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Another, written on a Mr. Bigs, contains some ludicrous couplets :
I own he's not fam'd for a reel or a jig,
A few more of these light productions remain among his papers, but their wit is gone with those for whom they were written ; the wings of Time "eripuere jocos."
Of a very different description are the following striking and spirited fragments, written by him, apparently, about the year 1794, and addressed to Lord Howe and the other naval heroes of that period, to console them for the neglect they experienced from the Government, while ribands and titles were lavished on the Whig Seceders :
Never mind them, brave black Dick,
the azure sea,
Or, perhaps—and worse by half-
UNFINISHED PLAYS AND POEMS.
WHEN in his seventeenth year, Sheridan produced a dramatic sketch founded on the “ Vicar of Wakefield,” a scene of which will serve to show how early his talent for lively dialogue displayed itself:
THORNHILL and ARNOLD. Thornhill. Nay, prithee, Jack, no more of that if you love me. What, shall I stop short with the game in full view ? Faith, I believe the fellow's turned puritan. What think you of turning methodist, Jack? You have a tolerable good canting countenance, and, if escaped being taken up for a Jesuit, you might make a fortune in Moorfields.
Arnold. I was serious, Tom.
Thorn. Splenetic, you mean. Come, fill your glass, and a truce to your preaching. Here's a pretty fellow has let his conscience sleep for these five years, and has now plucked morality from the leaves of his grandmother's Bible, beginning to declaim against what he has practised half his life-time. Why, I tell you once more, my schemes are all come to perfection. I, am now convinced Olivia loves me—at our last conversation, she said she would rely wholly on my honour.
Arn. And therefore you would deceive her.
Thorn. Why no-deceive her?-why-indeed—as to that but—but, for God's sake, let me hear no more on this subject, for 'faith, you make me sad, Jack. If you continue your admonitions, I shall begin to think you have yourself an eye on the girl. You have promised me your assistance, and, when you came down into the country, were as hot on the scheme as myself: but, since you have been two or three times with me at Primrose's, you have fallen off strangely. No encroachments, Jack, on my little rosebud-if you have a mind to beat up game in this quarter, there's her sister-but no poaching.