Are there some good and apt examples of it? Is it an idiom?
In Tom Wolfe's new novel, an old father rejects his son, moves heavy furniture to injure himself on purpose and keeps a stoic face to the women of the family. The son then accuses the father of playing 'patience on a monument smiling at grief.' The context with this working class Cuban family doesn't call for Shakespeare, except the son learnt the expression from his intellectual girlfriend, and that's all the clue Mr. Wolfe offers of why the expression comes up all of a sudden. Weird.