Oliver, the second son of Charles and Anne Goldsmith, was born in Ireland, on the 29th of November, 1728, at Smith-hill, in the county of Roscommon, at the house of his maternal grandfather; and not in the year or at the place mentioned in Johnson's epitaph on him. By another mistake made in the note of his entrance in the college register, he is represented to have been a native of the county of Westmeath. Both these errors, which appear to have been caused by the changes in his father's residence, have been rectified in a letter addressed by Dr. Strean, a clergyman in the diocese of Elphin, to Mr. Mangin, and inserted by that gentleman in his entertaining book called An Essay on Light Reading.
His father removed from Smith-hill to Pallas, in the parish of Forney and county of Longford, and afterwards to his rectory of Kilkenny West, in the county of Westmeath; and in the later of these parishes, at or Auburn, he built the house described as the Village-preacher's modest mansion in The Deserted Village. his mother was daughter of the Rev. Oliver Jones, master of the diocesan school at Elphin. Their family consisted of five sons and two daughters. In a letter from his elder sister, Catherine, the wife of Daniel Hodson, Esq. inserted in the Life of Goldsmith, which an anonymous writer, whom I suppose to have been Cowper's friend, Mr. Rose, from a passage in Mr. Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, prefixed to his Miscellaneous Works, wonders are told of his early predilection for the poetical art; but those who have observed the amplification with which the sprightly sallies of childhood are related by domestic fondness, will listen to such narrations with some abatement of confidence. It seems probable, that a desire of literary distinction might have been infused into his youthful mind by hearing of the reputation of his countryman, Parnell, with whom, as we leant from his life of that poet, his father and uncle were acquainted.
He received the first rudiments of learning from a school-master who taught in the village where his parents resided, and who had served, as a quarter-master during the war of the Succession in Spain; and from the romantic accounts which this man delighted to give of his travels, Goldsmith is supposed, by his sister, to have contracted his propensity for a wandering life. From hence he was removed successively to the school at Elphin, of which Oliver Jones was master, and to that of Athlone; and, lastly, was placed under the care of the Rev. Patrick Hughes, of Edgeworthstown, in the county of Longford, to whose instruction he acknowledged himself to have been more indebted than to that of his other teachers.
It was probably that untowardness in his outward appearance, which never afterwards left him, that made his schoolfellows consider him a dull boy, fit only to be the butt of their ridicule.
On his last return after the holidays to the house of his master, an adventure befel him, which afterwards was made the groundwork of the plot in one of his comedies. Journeying along leisurely, and being inclined to enjoy such diversion as a guinea, that had been given him for pocket-money, would afford him on the road, he was overtaken by night at a small town called Ardagh. Here, inquiring for the best house in the place he was directed to a gentleman's habitation that literally answered that description, under a delusion, the opposite to that entertained by the knight of La Mancha, he rides up to the supposed inn; and having given his horse in charge to the ostler, enters without ceremony. The master of the house, aware of time mistake, resolves to favour it; and is still less inclined to undeceive his guest, when he finds out from his discourse that he is the son of an acquaintance and a neighbour. A good supper and a bottle or two of wine are called far, of which the host, with his wife and daughter, are invited to partake; and a hot cake is providently ordered for the morrow's breakfast. The young traveller's surprise may he conceived, when, in calling for his bill, he finds under what roof he has been lodged, and with whom he had been putting himself on such terms of familiarity.
In June, 1744, he was sent a sizer to Trinity College, Dublin, and placed under the tuition of Mr. Wilder, one of the fellows, who is represented to have been of a temper so morose as to excite the strongest disgust in the mind of his pupil. He did not pass through his academical course without distinction. Dr. Kearney (who was afterwards provost), in a note on Boswell's Life of Johnson, informs us, that Goldsmith gained a premium at the Christmas examination, which, according to Mr. Malone, is more honourable than those obtained at the other examinations, inasmuch as it is the only one that determines the successful candidate to he the first in literary merit. This is enough to disprove what Johnson is reported to have said of him, that he was a plant that flowered late; that there appeared nothing remarkable about him when he was young; though, when he had got in fame, one of his friends began to recollect something of his being distinguished at college. Whether he took a degree is not known. On one occasion he narrowly escaped expulsion for having been concerned in the rescue of a student, who, in violation of the supposed privileges of the University, had been arrested for debt within its precincts: but his superiors contented themselves with passing a public censure on him.
