Madam, all minds are not gifted with the necessary qualities
which the delicacy of those fine sciences called abstruse require. There
are some so material that they cannot conceive what others understand most
easily. There is nothing more agreeable, Madam, than all the great promises
of these sublime sciences. To transform everything into gold; to cause people
to live for ever; to cure with words; to make ourselves loved by whomsoever
we please; to know all the secrets of futurity; to bring down from heaven,
according to one's will, on metals, impressions of happiness; to command
demons, to raise invisible armies and invulnerable soldiers--all this is
delightful, no doubt; and there are people who experience no difficulty
whatever in believing all this to be possible; it is the easiest thing for
them to conceive. But for me, I acknowledge that my coarse, gross mind can
hardly understand and refuses to believe it; that, in fact, it thinks it
all too good ever to be true. All those beautiful arguments of sympathy,
magnetic power, and occult virtue, are so subtle and delicate that they
escape my material understanding; and, without speaking of anything else,
it has never been in my power to conceive how there is to be found in the
heavens even the smallest particulars of the fortune of the least of men.
What relation, what connection, what reciprocity, can there be between us
and globes so immeasurably distant from our earth? And how, besides, can
this sublime science have come to man? What god revealed it? Or what experience
can have been formed from the observation of that immense number of stars
which have never as yet been seen twice in the same order?
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Molière, Vol. III.
Ed. Charles Heron Wall. London: George Bell & Sons, 1891.
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