[Türkçe çeviri için yorum bölümüne bkz.]
‘Thou, that remains despite Brutus’ blasphemy or the outrages of hypocrisy, sublime attribute of the freedom of the intelligence, O virtue! Do you want to bring happiness to the Earth? Then inspire also those who govern it and those who guide it; direct the will of the kings and the philosophers.
Show yourself without a veil and without clouds; because, always played by their imagination, they clothe you with strange ornaments and get used then to worship in you, what is not you.
Teach to the despot that there is no virtue without freedom; to the citizen, that to obey the laws it is obeying to one’s self; to the superstitious man that piety is not in committing suicide (translator’s note: suicide in a generic meaning. For instance, mortification is a slow suicide); to the philosopher, that he must study the laws of nature in his heart and not in books.
Especially, tear up the triple blindfold that fascinates in the people the eye of understanding; may they admire less what they cannot conceive; may they stop objecting to the progress of reason and may they honor more the virtue of obscure men than the brilliant vices of the famous.
O virtue! All beings are nothing before you; the goods created by opinion or given by nature unite into you alone. You exist and evil disappears from the Earth.
May you direct with the same success my understanding and my will; because all the powers of the soul are subject to you; when i study you, you are a great idea and when i practice you, you are only a great feeling.
I would recognize your soft influence, when i am pleased with my soul; when the love of order rises in me to the degree of passion; when i would feel that nature has imprinted in me a great character and that i would dare finish its work.
And it is with such a feeling that i would wait without a word and without haste that death comes to strike me; if the heavens prolong my stay, i would bear peacefully, and perhaps with gratitude; if i die before my time, what would i fear? It is Virtue itself that would lay me into the bosoms of nature.’
Source: ‘Hymn to the Virtue’
(Hymne a la Vertu)
By Jean-Baptiste-Claude Delisle de Sales
From ‘Philosophie de la Nature’,
tome 3, page 297 and 298.