(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin)

1 Book
1.1 Content of the book
1.2 What made him write the book


2 Montaigne
2.1 His melancholy
2.2 Influence
2.3 Family
2.4 Michael sickness
​2.5 His depression
2.6 His thoughts on his... Insecurities 
2.7 His study is himself
2.8 He used glasses
2.9 His relation to animals


3 His perspective on Indigenous people
3.1 How people deal with something they don’t know about
3.2 His approach with the savage people
3.3 What are their morals

3.4 We are not better than them or more civil
3.5 Against torture


4 Improve yourself 
4.1 Be proactive
4.2 How to behave like a wise man
4.3 See the world not your nose
4.4 The knowledge that you are on a good path

4.5 On how to live a proactive life
4.6 Don’t achieve things with force
4.7 Stubbornness is the sister of constancy

4.8 It is easy to dare what nobody thinks you will: the difficulty makes it easy.
4.9 No desire is more natural than the desire for knowledge

4.10 No powerful mind stops within itself: it is always stretching out and exceeding its capacities.


5 On People quality
5.1 They differ in degree, not in kind
5.2 Even a base soul can attain the calm virtue from Socrates
5.3 Men are ‘vain authorities who can resolve nothing’
5.4 Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still upon our asses.

5.5 Man is indeed an object miraculously vain, various, and wavering
5.6 Plato and I see and understand the same way
5.7 On the good people
5.8 The knowledge of the profane
5.9 On someone being brave
5.10 A person that is easily affected by change
5.11 We are never the same person
5.12 You should always understand the principles that make you move
5.13 The prime duty of wisdom
5.14 A man can be as wise as he likes
5.15 Let him realize that nothing human is strange to him
5.16 No outstanding soul is free from a mixture of folly
5.17 Everything that can happen to someone else can happen to you
5.18 Judge people by their recent acts
5.19 Rare goodness in people
5.20 Measurer people on the small things
5.21 The best motion to your soul

5.22 To think is to live
5.23 On peoples false belief of certainty
5.24 Appreciate your memories 

5.25 Your doings are governed by example not a choice
5.26 Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of discords as well as of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud.
5.27 Our most great and glorious achievement is to live our life fittingly

5.28 Nothing is so beautiful, so right, as acting as a man should


6 On people who are lost
6.1 On beliefs
6.2 On wrong beliefs

6.3 Vainglory and curiosity
6.4 On the challenges of freeing yourself from vice
6.5 You always carry yourself
6.6 Who counsels evil, suffers the most

6.7 Torment of the soul
6.8 To control consciousness
6.9 The habit of stealing
6.10 Don’t be a slave to yourself

6.11 On how people use money
6.12 the problem with stooping desire
6.13 It is the life of the fool which is graceless, fearful, and entirely sacrificed to the future.

6.14 Your worries
6.15 The human side


7 On Perceiving the around
7.1 The pleasure of uncertainty
7.2 The forgetfulness of all accomplishments
7.3 We are all but people in the Olympics Games
7.4 People ignore the what’s and expatiate on the whys
7.5 How he lives day by day
7.6 A reflection on the age of humanity and the world


8 On the inconstancy of our actions
8.1 Vacillation is the most common defect of our nature
8.2 Whoever would judge a man in his detail would hit on the truth more often.
8.3 It is all motion and inconstancy
8.4 That man you saw yesterday so ready to take risks: do not think it odd if you find him craven tomorrow.
8.5 We have two souls, others two angels who bear us company and trouble us each in his own way
8.6 Diversity is the essence of humans
8.7 Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom
8.8 We are but blockheads
8.9 We always desire
8.10 You have come to suffer
8.11 When to moan


9 Relationships & Desire 
9A 1 On marriages
9A 2 It doesn’t last
9A 3 A good marriage
9A 4 A declaration of love in marriage
9A 5 Marriages expected to fail 
9A 6 To have or not to have a wife: ‘Whichever you do you will be sorry.’
9A 7 The husband that shows hated to their wives are unjust
9A 8 Wise men keep secret the sweets of marriage and its bitterness.
9A 9 A good marriage needs a blind wife and a deaf husband.
9A 10 Socrates wife
9A 11 On attractive wife

9B 1 Sexual desire
9B 2 Venus is nothing but the pleasure of unloading our balls
9B 3 How much sex per month? (Solon rules )
9B 4 Maybe we are shameful creatures
9B 5 The shame of creation
9B 6 Sexual desire then breaks loose, like a wild beast first provoked and then set free
9B 7 The lame man does it better

9C 1 Affairs
9C 2 How wretched are those husbands in my days who manage to find out!
9C 3 Cupid is always hunting for occasions to do wrong
9C 4 Without darts and flames of desire Cupid is Cupid no longer.

9D 1 Friendship
9D 2 Friendships are not based on contracts
9D 3 A good friend

9E 1 On Woman
9E 2 Montaigne discovered that men have more in common with women than was usually thought.
9E 3 Approaching women
9E 4 On women's rights.
9E 5 Women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently
9E 6 I say that males and females are cast in the same mould

9F Kid
9F 1 Educate aKid
9F 2 The difficulty to educate children
9F 3 The wasteful occupation we choose for our children
9F 4 Guide them towards the best and most rewarding goals
9F 5 Place character and intelligence before knowledge and let him carry his own way
9F 6 Let him mistake
9F 7 The profit of studying
9F 8 To be a real man one must not spare his youth
9F 9 The qualities a kid must have
9F 10 The way he should perceive the people around him
9F 11 The importance of activities
9F 12 The punishment
9F 13 The will
9F 14 He should marry the learning
9F 15 Books vs experience
9F 16 First you master then you talk
9F 17 Eloquence
9F 18 Parents affection
9F 19 Children immortalize
9F 20 First thing a kid knows

9G 1 The old 
9G 2 On the length of life
9G 3 On how age can affect us. Puts more wrinkles in the mind than in the face
9G 4 An ugly old age when openly avowed is in my opinion less old and less ugly than one smoothed out and painted over.
9G 5 The consequences of old age

9H 1 The ruler
9H 2 On how the prince should give salary
9H 3 On punishing cowardice


10 On the ending and preserving of life  

10 A 1 On death
10 A 2 Death can surprise us
10 A 3 Knowing how to die gives us freedom
10 A 4 The memory of death
10 A 5 How to lose fear of death
10 A 6 The length of life
10 A 7 The easiness of death
10 A 8 Death is always waiting for you
10 A 9 Preparing to die
10 A 10 Dying doesn’t change how we see people
10 A 11 On reflection of death
10 A 12 The best death

10 B 1 On cruelty
10 B 2 How it starts
10 B 3 How people deal when facing death or torture
10 B 4 Cruelty done right to educate
10 B 5 The farthest part of cruelty
10 B 6 A example of courage and endurance
10 B 7 On how we judge theft
10 B 8 On how to punish

10 C 1 On health
10 C 2 God save me from me
10 C 3 Death is more abject, lingering and painful in bed than in combat
10 C 4 On teeth hygiene

10 D 1 Medicine 
10 D 2 The origin of illness

10 E 1 Sleep
10 E 2 On dreams

11 Mind 

11 A The beginning of unconsciousness
11 A 1 Distinction is the power of mind

11 B Reason
11 B 1 Our reason has capacity enough to provide the stuff for a hundred other worlds

11 C Virtue
11 C 1 Virtue is achieved by control and no effort
11 C 2 On courage
11 C 3 On honour
11 C 4  The beginning of all virtues is reflection and deliberation: its end and perfection, constancy
11 C 5 Struggle needs to exercise virtue
11 C 6 Ways of exercising virtue
11 C 7 The ways virtue can be broken
11 C 8 Virtue & Vice
11 C 9 More rules and order in morals than in my opinions and appetites
11 C 10 Use your own judgment to judge your virtues
11 C 11 The hardest virtue is in everyday actions


 

12 Control 

12 A Law
12 A 1 We were once distressed by crimes: now, by-laws
12 A 2 There is hardly any relation between{ our actions (which are perpetually changing) and fixed unchanging laws
12 A 3 Laws serve us by adapting to each one of our concerns by means of some twisted, forced or oblique interpretation.
12 A 4 Nothing is just per se, justice being a creation of custom and law
12 A 5 Laws are often made by fools

12 B Truth and Falsehood
12 B 1 I do not judge opinions by their age.
12 B 2 In matters difficult to verify and perilous to believe; it is better to incline towards doubt than certainty
12 B 3 Truth is no wiser for being ancient

12 C Confession
12 C 1 Only after men have awakened can they relate their dream
12 C 2 The soul needs to be often probed in daylight, cut and torn from our hollow breasts by a pitiless hand.
12 C 3 I include my morals

12 D Gossips
12 D 1 We are astounded by things which deceive us by their remoteness

13 Emotions 

13 A Happiness 
13 A 1 Joy with the acceptance of a stoic
13 A 2 Live happy
13 A 3 To be happy you need the strength of Socrates

13 B Shyness 

13 C On evil and emotions

13 D On fear
13 D 1 To feel fear you also need to have courage

13 E Shame
13 E 1 The shame of creation
13 E 2 Shame of eating
13 E 3 O pitiful men, who hold their joys a crime

13 F On Pleasure 
13 F 1 The dangers of pleasure
13 F 2 Pleasure likes itself more in the shadows
13 F 3 On the right way to feel pleasure

13 G Jealousy

13 H On solitude
13 H 1 In isolation you take care of yourself
13 H 2 In lonely places be a crowd inside yourself.
13 H 3 Put the value in yourself
13 H 4 Don’t attach yourself too much in something else that is not you
13 H 5 Don’t glue yourself to happiness
13 H 6 On our natural necessities
13 H 7 They should try to subordinate things to themselves, not themselves to things
13 H 8 The ones that can enjoy solitude
13 H 9 You don’t need an audience to do what you like

13 H 10 You should first prepare yourself before solitude
13 H 11 Content yourself

13 I 1 On Love
13 I 2 Nature given love
13 I 3 Mere usefulness is less lovable than nobility.
13 I 4 Affection of parents
13 I 5 Parents love their kids mostly as baby’s
13 I 6 The love of a father
13 I 7 Give less love to receive more love?
13 I 8 Books on love
13 I 9 Love is knowing how to seize an opportunity.
13 I 10 Women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently
13 I 11 To be loved in love
13 I 12 The mad love
13 I 13 Wisdom and love cannot live together
13 I 14 A touch can spark love
13 I 15 We demand more when we have less to offer
13 I 16 Love is commerce that requires inter-relationship and reciprocity
13 I 17 The way Cupid conducts things is most in fashion when mingled with ingenuousness and awkwardness

14 Philosophy

14 A 1 The cure of ignorance
14 A 2 He is not ashamed to say that he does not know what he does not know
14 A 3 There are more books on books than on any other subject: all we do is gloss each other.
14 A 4 There is no true merit
14 A 5 A reflection on ancient philosophy
14 A 6 To philosophize is to learn how to die
14 A 7 Pleasure
14 A 8 Philosophy makes you happy
14 A 9 Readings
14 A 10 On how philosophers drink
14 A 11 A philosopher can be placed everywhere
14 A 12 The companionship of books
14 A 13 The disadvantage of books
14 A 14 How philosophers fought against vices
14 A 15 The desire of sex
14 A 16 The weeping

14 B 1 Self knowledge
14 B 2 There is so much to learn from myself

15 On Tasks and Jobs 

15 A 1 Kitchen
15 A 2 Good Company
15 A 3 On wine
15 A 4 A good dinner

15 B 1 On Poets
15 B 2 Poets who can make up anything they like dare not relieve their heroes even of the burden of weeping
15 B 3 The poet

15 C 1 On Writing
15 C 2 What enriches a language is their words, deepen their meanings and tie down their usage
15 C 3 To prepare for writing
15 C 4 Everyone recognizes my book in me and me in my book 

16 Interesting and Historic facts 

16.1 History on Death
16.2 Famous deaths
16.3 Egyptians dinner
16.4 The memory of death
16.5 Iconic moments
16.6 Marriage age
16.7 On the state to pray
16.8 When to pray
16.9 How people should pray
16.10 On Labineus
16.11 On imortality vs kids
16.12 Socrates and Virtue
16.13 Animals and cities
16.14 A example of courage and endurance
16.15 Seneca death
16.16 Dream masturbation
16.17 Medicine
16.18 The origin of illness
16.19 The grandson of Aristotle
16.20 Best places to bath
16.21 Comparing our civilization with the indigenous
16.22 The king of Peru
16.23 On the events on coliseum
16.24 How he viewed his current era
16.25 A perspective on the world
16.26 Priest who changed sexes
16.27 Books on love
16.28 Hidden the private parts of statues
16.29 It is a feverish passion which turns all that is beautiful in them ugly and, corrupts what is good; in a jealous woman
16.30 On the women right.
16.31 To prepare for writing
16.32 How you swear
16.33 Sleep
16.34 The shame of creation
16.35 Shame of eating
16.36 To be loved in love
16.37 On Pyrrhus arrogant
16.38 Eye witness in Rome
16.39 The mad love
16.40 Year shorten

 

1 Book

1.1 Content of the book

‘I myself am the subject of my book.’ Despite the wide variety of topics treated in these Essays, Montaigne is quietly stating a fact. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.IX)

Before reaching that great final chapter we are treated to Montaigne’s distinguishing between true repentance and mere regret; to insight into his three chief social delights (decent friends, women and books); to his outspoken and at times humorous reflections on sexuality in the surprisingly named chapter On some line of Virgil; and to reflections on greed, cruelty and European barbarity when considering the Indies of the Conquistadores in the chapter On coaches. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xviii)

Here I want to be seen in my simple, natural, everyday fashion, without striving or artifice: for it is my own self that I am painting. (...) And therefore, Reader, I myself am the subject of my book. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.3)


1.2 What made him write the book


Montagne’s judgment is so balanced and wise that it may come as a surprise that the whole undertaking of writing the Essays arose out of a crisis of melancholy. When his father died in June 1568 Montaigne, as his son and heir, resigned his legal office in the Parliament of Bordeaux and withdrew to his estates. His closest of friends, Etienne de la Boetie, had died unexpectedly some four years earlier (August 1563), leaving a yearning gap in Montaigne’s life which nothing was ever completely to fill. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.x)

Aristotle had convinced untold generations of thinkers that all human beings had identical versions of the same ‘form’: the form (soul and the mind) of Man. (....) Montaigne, quite revolutionary, started from the other end: he studied his own mind, his own form, and, since he, like anyone else, bore the whole form of the human condition, he applied his knowledge of himself to anyone he met in life, by report or in books. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.XiV)

From books all I seek is to give myself pleasure from an honorable pastime; or if I do study, I seek only that branch of learning which deals with knowing myself and which teaches me how to live and die well. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xx)

It seemed to me then that the greatest favor I could do for my mind was to leave it in total idleness, caring for itself, concerned only with itself, calmly thinking of itself. (...) It bolted off like a runaway horse, taking far more trouble over itself than it ever did over anyone else; it gives birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monstrosities, one after another, without order or fitness, that, so as to contemplate at my ease their oddness and their strangeness, I began to keep a record of them, hoping in time to make my mind ashamed of itself. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.10

 
Finding myself quite empty, with nothing to write about, I offered myself to myself as theme and subject matter. It is [C] the only book of its kind in the world [A], in its concept wild and fantastically eccentric. Nothing in this
work of mine is worthy of notice except that bizarre quality, for the best
craftsman in the world would not know how to fashion anything remarkable
out of material so vacuous and base. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.149)

2 Montaigne

2.1 His melancholy

Such learned leisure was a great ideal, but, for Montaigne, it did not turn out well in practice. Instead of finding peace and mental repose, he fell into chagrin (a melancholic depression). He experienced the kind of anguish which Milton describes in Il Penseroso and in his Ode to Melancholy. Where he had hoped that his mind would be content with private, bookish idleness he found that it ‘ bolted off like a runway horse’, giving birth to ‘ chimeras and fantastic monstrosities’. It was in order to contemplate at his ease ‘ their oddness and their strangeness’ that he began to write them down. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.Xi)

