The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

IX. Anglo-Irish Literature

§ 7. The Sheridans

Passing to later centuries, we shall find few instances of a hereditary talent so persistent as that of the Sheridan stock. Richard Brinsley Sheridan himself inherited poetic tastes from his mother, born Frances Chamberlaine, from his father Thomas Sheridan, a noted actor and playwright, his dramatic bent, and from his grandfather, Thomas Sheridan, Swift’s intimate, a classical style. His own brilliant wit descended to his son Tom Sheridan, father of Caroline Sheridan, afterwards Mrs. Norton (the supposed prototype of George Meredith’s Diana of the Crossways), and, also, of Helen Sheridan, lady Dufferin. From the Sheridan stock, too, descends the Le Fanu talent; for Alice, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s sister, a clever writer of verse and plays, was grandmother of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, while Sheridan Knowles, the popular actor and dramatist, was, also, of the Sheridan-Le Fanu stock. Caroline Norton does not escape the influence of the sentimentality which marked the verse of her time, as her sister lady Dufferin escapes it. The simplest themes seemed to attract lady Dufferin most. Living a happy domestic life amid Irish surroundings, her warm heart beats in such close sympathy with her peasant neighbours that, in I’m sitting on the stile, Mary, and The Bay of Dublin, she writes as if she were one of themselves, while her sense of fun floats through her Irish poems with a delicate breeziness.