Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Imaginary Invalid by Moliere (Poquelin)

Part 2 out of 2

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

What then shall we do
Whose hearts are so young?

Though cruel his laws,
Attended by woes,
Away with your arms,
Submit to his charms!

His whims ye must follow,
His transports though fleet,
His pinings too sweet
Though often comes sorrow,
The thousand delights
The wounds of his darts
Still charm all the hearts.

* * * * *



BER. Well, brother, what do you say to that? Isn't it as good as a
dose of cassia?

TOI. Oh! good cassia is a very good thing, Sir.

BER. Now, shall we have a little chat together.

ARG. Wait a moment, brother, I'll be back directly.

TOI. Here, Sir; you forget that you cannot get about without a stick.

ARG. Ay, to be sure.


TOI. Pray, do not give up the interest of your niece.

BER. No, I shall do all in my power to forward her wishes.

TOI. We must prevent this foolish marriage which he has got into his
head, from taking place. And I thought to myself that it would be a
good thing to introduce a doctor here, having a full understanding of
our wishes, to disgust him with his Mr. Purgon, and abuse his mode of
treating him. But as we have nobody to act that part for us, I have
decided upon playing him a trick of my own.

BER. In what way?

TOI. It is rather an absurd idea, and it may be more fortunate than
good. But act your own part. Here is our man.


BER. Let me ask you, brother, above all things not to excite yourself
during our conversation.

ARG. I agree.

BER. To answer without anger to anything I may mention.

ARG. Very well.

BER. And to reason together upon the business I want to discuss with
you without any irritation.

ARG. Dear me! Yes. What a preamble!

BER. How is it, brother, that, with all the wealth you possess, and
with only one daughter--for I do not count the little one--you speak
of sending her to a convent?

ARG. How is it, brother, that I am master of my family, and that I can
do all I think fit?

BER. Your wife doesn't fail to advise you to get rid, in that way, of
your two daughters; and I have no doubt that, through a spirit of
charity, she would be charmed to see them both good nuns.

ARG. Oh, I see! My poor wife again! It is she who does all the harm,
and everybody is against her.

BER. No, brother; let us leave that alone. She is a woman with the
best intentions in the world for the good of your family, and is free
from all interested motives. She expresses for you the most
extraordinary tenderness, and shows towards your children an
inconceivable goodness. No, don't let us speak of her, but only of
your daughter. What can be your reason for wishing to give her in
marriage to the sort of a doctor?

ARG. My reason is that I wish to have a son-in-law who will suit my

BER. But it is not what your daughter requires, and we have a more
suitable match for her.

ARG. Yes; but this one is more suitable for me.

BER. But does she marry a husband for herself or for you, brother?

ARG. He must do both for her and for me, brother; and I wish to take
into my family people of whom I have need.

BER. So that, if your little girl were old enough, you would give her
to an apothecary?

ARG. Why not?

BER. Is it possible that you should always be so infatuated with your
apothecaries and doctors, and be so determined to be ill, in spite of
men and nature?

ARG. What do you mean by that, brother?

BER. I mean, brother, that I know of no man less sick than you, and
that I should be quite satisfied with a constitution no worse than
yours. One great proof that you are well, and that you have a body
perfectly well made, is that with all the pains you have taken, you
have failed as yet in injuring the soundness of your constitution, and
that you have not died of all the medicine they have made you swallow.

ARG. But are you aware, brother, that it is these medicines which keep
me in good health? Mr. Purgon says that I should go off if he were but
three days without taking care of me.

BER. If you are not careful, he will take such care of you that he
will soon send you into the next world.

ARG. But let us reason together, brother; don't you believe at all in

BER. No, brother; and I do not see that it is necessary for our
salvation to believe in it.

ARG. What! Do you not hold true a thing acknowledged by everybody, and
revered throughout all ages?

BER. Between ourselves, far from thinking it true, I look upon it as
one of the greatest follies which exist among men; and to consider
things from a philosophical point of view, I don't know of a more
absurd piece of mummery, of anything more ridiculous, than a man who
takes upon himself to cure another man.

ARG. Why will you not believe that a man can cure another?

BER. For the simple reason, brother, that the springs of our machines
are mysteries about which men are as yet completely in the dark, and
nature has put too thick a veil before our eyes for us to know
anything about it.

ARG. Then, according to you, the doctors know nothing at all.

BER. Oh yes, brother. Most of them have some knowledge of the best
classics, can talk fine Latin, can give a Greek name to every disease,
can define and distinguish them; but as to curing these diseases,
that's out of the question.

ARG. Still, you must agree to this, that doctors know more than

BER. They know, brother, what I have told you; and that does not
effect many cures. All the excellency of their art consists in pompous
gibberish, in a specious babbling, which gives you words instead of
reasons, and promises instead Of results.

ARG. Still, brother, there exist men as wise and clever as you, and we
see that in cases of illness every one has recourse to the doctor.

BER. It is a proof of human weakness, and not of the truth of their

ARG. Still, doctors must believe in their art, since they make use of
it for themselves.

