Come, ye philosophers, who cry, “All’s well,” And contemplate this ruin of a world. Behold these shreds and cinders of your race, This child and mother heaped in common wreck, These scattered limbs beneath the marble shafts-- A hundred thousand whom the earth devours, Who, torn and bloody, palpitating yet, Entombed beneath their hospitable roofs, In racking torment end their stricken lives. To those expiring murmurs of distress, To that appalling spectacle of woe,
Will ye reply: “You do but illustrate The iron laws that chain the will of God”? Say ye, o’er that yet quivering mass of flesh:
“God is avenged: the wage of sin is death”? What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother’s breast?
Thus the whole world in every member groans: All born for torment and for mutual death. And o’er this ghastly chaos you would say The ills of each make up the good of all! What blessedness! And as, with quaking voice, Mortal and pitiful, ye cry, “All ’s well,” The universe belies you, and your heart Refutes a hundred times your mind’s conceit.
Man crawls and dies: all is but born to die: The world ’s the empire of destructiveness. This frail construction of quick nerves and bones Cannot sustain the shock of elements; This temporary blend of blood and dust Was put together only to dissolve; This prompt and vivid sentiment of nerve Was made for pain, the minister of death: Thus in my ear does nature’s message run.
Voltaire, Examination of the Axiom "All is well"