1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

William Rider, in Living Authors of Great Britain (1762) 13-14.



This Gentleman was born in Ireland. He studied Physic at Leyden, and took the Degree of Doctor at Edinburgh. He has wrote many Treatises, which have met with universal Approbation. His Essay on the present State of polite Learning in all Parts of Europe, at once does Honour to his Taste and Genius. His miscellaneous Collection of Essays, published under the Title of the Bee, was greatly admired, both on Account of the Elegance of the Stile, in which it is wrote, and the Variety of entertaining Articles which it contains. But the Chinese Letters, first published in the Ledger, in Numbers, and since republished in Volumes, under the Title of the Citizen of the World, are, of all the Productions of this Author, those that do the highest Honour to his Genius, as they must be acknowledged by every Reader free from the Influence of Prepossession, to be but little inferior to the Persian Letters of the celebrated Montesquieu. To conclude Dr. Goldsmith's Character as an Author, it must be acknowledged, that whilst he is surpassed by few of his Contemporaries with Regard to the Matter which his Writings contain, he is superior to most of them in Style, having happily found out the Secret to unite Elevation with Ease, a Perfection in Language, which few Writers of our Nation have attained to, as most of those who aim at Sublimity swell their Expressions with Fustian and Bombast, whilst those who affect Ease, degenerate into Familiarity and Flatness.