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more common kind must have largely peculiar interest, as indicating the true operated. It is the character of genius bent of his mind, and exbibiting, at to form a standard for itself, high and an early period, the progress of his perfect in proportion to its power, and to more distinguishing successes. With be dissatisfied with all that falls short of the cooperation of Halhed, he proit.* This sense of excellence, accompani- duced a farce, of which Mr. Moore's ed by the consciousness of power, is the superior opportunities have enabled common source of secret progress, and him to preserve a curious and interestoccasions the production and the can- ing specimen. It is, as this gentlecelling of more poetry than the world man observes, chiefly remarkable for has ever seen. The fountains of poetry the gleams which it affords of the are emphatically secret, mysterious, Critic," and its illustration of the solitary and sacred, like first love in mode in which afterthoughts and prothe young heart.
jects originate in early youth. The Thus animated by the desire to active fancy cannot indeed long be excel, the jealousy of a fastidious taste, engaged in any course, without conithe fear to fail, and the wish to pro- tracting habits which cannot pass duce the effect of surprise, Sheridan away, and which grow through varied amassed in secret the brilliant mate transmutations with the growth of the rials, and trained the peculiar faculties mind, until the moment of power that of his mind; and, while the unobservant gives them their mature and perfect many by whom he was surrounded, form. saw but the gay and witty boy, or In addition to this effort, he had prognosticated little good from the hu- planned and commenced a periodical moursome and freakish idler, he was paper, under the title of Hernan's earnestly meditating the career of ex- Miscellany ; it never passed the first cellence, and cultivating his best number; the specimen given by Mr. powers. His classical attainments Moore is, as he calls it, diffuse and were, of necesssity, small; yet it was pointless.” One only of these carly impossible for a mind like his to have projects, reached completion; a transacquired even so much, without appre- lation into verse, of the epistles of ciating the excellencies of the standard Aristinætus, a florid and amatory models of antiquity. And it is proba- Grecian of the middle ages, which was ble that he had attained more acquain- published in August, 1771. It had tance with them than was, from his re no success, nor any eminent merit, putation for idleness, likely to be allow nor does it fall within our design to ed for. Mr. Moore seems to entertain notice it further than for the evidence a doubt on the subject, and expresses which such efforts give of the real some surprise at Dr. Parr's having course and progress of the mind. been, as he suspects, imposed on in Some time previous to this, a change this respect. Though we think that, had taken place which, in more ways of all persons, Sheridan was than one, was to modify the career of likely to be both able and willing to Sheridan. The removal of his family have effected such a deception ; yet to Bath, of all places in the world Dr. Parr was the least likely to be the the place which might be fixed on for subject of it. Our impression is, we the ripening of those talents which he think, confirmed by the facts stated by possessed in the highest perfectionMr. Moore. Before the period at which the place where, if we were to adopt we are arrived, he had been for some time the personifications of antiquity, Satire engaged with his friend, Halhed, not might be said to have her temple, and only in a variety of literary projects, Wit its magazine of pointed and poibut in transla:ions from the Greek, soned shafts, which exhibit, in that language, a progress of some standing. And perhaps still more decidedly, an earnest effort to repair the losses occasioned by early Here, undoubtedly, Sheridan studied neglect.
human life, in all its morbid and artiAt this time also, and in conjunction ficial moods, and drew that knowwith the same friend, he appears to ledge of men and manners, which is, have been engaged in efforts of more after all, his best title to the immor.
This is the principle of a fact which has been often noticed ; that men of genius are seldom satisfied with their own productions. The ideal standard must be low, when it is easily attained.
u hic illius arma, Hic currus fuit."
tality of literature. But on this point that we see the repining matron sucwe shall reserve ourselves till ceed the gratified and triumphant girl. come to notice his dramatic successes. whose coach and establishment are the
“ It was," writes Mr. Moore, « about price of both taste, feeling, affection, the middle of the year 1770, that and judgment. Miss Linley's suitors the Sheridans took up their abode in were, however, the high and the gifted, King's Mead Street, Bath, where an
and she might have doubtless secured, acquaintance commenced between them what so many covet, without any painand Mr. Linley's family."
