Women, "like garden-trees," seldom show fruit, "till time has robbed them of the more specious blossom"

— Sheridan, Richard Brinsley (1751-1816)

Place of Publication
John Wilkie
Women, "like garden-trees," seldom show fruit, "till time has robbed them of the more specious blossom"
Metaphor in Context
Your being Sir Anthony's son, Captain, would itself be a sufficient accommodation; --but from the ingenuity of your appearance, I am convinced you deserve the character here given of you.

Permit me to say, Madam, that as I never yet have had the pleasure of seeing Miss Languish, my principal inducement in this affair at present, is the honour of being allied to Mrs. Malaprop; of whose intellectual accomplishments, elegant manners, and unaffected learning, no tongue is silent.

Sir, you do me infinite honour!-- I beg, Captain, you'll be seated.--


--Ah! few gentlemen, now a days, know how to value the ineffectual qualities in a woman! few think how a little knowledge become a gentlewoman! Men have no sense now but for the worthless flower, beauty!

It is but too true indeed, Ma'am;--yet I fear our ladies should share the blame--they think our admiration of beauty so great, that knowledge in them would be superfluous. Thus, like garden-trees, they seldom shew fruits, till time has robb'd them of the more specious blossom.--Few, like Mrs. Malaprop and the Orange-tree, are rich in both at once!

Sir--you overpower me with good-breeding. --He is the very Pine-apple of politeness! You are not ignorant, Captain, that this giddy girl has somehow contrived to fix her affections on a beggarly, strolling, eve's-dropping Ensign, whom none of us have seen, and nobody knows any thing of.
(Act III, Scene iii)
Reading, but 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.