2.2 Influence
It is sometimes suggested that he was first a Stoic, then a Sceptic, then an Epicurian. (...) Increasingly he came to appreciate, however, the humanity of Socrates, the calm judgments of Plutarch, and, despite his verbosity and vanity, the wisdom of Cicero, who attached real and solid importance to the body within our common humanity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xv)

My first taste for books arose from enjoying Ovid’s Metamorphoses; when I was about seven or eight I used to sneak away from all other joys to read it, especially since Latin was my mother-tongue and the Metamorphoses was the easiest book I knew and the one most suitable by its subject to my tender age(As for Lancelot du lac, Amdis Huon de Bordeaus and so on, trashy books which children spend time on, I did not even know their titles - and still do not know their insides - so exact was the way I was taught.) (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.71)


2.3 Family
Montaigne’s children all died in infancy, one daughter excepted. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.148)

2.4 Michael sickness
We can assume that it is to my father that I owe my propensity to the stone, for he died dreadfully afflicted by a large stone in the bladder. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.207)

 
2.5 His depression
Once upon a time, I used to mark as exceptional the dark, depressing days: those days are now my routine ones; it is the ones that are beautiful and serene that are extraordinary now. I am close to the point when I shall jump for joy and accept anything which does not actually hurt as some new favorites. Tickle myself I may, but I cannot force a laugh out of this vile body. I make myself delight in dreams and fantasy so as to divert by a ruse the chagrin of old age. But it would take a different remedy to cure it. What a feeble struggle of art against nature! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.262)

2.6 His thoughts on his... Insecurities 

When I have found a woman discontented with me I have not immediately gone and railed at her fickleness: I have asked myself, rather, whether I would be right to rail against Nature.
Si non longa satis, si non bene mentula crassa,
[Should my cock be not long enough nor good and thick,]
then Nature has indeed treated me unlawfully and unjustly- ~
Nimirium sapiunt, videntque parvam
Matronae quoque mentulam illibenter
[Even good matrons know all too well and do not gladly see a tiny cock]
- [C] and inflicted the most enormous injury. Every one of my members, each as much like another, makes me myself: and none makes me morel pearly a man than that one. I owe to the public my portrait complete. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.317)

2.7 His study is himself
I study myself more than any other subject. That is my metaphysics; that
is my physics. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.374)
 
2.8 He used glasses
At the time when I was more in the habit of reading, I used to place a piece of glass over my book to soften the glare of the paper and found it quite a relief. Up till now I have no acquaintance with spectacles and can see as well at a distance as ever I did or as anyone can. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.411)

2.9 His relation to animals
And lest anyone should laugh at this sympathy which I feel for animals. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.182)
 
We owe justice; to men: and to the other creatures who are able to receive them we owe gentleness and kindness. Between them and us there is some sort of intercourse and a degree of mutual obligation[C] · I am not afraid to admit that my nature is so childishly affectionate that I cannot easily refuse an untimely
gambol to my dog wherever it begs one. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.185)

The Turks have charities and hospitals for their beasts. [A] The Romans had a public duty to care for geese, by the vigilance of which their Capitol had been saved; the Athenians commanded that the he-mules and she-mules which had been used in building the temple named the Hecatompedon should be set free and allowed to graze anywhere without hindrance. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.185)

3 His perspective on Indigenous people

3.1 How people deal with something they don’t know about

I find (from what has been told me) that there is nothing savage or barbarous about those peoples, but that every man calls barbarous anything he is not accustomed to; it is indeed the case that we have no other criterion of truth or right-reason than the example and form of the opinions and customs of our own country. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.82)

3.2 His approach with the savage people
Those ‘savages’ are only wild in the sense that we call fruits wild when they are produced by Nature in her ordinary course: whereas it is the fruit which we have artificially perverted and misled from the common order which we ought to call savage. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.82)

3.3 What are their morals
But their entire system of ethics contains only the same two articles: resoluteness in battle and love for their wives. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.85)

3.4 We are not better than them or more civil
More barbarity in lacerating by rack and torture a body still fully able to feel things, in roasting him little by little and having him bruised and bitten by pigs and dogs (as we have not only read about but seen in recent memory, not among enemies in antiquity but among our fellow-citizens and neighbors - and, what is worse, in the name of duty and religion) than in roasting him and eating him after his death. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.87)

3.5 Against torture
Torture is a dangerous innovation; it would appear that it is an
essay not of the truth but of a man’s endurance. [C] The man who can
endure it hides the truth: so does he who cannot. [A] For why should
pain make me confess what is true rather than force me to say what is not
cruel?
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.146)

4 Improve yourself 

4.1 Be proactive
Up till now, I have enjoyed robust good health almost uninterruptedly: yet that never extends my hope for life any more than sickness shortness them. Every moment it seems to me that I am running away from myself. And I ceaselessly chant the refrain, ‘Anything you can do another day can be done now. ‘ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.25)

We are born for action: When I die, may I be in the midst of my work. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.27)

Whether you have lived enough depends not on a count of years but on your will. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.34)


4.2 How to behave like a wise man
One should be wise without ostentation or ill-will. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.47)

4.3 See the world not your nose
We are all cramped and confined inside ourselves: we can see no further than the end of our noses. When they asked Socrates where he came from he did not say ‘From Athens’, but ‘From the world’. He, whose thoughts were fuller and wider, embraced the universal world as his City, scattered his acquaintances, his fellowship, and his affections throughout the whole human race, not as we do who only look at what lied right in front of us. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.50)

4.4 The knowledge that you are on a good path
[As a man who knows how to make his education into a rule of life, not a means of showing off; who can control himself and obey his own principles]. The true mirror of our discourse is the course of our lives. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.63)

4.5 On how to live a proactive life
What is us of providing yourself with pain if you do not know what to paint? No man sketches out a definite plan for his life; we only determine bits of it. The bowman must first know what he is aiming at: then he has to prepare hand, bow, bowstring, arrow, and his drill to that end. Our projects go astray because they are not addressed to a target. No wind is right for a seaman who has no predetermined harbor. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.130)

4.6 Don’t achieve things with force
I hold that you will never achieve by force what you cannot achieve by reason, intelligence, and skill. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.153)

4.7 Stubbornness is the sister of constancy
And stubbornness is the sister of constancy, in vigor and inflexibility at least. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.190)

4.8 It is easy to dare what nobody thinks you will: the difficulty makes it easy.
What is least feared is least protected, least observed; it is easy to dare what nobody thinks you will: the difficulty makes it easy. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.320)

4.9 No desire is more natural than the desire for knowledge
No desire is more natural than the desire for knowledge. We assay all the means that can lead us to it. When reason fails us we make use of experience -
{C] Per varios usus artem experietitiafecit:
Exemplo monstrante viam.
[By repeated practice, and with an example showing the way, experience constructs an art.]
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.364)

4.10 No powerful mind stops within itself: it is always stretching out and exceeding its capacities.
When the mind is satisfied, that is a sign of diminished faculties or weariness. No powerful mind stops within itself: it is always stretching out and exceeding its capacities. It makes sorties which go beyond what it can achieve: it is only half-alive if it is not advancing, pressing forward, getting driven into a corner and coming to blows; [B] its inquiries are shapeless and without limits; its nourishment consists in [C] amazement, the hunt and [B] uncertainty, 20 as Apollo made clear enough to us by his speaking (as always) ambiguously, obscurely and obliquely, not glutting us but keeping us wondering and occupied. It is an irregular activity, never-ending and without pattern or target. Its discoveries excite each other, follow after each other, and between them produce more. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.369)

5 On People quality

5.1 They differ in degree, not in kind
Men may differ in degree but not in kind. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.Xiii)

5.2 Even a base soul can attain the calm virtue from Socrates
All remain human. Montaigne accepts that view. So even a mediocre human soul and a splendid one remain, as it were, in touch with each other. Each can understand the other. Even a base soul can, in some circumstances, attain momentarily the calm virtue which Socrates could sustain throughout his adult life. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.XiV)
No man ever ceased to be a Man - not even Socrates, not even Homer.
Montaigne came to believe that no man ever ceased to be a Man - not even Socrates, not even Homer. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xiv)

5.3 Men are ‘vain authorities who can resolve nothing’
Men are ‘vain authorities who can resolve nothing’. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xvi)

5.4 Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still upon our asses.
Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still upon our asses. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xxi)
A fine thing to get up on stilts: for even on stilts we must ever walk with our legs! And upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still, upon our asses. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.426)


5.5 Man is indeed an object miraculously vain, various, and wavering
Man is indeed an object miraculously vain, various, and wavering. It is difficult to find a judgment on him that is steady and uniform. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.7)

5.6 Plato and I see and understand the same way
Truth and reason are common to all: they no more belong to the man who first put them into words than to him who last did so. Plato and I see and understand the same way. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P. 44)

5.7 On the good people
The means of doing good or evil can be found anywhere, but if that quip of Bias is true, that ‘ the evil from the larger part’, or what Ecclesiasticus says, ‘One good man in a thousand have I not found. [Good men are rare: just about as many as gates in the walls of Thebes or mouths to the fertile Nile.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.96)

5.8 The knowledge of the profane
‘That we who by God’s grace enjoy the pure mysteries of our pious faith should allow them to be profaned in the mouths of persons ignorant and base, seeing that the Gentiles forbade even Socrates, Plato and the wisest men to talk or inquire about matters entrusted to the priests at Delphi. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.114)

5.9 On someone being brave
That is why one courageous action must not be taken as proof that a man is really brave; a man who is truly brave will always be brave on all occasions. If a man’s valor were habitual and not a sudden outburst it would make him equally resolute in all eventualities: as much alone as with his comrades, as much in a tilt-yard as on the battlefield; for, despite what they say, there is not one valor for the town and another for the country. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.129)

5.10 A person that is easily affected by change
If various changes make him change his pace - I mean his path, for his pace may be hastened by them or made heavy and slow - then let him go free, for that man will always ‘run with the wind’, A vau le vent, as the crest of our Lod Talbot puts it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.130)

5.11 We are never the same person
We are entirely made up of bits and pieces, woven together so diversely and so shapelessly that each one of them pulls its own way at every moment. And there is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and other people. [Let me convince you that it is a hard task to be always the same man. ] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.131)

5.12 You should always understand the principles that make you move
It is not the fact of a settled judgment to judge us simply by our outward deeds: we must probe right down inside and find out what principles make things move; but since this is a deep and chancy undertaking, I would that fewer people would concern themselves with it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.131

5.13 The prime duty of wisdom
Just as Socrates said that the prime duty of wisdom is to distinguish good from evil, we, whose best always partakes of vice, should say the same about knowing how to distinguish between the vices: if that is not done exactingly, the virtuous man and the vicious man will be jumbled unrecognizably together. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.133)

5.14 A man can be as wise as he likes
A man can be as wise as he likes: he is still a man; and what is there frailer, more wretched, more a thing of nothing, than man? Wisdom cannot force our
natural properties:
[Then we see sweat and pallor take over his whole body, his tongue grows
Incoherent, his voice fails, his eyes are troubled, his ears begin to ring, his legs give way and he falls to the ground, as panic seizes his mind. ] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.139)

5.15 Let him realize that nothing human is strange to him
When he is threatened with a blow nothing can stop a man from closing his eyes, or trembling if you set him on the edge of a precise piece, [C] just like a child, Nature reserving to herself these sign so fear authority, signs slight but unattainable by reason or Stoic virtue, in order to teach Man that he is mortal and silly. [A] He becomes livid with fear; he reddens with shame; he bewails an attack of colic paroxysms if not with a loud cry of despair at least with a cry which is broken and wheezing. Human a se nil,il alienu,n putet! [Let him realize that nothing human is a stranger to him!] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.139)

5.16 No outstanding soul is free from a mixture of folly
Just as in war, the heat of the combat often makes the valiant soldiers take such hazardous steps that they are the first to be struck with astonishment once they have come back to themselves; so too the poets are often seized by amazement by their own works and no longer recognize the defiles through which they had passed at so fine a gallop. In their case too it is called frenzy and mania. And just as Plato says that a sedate man knocks in vain at poetry’s door, so too Aristotle says that no outstanding soul is free from a mixture of folly. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.141)

5.17 Everything that can happen to someone else can happen to you
Whenever I hear of the state that some other man is in, I waste no time over that but immediately turn my eyes on myself to see how I am doing. Everything which touches him touches me too. What has happened to him is a warning and an alert coming from the same quarter. Every day, every hour, we say things about others which ought more properly to be addressed to ourselves if only we had learned to turn our thought inward as well as widely outward. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.160)

5.18 Judge people by their recent acts
I know people for whom it would be a waste of time to serve long and ductility: one word taken the wrong way can wipe out ten years of merit. Anyone able to butter them up when they are just about to go is lucky indeed! The latest action scoops the lot: it is not the best and most frequent services which prove efficacious but recent ones present ones. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.162)

5.19 Rare goodness in people
That woman was from a lowly class; among people of that condition, it is not all that new to find signs of rare goodness. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.196)

5.20 Measurer people on the small things
If anyone is worth anything, let it appear in his behavior, in his ordinary talk when loving or quarreling, in his pastimes, in bed, at the table, in the way he conducts his business and runs his house. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.229)

5.21 The best motion to your soul
The most beautiful motions of our soul are those which are least tense and most natural: and the best of its occupations are the least forced. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.249)

5.22 To think is to live
The greatest of souls make it their vocation, [for them, to think is to live]; there is nothing we can do longer than think, no activity to which we can devote ourselves more regularly nor more easily: Nature has granted the soul that prerogative. It is the work of the gods, says Aristotle, from which springs their beatitude and our own. Reading, by its various subjects, particularly serves to arouse my discursive reason: it sets not my memory to work but my judgment. [B] So, for me, few conversations are arresting unless they are vigorous and powerful. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.248)

5.23 On peoples false belief of certainty
Where Nature is concerned, nothing is unique or rare: but where our knowledge is concerned much certainly is, which constitutes a most pitiful foundation for our scientific laws, offering us a very false idea of everything. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.341)
 
5.24 Appreciate your memories 
My mind prefers what it has lost and gives itself entirely over to by-gone memories. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.262)
 
Let babies look ahead, old age behind: is that not what was meant by the double face of Janus? The years can drag me along if they will, but they will have to drag me along facing backward. While my eyes can still make reconnaissances into that beautiful season now expired, I will occasionally look back upon it. Although it has gone from my blood and veins at least I have no wish to tear the thought of it from my memory by the roots:
[To be able to enjoy your former life again is to live twice.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.262)

5.25 Your doings are governed by example not a choice
By my own design, I would have Bed from marrying Wisdom herself if she would have had me. But no matter what we may say, the customs and practices of life in society sweep us along. Most of my doings are governed by example not a choice. Nevertheless, I did not, strictly speaking, invite myself to the feast: I was led there, brought to it by external considerations. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.275)

5.26 Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of discords as well as of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud.
We must learn to suffer whatever we cannot avoid. Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of discords as well as of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud. If a musician liked only some of them, what could he sing? He has got to know how to use all of them and blend them together. So too must we with good and ill, which are of one substance with our life. Without such blending, our being can be: one category is no less necessary than the other. To assay kicking against natural necessity is to reproduce the mad deed of Ctesiphon who, to a kicking match, challenged his mule. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.394)

We can say, with better justification and less bold conjecture, that Nature has lent us suffering in order that it may honor and serve the purposes of pleasure and of mere absence of pain. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.398)


5.27 Our most great and glorious achievement is to live our life fittingly
Our duty is to bring order to our morals, not to the materials for a book: not to win provinces in battle but order and tranquillity for the conduct of our life. Our most great and glorious achievement is to live our life fittingly. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.415)

