Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Invisible Hands Ere Adam Dug

I don't know that these usages have anything to do with Adam Smith. I don't even vouch for the translation from the seventeenth century french:
"How are you to get at a person who talks in this way, father? On what quarter will you assail me, since neither my words nor my writing afford the slighest handle to your accusations, and the obscurity in which my person is enveloped forms my protection against your threatenings? You feel yourselves smitten by an invisible hand - a hand, however, which makes your delinquencies visible to all the earth; and in vain do you endeavor to attack me in the person of those with whom you suppose me to be associated." -- Blaise Pascal, Provincal Letters, Letter XVII
"Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood;
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
Thou marvell'st at my words: but hold thee still;
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
So, prithee, go with me." -- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 2

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