« ElőzőTovább »
"The life of a scholar,” Dr. Guldsmith has remarked, « seldom abounds “ with adventure ; his fame is acquired in
In the Memoirs, which were published in Lon. don, foon after the death of Dr. Goldsmith, were feveral mistakes, with respect to our author's age, the time of his admission into the college of Dublin, &c. which are here corrected from accurate in. formation. VOL. 1,
“ solitude, and the historian who only “views him at a distance, must be con“ tent with a dry detail of actions by “ which he is scarce distinguished from " the rest of mankind: but we are fond " of talking of those who have given us "pleasure, not that we have any thing “ important to say, but because the fub« je&t is pleasing.”
Oliver Goldsmith, son of the reverend Charles Goldsmith, was born at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon in Ireland, in the year 1729. His father had four sons, of whom Oliver was the third. After being well instructed in the classics, at the school of Mr. Hughes, he was admitted a sizer in Trinity-college, Dublin, on the 14th of June, 1744. While he resided there, he exhibited no specimens of that genius, which, in his maturer
years, raised his character so high. On the 27th of February, 1749. O. S. (two years after the regular time) he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Soon after, he turned his thoughts to the profeffion of phyfic; and, after attending some courfes of anatomy in Dublin, proceeded to Edinburgh, in the year 1751, where he studied the several branches of medicine under the different professors in that university. His beneficent disposition foon involved him in unexpected difficulties; and he was obliged precipitately to leave Scotland, in consequence of having engaged himself to pay a confiderable sum of money for a fellow- . student.
A few days after, about the beginning of the year 1754, he arrived at Sunderland, near Newcastle, where he was ar
rested at the suit of one Barclay, a taylor in Edinburgh, to whom he had given fe. curity for his friend. By the friendship of Mr. Laughlin Maclane and Dr. Sleigh, who were then in the college, he was foon delivered out of the hands of the bailiff, and took his passage on board a Dutch ship to Rotterdam, where, after a short stay, he proceeded to Brussels. He then visited
great part of Flanders; and, after palling some time at Strasbourg and Louvain, where he obtained a degree of Bachelor in physic, he accompanied an English gentleman to Geneva.
It is undoubtedly a fact, that this ingenious, unfortunate man, made most pars of his tour on foot.* He had left Eng. land with very little money; and, being of a philofophical turn, and at that time poffeffing a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified by danger, he became an enthusiast to the design he had formed of seeing the manners of different countries. He had some knowledge of the French language, and of music; he played tolerable well on the German Aute; which, from an amusement, became at some times the means of fubfistence. His learning produced him an hospitable reception at most of the religious houses that he visited; and his music made him welcome to the peasants of Flanders and Germany,
* “ Countries wear different appearances to travellers of different circumstances. A man who is