Having been deprived, by death, of his father, who had with difficulty supported him at college, he became a dependant on the bounty of his uncle, the Rev. Thomas Contarine; and after fluctuating in his choice of an employment in life, was at length established as a medical student at Edinburgh, in his twenty-fifth year.
Dr. Strean mentions, that he was at one time intended for the church, but that appearing before the Bishop, when he went to be examined for orders, in a pair of scarlet breeches, he was rejected.
From Edinburgh, when he had completed his attendance on the usual course of lectures, he removed to Leyden, with the intention of continuing his studies at that University.
Johnson used to speak with coarse contempt of Goldsmith's want of veracity. "Noll," said he to a lady of much distinction in literature, who repeated to me his words, "Noll, madam, would lie through an inch board. In this instance, Johnson's known partiality to Goldsmith fixes the stigma so deeply, that we can place no reliance on the account he gave of what befel him, when he imagined himself to be no longer within reach of detection. In a letter to his uncle he relates that, before going to Holland, he had embarked in a vessel for Bourdeaux that the ship was driven by a storm into Newcastle-upon-Tyne, that he was there seized on suspicion of being engaged with the rebels, and thrown into prison; that the vessel, meanwhile proceeding on her voyage, was wrecked at the mouth of the Garonne, where all the crew perished; and that, at the end of a fortnight, being liberated, he set sail in a vessel bound for Holland, and in nine days arrived safely at Rotterdam. After a residence of about a twelvemonth at Leyden, he was involved in difficulties, occasioned by his love of gambling, a ridiculous inclination that adhered to him for the remainder of his life. He now set out with the resolution of visiting the principal parts of the Continent on foot; and, according to his own report of himself, made his way by a variety of stratagems, sometimes recruiting his finances by the acquisition of small sums proposed in the foreign universities to public disputants; at others, securing himself a hospitable reception by the exercise of a moderate share of skill in playing the flute — his "tuneless pipe," as he calls it, in that passage of The Traveller where he alludes to this method of supplying his wants.
Thus, if we are to believe him, he passed through the Netherlands, France, and Germany, into the Swiss Cantons; and in that country, so well suited to awaken the feelings of a poet, he composed a part of The Traveller, and sent it to his elder brother, a clergyman in Ireland. Continuing his journey into Italy, he visited Venice, Verona, Florence, and Padua; and having spent six months at the University in the last mentioned city, returned through France to England in 1756. From his Inquiry into the Present State of Learning, we collect, that when at Paris, he attended the Chemical Lectures of Rouelle.
In the meantime his uncle had died; and he found himself, on his arrival in London, so destitute even of a friend to whom he could refer for a recommendation that he with difficulty obtained first the place of an usher to a school, and afterwards that of assistant in the laboratory of a chemist. At last, meeting with Doctor Sleigh, formerly his fellow-student at Edinburgh, he was enabled, by the kindness of this worthy physician, who appears in so amiable a light as the patron of Barry, in the Memoirs of that painter, to avail himself more effectually of his knowledge in medicine, and to earn a subsistence, however scanty, by the practice of that art.
The Bankside in Southwark, and the Temple, or its vicinity, were successively the places where he fixed his residence. To his professional gains he soon added the emoluments arising from his exertions as an author. In 1758, he took a share in the conduct of the literary journal called the Monthly Review; and for the space of seven or eight months, while the employment lasted, lodged, in the house of Mr. Griffiths, the proprietor of it. The next year he contributed several papers to the Bee, a collection of essays, and published his Inquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning, in which he speaks of the Monthly Review in terms not very respectful. There is, I doubt, in this little essay more display than reality of erudition. It would not be easy to say where he had discovered "that Dante was persecuted by the critics as long as he lived." The complaints he made of the hard fate of authors, and his censure of odes and of blank verse, were well-calculated to conciliate the good will, and to excite the sympathy of Johnson, with whom he soon became intimate.
