Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extract from Retaliation
By Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774)
 
(See full text.)

  HERE lies our good Edmund, 1 whose genius was such,
We scarcely can praise it, or blame it, too much;
Who, born for the universe, narrowed his mind,
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.
Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat,        5
To persuade Tommy Townshend 2 to lend him a vote:
Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,
And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining;
Though equal to all things, for all things unfit,
Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit;        10
For a patriot too cool; for a drudge disobedient;
And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient.
In short, ’twas his fate, unemployed, or in place, sir,
To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.
*        *        *        *        *
  Here lies David Garrick, describe me who can,        15
An abridgment of all that was pleasant in man;
As an actor, confessed without rival to shine:
As a wit, if not first, in the very first line:
Yet, with talents like these, and an excellent heart,
The man had his failings, a dupe to his art.        20
Like an ill-judging beauty, his colours he spread,
And beplastered with rouge his own natural red.
On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting;
’Twas only that, when he was off, he was acting.
With no reason on earth to go out of his way,        25
He turned and he varied full ten times a day:
Though secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick,
If they were not his own by finessing and trick:
He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack,
For he knew when he pleased he could whistle them back.        30
Of praise a mere glutton, he swallowed what came,
And the puff of a dunce he mistook it for fame;
Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease,
Who peppered the highest, was surest to please.
But let us be candid, and speak out our mind,        35
If dunces applauded, he paid them in kind.
Ye Kenricks, ye Kellys, 3 and Woodfalls 4 so grave,
What a commerce was yours, while you got and you gave!
How did Grub-street re-echo the shouts that you raised,
While he was be-Rosciused, and you were bepraised!        40
But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,
To act as an angel and mix with the skies:
Those poets who owe their best fame to his skill,
Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will,
Old Shakspeare receive him with praise and with love,        45
And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.
*        *        *        *        *
  Here Reynolds is laid, and, to tell you my mind,
He has not left a wiser or better behind;
His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand;
His manners were gentle, complying, and bland;        50
Still born to improve us in every part,
His pencil our faces, his manners our heart:
To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
When they judged without skill, he was still hard of hearing:
When they talked of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff,        55
He shifted his trumpet, 5 and only took snuff.
 
Note 1. Edmund Burke. [back]
Note 2. Mr. T. Townshend, M.P. for Whitchurch, afterwards Lord Sydney. [back]
Note 3. Hugh Kelly, author of False Delicacy, &c. Died 1777. [back]
Note 4. William Woodfall, printer of the Morning Chronicle. Died 1803. [back]
Note 5. Sir Joshua Reynolds was deaf and used an ear-trumpet. [back]
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors