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He could not be affected or uninteresting upon any subject. A profound, powerful, or subtle thinker he was not, and his culture, of course, was exceedingly desultory and imperfect. But there lay in him a vein as exquisitely natural and true, within its limits, as any writer ever possessed. When we analyse his genius; we find it to be composed of the following elements :-a keen perception and enjoyment of the surface beauties of nature ; an intuitive knowledge of the human heart; a power of instinct of common sense, which supplies the lack of logic and learning, and is all the more powerfully displayed in his writings, that none of it was diverted to the regulation of his conduct or life ; a fine healthy tone of moral feeling ; an exquisite taste; a mild but sincere enthusiasm ; a humour at once rich and delicate ; and a style yielding in felicity, transparency, and grace, to Addison's alone. Imagination of the highest order -of that order which constructs great epics, swelters out deep tragedies, or soars up into lofty odes-Goldsmith did not possess; and, with all his vanity, never dreamed that he did. But he had a fine fancy, which sometimes, as in “ The Traveller," and portions of “The Deserted Village, verges on the imaginative, and produces short-lived bursts of grandeur. He has pathos, too, of a very tender and touching kind. He opens up at times, as in portions of “ The Citizen of the World,” a vein of quiet, serious reflection, which, if never profound, is very pleasing and poetical. Best of all is a childlike simplicity, which, wherever it is found in an author, serves to cover a multitude of sins, but which, in Goldsmith, co-exists, with manly sense, acute appreciation of character, and refined native genius. His literary faults are, as we have hinted, very few. He is sometimes too severe in his judgments of other writers. His ease of style occasionally degenerates into carelessness; and he often exhibits a dogmatism which his resources are not able to support-a fault incident, we suspect, to all half-taught writers.
His « Traveller" is a poem in the style of Pope-less thoroughly finished than his masterpieces, but warmed by a finer poetic enthusiasm, and abounding in those slight, successful touches which best exhibit the artist's hand. He takes you with him in every step of his tour ; you
“Run the great circle, and are still at home." And the moral he draws from the whole, if not strictly correct, is ideally beautiful-none the less so that the words expressing it are lines which Johnson contributed to the poem
“How small, of all that human hearts endure,
Our own felicity we make or find." In his “ Deserted Village” he chooses a less ambitious, but a more interesting field. Like the chased hare, he flies back to his form-his dear native village, and the poem is just a daguerreotype of Lishoy and its inhabitants-only so far coloured as memory colours all the past with its own poetic hues. The same power of delicate, minute, and rapid painting, he has applied, in “Retaliation," to living men; and Plutarch, as a character-painter, is a dauber to Oliver Goldsmith; nor has Reynolds himself, in those portraits of his in which, according to Burke, he has combined the "invention of history and the amenity of landscape,” excelled these little sketches, where the artist not only draws the literal features, but gives at once the inner soul and the future history of his subjects. The characters of Garrick and Burke have never been surpassed, and have been approached only by Lowell, in his “Fable for Critics,”—a poem formed upon the model (and the motive, too!) of “Retaliation."
He has written but one novel ; but as we said that the world has only had one Goldsmith, so literature has only had one “ Vicar of Wakefield," It is quite unique, and, perhaps, more than anything else in all his writings, stamps the originality of his powers. The ease of the narrative; the genuine benevolence of heart and bonhommie of temper which sparkle in every page ; the descriptions of nature, so unostentatiously graphic, and so artlessly interposed throughout the story; the characters so new and native, and yet so familiar to all of us, including the delightful group of the vicar's family; the venerable old monogamist himself; his wife, with her grogram gown, and her hearty laugh ; George, the genteel and interesting vagabond ; Moses, the alias of the author himself, with his immortal gross of green spectacles; the two beautiful daughters, so finely discriminated from each other; the little boys, with their dear prattle; not to speak of the monosyllabic Mr. Burchell, with his everlasting " Fudge!” Mr. Jenkinson, with his one scrap of rusty learning, about the cosmogony of the world having puzzled philosophers in all ages; the simpering Miss Wilmot; the political butler setting up for his master; and the never-tobe-forgotten and never-to-be-sufficiently-admired Miss Wilhelmina-Carolina-Amelia Skeggs; the individual incidents, especially that of the family painting and the state journey to church; the thousand quiet glances into the very depths ef the human heart--hare rendered the “Vicar of Wakefield,” next to the "Pilgrim's Progress," "Don Quixote," and "Robinson Crusoe,” the most fascinating of all fictions. We had rather, for our part, have been its author, than have written all Dickens's novels, one half of Bulwer's, and one-third of Sir Walter Scott's. It is a veritable creation, and yet seems as old as the fields and flowers. You take it to your heart as instantly and as affectionately as you do them; and while, in common with every boy who reads it, you love and bless the kind-hearted author, you at the same time, with all critics, salute him as a “Maker' ?-a great original genius.”
THE ARISTOCRACY OF GENIUS, VERSUS THE ARISTOCRACY BY ROYAL
In the case of the late Mons. Arago, we have an instance of the profound indifference with which one of nature's true nobility can afford to look down on the royal patents by which the titular nobility of a country are created. “But M. Arago was not merely the man of genius or the man of science ; he was also the man of noble character, and of exalted moral feeling. When, in following his funeral car, the magic of memory called up before our eyes that noble head which we were no
more to behold, what we loved best to recall was not the discoveries, (the literary talents, the vast intelligence of the illustrious dead, but the moral dignity of his grand career. Never did science suffer humiliation in his person : he did not think that any adventitious distinctions could add honour to its worthy professors. One of his colleagues complaining one day that he had not received the insignia of some order with which he · had been decorated,' Take my decorations,' he said ; 'you shall have the first wearing of them, for I have never put them on.'