Poverty and indiscretion were other claims, by which the benevolent commiseration of Johnson could scarcely fail to be awakened; and his acquaintance with Goldsmith. had not subsisted long, when an occasion presented itself for rescuing him from the consequences of those evils. One day, calling on our poet, at his lodgings in Wine-office Court, Fleet-street, he found him under arrest for debt, and engaged in violent altercation with his landlady. Taking from him the Vicar of Wakefield, then just written, Johnson proceeded with it to Newbery the bookseller, from whom he obtained sixty pounds for his friend; and Goldsmith's good humour, and the complaisance of his hostess, returning with this accession of wealth, they spent the remainder of the day together in harmony. In this novel, like Fielding and Smollett, he exhibits a very natural view of familiar life. Inferior to the first in the artful management of his story, and to the latter in the broader traits of comic character, and not equal to either in variety and fertility, he is, nevertheless, to be preferred to both for his power of passing from the ludicrous to the tender, and for his regard to moral decency. It was not printed till some years after, in 1766, when his reputation had been in some degree established by The Traveller. Meanwhile he published, in a periodical work called the Ledger, his Letters from a Citizen of the World to his Friend in the East, in which, under the character of a Chinese philosopher, he describes the customs and manners of Europeans. But this assumed personage is an awkward concealment for the good-humoured Irishman, with his never-failing succession of droll stories. Of these there are too many; and the want of any thing like a continued interest is sensibly felt. I do not know of any book, on the same plan, that is to be compared with the Persian Letters of Montesquieu.
In the spring of 1763, he had lodgings in Islington; and continuing there till the following year, he revised several petty publications for Newbery, and wrote the Letters on English History, which, from their being published as the letters of a nobleman to his son, have been attributed by turns to the Earl of Orrery and Lord Lyttelton.
His next removal was to the Temple, where he remained for the rest of his life, not without indulging a project, equally magnificent and visionary, of making a journey into the East, in order to bring back with him such useful inventions as had not found their way into Britain. He was ridiculed by Johnson for fancying himself competent to so arduous a task, when he was utterly unacquainted with our own mechanical arts. He would have brought back a grinding barrow, said Johnson, and thought that he had furnished a wonderful improvement. The more feasible plan of returning with honour and advantage to his native country, was held out to him through the patronage of the Earl of Northumberland. That nobleman, who was then the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, sent for him, and made him an offer of his protection. Goldsmith, with his characteristic simplicity, replied, that he had a brother there, a clergyman, who stood in need of help; that, for himself, he looked to the booksellers for support. This reliance happily did not deceive him. By the rewards of his literary labours, he was placed in a comparative state of opulence, in which his propensity for play alone occasioned a diminution.
In 1765, appeared The Hermit, The Traveller, and the Essays.
About this time a club was formed, at the proposal of Reynolds which consisted, besides that eminent painter and our poet, of Johnson, Burke Burke's father-in-law, Doctor Nugent, Sir John Hawkins, Langton, Beauclerk, and Chamier, who met and sipped together every Friday night, it the Turk's Head, in Gerard-street, Soho. The bookseller's shop belonging to Dr. Griffiths, called the Dunciad, in the neighbourhood of Catherine-street, was another of his favourite haunts.
His comedy of the Good Natured Man, though it had received the sanction of Burke's approval, did not please Garrick sufficiently to induce him to venture it on his theatre. It was, therefore, brought forward by Colman, at Covent Garden, on the 29th of January, 1769; but having been represented for nine nights, did not longer maintain its place on the stage, though it is one of these comedies which afford most amusement in the closet. For his conception of the character of Croaker, the author acknowledged that he was indebted to Johnson's Suspirius, in the Rambler. That of Honeywood, in its undistinguishing benevolence, bears some resemblance to his own.
In the next year he published his Deserted Village and entered into an agreement with Davies, to compile a History of England, in four octavo volumes, for the sum of five hundred pounds, in the pace of two years; before the expiration of which period, he made a compact with the same bookseller for an abridgment of the Roman History, which he had before published. The History of Greece, which has appeared since his death, cannot with certainty be ascribed to his pen.
In 1771, he wrote the Life of Bolingbroke, prefixed to the Dissertation on Parties.
