Grief Mingled with Execrations
Richard Brinsley Sheridan died on 7 July 1816. Although Sheridan's long decline was well rehearsed in the days immediately following his death, most newspaper accounts centred upon what seemed to be his ignominious final weeks, when sickness and debt could no longer be resisted. Moore was taking a genuine risk when he involved himself in Sheridan's history. His defence was a display of loyalty that was personal, professional, and political. Sheridan mattered to Moore, socially and culturally. Moore's poem strives to confront the reader and to berate their betters. Unwilling to simply exult, or to indulge in praise or grief, as Gent and Phillips had done, Moore makes Sheridan's loss the matter of public examination; private response is dismissed as affected and aristocratic. The poem is presented in a more historically sensitive mode than had been possible in the Morning Chronicle.