- 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.
- An oyster may be crossed in love.
- 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.
- 'Tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion.
- Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.
- Never say more than is necessary.
- I know you are laughing in your sleeve.
- A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge.
- He is the very pineapple of politeness!
- If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!
- As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.
- Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.
- We will not anticipate the past; so mind, young people,—our retrospection will be all to the future.
- No caparisons, miss, if you please. Caparisons don't become a young woman.
- You are not like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once, are you?
- The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it.
- You're our enemy; lead the way, and we 'll precede.
- There's nothing like being used to a thing.
- 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.
- My valour is certainly going! — it is sneaking off! I feel it oozing out, as it were, at the palm of my hands!
- I own the soft impeachment.
- Through all the drama — whether damned or not —
Love gilds the scene, and women guide the plot.
The Duenna (1775)Edit
- I ne'er could any luster see
In eyes that would not look on me.
- I loved him for himself alone.
- A bumper of good liquor
Will end a contest quicker
Than justice, judge, or vicar.
- Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
I ne'er could injure you.
- Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.
- Tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers.
- You shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall meander through a meadow of margin.
- You had no taste when you married me.
- Here is the whole set! a character dead at every word.
- I leave my character behind me.
- 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.
- An unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance.
- Be just before you're generous.
- It was an amiable weakness.
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.
- There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.
- 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.
- Sheer necessity,—the proper parent of an art so nearly allied to invention.
- Egad, I think the interpreter is the hardest to be understood of the two!
- A practitioner in panegyric, or, to speak more plainly, a professor of the art of puffing.
- The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.
- No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope?
- Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible.
- Where they do agree on the stage, their unanimity is wonderful.
- Inconsolable to the minuet in Ariadne.
- The Spanish fleet thou canst not see, because—it is not yet in sight!
- An oyster may be crossed in love.
- I wish, sir, you would practice this without me. I can't stay dying here all night.