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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 7

On the Death of Richard Brinsley Sheridan

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan was a famous Irish orator, statesman and dramatist, best remembered as the author of “The Rivals,” “The Critic,” and “The School for Scandal.”

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    A mighty Spirit is eclipsed—a Power

    Hath pass’d from day to darkness—to whose hour

    Of light no likeness is bequeath’d—no name,

    Focus at once of all the rays of Fame!

    The flash of Wit—the bright Intelligence,

    The beam of Song—the blaze of Eloquence,

    Set with their Sun—but still have left behind

    The enduring produce of immortal Mind;

    Fruits of a genial morn, and glorious noon,

    A deathless part of him who died too soon.

    But small that portion of the wondrous whole,

    These sparkling segments of that circling soul,

    Which all embraced—and lighten’d over all,

    To cheer—to pierce—to please—or to appall.

    From the charm’d council to the festive board,

    Of human feelings the unbounded lord;

    In whose acclaim the loftiest voices vied,

    The praised—the proud—who made his praise their pride.

    When the loud cry of trampled Hindostan

    Arose to Heaven in her appeal from man.

    His was the thunder—his the avenging rod,

    The wrath—the delegated voice of God!

    Which shook the nations through his lips—and blazed

    Till vanquish’d senates trembled as they praised.