They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
Once the curtain is raised, the actor ceases to belong to himself. He belongs to his character, to his author, to his public. He must do the impossible to identify himself with the first, not to betray the second, and not to disappoint the third. And to this end the actor must forget his personality and throw aside his joys and sorrows. He must present the public with the reality of a being who for him is only a fiction. With his own eyes, he must shed the tears of the other. With his own voice, he must groan the anguish of the other. His own heart beats as if it would burst, for it is the other’s heart that beats in his heart. And when he retires from a tragic or dramatic scene, if he has properly rendered his character, he must be panting and exhausted.
He gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.