5.28 Nothing is so beautiful, so right, as acting as a man should
Nothing is so beautiful, so right, as acting as a man should: nor is any learning so arduous as knowing how to live this life [C] naturally and [B] well. And The most uncouth of our afflictions is to [C] despise [B] our being. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.418)

6 On people who are lost
When the soul is without a definite aim she gets lost; for, as they say, if you are everywhere you are nowhere. [Whoever dwells everywhere, Maximus, dwells nowhere at all] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.10)

6.1 On beliefs
A belief is like an impression stamped on our soul: the softer and less resisting the soul, the easier it is to print anything on it:[For just as a weight placed on a balance must weight it down, so the mind must yield to clear evidence.]. The more empty a soul is and the less furnished with counterweights, the more easily its balance will be swayed under the force of its first convictions. That is why children, the common people, women, and the sick are more readily led by the nose. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.74)

6.2 On wrong beliefs
He who had never actually seen a river, the first time he did so took it for the ocean since we think that the biggest things that we know represent the limits of what Nature can produce in that species. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.75)

6.3 Vainglory and curiosity
Vainglory and curiosity are the twin scourges of our soul. The former makes us sick our noses into everything: the latter forbids us to leave anything unresolved or undecided. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.78)

6.4 On the challenges of freeing yourself from vice
He thinks that he is not totally free of vice if he has to contend with the vices of others. Those who haunted evil-doers were chastised as evil by Charondas. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.97)

6.5 You always carry yourself
Socrates was told that some man had not been improved by travel. ‘I am sure he was not,’ he said. ‘He went with himself!’
[Why do we leave for lands warmed by a foreign sun? What fugitive from his own land can flee from himself?] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.98)

6.6 Who counsels evil, suffers the most
Hesiod corrects that saying of Plato’s, that the punishment follows hard upon the sm. He says it is born at the same instant, with the sin itself; to expect punishment is to suffer it: to merit it is to expect it. Wickedness forges torment for itself.
[Who counsels evil, suffers evil most,]
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.144)


6.7 Torment of the soul
Lashing us with invisible whips, our soul torments us. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.144)

6.8 To control consciousness
Conscience can fill us with fear, but she can also fill us with assurance and confidence. [B] And I can say that I have walked more firmly through some dangers by reflecting on the secret knowledge I had of my own will and the innocence of my designs. 
[A mind conscious of what we have done conceives within our breast either hope or fear, according to our deeds.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.145)

6.9 The habit of stealing
In reply the young man admitted quite openly that he had been brought to such vile conduct by the unbending meanness of his father, adding that he had now grown so used to it that he could not stop himself. He had just been caught stealing rings from a lady whose morning reception he was attending with several others. It reminded me of a story I had a beard about another nobleman who had so adapted himself to the exigence of that fine profession that when he did become master of his inheritance and decided to give up this practice he nevertheless could not stop himself from stealing anything he needed when he passed by a stall, despite the bother of having to send somebody to pay for it later. 1 have known several people so trained and adapted to thieving that they regularly steal from their close companion's things which they intend to return. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.152)

6.10 Don’t be a slave to yourself
Life is rough, irregular progress with a multitude of forms. It is to be no friend of yourself - and even less master of yourself - to be a slave endlessly following yourself, so beholden to your predispositions that you cannot stray from them nor bend them. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.247)

6.11 On how people use money
That is why the Emperor Galba, when he was delighted by a musician during dinner, called for his chest, plunged in his hand, and gave him a fistful of crowns saying, ‘This is my own money, not the governments. Be that as it may, the people are usually right: money earned to feed their bellies is used instead to feed their eyes. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.335)

6.12 The problem with stooping desire
How could he possibly slake desires which grow bigger the more he pours wealth into them? The man whose thoughts are set on getting thinks no longer of what he has got. The property of covetousness is, above all, ingratitude. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.337)

6.13 It is the life of the fool which is graceless, fearful, and entirely sacrificed to the future.
[It is the life of the fool which is graceless, fearful, and entirely sacrificed to the future.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.420)

6.14 Your worries
Like those phantoms which, so it is said, flit about after death or those dreams which delude our slumbering senses] - the more you chase them, the faster and farther they run away. Just as Alexander said that he worked for work’s sake - [Believing he had not done anything, while anything remained to be done:] - So too your only purpose in chasing after them, your only gain, lies in the chase. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.421)

6.15 The human side
Those humor soaring to transcendence terrify me as do great unapproachable heights, and for me, nothing in the life of Socrates is so awkward to digest as his ecstasies and his demonizes, and nothing about Plato so human as what is alleged for calling him divine. [B] And of [C] our [B] disciplines it is those which ascend the highest which, it seems to me, are the most [C] base and [B] earthbound. I can find nothing so [C] abject [B] and so mortal in the life of Alexander as his fantasies about [C] his immobilization. [B] Philotas, in a retort, he made in a letter, showed his mordant wit when congratulating Alexander on his being placed among the gods by the oracle of Jupiter Ammon: ‘As far as you are concerned I’m delighted,’ he said, ‘but there is reason to pity those men who will have to live with a man, and obey a man, who [C] trespasses beyond, and cannot be content with, [B] the measure of a man’:
[Because you hold yourself lower than the gods, you hold imperial sway.]
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.425)


7 On Perceiving the around

7.1 The pleasure of uncertainty
Only fools have made up their minds and are certain: For doubting pleases me as much as knowing. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.44)

7.2 The forgetfulness of all accomplishments
So many names, so many victories and conquest lying buried in oblivion, make it ridiculous to hope that we shall immortalize our names by rounding up ten armed brigands or by storming some hen-house or other known only by its capture. The proud arrogance of so many other nation’s pomps and the high-flown majesty of the grandeur of so many courts strengthen our gaze to look firmly and assuredly, without blinking, at the brilliance of our own. So many millions upon millions of men dead and buried before us encourage us not to be afraid of going to joying such a goodly company in the world to come. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.51)

7.3 We are all but people in the Olympics Games
Our life, said Pythagoras, is like the vast throng assembled for the Olympics Games: some use their bodies there to win fame from the contests; others come to trade, to make a profit; still others - and they are by no means the worst - seek no other gain than to be spectators, seeing how everything is done and why; they watch how other men live so that they can judge and regulate their own lives. All the most profitable treatises of philosophy (which ought to be the touchstone and measure of men actions) can be properly reduced to examples. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.52)

7.4 People ignore the what’s and expatiate on the whys
I was recently letting my mind range wildly (as I often do) over our human reason and what a rambling and roving instrument it is. I realize that if you ask people to account for ‘facts’, they usually spend more time finding reasons for them than finding out whether they are true. They ignore the what’s and expatiate on the whys. [C] Wiseacres! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.352)

7.5 How he lives day by day
The brush-strokes of my portrait do not go away even though they do change and vary. The world is but a perennial see-saw. Everything in it - the land, the mountains of the Caucasus, the pyramids of Egypt - all waver with a common motion and their own. Constancy itself is nothing but a more languid rocking to and fro. I am unable to stabilize my subject: it staggers confusedly along with a natural drunkenness. I grasp it as it is now, at this moment when I am lingering over it. I am not portraying being but becoming: not the passage from one age to another (or, as the folk put it, from one seven-year period to the next) but from day to day, from minute to minute. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.232)

7.6 A reflection on the age of humanity and the world
Our world has just discovered another one: and who will answer for its being the last of its brothers, since up till now its existence was unknown to the daemons, to the Sibyls, and to ourselves? It is no less big and full and solid than our own; its limbs are as well developed: yet it is so new, such a child, that we are still teaching it its ABC; a mere fifty years ago it knew nothing of writing, weights and measures, clothing, any sort of com or vine. It was still naked at the breast, living only by what its nursing Mother provided. If we are right to conclude that our end is nigh and that the poet is right that his world is young, then that other world will only be emerging into light when ours is leaving it. The world will be struck with the palsy: one of its limbs will be paralyzed while the other is fully vigorous, yet I fear we shall have considerably hastened the decline and collapse of that young world by our contagion and that we shall have sold it dear our opinions and our skills. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.342)

8 On the inconstancy of our actions

8.1 Vacillation is the most common defect of our nature
Everything is so full of such examples (indeed each man can furnish so many from himself) that I find it strange to find men of understanding sometimes taking such trouble to match up the pieces, seeing that vacillation seems to me to be the most common and blatant defect of our nature: witness the famous line of Publius the author of farces: [It’s a bad resolution which can never be changed!] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.124)

8.2 Whoever would judge a man in his detail would hit on the truth more often.
Of Man, I can believe nothing less easily than invariability: nothing more easily than variability. Whoever would judge a man in his detail, piece by piece, separately, would hit on the truth more often. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.125)

8.3 It is all motion and inconstancy
Our normal fashion is to follow the inclinations of our appetite, left and right, up and down, as the winds of occasion bear us along. What we want is only in our thought for the instant that we want it: we are like that creature that takes on the color of wherever you put it. What we decided just now we will change very soon, and soon afterward we come back to where we were: it is all motion and inconstancy. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.125)

8.4 That man you saw yesterday so ready to take risks: do not think it odd if you find him craven tomorrow.
That man you saw yesterday so ready to take risks: do not think it odd if you find him craven tomorrow. What had put heart into his belly was anger, or need, or his fellows, or wine, or the sound of a trumpet. His heart had not been fashioned by reason argument: it was those factors which stiffened it; no wonder then if he has been made quite different by other and contrary factors. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.128)

8.5 We have two souls, others two angels who bear us company and trouble us each in his own way
The changes and contradictions seen in us are so flexible that some have imagined that we have two souls, others two angels who bear us company and trouble us each in his own way, one turning us towards good the other towards evil, since such sudden changes cannot be accommodated to one single entity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.128)

8.6 Diversity is the essence of humans
They hold to other notions or parties that, on the contrary, just as the most general style followed by Nature is variety - [C] even more in minds than in bodies, since minds are of a more malleable substance capable of accepting more forms - [ A ] I find it much rarer to see our humours and [C] purposes [A] coincide. In the whole world, there have never been two identical opinions any more than two identical [C] hairs or seeds. [A] Their most universal characteristic is diversity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.231)

8.7 Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom
Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom: whoever writes about it merely respectfully and by rule leaves more than half of it behind. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.318)

8.8 We are but blockheads
To learn that we have said or done a stupid thing is nothing: we must learn a more ample and important lesson: that we are but blockheads. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.376)

8.9 We always desire
[Who would be what he is, desiring nothing extra] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.381)

8.10 You have come to suffer
Despite all medicine, we are made for growing old, growing weaker, and falling ill. That is the first lesson which the Mexicans teach to their children when, on leaving their mother’s womb, they greet them thus: ‘Child: thou hast come into this world to suffer: suffer, endure and hold thy peace. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.393)

8.11 When to moan
It is unfair to moan because what can happen to any has happened to one: [C] [if anything is unjustly decreed against you alone, that is the time to complain]. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.393)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

9 Relationships & Desire 

9A 1 On marriages
As every man knows. they are not counted in dozens, especially in performing their matrimonial obligations: for marriage is a business full of so many thorny conditions that a woman cannot keep her intentions in it for long. Even the men (who are there under slightly better terms) find it hard to do so. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.191)

9A 2 It doesn’t last
The touchstone of a good marriage, the real test, concerns the time that the association lasts, and whether it has been constant - sweet, loyal and pleasant. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.191)

9A 3 A good marriage
In Italy Pliny the younger: You must never think, my Beloved, that the pains which I see you suffer do not affect me as much as you, or that to deliver myself from them I am unwilling to use the same remedy that I am prescribing for you. I wish to be your companion in your cure as I am in your illness: lay aside your fears and think only that we shall have the pleasure of that journey into death which must free us from such torments. We shall go happily away together.’ Having finished speaking and bringing new warmth to her husband’s heart, she resolved that they should cast t themselves into the. sea from a window in their house which gave on to it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.195)

9A 4 A declaration of love in marriage
What he says for our moral sense the doctors say for our health’s sake, namely that too hot, voluptuous and unremitting a pleasure is deleterious to / the sperm and impedes conception. They go on to say that in the case of the kind of intercourse which is feeble by nature (as the married kind is) we should appreciate it rarely, at stated intervals, so as to fill it with just and fruitful heat.

[By which the mare avidly seizes on Venus ‘ seed and buries it deep inside her.]
 
I know no marriages which fail and come to grief more quickly than those which are set on foot by the beauty and amorous desirer. Marriage requires foundations that are solid and durable, and we must keep on-die alert. That boiling rapture is no good at all. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.272)

9A 5 Marriages expected to fail 
A good marriage (if there be such a thing) rejects the company and
conditions of Cupid: it strives to reproduce those of loving friendship. It
is a pleasant fellowship for life, full of constancy, trust and an infinity of
solid useful services and mutual duties. No wife who has ever savoured its
taste -
[Whom the marriage-torch has joined with its long-desired light]
- would ever wish to be the beloved mistress of her husband. If she is lodged
in his affection as a wife then her lodging is far more honourable and
secure. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.274)

9A 6 To have or not to have a wife: ‘Whichever you do you will be sorry.’
When Socrates was asked whether it was more appropriate to take or not ‘to take a wife, he replied, ‘Whichever you do you will be sorry.’ [B] It is a contractual engagement to which can be exactly applied the proverb: Man is god or wolf to Man. Many elements have to coincide to construct it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.274)

9A 7 The husband that shows hated to their wives are unjust
The actions of those husbands who accept the bargain and then show hated and contempt are harsh and unjust. Equally unfair and intolerable is that fine counsel which I see passed from hand to hand among our women:
Sers ton mary comme ton maistre,
Et t’engua,de comme d’un traistre.
[Serve him like a master: watch him like a traitor.]
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.275)

9A 8 Wise men keep secret the sweets of marriage and its bitterness.
Wise men keep secret the sweets of marriage and its bitterness. For a talkative man like me, of all the distressing disadvantages of marriage, one of the principal is the fact that custom has made it indecorous and obnoxious to discuss with anyone whatever all that we know and feel about it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.297)

9A 9 A good marriage needs a blind wife and a deaf husband.
That man knew what he was talking about, it seems to me, who said that a good marriage needs a blind wife and a deaf husband. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.297)

9A 10 Socrates wife
When Alcibiades asked in amazement how Socrates could put up with the sound of his wife’s perpetual nagging, he replied: Just like those who get used to the constant grating of wheels drawing water from the well. ‘ [B] I am quite the opposite: I have a mind which is delicate and easy to distract: when it with wars aside to concentrate, the least buzzing of a fly is enough to murder it! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.385)

9A 11 On attractive wife
To my taste she is acting like a child when she starts crowing out ergo, preaching to us that it is a barbarous match to a wedding the divine to the earthy, the rational to the irrational, the strict to the permissive, the decent to the indecent; that pleasure is a bestial quality, unworthy that a wise man should savour it; that the only enjoyment he gets from lying with his beautiful young wife is the pleasure
of being aware that he is performing an ordinate action - like pulling on his boots for a useful ride! May Philosophy’s followers, faced with breaking their wife’s hymen, be no more erect, muscular nor succulent than her arguments are! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.422)


9B 1 Sexual desire

9B 2 Venus is nothing but the pleasure of unloading our balls
I find that sexual love is nothing but the thirst for the enjoyment of that pleasure [C] within the object of our desire and that Venus is nothing but the pleasure of unloading our balls; 108 it becomes vitiated by a lack either of moderation or discretion: 109 for Socrates love is the desire to begot by the medium of Beauty. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.304)

9B 3 How much sex per month? (Solon rules )
Solon, the head of the school of lawgivers, with the aim of avoiding failure, sets the rate for such conjugal intimacy at three times a month. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.278)

