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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”