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Kingdoms by thee to sickly greatness growil,
Goldsmith vindicates his own expressed views in a letter to Sir Joshua Reynolds. He says: "For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages; and all the wisdom of antiquity in that particular as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to states by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone. Indeed, so much has been poured out of late on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty, and variety, one would sometimes wish to be right.” “Truth is an endearing quality;" perhaps it was this spell that brought so many hearts to his shrine. Certain it is, he was loved while living, and mourned when dead.
When Goldsmith died, Reynolds, then in the full tide of success, threw his pencil aside in sorrow, and Burke turned from the fast brightening vision of renown to weep. No obituary more sincere or more heartfelt could be desired than this.
An anthem of joy, an anthem of love,
For another Christmas day; Let the earth rejoice, the Heavens be glad
While we our offerings pay.
We come with lowly, reverent hearts,
To that crib and manger old,
Of diamond and of gold.
Oh no, not these, for the earth is His,
The stars and the boundless sea, The moon that gems the vaulted dome,
In her silvery canopy.
An angel band at His behest,
The couriers of His will,
The unceasing world be still.
On earth so weak, in Heaven so strong,
A mortal yet divine,
This mystery of thine.
Then an anthem of love, an anthem of joy,
For our Saviour's natal day,
The sweet attesting lay.
TO M. H
Dear friend, dear friend, my heart to day
Renews its youth from memory's spring, And as its rolling waters play,
One gift to you it fain would bring.
My mother's friend! That name alone
Must bind thee, ever to my heart; My guide through many a dreary waste
Such thou hast been, and still thou art.
My wilful pride, my wayward youth,
Defied reproof from all but thee; Thy soothing love, thy kindly blame,
Hath made whatever good there be.
Then as ye cluster round the board,
And as ye quaff the goodly cheer, Oh take my love, my fondest wish,
For blessings on the coming year.