The Deserted Village

by Oliver Goldsmith

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Describe the places the speaker visited when he was young in "The Deserted Village."

The speaker visited many busy and lively locations in the now-deserted village when he was young, such as cottages, the village green, the brook, the mill, and the church. He remembers a town filled with people who enjoyed a good but simple life.

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When the speaker was young and living in the now-deserted village, he visited many spots that bring back happy memories, such as the village green, cottages, the "cultivated" farm, the brook, the "busy" mill, and the church. It was a lively place after work ended, for it was filled with people who would gather to socialize under the trees or play various games or listen to the band that would play. Everything was lively and full of movement as the village folk enjoyed their leisure time. Young lovers would dance under the trees, carefully watched by the eyes of the village matrons. In the distance, the speaker would hear the sound of the milk maid singing at the end of the day as she lead the cows back to the barn, as well as the sounds of the students let loose from school, the geese "gabbling," and the watch dog baying.

The speaker paints a happy picture of an idyllic country town bustled with life. It is a bittersweet portrait, however, because the village is no longer occupied by happy townsfolk. They have been ousted by the wealthy owner of the land, who wants to use if for selfish purposes. Goldsmith uses the poem to condemn the way the wealthy in the eighteenth century were disrupting established patterns of rural life for their own gain.

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