The reception which his former play had met did not discourage him from trying his fate with a second. But it was not till after much solicitation, that Colman was prevailed on to allow The Mistakes of a Night, or She Stoops to Conquer, to be acted at Covent Garden on the 15th of March, 1773. A large party of zealous friends, with Johnson at their head, attended to witness the representation and to lead the plaudits of the House; a scheme which Mr. Cumberland describes to have been preconcerted with much method, but to have been near failing in consequence of some mistakes in the execution of the manoeuvres, which aroused the displeasure of the audience. That the piece is enlivened by such droll incidents, as to be nearly allied to farce, Johnson with justice observed, declaring, however, that "he knew no comedy for many year that had so much exhilarated n audience; that had so much answered the great end of comedy, that of making an audience merry."
The History of the Earth and Animated Nature, in eight volumes, closed the labours of Goldsmith. This compilation, however recommended by the agreeableness of style usual to its author, is but little prized for its accuracy. In a summary of past events, which are often differently related by writers of authority and credit nearly equal, it is in vain to look for certainty. But when we are presented with a description of natural objects that required only to be looked at in order to be known, we are neither amused nor instructed without some degree of precision. History partakes of the nature of romance. Physiology is more closely connected with science. In the one we must often rest contented with probability. In the other we know that truth, is generally to be attained, and therefore expect to find it.
Goldsmith had been for some time subject to attacks of strangury; and having before experienced relief from James's powders, had again recourse to that popular medicine. His medical attendants are said to have remonstrated with him on its unfitness in the stage to which his disorder had reached; but he persevered; and his fever increasing, and some secret distress of mind, under which he owned to Doctor Turton that he laboured, aggravating his bodily complaint, he expired on the 4th of April in his forty-fifth year.
He was privately interred in the Temple burying ground. A monument is erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey, with the following epitaph by Johnson, written at the solicitation of their common friends.
Olivarii Goldsmith, Poem, Physici, Historici,
Qui nullum fere scribendi genus
Nullum quod tetigit non ornnvit:
Seu risus essent movendi,
Affectuum potens at lenis dominator:
Ingenio sublimis, vividus, versatilis,
Oratione grandis, nitidus, venustus:
Hoc monumento memoriam coluit
Natus in Hibernia, Forniae Longfordiensis,
In loco cui nomen Pallas.
Nov. XXIX, MDCCXXXI.
Eblanae literis institutus;
April. IV, MDCCLXXIV.
It has been questioned whether there is any authority for using the word "tetigit" as it is here employed. I have heard it observed by one, whose opinion on such subjects is decisive, that "contigit" would have better expressed the writer's meaning.
Another epitaph composed by Johnson in Greek, deserves notice, as it shows how strongly his mind was impressed by Goldmith's abilities [Greek characters]. "Thou beholdest the tomb of Oliver; press not, O stranger, with the foot of folly, the venerable dust. Ye who care for nature, for the charms of song, for the deeds of ancient days, weep for the Historian, the Naturalist, the Poet."
Goldsmith's stature was below the middle height; his limbs, sturdy; his forehead, more prominent than is usual; and his face, almost round, pallid, and marked with the smallpox.
The simpleness, almost approaching to fatuity, of his outward deportment, combined with the power which there was within, brings to our recollection some part of the character of La Fontaine, whom a French lady wittily called the Fable Tree, from his apparent unconsciousness, or rather want of mental responsibility for the admirable productions which he was continually supplying. His propriety and clearness when he expresses his thoughts with his pen, and his confusion and inability to impart them in conversation, well illustrated the observation of Cicero, that it is very possible for a man to think rightly on any subject, and yet to want the power of conveying his sentiments by speech in fit and becoming language to others. "Fieri potest ut recte quis sentiat, sed id quod sentit polite eloqui non possit." Yet Mr. Cumberland, who was one of his associates, has informed us, "that he had gleams of eloquence."
Johnson said of him that he was not a social man; he never exchanged mind with you. His prevailing foible was a desire of shining in those exterior accomplishments which nature had denied him. Vanity, and benevolence had conspired to make him an easy prey to adulation and imposture.
His complaints of the envy by which he found his mind tormented, and especially on the occasion of Johnson's being honoured by an interview with the King, must have made those who heard him lose all sense of the evil passion, in their amusement at a confession so novel and so pleasant.
