Sheridan pp 134-137 | Cite as

The Character of Sheridan

  • William Gullen Bryant


It was the misfortune of Sheridan that his animal nature, if we may so speak, had so much the mastery over his intellectual. He not only loved pleasure with a more impetuous fondness, but suffered less from the excessive pursuit of it than most men. The strength of his constitution, the possession of high health, the excitability of his feelings, and his fine flow of animal spirits, all either seconded the temptations of the siren, or secured him from the immediate penalties which so often follow her gifts. In proportion to his love of pleasure was his hatred of labor. No man loves labor for its own sake—at least not until long habit has made it necessary—but some seem originally to dread and hate it more vehemently than others. It is almost impossible to imagine anybody more unwilling to look this severe step-mother of greatness and virtue in the face than was Sheridan. This disposition showed itself while he was yet a school-boy, and seems to have lost no strength in his maturer years. He never had, he never would have, any regular pursuit, for neither his connection with the theatre nor his parliamentary career deserve this name. He avoided all periodical industry; it was a principle of his conduct to delay everything to the last possible moment; and his whole life seems to have been a series of experiments to escape, or at least to put off to another day, that greatest of evils—labor.


Romantic Love Good Nature Animal Spirit Chief Office Sunny Side 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

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  • William Gullen Bryant

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