SHERIDAN, Thomas. The Satyrs of Persius.


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[SHERIDAN, Thomas] The Satyrs of Persius. Translated into English by Thomas Sheridan, D.D. Dublin: Printed by George Grierson, 1728. Post octavo. pp. xvi, [3], 4-101, [1]. Contemporary Irish binding of full red morocco, covers decorated with a gilt floral roll. Spine divided into six panels by five raised bands, title in gilt on morocco letterpiece in the second, the remainder tooled in gilt with fleur-de-lys; board edges gilt; comb-marbled endpapers; green and gold endbands. Armorial bookplate on front pastedown of Captain Tottenham, Woodstock. Inscription on front free endpaper 'This book was given / me by Mrs. Euphemia Houghton / April ye 29th / Anno Domini: 1729.' All edges gilt. In fine condition. €1,650 COPAC locates 8 copies only. ESTC T125331. Latin text with parallel English translation. Includes brief passages in Ancient Greek. Thomas Sheridan, D.D. (1687-1738), schoolmaster, and friend of Swift, was born at Cavan in 1687, and was the son of James Sheridan, fourth and youngest son of the Rev. Dennis Sheridan, who assisted Bishop Bedell in translating the bible into Irish. Thomas Sheridan, the Jacobite, and William Sheridan, bishop of Kilmore, were his uncles.

In 1707 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, as a pensioner, his uncle, the bishop, helping with funds. He graduated B.A. in 1711, and M.A. in 1714; in 1724 he became B.D. and in 1726 D.D. Shortly after graduating he married Elizabeth, the only child of Charles MacFadden of Quilca House, County Cavan, and this house became his on MacFadden's death. The property was originally in the possession of the Sheridans, and was forfeited for their adhering to James II, while Charles MacFadden acquired it for his services to King William. Sheridan, on his marriage, opened a school in King's Mint House, Capel Street, which was attended by sons of the best families in Dublin, and from which he derived an income of 1,000l. Swift made Sheridan's acquaintance in 1713, on arriving in Dublin to take possession of the deanery of St. Patrick's.

They became constant companions. A room in the deanery was reserved for Sheridan, while Swift often lived for months together at Quilca, where he planned the ‘Drapier's Letters,’ wrote a part of ‘Gulliver's Travels,’ and edited ‘The Intelligencer’ in concert with his friend. When Sheridan was incapacitated by illness from being present in his school, Swift took his place. When Carteret was lord-lieutenant, Swift appealed to him on Sheridan's behalf, and in response he appointed him, in 1725, to be one of his chaplains and to a living in the county of Cork. Before he was inducted, however, Sheridan preached a sermon at Cork on the text ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,’ a sermon which he had often preached before without complaint. On this occasion Sunday fell on August 1st., the day of Queen Anne's death. Richard Tighe, a whig and courtier, heard it; he thought that the sermon confirmed the prevailing notion that the preacher was a Jacobite, and he  represented this to the lord-lieutenant, who struck Sheridan's name from the list of his chaplains and forbade his appearing at court. Archdeacon Thomas Russell, in whose pulpit the offending sermon was delivered, presented the absent-minded preacher, by way of compensation, with the manor of Drumlane, County Cavan, yielding 250l. a year.

Dr. Sheridan was offered the head-mastership of the royal school at Armagh, but elected to remain in Dublin, at the advice of his friends, who afterwards aided in the establishment of a school which emptied his own. In consequence, he felt obliged to leave the city and exchange his living at Dunboyne for the free school at Cavan. In 1738 he disposed of this school and went to stay with Swift at St. Patrick's deanery, where he had a serious illness, and was told after his recovery that his presence was no longer welcome. He had, it is true, alienated Swift by being faithful to a promise made in earlier years to inform him when he showed signs of avarice. Having noted many instances, he gave Swift the paper on which he had written them. After perusal he asked Dr. Sheridan, ‘Did you never read “Gil Blas”? ’ Not long afterwards Sheridan died suddenly at the dinner-table in the house of a former pupil at Rathfarnham in 1738. By his wife, Elizabeth MacFadden of Ulster, he had issue James, Richard, Thomas, and a daughter, who was the ancestress of Sheridan Knowles.

Sheridan wrote much and published little. Translations of the ‘Satyrs of Persius’ (1728, 8vo) and ‘Satires of Juvenal’ (1739, 8vo), both of which had several editions, and the ‘Philoctetes’ of Sophocles (1725) were the most noteworthy of his productions. Swift said that Sheridan "shone in his proper element" at the head of a school; in a letter to Alderman Barber he characterised him as "the best scholar in these kingdoms." Sir Walter Scott, in his ‘Memoir of Swift,’ writes about ‘the good-natured, light-hearted, and ingenious Sheridan: "Not a day passed that he did not make a rebus, an anagram, or a madrigal. Idle, poor, and gay, he managed his own affairs badly" He justly wrote of himself, ‘I am famous for giving the best advice and following the worst". Provenance: From the library of Captain Tottenham, Woodstock. He was obviously a connoisseur of fine bindings. See 'Exquisite & Rare Bookbindings from the Library of Benjamin Guinness, 3rd Earl of Iveagh' an Exhibition in Marsh's Library, Dublin, July 2013. One of the finest Irish bindings of the eighteenth century: Hugh Maffett (ed.), The Catiline and Jugurthine Wars. Translated from Sallust (Dublin, 1772), has also the bookplate of J.R. Abbey and Captain Tottenham of Woodstock, County Wicklow. Built by Sir John Stratford in the 1770s, Woodstock House was designed by the architect Robert West who worked on many of the country’s great houses. This property was bought in 1827 by Lord Robert Tottenham, who is said to have paid £12,000 for the house (25 rooms) and demesne (180 acres), and to have spent another £6000 on building a wall round it.


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