Page:John M. Synge - Masefield - Dublin 1915.djvu/30

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of vivid character, pigs and children playing together, etc. As I looked at them he explained them or commented on them in a way which made all sharp and bright. His talk was best when it was about life or the ways of life. His mind was too busy with the life to be busy with the affairs or the criticism of life. His talk was all about men and women and what they did and what they said when life excited them. His mind was perhaps a little like Shakespeare’s. We do not know what Shakespeare thought: I do not know what Synge thought. I don’t believe anybody knew, or thinks he knows.

“There was something very nice about Synge.” The friend who said this to me, added that “though the plays are cynical, he was not cynical in himself.” I do not feel that the plays are cynical. They seem heartless at first sight. The abundant malicious zest in them gives them an air of cruelty. But in the plays, Synge did with his personality as he did in daily life. He buried his meaning deep. He covered his tragedy with mockeries.