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The Tinker's Wedding   By: (1871-1909)

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Note: I have omitted the running heads, and I have marked with possible typos.




JOHN W. LUCE AND COMPANY BOSTON : : : : : : : : : 1911

Copyright 1904 By J. M. Synge


THE drama is made serious in the French sense of the word not by the degree in which it is taken up with problems that are serious in themselves, but by the degree in which it gives the nourishment, not very easy to define, on which our imaginations live. We should not go to the theatre as we go to a chemist's, or a dram shop, but as we go to a dinner, where the food we need is taken with pleasure and excitement. This was nearly always so in Spain and England and France when the drama was at its richest the infancy and decay of the drama tend to be didactic but in these days the playhouse is too often stocked with the drugs of many


seedy problems, or with the absinthe or ver mouth of the last musical comedy. The drama, like the symphony, does not teach or prove anything. Analysts with their problems, and teachers with their systems, are soon as old fashioned as the pharmacopœia of Galen, look at Ibsen and the Germans but the best plays of Ben Jonson and Molière can no more go out of fashion than the black berries on the hedges. Of the things which nourish the imagination humour is one of the most needful, and it is dangerous to limit or destroy it. Baudelaire calls laughter the greatest sign of the Satanic element in man; and where a country loses its humor, as some towns in Ireland are doing, there will be morbidity of mind, as Baude laire's mind was morbid. In the greater part of Ireland, however, the whole people, from the tinkers to the clergy, have still a life, and view of life, that


are rich and genial and humorous. I do not think that these country people, who have so much humor themselves, will mind being laughed at without malice, as the people in every country have been laughed at in their own comedies.

J. M. S.

December 2nd, 1907

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MICHAEL BYRNE, a tinker. MARY BYRNE, an old woman, his mother. SARAH CASEY, a young tinker woman. A PRIEST.

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SCENE: A Village roadside after nightfall. A fire of sticks is burning near the ditch a little to the right. Michael is working beside it. In the background, on the left, a sort of tent and ragged clothes drying on the hedge. On the right a chapel gate.

SARAH CASEY coming in on right, eagerly. We'll see his reverence this place, Michael Byrne, and he passing backward to his house to night. MICHAEL grimly. That'll be a sacred and a sainted joy! SARAH sharply. It'll be small joy for yourself if you aren't ready with my wedding ring. (She goes over to him.) Is it near done this time, or what way is it at all? MICHAEL. A poor way only, Sarah Casey, for it's the divil's job making a ring, and you'll be having my hands destroyed in a short while the way I'll not be able to make a tin can at all maybe at the dawn of day. SARAH sitting down beside him and throwing sticks on the fire. If it's the divil's


job, let you mind it, and leave your speeches that would choke a fool. MICHAEL slowly and glumly. And it's you'll go talking of fools, Sarah Casey, when no man did ever hear a lying story even of your like unto this mortal day. You to be going beside me a great while, and rearing a lot of them, and then to be setting off with your talk of getting married, and your driv ing me to it, and I not asking it at all. [Sarah turns her back to him and ar ranges something in the ditch... Continue reading book >>

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