One day, we are told, he complained in a mixed company of Lord Camden. "I met him," said he, "at Lord Clare's house in the country, and he took no more notice of me than if I had been an ordinary man." The story of his peach-coloured coat will not soon be forgotten.
Their graces serve them but as enemies,
Goldsmith was one of those in whom their frailties are more likely to serve them as friends; for they were such as could scarcely fail to assist in appeasing malevolence and conciliating kindness. Be this as it will, he must, with all his weaknesses, be considered as one of the chief ornaments of the age in which he lived.
Comparisons have been made between the situation of the then eminent for literature in Queen Anne's time and at the commencement of the reign of George the Third. In the former, beginning to be disengaged from the court, where they were more at home during the reign of the Charleses, they were falling under the influence of the nobility, amongst whom they generally found their patrons, and often their associates. In the latter, they had been insensibly shaken off alike by the court and the nobles, and were come into the hands of the people and the booksellers. I know not whether they were much the worse for this change. If in the one instance they were rendered more studious of elegance and smartness; in the other, they attained more freedom and force. In the former, they were oftener imitators of the French. In the latter, they followed the dictates of a better sense, and trusted more to their own resources. They lost, indeed, the character of wits, but they aspired to that of instructors. Yet in one respect, and that a material one, it must be owned, that they were sufferers by this alteration in affairs. For the quantity of their labours having become more important under their new masters than it was under their old ones, they had less care of selection, and their originality was weakened by diffusiveness. They indulged themselves but sparingly in the luxury of composing verse, which was too thriftless an occupation to be continued long. They used it, perhaps, as the means of attracting notice to themselves at their first entrance on the world, but not as the staple on which they were afterwards to depend. When the song had drawn a band of hearers around them, it had done its duty. The crowd was to be detained and encreased, by expectations of advantage rather than of pleasure. A writer consulted Goldsmith on what subjects he might employ his pen with most profit to himself. "It will be better," said the author of The Traveller and The Deserted Village, laughing indeed, but in good earnest, "to relinquish the draggle-tail muses. For my part, I have found productions in prose more sought after and better paid for." This is, no doubt, the reason that his verse bears so small a proportion to his other writings. Yet it is by the former, added to the few works of imagination which he has left besides, that he will be known to posterity. His histories will probably be superseded by more skilful or more accurate compilations; as they are now read by few, who can obtain information nearer, to its original sources.
In the natural manner of telling a short and humorous story, he is perhaps surpassed by no writer of prose except Addison. In his Essays, the style preserves a middle way between the gravity of Johnson and the lightness of Chesterfield; but it may often he objected to them, as to the moral writings of Johnson, that they present life to us under a gloomy aspect, and leave an impression of despondence on the mind of the reader.
In his poetry there is nothing ideal. It pleases chiefly by an exhibition of nature in her most homely and familiar views. But from these he selects his objects with due discretion, and omits to represent whatever would occasion unmingled pain or disgust.
His couplets have the same slow and stately march as Johnson's; and if we can suppose similar images of rural and domestic life to have arrested the attention of that writer, we can scarcely conceive that he would have expressed them in different language.
Some of the lines in The Deserted Village are said to be closely copied from a poem by Welsted, called the [Greek characters; Oikographia]; but I do not think he will be found to have levied larger contributions on it, than most poets have supposed themselves justified in making on the neglected works of their predecessors.
The following particulars relating to this poem, which I have extracted from the letter of Dr. Strean before referred to, cannot fail to gratify that numerous class of readers with whom it has been a favourite from their earliest Years.
"The poem of The Deserted Village took its origin from the, circumstance of General Robert Napper (the grandfather of the gentleman who now lives in the house within half a mile of Lissoy, and built by the General), having purchased an extensive tract of the country surrounding Lissoy, or Auburn; in consequence of which, many families, here called cottiers, were removed to make room for the intended improvements of what was now to become the wide domain of a rich man, warm with the idea of changing the face of his new acquisition; and were forced 'with fainting steps,' to go in search of 'torrid tracts' and 'distant climes.'
