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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Rihard Brinsley Sheridan 1751-1816 John Bartlett

    Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
          The Rivals. Act i. Sc. 2.
    ’T is safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion.
          The Rivals. Act i. Sc. 2.
    A progeny of learning.
          The Rivals. Act i. Sc. 2.
    A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge.
          The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 1.
    He is the very pine-apple of politeness!
          The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!
          The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.
          The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    Too civil by half.
          The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 4.
    Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.
          The Rivals. Act iv. Sc. 1.
    No caparisons, miss, if you please. Caparisons don’t become a young woman.
          The Rivals. Act iv. Sc. 2.
    We will not anticipate the past; so mind, young people,—our retrospection will be all to the future.
          The Rivals. Act iv. Sc. 2.
    You are not like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once, are you?
          The Rivals. Act iv. Sc. 2.
    The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it.
          The Rivals. Act iv. Sc. 3.
    You ’re our enemy; lead the way, and we ’ll precede.
          The Rivals. Act v. Sc. 1.
    There ’s nothing like being used to a thing. 1
          The Rivals. Act v. Sc. 3.
    As there are three of us come on purpose for the game, you won’t be so cantankerous as to spoil the party by sitting out.
          The Rivals. Act v. Sc. 3.
    My valour is certainly going! it is sneaking off! I feel it oozing out, as it were, at the palm of my hands!
          The Rivals. Act v. Sc. 3.
    I own the soft impeachment.
          The Rivals. Act v. Sc. 3.
    Steal! to be sure they may; and, egad, serve your best thoughts as gypsies do stolen children,—disfigure them to make ’em pass for their own. 2
          The Critic. Act i. Sc. 1.
    The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villanous, licentious, abominable, infernal— Not that I ever read them! No, I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper.
          The Critic. Act i. Sc. 2.
    Egad, I think the interpreter is the hardest to be understood of the two!
          The Critic. Act i. Sc. 2.
    Sheer necessity,—the proper parent of an art so nearly allied to invention.
          The Critic. Act i. Sc. 2.
    No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope?
          The Critic. Act ii. Sc. 1.
    Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible.
          The Critic. Act ii. Sc. 1.
    Where they do agree on the stage, their unanimity is wonderful.
          The Critic. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    Inconsolable to the minuet in Ariadne.
          The Critic. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    The Spanish fleet thou canst not see, because—it is not yet in sight!
          The Critic. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    An oyster may be crossed in love.
          The Critic. Act iii. Sc. 1.
    You shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall meander through a meadow of margin.
          School for Scandal. Act i. Sc. 1.
    Here is the whole set! a character dead at every word.
          School for Scandal. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    I leave my character behind me.
          School for Scandal. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    Here ’s to the maiden of bashful fifteen;
  Here ’s to the widow of fifty;
Here ’s to the flaunting, extravagant quean,
  And here ’s to the housewife that ’s thrifty!
        Let the toast pass;
        Drink to the lass;
I ’ll warrant she ’ll prove an excuse for the glass.
          School for Scandal. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    An unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance.
          School for Scandal. Act v. Sc. 1.
    It was an amiable weakness. 3
          School for Scandal. Act v. Sc. 1.
    I ne’er could any lustre see
In eyes that would not look on me;
I ne’er saw nectar on a lip
But where my own did hope to sip.
          The Duenna. Act i. Sc. 2.
    Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
  I ne’er could injure you.
          The Duenna. Act i. Sc. 5.
    Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.
          The Duenna. Act ii. Sc. 4.
    While his off-heel, insidiously aside,
Provokes the caper which he seems to chide.
          Pizarro. The Prologue.
    Such protection as vultures give to lambs.
          Pizarro. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    A life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line,—by deeds, not years. 4
          Pizarro. Act iv. Sc. 1.
    The Right Honorable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts. 5
          Speech in Reply to Mr. Dundas. Sheridaniana.
    You write with ease to show your breeding,
But easy writing ’s curst hard reading.
          Clio’s Protest. Life of Sheridan (Moore). Vol. i. p. 155.
Note 1.
’T is nothing when you are used to it.—Jonathan Swift: Polite Conversation, iii. [back]
Note 2.
See Churchill, Quotation 3. [back]
Note 3.
See Fielding, Quotation 16. [back]
Note 4.
He who grown aged in this world of woe,
In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life,
So that no wonder waits him.
Lord Byron: Childe Harold, canto iii. stanza 5.

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths.—Philip James Bailey: Festus. A Country Town.

Who well lives, long lives; for this age of ours
Should not be numbered by years, daies, and hours.
Du Bartas: Days and Weekes. Fourth Day. Book ii. [back]
Note 5.
On peut dire que son esprit brille aux dépens de sa mémoire (One may say that his wit shines by the help of his memory).—Alain René Le Sage: Gil Blas, livre iii. chap. xi. [back]