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The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

Produced by Charles J. Griep



Supposed to be written by Himself

By Oliver Goldsmith

Sperate miseri, cavete faelices


There are an hundred faults in this Thing, and an hundred things might be said to prove them beauties. But it is needless. A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity. The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth; he is a priest, an husbandman, and the father of a family. He is drawn as ready to teach, and ready to obey, as simple in affluence, and majestic in adversity. In this age of opulence and refinement whom can such a character please? Such as are fond of high life, will turn with disdain from the simplicity of his country fire-side. Such as mistake ribaldry for humour, will find no wit in his harmless conversation; and such as have been taught to deride religion, will laugh at one whose chief stores of comfort are drawn from futurity.


CONTENTS 1. The description of the family of Wakefield; in which a kindred likeness prevails as well of minds as of persons

2. Family misfortunes. The loss of fortune only serves to increase the pride of the worthy

3. A migration. The fortunate circumstances of our lives are generally found at last to be of our own procuring

4. A proof that even the humblest fortune may grant happiness, which depends not on circumstance, but constitution 5. A new and great acquaintance introduced. What we place most hopes upon generally proves most fatal

6. The happiness of a country fire-side

7. A town wit described. The dullest fellows may learn to be comical for a night or two

8. An amour, which promises little good fortune, yet may be productive of much

9. Two ladies of great distinction introduced. Superior finery ever seems to confer superior breeding

10. The family endeavours to cope with their betters. The miseries of the poor when they attempt to appear above their circumstances

11. The family still resolve to hold up their heads

12. Fortune seems resolved to humble the family of Wakefield. Mortifications are often more painful than real calamities

13. Mr Burchell is found to be an enemy; for he has the confidence to give disagreeable advice

14. Fresh mortifications, or a demonstration that seeming calamities may be real blessings

15. All Mr Burchell's villainy at once detected. The folly of being-over-wise

16. The Family use art, which is opposed with still greater

17. Scarce any virtue found to resist the power of long and pleasing temptation 18. The pursuit of a father to reclaim a lost child to virtue

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