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AThe creatures are all right,@ said the senator; AI amuse myself with them sometimes, for I am heartily tired of the women of the town, their coquetry, their jealousy, their quarrels, their humors, their meannesses, their pride, and their folly; I am weary of making sonnets, or of paying for sonnets to be made on them; but after all, these two girls are beginning to bore me, [email protected]

After having refreshed himself, Candide walked into a large gallery, where he was struck with the sight of a fine collection of paintings.

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AThe creatures are all right,@ said the senator; AI amuse myself with them sometimes, for I am heartily tired of the women of the town, their coquetry,
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APray,@ said Candide, Aby what master are the two first of t[email protected]

AThey are by Raphael,@ answered the senator. AI gave a great deal of money for them seven years ago, purely out of curiosity, as they were said to be the finest pieces in Italy; but I cannot say they please me: the coloring is dark and heavy; the figures are badly modeled; and the drapery isn=t realistic. In short, notwithstanding the praises lavished upon them, they are not in my opinion a true representation of nature. I approve of no paintings save those wherein I think I behold nature itself; and there are few if any of that kind to be met with. I have what is called a fine collection, but I take no manner of delight in [email protected]

While dinner was being prepared Pococurante ordered a concert. Candide praised the music to the skies.

AThis noise,@ said the noble Venetian, Amay amuse one for a little time, but if it were to last above half an hour, it would grow tiresome to everybody, though perhaps no one would care to admit it. Music has become the art of executing what is difficult; now, whatever is difficult cannot be long pleasing. I believe I might take more pleasure in an opera, but they have made a monster of that species of dramatic entertainment and it perfectly shocks me; and I am amazed how people can bear to see wretched tragedies set to music, in which the scenes are contrived only to pull in by the ears three or four ridiculous songs and give some actress a chance to show off her pipes. Let who wills it to die in raptures at the trills of a eunuch quavering the majestic part of Caesar or Cato and strutting in a foolish manner upon the stage, but for my part I have long ago renounced these paltry entertainments, which constitute the glory of modern Italy, and are so dearly purchased by crowned [email protected]

Candide opposed these sentiments; but he did it in a discreet manner; as for Martin, he was entirely of the old senator’s opinion. Dinner being served they sat down to table, and, after a hearty repast, returned to the library. Candide, observing Homer richly bound, commended the noble Venetian’s taste. This,@ said he, Ais a book that was once the delight of the great Pangloss, the best philosopher in [email protected]

AHomer is no favorite of mine,@ answered Pococurante, coolly, AI managed to believe once that I took pleasure in reading him; but his continual repetitions of battles are all alike; his gods are forever in haste and bustle, without ever doing anything; his Helen is the cause of the war and yet hardly acts in the whole performance; his Troy holds out forever, without being taken: in short, all these things together make the poem very insipid to me. I have asked some learned men, whether they are not in reality as much tired as myself with reading this poet: those who spoke frankly assured me that he had made them fall asleep, although they could not well avoid giving him a place in their libraries; but that it was merely as they would do an antique, or those rusty medals which are kept only for curiosity, and are of no manner of use in [email protected]

ABut your excellency does not surely form the same opinion of [email protected] said Candide.

AWhy, I grant,@ replied Pococurante, Athat the second, third, fourth, and sixth books of hisĀ AeneidĀ are excellent; but as for his pious Aeneas, his strong Cloanthes, his friendly Achates, his boy Ascanius, his silly king Latinus, his ill-bred Amata, his insipid Lavinia, and all the other characters much in the same strain, I think there cannot in nature be anything more flat and disagreeable. I must confess I prefer Tasso far beyond him; nay, even that sleepy taleteller [email protected]

AMay I take the liberty to ask if you do not experience great pleasure from reading [email protected] said Candide.