BER. It is because some of them share the popular error by which they
themselves profit, while others profit by it without sharing it. Your
Mr. Purgon has no wish to deceive; he is a thorough doctor from head
to foot, a man who believes in his rules more than in all the
demonstrations of mathematics, and who would think it a crime to
question them. He sees nothing obscure in physic, nothing doubtful,
nothing difficult, and through an impetuous prepossession, an
obstinate confidence, a coarse common sense and reason, orders right
and left purgatives and bleedings, and hesitates at nothing. We must
bear him no ill-will for the harm he does us; it is with the best
intentions in the world that he will send you into the next world, and
in killing you he will do no more than he has done to his wife and
children, and than he would do to himself, if need be. [Footnote:
Moliere seems to refer to Dr. Guenaut, who was said to have killed
with antimony (his favourite remedy) his wife, his daughter, his
nephew, and two of his sons-in-law.--AIME MARTIN.]

ARG. It is because you have a spite against him. But let us come to
the point. What is to be done when one is ill?

BER. Nothing, brother.

ARG. Nothing?

BER. Nothing. Only rest. Nature, when we leave her free, will herself
gently recover from the disorder into which she has fallen. It is our
anxiety, our impatience, which does the mischief, and most men die of
their remedies, and not of their diseases.

ARG. Still you must acknowledge, brother, that we can in certain
things help nature.

BER. Alas! brother; these are pure fancies, with which we deceive
ourselves. At all times, there have crept among men brilliant fancies
in which we believe, because they flatter us, and because it would be
well if they were true. When a doctor speaks to us of assisting,
succouring nature, of removing what is injurious to it, of giving it
what it is defective in, of restoring it, and giving back to it the
full exercise of its functions, when he speaks of purifying the blood,
of refreshing the bowels and the brain, of correcting the spleen, of
rebuilding the lungs, of renovating the liver, of fortifying the
heart, of re-establishing and keeping up the natural heat, and of
possessing secrets wherewith to lengthen life of many years--he
repeats to you the romance of physic. But when you test the truth of
what he has promised to you, you find that it all ends in nothing; it
is like those beautiful dreams which only leave you in the morning the
regret of having believed in them.

ARG. Which means that all the knowledge of the world is contained in
your brain, and that you think you know more than all the great
doctors of our age put together.

BER. When you weigh words and actions, your great doctors are two
different kinds of people. Listen to their talk, they are the
cleverest people in the world; see them at work, and they are the most

ARG. Heyday! You are a great doctor, I see, and I wish that some one
of those gentlemen were here to take up your arguments and to check
your babble.

BER. I do not take upon myself, brother, to fight against physic; and
every one at their own risk and peril may believe what he likes. What
I say is only between ourselves; and I should have liked, in order to
deliver you from the error into which you have fallen, and in order to
amuse you, to take you to see some of Moliere's comedies on this

ARG. Your Moliere is a fine impertinent fellow with his comedies! I
think it mightily pleasant of him to go and take off honest people
like the doctors.

BER. It is not the doctors themselves that he takes off, but the
absurdity of medicine.

ARG. It becomes him well, truly, to control the faculty! He's a nice
simpleton, and a nice impertinent fellow to laugh at consultations and
prescriptions, to attack the body of physicians, and to bring on his
stage such venerable people as those gentlemen.

BER. What would you have him bring there but the different professions
of men? Princes and kings are brought there every day, and they are of
as good a stock as your physicians.

ARG. No, by all the devils! if I were a physician, I would be revenged
of his impertinence, and when he falls ill, I would let him die
without relief. In vain would he beg and pray. I would not prescribe
for him the least little bleeding, the least little injection, and I
would tell him, "Die, die, like a dog; it will teach you to laugh at
us doctors."

BER. You are terribly angry with him.

ARG. Yes, he is an ill-advised fellow, and if the doctors are wise,
they will do what I say.

BER. He will be wiser than the doctors, for he will not go and ask
their help.

ARG. So much the worse for him, if he has not recourse to their

BER. He has his reasons for not wishing to have anything to do with
them; he is certain that only strong and robust constitutions can bear
their remedies in addition to the illness, and he has only just enough
strength for his sickness.

ARG. What absurd reasons. Here, brother, don't speak to me anymore
about that man; for it makes me savage, and you will give me his

BAR. I will willingly cease, brother; and, to change the subject,
allow me to tell you that, because your daughter shows a slight
repugnance to the match you propose, it is no reason why you should
shut her up in a convent. In your choice of a son-in-law you should
not blindly follow the anger which masters you. We should in such a
matter yield a little to the inclinations of a daughter, since it is
for all her life, and the whole happiness of her married life depends
on it.


ARG. Ah! brother, with your leave.

BER. Eh? What are you going to do?

ARG. To take this little clyster; it will soon be done.

BER. Are you joking? Can you not spend one moment without clysters or
physic? Put it off to another time, and be quiet.

ARG. Mr. Fleurant, let it be for to-night or to-morrow morning.

MR. FLEU. (to BERALDE). What right have you to interfere? How dare you
oppose yourself to the prescription of the doctors, and prevent the
gentleman from taking my clyster? You are a nice fellow to show such

BER. Go, Sir, go; it is easy to see that you are not accustomed to
speak face to face with men.

MR. FLEU. You ought not thus to sneer at physic, and make me lose my
precious time. I came here for a good prescription, and I will go and
tell Mr. Purgon that I have been prevented from executing his orders,
and that I have been stopped in the performance of my duty. You'll
see, you'll see....


ARG. Brother, you'll be the cause that some misfortune will happen

BER. What a misfortune not to take a clyster prescribed by Mr. Purgon!
Once more, brother, is it possible that you can't be cured of this
doctor disease, and that you will thus bring yourself under their

ARG. Ah! brother. You speak like a man who is quite well, but if you
were in my place, you would soon change your way of speaking. It is
easy to speak against medicine when one is in perfect health.

BER. But what disease do you suffer from?

ARG. You will drive me to desperation. I should like you to have my
disease, and then we should see if you would prate as you do. Ah! here
is Mr. Purgon.


MR. PUR. I have just heard nice news downstairs! You laugh at my
prescriptions, and refuse to take the remedy which I ordered.

ARG. Sir, it is not....

MR. PUR. What daring boldness, what a strange revolt of a patient
against his doctor!

TOI. It is frightful.

MR. PUR. A clyster which I have had the pleasure of composing myself.

ARG. It was not I....

MR. PUR. Invented and made up according to all the rules of art.

TOI. He was wrong.

MR. PUR. And which was to work a marvellous effect on the intestines.

ARG. My brother....

MR. PUR. To send it back with contempt!

ARG. (_showing_ BERALDE). It was he....

MR. PUR. Such conduct is monstrous.

TOI. So it is.

MR. PUR. It is a fearful outrage against medicine.

ARG. (_showing_ BERALDE). He is the cause....

MR. PUR. A crime of high-treason against the faculty, and one which
cannot be too severely punished.

TOI. You are quite right.

MR. PUR. I declare to you that I break off all intercourse with you.

ARG. It is my brother....

MR. PUR. That I will have no more connection with you.

TOI. You will do quite right.

MR. PUR. And to end all association with you, here is the deed of gift
which I made to my nephew in favour of the marriage. (_He tears the
document, and throws the pieces about furiously._)

ARG. It is my brother who has done all the mischief.

MR. PUR. To despise my clyster!

ARG. Let it be brought, I will take it directly.

MR. PUR. I would have cured you in a very short time.

TOI. He doesn't deserve it.

MR. PUR. I was about to cleanse your body, and to clear it of its bad

ARG. Ah! my brother

MR. PUR. And it wanted only a dozen purgatives to cleanse it entirely.

TOI. He is unworthy of your care.

MR. PUR. But since you would not be cured by me....

ARG. It was not my fault.

MR. PUR. Since you have forsaken the obedience you owe to your

TOI. It cries for vengeance.

MR. PUR. Since you have declared yourself a rebel against the remedies
I had prescribed for you....

ARG. No, no, certainly not.

MR. PUR. I must now tell you that I give you up to your bad
constitution, to the imtemperament of your intestines, to the
corruption of your blood, to the acrimony of your bile, and to the
feculence of your humours.

TOI. It serves you right.

ARG. Alas!

MR. PUR. And I will have you before four days in an incurable state.

ARG. Ah! mercy on me!

MR. PUR. You shall fall into bradypepsia.

ARG. Mr. Purgon!

MR. PUR. From bradypepsia into dyspepsia.

ARG. Mr. Purgon!

MR: PUR. From dyspepsia into apepsy.

ARG. Mr. Purgon!

MR. PUR. From apepsy into lientery.

ARG. Mr. Purgon!

MR. PUR. From lientery into dysentery.

ARG. Mr. Purgon!

MR. PUR. From dysentery into dropsy.

ARG. Mr. Purgon!

MR. PUR. And from dropsy to the deprivation of life into which your
folly will bring you.


ARG. Ah heaven! I am dead. Brother, you have undone me.

BER. Why? What is the matter?

ARG. I am undone. I feel already that the faculty is avenging itself.

BER. Really, brother, you are crazy, and I would not for a great deal
that you should be seen acting as you are doing. Shake yourself a
little, I beg, recover yourself, and do not give way so much to your

ARG. You hear, brother, with what strange diseases he has threatened

BER. What a foolish fellow you are!

ARG. He says that I shall become incurable within four days.

BER. And what does it signify what he says? Is it an oracle that has
spoken? To hear you, anyone would think that Mr. Purgon holds in his
hands the thread of your life, and that he has supreme authority to
prolong it or to cut it short at his will. Remember that the springs
of your life are in yourself, and that all the wrath of Mr. Purgon can
do as little towards making you die, as his remedies can do to make
you live. This is an opportunity, if you like to take it, of getting
rid of your doctors; and if you are so constituted that you cannot do
without them, it is easy for you, brother, to have another with whom
you run less risk.

ARG. Ah, brother! he knows all about my constitution, and the way to
treat me.

BER. I must acknowledge that you are greatly infatuated, and that you
look at things with strange eyes.


TOI. (_to_ ARGAN). There is a doctor, here, Sir, who desires to
see you.

ARG. What doctor?

TOI. A doctor of medicine.

ARG. I ask you who he is?

TOI. I don't know who he is, but he is as much like me as two peas,
and if I was not sure that my mother was an honest woman, I should say
that this is a little brother she has given me since my father's


BER. You are served according to your wish. One doctor leaves you,
another comes to replace him.

ARG. I greatly fear that you will cause some misfortune.

BER. Oh! You are harping upon that string again?

ARG. Ah! I have on my mind all those diseases that I don't understand,

SCENE X.--ARGAN, BERALDE, TOINETTE (_dressed as a doctor_).

TOI. Allow me, Sir, to come and pay my respects to you, and to offer
you my small services for all the bleedings and purging you may

ARG. I am much obliged to you, Sir. (_To_ BERALDE) Toinette
herself, I declare!

TOI. I beg you will excuse me one moment, Sir. I forgot to give a
small order to my servant.


ARG. Would you not say that this is really Toinette?

