Here’s to the maiden of bashful fifteen

This afternoon, looking for something else, I came across Sheridan’s song, ‘Here’s to the maiden’, and realised that is was something that could be illustrated with nineteenth century ‘genre’ paintings which depict life a hundred years earlier. So here goes.


Her First Dance 1884 by Sir William Quiller Orchardson 1832-1910
Here’s to the maiden of bashful fifteen,

Here’s to the widow of fifty,

Here’s to the flaunting extravagant quean,

And here’s to the housewife that’s thrifty.

Let the toast pass,
Drink to the lass,
I’ll warrant she’ll prove an excuse for the glass.



Copyright Museums Sheffield / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Here’s to the charmer whose dimples we prize,

Now to the maid who has none, sir.

Here’s to the girl with a pair of blue eyes,

A Girl Singing Ballads by a Paper Lanthorn c.1765-82 by Henry Robert Morland 1716-1797
And here’s to the nymph with but one, sir.

Let the toast pass,
Drink to the lass,
I’ll warrant she’ll prove an excuse for the glass.



The Lace Maker 
*oil on canvas 
*147.9 x 97.1 cm 
*signed b.r: C A Lenoir

Here’s to the maid with a bosom of snow,


Now to her that’s as brown as a berry.


Here’s to the wife with her face full of woe,


And now to the damsel that’s merry.

Let the toast pass,
Drink to the lass,
I’ll warrant she’ll prove an excuse for the glass.




For let ’em be clumsy, or let ’em be slim,
Young or ancient, I care not a feather,
So fill a pint bumper quite up to the brim,
And let us e’en toast them together.

Let the toast pass,
Drink to the lass,
I’ll warrant she’ll prove an excuse for the glass.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1775



Filed under Georgian

12 responses to “Here’s to the maiden of bashful fifteen

  1. I really love the portraits they are beautiful!!💝💗💞💜💙💚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KD Johnson

    Maidens eh!? Whatever happened to them?
    I’m not convinced by your “Brown as a Berry” picture – the sort of young woman, who might be described as such, largely doesn’t appear in such pictures. Nice try anyway.


  3. This was a fun read. Also, Sheridan is one of the most underrated writers of his time. But I loved his work on stereotyping characters to full-on consistency. The Rivals has been a repeat read of mine. Now there’s a play I’d like to see enacted.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For futute editions of this, can I nominate JG Lockhart’s “The Irishman and the Lady” (often wrongly attributed to William Maginn):

    There was a lady liv’d at Leith,
    A lady very stylish, man;
    And yet, in spite of all her teeth,
    She fell in love with an Irishman —
    A nasty, ugly Irishman,
    A wild, tremendous Irishman,
    A tearing, swearing, thumping, bumping, ranting, roaring Irishman… [etc]

    Good luck!


  5. Pingback: The Magpie Song | The Curious Archaeologist

  6. Barbara

    Love this! It made my night. I’m an historian, genealogist who often goes down the ADHD route which lead me to this poem/song. Also a huge fan of Pioneer Girl and as you probably know, this song was sung by Pa in the book These Happy Golden Years. Thank you for putting together this post.

    Thank you!


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