Pascal's Pensées eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Pascal's Pensées.

It is important to kings and princes to be considered pious; and therefore they must confess themselves to you.


The following brief notes are mainly based on those of M. Brunschvicg.  But those of MM.  Faugere, Molinier, and Havet have also been consulted.  The biblical references are to the Authorised English Version.  Those in the text are to the Vulgate, except where it has seemed advisable to alter the reference to the English Version.

[1] P. 1, l. 1. The difference between the mathematical and the
    intuitive mind.
—­Pascal is here distinguishing the logical or
    discursive type of mind, a good example of which is found in
    mathematical reasoning, and what we should call the intuitive type
    of mind, which sees everything at a glance.  A practical man of sound
    judgment exemplifies the latter; for he is in fact guided by
    impressions of past experience, and does not consciously reason from
    general principles.

[2] P. 2, l. 34. There are different kinds, etc.—­This is probably a
    subdivision of the discursive type of mind.

[3] P. 3, l. 31. By rule.—­This is an emendation by M. Brunschvicg. 
    The MS. has sans regle.

[4] P. 4, l. 3. I judge by my watch.—­Pascal is said to have always
    carried a watch attached to his left wrist-band.

[5] P. 5, l. 21. Scaramouch.—­A traditional character in Italian

[6] P. 5, l. 22. The doctor.—­Also a traditional character in Italian

[7] P. 5, l. 24. Cleobuline.—­Princess, and afterwards Queen of
    Corinth, figures in the romance of Mademoiselle de Scudery, entitled
    Artamene ou le Grand Cyrus.  She is enamoured of one of her
    subjects, Myrinthe.  But she “loved him without thinking of love; and
    remained so long in that error, that this affection was no longer in
    a state to be overcome, when she became aware of it.”  The character
    is supposed to have been drawn from Christina of Sweden.

[8] P. 6, l. 21. Rivers are, etc.—­Apparently suggested by a chapter
    in Rabelais:  How we descended in the isle of Odes, in which the
    roads walk

[9] P. 6, l. 30. Salomon de Tultie.—­A pseudonym adopted by Pascal as
    the author of the Provincial Letters.

[10] P. 7, l. 7. Abstine et sustine.—­A maxim of the Stoics.

[11] P. 7, l. 8. Follow nature.—­The maxim in which the Stoics summed
     up their positive ethical teaching.

[12] P. 7, l. 9. As Plato.—­Compare Montaigne, Essais, iii, 9.

[13] P. 9, l. 29. We call this jargon poetical beauty.—­According to
     M. Havet, Pascal refers here to Malherbe and his school.

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