Richard Brinsley Sheridan

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Never say more than is necessary.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan (October 30, 1751July 7, 1816) was an Irish playwright and Whig statesman.

Quotes[edit]

  • An apothecary should never be out of spirits.
    • St. Patrick's Day (1775), Act I, sc. i.
  • Death's a debt; his mandamus binds all alike — no bail, no demurrer.
    • St. Patrick's Day (1775), Act II, sc. iv.
  • While his off-heel, insidiously aside,
    Provokes the caper which he seems to chide.
    • Pizarro (first acted 24 May 1799), Prologue.
  • Such protection as vultures give to lambs.
    • Pizarro (first acted 24 May 1799), Act ii, scene 2.
  • Date not the life which thou hast run by the mean of reckoning of the hours and days, which though hast breathed: a life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line, — by deeds, not years...
    • Pizarro (first acted 24 May 1799), Act iv, Scene 1. Compare: "Who well lives, long lives; for this age of ours / Should not be numbered by years, daies, and hours", Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Second Week, Fourth Day, Book ii.
  • You write with ease to show your breeding,
    But easy writing's curst hard reading.
    • Clio's Protest (1819).
  • An oyster may be crossed in love.
    • Clio's Protest (1819).
  • The right honorable gentlemen is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts.
    • Sheridaniana, Speech in Reply to Mr. Dundas.
  • Believe not each accusing tongue,
    As most weak persons do;
    But still believe that story wrong,
    Which ought not to be true!
    • Reported in Nicholas Harris Nicolas, The Carcanet: a Literary Album, Containing Select Passages from the Most Distinguished English Writers (1828), p. 132.

The Rivals (1775)[edit]

  • 'Tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • A progeny of learning.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • Never say more than is necessary.
    • Act II, sc. i.
  • I know you are laughing in your sleeve.
    • Act II, sc. i.
  • A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge.
    • Act III, sc. i.
  • He is the very pineapple of politeness!
    • Act III, sc. iii.
  • If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!
    • Act III, sc. iii.
  • As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.
    • Act III, sc. iii.
  • Too civil by half.
    • Act III, sc. iv.
  • Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.
    • Act IV, sc. i.
  • We will not anticipate the past; so mind, young people,—our retrospection will be all to the future.
    • Act IV, sc. ii.
  • No caparisons, miss, if you please. Caparisons don't become a young woman.
    • Act IV, sc. ii.
  • You are not like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once, are you?
    • Act IV, sc. ii.
  • The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it.
    • Act IV, sc. iii.
  • You're our enemy; lead the way, and we 'll precede.
    • Act V, sc. i.
  • There's nothing like being used to a thing.
    • Act V, sc. iii.
  • 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.
    • Act V, sc. iii.
  • My valour is certainly going! — it is sneaking off! I feel it oozing out, as it were, at the palm of my hands!
    • Act V, sc. iii.
  • I own the soft impeachment.
    • Act V, sc. iii.
  • Through all the drama — whether damned or not —
    Love gilds the scene, and women guide the plot.
    • Epilogue.

The Duenna (1775)[edit]

  • I ne'er could any luster see
    In eyes that would not look on me.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • I loved him for himself alone.
    • Act I, sc. iii.
  • A bumper of good liquor
    Will end a contest quicker
    Than justice, judge, or vicar.
    • Act I, sc. iii.
  • Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
    I ne'er could injure you.
    • Act I, sc. v.
  • Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.
    • Act II, sc. iv.

The School for Scandal (1777)[edit]

  • Tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers.
    • Act I, sc. i.
  • You shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall meander through a meadow of margin.
    • Act I, sc. i.
  • You had no taste when you married me.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • Here is the whole set! a character dead at every word.
    • Act II, sc. ii.
  • I leave my character behind me.
    • Act II, sc. ii.
  • 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.
    • Act III, sc. iii.
  • An unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance.
    • Act IV, sc. i.
  • Be just before you're generous.
    • Act IV, sc. i.
  • It was an amiable weakness.
    • Act V, sc. i.

The Critic (1779)[edit]

  • 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.
    • Act I, sc. i.
  • There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.
    • Act I, sc. i.
  • 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.
    • Act I, sc. i.
  • Sheer necessity,—the proper parent of an art so nearly allied to invention.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • Egad, I think the interpreter is the hardest to be understood of the two!
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • A practitioner in panegyric, or, to speak more plainly, a professor of the art of puffing.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.
    • Act I, sc. ii.
  • No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope?
    • Act II, sc. i.
  • Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible.
    • Act II, sc. i.
  • Where they do agree on the stage, their unanimity is wonderful.
    • Act II, sc. ii.
  • Inconsolable to the minuet in Ariadne.
    • Act II, sc. ii.
  • The Spanish fleet thou canst not see, because—it is not yet in sight!
    • Act II, sc. ii.
  • An oyster may be crossed in love.
    • Act III, sc. i.
  • I wish, sir, you would practice this without me. I can't stay dying here all night.
    • Act III, sc. i.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: