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Voltaire

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    I have not always been blear-eyed. My nose did not always touch my chin; nor was I always a servant. You must know that I am the daughter of Pope Urban X, and of the Princess of Palestrina. To the age of fourteen I was brought up in a castle, compared with which all the castles of the German barons would not have been fit for stabling, and one of my robes would have bought half the province of Westphalia. I grew up, and improved in beauty, wit, and every graceful accomplishment; and in the midst of pleasures, homage, and the highest expectations. I already began to inspire the men with love. My breast began to take its right form, and such a breast! white, firm, and formed like that of the Venus de' Medici; my eyebrows were as black as jet, and as for my eyes, they darted flames and eclipsed the luster of the stars, as I was told by the poets of our part of the world. My maids, when they dressed and undressed me, used to fall into an ecstasy in viewing me before and behind; and all the men longed to be in their places
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    We were all ready to give up the ghost.
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    This ridiculous weakness is, perhaps, one of the dangerous principles implanted in our nature. For what can be more absurd than to persist in carrying a burden of which we wish to be eased? to detest, and yet to strive to preserve our existence? In a word, to caress the serpent that devours us, and hug him close to our bosoms till he has gnawed into our hearts?
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    In short, my dear miss, I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the world, therefore take my advice: divert yourself, and prevail upon each passenger to tell his story, and if there is one of them all that has not cursed his existence many times, and said to himself over and over again that he was the most wretched of mortals, I give you leave to throw me headfirst into the sea
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    drew his rapier and plunged it up to the hilt in the Jesuit’s body
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    cried out Candide, "such horrid doings never entered thy imagination. Here is an end of the matter. I find myself, after all, obliged to renounce thy Optimism."

    "Optimism," said Cacambo, "what is that?"

    "Alas!" replied Candide, "it is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.
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    of Virgil?" said Candide.

    "Why, I grant," replied Pococurante, "that the second, third, fourth, and sixth books of his Aeneid, are excellent; but as for his pious Aeneas, his strong Cloanthus, his friendly Achates, his boy Ascanius, his silly king Latinus, his ill-bred Amata, his insipid Lavinia
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    ! here is a Tully," said Candide; "this great man I fancy you are never tired of reading?"

    "Indeed I never read him at all," replied Pococurante. "What 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 himself, and had no need of a guide to learn ignorance
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    Martin especially concluded that man was born to live in the convulsions of disquiet, or in the lethargy of idleness
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    Work then without disputing," said Martin; "it is the only way to render life supportable.
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