9B 4 Maybe we are shameful creatures
Perhaps we are right to condemn ourselves for giving birth to such an absurd thing as a man; to call it an act of shame and the organs which serve to do it shameful. (C) (It is certain that mine may now properly be called shameful and wretched.) (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.306)

9B 5 The shame of creation
No man likes to be in on a birth: all men rush to be in on death. · [C] To unmake a human being we choose an open field in broad daylight: to make one, we hide away in a dark little hollow. When making one we must hide and blush: but glory lies in unmaking one, and it produces other virtues. One act is unwholesome: the other, an act of grace,  for Aristotle says that in his country there is a saying ‘To do a man a favour’, which means to kill him. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.306)

9B 6 Sexual desire then breaks loose, like a wild beast first provoked and then set free
[ Sexual desire then breaks loose, like a wild beast first provoked and then set free .] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.312)

9B 7 The lame man does it better
On the point or off the point, no matter; it is said as a common proverb in Italy that he who has not lain with a lame woman does not know Venus in her sweet perfection. Chance, or some particular incident, long ago put that saying on the lips of the common people. It is applied to both male and female, for the Queen of the Amazons retorted to the Scythian who solicited her: ‘The lame man does it best.” (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.361)

9C 1 Affairs
That even applies to the other world! What a wretched household, that of Jupiter and a wife whom he had seduced and had enjoyed having little affairs with! That, as the saying goes, is shitting in the basket and then planking it on your
head. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.276)

9C 2 How wretched are those husbands in my days who manage to find out!
Curiosity is always a fault; here it is baleful. It is madness to want to find out about an illness for which there is no treatment except one which makes it worse and exacerbates it; one the shame of which is spread abroad and augmented chiefly by our jealousy; one which to avenge means hurting our children rather than curing ourselves. You wither and die while hunting for such hidden truth. How wretched are those husbands in my days who manage to find out! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.295)

9C 3 Cupid is always hunting for occasions to do wrong
In short, as Flaminius’ host said, ‘it is all pork with different sauces Cupid is a mischievous god: his sport is to wrestle with loyalty and justice; glory for him means clashing his strength against all others’ strength, all rules yielding to his.
[He is always hunting for the occasion to do wrong]
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.298)

9C 4 Without darts and flames of desire Cupid is Cupid no longer.
A love affair is based on pleasure alone· and in truth, its pleasure is more exciting, lively and keen: a pleasure set ablaze by difficulties. It must have stabs of pain and anguish. Without darts and flames of desire, Cupid is Cupid no longer. In marriage, the ladies are so lavish with their presents that they dull the edge of our passion and desire. You merely need to see the trouble that Lycurgus and Plato give themselves in order to avoid this incongruity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.277)
 

9D 1 Friendship

9D 2 Friendships are not based on contracts
The cheating may escape my sight, but it does not escape my sight that I am very cheatable. ** Thrice and four times blessed is he who can entrust his pitiful old age into the hands of a friend. ** 21 And shall we have ever said enough about the value of a friend and how totally different it is from bonds based on contracts. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.160)

9D 3 A good friend
Friendship is a companionable, not a gregarious, beast. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.250)
 

9E 1 On Woman

9E 2 Montaigne discovered that men have more in common with women than was usually thought.
Montaigne discovered that men have more in common with women than was usually thought. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.xv)

9E 3 Approaching women
Since women do not have sufficient reasoning-power to select and embrace things according to their merits they allow themselves to be led to where natural impressions act most alone - like animals, which only know their young while they are still on the teat. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.164)

9E 4 On women's rights.
A man of good family, Phaedo the philosopher, when his country of Elis was captured, professionally prostituted his youthful beauty (as long as it lasted) to anyone who would pay for it, so as to earn his living. And Solon, they say, was the first legislator in Greece to give women the right to provide for the necessities of life at the expense of their modesty, a practice which Herodotus however says was accepted earlier by several polities. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.295)

9E 5 Women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently
We realize that women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently - and we know that this fact was attested in Antiquity by that priest who had been first a man and then a woman:
Venus huic erat utraque nota.
[He knew Venus from both angles.]*
* 38, Tiresias, who changed sex a frequently cited example: cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 323; then, Juvenal, Satires , VI, 128-9; the Emperor was Proculus, t_he Empress, Messalina, the consort of Claudius. (Cf. Tiraquellus, De legibus com,ubialibus, IX, 94 for Messalina, and XV, 92 for Proculus.)
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.277)

9E 6 I say that males and females are cast in the same mould
I say that males and females are cast in the same mould save for education and custom the difference between them is no great. In The Republic Plato summons both men and women indifferently to a community of all studies, administrations, offices and vocations both in peace and war; and Antisthenes the philosopher removed any distinction between their virtue and our own. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.329)

9F Kid

9F 1 Educate a Kid

9F 2 The difficulty to educate children
That the greatest and the most important difficulty known to human learning seems to lie in that area which treats how to bring up children and how to educate them. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.41)

9F 3 The wasteful occupation we choose for our children
It is so hard to force a child’s natural bent. That explains why, having chosen the wrong route, we toil to no avail and often waste years training children for occupations in which they never achieve anything. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.41)

9F 4 Guide them towards the best and most rewarding goals
My opinion is that, faced by this difficulty, we should always guide them towards the best and most rewarding goals, and that we should attach little importance to those trivial prognostications and foretelling we base on their childish actions. Even Plato seems to me to give too much weight to them in his Republic. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.42)

9F 5 Place character and intelligence before knowledge and let him carry his own way
Place character and intelligence before knowledge, and let him carry out his responsibilities in a new way. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.42)

9F 6 Let him mistake
It is good to make him trot in front of his tutor in order to judge his paces and to judge how far down the tutor needs to go to adapt himself to his ability. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.43)
 
Spewing up food exactly as you have swallowed it is evidence of a failure to digest and assimilate it; the stomach has not done its job if, during concoction, it fails to change the substance and form of what it is given. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.43)

[He is under no obligation to support all precepts and assertions. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.34)

9F 7 The profit of studying
The profit we possess after studying is to have become better and wiser. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.45)

9F 8 To be a real man one must not spare his youth
Anyone who wants to be absolutely certain of making a real man of him must not spare his youth and must frequently flout the laws of medicine. [Let him camp in the open, amidst war’s alarms.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.46)

9F 9 The qualities a kid must have
As for our pupil’s talk, let his virtue and his sense of right and wrong shine through it and have no guide but reason. Make him understand that confessing an error which he discovers in his own argument even when he alone has noticed it is an act of justice and integrity, which are the main qualities he pursues; stubbornness and rancour are vulgar qualities, visible in common souls whereas to think again, to change one’s mind and to give up a bad case in the heat of the argument are rare qualities showing strength and wisdom. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.48)

Teach [How we can flee from hardships and how we can endure them] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.52)


9F 10 The way he should perceive the people around him
He will sound out the capacity of each person: of a herdsman, a mason, a wayfarer: he must use what he can get, take what a man has to sell and see that nothing goes wasted: even other people’s stupidity and weakness serve to instruct him. By noting a desire for the good ones and a contempt for the bad. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.49)

9F 11 The importance of activities
The games and sports themselves will form a good part of his studies; racing, wrestling, music-making, dancing, hunting and the handling of arms and horses. I want his outward grace, his social ease and his physical dexterity to be moulded step by step with his soul. We are not bringing up a soul; we are not bringing up a body: we are bringing up a man. We must not split him into two. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.59)

9F 12 The punishment
By punishing boys for depravity before they are depraved, you make them so. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.60)

9F 13 The will
He should be able to do anything but want to do only what is good. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.61)
[There is a great difference between not wanting to do evil and not knowing how to. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.61)


9F 14 He should marry the learning
Now, to get back to my subject, there is nothing like tempting the boy to want to study and to love it: otherwise, you simply produce donkeys laden with books. They are flooded into retaining a pain of learning; but if it is to do any good, Learning must not only lodge with us: we must marry her. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.73)

9F 15 Books vs experience
When Hegesias begged him to read a certain book he replied, ‘How amusing of you! You prefer real figs to painted ones, so why not true and natural deeds to written ones?’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.62)

9F 16 First you master then you talk
[Once you have mastered the things the words will come freely.] (...) [When things have taken hold of the mind, the words come crowding forth.] And another one [The things themselves ravish the words.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.64)

The Athenians had to choose between two architects to take charge of a large building project. The first one was the more fly and presented himself with a fine prepared speech about the job to be done; he won the favour of the common people. The other architect merely spoke two or three words: “Gentlemen of Athens: what he said, I will do.’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.65)

At the height of his eloquence, Cicero moved many into ecstasies of astonishment. But Cato merely laughed: ‘Quite an amusing consul we have,’ he said. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.65)


9F 17 Eloquence
I want things to dominate, so filling the thoughts of the hearer that he does not even remember the words. I like the kind of speech which is simple and natural, the same on paper as on the lip; speech which is rich in matter, sinewy, brief and short; not so much titivated and refined as forceful and brusque - [The good style of speaking is the kind which strikes home] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.67)

9F 18 Parents affection
I would try to have gentle relations with my children and so encourage
them an active love and unfeigned affection for me, something easily
achieved in children of a well-born nature; of course if they tum out to be
wild beasts [C] (which our century produces in abundance) [A] then
you must hate them and avoid them as such. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.157)

9F 19 Children immortalize
In the case of our other children their good qualities belong much more to them than to us: we have only a very slight share in them; but in the case of these, all their grace, worth and beauty belong to us. For this reason, they have a more lively resemblance and correspondence to us. [C] Plato adds that such children are immortal and immortalize their fairs - even deifying them, as in the case of Lycurgus, Solon and Minos. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.165)

9F 20 First thing a kid knows
Pain and pleasure, love and hatred, arc the first things a child are aware of: if, after Reason develops, they are guided by her, then that is virtue. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.419)
 

9G 1 The old 
Alas, what little of life’s portion remains with the aged. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.29)

9G 2 On the length of life
I cannot accept the way we determine the span of our lives. I note that wise men shorten it considerably compared to the common opinion. ‘What!’ said Cato the Younger to those who wanted to stop him from killing himself: “Am I still at the age when you can accuse me of leaving life too soon?” Yet he was only forty-eight. He reckoned, considering how few men reach it, that his age was fully mature and well advanced. And those who keep themselves going with the thought that some span of life or other which they call ‘natural’ promises them a few years more could only do so provided that there was some ordinance exempting them personally from those innumerable accidents. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.120)

9G 3 On how age can affect us. Puts more wrinkles in the mind than in the face
What we call wisdom is the moroseness of our humour and our distaste for things as they are now. But in truth, we do not so much give up our vices as change them - for the worse , if you ask me. Apart from silly tottering pride, boring babble, prickly unsociable humour, superstition and a ridiculous concern for wealth when we have lost the use of it, I find that there are more envy and unfairness and malice; age sets more wrinkles on our minds than on our faces. You can find no souls - or very few - which as they grow old do not stink of rankness and of rot. It is the man as a whole that marches towards his flower and his fading. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.246)

9G 4 An ugly old age when openly avowed is in my opinion less old and less ugly than one smoothed out and painted over.
And I count among the principal forms of ugliness all beauties due to artifice and constraint. A young lad of Chio called Hemon, hoping that fine clothes would procure him that handsomeness which Nature had denied him, came to the philosopher Arcesilaus and asked him if a philosopher could ever find himself in love. ‘Oh yes,’ he replied, ‘provided it be not with a dishonest dressed-up beauty such as yours. ‘ . An ugly old age when openly avowed is in my opinion less old and less ugly than one smoothed out and painted over. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.326)

9G 5 The consequences of old age
I am similarly unwilling to admit that I am on the point of becoming hard of hearing, and you will find that when I am half-deaf I shall still be blaming it on the voices of those who are speaking to me. If we want our Soul to be aware of how she is draining away we must keep her on the stretch.
[B] My walk is quick and steady and I do not know whether I have found it harder to fix my mind in one place or my body. Any preacher who can hold my attention throughout an entire sermon must be a good friend of mine! In the midst of ceremonial, where everyone else maintains a fixed expression and where I have seen ladies keep their very eyes still, I have never succeeded in stopping at least one of my limbs from jigging about seated I may be, but sedate, never. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.412)


9H 1 The ruler

9H 2 On how the prince should give salary
“I would rather teach a king this line from one ancient ploughman: that is, ‘If you want a good crop, you must broadcast your seed not pour it from your sack.’17 [C] Seed must be drilled not spilt. [B] So when a king has to make gifts or, to put it better, has to make payments to so many persons for services rendered, he should distribute royally but advisedly. If a prince’s generosity is indiscriminate and immoderate I would like him better as a miser. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.336)

9H 3 On punishing cowardice
In truth, it is reasonable that we should make a great difference between defects due to our weakness and those due to our wickedness. In the latter we deliberately brace ourselves against reason’s rules, which are imprinted on us by Nature; in the former, it seems we can call Nature herself as a defence-witness for having left us so weak and imperfect. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.11)

Make the blood of a bad man blush not to gush. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.11)


10 On the ending and preserving of life 
 
10 A 1 On death
There is no place where death cannot find us - even if we constantly twist our heads about in all directions as in a suspect land: ‘Quae quasi saxum Tantalo sempre impendent.’ [It is like the rock forever hanging over the head of Tantalus.] Our assizes often send prisoners to be executed at the scene of their crimes. On the way there, take them past fair mansions and ply them with good cheer as much as you like. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.20)

10 A 2 Death can surprise us
Death can surprise us in so many ways. [No man knows what dangers he should avoid from one hour to another] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.22)

10 A 3 Knowing how to die gives us freedom
We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. Knowing how to die gives us freedom from subjection and constraint. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.24)

10 A 4 The memory of death
Our graveyards have been planted next to churches, says Lycurgus, so that women, children and lesser folk should grow accustomed to seeing a dead man without feeling terror, and so that this continual spectacle of bones, tombs and funerals should remain us of our human condition. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.27)

10 A 5 How to lose the fear of death
Our religion has never had a surer human foundation than contempt for life; rational argument (though not it alone) summons us to such contempt: for why should we fear to lose something which, once lost, cannot be regarded? And since we are threatened by so many kinds of death is it not worse to fear them all than to bear one? Death is inevitable: does it matter when it comes? When Socrates was told that Thirty Tyrants had condemned him to death, he retorted, ‘And nature, them!’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.30)

10 A 6 The length of life
Aristotle says that there are tiny creatures on the river Hypanis whose life lasts one single day: those which die at eight in the morning die in youth; those which die at five in the evening die of senility. Which of us would not laugh if so momentary a span counted as happiness or unhappiness? Yet if we compare our own span against eternity or even against the span of mountains, rivers, stars, trees or, indeed, of some animals, then saying shorter or longer becomes equally ridiculous. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.30)
 

‘If you have lived one day, you have seen everything. One day equals all days. There is no other light, no other night. The sun, Moon and Stars, disposed just as they are now, were enjoyed by your grand desires and will entertain your great-grandchildren:

Your Fathers saw none other: none other shall your progeny discern. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.32)


10 A 7 The easiness of death

Afterlife you are dead, but during life, you are dying: and death touches the dying more harshly than the dead, in more lively a fashion and more essentially (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.31)

 

“You” will not desire the life which now you so much lament. [Then no one worries about his life or his self; ... we feel no yearning for our own being.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.33)


10 A 8 Death is always waiting for you

‘It is no good going on living: it will in no wise shorten the time you will stay dead. It is all for nothing: you will be just as long in the state which you fear as though you had died at the breast:

Triumph over time and live as long as you please: death eternal will still be waiting for you. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.33)


10 A 9 Preparing to die

We have lived quite enough for others: let us live at least this tailed of life for ourselves. Let us bring our thoughts and reflections back to ourselves and to our own well-being. Preparing securely for our own withdrawal is no light matter: it gives us enough trouble without introducing other concerns. Since God grants us leave to make things ready for our departure, let us prepare for it; let us pack up our bags and take leave of our company in good time; let us disentangle ourselves from those violent traps which pledge us to other things and which distance us from ourselves. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.101)


