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ENGLISH COMIC WRITERS.
Delivered at the Surry Institution.
BY WILLIAM HAZLITT.
“ It is a very good office one man does another, when he tells him the
THE COMIC WRITERS, &c.
OF GREAT BRITAIN.
ON WIT AND HUMOUR.
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps ; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be. We weep at what thwarts or exceeds our desires in serious matters: we laugh at what only disappoints our expectations in trifles. We shed tears from sympathy with real and necessary distress; as we burst into laughter from want of sympathy with that which is unreasonable and unnecessary, the absurdity of which provokes our spleen or mirth, rather than any serious reflections on it.