The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.
    Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
    After short show’rs; and sweet the coming on
    Of grateful evening mild—­then silent night,
    With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
    And these the gems of heav’n, her starry train: 
    But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
    With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
    On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower
    Glistering with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
    Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
    With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon
    Or glitt’ring starlight, without thee is sweet.”—­

    Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass’d
    On to their blissful bower.

    Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
    Both turn’d, and under open sky adored
    The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
    Which they beheld, the moon’s resplendent globe,
    And starry pole.  “Thou also madest the night,
    Maker Omnipotent! and Thou the day,
    Which we, in our appointed work employ’d,
    Have finish’d; happy in our mutual help
    And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
    Ordain’d by thee, and this delicious place,
    For us too large, where thy abundance wants
    Partakers, and uncropt, falls to the ground. 
    But Thou hast promised from us two a race
    To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
    Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
    And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.”


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[Illustration:  Letter G.]

Goldsmith’s poetry enjoys a calm and steady popularity.  It inspires us, indeed, with no admiration of daring design or of fertile invention; but it presents within its narrow limits a distinct and unbroken view of poetical delightfulness.  His descriptions and sentiments have the pure zest of nature.  He is refined without false delicacy, and correct without insipidity.  Perhaps there is an intellectual composure in his manner, which may, in some passages, be said to approach to the reserved and prosaic; but he unbends from this graver strain of reflection to tenderness, and even to playfulness, with an ease and grace almost exclusively his own; and connects extensive views of the happiness and interests of society with pictures of life that touch the heart by their familiarity.  He is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school of simplicity.  He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish true poetry from prose; and when he adopts colloquial plainness, it is with the utmost skill to avoid a vulgar humility.  There is more of this sustained simplicity, of this chaste economy and choice of words, in Goldsmith than in any other modern poet, or, perhaps, than would be attainable or desirable as a standard for every writer of rhyme. 

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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