BER. It is true that the resemblance is very striking. But it is not
the first time that we have seen this kind of thing, and history is
full of those freaks of nature.

ARG. For my part, I am astonished, and....


TOI. What do you want, Sir?

ARG. What?

TOI. Did you not call me?

ARG. I? No.

TOI. My ears must have tingled then.

ARG. Just stop here one moment and see how much that doctor is like

TOI. Ah! yes, indeed, I have plenty of time to waste! Besides, I have
seen enough of him already.


ARG. Had I not seen them both together, I should have believed it was
one and the same person.

BER. I have read wonderful stories about such resemblances; and we
have seen some in our day that have taken in everybody.

ARG. For my part, I should have been deceived this time, and sworn
that the two were but one.


TOI. Sir, I beg your pardon with all my heart.

ARG. (_to_ BERALDE). It is wonderful.

TOI. You will not take amiss, I hope, the curiosity I feel to see such
an illustrious patient; and your reputation, which reaches the
farthest ends of the world, must be my excuse for the liberty I am

ARG. Sir, I am your servant.

TOI. I see, Sir, that you are looking earnestly at me. What age do you
think I am?

ARG. I should think twenty-six or twenty-seven at the utmost.

TOI. Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! I am ninety years old.

ARG. Ninety years old!

TOI. Yes; this is what the secrets of my art have done for me to
preserve me fresh and vigorous as you see.

ARG. Upon my word, a fine youthful old fellow of ninety!

TOI. I am an itinerant doctor, and go from town to town, from province
to province, from kingdom to kingdom, to seek out illustrious material
for my abilities; to find patients worthy of my attention, capable of
exercising the great and noble secrets which I have discovered in
medicine. I disdain to amuse myself with the small rubbish of common
diseases, with the trifles of rheumatism, coughs, fevers, vapours,
and headaches. I require diseases of importance, such as good
non-intermittent fevers with delirium, good scarlet-fevers, good plagues,
good confirmed dropsies, good pleurisies with inflammations of the
lungs. These are what I like, what I triumph in, and I wish, Sir, that
you had all those diseases combined, that you had been given up,
despaired of by all the doctors, and at the point of death, so that I
might have the pleasure of showing you the excellency of my remedies,
and the desire I have of doing you service!

ARG. I am greatly obliged to you, Sir, for the kind intentions you
have towards me.

TOI. Let me feel your pulse. Come, come, beat properly, please. Ah! I
will soon make you beat as you should. This pulse is trifling with me;
I see that it does not know me yet. Who is your doctor?

ARG. Mr. Purgon.

TOI. That man is not noted in my books among the great doctors. What
does he say you are ill of?

ARG. He says it is the liver, and others say it is the spleen.

TOI. They are a pack of ignorant blockheads; you are suffering from
the lungs.

ARG. The lungs?

TOI. Yes; what do you feel?

ARG. From time to time great pains in my head.

TOI. Just so; the lungs.

ARG. At times it seems as if I had a mist before my eyes.

TOI. The lungs.

ARG: I feel sick now and then.

TOI. The lungs.

ARG. And I feel sometimes a weariness in all my limbs.

TOI. The lungs.

ARG. And sometimes I have sharp pains in the stomach, as if I had the

TOI. The lungs. Do you eat your food with appetite?

ARG. Yes, Sir.

TOI. The lungs. Do you like to drink a little wine?

ARG. Yes, Sir.

TOI. The lungs. You feel sleepy after your meals, and willingly enjoy
a nap?

ARG. Yes, Sir.

TOI. The lungs, the lungs, I tell you. What does your doctor order you
for food?

ARG. He orders me soup.

TOI. Ignoramus!

ARG. Fowl.

TOI. Ignoramus!

ARG. Veal.

TOI. Ignoramus!

ARG. Broth.

TOI. Ignoramus!

ARG. New-laid eggs.

TOI. Ignoramus!

ARG. And at night a few prunes to relax the bowels.

TOI. Ignoramus!

ARG. And, above all, to drink my wine well diluted with water.

TOI. _Ignorantus, ignoranta, ignorantum_. You must drink your
wine pure; and to thicken your blood, which is too thin, you must eat
good fat beef, good fat pork, good Dutch cheese, some gruel, rice
puddings, chestnuts, and thin cakes [Footnote: _Oublies_; now called
_plaisirs_. "Wafers" would perhaps have been the right rendering
in Moliere's time], to make all adhere and conglutinate. Your doctor
is an ass. I will send you one of my own school, and will come and
examine you from time to time during my stay in this town.

ARG. You will oblige me greatly.

TOI. What the deuce do you want with this arm?

ARG. What?

TOI. If I were you, I should have it cut off on the spot.

ARG. Why?

TOI. Don't you see that it attracts all the nourishment to itself, and
hinders this side from growing?

ARG. May be; but I have need of my arm.

TOI. You have also a right eye that I would have plucked out if I were
in your place.

ARG. My right eye plucked out?

TOI. Don't you see that it interferes with the other, and robs it of
its nourishment? Believe me; have it plucked out as soon as possible;
you will see all the clearer with the left eye.

ARG. There is no need to hurry.

TOI. Good-bye. I am sorry to leave you so soon, but I must assist at a
grand consultation which is to take place about a man who died

ARG. About a man who died yesterday?

TOI. Yes, that we may consider and see what ought to have been done to
cure him. Good-bye.

ARG. You know that patients do not use ceremony.


BER. Upon my word, this doctor seems to be a very clever man.

ARG. Yes, but he goes a little too fast.

BER. All great doctors do so.

ARG. Cut off my arm and pluck out my eye, so that the other may be
better. I had rather that it were not better. A nice operation indeed,
to make me at once one-eyed and one-armed.


TOI. (_pretending to speak to somebody_). Come, come, I am your
servant; I'm in no joking humour.

ARG. What is the matter?

TOI. Your doctor, forsooth, who wanted to feel my pulse!

ARG. Just imagine; and that, too, at fourscore and ten years of age.

BER. Now, I say, brother, since you have quarrelled with Mr. Purgon,
won't you give me leave to speak of the match which is proposed for my

ARG. No, brother; I will put her in a convent, since she has rebelled
against me. I see plainly that there is some love business at the
bottom of it all, and I have discovered a certain secret interview
which they don't suspect me to know anything about.

BER. Well, brother, and suppose there were some little inclination,
where could the harm be? Would it be so criminal when it all tends to
what is honourable--marriage?

ARG. Be that as it may, she will be a nun. I have made up my mind.

BER. You intend to please somebody by so doing.

ARG. I understand what you mean. You always come back to that, and my
wife is very much in your way.

BER. Well, yes, brother; since I must speak out, it is your wife I
mean; for I can no more bear with your infatuation about doctors than
with your infatuation about your wife, and see you run headlong into
every snare she lays for you.

TOI. Ah! Sir, don't talk so of mistress. She is a person against whom
there is nothing to be said; a woman without deceit, and who loves
master--ah! who loves him...I can't express how much.

ARG. (_to_ BERALDE). Just ask her all the caresses she lavishes
for me.

TOI. Yes, indeed!

ARG. And all the uneasiness my sickness causes her.

TOI. Certainly.

ARG. And the care and trouble she takes about me.

TOI. Quite right. (_To_ BERALDE) Will you let me convince you;
and to show you at once how my mistress loves my master. (_To
ARGAN_) Sir, allow me to undeceive him, and to show him his

ARG. How?

TOI. My mistress will soon come back. Stretch yourself full-length in
this arm-chair, and pretend to be dead. You will see what grief she
will be in when I tell her the news.

ARG. Very well, I consent.

TOI. Yes; but don't leave her too long in despair, for she might die
of it.

ARG. Trust me for that.

TOI. (_to_ BERALDE). Hide yourself in that corner.


ARG. Is there no danger in counterfeiting death?

TOI. No, no. What danger can there be? Only stretch yourself there. It
will be so pleasant to put your brother to confusion. Here is my
mistress. Mind you keep still.

SCENE XVIII.--BELINE, ARGAN (_stretched out in his chair_),

TOI. (_pretending not to see_ BELINE). Ah heavens! Ah! what a
misfortune! What a strange accident!

BEL. What is the matter, Toinette?

TOI. Ah! Madam!

BEL. What ails you?

TOI. Your husband is dead.

BEL. My husband is dead?

TOI. Alas! yes; the poor soul is gone.

BEL. Are you quite certain?

TOI. Quite certain. Nobody knows of it yet. I was all alone here when
it happened. He has just breathed his last in my arms. Here, just look
at him, full-length in his chair.

BEL. Heaven be praised. I am delivered from a most grievous burden.
How silly of you, Toinette, to be so afflicted at his death.

TOI. Ah! Ma'am, I thought I ought to cry.

BEL. Pooh! it is not worth the trouble. What loss is it to anybody,
and what good did he do in this world? A wretch, unpleasant to
everybody; of nauseous, dirty habits; always a clyster or a dose of
physic in his body. Always snivelling, coughing, spitting; a stupid,
tedious, ill-natured fellow, who was for ever fatiguing people and
scolding night and day at his maids and servants.

TOI. An excellent funeral oration!

BEL. Toinette, you must help me to carry out my design; and you may
depend upon it that I will make it worth your while if you serve me.
Since, by good luck, nobody is aware of his death, let us put him into
his bed, and keep the secret until I have done what I want. There are
some papers and some money I must possess myself of. It is not right
that I should have passed the best years of my life with him without
any kind of advantage. Come along, Toinette, first of all, let us take
all the keys.

ARG. (_getting up hastily_). Softly.

BEL. Ah!

ARG. So, my wife, it is thus you love me?

TOI. Ah! the dead man is not dead.

ARG. (_to_ BELINE, _who goes away_) I am very glad to see
how you love me, and to have heard the noble panegyric you made upon
me. This is a good warning, which will make me wise for the future,
and prevent me from doing many things.

SCENE XIX.--BERALDE (_coming out of the place where he was
hiding_), ARGAN, TOINETTE.

BER. Well, brother, you see....

TOI. Now, really, I could never have believed such a thing. But I hear
your daughter coming, place yourself as you were just now, and let us
see how she will receive the news. It is not a bad thing to try; and
since you have begun, you will be able by this means to know the
sentiments of your family towards you.


TOI. (_pretending not to see_ ANGELIQUE). O heavens! what a sad
accident! What an unhappy day!

ANG. What ails you, Toinette, and why do you cry?

TOI. Alas! I have such sad news for you.

ANG. What is it?

TOI. Your father is dead.

ANG. My father is dead, Toinette?

TOI. Yes, just look at him there; he died only a moment ago of a
fainting fit that came over him.

