Wide World of Quotes > Richard Brinsley Sheridan Quotes


Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Irish dramatist and Whig politician
(1751-1816)



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'Tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion.
-- The Rivals (1775)

Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
-- The Rivals (1775)

A progeny of learning.

I know you are laughing in your sleeve.
-- The Rivals (1775)

A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge. It blossoms throughout the year. And depend on it... that they who are so fond of handling the leaves, will long for the fruit at last.
-- The Rivals (1775)

He is the very pineapple of politeness!
-- The Rivals (1775)

An aspersion on my parts of speech.
-- The Rivals (1775)

If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!
-- The Rivals (1775)

As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.
-- The Rivals (1775)

Too civil by half.
-- The Rivals (1775)

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 (1775)

We will not anticipate the past; so mind, young people,—our retrospection will be all to the future.
-- The Rivals (1775)

No caparisons, Miss, if you please. -- Caparisons don't become a young woman.
-- The Rivals (1775)

You are not like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once, are you?
-- The Rivals (1775)

The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it.
-- The Rivals (1775)

You're our enemy; lead the way, and we 'll precede.
-- The Rivals (1775)

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 (1775)

I ne'er could any luster see
In eyes that would not look on me.
-- The Duenna (1775)

I loved him for himself alone.
-- The Duenna (1775)

A bumper of good liquor
Will end a contest quicker
Than justice, judge, or vicar.
-- The Duenna (1775)

Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
I ne'er could injure you.
-- The Duenna (1775)

Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.
-- The Duenna (1775)





Tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

You shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall meander through a meadow of margin.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

You had no taste when you married me.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

MRS. CANDOUR: I'll swear her colour is natural. -- I have seen it come and go--
LADY TEAZLE: I dare swear you have, ma'am; it goes of a night and comes again of a morning.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

Here is the whole set! a character dead at every word.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

I leave my character behind me.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen;
Here's to the widow of fifty;
Here's to the flaunting, extravegant 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.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

An unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

Be just before you're generous.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

ROWLEY: I believe there is no sentiment he has more faith in than 'Charity begins at home'.
SIR OLIVER SURFACE: And his I presume is of that domestic sort which never stirs abroad at all.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

It was an amiable weakness.
-- The School for Scandal (1777)

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.
-- The Critic (1779)

There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.
-- The Critic (1779)

The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villainous — licentious —abominable — infernal — Not that I ever read them — no — I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper.
-- The Critic (1779)

It is the abuse,--why one is always sure to hear of it from one good-natured friend or another.
-- The Critic (1779)

Sheer necessity,—the proper parent of an art so nearly allied to invention.
-- The Critic (1779)

Egad, I think the interpreter is the hardest to be understood of the two!
-- The Critic (1779)

A practitioner in panegyric, or, to speak more plainly, a professor of the art of puffing.
-- The Critic (1779)

The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.
-- The Critic (1779)

I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful attention in the audience: it also marks the time, which is four o'clock in the morning, and saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding the eastern hemisphere.
-- The Critic (1779)

No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope?
-- The Critic (1779)

Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible.
-- The Critic (1779)

Where they do agree on the stage, their unanimity is wonderful.
-- The Critic (1779)

Inconsolable to the minuet in Ariadne.
-- The Critic (1779)

The Spanish fleet thou canst not see, because—it is not yet in sight!
-- The Critic (1779)

An oyster may be crossed in love.
-- The Critic (1779)

I wish, sir, you would practice this without me. I can't stay dying here all night.
-- The Critic (1779)

O Lord, Sir-- when the heroine does mad she always goes into white satin.
-- The Critic (1779)

Enter Tilburina stark mad in white satin, and her confidante stark mad in white linen.
-- The Critic (1779)

The right honorable gentlemen is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts.
-- Speech in reply to Mr. Dundas, quoted in T. Moore, Life of Sheridan (1825)

Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.
-- To a young lady, attributed.


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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