March of Intellect, The
DESCRIPTION: "Let schoolmasters bother their brain In their dry and their musty vocation; But what can the rest of us gain By meddling with such botheration?" Examples of people that work very well without esoteric knowledge: must the tailor know Conic Sections?
AUTHOR: Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) ? (attribution by O Lochlainn in OLochlainn-More)
EARLIEST DATE: 1802 (printed by Hicks, according to OLochlainn-More)
KEYWORDS: commerce humorous nonballad
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (1 citation):
OLochlainn-More 52, "The March of Intellect" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: O Lochlainn's attribution to Oliver Goldsmith is difficult to assess. I'm fairly sure that the song he refers to is Tony Lumpkin's song from Act I of She Stoops to Conquer, beginning
Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain
With grammar, and nonsense, and learning;
Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
Gives genus a better discerning....
But the song simply calls for drink and roast fowl -- no conic sections mentioned. Did the song go into oral tradition and get modified? If so, why are there no other mentions? Or was it written somewhere along the way, perhaps by the printer Hicks?
If Oliver Goldsmith did write this, it may have been a sarcastic comment on his own experience; Barnhart and Halsey's The New Century Handbook of English Literature (revised edition, 1967) comments of him that his career was "a record of almost unbroken failure in everything that he tried to reach by study or effort: he tried law, medicine, the church, and teaching, and failed in all of them; the only thing he succeeded in was literature, which he did not study and for which he had no technical preparation."
The Handbook adds that "Facts meant little to him." - RBW
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