ANG. O heavens! what a misfortune! What a cruel grief! Alas I why must
I lose my father, the only being left me in the world? and why should
I lose him, too, at a time when he was angry with me? What will become
of me, unhappy girl that I am? What consolation can I find after so
great a loss?


CLE. What is the matter with you, dear Angelique, and what misfortune
makes you weep?

ANG. Alas! I weep for what was most dear and most precious to me. I
weep for the death of my father.

CLE. O heaven! what a misfortune! What an unforeseen stroke of
fortune! Alas! after I had asked your uncle to ask you in marriage, I
was coming to see him, in order to try by my respect and entreaties to
incline his heart to grant you to my wishes.

ANG. Ah! Cleante, let us talk no more of this. Let us give up all
hopes of marriage. Now my father is dead, I will have nothing to do
with the world, and will renounce it for ever. Yes, my dear father, if
I resisted your will, I will at least follow out one of your
intentions, and will by that make amends for the sorrow I have caused
you. (_Kneeling_) Let me, father, make you this promise here, and
kiss you as a proof of my repentance.

ARG. (_kissing_ ANGELIQUE). Ah! my daughter!

ANG. Ah!

ARG. Come; do not be afraid. I am not dead. Ah! you are my true flesh
and blood and my real daughter; I am delighted to have discovered your
good heart.


ANG. Ah! what a delightful surprise! Father, since heaven has given
you back to our love, let me here throw myself at your feet to implore
one favour of you. If you do not approve of what my heart feels, if
you refuse to give me Cleante for a husband, I conjure you, at least,
not to force me to marry another. It is all I have to ask of you.

CLE. (_throwing himself at_ ARGAN'S _feet_). Ah! Sir, allow
your heart to be touched by her entreaties and by mine, and do not
oppose our mutual love.

BER. Brother, how can you resist all this?

TOI. Will you remain insensible before such affection?

ARG. Well, let him become a doctor, and I will consent to the
marriage. (_To_ CLEANTE) Yes, turn doctor, Sir, and I will give
you my daughter.

CLE. Very willingly, Sir, if it is all that is required to become your
son-in-law. I will turn doctor; apothecary also, if you like. It is
not such a difficult thing after all, and I would do much more to
obtain from you the fair Angelique.

BER. But, brother, it just strikes me; why don't you turn doctor
yourself? It would be much more convenient to have all you want within

TOI. Quite true. That is the very way to cure yourself. There is no
disease bold enough to dare to attack the person of a doctor.

ARG. I imagine, brother, that you are laughing at me. Can I study at
my age?

BER. Study! What need is there? You are clever enough for that; there
are a great many who are not a bit more clever than you are.

ARG. But one must be able to speak Latin well, and know the different
diseases and the remedies they require.

BER. When you put on the cap and gown of a doctor, all that will come
of itself, and you will afterwards be much more clever than you care
to be.

ARG. What! We understand how to discourse upon diseases when we have
that dress?

BER. Yes; you have only to hold forth; when you have a cap and gown,
any stuff becomes learned, and all rubbish good sense.

TOI. Look you, Sir; a beard is something in itself; a beard is half
the doctor.

CLE. Anyhow, I am ready for everything.

BER. (_to_ ARGAN). Shall we have the thing done immediately?

ARG. How, immediately?

BER. Yes, in your house.

ARG. In my house?

BER. Yes, I know a body of physicians, friends of mine, who will come
presently, and will perform the ceremony in your hall. It will cost
you nothing.

ARG. But what can I say, what can I answer?

BER. You will be instructed in a few words, and they will give you in
writing all you have to say. Go and dress yourself directly, and I
will send for them.

ARG. Very well; let it be done.


CLE. What is it yon intend to do, and what do you mean by this body of

TOI. What is it you are going to do?

BER. To amuse ourselves a little to-night. The players have made a
doctor's admission the subject of an interlude, with dances and music.
I want everyone to enjoy it, and my brother to act the principal part
in it.

ANG. But, uncle, it seems to me that you are making fun of my father.

BER. But, niece, it is not making too much fun of him to fall in with
his fancies. We may each of us take part in it ourselves, and thus
perform the comedy for each other's amusement. Carnival time
authorises it. Let us go quickly and get everything ready.

CLE. (_to_ ANGELIQUE). Do you consent to it?

ANG. Yes; since my uncle takes the lead.


[Footnote: This piece is composed of a mixture of dog-Latin, French,
&c. and is utterly untranslateable.]

BURLESQUE CEREMONY _representing the Admission of _MR. GERONTE
_to the Degree of Doctor of Medicine_.

_First Entry of the_ BALLET.

Savantissimi doctores,
Medicinae professores,
Qui hic assemblati estis;
Et vos, altri messiores,
Sententiarum Facultatis
Fideles executores,
Chirurgiani et apothicari
Atque tota compagnia aussi,
Salus, honor et argentum,
Atque bonum appetitum.

Non possum, docti confreri,
En moi satis admirari
Qualis bona inventio
Est medici professio;
Quam bella chosa est et bene trovata.
Medicina illa benedicta,
Quae, suo nomine solo,
Surprenanti miraculo,
Depuis si longo tempore,
Facit a gogo vivere
Tant de gens omni genere.

Per totam terram videmus
Grandam vogam ubi sumus;
Et quod grandes et petiti
Sunt de nobis infatuti.
Totus mundus, currens ad nostros remedios,
Nos regardat sicut deos;
Et nostris ordonnanciis
Principes et reges soumissos videtis.

Doncque il est nostrae sapientiae,
Boni sensus atque prudentiae,
De fortement travaillare
A nos bene conservare
In tali credito, voga, et honore;
Et prendere gardam a non recevere
In nostro docto corpore,
Quam personas capabiles,
Et totas dignas remplire
Has placas honorabiles.

C'est pour cela que nunc convocati estis:
Et credo quod trovabitis
Dignam matieram medici
In savanti homine que voici;
Lequel, in chosis omnibus,
Dono ad interrogandum,
Et a fond examinandum
Vostris capacitatibus.

Si mihi licentiam dat dominus praeses,
Et tanti docti doctores,
Et assistantes illustres,
Tres savanti bacheliero,
Quem estimo et honoro,
Domandabo causam et rationom quare
Opium facit dormire.

Mihi a docto doctore
Domandatur causam et rationem quare
Opium facit dormire.
A quoi respondeo,
Quia est in eo
Vertus dormitiva,
Cujus eat natura
Sensus assoupire.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.
Bene, bene respondere.

Proviso quod non displiceat,
Domino praesidi, lequel n'est pas fat,
Me benigne annuat,
Cum totis doctoribus savantibus,
Et assistantibus bienveillantibus,
Dicat mihi un peu dominus praetendens,
Raison a priori et evidens
Cur rhubarba et le sene
Per nos semper est ordonne
Ad purgandum l'utramque bile?
Si dicit hoc, erit valde habile.

A docto doctore mihi, qui sum praetendens,
Domandatur raison a priori et evidens
Cur rhubarba et le sene
Per nos semper est ordonne
Ad purgandum l'utramque bile?
Respondeo vobis,
Quia est in illis
Vertus purgativa,
Cujus est natura
Istas duas biles evacuare.

Bene, bene, bone, bene respondere,
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Ex responsis, il parait jam sole clarius
Quod lepidum iste caput bachelierus
Non passavit suam vitam ludendo au trictrac,
Nec in prenando du tabac;
Sed explicit pourquoi furfur macrum et parvum lac,
Cum phlebotomia et purgatione humorum,
Appellantur a medisantibus idolae medicorum,
Nec non pontus asinorum?
Si premierement grata sit domino praesidi
Nostra libertas quaestionandi,
Pariter dominis doctribus
Atque de tous ordres benignis auditoribus.

Quaerit a me dominus doctor
Chrysologos, id est, qui dit d'or,
Quare parvum lac et furfur macrum,
Phlebotomia et purgatio humorum
Appellantur a medisantibus idolae medicorum,
Atque pontus asinorum.
Respondeo quia:
Ista ordonnando non requiritur magna scientia,
Et ex illis quatuor rebus
Medici faciunt ludovicos, pistolas, et des quarts d'ecus.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Cum permissione domini praesidis,
Doctissimae Facultatis,
Et totius his nostris actis
Companiae assistantis,
Domandabo tibi, docte bacheliere,
Quae sunt remedia
Tam in homine quam in muliere
Quae, in maladia
Ditta hydropisia,
In malo caduco, apoplexia, convulsione et paralysia,
Convenit facere.

Clysterium donare,
Postea seignare,
Ensuita purgare.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Si bonum semblatur domino praesidi.
Doctissimae Facultati,
Et companiae ecoutanti,
Domandabo tibi, erudite bacheliere,
Ut revenir un jour a la maison gravis aegre
Quae remedia colicosis, fievrosis,
Maniacis, nefreticis, freneticis,
Melancolicis, demoniacis,
Asthmaticis atque pulmonicis,
Catharrosis, tussicolisis,
Guttosis, ladris atque gallosis,
In apostemasis plagis et ulcere,
In omni membro demis aut fracture
Convenit facere.

Clysterium donare,
Postea seignare,
Ensuita purgare.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Cum bona venia reverendi praesidis,
Filiorum Hippocratis,
Et totius coronae nos admirantis,
Petam tibi, resolute bacheliere,
Non indignus alumnus di Monspeliere,
Quae remedia caecis, surdis, mutis,
Manchotis, claudis, atque omnibus estropiatis,
Pro coris pedum, malum de dentibus, pesta, rabie,
Et nimis magna commotione in omni novo marie
Convenit facere.

Clysterium donare,
Postea seignare,
Ensuita purgare.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Super illas maladias,
Dominus bachelierus dixit maravillas;
Mais, si non ennuyo doctissimam facultatem
Et totam honorabilem companiam
Tam corporaliter quam mentaliter hic praesentem,
Faciam illi unam quaestionem;
De hiero maladus unus
Tombavit in meas manus,
Homo qualitatis et dives comme un Cresus.
Habet grandam fievram cum redoublamentis,
Grandam dolorem capitis,
Cum troublatione spirii et laxamento ventris.
Grandum insuper malum au cote,
Cum granda difficultate
Et pena a respirare;
Veuillas mihi dire,
Docte bacheliere,
Quid illi facere.

Clysterium donare,
Postea seignare,
Ensuita purgare.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Mais, si maladia
Ponendo modicum a quia
Non vult se guarire,
Quid illi facere?

