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Elmire: Mais des arrêts du Ciel on nous fait tant de peur.
Tartuffe: Je puis vous dissiper ces craintes ridicules,
Madame, et je sais l’art de lever les scrupules.
Le Ciel défend, de vrai, certains contentements;
Mais on trouve avec lui des accommodements.
Selon divers besoins, il est une science,
D’étendre les liens de notre conscience,
Et de rectifier le mal de l’action
Avec la pureté de notre intention.
Elmira: Won’t holy retribution give you pause?
Tartuffe: I’ll teach you, Ma’am, that Heaven’s contradictions,
Give latitude to men of pure convictions.
It’s true that Heaven frowns on some dark acts,
Though with great men, our Lord makes higher pacts.
A pious man made study of a science,
In which, through other paths, one finds compliance,
Enabling us to balance indiscretion,
Against the zeal of one’s professed repression.
–Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (Molière), Le Tartuffe ou l’imposteur, act iv, sc v (1664) in: Œuvres complètes, vol. 1, p. 963 (G. Couton ed. 1973)(T. Mooney transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
No Comment — March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm
On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers
Estimated percentage of U.S. gasoline consumption that occurs during traffic jams:
In India, 1.8 million female children were estimated to have died between 1985 and 2005 as an indirect result of domestic violence against their mothers; the boys of abused mothers were not at increased risk of death.
Vanilla latte and lemon pound cake continued to be the best-selling items at the Starbucks at CIA headquarters, where baristas do not write customers’ names on their cups.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”