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Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622–1673).  Tartuffe.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act III
 
Scene VII
 
 
ORGON,  TARTUFFE

Orgon

What! So insult a saintly man of God!
 
Tartuffe

Heaven, forgive him all the pain he gives me! 1
 
(To ORGON)

Could you but know with what distress I see
Them try to vilify me to my brother!
 
Orgon

Ah!
        5
 
Tartuffe

        The mere thought of such ingratitude
Makes my soul suffer torture, bitterly…
My horror at it… Ah! my heart’s so full
I cannot speak… I think I’ll die of it.
 
Orgon  (in tears, running to the door through which he drove away his son)

Scoundrel! I wish I’d never let you go,
        10
But slain you on the spot with my own hand.
 
(To TARTUFFE)

Brother, compose yourself, and don’t be angry.
 
Tartuffe

Nay, brother, let us end these painful quarrels.
I see what troublous times I bring upon you,
And think ’tis needful that I leave this house.        15
 
Orgon

What! You can’t mean it?
 
Tartuffe

        Yes, they hate me here,
And try, I find, to make you doubt my faith.
 
Orgon

What of it? Do you find I listen to them?
 
Tartuffe

No doubt they won’t stop there. These same reports
        20
You now reject, may some day win a hearing.
 
Orgon

No, brother, never.
 
Tartuffe

        Ah! my friend, a woman
May easily mislead her husband’s mind.
 
Orgon

No, no.
        25
 
Tartuffe

        So let me quickly go away
And thus remove all cause for such attacks.
 
Orgon

No, you shall stay; my life depends upon it.
 
Tartuffe

Then I must mortify myself. And yet,
If you should wish…        30
 
Orgon

        No, never!
 
Tartuffe

        Very well, then;
No more of that. But I shall rule my conduct
To fit the case. Honour is delicate,
And friendship binds me to forestall suspicion,        35
Prevent all scandal, and avoid your wife.
 
Orgon

No, you shall haunt her, just to spite them all.
’Tis my delight to set them in a rage;
You shall be seen together at all hours
And what is more, the better to defy them,        40
I’ll have no other heir but you; and straightway
I’ll go and make a deed of gift to you,
Drawn in due form, of all my property.
A good true friend, my son-in-law to be,
Is more to me than son, and wife, and kindred.        45
You will accept my offer, will you not?
 
Tartuffe

Heaven’s will be done in everything!
 
Orgon

        Poor man!
We’ll go make haste to draw the deed aright,
And then let envy burst itself with spite!        50
 
Note 1. Some modern editions have adopted the reading, preserved by tradition as that of the earliest stage version:
        Heaven, forgive him even as I forgive him!

  Voltaire gives still another reading:
        Heaven, forgive me even as I forgive him!

  Whichever was the original version, it appears in none of the early editions, and Molière probably felt forced to change it on account of its too close resemblance to the Biblical phrase. [back]
 

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