ful sacrifice of the heart. Many of her
lovers were friends—Halhed and the Mr. Linley was eminent as a musical Sheridans may be mentioned. But composer. Dr. Burney, who has writ- Richard carried into his affections the ten å sketch of his life for Rees Cy- same nice and fastidious reserve which clopedia, has described his family as we bave shewn to be the acquired a “nest of nightingales ;" of these one habit of his mind. His love was aniis peculiarly involved in the thread of mated by his delicate sense of excelour narration. Miss Linley seems, lence, by the energy of his passions, from every notice we can trace of her, and by the vanity and jealousy of his as well as from the authentic circum- nature. Failure in love, painful to the stances of her history, to have been most tempered heart, was not to be one of those rare and fortunate hits of contemplated by one like Sheridan ; nature, of which, if it may be said that and as bis wit, eloquence and pleasno generation is without its share, yet ing appearance* soon obtained for it must be added that a man may look him an apparent preference, he doubtmuch about him for many years, and less became doubly anxious and watchnot make the discovery. She was as ful all the little risks which the sengifted in mind, as she was beautiful in sitive so keenly understand. His properson ; and it might be a difficult ques- gress was made in jealous silence ; and tiou to decide, whether her gifts were it was not until many had declared more brilliant, or her amiability and themselves in vain, and Miss Linvirtue more to be loved and respected. ley's lovers became rather conspicuous That such preeminent attractions for failure, and for their jealous specushould be known, without admiration lations about each other, that Sheridan and love, is not in nature. And Miss became even thought of. He had by Linley's family, from their profes- this tine sccured the victory over all sional life, were peculiarly within the competitors-wit had, as might be public eye. The vatural consequence rather desired than hoped, “ cut its —and it affords an unquestionable bright way through.” Mr. Moore, who test of Miss Linley's superior mind is in possession of the letters of Halbed, was, thạt numerous offers, backed by which for some reason he has not rank and rent-roll, lay at her mercy. thought fit to publish, mentions that We trust that none of our fair readers, they "give a lively idea, not only of all of whom we can assure of our sin- his own intoxication, but of the sort of cere admiration, regard, and respect, contagious delirium, like that at Abwill take offence if we affirm, that this dera, described by Lucian, with which is a test of pure and high-hearted vir- the young men of Oxford were affected tue, as well as prudence, to which few by this beautiful girl.” He mentions are equal. The glitter of rank, or the as the rivals most dreaded by her adnominal command of affluence, has a mirers, Norris the singer, whose musifascination which it requires some cal talents, it was thought, recomgreatness of mind, and some longsighted mended him to her; and Mr. Watts, wisdom to resist. When affection is a gentleman commoner of very large absent, vanity, in most cases, rules the fortune. But while these gentlemen choice, and the solid happiness of after speculated on common-place motions, life is partly unthought of, and partly and watched or condoled with each misunderstood. Most young persons other, the heart of their object was will sacrifice future peace for the present fixed, as the heart of sensibility and vanity; and thus it so often chances the mind of taste should be fixed ; and
On this point some notice occurs in a letter of his sister, Mrs. Lefanu. He was handsome, not merely in the eyes of a partial sister, but generally allowed to be so. His cheeks had the glow of health; his eyes--the finest in the world—the brilliancy of genius--and were as soft as a tender and affectionate heart could render them." Quoted by Mr. Moore.
- Richard Sheridan, the first in personal add, that the process is in a great de
and mental attraction, was at last dis- gree common_most men take the covered to be the favoured lover. It prudent precaution to destroy such is an easy task for every heart of bu- evidences, or many a bright feather man mould to imagine, on a small scale might seem tarnished in the vulzar at least, the pains and pleasures of this estimation. But, in truth, to those protracted romance of the heart. The who can judge of the real value doubts and fears so deeply felt, the of talent, there is nothing in this slight incidents so magnified, the pang derogatory to the power of the Poet. A of fancied estrangement or preference, dull man could not be witty in a cenor the anxious delight of the "trea- tury of plodding ; every effort at the sured smile.” Sheridan drank this higher and more refined achievements mingled cup, more deeply than falls to of the mind, would but plunge him the lot of most men, and, doubtless, deeper into mediocrity. It is the pecilreceived from it that severe discipline liar merit of genius to be indefinitely inin the poetry of sentiment, which was proving, and never to be content with not without its effect on his genius_it its best creations. was the occasion of many of his lesser But we return to Miss Linley. No poetical pieces, and no doubt the origin romance has ever carried further its of much that ornaments his later writ- representations of the painful vicissiings.
