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It is highly creditable to Dr. Goldsmith, that, in all his works, he has made genius subservient to morality.
Whatever estimate we form of his prose, or dramatic works, his bigbest fame rests on his poetry, which has pleased, and probably ever will continue to please, not only readers of a plain and humble, but those of the most refined and cultivated taste. It is universally agreed that, as a poet, there has been no man since the
of Pope, whose writings have attained such extensive reputation, become so popular among all classes, or been so frequently read and admired, and so frequently quoted, Popularity has, by some, been thought an equivocal sign of merit; but the question may be more easily determined by inquiring into the nature of that popularity which has brought any work into general reputation. It will probably be found that, if the popularity which distinguisbes an author's writings, arises from some fortunate accident, some concurrence of circumstances, in which genius has little or no share ; if it be promoted by patronage or fashion, and still more if excited and promoted by the meretricious arts of puffing; such popularity, however extensive for a time, will gradually decay, and the work find its level