Candide - Voltaire
Oh, how this is the best of all possible worlds. I read this book, fittingly, while I was in France. A cheeky narrative full of sass and satire about government, philosophy, and love. The perfect tale for a budding cynic.
Candide, who trembled like a philosopher, hid himself as well as he could during this heroic butchery.
Our men defended themselves like the Pope’s soldiers; they flung themselves upon their knees, and threw down their arms, begging of the corsair an absolution in articulo mortis.
“We are able to hold out no longer; we have walked enough. I see an empty canoe near the river-side; let us fill it with cocoanuts, throw ourselves into it, and go with the current; a river always leads to some inhabited spot. If we do not find pleasant things we shall at least find new things.”
“Were you ever in France, Mr. Martin?” said Candide. “Yes,” said Martin, “I have been in several provinces. In some one-half of the people are fools, in others they are too cunning; in some they are weak and simple, in others they affect to be witty; in all, the principal occupation is love, the next is slander, and the third is talking nonsense.”
“Oh! what a superior man,” said Candide below his breath. “What a great genius is this Pococurante! Nothing can please him.”
This discourse gave rise to new reflections, and Martin especially concluded that man was born to live either in a state of distracting inquietude or of lethargic disgust.
“There is a concatenation of events in this best of all possible worlds: for if you had not been kicked out of a magnificent castle for love of Miss Cunegonde: if you had not been put into the Inquisition: if you had not walked over America: if you had not stabbed the Baron: if you had not lost all your sheep from the fine country of El Dorado: you would not be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio-nuts.” “All that is very well,” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.”
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