David Garrick

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David Garrick by Thomas Gainsborough in 1770

David Garrick (19 February 1717, in Hereford20 January 1779) was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Samuel Johnson.


  • Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves.
    • Prologue to the Gamesters.
  • Their cause I plead,—plead it in heart and mind;
    A fellow-feeling makes one wondrous kind.
    • Prologue on Quitting the Stage in 1776. Compare: "I would help others, out of a fellow-feeling", Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.
  • Prologues like compliments are loss of time;
    ’T is penning bows and making legs in rhyme.
    • Prologue to Crisp’s Tragedy of Virginia.
  • Let others hail the rising sun:
    I bow to that whose course is run.
    • On the Death of Mr. Pelham. Compare: "Pompey bade Sylla recollect that more worshipped the rising than the setting sun", Plutarch, Life of Pompey.
  • This scholar, rake, Christian, dupe, gamester, and poet.
    • Jupiter and Mercury.
  • Heart of oak are our ships,
    Heart of oak are our men;
    We always are ready.
    • Hearts of Oak. Compare: "Our ships were British oak, And hearts of oak our men", S. J. Arnold, Death of Nelson.
  • Here lies James Quinn. Deign, reader, to be taught,
    Whate’er thy strength of body, force of thought,
    In Nature’s happiest mould however cast,
    To this complexion thou must come at last.
    • Epitaph on Quinn. Murphy’s Life of Garrick. Vol. ii. p. 38.
  • Are these the choice dishes the Doctor has sent us?
    Is this the great poet whose works so content us?
    This Goldsmith’s fine feast, who has written fine books?
    Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends cooks?
    • Epigram on Goldsmith’s Retaliation. Vol. ii. p. 157. Compare: "God sendeth and giveth both mouth and the meat", Thomas Tusser, A Hundred Points of Good Husbandry (1557); "God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks", John Taylor, Works, vol. ii. p. 85 (1630).
  • Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
    Who wrote like an angel, and talk’d like poor Poll.
    • Impromptu Epitaph on Goldsmith.


  • His profession made him rich and he made his profession respectable.
  • I am disappointed by that stroke of death that has eclipsed the gaiety of nations, and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure.

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