10 A 10 Dying doesn’t change how we see people

Every man’s death should be one with his life. Just because we are dying we do not become somebody else. I always interpret a man’s death by his life. And if I am given an account of an apparently strong death linked to a weakling life, I maintain that it was produced by some weakling cause in keeping with that life. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.173)


10 A 11 On reflection of death

[Neither be afraid of your last day nor desire it.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.204)


10 A 12 The best death

That is why Plato says that deaths caused by wounds and illnesses may be termed violent, but the death which, as Nature leads us toward her, takes us by

surprise is of all deaths the lightest to bear and to some extent enjoyable. ‘Vitam adolescentibus vis aufert, senibus maturitas.’ [Life is wrenched from

young men: from old men, it comes from ripeness.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.408)

 


10 B 1 On cruelty


10 B 2 How it starts

Montaigne sees cruelty as arising from ecstasies of anger or from ecstatic sexual encounters. Even worse are cruelty and torture done for the fun of it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.169)


10 B 3 How people deal when facing death or torture

A few days ago a soldier in prison noticed from the tower in which he was held that a crowd was gathering in the square and that the carpenter was at work constructing something; he concluded that this was for him; he determined to kill himself, but found nothing which could help him to do so save a rusty old cart-nail which Fortune offered to him. He, first of all, gave himself two big jabs about the throat, but finding that was not effective he soon afterwards gave himself a third one in his stomach, leaving the nail protruding. The first of his gaolers to come in found him in this state, still alive but lying on the ground weakened by the blows. So as not to waste time before he swooned away, they hastened to pronounce sentence on him. When he had heard it and learned that he was to be decapitated, he seemed to take new heart; he accepted the wine which he had previously refused and thanked his judges for the unhoped-for mildness of their sentence, saying that he had made up his mind to, appeal personally to death because he had feared death more cruel and intolerable, having formed the opinion that the preparations which he had seen being made in that square meant that they wanted to torture him with some horrifying torment. This change in the way he was to die seemed to him like deliverance from death. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.180)


10 B 4 Cruelty done right to educate

My advice would be that exemplary severity intended to keep the populace to their duty should be practised not on criminals but on their corpses: for to see their corpses deprived of burial, boiled or quartered would strike the common people virtually as much as inflicted on the living, though in reality, they amount to little or nothing. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.180)


10 B 5 The farthest part of cruelty

For there you have the farthest point that cruelty can reach: [C] 

[That man should kill man not in anger or in fear but merely for the spectacle.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.181)


10 B 6 A example of courage and endurance

Epicharis, having glutted and exhausted the cruelty of Nero’s attendants and withstood for one full day their burning brands, their beatings and their instruments of torture without revealing a word of her conspiracy, was brought back to the rack the next day with her limbs all shattered: she slipped the cord from her dress through the arm of a chair, made a running knot, thrust her head through it and hanged herself by the weight of her body. Having as she did the courage to die thus after having endured those first tortures, does she not appear to have deliberately lent herself to that trial of her endurance in order to mock that tyrant and to encourage others to make a plot against him similar to her own? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.189)


10 B 7 On how we judge theft

From this account, be it true or false, that man regards theft as a dishonest deed; and he hates it . . . less than he hates poverty. He indeed repents of the theft as such, but he does not feel any repentance for its being counterbalanced and counterweighted. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.240)


10 B 8 On how to punish

[Only punishment undeserved comes with cause for anger.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.395)

 


10 C 1 On health

My regimen is the same in sickness as in health: I use the same bed, same timetable, same food and same drink. I add absolutely nothing except for increasing and decreasing the measure depending on my strength and appetite. Health means for me the maintaining of my usual route without let or hindrance. I can see that my illness has blocked one direction for me: if I put trust in doctors they will turn me away from the other, so there I am off my route either by destiny or their Art; (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.383)

 

I believe health to be so precious that I would buy it at the cost of the most agonizing of incisions and cauterizations. [C] Following Epicurus I believe pleasures are to be avoided if they result in greater pain, and pain is to be welcomed if it results in greater pleasure. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.209)


10 C 2 God save me from me

In my opinion that faculty concerns everything, at least more than any other does: the most grievous and frequent of ills are those which imagination loads upon us. From several points of view, I like that Spanish saying: ‘Defienda me Dios de my. ‘ [God save me from myself.] When I am ill what I lament is that I have no desire then which gives me the satisfaction of assuaging it: Medicine

would never stop me doing so! It is the same when I am well: “I have scarcely anything left to hope or to wish for now. It is pitiful to be faint and feeble even in your desires. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.391)


10 C 3 Death is more abject, lingering and painful in bed than in combat

Death is more abject, lingering and painful in bed than in combat: fevers and catarrhs are as painful and as mortal as volleys from harquebuses. Any man who could bear with valour the mischances of ordinary life would have no need to be more courageous on becoming a soldier. [C] ‘Vivere, mi Lucili, militare est . ‘ [To live, my dear Lucilius, is to do battle. ]. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.402)


10 C 4 On teeth hygiene

I always had good teeth. Since boyhood, I learned to rub them on my napkin, both on rising and be ore and after meals. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.407)

 


10 D 1 Medicine 

Plutarch says that Cato kept his family in good health by making use, [ A 1] it appears, [A] of the hare, Just as the Arcadians, according to Pliny, cured all illnesses with cow’s milk .12 [C] Herodotus asserts that the Libyan people all enjoy a rare degree of good health owing to their custom of searing the veins in the head and temples of their children with cauterising at the age of four, thus blocking the way for the rest of their lives to all morbid defluxion of mucus. [A] And the villagers around here when they are ill never use anything but the strongest wine they can get, mixed with plenty of saffron and spice. And they all work equally well. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.211)


10 D 2 The origin of illness

Do we want to see an example of medical disagreement among the Ancients? Hierophilus locates the original cause of illness in the humour; Erasistratus, in arterial blood; Asclepiades, in invisible atoms Bowing through the pores; Alcmaeon, in the exuberancy or deficiency of bodily strength; Diocles, in the imbalance of our corporeal elements and the balance of the air that we breathe; Strato, in the quantity, crudity and decomposition of the food we eat; and Hippocrates locates it in our spirits. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.215)

 


10 E 1 Sleep

Alexander said that he acknowledged he was a mortal because of sleep and his activity: sleep stifles and suppresses the faculties of our souls; the 1ob’ similarly devours and disperses them. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.305)

Plato is harder against excessive sleep than excessive drink.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.401)


10 E 2 On dreams

Pythagoras prescribed a certain preparatory diet designed to encourage dreams. My dreams are weak things: they occasion no twitching of the body, no talking in my sleep. I have known in my time some who have been astonishingly troubled by them. Theon the philosopher walked while he dreamed (as did the manservant of Perides, on the tiles of the very roof-ridge of his house). (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.404)

 
 

11 Mind 

11 A The beginning of unconsciousness
I have known men who fly from the smell of apples rather than from gunfire; others who are terrified of a mouse, who vomit at the sight of cream or when a father matters is shaken up (like Germanicus who could not abide cocks or their crowing). Some occult property may be involved in this, but, if you ask me if you set about it young enough you could stamp it out. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.61)

11 A 1 Distinction is the power of mind
There is nothing I can say about myself as a whole simply and completely, without intermingling and admixture. The most universal article of my own Logic is Distinguo (‘I make a distinction, a term used in formal debates to reject or modify an opponent’s assertion.) (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.128)


11 B Reason

11 B 1 Our reason has capacity enough to provide the stuff for a hundred other worlds

Our reason has capacity enough to provide the stuff for a hundred other worlds, and then to discover their principles and construction! It needs neither matter nor foundation; let it run free: it can build as well upon the void as upon the plenum, upon space as upon matter:
dare pondus idonea Jumo.
[meet to give heaviness even to smoke.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.352)


11 C Virtue
There is a happiness and blessedness radiating from virtue; they fill all that appertains to her and every approach to her, from the first way into the very last barrier. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.19)

11 C 1 Virtue is achieved by control and no effort
What makes true virtue highly valued is the ease, usefulness and pleasure we find in being virtuous: so far from it being difficult, children can be virtuous as well as adults; the simple, as well as the clever. The means virtue uses is control, not effort. Socrates, the foremost of her darlings, deliberately renounced effort so as to glide along with her easy natural progress. She is a Mother who nurtures human pleasures: by making them just she makes them sure and pure; by making them moderate they never pant for breath or lose their savour; by cutting away those which she denies us she sharpens our appreciation of those she leaves us. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.56)

11 C 2 On courage
Bravery does not consist in firm arms and legs but infirm minds and souls: it is not a matter of what our horse or our weapons are worth but of what we are. The man who is struck down but whose mind remains steadfast. [If his legs give way, then on his knees doth he fight]. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.89)

11 C 3 On honour
True victory lies in your role in the conflict, not incoming through safely: it consists in the honour of battling bravely not battling though. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.90)

11 C 4  The beginning of all virtues is reflection and deliberation: its end and perfection, constancy
There is a saying attributed to Demosthenes: the beginning of all virtues is reflection and deliberation: its end and perfection, constancy. If by reasoning we were to adopt one definite way, the way we chose would be most beautiful of all; but nobody has thought of doing that. [Judgement scorns what it yearned for, yearns again for what it recently spurned; it shifts like the tide and the whole of life is disordered.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.125)

11 C 5 Struggle needs to exercise virtue
For it seems that virtue presupposes difficulty and opposition, and cannot be exercised without a struggle. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.169)
[Virtue gains much by being put to the proof]. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.170)


11 C 6 Ways of exercising virtue
That is one of the reasons why Epanunondas, who belonged to a third school, rejected the wealth which Fortune put in his hands in the most legitimate of ways, in order, he said, to have to fence against poverty; and he remained extremely poor unto the end. Socrates, it seems to me, assayed himself even more roughly: to exercise his virtue he put up with the malevolence of his wife, which is to assay yourself in good earnest. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.170)

11 C 7 The ways virtue can be broken
Virtue demands a rough and thorny road: she wants either external difficulties to struggle against (which was the way of Metellus) by means of which Fortune is pleased to break up the directness of her course for her,  or else inward difficult furnished by the disordered passions and imperfections of our condition. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.171)

11 C 8 Virtue & Vice
If Virtue can only be resplendent when fighting opposing desires are we therefore to say that she cannot manage without help from vice, to whom she at least owes the fact that she is held in esteem and honour? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.171)

11 C 9 More rules and order in morals than in my opinions and appetites
I find, [C] because of this, in many cases [B] more rule and order in my morals than in my opinions, and my appetites less debauched than my reason. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.176)

‘Epicurus too, whose doctrines are free from religious scruple and favour luxury, in fact behaved in real life most devoutly and most industriously. He wrote to a friend of his that he lived on nothing but coarse bread and water, asking him to send him1a bit of cheese for when he wanted to give himself an extra special treat. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.176)


11 C 10 Use your own judgment to judge your virtues
[You must use your own judgment of yourself.] [Your own conscience gives weighty judgment on your virtues and vices remove that, and all lies sprawling.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.236)

11 C 11 The hardest virtue is in everyday actions
Rare is the life that remains ordinate even in privacy. Anyone can take part in a farce and act the honest man on the trestles: but to be right-ruled within, in your bosom, where anything is licit, where everything is hidden - that’s what matters. The nearest to that is to be so in your home, in your everyday actions for which you are accountable to nobody; there is no striving there, no artifice. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.236)
 

 

12 Control 

12 A Law

12 A 1 We were once distressed by crimes: now, by-laws
We can see how wrong that fellow was: in France we have more laws than all the rest of the world put together - more than would be required to make rules for all those worlds of Epicurus; [C] [ we were once distressed by crimes: now, by laws]. 8 [B] And, even then, we have left so much to the discretion and opinion of our judges that never was there liberty so licentious and powerful. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.365)

12 A 2 There is hardly any relation between our actions (which are perpetually changing) and fixed unchanging laws
The multiplicity of our human inventions will never attain to the diversity of our cases. Add a hundred times more: but never will it happen that even one of all the many thousands of cases which you have already isolated and codified will ever meet one future case to which it can be matched and compared so exactly that some detail or some other specific item does not require a specific
judgement. There is hardly any relation between{ our actions (which are perpetually changing) and fixed unchanging laws. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.365)

12 A 3 Laws serve us by adapting to each one of our concerns by means of some twisted, forced, or oblique interpretation.
All things are connected by some similarity, yet every example limps and any correspondence which we draw from experience is always feeble and imperfect; we can nevertheless find some comer or other by which to link our comparisons. And that is how laws serve us: they can be adapted to each one of our concerns by means of some [C] twisted, [B] forced or oblique interpretation. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.370)

12 A 4 Nothing is just per se, justice being a creation of custom and law
All this recalls to my mind certain opinions of the Ancients: that a man is obliged to do retail wrong if he wants to achieve wholesale right committing injustices in little things if he wants to achieve justice in great things; that human justice is formed on the analogy of medicine, by which anything which is effective is just and honorable; that, as the Stoics held, Nature herself acts against justice in most of her works; [C] or, what the Cyrenaics hold, that nothing is just per se, justice being a creation of custom and law; and what the Theodorians hold: that the wise man if it is useful to him, may justifiably commit larceny, sacrilege and any sort of lechery. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.372)

12 A 5 Laws are often made by fools
Laws are often made by fools, and even more often by men who fail inequity because they hate equality: but always by men, vain authorities who can resolve nothing. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.373)
 

12 B Truth and Falsehood
Truth and falsehood are both alike in form of the face and have identical stances,
tastes, and demeanors. We look on them with- the same eye. I find that we are not merely slack about guarding ourselves against dupery, but we actually want to fall on its sword. We love to be entangled with vanity since it corresponds in form to our own being. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.353)

12 B 1 I do not judge opinions by their age.
Personally, what I would not believe when one person says it, I would not believe if a hundred times one said it. And I do not judge opinions by their age. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.354)

12 B 2 In matters difficult to verify and perilous to believe; it is better to incline towards doubt than certainty
I am of Saint Augustine’s opinion, that in matters difficult to verify and perilous to believe; it is better to incline towards doubt than certainty. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.359)

12 B 3 Truth is no wiser for being ancient
What shall we do with those people who will receive only printed testimony, who will not believe anyone who is not in a book, nor truth unless it is properly aged? [C] We set our stupidities in dignity when we set them in print. [B] For these people there is far more weight in saying, ‘I have read that ... ‘ than if you say, ‘I have heard tell that . . . ‘ But I (who have the same distrust of a man’s pen as his tongue; who know that folk writes with as little discretion as they talk and who esteem this age as much as any other former one) as willingly cite a friend of mine as Aulus Gellius or Macrobius, and what I have seen as what they have written. [C] And just as it is held that duration does not heighten virtue, I similarly reckon that truth is no wiser for being more ancient. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.384)

12 C Confession
Why does nobody confess his faults? Because even now he remains with them: only after men have awakened can they relate their dreams. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.267)

12 C 1 Only after men have awakened can they relate their dream

Why does nobody confess his faults? Because even now he remains with them: only after men have awakened can they relate their dreams. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.267)


12 C 2 The soul needs to be often probed in daylight, cut and torn from our hollow breasts by a pitiless hand.

But as the soul’s ills grow in strength they are wrapped in greater obscurity: the more ill a man is, the less he realizes it. That is why the maladies of the soul need

to be often probed in daylight, cut and torn from our hollow breasts by a pitiless hand. What applies to the benefactions we receive applies to the evils that we do: sometimes the only way to requite them is to acknowledge them. Is there some ugliness in our wrong-doing which dispenses us from the duty of acknowledging it? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.267)


