Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Before the Terror, and of course Ted Cruz

Sir, I'm sure you believe
that everything is for the
best, both in the moral and
the physical world, and that
nothing could possibly be

I, sir, the scholar answered,
think nothing of the sort. I
think everything goes wrong,
in this world of ours; that no
one understands either his place
or his duties, and except for 
dinner - which is cheerful and
appears to bring people together - 
we spend our time in ridiculous
quarrels. We have Puritans fight-
ing with Jesuits, parliamentarians
fighting with bishops, writers
fighting with other writers, and
courtesans with other courtesans;
we have bankers fighting with peop-
le, women fighting against their
husbands, relatives against other
relatives. What we have, in short,
is endless warfare.

Candide replied, I've seen worse
things. But a very wise man, who
suffered the misfortune of being
hanged, taught me that all these
things are truly fine: they're
shadows of a lovely painting.

Your hanged man, said Martin, was
poking fun at the world. Your shad-
ows are really ghastly stains.

It's men who make the stains, 
said Candide, and they have
no choice.

François-Marie Arouet
1694 - 1778
Candide, or Optimism
Burton Raffel, translation
Yale University Press, 2005©

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