ruthless band of some destroyer. No picture of desolation can be more complete. As if an image of the impending ruin had been present, the poet bas painted with fearful accuracy what his father's house was to be :
'Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.'” Little can be added to that account. There still stands the long white ruin of the house which sheltered Goldsmith as a boy, at the right-hand end one tall gable and chimney remaining aloft, the other having since Mr. Prior's visit fallen in. At the left hand, near the house, still remains one of the wretched cottages he mentions. I went into it. The floor of mud was worn into hollows, in which geese were sitting in little pools. There was a dresser on one side, with a few plates laid on it; a few chairs, of a rudeness of construction such as no Englishman who has not visited an Irish cabin has any conception of, and the interior of the roof, for ceiling it had none, was varnished into a jetty brilliancy by the smoke.
Behind the ruins of the house there are still the orchard and wild remains of a garden, enclosed with a high old stone wall. One could imagine this retreat a play place for the embryo poet, whose charm would long linger in his memory: and in truth, when the house was complete, with its avenue of ash-trees, along which you looked to the highway, and thence across a valley to the church of Kilkenny West, on a hill at about a mile distant, the abode of Goldsmith's boyhood must have been a very pleasant one. It is now seen as stripped of all its former attractions,-its life, its completeness as a house, its trees, -and stands a white, bare, and solitary ruin.
Many people think, that as Goldsmith's father was the clergyman, this was the parsonage. It was not so. The parsonage was at Kilkenny West, where the present rector resides. This house was attached to the farm which the pastor had here, and was probably a much better and more commodious dwelling than the parsonage.
Returning to the village,-if three or four poor cottages by the roadside can deserve that name,—the public-house is the object which attracts your attention. This is said to be the very house of which Goldsmith speaks in the Deserted Village. Goldsmith, however,