AThere are maxims in this writer,@ replied Pococurante, Afrom which a man of the world might reap some benefit and the short measure of the verse makes them more easily to be retained in the memory. But I see nothing extraordinary in his journey to Brundusium, and his account of his had dinner; nor in his dirty, low quarrel between someone named Rupillius, whose words, as he expresses it, were full of poisonous filth; and another, whose language was dipped in vinegar. His indelicate verses against old women and witches have frequently given me great offense: nor can I discover the great merit of his telling his friend Maecenas, that if Maecenas wants to judge his rank among poets, he would have to say that his lofty head touches the stars. Ignorant readers are apt to judge a writer by his reputation. For my part, I read only to please myself. I like nothing but what makes for my [email protected]

Candide, who had been brought up with a notion of never making use of his own judgment, was astonished at what he heard; but Martin found there was a good deal of reason in the senator’s remarks.

AOh! here is Cicero,@ said Candide; Athis great man, I fancy, you are never tired of [email protected]

AIndeed I never read him at all,@ replied Pococurante. AWhat is it to me whether he pleads for Rabirius or Cluentius? I try causes enough myself. I had once some liking for his philosophical works; but when I found he doubted everything, I thought I knew as much as he did and had no need of a guide to learn [email protected]

[email protected] cried Martin, Ahere are eighty volumes of the memoirs of the Academy of Sciences; perhaps there may be something curious and valuable in this [email protected]

AYes,@ answered Pococurante, Aso there might if any of the compilers of this rubbish had only invented the art of pin-making; but all these volumes are filled with mere fanciful systems, without one single article conductive to real [email protected]

AI see a prodigious number of plays,@ said Candide, Ain Italian, Spanish, and [email protected]

AYes,@ replied the Venetian, Athere are I think three thousand, and not three dozen of them good for anything. As to those huge volumes of divinity, and those enormous collections of sermons, they are not all together worth one single page in Seneca; and I fancy you will readily believe that neither myself, nor anyone else, ever looks into [email protected]

Martin, perceiving some shelves filled with English books, said to the senator, AI fancy that a republican must be highly delighted with those books, which are most of them written with a noble spirit of [email protected]

AIt is noble to write as we think,@ said Pococurante; Ait is the privilege of humanity. Throughout

Italy we write only what we do not think; and the present inhabitants of the country of the Caesars and Antonines dare not acquire a single idea without the permission of a Dominican father. I should be enamored of the spirit of the English nation did it not utterly frustrate the good effects it would produce by passion and partisan [email protected]

Candide, seeing a Milton, asked the senator if he did not think that author a great man.

[email protected] said Pococurante sharply; Athat barbarian who writes a tedious commentary in ten books of rumbling verse on the first chapter of Genesis? that slovenly imitator of the Greeks, who disfigures the creation by making the Messiah take a pair of compasses from Heaven’s armory to plan the world, where Genesis represents the Diety producing the whole universe by the spoken word? Can I have any esteem for a writer who has spoiled Tasso’s Hell and the Devil; who transforms Lucifer sometimes into a toad, and at others into a pygmy; who makes him say the same thing over again a hundred times; who metamorphoses him into a school-divine; and who, by an absurdly serious imitation of Ariosto’s comic invention of firearms represents the devils and angels cannonading each other in Heaven? Neither I nor any other Italian can possibly take pleasure in such melancholy reveries; the marriage of Death and Sin, from whose womb snakes are issuing, is enough to make any person sick that is not lost to all sense of delicacy. This obscene, whimsical, and disagreeable poem met with the neglect it deserved at its first publication; and I only treat the author now as he was treated in his own country by his [email protected]

Candide was sensibly grieved at this speech, for he had a great respect for Homer and was fond of

Milton. [email protected] said he softly to Martin, AI am afraid this man holds our German poets in great [email protected] AThere would be no such great harm in that,@ said Martin.

AO what a surprising [email protected] said Candide, still to himself; Awhat a prodigious genius is this

Pococurante! nothing can please [email protected]

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