12 C 3 I include my morals

As a courtesy to the Huguenots who damn our private auricular confession, I make my confession here in public, sincerely and scrupulously. St Augustine, Origin and Hippocrates publicly admitted the error of their opinions; I do more; I include my morals. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.268)
 


12 D Gossips

When King Archelaus of Macedonia was going along the street somebody threw water over him. His entourage wanted to punish the man. ‘Ah yes,’ he replied, ‘but he never threw it at me but at the man, he mistook me for.’[C] When somebody told Socrates that people were gossiping about him he said, ‘Not at all. There is nothing of me in what they are saying. ‘ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.268)


12 D 1 We are astounded by things which deceive us by their remoteness

[We are astounded by things that deceive us by their remoteness.]7 [B] Thus does our sight often produces strange visions in the distance which vanish as we draw near. ‘Nunquam ad liquidum Jama perducitur .’ [Rumour never stops at what is crystal-clear.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.355)

13 Emotions 

13 A Happiness 

13 A 1 Joy with the acceptance of a stoic

I have few regrets for affairs of any sort, no matter how they have turned out, once they are passed. I am always comforted by the thought that they had to happen that way: there they are in the vast march of the universe and in the concatenation of Stoic causes; no idea of yours, by wish or by thought, can change one joy without overturning the whole order of Nature, both past and future. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.243)

 
I want to show myself to have been uniform and to be seen as such. If I had to live again, I would live as I have done; I neither regret the past nor fear the future. And unless I deceive myself, things within have gone much the same as those without. One of my greatest obligations to my lot is that the course of my physical state has ·brought each thing in due season. I have known the blade, the blossom and the fruit; and I now know their witheringly. Happily so, since naturally so. I can bear more patiently the ills that I have since they come in due season, and since they also make me recall with more gratitude the long-lasting happiness of my former life. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.245)

13 A 2 Live happy
It is my conviction that what makes for human happiness is not, as Antisthenes said, dying happily but living happily. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.245)

13 A 3 To be happy you need the strength of Socrates
Philosopher Antisthenes said to his pupils, ‘Let us all go to hear Socrates: you and I will all be pupils there.’ And when he was asserting the doctrine of his Stoic school that, to make life fully happy, virtue sufficed without the need of anything else, he added, ‘except the strength of Socrates’. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.378)


13 B Shyness 
Though Homer says truly that in a beggar shyness is a stupid virtue - [B] I usually charge a third person to blush on my stead. I find it equally difficult to deny those who ask a service of me: I have occasionally had the will to refuse but not the capacity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.292)


13 C On evil and emotions
Evil swallows most of its own venom and poisons itself. [B] Vice leaves repentance in the soul like an ulcer in the flesh which is forever scratching itself and bleeding.’ For reason can efface other griefs and sorrows, but it engenders those of repentance which are all the more grievous for being born within us, just as the chill and the burn of our fevers are more stinging than such as come to us from outside. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.234)


13 D On fear
Then fear banishes all wisdom from my heart. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.15)

13 D 1 To feel fear you also need to have courage
Besides, to feel fear you also need to have courage, (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.331)


13 E Shame

13 E 1 The shame of creation

No man likes to be in on a birth: all men rush to be in on death. · [C] To unmake a human being we choose an open field in broad daylight: to make one, we hide away in a dark little hollow. When making one we must hide and blush: but glory lies in unmaking one, and it produces other virtues. One act is unwholesome: the other, an act of grace,  for Aristotle says that in his country there is a saying ‘To do a man a favour’, which means to kill him. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.306)

13 E 2 Shame of eating
[Here are some nations where they hide to eat. I know one lady (among the greatest) who shares the opinion that chewing distorts the face, derogating greatly from women’s grace and beauty; when hungry she avoids appearing in public. And I know a man who cannot tolerate watching people eat nor others watching him do so: he shuns all company, even more, when he fills his belly than when he empties it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.306)

13 E 3 O pitiful men, who hold their joys a crime
We show our ingenuity only by ill-treating ourselves: that is the real gap e hunted by the power of our mind - [C] an instrument dangerous in its unruliness.
[B] O miseril quorumgaudia crimen habent.
[ O pitiful men, who hold their joys a crime.]
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.307)


13 F On Pleasure 

13 F 1 The dangers of pleasure
If a hangover came before we got drunk we would see that we never drank to excess: but pleasure, to deceive us, walks in front and hides her train. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.105)

13 F 2 Pleasure likes itself more in the shadows
As a quality, pleasure-seeking is not very ambitious; of itself it reckons it
as rich enough without bringing in the prize of reputation; it likes itself
more in the shadow. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.26)

13 F 3 On the right way to feel pleasure
Is there some pleasure that thrills me? I do not allow it to be purloined by my senses: I associate my Soul with it, not so that she will [C] bind herself to it172 [B] but take joy in it: not losing herself but finding herself in it; her role is to observe herself as mirrored in that happy state, to weigh that happiness, gauge it and increase it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.420)

For him temperance is not the enemy of our pleasures: it moderates them. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.422)



13 G Jealousy
It is a feverish passion which turns all that is beautiful in the ugly and, corrupts what is good; in a jealous woman, no matter how chaste and thrifty she may be as a wife, there is nothing which does not reek of bitterness and savagery. It is an insane perturbation which drives them to the other extreme, to the contrary of what causes it. An interesting example of this was a man called Octavius in Rome. After lying with Pontia Posthumia, his delight in it so increased his love that he persistently begged her to marry him . When he could not win her over, his extreme love hurled him headlong into deeds of most cruel and mortal hatred; and he killed her. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.291)


13 H On solitude

13 H 1 In isolation you take care of yourself

If you do not first lighten yourself and your soul off the weight of your burdens, moving about will only increase their pressure on you, as ship’s cargo is less troublesome when lashed in place. You do more harm than good to a patient by moving him about: you shake his illness down into the sack, just as you drive stakes in by pulling and waggling them about. That is why it is not enough to withdraw from the mob, not enough to go to another place: we have to withdraw forms such attributes of the mob as are within us. It is out own self we have to isolate and take back into possession. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.99)

13 H 2 In lonely places be a crowd inside yourself.
We should have wives, children, property and, above all, good health... If we can: but we should not become so attached to them that our happiness depends on them. We should set aside a room, just for ourselves, at the back of the shop, keeping it entirely free and establishing there our true liberty, our principal solitude, and asylum. Within it our normal conversation should be of ourselves, with ourselves, so private that no commerce or communication with the outside world should find a place where we should talk and laugh as though we had no wife, no children, no possessions, no followers, no menservants so that when the occasion arises that we must lose them it should not be a new experience to do without them. We have a soul able to turn in on herself; she can keep herself company; she has the wherewithal to attack, to defend, to receive, and to give. Let us not fear that in such a solitude as that we shall be crouching in painful idleness. [In lonely places, be a crowd unto yourself]. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.100)

13 H 3 Put the value in yourself
The philosopher Antisthenes put the same thing amusingly when he said that a man ought to provide himself with unsinkable goods, which could float out of a shipwreck with him. Certainly, if he still has himself, a man of understanding has lost nothing. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.100)

13 H 4 Don’t attach yourself too much in something else that is not you
We must unknot those bonds and, from this day forth, love this or that but marry nothing but ourselves. That is to say, let the rest be ours, but not so glued and joined to us that it cannot be pulled off without tearing away a piece of ourselves, skin and all. The greatest thing in the world is to know how to live to yourself. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.101)

13 H 5 Don’t glue yourself to happiness
When any good things happen to come to us from outside we should make use of them, so long as they remain pleasurable; we must not let them become our principal base, for they are no such thing: neither reason nor Nature will have them so. Why do we go against Nature’s law and make our happiness a slave in the power of others? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.102)

13 H 6 On our natural necessities
I know how far our natural necessities can extend: and when I reflect that the indigent beggar at my door is often more merry and healthy than I am, I put myself firmly in his place and make an assay at giving my soul a slant like his. Then by running similarly through other examples, though I may think that death, poverty, contempt, and sickness are dogging my heels, I can readily resolve not to be terrified by what a man of the lesser estate than mine can accept with such patience. I cannot believe that a base intelligence can do more than a vigorous one or that reason cannot produce the same effect as a habit. And since I realize how insecure these adventitious comforts are, my sovereign supplication, which I never fail to make to God, is that, even while I enjoy them fully, He may make me content with myself and with a mass of pills in their baggage to swallow during an attack of rheum, fearing it less since they know they have a remedy to hand. That is the way to do it, only more so: if you know yourself subject to some grave affliction, equip yourself with medicines to benumb and deaden the part concerned. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.103)

13 H 7 They should try to subordinate things to themselves, not themselves to things
[They should try to subordinate things to themselves, not themselves to things] Otherwise management, as Sallust puts it, is a servile task. (Some aspects of it are more acceptable, such as an interest in gardening - which Xenophon attributes to Cyrus.) a mean can be found between that base unworthy anxiety, full of tension and worry, seen in those who immerse themselves in it, and that profound extreme neglect one sees in others, who let everything go to rack and ruin. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.104)

13 H 8 The ones that can enjoy solitude
The harshness of their Rule is smoothed by habit; their carnal appetites are rejected and lulled asleep by their denial - nothing maintains them but practicing them and using them. Only this end, another life, blessedly immortal, genuinely merits our renunciation of the comforts and sweetens of this life of ours. Whoever can, in reality, and constancy, set his soul ablaze with the fire of this lively faith and hope, builds in his solitude life of choices pleasures, beyond any other mode of life. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.105)

13 H 9 You don’t need an audience to do what you like
Remember the man who was asked why he toiled so hard at art which few could ever know about: “For me, a few are enough; one is enough; having none is enough.” He spoke the truth. You and one companion are audience enough for each other; so are you for yourself. For you, let the crowd be one, and one be a crowd. It is a vile ambition in one’s retreat to want to extract glory from one’s idleness. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.107)

13 H 10 You should first prepare yourself before solitude
You should no longer be concerned with what the world says of you but with what you say to yourself. Withdraw into yourself, but first, prepare yourself to welcome yourself there. It would be madness to entrust yourself to yourself if you did not know how to govern yourself. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.107)

13 H 11 Content yourself
‘The path they will keep you on is that of being contented with yourself, of borrowing all from yourself, of arresting and fixing your soul on thoughts contained within definite limits where she can find pleasure; then, having recognized those true benefits which we enjoy the more we know them, content yourself with them, without any desire to extend your life or fame.’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.108)


13 I 1 On Love

13 I 2 Nature given love

If there truly is a Law of Nature - that is to say, an instinct which can be seen to be universally and permanently stamped on the bests and on ourselves (which is not beyond dispute) - I would say that, in my opinion, following hard on the concern for self-preservation and the avoidance of whatever is harmful, there would come second the love which the begotten feels for the begotten. And since Nature seems to have committed this love to us out of a concern for the effective propagation of the successive parts of the world which she has contrived, it is not surprising if love is not so great when we go backward, from children to fathers. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.150)

13 I 3 Mere usefulness is less lovable than nobility.
Aristotle, that anyone who does a kindness to another loves him more than he is loved in return; that anyone to whom a debt is owed feels greater love than the one by whom the debt is owed; and that every creator loves what he has made more than it would love him if it were capable of emotions. This is especially true because each holds his being dear: and being consists in motion and activity; in a sense, therefore, everyone is, to some degree, within anything he does: the benefactor has performed an action both fair and noble: the recipient, on the other hand, has only performed a useful one, and mere usefulness is less lovable than nobility. Nobility is stable and lasting, furnishing the one who has practiced it with constant satisfaction. Usefulness, however, can easily disappear or diminish, and the memory of it is neither so refreshing nor so sweet. The things which have cost us most are dearest to us - and it costs us more to give than to receive. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.150)

13 I 4 Affection of parents
A true and well-regulated affection should be bond and then increase children, enable us to get to know them; if they show they deserve it, we should cherish them with truly fatherly love, since our natural propensity is then progressing side by side with reason; if they turn out differently, the same applies, mutatis mutandis: we should, despite the force of Nature, always yield to reason. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.151)

13 I 5 Parents love their kids mostly as baby’s
In fact, the very reverse often applies; we feel ourselves more moved by the sk1ppings and jumping and babyish ticks of our children than by their activities when they are fully formed, as though we had loved them not as human beings but only as playthings [C] or as pet monkeys. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.151)

13 I 6 The love of a father
A father is wretched indeed if he can only hold the love of his children - if you can call it love - by making them depend on his help. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.152)

13 I 7 Give less love to receive more love?
Beholden to no love, their own or anyone else’s]; allowing the conviction of Lysias in Plato and reckoning that the less we love them the more usefully and agreeably they can devote themselves to it. [B] It will go as in comedies: the audience will have as much pleasure as the comedians, or more. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.255)

13 I 8 Books on love
Then there are The Book of the Love-maker by Demetrius Phalereus; Clinil sor, or the Lover Raped, by Heraclides of Pontus; On Marriage: or How to make Children, and another, On Master and Lover, by Antisthenes; On Amorous Exploits by Ariston; two by Cleanthes, The Art of Loving and On Love; Lovers’ Dialogues by Sphaerus, The Fable of Jupiter, intolerably pornographic, by Chrysippus, with his fifth Lecherous Letters. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.281)

13 I 9 Love is knowing how to seize an opportunity.
Oh , what a mad advantage lies in the opportune moment! If anyone were to ask me what is the first quality needed in love I would reply knowing how to seize an opportunity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.291)

13 I 10 Women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently
We realize that women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently - and we know that this fact was attested in Antiquity by that priest who had been first a man and then a woman:
Venus huic erat utraque nota.
[He knew Venus from both angles.]*
* 38, Tiresias, who changed sex a frequently cited example: cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 323; then, Juvenal, Satires , VI, 128-9; the Emperor was Proculus, t_he Empress, Messalina, the consort of Claudius. (Cf. Tiraquellus, De legibus com,ubialibus, IX, 94 for Messalina, and XV, 92 for Proculus.)
(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.277)

13 I 11 To be loved in love
A young Greek called Thrasonides was so in love with a love that, having won his lady’s heart, he refused to enjoy her so as not to weaken, glut and deaden by the joy of lying with her that unquiet ardor in which he gloried and on which he fed. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.310)

13 I 12 The mad love
To me, such raging madness is analogous to that of the boy who sullied with his love that beautiful statue of Venus sculpted by Praxiteles, or to that of the Egyptian madman who was inflamed with love for the corpse of a dead woman he was embalming while wrapping it in its shroud, and who gave rise to the law subsequently proclaimed in Egypt that the corpses of beautiful young women and of women of noble families should be kept for three days before being handed over to those whose task it was to bury them.  Periander acted more horrifyingly still when he prolonged his conjugal love (itself most proper and legitimate) by enjoying his departed wife Melissa. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.311)

13 I 13 Wisdom and love cannot live together
When a youth asked Panaetius the philosopher whether it became a wise man to be in love, ‘Let us leave aside the wise,’ he replied, ‘neither you nor I am that; but let us not pledge ourselves to an activity so violent and disturbing, one which makes us the slave of another and despicable to ourselves. ‘ 159 He was telling the truth when he said that something so intrinsically impulsive should not be entrusted to a man’s soul if it has no means on withstanding its assaults and of disproving by its deeds the assertion of Agesilaus, that wisdom and love cannot live together. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.321)

13 I 14 A touch can spark love
A mere touch, by chance, on the shoulder, was enough to warm and disturb a soul chilled and enervated by age, a soul which was foremost among all human souls in its re-formation. 163 [C] And why not? Socrates was a man: he never ;
wanted to be, or to seem to be, anything else. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.322)

13 I 15 We demand more when we have less to offer
But I am well aware that love is a good thing very hard to recover. Our tastes have, through weakness, become more delicate and, through experience, more discriminating. We demand more when we have less to offer: we want the maximum of choice just when we least deserve to find favor. Realizing we are · thus, we are less bold and more suspicious; knowing our own circumstances - and theirs - nothing can assure us we are loved. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.324)

