1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

Isaac Reed, in Pearch, Supplement to Dodsley (1783) 4:134-35n.



Dr. Oliver Goldsmith was the third son of a clergyman, and was born at Elphin in the county of Roscommon, in Ireland, in the year 1729. After being instructed in the classics at the school of Mr. Hughes, he was admitted a sizer in Trinity College, Dublin, on the 11th 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. he obtained the degree of Batchelor of Arts. Soon after, he turned his thoughts to the profession of Physic; and, having attained some courses 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. In 1754, he quitted Scotland, and went to Rotterdam, where, after a short stay, he proceeded to Brussels. He then visited great part of Flanders; and passing some time at Strasbourg and Louvain, where he obtained a degree of Batchelor in Physic, he accompanied an English gentleman to Geneva. Of this tour much of it was made on foot, under many difficulties, and in great distress. On his arrival at Geneva, he was recommended as travelling tutor to a young man of fortune, with whom he went to the South of France, where they differed, and parted. At length, his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at Dover the beginning of the winter in the year 1758. His first employment in London was in the laboratory of a chymist near Fish Street; he then became Usher at Dr. Milner's Academy at Peckham, on quitting which place he commenced Author, and subsisted on the profits of his pen, which were very considerable, during the remainder of his life. His death, which was supposed to be hastened by the improper application of James's Fever Powder, happened on the 4th day of April, 1774, and he was buried in the Temple Burial Ground, since which time a monument has been placed to his memory in Westminster-Abbey.