A monologue from the play by Moliere
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Moliere, Vol. III. Ed. Charles Heron Wall. London: George Bell & Sons, 1891.
SOSTRATUS: 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?