13 I 16 Love is commerce that requires inter-relationship and reciprocity
Now love is commerce which requires inter-relationship and reciprocity. We can show our appreciation of the other pleasures we receive by recompenses of a different nature: this one can only be repaid in the same coin. (C] Truly in this one the pleasure that I give stimulates my imagination more sweetly than the pleasure I receive. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.325)

13 I 17 The way Cupid conducts things is most in fashion when mingled with ingenuousness and awkwardness
The way Cupid conducts things is most in fashion when mingled with ingenuousness and awkwardness; mistakes and failures lend it charm and grace; provided it is sorrowful and yearning, it little matters whether it shows prudence. See how Cupid stumbles along, tripping over merrily; to guide him by art and wisdom is to damp him in the stocks: you constrain his divine freedom when you lay hairy calloused hands upon him. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.327)
 

14 Philosophy

14 A 1 The cure of ignorance

Anyone who wishes to be cured of ignorance must first admit to it: [ C] Iris is the daughter of Thaumantis: amazement is the foundation of all philosophy; inquiry, its way of advancing; and ignorance is its end. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.356)

14 A 2 He is not ashamed to say that he does not know what he does not know
Nor, like those other llows, am I ashamed to admit that I do not know what I do not know. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.361)

14 A 3 There are more books on books than on any other subject: all we do is gloss each other.
It is more of a business to interpret the interpretations than to interpret the texts, and there are more books on books than on any other subject: all we do is gloss each other. [C] All is a-swarm with commentaries: of authors there is a dearth. Is not learning to understand the learned the chief and most celebrated thing that we learn nowadays! Is that not the common goal, the ultimate goal, of all our studies? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.369)

14 A 4 There is no true merit
Our opinions graft themselves on to each other. The first serves as stock for the second, the second for a third. And so we climb up, step by step. It thus transpires that the one who has climbed highest often has more honour than he deserves, since he has only climbed one speck higher on the shoulders of his predecessor. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.369)

14 A 5 A reflection on ancient philosophy
Aristippus championed only the body, as though we had no soul: Zeno embraced only the soul, as though we had no body. Both were fiawed. 153 They say that Pythagoras practised a philosophy which was pure contemplation: Socrates one which was all deeds and morals; between them both Plato found the Mean. But they are pulling our legs. The true Mean is to be found in Socrates Plato is far more Socratic than Pythagorean, and it better becomes him. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.415)

14 A 6 To philosophize is to learn how to die
Cicero says that philosophizing is nothing other than getting ready to die. That is because study and contemplation draw our souls somewhat outside ourselves, keeping them occupied away from the body, a state which both resembles death and which form a kind of apprenticeship for it; or perhaps come down to one conclusion; which is to teach us not to be afraid of dying. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.17)

14 A 7 Pleasure
The contention is worn, seeing that in every pleasure known to Man the very pursuit of it is pleasurable: the undertaking savours of the object it has in view; it effectively constitutes a large proportion of it and is consubstantiation with it.

14 A 8 Philosophy makes you happy
Philosophical discussions habitually make men happy and joyful not frowning and sad. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.54)

Philosophy has arguments for Man at birth as well as in senility. (...) [Seek here, young men and old, a lasting purpose for your mind and a provision for white-haired wretchedness.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.57)

Philosophy [She is equally helpfully helpful to the poor and the rich: neglect her, and she equally harms the young and the old. ] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.59)


14 A 9 Readings
Personally I only like pleasurable easy books which tickle my interest, or those which console me and counsel me how to control my life and death. [Walking in silence through the healthy woods, pondering questions worthy of the wise and good.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.106)

14 A 10 On how philosophers drink
Antiquity, certainly, did not greatly condemn this vice. The writings of several philosophy speak of it indulgently; even along Stoics there are those who advise you to let yourself drink as much as you like occasionally and to get drunk so as to relax your soul: .
[B] Hoc quoque virtutum quondam certamine, magnum
Socratem palmam promeruisseferunt.
(They say that Socrates often carried off the prize in this trial of strength too.v2
[C] That Censor and corrector of others, 13 [A] Cato was reproached for his heavy drinking: ·
[B] Narratur et prisci Catonis Stepe mero caluisse virtus.
[It is told how the virtue of old Cato was often warmed with wine]. 14 (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.1334)

14 A 11 A philosopher can be placed everywhere
I can easily convince of Socrates in Alexander’s place: but Alexander in Socrates place, I cannot. Ask Alexander what he can do and he will reply: ‘ Subdue the whole world’. Ask Socrates, and he will answer, ‘Live the life of man in conformity with his natural condition’: knowledge which is much more general, onerous and right. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.238)

14 A 12 The companionship of books
In war as in peace I never travel without books. Yet days and even months on end may pass without my using them. ‘I will read them soon,’ I say, ‘or tomorrow; or when I feel like it.’ Thus the time speeds by and is gone, but does me no harm; for it is impossible to describe what comfort and peace I derive from the thought that they are there beside me, to give me pleasure whenever I want it, or from recognizing how much succour they bring to my life. It is the best protection which I have found for our human journey and I deeply pity men of intelligence who lack it. I on the other hand can accept any sort of pastime, no matter how tariffing, because I have this one which will never fail me. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.257)

14 A 13 The disadvantage of books
Reading has its disadvantages - and they are weighty ones: it exercises the soul, but during that time the body (my care for which I have not forgotten) remains inactive and grows earth-bound and sad. I know of no excess more harmful to me in my declining years, nor more to be avoided) (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.259)

14 A 14 How philosophers fought against vices
Some vices I follow: others I flee as much as any saint could do. And the Peripatetics reject the idea of any such indissoluble interconnection and bonding: Aristotle maintains that a man may be wise and just yet intemperate and lacking in restraint. [A] Socrates confessed to those who recognized in his physiognomy some inclination towards vice that such was indeed his natural propensity but he had corrected it by discipline. [C] And the intimate friends of Stilpo the philosopher said that he was born subject to wine· and women but had trained himself to be most abstemious in both by study.21 [A] Any good that I may have in me I owe on the contrary to the luck of my birth. I do not owe it to law, precept or apprenticeship. [B] Such innocence as there is in me is an unfledged innocence: little vigour, no art. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.177)

14 A 15 The desire of sex
Those who have to write against sensual pleasure like to use the following argument to show that it is entirely vicious and irrational: when its force is at its climax it overmasters us to such an extent that reason has no way to come into it; they go on to cite what we know of that from our experience of lying with women. [as when the body already anticipates its joy, and Venus is about to scatter seeds broadcast in the woman’s furrows] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.178)

[Is there anyone who, in the joys of the hunt, does not forget the ills which love’s
cares bring? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.179)

14 A 16 The weeping

To return to my subject, I feel a most tender compassion for the

afflictions of others and would readily weep from fellow-feeling - if,

that is, I knew how to weep at anything at all. [C] Nothing tempts my

tears like tears - not only real ones but tears of any kind, in feint or paint. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.179)


14 B 1 Self knowledge

The more l haunt myself and know myself the more my misshapenness amazes me and the less I understand myself. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.355)


14 B 2 There is so much to learn from myself

As Socrates demonstrates to Euthydcmus in Xenophon. I who make no other profession but getting to know myself find in me such boundless depths and variety that my apprenticeship bears no other fruit than to make me know how much there remains to learn. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.377)

 
 
 
 

15 On Tasks and Jobs 

15 A 1 Kitchen


15 A 2 Good Company
(Since with that same Epicurus I say that we should be less concerned with what we eat than with whom we eat, and I approve of Chilo’s refusal to promise to come to a banquet at Periander’s before finding out who the other guests were). No recipe is so pleasing to me, no sauce so appetizing, as those which derive from the company. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.409)

15 A 3 On wine
I water my wine, sometimes half and half, sometimes one-third water. When I am home I follow an ancient custom which my father’s doctor prescribed for him (and for himself): I have what I need mixed for me in the buttery two or three hours before serving , [C] It is said that this custom of mixing wine and water was invented by Cranaus, King of Athens - I have heard arguments both for and against its usefulness. I think it more proper and more healthy thatboys should not drink any wine until they are sixteen or eighteen. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.411)

15 A 4 A good dinner
The following are Varro’s prescription for a banquet: an assembly of people of handsome presence who are agreeable to frequent and neither dumb nor talkative; clean and delightful food in a clean and delightful place; serene weather. [C]. An enjoyable dinner is a feast requiring no little skill and affording no little pleasure: neither great war-leaders nor great philosophers have declined to learn how to arrange one. My mind has entrusted to my memory three such feasts: they occurred at different times during the flower of my youth and chanced to give me sovereign pleasure (guests contributing to such sovereign delight according to the degree of good temper of body and soul in which each man chances to be). My present circumstances exclude me from such things. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.413)

15 B 1 On Poets

15 B 2 Poets who can make up anything they like dare not relieve their heroes even of the burden of weeping

Poets who can make up anything they like dare not relieve their heroes even of the burden of weeping: [Thus spoke Aeneas through his tears and his fleet sealed unbridled away.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.140)

15 B 3 The poet
For according to Aristotle, of all artist the one who is most in love with his handiwork is the poet.” (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.167)
 

Witness the tale of Pygmalion who , having carved the statue of a unique beautiful woman, was so hopelessly ravished by an insane love for his own work that, for the sake so his frenzy. the gods had to bring her to life:

[He touches the ivory statue; it starts to soften; its hardness gone, it yealds to his fingers] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.168)


15 C 1 On Writing


15 C 2 What enriches a language is their words, deepen their meanings and tie down their usage

What enriches a language is its being handled and exploited by beautiful minds not so much by making innovations as by expanding it through more vigorous and varied applications, by extending it and deploying it. It is not words that they contribute: what they do is enrich their words, deepen their meanings and tie down their usage; they teach it unaccustomed rhythms, prudently though and with ingenuity. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.300)


15 C 3 To prepare for writing

When I am writing I can well do without the company and memory of my books lest they interfere with my style. Also (to tell the truth) because great authors are too good at beating down my pretensions: they dishearten me. I am tempted to adopt the ruse of that painter who, having wretchedly painted a portrait of some cocks, forbade his apprentices to let any natural cock enter his workshop.105 [C] And to lend me some lustre I would need to adopt the device of Antinonides the musician 106 who, whenever he had to perform, arranged that, either before him or after him, his audience should have their fill of some bad singers. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.302)


15 C 4 Everyone recognizes my book in me and me in my book 

When it is said to me, or I say to myself: ‘Your figures of speech are sown too densely’; ‘This word here is pure Gascon’; ‘This is a hazardous expression ‘ - I reject no expressions which are used in the streets of France: those who want to fight usage with grammar are silly - ‘Here is an ignorant development’; ‘Here your argument is paradoxical’; ‘This one is too insane’; [C] ‘You are often playing about; people will think that you are serious when you are only pretending’: [B] ‘Yes,’ I reply, ‘but I correct only careless errors not customary ones. Do I not always talk like that? Am I not portraying myself to the life? If so, that suffices! I have achieved what I wanted to everyone recognizes me in my book and my book in me. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.302)

16 Interesting and Historic facts 

16.1 History of Death

(That syllable ‘death’ struck Roman ears too roughly; the very word was thought to bring ill-luck, so they learned to soften and dilute it with periphrases. Instead of saying He is dead, they said he has ceased to live or He has lived. They found consolation in living, even in past tense! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.21)

16.2 Famous deaths
Have you not seen one of our kings killed at sport? And was not one of his ancestors killed by a bump from a pig? Aeschylus was warned against a falling horse; he was always on the alert, but in vain: he was killed by the shell of a tortoise which slipped from the talons of an eagle in flight. Another choked to death on a pip from a griper; an Emperor died from a scratch when combing his hair; Aemilius Lepidus, from knocking his foot on his own doorstep; Aufidius from bumping into a door of his Council chamber. Those who died between a woman’s tights include Cornelius Gallus, a praetor; Tigillinus, a captain of the Roman Guard; Ludovico, the son of Guy di Ginzaga, the marquis of Mantua; and providing even worse examples - Speucippus the Platonic philosopher, and one of our Popes. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.22)

16.3 Egyptians dinner
Let us never be carried away by pleasure so strongly that joy of ours is subject to death or how many are the fashions in which death threatens to snatch it away. That is what the Egyptians did: in the midst of all their banquets and good cheer they would bring in a mummified corps to serve as a warning to the guests. [Believe that each day is the last to shine on you. If it comes, time not hoped for will be welcome indeed. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.24)

16.4 The memory of death
Our graveyards have been planted next to churches, says Lycurgus, so that women, children, and lesser folk should grow accustomed to seeing a dead man without feeling terror, and so that this continual spectacle of bones, tombs, and funerals should remain us of our human condition. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.27)

16.5 Iconic moments
Plutarch ‘that the inhabitants of Asia were slaves of one tyrant because they were incapable of pronouncing one syllable: NO,’ may have furnished La Boetie with the matter and moment of his book De la Servitude volontaire. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.50)

I have often noted with great astonishment the extraordinary character of Alcibiades who, without impairing his health, could so readily adapt to diverse manners: at times he could outdo Persians in pomp and luxury; at others, Spartans in austerity and frugal living. He was a reformed man in Sparta, yet equally pleasure-seeking in Iona: [On Aristippus and colors, rank or condition was becoming] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.61)

When Hegesias begged him to read a certain book he replied, ‘How amusing of you! You prefer real figs to painted ones, so why not true and natural deeds to written ones?’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.62)

The Athenians had to choose between two architects to take charge of a large building project. The first one was the more fly and presented himself with a fine prepared speech about the job to be done; he won the favour of the common people. The other architect merely spoke two or three words: “Gentlemen of Athens: what he said, I will do.’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.65)

At the height of his eloquence, Cicero moved many into ecstasies of astonishment. But Cato merely laughed: ‘Quite an amusing consul we have,’ he said. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.65)

The King had a long interview with them (Indians): they were shown manners, out ceremonial and the layout of a fair city. Then someone asked them what they thought of all this and wanted to know what they had been most amazed by. They made three points’ I am very annoyed with myself for forgetting the third, but I still remember two of them. In the first place they said (probably referring to the Swiss guard) that they found it very odd that all those full-grown bearded men, strong and bearing arms in the King’s entourage, should consent to obey a boy rather than choosing one of themselves as a Commander; secondly - since they have an idiom in their language which calls all men “halves” of one another - that they had noticed that there were among us men fully bloated with all sorts of comforts while their halves were begging their doors, emaciated with poverty and hunger: they found it odd that destitute halves should put up with such injustice and did not take the others by the throat or set fire to their houses. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.91)

The man who had power to decide everything in the whole world at nineteen wanted a man to be thirty before he could decide where to place a gutter. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.121)


16.6 Marriage age
I was thirty-three when I married, and I approve of thirty-five the opinion attributed to Aristotle. [C] Plato does not want any man to marry before thirty; he is also right to laugh at spouses who lie together after fifty-five, judging their offspring unworthy to live and eat. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.153)

16.7 On the state to pray
I believe there is a treatise in Xenophon somewhere in which he shows that we ought to pray to Godless often, since it is not easy for us to bring our souls so frequently into that controlled, reformed, and supplication state needed to do so; without that, our prayers are not only vain and useless they are depraved. ‘Forgive us’ we say, ‘as we forgive them that trespass against us.’ What do those words mean if not that we are offering God our souls free from vengeance and resentment? Yet we call on God and his help to connive wrongdoings and to invite him to be unjust. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.1116)

16.8 When to pray
A man who calls God to his aid while he is actually engaged in vice is like a cut-purse calling on justice to help him or like those who produce the name of God to vouch for their lies. [We softly murmur evil prayers.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.117)

