Faded ideas float in the fancy like half-forgotten dreams

— Sheridan, Richard Brinsley (1751-1816)

Place of Publication
John Wilkie
Faded ideas float in the fancy like half-forgotten dreams
Metaphor in Context
It were unnecessary to enter into any farther extenuation of what was thought exceptionable in this Play, but that it has been said, that the Managers should have prevented some of the defects before its appearance to the Public--and in particular the uncommon length of the piece as represented the first night.--It were an ill return for the most liberal and gentlemanly conduct on their side, to suffer any censure to rest where none was deserved. Hurry in writing has long been exploded as an excuse for an Author;-- however, in the dramatic line, it may happen, that both an Author and a Manager may wish to fill a chasm in the entertainment of the Public with a hastiness not altogether culpable. The season was advanced when I first put the play into Mr. Harris's hands:--it was at that time at least double the length of any acting comedy.--I profited by his judgment and experience in the curtailing of it--'till, I believe, his feeling for the vanity of a young Author got the better of his desire for correctness, and he left many excrescences remaining, because he had assisted in pruning so many more. Hence, though I was not uninformed that the Acts were still too long, I flatter'd myself that, after the first trial, I might with safer judgment proceed to remove what should appear to have been most dissatisfactory.--Many other errors there were, which might in part have arisen from my being by no means conversant with plays in general, either in reading or at the theatre.--Yet I own that, in one respect, I did not regret my ignorance: for as my first wish in attempting a Play, was to avoid every appearance of plagiary, I thought I should stand a better chance of effecting this from being in a walk which I had not frequented, and where consequently the progress of invention was less likely to be interrupted by starts of recollection: for on subjects on which the mind has been much informed, invention is slow of exerting itself.--Faded ideas float in the fancy like half-forgotten dreams; and the imagination in its fullest enjoyments becomes suspicious of its offspring, and doubts whether it has created or adopted.
Reading, but the passage copied from HDIS
First performed January 17th, 1775. 14 entries in ESTC (1775, 1776, 1785, 1788, 1791, 1793, 1797, 1798).

Sheridan, R. B. The Rivals, a Comedy. As it is Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden (London: John Wilkie, 1775). <Link to ECCO-TCP>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.