ACT TWO
Scene IV
 

(Philosophy Master, Monsieur Jourdain)

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
(Straightening the collar that indicates he is a Philosopher) Now to our lesson.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh! Sir, I am distressed by the blows they gave you.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
It's nothing. A philosopher knows how to take these things and I'll compose a satire against them, in the style of Juvenal, which will fix them nicely. Let it be. What would you like to learn?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Everything I can, for I have every desire in the world to be educated, and I'm furious that my father and mother did not make me study all the sciences when I was young.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
This is a reasonable sentiment. Nam sine doctrina vita est quasi mortis imago. You understand that, and you doubtless know Latin?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Yes, but act as if I did not know it. Tell me what it says.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
It says that without science life is almost an image of death.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
That Latin is right.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Don't you know some principles, some basics of the sciences?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Oh yes! I can read and write.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Where would it please you for us to begin? Would you like me to teach you logic?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What is this logic?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
It is that which teaches the three operations of the mind.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What are these three operations of the mind?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The first, the second, and the third. The first is to conceive well by means of the universals; the second is to judge well by means of the categories; and the third is to draw well a conclusion by means of figures. Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton, etc.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Those words are too ugly. This logic doesn't suit me at all. Let's learn something else that's prettier.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Would you like to learn morality?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Morality?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Yes.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What does it say, this morality?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
It treats of happiness, teaches men to moderate their passions, and ...

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, let's leave that. I'm as choleric as all the devils and there's no morality that sticks, I want to be as full of anger as I want whenever I like.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Would you like to learn physics?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What's it about, this physics?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Physics explains the principles of natural things and the properties of the material world; it discourses on the nature of the elements, of metals, minerals, of stones, of plants and animals, and teaches the causes of all the meteors, the rainbow, the will o' the wisps, the comets, lightning, thunder, thunderbolts, rain, snow, hail, winds, and whirlwinds.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
There's too much commotion in it, too much confusion.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Then what do you want me to teach you?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Teach me how to spell.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Very gladly.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Afterwards, you may teach me the almanack, to know when there is a moon and when not.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
So be it. Following your thought and treating this matter as a philosopher, it is necessary to begin according to the order of things, by an exact knowledge of the nature of letters and the different ways of pronouncing them all. And thereupon I must tell you letters are divided into vowels, called vowels because they express the voice; and into consonants because they sound with the vowels and only mark the diverse articulations of the voice. There are five vowels or voices: A, E, I, O, U.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
I understand all that.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The vowel A is formed by opening the mouth widely : A. Its vowels are to be given the sounds used in vocalizing: Ah-aye-ee-o-ou.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
A, A. Yes.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The vowel E is formed by approaching the lower jaw to the upper: A, E.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
A, E; A, E. By my faith, yes. Ah! How fine!

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
And the vowel I, by bringing the jaws still nearer each other and stretching the two corners of the mouth towards the ears: A, E, I.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
A, E, I. I. I. I. That's true. Long live science!

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The vowel O is formed by opening the jaws and drawing together the two corners of the lips, upper and lower: O.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
O, O. There's nothing truer. A, E, I, O,I O.. That's admirable! I, O, I, O.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The opening of the mouth happens to make a little circle which represents an O.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
O, O, O. You are right! O. Ah! What a fine thing it is to know something!

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The vowel U is formed by bringing the teeth nearly together without completely joining them, and thrusting the two lips outward, also bringing them nearly together without completely joining them: U.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
U, U. There's nothing truer. U.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Your two lips thrust out as if you were making a face, whence it results that if you want to make a face at someone and mock him, you have only to say to him "U."

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
U, U. That's true. Ah! Why didn't I study sooner in order to know all that!

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Tomorrow we shall look at the other letters, which are the consonants.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Are there things as curious about them as about these?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Without a doubt. The consonant D, for example, is pronounced by clapping the tongue above the upper teeth: D.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
D, D, Yes. Ah! What fine things! Fine things!

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The F, by pressing the upper teeth against the lower lip: F.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
F, F. That's the truth. Ah! My father and my mother, how I wish you ill!

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
And the R, by carrying the tip of the tongue to the top of the palate, so that being grazed by the air that comes out with force, it yields to it and comes back always to the same place, making a kind of trill: R. AR.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
R, R, AR. R, R, R, R, R, RA. That's true. Ah! What a clever man you are! And how I have lost time! R, R, R, AR.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
I'll explain to you all these strange things to their very depths.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Please do. But now, I must confide in you. I'm in love with a lady of great quality, and I wish that you would help me write something to her in a little note that I will let fall at her feet.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Very well.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
That will be gallant, yes?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Without doubt. Is it verse that you wish to write her?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, no. No verse.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Do you want only prose?

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, I don't want either prose or verse.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
It must be one or the other.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
Why?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Because, sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
There is nothing but prose or verse?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
No, sir, everything that is not prose is verse, and everything that is not verse is prose.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
And when one speaks, what is that then?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Prose.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What! When I say, "Nicole, bring me my slippers, and give me my nightcap," that's prose?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Yes, Sir.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that. I would like then to put into a note to her: "Beautiful marchioness, your lovely eyes make me die of love," but I want that put in a gallant manner and be nicely turned.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
Put it that the fires of her eyes reduce your heart to cinders; that you suffer night and day for her the torments of a . . .

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, no, no. I want none of that; I only want you to say "Beautiful marchioness, your lovely eyes make me die of love."

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The thing requires a little lengthening.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
No, I tell you, I want only those words in the note, but turned stylishly, well arranged, as is necessary. Please tell me, just to see, the diverse ways they could be put.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
One could put them first of all as you said them: "Beautiful marchioness, your lovely eyes make me die of love." Or else: "Of love to die make me, beautiful marchioness, your beautiful eyes." Or else: "Your lovely eyes, of love make me, beautiful marchioness, die." Or else: "Die, your lovely eyes, beautiful marchioness, of love make me." Or else: "Me make your lovely eyes die, beautiful marchioness, of love."

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
But, of all those ways, which is the best?

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
The way you said it: "Beautiful marchioness, your lovely eyes make me die of love."

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
I never studied, and yet I made the whole thing up at the first try. I thank you with all my heart, and I ask you to come tomorrow early.

PHILOSOPHY MASTER
I shall not fail to do so. (He leaves).

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
What? Hasn't my suit come yet?

THE LACKEY
No, Sir.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN
That cursed tailor makes me wait all day when I have so much to do! I'm enraged. May the quartan fever shake that tormentor of a tailor! To the devil with the tailor! May the plague choke the tailor! If I had him here now, that detestable tailor, that dog of a tailor, that traitor of a tailor, I . . .