tudes, and the heroic constancy of the Mr. Moore has given much of this lover, than the history of this period of poetry ; it offers no evidence of a very Sheridan's life. When they first met, high degree of poetical genius, but is Miss Linley was but sixteen, and this, occasionally pleasing for graceful ele- as Mr. Moore justly observes, removes gance of sentiment, and pointed sim- the repugnance which the delicate and plicity of expression. We shall only fastidious might possibly entertain on here remark that we think Mr. Moore the score of her profession as a public by far too elaborate and refined in singer: which involves the necessity of his critical justice; he has indulged public exhibitions, unfavourable to ferather too fancifully in the common minine reserve : and we would add, illusion of tracing thoughts. It is habits of intercourse with the most imour opinion, warranted by much ob- moral class of society. She had been servation, that the same sentiments proposed for by Mr. Long, a gentlehave a tendency to call to the mind the man of fortune, and the match was acsame leading thoughts ; and this, allow- ceded to by her father. Miss Linley, ing for the varieties of temper, and however, privately explained her reexperience, and habit, sufficiently ac- pugnance to this marriage, and Mr. counts for these coincidences so often Long, with a rare generosity, took upon noticed as either borrowing or stealing himself the blame of breaking off the the thoughts of others. This species of match. Mr. Linley had immediate recriticism we dislike, unless when it can course to legal proceedings, and Mr. be carried to the length of absolute pla- Long sealed his noble and disinterested giarism—than which no crime deserves sacrifice by an indemnification of less mercy in our critical code. We £3000. It is mentioned by a biogracannot, however, pass from this topic, pher of Sheridan's, that Mr. Long was without expressing our dissent from the considered to be worth £200,000, censure which we have heard lavished which after descended to Mrs. Welon Mr. Moore, for exbibiting as lesley Pole Long, of Wanstead House. broadly, as he has no doubt done, the In the year -1771, Sheridan the vast elaboration of Sheridan's wit. It elder was called over to Dublin by his is an anatomy of which we should not professional pursuits, and the young much desire to be the subject, for the family were alone in Bath. During simple reason, that we have no wish to this period Charles, Sheridan's eldest be dissected for the public good; yet brother, having made the painful disit is surely a gain, for which the world covery that he had no further hope, should be thankful, to have so clear and wrote a farewell letter to Miss Linley, lucid a peep into the secret laboratory and retired from the field, without yet of wit ; but, in truth, it is peculiarly having discovered his brother's attachnecessary to the understanding of the ment. This was, however, soon discharacter with which he was engaged. closed, owing to a particular incident. This, we have said enough to make A Mr. Mathews, a married man, intiapparent. Justice yet requires us to mate with the Linley family, fascinated
by Miss Linley's attractions, and pre- may be doubted whether, having gone suming on her profession, began to so far, both prudence and justice did persecute her with attentions which not warrant the next step. Sheridan were adapted to attract an injurious now, doubtless upon very cool reflecnotice, and with private importunities tion, perceived and urged, that the auof a still more offensive character. thority of a husband was necessary to To this were added threats of ruining justify his further protection ; and that her reputation, and vows of self-de- Miss Liuley could no more appear in struction. Territied by these unwar- England but as his wife. The argurantable and violent importunities, Miss ment was convincing, and was probably Linley at last made a contidant of her resisted by no extraordinary subtlety. lover, who consulted with his sister, to They were married in March, 1772, by whom he now explained the state of a priest, whom Mr. Moore mentions as his feelings, and proceeded to expostu “ well known for his services on such late with Mathews, who, as might be occasions.” anticipated, was not in the slightest de Sheridan having thus attained the gree influenced by the remonstrances bright object of so many hopes and of a youth of twenty. In conse- fears, and the aim of so many rival quence of his continued persecution, hearts, had yet before him some stern added to a growing repugnance to a trials and anxious struggles, before he profession, which exposed her to the was allowed to possess in peace, the possibility of such addresses, and at happiness he had thus treasured for the best, both from its intercourse and pub- future. The romance was not destined lic nature, was inconsistent with the to end with the marriage. The mortialarmed delicacy of her character, Miss fied pride and bafiled passions of Linley came to the romantic determi- Mathews could not acquiesce in the nation of flight. Her project was to success of one who had rebuked his take refuge in some French convent.- villanous designs. The triumph most Her lover, who had probably been her galling is that of the rival. He beadviser, was to aid her flight, and pre- came furious at the first report of this parations were duly made. Sheridan elopement, and with the consistent obtained the needful money from his baseness of one who would have sesister, and letters of introduction to a duced innocence, vented his malice family of her acquaintance, at St. in slander. He devoted hiinself to vinQuentin. The evening was chosen for dictive reports and calumnious misre. their departure, when a public concert presentations, and at length inserted in should engage the Linley family. the Bath Chronicle an advertisement, From this Miss Linley excused herself in which he proclaimed his rival as one on the plea of illness. At the hour ap not deserving the “ treatment of a genpointed, Sheridan convered her in a tleman," with other opprobrious com. sedan chair from her father's house to ments and epithets. In the meantime, a postchaise which he had stationed on Sheridan returned. He had received the London road. Here, too, a woman an abusive and threatening letter from attended, whom, with the natural feels his rival in France, and replied “ that ing of an honourable mind, he had en he would never sleep in England, until gaged to attend her, and to obviute either he thanked him as he deserved.” His the pretexts of slander, or the dangers first meeting with Mr. Mathews, was of youth and passion. On their arrival productive of evasions on the part of the in London, be introduced her to Mr. latter, not to be explained without the Ewart, an old friend of his family, as jinputation of cowardice ; while the a rich heiress who had eloped with him, conduct of Sheridan was marked by and was applauded for his prudence in his characteristic spirit. He found giving up Miss Linley. This gentleman Mathews's lodgings at a late hour of accommodated them with a passage on the night, and was for a long time deboard a ship of his, about to sail to tained at the door on the pretence that Dunkirk, and gave them letters to his the key was not to be found. After a correspondents there. By these they couple of hours' delay, when it was were similarly assisted to Lisle. found that the chillness of the hour was
The first consequence of this step, not enough to drive him away from was such as might be anticipated. -- his post, the obstacle was reinoved, Strong inclination seldom goes farther and he was admitted. Mathews changed in forbearance, than the first shadow of histone entirely;and after all the threats, a just and reasonable pretext; and it warnings, and taunts which our autho
rity* mentions, called Sheridan his in Oxford. The parties met at Kingsfriend, declared " he never meant to down. The account of the second quarrel with him. And assured him meeting was drawn up by Mr. Barnett, that the whole cause of complaint had of whose statement we just extract originated in the reports propagated enough from Mr. Moore to give the by his own brother (Charles) and reader a full idea of the result : another gentleman in Bath."
