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very concentration and crystallization of all that is sparkling, clear, and compact, in the materials of prose comedy ; as elegantly elaborate, but not so redundant or apparently elaborate as the wittiest scenes of Congreve, and containing the most complete and exquisitely wrought-up bit of effect in the whole circle of comedy—the screen scene. The year 1779 produced “The Critic;” and, after a long political interval, Sheridan's contributions to the stage concluded in the years 1798 and 1799, with adaptations of other people's versions of “The Stranger” and “Pizarro.” In the year 1792, Sheridan lost his first wife; and in 1795, being then in his forty-fourth year, he married his second, Miss Ogle, daughter of a Dean of Winchester, a lady, young, accomplished, and ardently devoted to him. Miss Ogle brought him a fortune, also, of five thousand pounds; and with this sum and fifteen thousand more, which he contrived to raise by the sale of Drury Lane shares, an estate was bought in Surrey. But, alas! he had long been in difficulties, and knew not how to retreat. This unhappy and brilliant man dragged out a heavy remainder of existence, between solaces that made him worse, and a loyalty to his Prince which did him no good. He died near a dying wife, amidst the threats of bailiffs, and forsaken by that Prince, and by all but his physician and a few poetic friends, (God bless the imagination that leaves men in possession of their hearts () on Sunday, the 7th July, 1816, in Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, and in the sixty-fifth year of his age. When his accounts were settled, it was a surprise to everybody to find for how small a sum, comparatively speaking, improvidence had rendered him insolvent. His death should never be mentioned without adding the names of his physician, Dr. Bain, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Thomas Moore, and Lord Holland, as those of his last, and, we believe, only comforters. “Sheridan,” says Hazlitt, “was not only an excellent dramatic writer, but a first-rate parliamentary speaker. His characteristics as an orator were manly, unperverted good sense, and keen irony. Wit, which has been thought a two-edged weapon, was by him always employed on the same side of the question—I think, on the right one. His set and more laboured speeches were proportionably abortive and unimpressive; but
no one was equal to him in replying, on the spur of the moment, to pompous absurdity, and unravelling the web of flimsy sophistry. He was the last accomplished debater of the House of Commons."
In person, Sheridan was above the middle size, and of a make robust and well-proportioned. In his youth, his family said he had been handsome ; but, in his latter years, he had nothing left to show for it but his eyes. " It was, indeed, in the upper part of his face,” says Mr. Moore, “ that the spirit of the man chiefly reigned; the dominion of the world and the senses being rather strongly marked out in the lower.” Sheridan had by his first wife a son, Thomas, who died in the prime of life, and is said to have inherited his mother's sweetness of nature, as well as his father's wit.
We have been indebted principally to Mr. Leigh Hunt's critical and biographical sketch of Sheridan for this brief memoir.
ALSO THE STAGE BUSINESS, CASTS OF CHARACTERS, COSTUMES, RELATIVE POSITIONS, ETC.
N E W Y O R. K. : JOHN DOUGLAS, No. 11 SPRUCE STREET. 1848. P. R. I C E 12J C E N T S .