SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”