DOI link for Introductory
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. The alternation of tears and laughter, in this little episode in common life, depends almost entirely on the greater or less degree of interest attached to the different changes of appearance. Humour is the describing the ludicrous as it is in itself; wit is the exposing it, by comparing or contrasting it with something else. Humour is, as it were, the growth of nature and accident; wit is the product of art and fancy. A writer of some pretensions among ourselves has reproached the French with 'an equal want of books and men.'.