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Tolerance

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Caroline Warman

18. Evariste de Parny (1753-1814), The War of the Gods, 17991

Texte intégral

  • 1 Evariste de Parny, La guerre des dieux, 1799, in his Œuvres, Paris: Debray, 1808, V, pp. 46-48.

1In 1799, The War of the Gods caused great controversy. Its author, Evariste de Parny (1753-1814), who had been a well-known poet before the Revolution, describes a conflict between the Graeco-Roman and Scandinavian gods on the one hand, and the holy figures of Christian history on the other. The poem’s plea for tolerance can be seen in this extract, in which a Muslim, a Jew, a Quaker, a Lutheran, a Catholic and an agnostic arrive in Paradise.

2Leaving their terrestrial home, one day, it is said, six virtuous men who died at the same time, arrived at the same moment to present themselves at the gate of Heaven. The angel appears and asks each of them what their religion is; and the oldest approaches, saying: you have before you a good Muslim.

3The angel: Come in, my friend, and if you turn left you will find the Muslim quarter.
The second man: I am Jewish.
The angel: Come in, and find a place amongst the Jews. You, who are frowning at this Jewish man, what are you?
The third man: Lutheran.
The angel: Very well, come in and be surprised by nothing here, go and sit in the temple where your brothers are gathered.
The fourth man: Quaker.
The angel: Well, come in, and keep your hat on. In that grove the sedentary Quakers gather in a group and there they smoke.
The Quaker: Bravo.
The fifth man: I am fortunate enough to be a good Catholic, and as such, I am rather surprised to see a Jew and a Turk in paradise.
The angel: Come in, and join your people beneath this portico. You are next. What religion have you followed?
The sixth: None. The angel: None? The sixth: No.
The angel: But then what did you believe in?
The sixth: An immortal soul, a God who rewards and punishes, nothing more.
The angel: In that case, come in and take your place wherever you like.

Read the free original text online (facsimile), 1808 edition: https://books.google.fr/​books?id=x-tEuRsk5ZUC&pg=PA46

Notes

1 Evariste de Parny, La guerre des dieux, 1799, in his Œuvres, Paris: Debray, 1808, V, pp. 46-48.