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To this period of Mr. Sheridan's life we are indebted for most of those elegant love-verses, which are so well known and so often quoted. The lines “ Uncouth is this mosscovered grotto of stone," were addressed to Miss Linley, after having offended her by one of those lectures upon decorum of conduct, which jealous. lovers so frequently inflict upon their mistresses, and the grotto, immortalized by their quarrel, is supposed to have been in Spring Gardens, then the fashionable place of resort in Bath.

I have elsewhere remarked that the conceit in the following stanza resembles a thought in some verses of Angerianus :

And thou, stony grot, in thy arch may'st preserve

Two lingering drops of the night-fallen dew,
Let them fall on her bosom of snow, and they'll serve

As tears of my sorrow entrusted to you.
At quum per niveam cervicem in suxerit humor

Dicite nov roris sed pluvia hæc lacrimæ.
Whether Sheridan was likely to have been a reader of An-
gerianus is, I think, doubtful-at all events the coincidence
is curious.

" Dry be that tear, my gentlest love,” is supposed to have been written at a later period; but it was most probably produced at the time of his courtship, for he wrote but few love verses after his marriage-like the nightingale (as a French editor of Bonefonius says, in remarking a similar circumstance of that poet) “ qui développe le charme de sa voix tant qu'il veut plaire à sa compagne-sont-ils unis ? il se tait, il n'a plus le besoin de lui plaire.” This song having been hitherto printed incorrectly, I shall give it here, as it is in the copies preserved by his relations.

Dry be that tear, my gentlest love,*

Be hush'd that struggling sigh,
Nor seasons, day, nor fate shall prove

More fix'd, more true than I.

An Elegy by Halhed, transcribed in one of letters to eridan, be gins thus :

Dry be that tear, be hush'd that struggling sigh.”

Hush'd be that sigh. be dry that tear,
Cease boding doubt, cease anxious

Dry be that tear.
Ask'st thou how long my love will stay,

When all that's new is past ?-
How long, ah Delia, can I say

How long my life will last?
Dry be that tear, be husb'd that sigh,
At least I'll love thee till I die.-

Hush'd be that sigh.
And does that thought affect thee too,

The thought of Sylvio's death,
That he who only breathed for you,

Must yield that faithful breath?
Hush'd be that sigh, be dry that tear,
Nor let us lose our Heaven here.

Dry be that tear. There is in the second stanza here a close resemblance to one of the madrigals of Montreuil, a French poet, to whom Sir J. Moore was indebted for the point of his well known verses, “

“ If in that breast, so good, so pure."* Mr. Sheridan, however, knew nothing of French, and neglected every opportunity of learning it, till, by a very natural process, his ignorance of the language grew into hatred of it. Besides, we have the immediate source from which he derived the thought of this stanza, in one of the essays of Hume, who, being a reader of foreign literature, most probably found it in Montreuil.f The passage in Hume (which Sheridan has

• The grief that on my quiet preys,

That rends my heart and checks my tongue,
I fear will last me all my days,

And feel it will not last me long.
It is thus in Montreuil :

C'est un mal que j'aurai tout le tems de ma vie ;

Mais je ne l'aurai pas long-tems. † Or in an Italian song of Menage, from which Montreuil, who was aecustomed to such thefts, most probably stole it. The point in the Italian is, far as I can remember it, expressed thus :

In van, o Filli, tu chiedi
Se lungamente durera l'ardore

Chi lo potrebbe dire?
Incerta, o Filli, e l'ora del morire.

done little more than versify) is as follows:-“Why so often ask me, How long my love shall yet endure? Alas, my Cælia, can I resolve the question? Do I know how long my life shall yet endure ?"*

The pretty lines, "Mark'd you her cheek of rosy hue ?" were written, not upon Miss Linley, as has been generally stated, but upon Lady Margaret Fordyce, and form part of a poem which he published in 1771, descriptive of the principal beauties of Bath, entitled “ Clio's Protest, or the Picture

an answer to some verses by Mr. Miles Peter Andrews, called “The Bath Picture,” in which Lady Margaret was thus introduced :


“Remark too the dimpling, sweet smile
Lady Marg'ret's fine countenance wears."

The following is the passage in Mr. Sheridan's poem, entire ; and the beauty of the six favourite lines shines out so conspicuously, that we cannot wonder at their having been so soon detached, like ill set gems, from the loose and clumsy workmanship around them.

“But, hark!-did not our bard repeat

The love-born name of M-rg-r-t?-
Attention seizes every ear;
We pant for the description here :-
If ever dulness left thy brow,
* Pindar,' we say, 'twill leave thee now.'
But O! old Dullness' son anointed
His mother never disappointed !-
And here we all were left to seek
A dimple in F-rd-ce's cheek!

" And could you really discover,

In gazing those sweet beauties over,
No other charm, no winning grace,
Adorning either mind or face,
But one poor dimple to express
The quintessence of loveliness?
.... Mark'd you her cheek of rosy hue?
Mark'd you her eye of sparkling blue ?

* The Epicurean.

That eye, in liquid circles moving;
That cheek abash'd at Man's approving i
The one, Love's arrows darting round;
The other, blushing at the wound:
Did she not speak, did she not move,

Now Pallas-now the Queen of Love !"
There is little else in this poem worth being extracted,
though it consists of about four hundred lines ;-except, per-
haps, his picture of a good country house-wife, which affords
an early specimen of that neat pointedness of phrase, which
gave his humour, both poetic and dramatic, such a peculiar
edge and polish :-

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“We see the Dame, in rustic pride,
A bunch of keys to grace her side,
Stalking across the well-swept entry,
To hold her council in the pantry;
Or, with prophetic soul, foretelling
The peas will boil well by the shelling;
Or, bustling in her private closet,
Prepare her lord his morning posset ;
And, while the hallowed mixture thickens,
Signing death-warrants for the chickens :
Else, greatly pensive, poring o'er
Accounts her cook had thumbed before ;
One eye cast up upon that great book,
Yclep'd The Family Receipe Book ;
By which she's ruled in all her courses,
From stewing figs to drenching horses.
-Then pans and pickling skillets rise,
In dreadful lustre, to our eyes,
With store of sweetmeats, rang'd in order,
And potted nothings on the border;
While salves and caudle-cups between,
With squalling children, close the scene."

We find here, too, the source of one of those familiar lines, which so many quote without knowing whence they come ;one of those stray fragments, whose parentage is doubtful, but to which (as the law says of illegitimate children)pater est populus."

" You write with ease, to show your breeding,
Bult easy writing's curst hard reading."

In the following passage, with more of the tact of a man of the world than the ardour of a poet, he dismisses the object nearest his heart with the mere passing gallantry of a compliment :

“O! should your genius ever rise,
And make you Laureate in the skies,
I'd hold my life, in twenty years,
You'd spoil the music of the spheres.
-Nay, should the rapture-breathing Nine
In one celestial concert join,
Their sovereign's power to rehearse,
-Were you to furnish them with verse,
By Jove, I'd Ay the heavenly throng,
Tho' Phæbus play'd and Linley sung."

On the opening of the New Assembly Rooms at Bath, which commenced with a ridotto, Sept. 30, 1771, he wrote a humorous description of the entertainment, called “ An Epistle from Timothy Screw to his Brother Henry, Waiter at Almack's,” which appeared first in the Bath Chronicle, and was so eagerly sought after, that Crutwell, the editor, was induced to publish it in a separate form. The allusions in this trifle have, of course, lost their zest by time ; and a specimen or two of its humour will be all that is necessary here.

"Two rooms were first opened--the long and the round one,
(These Hogstyegon names only serve to confound one,)
Both splendidly lit with the new chandeliers,
With drops hanging down like the bobs at Peg's ears :
While jewels of paste reflected the rays,
And Bristol-stone diamonds gave strength to the blaze :
So that it was doubtful, to view the bright clusters,
Which sent the most light out, the ear-rings or lustres.

Nor less among you was the medley, ye fair!
I believe there were some beside quality there :
Miss Spiggot, Miss Brussels, Miss Tape, and Miss Socket,
Miss Trinket, and aunt, with her leathern pocket,
With good Mrs. Soaker, who made her old chin go,
For hours, hobnobbing with Mrs. Syringo :
Had Tib staid at home, I b’lieve none would have miss'd her,
Or pretty Peg Runt, with her tight little sister,” &c. &c.

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