1848 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cook

John Forster, in Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith (1848; 1871) 2:121-22 &n.



The poet of the Pleasures of Memory, interested in all that concerned the elder poet whose style he made the model for his own finished writings, knew Cooke well in the latter days of his life,* and gives me curious illustrations of the habit he then had fallen into when he spoke of his celebrated friend. "Sir," he said, on Mr. Rogers asking what Goldsmith really was in conversation, "he was a fool. The right word never came to him. If you gave him back a bad shilling, he'd say, 'Why it's as good a shilling as ever was born.' You know he ought to have said 'coined.' 'Coined,' sir, never entered his head. He was a fool, sir.'"

* Cooke survived till 1824, fully justifying what he always asserted, that he came from a long-lived family; his father having been actually a class-fellow with the youngest son of Dryden, and well remembering the funeral of the great poet.