In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Oliver Goldsmith

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Around 1857

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00171

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Floyd Stovall recognized this piece as a "paraphrase, with a few quotations, of Macauley's essay on Goldsmith in Encyclopedia Britannica (8th ed.) which Whitman would have read in Harper's Magazine, 14 (April 1857), 633–639. See Stovall, "Notes on Whitman's Reading," American Literature 26 (November 1954), 348.

Contributors to digital file: Lauren Grewe, Nicole Gray, Ty Alyea, Matt Cohen, and Kevin McMullen

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Oliver Goldsmith

born at Pallas, (Ireland) Nov. 1728

father a curate & small farmer

—moved to Wesmeath £200 a year

educated Trinity College, Dublin

thoughtless, heedless, credulous,
—gambled, was helped to money—lost it—


at 24 went to Edinbugh to lectures—thence to Leyden—

—at 27 with a smattering of medical knowledge wandered through France, Italy, Switzerland—Flanders, Italy

—returned to England—lived in low life from 30 to 36—a literary hack

—then better known & better off

—then prosperous received sums of £200, £300, £600 &c for his poems, histories & plays—


as a talker, fri[illegible]volous, weak, no good—


as a writer and compiler, wonderfully ignorant

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was a gambler still—got deeply in debt £2000—preyed upon his mind—


associates regarded him with kindness and contempt


he was envious, and showed it—


income last 7 years of his life £400 a year


died 3rd April, 1774—in his 46th year


he sometimes felt keenly the sarcasm which his wild blundering talk brought upon him.

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