«Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain…» This is one of Goldsmith’s greatest achievements, a poem that is so good to read yet which has such a significant message in showing how social change is affecting old traditions. Goldsmith, playwright, novelist and poet, was praised by Dr Johnson as adorning whatever he touched. But Goldsmith worked long and hard as a hack writer, narrowly escaping imprisonment for debt before achieving fame and success. ‘The Deserted Village’ was published in 1770 and evokes the idyllic, pastoral life of Auburn in the days of prosperous peace — it is a powerful lament for a Golden Age past and gone.
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