An instance of this, ludicrous while grossly tyrannical, is preserved in the records.
This adventurer, at once ludicrous and formidable, was a native of Ireland, and was thought to be put forward by Richard to test the popularity of the Yorkist cause.
But his pretensions were ludicrous; he was quickly captured by the Chileans and sent back to France (1862) as a madman; and though he made one more abortive effort in 1874 to recover his "kingdom," and occupied his pen in magnifying his achievements, nobody took him seriously except a few of the deluded Indians.
It shows in its author a want of reverence, a want of decency in the proper sense, a too great readiness to condescend to the easiest kind of ludicrous ideas and the kind most acceptable at that time to the common run of mankind.
On her monument at Bromley he placed an inscription extolling the charms of her person and of her manners; and when, long after her decease, he had occasion to mention her, he exclaimed with a tenderness half ludicrous, half pathetic, "Pretty creature !"
But the actual doctrine taught by Massenbach, who was now a colonel, may be summarized as the doctrine of positions carried to a ludicrous excess; the claims put forward for the general staff, that it was to prepare cut-anddried plans of operations in peace which were to be imposed on the troop leaders in war, were derided by the responsible generals; and the memoirs on proposed plans of campaign to suit certain political combinations were worked out in quite unnecessary detail.
Comedy is representation of men inferior in being ludicrous: epic is like tragedy a representation of superior men, but by means of narrative and unlimited in time: tragedy is a representation of an action superior and complete, in a day if possible, by means of action, and accomplishing by pity and fear the purgation of such passions (Poetics, 1449 b 24).
Swift's grave humour and power of enforcing momentous truth by ludicrous exaggeration were next displayed in his Modest Proposal for Preventing the' Children of Poor People from being a Burden to their Parents or the Country, by fattening and eating them (1729), a parallel to the Argument against Abolishing Christianity, and as great a masterpiece of tragic as the latter is of comic irony.
Dean realized from his past experience that being forthcoming and subjecting himself to interrogation without an attorney was naive but the entire idea of his trying to kill Shipton was so ludicrous in his mind, he tended to minimize the seriousness of the situation.