"This fact alone might be sufficient to establish the seat of the poem; but there cannot remain a doubt in any unprejudiced mind, when the following are added; viz. that the character of the village-preacher, the above-named Henry, (the brother of the poet,) is copied from nature. He is described exactly as he lived; and his "modest mansion" as it existed Burn, the name of the village-master, and the site of his school-house, and Catherine Giraghty, a lonely widow;
The wretched matron forced in age for bread
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread;
(and to this day the brook and ditches, near the spot where her cabin stood, abound with cresses) still remain in the memory of the inhabitants, and Catherine's children live in the neighbourhood. The pool, the busy mill, the house where 'nut-brown draughts inspired,' are still visited as the poetic scene; and the 'hawthorn-bush' growing in an open space in front of the house, which I knew to have three trunks, is now reduced to one; the other two having been cut, from time to time, by persons carrying pieces of it away to be made into toys, &c. in honour of the bard, and of the celebrity of his poem. All these, contribute to the same proof; and the 'decent church,' which I attended for upwards of eighteen years, and which 'tops the neighbouring hill,' is exactly desribed as seen from Lissoy, the residence of the preacher.
"I should have observed, that Elizabeth Delap, who was a parishioner of mine, and died at the age of about ninety, often told me she was the 'first who put a book into Goldsmith's hand; by which she meant, that she taught him his letters: she was allied to him, and kept a little school."
The Hermit is a pleasing little tale, told with that simplicity which appears so easy, and is in fact so difficult, to be attained. It is imitated from the Ballad of a Friar of Orders Grey, in Percy's Reliques of English Poetry.
His Traveller was, it is said, pronounced by Mr. Fox to be one of the finest pieces in the English language. Perhaps this sentence was delivered by that great man with some qualification, which was either forgotten or omitted by the reporter of it; otherwise such praise was surely disproportioned to its object.
In this poem, he professes to compare the good and evil which fall to the share of those different nations whose lot he contemplates. His design at setting out is to show that, whether we consider the blessings to be derived from art or from nature, we shall discover "an equal portion dealt to all mankind." And the conclusion which he draws at the end of the poem would be perfectly just, if these premises were allowed him.
In every government though terrors reign,
Though tyrant kings or tyrant laws restrain,
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
Still ourselves in every place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find:
With secret course, which no loud streams annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.
The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel,
To men remote from power but rarely known,
Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.
That it matters little or nothing to the happiness of men whether they are governed well or ill, whether at they live under fixed and known laws, or at will of an arbitrary tyrant, is a paradox, the fallacy of which is happily too apparent to need any refutation. Nor is his inference warranted by those particular observations which be makes for the purpose of establishing it. When of Italy he tells us, "that sensual bliss all this nation knows," how is Italy to he compared either with itself when it was prompted by those "nobler aims," of which he speaks, or with that country where he sees
The lords of human kind pass by,
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand,
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagined right, above controul;
While e'en the Peasant learns these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man?
That good is every where balanced some evil, none will deny. But that no effort of human courage or prudence can make one scale preponderate over the other, and that a decree of fate has fixed them in eternal equipoise, is an opinion which, if it were seriously entertained, must bind men to a tame and spiritless acquiescence in whatever disadvantages or inconveniences they may chance to find themselves involved, and leave to them the exercise of no other public virtue than that of a blind submission. His poetry is happily better than his argument. He discriminates with much skill the manners of the several countries that pass in review before him; the illustrations, with which he relieves and varies his main subject, are judiciously interspersed and as he never raises his tone too far beyond his pitch at the first starting, so he seldom sinks much below it. The thought at the beginning appears to have pleased him; for he has repeated it in "the Citizen of the World:"
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart untravel'd fondly turns to thee;
Still to my brother turns with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
"The further I travel, I feel the pain of separation with stronger force; those ties that bind me to my native country and you are still unbroken. By every remove I only drag a greater length of chain."
To the poetical compositions of Goldsmith in general, may be applied with justice that temperate commendation which he has given to the works of Parnell in his life of that Poet. "At the end of his course the reader regrets that his way has been so short; he wonders that it gave him so little trouble; and so resolves to go the journey over again." There is much to solace fatigue and even to excite pleasure, but nothing to call forth rapture. We stay to contemplate and enjoy the objects on our road; but we feel that it is on this earth we have been traveling, and that the author is either not willing or not able to raise us above it.