“ Mr. Mathews drew; Mr. Sheridan Sheridan went to Bath, and disco- advanced on him at first; Mr. Mathews vered the falsehood of this assertion. in turn advanced fast on Mr. Sheridan ; Charles, at the same time, strongly upon which he retreated, till he very sudexpressing his disapprobation of the denly ran in upon Mr. Mathews, laying conduct of his brother. The two bro. himself exceedingly open, and endeavourthers at once set off for London, leav- ing to get hold of Mr. Mathews's sword; ing their sisters as well as Miss Linley Mr. Mathews received him on his point, in the utmost suspense and alarm.
apd, I believe, disengaged his sword from On arriving in London, Sheridan Mr. Sheridan's body, and gave him another lost not a moment in calling out Mr. wound; which, I suppose, must have been Mathews. The meeting took place, either against one of his ribs, or his breastfirst in Hyde-Park; but very consider-bone, as his sword broke, which I imaable difficulty then occurred from the gine happened from the resistance it met
with from one of those parts; but whether appearance of persons, from whom Mr.
it was broke by that, or on the closing, Mathews feared, or affected to fear, in
I cannot aver. terruption; and after frequently shift
“ Mr Mathews, I think, on finding ing their ground, and much remon
his sword broke, laid hold of Mr. Sheristrance on the part of Sheridan, they dau's sword-arm, and tripped up his heels: removed to the Bedford Coffee House, they both fell; Mr. Mathews was upperand thence to the Castle Tavern, Hen
most, with the hilt of his sword in his rietta-street. Here they engaged with hand, having about six or seven inches of swords by candle light. The result the blade to it, with which I saw him may be described from an after state give Mr. Sheridan, as I imagined, a skinment of Sheridan's :
wound or two in the nerk; for it could
be no more,-the remaining part of the “I struck Mr. M's sword so much out of line, that stepped up and caught beat him in the face either with his fist
sword being broad and blunt; be also bold of his wrist at the point of his sword, while the point of mine was at his breast.
or the bilt of his sword. Upon this I
turned from them, and asked Captain You ran in and caught hold of my arm, exclaiming don't kill him.'”—Moore's but I cannot say whether he heard me
Paumier if we should not take then up; Life.
or not, as there was a good deal of Mr. Mathews begged his life; but noise; however, he made no reply. I having done so showed every dispo- again turned to the combatants, who were sition not to retract. Sheridan's resolu. much in the same situation : I found Mr. tion, however, prevailed ; and he ob- Sheridan's sword was bent, and he slipped tained from his antagonist a written his hand up the small part of it, and gave retractation of the scandalous adver: Mr. Mathews a slight wound in the left tisement already nientioned. This was
part of his belly: I, that instant, turned inserted in the Bath Chronicle, May again our taking them up. He, in the
again to Captain Paumier, and proposed 7th, Mr. Mathews retired to his estate killed, he is killed!'-1, as quick as pos
same moment, called out, • Oh! he is in Wales; but the particulars of his sible turned again, and found Mr. Maconduct had taken wind, and he was
thew's had recovered the point of his avoided with contempt. A Mr. Bar., sword, that was before on the ground, vett, under these circumstances, urged with which he had wounded Mr. Sberi. upon him the necessity of vindicating dan in the belly : I saw him drawing the his character by a second meeting wità point out of the wound. By this time Sheridan. His advice, together with Mr. Sheridan's sword was broke, which his services as friend on the occa. he told us. - Captaiu Paumier called out sion, were accepted, and they set off to him, for Bath without delay. Sheridan's My dear Sheridan, beg your life, father, who had but just forgiven bim and I will be yours for ever. i also defor the former affair, was in London. sired him to ask his life: he replied, Miss Linley absent on an engagement
“ No, by
* Moore's Lite of Sheridan.