« PreviousContinue »
MISCELLANIES (continued) :-
The fame of Oliver Goldsmith, while it is one of the highest in English literature, 'has likewise been one of the steadiest, and is certain to be one of the most lasting. Of all our standard authors, there are very few who please so many readers ; and, perhaps, none who is as widely popular is at
the same time so heartily appreciated by persons of refined and critical taste.
The “Vicar of Wakefield” has been read, and liked, oftener than any other novel in any European language. The "Citizen of the World," if less various and less dramatic than the essays of Addi.son and his friends, is inspired by warmer feeling than they, and guided by a deeper sense of human interests. “She Stoops to Conquer" overflowing with native gaiety, and seasoned by the truest humour, is one of the most pleasant comedies in existence. From “The Traveller,” our poetry has received much, from "The Deserted Village” it has received still more, of imagery flowing out of a fine and original fancy, of pathos which frequently dissolves into tenderness and sometimes swells into passion, and of expression so apt and so suggestive, that phrases and lines recur to us more readily than from any other works, except those of Shakspere and Pope. The ever-living interest of Goldsmith's imaginative pictures lies mainly in the glow of kindness, wishful rather than hopeful, by which they are brightened. The landscape stretches out in clear sunshine, from which a gentle breeze is always chasing the scattered clouds. The same amiable spirit charac. terizes his observation of real life: the thoughts look always toward social or individual good; the satire, when keenest, is never harsh. Over every