Watching Garrick — English actor -
the people applauding him would say:
“You are the funniest on earth,
and happiest… ”
and the comedian laughed.
Victims of spleen, the high lords
in the blackest and heaviest nights,
they would go to see the king of actors,
and they changed their spleen into laughter.
Once, before a famous doctor,
a man came with a gloomy look:
I suffer, he said, such a terrible evil
like this pale face of mine.
Nothing seems charming or attractive;
I don’t care about my name or my luck;
in an eternal spleen I’m dying alive,
and my only ambition is that of death.
Travel and you will be distracted.
-I have traveled so much!
Look for readings.
-I’ve read so much!
Does a woman love you.
-I am loved!
Acquire a title.
-Noble I was born!
Maybe you are poor?
-I have wealth.
Do you like flattery?
-I hear so many!
What do you have as family?
Do you go to cemeteries?
-Much too often.
Of your current life, do you have witnesses?
-Yes, but I don’t let them impose yokes on me:
I call the dead my friends; and the living I call my executioners.
It leaves me — adds the doctor — perplexed your evil, but it must not cow you;
take this advice today as prescription “Only by seeing Garrick you can be healed.”
Yes, Garrick … The most remiss and austere society eagerly seeks him;
everyone who sees him cracks up laughing;
He has an amazing artistic grace!
-And he will make me laugh?
Ah! yes, I swear to you; He will; no one but him; yet … what worries you?
“Thus,” said the patient, “I will not get cured: I’m Garrick!… Change me the prescription.”
How many are there who, tired of life,
sicked of grief, dead of boredom,
they make us laugh like the suicidal actor,
without finding for their illness remedy!
Oh! How many times when we laugh we cry!
Nobody in the joy of laughter trust,
because in the beings that pain devours
the soul cries when the face laughs!
If faith dies, if calm flees,
if only thistles our plant treads,
the tempest of the soul casts a sad flash: the smile.
The carnival of the world deceives so much,
that lives are short masquerades;
here we learn to laugh with tears,
and also to cry with laughter.
Juan de Dios Peza