Goldsmith, Oliver, was born on the 10th November, 1728, at Pallas or Pallasmore, in county Longford, but his father, a clergyman, soon obtained the living of Kilkenny West, and the boy was brought up in the neighbouring village of Lissoy. At seventeen he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he led a careless life. After taking his degree, he lived at home for two years. He tried to take orders, but, for unknown reasons, was rejected by the bishop. Then he held a tutorship, and made an attempt to emigrate, after which an uncle came to the rescue, and started him to study law at the Temple with £50. This, however, he spent in Dublin, and his uncle sent him to learn medicine in Edinburgh. There he remained from 1752 till 1754, after which he spent ten months at Leyden, at the end of which, being penniless, he thought that a tour might be enjoyable. He wandered to Italy, supporting himself by playing the flute and by other mysterious means. In 1756 he reached London, where he continued his hand-to-mouth existence, as a doctor, as a corrector of the press for Richardson, and as usher in the school of Dr. Milner at Peckham. It was in this school that he stumbled on literature as a profession. A bookseller, Griffiths, dining there, was so much struck by his ability that he employed him for board and lodging and a trifle of money to write in The Monthly Review. For Ave months this arrangement lasted, after which Goldsmith set up as a literary man on his own account, but soon drifted again to Peckham, then back to literature, until Dr. Milner obtained him the promise of a medical appointment on the Coromandel Coast. This prospect, however, was not realised, and after failing to pass an examination as "hospital mate" Goldsmith returned to his books. In 1759 he published his first original work, An Inquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe, and eight numbers of weekly essays in The Bee. In 1760 he brought out in The Public Ledger a series of letters from an imaginary Chinaman, which were so successful that they were republished in 1762 as The Citizen of the World. The year 1761 was marked by his first visit from Dr. Johnson, and in 1763 he became one of the original members of "The Literary Club," where he met Reynolds, Burke, Garrick, and other notable men. His anonymous Letters from a Nobleman to his Son made, at this time, a great success. He had now reached his great period of production. The Vicar of Wakefield was sold to a publisher in 1764 and published two years afterwards. His two best-known poems, The Traveller and The Beserted Village, came out in 1764 and 1770, and his two comedies The Good-Xatnred Man and She Stoops to Conquer, in 1767
and 1772. Meanwhile, reckless in expenditure, and ready to give his last guinea to anyone in distress, the poor genius was sinking deeply in drudgery and debt. He wrote much for booksellers, even long histories of Rome and of England, and a compilation in eight volumes on Animated Nature, and earned sums which would have kept an ordinary man in comfort. Anxiety, however, darkened his closing days, and he died on the 4th April, 1774. Soon after his death his unfinished poem Retaliation was published. As a writer Goldsmith has a perennial charm. Original alike in poetry, fiction, and comedy, he stamped his work with the perfection of order in which his life was lacking, and with the simplicity, the sensibility, the humour and wisdom which have endeared him as much to those who have succeeded him as to his own generation.