Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Irish-born English Playwright, Orator, Statesman

"Be just before you're generous."

"Our memories are independent of our wills. It is not so easy to forget."

"The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed."

"The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed."

"There’s no possibility of being witty without a little ill-nature; the malice of a good thing is the barb that makes it stick."

"They only babble who practice not reflection."

"Is not music the food of love?"

"A bumper of good liquor will end a contest quicker than justice, judge, or vicar."

"An apothecary should never be out of spirits."

"A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge."

"A fluent tongue is the only thing a mother don't like her daughter to resemble her in."

"An unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance!"

"Ay, ay, the best terms will grow obsolete: damns have had their day."

"Do thou snatch treasures from my lips, and I'll take kingdoms back from thine."

"Easy writings curse is hard reading."

"Fertilizer does no good in a heap, but a little spread around works miracles all over."

"For if there is anything to one's praise, it is foolish vanity to be gratified at it, and if it is abuse -- why one is always sure to hear of it from one damned good-natured friend or another!"

"Had I a thousand daughters, by Heaven! I'd as soon have them taught the black art as their alphabet!"

"He is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts."

"Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible."

"Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics."

"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, "

"Death's a debt; his mandamus binds all alike "

"He is the very pineapple of politeness!"

"Humanity is composed but of two categories, the invalids and the nurses."

"I mean, the question actors most often get asked is how they can bear saying the same things over and over again, night after night, but God knows the answer to that is, don't we all anyway; might as well get paid for it."

"I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful attention in the audience - it also marks the time, which is four o clock in the morning, and saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding the eastern hemisphere."

"I think the interpreter is the harder to understand of the two."

"I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman: for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or simony, or fluxions, or paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning; nor will it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments; but... I would send her, at nine years old, to a boarding-school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice: then, sir, she would have a supercilious knowledge in accounts, and, as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries: this is what I would have a woman know; and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it."

"If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs."

"I'm called away by particular business - but I leave my character behind me."

"In religion as in friendship, they who profess most are ever the least sincere."

"Madam, a circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge; it blossoms through the year. And depend on it that they who are so fond of handling the leaves, will long for the fruit at last."

"Modesty is a quality in a lover more praised by the women than liked."

"My valor is certainly going! "

"Never say more than is necessary."

"Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with."

"Pity those who nature abuses; never those who abuse nature."

"Remember that when you meet your antagonist, to do everything in a mild agreeable manner. Let your courage be keen, but, at the same time, as polished as your sword."

"Take care; you know I am compliance itself, when I am not thwarted! No one more easily led, when I have my own way; but don't put me in a frenzy."

"Tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers."

"That old man dies prematurely whose memory records no benefits conferred. They only have lived long who have lived virtuously."

"The glorious uncertainty of the law was a thing well known and complained of, by all ignorant people, but all learned gentleman considered it as its greatest excellency."

"The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villainous "

"The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it."

"The Right Honorable Gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts."

"There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy."

"There is nothing on earth so easy as to forget, if a person chooses to set about it. I'm sure I have as much forgot your poor, dear uncle, as if he had never existed; and I thought it my duty to do so."

"There never was a scandalous tale without some foundation."

"There 's nothing like being used to a thing."