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Of light no likeness is bequeath'd-no name,
In whose acclaim the loftiest voices vied,
The praised, the proud, who made his praise their pride.
Which shook the nations through his lips, and blazed
And here, oh! here, where yet all young and warm,
The matchless dialogue, the deathless wit,
The glowing portraits, fresh from life, that bring
To fulness by the fiat of his thought,
Which still the splendour of its orb betrays.
Repose denies her requiem to his name,
These are his portion-but if joined to these
By clouds surrounded, and on whirlwinds borne,
But far from us and from our mimic scene
Such things should be-if such have ever been;
To mourn the vanish'd beam, and add our mite
Ye men of wit and social eloquence! 6
He was your brother-bear his ashes hence!
NOTES TO THE MONODY ON THE DEATH OF
THE RIGHT HON. R. B. SHERIDAN.
1.-Page 347, line 1.
DEATH OF THE RIGHT HON. R. B. SHERIDAN.
[MR. SHERIDAN died the 7th of July, 1816, and this monody was written at Diodati on the 17th, at the request of Mr. Douglas Kinnaird. "I did as well as I could," says Lord Byron," but where I have not my choice, pretend to answer for nothing." He told Lady Blessington, however, that his feelings were never more excited than while writing it, and that every word came direct from his heart.]
2.-Page 343, line 22.
Till vanquish'd senates trembled as they praised.
[The speech against Warren Hastings in the House of Commons was pronounced by Burke, Fox, and Pitt to surpass every effort of oratory, ancient or modern. But, however dazzling at the moment, his best speeches lost much of their effect upon a calm perusal.
3.-Page 349, line 16.
And stoop to strive with Misery at the door,
[This was not fiction. Only a few days before his death, Sheridan wrote thus to Mr. Rogers:-"I am absolutely undone and brokenhearted. They are going to put the carpets out of window, and break into Mrs. S.'s room and take me: 150l. will remove all difficulty. For God's sake let me see you!" Mr. Moore was the immediate bearer of the required sum. This was written on the 15th of May, and on the 14th of July, Sheridan's remains were deposited in Westminster Abbey, -his pall-bearers being the Duke of Bedford, the Earl of Lauderdale, Earl Mulgrave, the Lord Bishop of London, Lord Holland, and Earl Spenser.]
4.-Page 349, line 28.
Thoughts which have turn'd to thunder-scorch, and burst.
[In the original MS.
"Abandon'd by the skies, whose beams have nurst
5.-Page 349, line 37.
The worthy rival of the wondrous Three!
Fox-Pitt-Burke. ["I heard Sheridan only once, and that briefly; but I liked his voice, his manner, and his wit. He is the only one of them I ever wished to hear at greater length."-B. Diary, 1821.]
6.-Page 350, line 1.
Ye men of wit and social eloquence!
["In society I have met Sheridan frequently. He was superb! I have seen him cut up Whitbread, quiz Madame de Staël, annihilate Colman, and do little less by some others of good fame and ability. I have met him at all places and parties, and always found him convivial and delightful."-B. Diary, 1821.]
7.-Page 350, line 3.
While Powers of mind almost of boundless range,
["The other night we were all delivering our respective and various opinions upon Sheridan, and mine was this:-'Whatever Sheridan has done, or chosen to do, has been par excellence always the best of its kind. He has written the best comedy (School for Scandal), the best drama (in my mind, far beyond that St. Giles's lampoon, the Beggars' Opera), the best farce (the Critic, it is only too good for a farce), and the best address (Monologue on Garrick), and, to crown all, delivered the very best oration (the famous Begum Speech) ever conceived or heard in this country."-B. Diary, Dec. 17, 1813.]