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Divides with him his household care,
Than shards or mallows for the pot, Such as the Sabine matrons were,
That keep the loosen'd body sound, Such as the swift Apulian's bride,
Or than the lamb, that falls by lot
To the just guardian of my ground. Will fire for winter-nights provide,
Amidst these feasts of happy swains,
The jolly shepherd smiles to see
His flock returning from the plains;
The farmer is as pleas'd as he Sweaty and overlabour'd, home;
To view his oxen sweating smoke,
Bear on their necks the loosen'd yoke:
To look upon his menial crew,
That sit around his cheerful hearth, And unbought dainties of the poor;
And bodies spent in toil renew Not oysters of the Lucrine lake
With wholesome food and country mirth.
This Morecraft said within himself,
Resolv'd to leave the wicked town:
And live retir'd upon his own,
He call'd his money in;
But the prevailing love of pelf,
Soon split him on the former shelf,
He put it out again.
LIFE OF SMITH,
BY DR. JOHNSON.
EDMUND Smith is one of those lucky writers, who have, without much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with reverence rather for the possession than the exertion of uncommon abilities.
Of his life little is known; and that little claims no praise but what can be given to intellectual excellence, seldom employed to any virtuous purpose. His character, as given by Mr. Oldisworth with all the partiality of friendship, which is said by Dr. Burton to show “ what fine things one man of parts can say of another,” and which, however, comprises great part of what can be known of Mr. Smith, it is better to transcribe at once than to take by pieces. I shall subjoin such little memorials as accident has enabled me to collect.
MR. EDMUND SMITH was the only son of an eminent merchant, one Mr. Neale, by a daughter the famous baron Lechmere. Some misfortunes of his father, which were soon followed by his death, were the occasion of the son's being left very young in the bands of a near relation, (one who married Mr. Neale's sister) whose name was Smith.
This gentleman and his lady treated him as their own child, and put him to Westminster-school under the care of Dr. Busby; whence, after the loss of his faithful and generous guardian (whose name he assumed and retained), he was removed to Christ-church in Oxford, and there by his aunt handsomely maintained till her death ; after which he continued a member of that learned and ingenious society till within five years of his own; though, some time before his leaving Christ-church, he was sent for by his mother to Worcester, and owned and acknowledged as her legitimate son ; which had not been mentioned, but to wipe off the aspersions that were ignorantly cast by some on his birth. It is to be remembered, for our author's honour, that, when at Westminster election he stood a candidate for one of the universities, he so signally distinguished himself by his conspicuous performances, that there arose no small contention between the representative electors of Trinity College in Cambridge and Christ-church in Oxon, which of those two royal societies should adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinity College having the preference of choice that year, they resolutely elected him ; who yet, being invited at the same time to Christ-church, chose to accept of a studentship there.