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17474.247,93

HARVARD
UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY
UCP 19 1952

FIRST ISSUE OF THIS EDITION
REPRINTED

April 1906
September 1906; "May 1907;

October 1908; October 1909;
May 1911; July 1913

EDITOR'S NOTE

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THE son of an actor-Thomas She an, and of a play-writer and novelist-Frances Sheridan, and the grandson of a wit, the author of "The School for Scandal” is the one proverbial instance of that inherited aptitude which goes far to develop genius. Richard Brinsley Sheridan was born in 1751) at Dublin, moreover, which is wit's capital ; and was saved from any possible excess of Irish imagination by being sent in due course to Harrow. When his schooldays were over, he proved his faculty by helping to translate the epistles of Aristænetus, and writing a farce. The Sheridan family moved in 1770 from Dublin to Bath ; and there he met his

2 wife, Miss Linley, daughter of Linley the vocalist. Settled in London, after his marriage, he was still only a very young man when he successfully produced his first comedy at Covent Garden“The Rivals ”-in January 1775. A farce, “St. Patrick's Day," and a comic opera, “The Duenna," speedily followed. In 1776 Sheridan bought Garrick's share in Drury Lane Theatre ; and there his later plays were produced,- including “ The School for Scandal” in 1777 and “The Critic” in 1779. Omitting “Pizarro," which he wrote at secondhand, he there ended his brilliant work as a drama. tist, and commenced politician. In 1780 he became M.P. for Stafford, made just as rapid and incalculable a success in politics and statesmanship as he had done in his earlier vocation. His speeches delivered at the trial, and demanding the impeachment, of Warren Hastings in 1788 and in 1794 may still be read with pleasure and astonishment at their force and eloquence. But in 1809 the turn of the wheel came; the new theatre at Drury Lane was in that year burnt down, and in 1812 his seat at Westminster was lost to him. Ill-health, sleeplessness, debt, the apparent or real forgetfulness of friends, and other troubles, weighed upon him and helped to hasten his end. He died in July 7, 1816; and fame, that had treated him hardly toward the end, and left him, relented at

vii

last and gave him an almost royal funeral and a grave in Westminster Abbey.

LIST OF WORKS.

Verses (Cleo's Protest, or the Picture Varnished ; The Ridotto of Bath) in the Bath Chronicle, 1771; Translation of the Love Epistles of Aristænetus, 1771; Verses to the Memory of Garrick, 1779.

Plays and Date of Production : The Rivals; St. Patrick's Day, or the Scheming Lieutenant; The Duenna, a comic opera, 1775; A Trip to Scarborough (adapted from Vanbrugh's Relapse); The School for Scandal, 1777 ; The Critic, 1779 ; Pizarro, 1799.

Speeches : On Bringing forward, and Summing up the Evidence on, the Begum Charge against Warren Hastings, 1787, 1788; On the Present Alarming State of Affairs, 1798; In Reply to Mr. Pitt's Speech on the Union of Ireland, 1799; On the Army Establishments for the ensuing Year, 1802.

Collected Edition of Plays. 1792-3, 1794. Ed. by Moore, 1821 ; by Leigh Hunt, with Memoir, 1840.

Collected Edition of Speeches. 1798. 5 vols.; with Biography, 5 vols., 1816, 1842 ; Speeches during the Trial of Warren Hastings, Ed. G. A. Bond, vols., 1859-61.

Biography : Thomas Moore, 1825; Mrs. Oliphant, English Men of Letters," 1883; L. C. Sanders, Great Writers," 1891; Fraser Rae, 1874, 1896.

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