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books in octavo. But among these extracts, there were many not worth regard; for five or six, at least, were of little use or entertainment. He was (as it is frequently the case in men of wit and learning) what the French call a dupe, and in a very high degree. The greatest dunce of a tradesman could impose upon him, for he was altogether ignorant in worldly management. His chief shining quality was that of a schoolmaster : here he shone in his proper element. He had so much skill and practice in the physiognomy of boys, that he rarely mistook at the first view. His scholars loved and feared him. He often rather chose to shame the stupid, but punish the idle, and expose them to all the lads, which was more severe than lashing Among the gentlemen in this kingdom who have any share of education, the scholars of Dr Sheridan infinitely excel, in number and knowledge, all their brethren sent from other schools.
To look on the doctor in some other lights, he was in many things very indiscreet, to say no
He acted like too many clergymen, who are in haste to be married when very young; and from hence proceeded all the miseries of his life. The portion he got proved to be just the reverse of 5001. for he was poorer by a thousand : so many incumbrances of a mother-in-law, and poor relations, whom he was forced to support for many years. Instead of breeding up his daughters to housewifery and plain clothes, he got them at a great expense, to be clad like ladies who had plentiful fortunes; made them only learn to sing and dance, to draw and design, to give them rich silks, and other fopperies; and his two eldest were married, without his consent, to young lads who had nothing to settle on them. However, he had one son, whom the doctor sent to Westminster school, although he could ill afford it. The boy was there immediately taken notice of, upon examination : although a mere stranger, he was by pure merit elected a king's scholar. It is true their maintenance falls something short: the doctor was then so poor, that he could not add fourteen pounds, to enable the boy to finish the year; which if he had done, he would have been removed to a higher class, and, in another year, would have been sped off (that is the phrase) to a fellowship in Oxford or Cambridge: but the doctor was forced to recall him to Dublin, and had friends in our university to send him there, where he has been chosen of the foundation; and, I think, has gotten an exhibition, and designs to stand for a fellowship:
The doctor had a good church living, in the south parts of Ireland, given him by lord Carteret: who, being very learned himself, encourages it in others. Å friend of the doctor's prevailed on his excellency to grant it. The living was well worth 150l. per annum.
He changed it very soon for that of Dunboyn; which, by the knavery of the farmers, and power of the gentlemen, fell so very low, that he could never get 80l. He then changed that living for the free school of Cavan, where he might have lived well, in so cheap a country, on 801. salary per annum, beside his scholars; but the air, he said, was too moist and unwholesome, and he could not bear the company of some persons in that neighbourhood. Upon this he-sold the school for about 4001, spent the money, grew into disease, and died.
* “ His friend and physician, Dr Helsham, foretold the manner, and almost the very time of his death. He said his disorder was a polypus in the heart, which was so far advanced, that it would probably put an end to his existence in a short time, and so suddenly as to give him no warning of it; and therefore recommended it to him to settle his affairs. The doctor, upon this, retired to a house of one of his scholars, Mr O‘Callaghan, at Rathfarnham, three miles from Dublin. In a few days he sent for his friend and namesake, counsellor Sheridan, to draw his will; and when that was done he seemed cheerful and in good spirits. The counsellor, and a brother of Mr O‘Callaghan's, who lent him his house, upon being called away to another part of the kingdom, dined with him that day. Soon after dinner the conversation happened to try on the weather, and one of them observed that the wind was easterly. The doctor upon this said, “ Let it blow east, west, north, or south, the immortal soul will take its flight to the destined poịnt.” These were the last words he ever spoke, for be immediately sunk back in his chair, and expired without a groan, or the smallest struggle. His friends thought he had fallen asleep, and in that belief retired to the garden, that they might not disturb his repose; but on their return, after an hour's walk, to their great astonishment, they found he was dead. Upon opening the body, doctor Helsham's sagacious prognostick proved to be true, as the polypus in the heart was discovered to be the immediate cause of his death. I know not whether it is worth mentioning, that the surgeon said he never saw so large a heart in a human body." --Sheridan's Life of Swift.
It would be very honourable, as well as just, in those many persons of quality and fortune, who had the advantage of being educated under De Sheridan, if they would please to erect some decent monument over his body, in the church where it is deposited.
THE SECOND SOLOMON. * 1729.
[Among all the painful circumstances attendant upon the dissolution of a long and affectionate intercourse between friends of ancient standing, there is none more bitter than when, before a final rupture has taken place, one party avails himself of all the freedom and familiarity of their former relation, to express himself concerning his friend's foibles, with more bitterness than he could pretend to treat those of an enemy. In these moments, every trivial circumstance of untimely raillery, and effusion of temporary resentment, is eagerly mustered and arraigned as an article of indictment against the offender; and former disputes, which, when they happened, were only considered as matter of jest, are now arrayed as grounds of accusation. The following character of Dr Sheridan, in which his foibles are treated so unmercitully, and where some slight instances of disrespect, occurring in the course of familiar and jocular intercourse, are preterred as charges of ingratitude, argues that state of mind in the author, which could not long consist with intimacy. There is besides, an assumption of superiority through the whole, which seems to place the “ Person distinguished for poetical and other writings,” and occupying “ an eminent station,” in contrast, very degrading to his humble, and, one would almost suppose, his dependent friend. This is one of the pieces in which Swift has indulged his irritable temperament, at the expence of his head and heart.]
He became acquainted with a person distinguished for poetical and other writings, and in an emi
nent station, who treated him with great kindness on all occasions, and he became familiar in this person's house. * In three months time Solomon, without the least provocation, writ a long poem, describing that person's muse to be dead, and making a funeral solemnity with asses, owls, &c. and gave the copy among all his acquaintance. †
Solomon became acquainted with a most deserving lady, an intimate friend of the above person, I who entertained him also as she would a brother; and, upon giving him a little good advice in the most decent manner, with relation to his wife, he told her, “ She was like other women, as bad as she was; and that they were all alike.”
Although his wife be, in every regard (except gallantry, which no creature would attempt,) the most disagreeable beast in Europe, he lets his wife (whom he pretends to hate as she deserves) govern, insult, and ruin him, as she pleaseth. Her character is this: Her person is detestably disagreeable; a most filthy slut; lazy, and slothful, and luxurious, ill-natured, envious, suspicious; a scold, expensive on herself, covetous to others : She takes thieves and whores, for cheapness, to be her servants, and turns them off every week: positive, insolent, an ignorant, prating, overweening fool; a lover of the dirtiest, meanest compa
* Dean Swift. D. S. of This does not seem to occur, even in the whimsical Miscellany, the grand repository of the jeux d'esprit, that passed between Swift and Sheridan. However seriously the Dean seems here to regard it, the verses were probably at the time mere food for laughter.
Stella. D. S. $ The Doctor's best defence may be, that it was hardly possible to give advice in a decent, at least delicate manner, upon such a subject,