The Vicar of Wakefield, by Oliver Goldsmith

Table of Contents


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

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

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

A proof that even the humblest fortune may grant happiness, which depends not on circumstance, but constitution

A new and great acquaintance introduced. What we place most hopes upon, generally proves most fatal

The happiness of a country fire-side

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

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

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

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

The family still resolve to hold up their heads

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

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

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

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

The family use art, which is opposed with, still greater

Scarce any virtue found to resist the power of long and pleasing temptation

The pursuit of a father to reclaim a lost child to virtue

The description of a person discontented with the present government, and apprehensive of the loss of our liberties

The history of a philosophic vagabond, pursuing novelty, but losing content

The short continuance of friendship amongst the vicious, which is coeval only with mutual satisfaction

Offences are easily pardoned where there is love at bottom

None but the guilty can be long and completely miserable

Fresh calamities

No situation, however wretched it seems, but has some sort of comfort attending it

A reformation in the gaol. To make laws complete, they should reward as well as punish

The same subject continued

Happiness and misery rather the result of prudence than of virtue in this life. Temporal evils or felicities being regarded by heaven as things merely in themselves trifling and unworthy its care in the distribution

The equal dealings of providence demonstrated with regard to the happy and the miserable here below. That from the nature of pleasure and pain, the wretched must be repaid the balance of their sufferings in the life hereafter

Happier prospects begin to appear. Let us be inflexible, and fortune will at last change in our favour

Former benevolence now repaid with unexpected interest

The Conclusion

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