Some one, once, remarked to M. Arago, that it was a shame that the honour of being raised to the English peerage had not been conferred upon James Watt. "So much the worse for the English peerage,' replied he ; . James Watt would have conferred honour upon it !""
The philosopher spoke the truth. The peerage would not have dignified James Watt, but he would have dignified the peerage. The distinction which genius confers, will outlive, not merely that conferred by royal patent, but the memory of royalty itself, no matter how splendid its
trappings. This is beautifully illustrated in the following passage, from an unknown hand—“At the base of the Pharos'of Alexandria the name of the reigning monarch was engraved on a composition which the artist knew would last no longer than the king's life. Under this, and cut deeply into the marble, was his own name and the dedication, Sostratos
son of Dexiteles, to the Gods, Protectors of Sailors.” So will it be with the Georgium Sidus, the Ferdinandia, &c. Flattery's plaster of Paris will crumble away, and under it we shall read the names of Herschell, Piozzi, and their compeers.”.
But it will readily occur to our readers, it is hoped, that there is a kind of distinction-a distinction that virtue confers - which will last longer than either. The poet has seized on this sentiment, in the following Lines
« Tis only noble to be good,
HOW ROME PERSECUTES THE DEAD! It appears that the great violinist Paganini who died so many years back has not yet been buried. The Roman Catholic clergy of Nice refused him Christian sepulture, because he refused to receive the sacrament in his last moments, His nephew and heir applied to the ecclesiastical court for an order for them to proceed to the burial. After immense delay, his application was rejected. He therefore appealed to the Archiepiscopal Court of Genoa. After more delay, a judgment was given, quite recently, to the effect that the interment should take place in the ordinary cemetery. But against this decision the ecclesiastical party has presented an appeal to a superior jurisdiction. In the meantime the remains of the great violinist are left in a garden.
IS THERE AN UNBELIEVER ? Some twenty years ago the patronage of the English butterflies of fashion was divided between two song-writers—Thomas Moore and Thomas Haynes Bayly, both of them now in the grave. Sparks from their "crackling thorns” were greatly admired for a time; but whatever belongs to humanity must soon decline, and poor Bayls, long before his death, became the subject of neglect and destitution. In the season of his poverty, and it is hoped of his penitence, he wrote the following lines. They appeared at the time in the “ Globe."
Is there an unbeliever ?
Yes, the proud heart will ever
THE HARP OF PITCAIRY TESTIFYING TO THE TRUTH. The following lines, independent of their intrinsic merit, derive much interest from their having been transmitted to this country from Pitcairn's Island, the retreat of the well-known mutineers of the “Bounty:"
You ask how I feel in the prospect of death,
And whether the grave has no terrors for me ;
And to whom for relief in my sufferings I flee-
Yet will I endeavour an answer to give ;
I believe ! I believe !
To keep me long waiting the word to depart;
I oft have implored,
Much love in this chast'ning I plainly preceive;
I believe ! I believe !
That scarce to the worms it can furnish a meal,
And in me the sad fruits of transgression reveal.
I believe ! I believe !
And these eyes, almost sightless, his glories behold ;
And this heart throb with rapture, though now beating cold.
Shall I there, when made worthy, a welcome receive ;
I believe ! I believe !
On the word of my God I can fully depend ;
And he will support and control to the end ;
That death on the cross did my ransom achieve-
I believe ! I believe ! Yes, I firmly believe.
WESLEYAN METHODIST ASSOCIATION
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. A LECTURE, delivered in the Burslem Sunday School, Dec. 27th, 1854.
By the Rev. J. M. Saul, Wesleyan Association Minister. It is our happiness to live in a very interesting period of the world's history-in a day in which knowledge is progressing, and the facilities to its attainment are being daily multiplied. In no period of our past history as a nation, was there ever manifested such an eager and universal desire after knowledge, as in the present day, and never was that desire so promptly and so fully met, as it is now. Never were there so many hearts and hands at work to meet this incessant demand, as there are now.
And never did the press of this country pour forth such a stream of literature as it does at this hour.
We do not say that this desire for knowledge is always supplied in the best way, and that the books which are being issued into the world, are all of the best kind-calculated to produce the best and happiest results. We think very differently. Many of those publications are of a highly objectionable character-calculated to foster and call into exercise the worst feelings and passions of human nature ; and, if permitted to go on unchecked in their influence, would shed their pernicious and withering effects over the minds and morals of our youth, would loosen the very framework of society, and ultimately pour a flood of corruption and ungodliness upon the whole land.
But it is matter of thankfulness, that efforts are being made to stem this tide of moral evil; that men are to be found who care for the welfare of the rising generation, who feel for the honour of religion, and who desire the future stability and glory of their country ; men, who are zealously engaged in efforts to counteract the baleful influence of those systems of error and infidelity, which, if realized, would ruin the character and prospects of the young men of our times, and would transmit their fatal poison to posterity. But, as Lord Brougham once said, “ The Schoolmaster is abroad?” and the evils of ignorance and error are being more than ever