1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

Thomas Davies, in Life of Garrick (1780) 2:141, 150-51.



The doctor was a perfect Heteroclite, an inexplicable existence in creation; such a compound of absurdity, envy, and malice, contrasted with the opposite virtues of kindness, generosity, and benevolence, that he might be said to consist of two distinct souls, and influenced by the agency of a good and bad spirit....

His squabbles with booksellers and publishers were innumerable; his appetites and passions were craving and violent; he loved variety of pleasures, but could not devote himself to industry long enough to purchase them by his writings: upon every emergency half a dozen projects would present themselves to his mind; these he communicated to the men who were to advance money on the reputation of the author; but the money was generally spent long before the new work was half finished, or perhaps before it was commenced. This circumstance naturally produced reproach from one side, which was returned, sometimes with fair promises, often with anger and vehemence, on the other. After much and disagreeable altercation, one bookseller desired to refer the matter in dispute to the doctor's learned friend, a man of known integrity, and one who would favour no cause but that of justice and truth; Goldsmith consented, and was enraged to find that one author should have so little feeling for another, as to determine a dispute to his disadvantage, in favour of a paultry tradesman.