Clysterium donare,
Postea seignare,
Ensuita purgare,
Reseignare, repurgare, et reclysterizare.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondere.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Impetro favorabile conge
A domino praeside,
Ab electa trouppa doctorum,
Tam practicantium quam practica avidorum,
Et a curiosa turba badodorum.
Ingeniose bacheliere
Qui non potuit esse jusqu'ici deferre,
Faciam tibi unam questionem de importantia.
Messiores, detur nobis audiencia.
Isto die bene mane,
Paulo ante mon dejeune,
Venit ad me una domicella
Italiana jadis bella,
Et ut penso encore un peu pucella,
Quae habebat pallidos colores,
Fievram blancam dicunt magis fini doctores,
Quia plaigniebat se de migraina,
De curta halena,
De granda oppressione,
Jambarum enflatura, et effroyebili lassitudine;
De batimento cordis,
De strangulamento matris,
Alio nomine vapor hysterique,
Quae, sicut omnes maladiae terminatae en ique,
Facit a Galien la nique.
Visagium apparebat bouffietum, et coloris
Tantum vertae quantum merda anseris.
Ex pulsu petito valde frequens, et urina mala
Quam apportaverat in fiola
Non videbatur exempta de febricules;
Au reste, tam debilis quod venerat
De son grabat
In cavallo sur une mule,
Non habuerat menses suos
Ab illa die qui dicitur des grosses eaux;
Sed contabat mihi a l'oreille
Che si non era morta, c'etait grand merveille,
Perche in suo negotio
Era un poco d'amore, et troppo di cordoglio;
Che suo galanto sen era andato in Allemagna,
Servire al signor Brandeburg una campagna.
Usque ad maintenant multi charlatani,
Medici, apothicari, et chirurgiani
Pro sua maladia in veno travaillaverunt,
Juxta meme las novas gripas istius bouru Van Helmont,
Amploiantes ab oculis cancri, ad Alcahest;
Veuillas mihi dire quid superest,
Juxta orthodoxos, illi facere.

Clysterium donare,
Postea seignare,
Ensuita purgare.

Bene, bene, bene, bene respondero.
Dignus, dignus est intrare
In nostro docto corpore.

Mais si tam grandum couchamentum
Partium naturalium,
Mortaliter obstinatum,
Per clysterium donare,
Et reiterando cent fois purgare,
Non potest se guarire,
Finaliter quid trovaris a propos illi facere?

In nomine Hippocratis benedictam cum bono
Garcone conjunctionem imperare.

Juras gardare statuta
Per Facultatem praescripta,
Cum sensu et jugeamento?

[Footnote: It is said that it was when uttering this word that Moliere
gave way to the illness from which he had long suffered.]

Essere in Omnibus
Ancieni aviso,
Aut bono,
Aut mauvaiso!


De non jamais te servire
De remediis aucunis,
Quam de ceuz seulement almae Facultatis,
Maladus dut-il crevare,
Et mori de suo malo?


Ego, cum isto boneto
Venerabili et docto,
Dono tibi et concedo
Puissanciam, vertutem atque licentiam
Medicinam cum methodo faciendi
Id est,
Uno verbo, selon les formes, atque impune occidendi
Parisiis et per totem terram;
Rendes, Domine, his messioribus gratiam.

_Second Entry of the_ BALLET.

_All the_ DOCTORS _and_ APOTHECARIES _come and do him

Grandes doctres doctrinae
De la rhubarbe et du sene
Ce seroit sans douta a moi chosa folla,
Inepta et ridicula,
Si j'alloibam m'engageare
Vobis louangeas donare,
Et entreprenoibam ajoutare
Des lumieras au soleillo,
Des etoilas au cielo,
Des flammas a l'inferno
Des ondas a l'oceano,
Et des rosas au printano.
Agreate qu'avec uno moto,
Pro toto remercimento,
Rendam gratias corpori tam docto.
Vobis, vobis debeo
Bien plus qu'a nature et qu'a patri meo:
Natura et pater meus
Hominem me habent factum;
Mais vos me (ce qui est bien plus)
Avetis factum medicum
Honor, favor et gratia,
Qui, in hoc corde que voila,
Imprimant ressentimenta
Qui dureront in secula.

Vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat, cent fois vivat,
Novus doctor, qui tam bene parlat!
Mille, mille annis, et manget et bibat,
Et seignet et tuat!

_Third Entry of the_ BALLET.

_All the_ DOCTORS _and_ APOTHECARIES _dance to the sound
instruments and voices, the clapping of hands, and the beating
of_ APOTHECARIES' _mortars._

Puisse-t-il voir doctas
Suas ordonnancias,
Omnium chirurgorum,
Et apothicarum
Remplire boutiquas!

Vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat, cent fois vivat,
Novus doctor, qui tam bene parlat!
Mille, mille annis, et manget et bibat,
Et seignet et tuat!

Puissent toti anni
Lui essere boni
Et favorabiles
Et n'habere jamais
Entre ses mains, pestas, epidemias
Quae sunt malas bestias;
Mais semper pluresias, pulmonias
In renibus et vessia pierras,
Rhumatismos d'un anno, et omnis generis fievras,
Fluxus de sanguine, gouttas diabolicas,
Mala de sancto Joanne, Poitevinorum colicas
Scorbutum de Hollandia, verolas parvas et grossas
Bonos chancros atque longas callidopissas.


Vivat, vivat, vivat, vivat, cent fois vivat,
Novus doctor, qui tam bene parlat!
Mille, mille annis, et manget et bibat,
Et seignet et tuat!

_Fourth Entry of the_ BALLET.

_All the_ DOCTORS _and_ APOTHECARIES _go out according to
their rank, as they came in._


Book of the day: