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LIFE OF SHERIDAN
Our first interest in the Sheridan name is Ancestry.
Dr. Thomas Sheridan, clergy man and schoolmaster at Dublin in the first part of the eighteenth century, connected with literary history through his friendship with Dean Jonathan Swift. The son of this Dr. Sheridan, also called Thomas, was born in Dublin in 1719, was trained at Westminster School and Trinity College, Dublin, and was intended by his parents for the ministry. However, young Thomas Sheridan, ardently fond of public speaking and the theatre, turned to the stage as the best training-school for his talents. As a capable actor and a progressive manager, he rendered worthy service to the English drama of the time. Frances Chamberlaine, wḥo afterwards became the wife of Thomas Sheridan and the mother of the great dramatist, was born of English parents at Dublin in 1724. She was widely recognized as a woman of accomplishment and of literary distinction.
To these parents was born at 12 Dorset Birth and
Street, Dublin, on the 30th of October, 1751, Youth.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Young Richard went to Harrow in 1762, where he showed no particular scholarship, but won the respect of teachers and companions. The years at Harrow were a period of happiness to Richard, if not of intellectual profit, but of considerable distress to the father, who in true Sheridan fashion buried himself even more deeply in debt. In 1766, while Richard was still at Harrow, the mother died. A little later, in 1769, the father brought together his four children in London and secured for the boys instruction in mathematics and classics.
In the following year the family moved to of Career.
Bath, then in a particular degree the most
famous city of England. As a health resort, known throughout Europe, it attracted all classes, the sick who hoped for health from its waters, the indolent who wished to be amused, the people of society and dress who coveted a more than local distinction; and, finally, rascals of all sorts: thieves, fortune-hunters, gamblers, who naturally flocked to such a place for personal profit. Into this busy world the Sheridans entered, and Richard found at once his place.
Then began the career of the young man. First,
were rich plans, then numerous attempts, and, later, failures and success. There were early pieces, chiefly in collaboration with Nathaniel Halhed, a friend of Sheridan at Harrow; a farce, Txion, written by Halhed and revised by Sheridan with the title, Jupiter ; a periodical called Hernan's Miscellany, which never was published; a translation in verse of the Love Epistles of Aristonetus, - all of which are unimportant.
In 1773, Sheridan, in quite romantic fashion, Marriage.
married Elizabeth Linley, distinguished as an amateur singer and musician. Certain incidents of this episode find close correspondence to the play, The Rivals. After the marriage, the Sheridans lived happily in seclusion in a country cottage.
It was in January, 1775, that Sheridan's His Plays.
fame really began, for in that month was
produced at Covent Garden his first comedy, The Rivals. Though the play on the first night met a rather unfortunate reception, on every subsequent occasion it has had nothing but success. In May of the same year appeared St. Patrick's Day, or The Scheming Lieutenant, a two-act farce, which the author wrote for a benefit performance. In the following November Sheridan produced, again at Covent Garden, a comic opera called Duenna. This comedy at once became popular, and with The Rivals secured national recognition for the author.