Macaulay is one of the foremost prose writers in English. His essays are brilliant and notable for their literary excellence and vivid details. In this essay, Macaulay has given a biographical account of Oliver Goldsmith.
Goldsmith was one of the most pleasing English writers of the 18th century. He was born at pallas in November 1728. His maid servant taught him letters. At the age of seven, he was sent to village school kept by an old quarter-master. There he had learnt reading, writing and arithmetic. At the age of nine, he went to several grammar schools and acquired knowledge of ancient language. His stature was small and he became the common butt of boys and masters. He was pointed at as a fright in the playground and flogged as a dunce in the school room.
At the age 17th he went to Trinity College, Dublin, as a sizar. He neglected the studies of the place. He stood low at the examinations. He was severely reprimanded for pumping on a constable. He was caned by a brutal tutor for giving a ball to gay youths and damsels from the city while he was studying at Dublin. His father died. Any have he got bachelors' degree and left the university.
Goldsmith, after his twenty first years, tried many professions. But he could not succeed in anything. He became a tutor and tried law. Then he went to Leyden to study physic. He left the university in his twenty seventh years, without getting the degree
His flute proved a useful friend. By playing flute, he procured a supper and a bed. He lived on the alms given at the gates of convents. In 1756, Oliver Goldsmith landed at Dover without a shilling (money), without a friend and without a calling. He had obtained doctor's degree from the University of Padua. Until he became thirty years he tried many things i.e., try to become a player, usher in school, bookseller's hack, prepared medicines, got medical appointment in East India company. He could not stay in any of these professions for long period.
In the next, succeeding six years, after thirty years, he sent articles for reviews, magazines and newspapers. His style of writing was pure, easy, and energetic. His rich humor gives pleasure to the readers. So that, styles made him popular in the field of writings.
After becoming a popular writer, he got many intellectual friends; he became an intimate friend of Dr.Johnson, Reynolds and Bruke. In 1762, he was one among nine members of the literary club.
Goldsmith left his village dwelling and settled in the region of Inns of Court. He did not pay the rent regularly, as he had to pay much, the land lady came with a sheriff. Johnson helped him to come out from the problems. And then he sold his writings for sixty pounds and paid the rent. It came too published as his first novel, The Vicar of Wakefield.
In 1764, Goldsmith published a poem called The Traveler. It was the first work raised him to rank of a legitimate English classic. Goldsmith tried his fortune as a dramatist. He wrote The Good Natured Man. Its plot was ill constructed. In 1770, appeared The Deserted Village. In 1773, he wrote his second play, She Stoops to Conquer. Goldsmith's comedies were not sentimental. He compiled for schools, History of Rome, History of England. History of Greece and Natural History, through this he earned much money. These writings were not written with accuracy and elaborate research.
Goldsmith became a great and prosperous man. His fame was great and constantly rising readers called him a genius, his heart was soft and generous. He earned good sort of money but he spent lavishly in gambling, from his boyhood, he was a gambler. He obtained advances from booksellers by promising to execute works which he had never begun. But his supply failed and he owned more than 200 pounds.
Goldsmith was suffered from nervous fever, his spirit and health gave way. At the age of 46, he died on 3rd April 1774. His friend mourns his death. Dr. Johnson, who is childhood friend of Goldsmith, knows the character and habit of Goldsmith well, so he adds his biography in his Lives of Poets as it ended with Lyttleton, who died in 1773. Within a few years after Goldsmith's death, the biography was written by the biographers, Mr.Prior, Mr.Washington and Mr.Foster.