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Weeping at a Play

Anecdotes Home






It is a prevailing folly to be ashamed to shed a tear
at any part of a tragedy, however affecting. "The reason," says the
Spectator, "is, that persons think it makes them look ridiculous, by
betraying the weakness of their nature. But why may not nature show itself
in tragedy, as well as in comedy or farce? We see persons not ashamed to
laugh loudly at the humour of a Falstaff,--or the tricks of a harlequin;
and why should not the tear be equally allowed to flow for the misfortunes
of a Juliet, or the forlornness of an Ophelia?" Sir Richard Steele records
on this subject a saying of Mr. Wilks the actor, as just as it was polite.
Being told in the green-room that there was a general in the boxes weeping
for Juliana, he observed with a smile, "_And I warrant you, sir, he'll
fight ne'er the worse for that_."





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