16.9 How people should pray
That is why the Pythagorean believed that prayer should be public and heard by all, so that God should not be begged for things unseemly or unjust - like the man in the poem. [He first exclaims, ‘Apollo’ loud and clear; them he moves his lips, addressing the goddess of Theft and fearing to be overheard: ‘O fair Laverna: do not let me get found out; let me appear to be just and upright; cloak my sins with night and my lies with a cloud.’] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.118)

16.10 On Labineus
In Rome there was a figure of great bravery and dignity called Labienus; among other qualities he excelled in every kind of literature; he was, I think, the son of that great Labienus who was the foremost among captains who served under Caesar in the Gallic Wars, subsequently threw in his lot with Pompey the Great and fought for him most bravely until Caesar defeated him in Spain. There were several people who were jealous of the Labienus I am referring to; he also probably had enemies among the courtiers and favourites of the contemporary Emperors for his frankness and for inheriting his father’s innate hostility towards tyranny, which we may believe coloured his books and writing. His enemies prosecuted him before the Roman magistrates and obtained a conviction, requiring several of the books he had published to be burnt. This was the very first case of the death-penalty being inflicted on books and erudition; it was subsequently applied at Rome in several other cases. We did not have means nor matter enough for our cruelty unless we also let it concern itself with things which Nature has exempted from any sense of pain, such as our renown and the products of our minds, and unless we inflicted physical suffering on the teaching and the documents of the Muses. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.166)

Labienus could not bear such. a loss nor survive such beloved offspring; he had self borne to the family vault on a litter and shut up alive; there he provided his own death and burial. It is difficult to find any example of fatherly love more vehement than that one. When his very eloquent friend Cassius Severus saw those books being burnt, he shouted that he too ought to be burned alive with them since he actively preserved their contents in his memory. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.166)


16.11 On immortality vs kids
[A] It is hard to believe that Epaminondas (who boasted that his posterity consisted in two ‘daughters’ who would bring honour to their father one day - he meant his two noble victories over the Spartans) would have agreed to exchange them for daughters who were the most gorgeous in the whole of Greece; or that Alexander and Caesar had ever wished they could give up the greatness of their glorious feats in war in return for the pleasure of having sons and heirs however perfect, however accomplished; indeed I very much doubt whether Phidias or any other outstanding sculptor would have found as much delight in the survival and longevity of his physical children as in some excellent piece of sculpture brought to completion by his long-sustained labour and his skill according to the rules of his art. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.167)

16.12 Socrates and Virtue
That is one of the reasons why Epanunondas, who belonged to a third school, rejected the wealth which Fortune put in his hands in the most legitimate of ways, in order, he said, to have to fence against poverty; and he remained extremely poor unto the end. Socrates, it seems to me, assayed himself even more roughly: to exercise his virtue he put up with the malevolence of his wife, which is to assay yourself in good earnest. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.170)

16.13 Animals and cities
The Turks have charities and hospitals for their beasts. [A] The Romans had a public duty to care for geese, by the vigilance of which their Capitol had been saved; the Athenians commanded that the he-mules and she-mules which had been used in building the temple named the Hecatompedon should be set free and allowed to graze anywhere without hindrance. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.185)

16.14 A example of courage and endurance
Epicharis, having glutted and exhausted the cruelty of Nero’s attendants and withstood for one full day their burning brands, their beatings and their instruments of torture without revealing a word of her conspiracy, was brought back to the rack the next day with her limbs all shattered: she slipped the cord from her dress through the arm of a chair, made a running knot, thrust her head through it and hanged herself by the weight of her body. Having as she did the courage to die thus after having endured those first tortures, does she not appear to have deliberately lent herself to that trial of her endurance in order to mock that tyrant and to encourage others to make a plot against him similar to her own? (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.189)

16.15 Seneca death
Seneca death: As he felt the last pangs of death he took the blood-drenched waters of the bath and asperged his head with them saying, ‘This water I consecrate to Jove the Liberator.’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.199)

16.16 Dream masturbation
If only I were like that dreamer in Cicero who dreamed he had a woman in his arms and had the faculty of ejaculating his gallstone in the bedclothes!’ My own gallstones monstrously unlecher me! (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.206)

16.17 Medicine
Plutarch says that Cato kept his family in good health by making use, [ A 1] it appears, [A] of the hare, Just as the Arcadians, according to Pliny, cured all illnesses with cow’s milk .12 [C] Herodotus asserts that the Libyan people all enjoy a rare degree of good health owing to their custom of searing the veins in the head and temples of their children with cauterise at the age of four, thus blocking the way for the rest of their lives to all morbid defections of mucus. [A] And the villagers round here when they are ill never use anything but the strongest wine they can get, mixed with plenty of saffron and spice. And they all work equally well. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.211)

16.18 The origin of the illness
Do we want to see an example of medical disagreement among the Ancients? Hierophilus locates the original cause of illness in the humours; Erasistratus, in arterial blood; Asclepiades, in invisible atoms Bowing through the pores; Alcmaeon, in the exuberancy or deficiency of bodily strength; Diocles, in the imbalance of our corporeal elements and the balance of the air that we breathe; Strato, in the quantity, crudity and decomposition of the food we eat; and Hippocrates locates it in our spirits. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.215)

16.19 The grandson of Aristotle
Everything he established was overturned by Chrysippus; everything Chrysippus wrote was then overturned by Erasistratus, the grandson of Aristotle. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.216)

16.20 Best places to bath
For this. reason I have so far chosen to stay and take the waters at the more beautifully situated spas where you find more pleasant lodgings, food and company, such as the baths at Bagneres in France, Plombieres on the border between
Germany and Lorraine, Baden in Switzerland and Lucca in Tuscany (especially the Spa at Della Villa , which I have used most often and at various seasons). (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.222)
 

16.21 Comparing our civilization with the indigenous
And as for their piety, observance of the laws, goodness, liberality, loyalty and frankness: well, it served us well that we had less of that than they did ; their superiority in that ruined them, sold them and betrayed them.
As for bravery and courage; as for resolution, constancy and resistance to pain, hunger and death, I would not hesitate to compare the examples provided by them with the most celebrated ones of the Ancients written in the annals of our own world on this side of the seas. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.343)

16.22 The king of Peru
The last two kings whom the Spaniards hounded were kings over many kings, the most powerful kings in that new world and perhaps also in our own.
The first was the King of Peru. He was captured in battle and put to so huge a ransom that it defies all belief; he paid it faithfully and showed by his dealings that he was of a frank, noble and steadfast heart, a man of honest and tranquil mind. The Conquistadores, having already extracted gold weighing one million three hundred and twenty-five thousand five hundred ounces (not counting silver and other booty amounting to no less, so that afterwards they even used solid gold to shoe their horses), were seized with the desire to discover what remained of the treasures of that king, no matter what it cost them in bad faith, [C] and to make free with whatever he had kept back. [B] They fabricated false evidence, accusing him of planning to get his territories to rise up in revolt and to set him free. Whereupon - a beautiful sentence, delivered by those who had got up this act of treachery! - he was condemned to be publicly hanged until he was dead, having first been compelled to buy off the agony of being burned alive at the stake by accepting baptism - which was administered to him while he was being tortured. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.346)

But since nothing of value could be extorted from them, their hears being stronger than the tortures, the Spaniards finally fell into such a fit of madness that, contrary to their word and to the law of nations, they sentenced the King and one of the chief lords of his court to be tortured in each other’s sight. That lord, overcome with pain, surrounded by blazing braziers, finally turned his gaze piteously towards his sovereign, as if to beg [C] forgiveness because he could stand it no longer. [B] That King32 proudly and severely fixed his eyes on him to reproach him for his cowardice and faint-heartedness and simply said these words in a firm hoarse voice: ‘What about me? Am I having a bath? Am I any more at ease than you are?’ Straightforward afterwards that lord succumbed to the pain and died where he was. The King was borne away, half-roasted, not so much out of pity (for what pity could ever touch the souls of men who, for dubious information about some golden vessel or other that they would pillage, would grill a man before their very eyes, not to mention a King of so great a destiny and merit) but because his constancy rendered their cruelty more and more humiliating. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.347)
 
The peoples of the Kingdom of Mexico were somewhat more urban and more cultured than the other peoples over there. In addition, like us, they judged that the world was nearing its end, taking as a portent of this the desolation that we visited upon them. They believed that the world’s existence was divided into five periods, each as long as the life of five successive suns. Four suns had already done their time, the one shining on them now being the fifth. The first sun perished with all other creatures in a universal Flood; the second, by the sky falling on mankind and choking every living thing (to which age they ascribed giant men, showing the Spaniards bones of men of such proportion that they must have stood twenty spans high); the third, by a fire which engulfed and burnt everything; the fourth, by a rush of air and wind which flattened everything including several mountains; human beings were not killed by it but changed into baboons (what impressions cannot be stamped on the receptive credulity of men!). After the death of that fourth sun the world was in perpetual darkness for twenty-five years, during the fifteenth of which was created a man and a woman who remade the human race. Ten years later, on a particular day which they observe, the sun appeared, newly created; they count their years from that day. On the third day after it was created their old gods died; new gods were subsequently born from time to time. My authority could learn nothing about how they believed this fifth sun will die. But their dating of that fourth change tallies with that great conjunction of the planets which (eight hundred years ago, according to the reckoning of our astrologers) produced many great changes and innovations in the world. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.349)

Instead of using coaches or vehicles of any kind they have themselves carried on the shoulders of men. The day he was captured, that last King of Peru was in the midst of his army, borne seated on a golden chair suspended from shafts of gold. The Spaniards in their attempts to topple him (as they wanted to take him alive) killed many of his bearers, but many more vied to take the places of the dead , so that , no matter how many they slaughtered, they could not bring him down until a mounted soldier dashed in, grabbed hold of him and yanked him to the ground. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.350)

16.23 On the events in the coliseum
Sometimes they produced in the arena a great mountain covered with green trees , many bearing fruit, and a river running from its summit as from the source of a flowing stream. Sometimes they had a great ship sail into the arena; it opened up and fell apart automatically, spewed forth from its belly four or five hundred beasts of combat, reassembled itself unaided and vanished from sight. Sometimes down there in the arena they produced fountains and water-jets which spouted immensely high, sprinkling perfume over that vast multitude. To protect themselves from the hot weather they caused that immense area to be covered either with awnings of purple needlework or with variously coloured silks, which they drew or withdrew at will: (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.339)

16.24 How he viewed his current era

Just as we vainly conclude today that the world is declining into decrepitude using arguments drawn from our own decline and decadence -

Jamque adeo affecta est ~tas, affectaque tellus

[Our age lacks vigour now: even the soil is less abundant)

(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.341)


16.25 A perspective on the world

Lucretius [In my opinion our universe is new; the origin of the world is recent: it is but newly born. That is why some arts are still developing nowadays and growing still ; the art of navigation is even now progressing.] (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.342)


16.26 Priest who changed sexes

We realize that women have an incomparably greater capacity for the act of love than we do and desire it more ardently - and we know that this fact was attested in Antiquity by that priest who had been first a man and then a woman:

Venus huic erat utraque nota.

[He knew Venus from both angles.]*

* 38, Tiresias, who changed sex a frequently cited example : cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 323; then, Juvenal, Satires , VI, 128-9; the Emperor was Proculus, t_he Empress, Messalina, the consort of Claudius. (Cf. Tiraquellus, De legibus com,ubialibus, IX, 94 for Messalina, and XV, 92 for Proculus.)

(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.277)


16.27 Books on love

Then there are The Book of the Love-maker by Demetrius Phalereus; Clinil sor, or the Lover Raped, by Heraclides of Pontus; On Marriage: or How to make Children, and another, On Master and Lover, by Antisthenes; On Amorous Exploits by Ariston; two by Cleanthes, The Art of Loving and On Love; Lovers’ Dialogues by Sphaerus, The Fable of Jupiter, intolerably pornographic, by Chrysippus, with his fifth Lecherous Letters. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.281


16.28 Hidden the private parts of statues

That fine fellow who when I was young castrated so many beautiful ancient statues in his City so as not to corrupt our gaze. Following the counsel of that other fellow in Antiquity:

- Flagitii principium tst nudart inttr cives corpora

[Baring the body among our citizens is the beginning of shameful deeds]

(Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.283)


16.29 It is a feverish passion that turns all that is beautiful in the ugly and, corrupts what is good; in a jealous woman

It is a feverish passion which turns all that is beautiful in them ugly and, corrupts what is good; in a jealous woman, no matter how chaste and thrifty she may be as a wife, there is nothing which does not reek of bitterness and savagery. It is an insane perturbation which drives them to the other extreme, to the contrary of what causes it. An interesting example of this was a man called Octavius in Rome. After lying with Pontia Posthumia, his delight in it so increased his love that he persistently begged her to marry him . When he could not win her over, his extreme love hurled him headlong into deeds of most cruel and mortal hatred; and he killed her. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.291)


16.30 On the women's right.

A man of good family, Phaedo the philosopher, when his country of Elis was captured, professionally prostituted his youthful beauty (as long as it lasted) to anyone who would pay for it, so as to earn his living. And Solon, they say, was the first legislator in Greece to give women the right to provided for the necessities of life at the expense of their modesty, a practice which Herodotus however says was accepted earlier by several polities. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.295)


16.31 To prepare for writing

When I am writing I can well do without the company and memory of my books lest they interfere with my style. Also (to tell the truth) because great authors are too good at beating down my pretensions: they dishearten me. I am tempted to adopt the ruse of that painter who, having wretchedly painted a portrait of some cocks, forbade his apprentices to let any natural cock enter his workshop.105 [C] And to lend me some lustre I would need to adopt the device of Antinonides the musician 106 who, whenever he had to perform, arranged that, either before him or after him, his audience should have their fill of some bad singers. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.302)


16.32 How you swear

When I swear my own way it is always ‘By God’ - which is the most direct of all

the oaths. They say that Socrates used to swear ‘By dog’; Zeno ‘By goats’ (the same exclamation used today by the Italians, Cappan); Pythagoras, ‘By air and by water’. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.303)


16.33 Sleep

Alexander said that he acknowledged he was a mortal because of sleep and his activity: sleep stifles and suppresses the faculties of our souls; the 1ob’ similarly devours and disperses them. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.305)


16.34 The shame of creation

No man likes to be in on a birth: all men rush to be in on a death. · [C] To unmake a human being we choose an open field in broad daylight: to make one, we hide away in a dark little hollow. When making one we must hide and blush: but glory lies in unmaking one, and it produces other virtues. One act is unwholesome: the other, an act of grace,  for Aristotle says that in his country there is a saying ‘To do a man a favour’, which means to kill him. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.306)


16.35 Shame of eating

[Here are some nations where they hide to eat. I know one lady (among the greatest) who shares the opinion that chewing distorts the face, derogating greatly from women’s grace and beauty; when hungry she avoids appearing in public. And I know a man who cannot tolerate watching people eat nor others watching him do so: he shuns all company even more when he fills his belly than when he empties it. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.306)


16.36 To be loved in love

A young Greek called Thrasonides was so in love with love that, having won his lady’s heart, he refused to enjoy her so as not to weaken, glut and deaden by the joy of lying with her that inquietude ardour in which he gloried and on which he fed. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.310)


16.37 On Pyrrhus arrogant

My nature is to follow the example of Flaminius (who lent his support to see who needed him, not to those who could help him) rather than that off Pyrrhus (who had the characteristic of being humble before the great and arrogant before the common-folk). (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.406)


16.38 Eye witness in Rome

In Rome, the legal style required that even the testimony of an eye-witness or the sentence of a Judge based on his most certain knowledge had to be couched in the formula, ‘It seems to me that ...’ (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.356)


16.39 The mad love

To me such raging madness is analogous to that of the boy who sullied with his love that beautiful statue of Venus sculpted by Praxiteles, or to that of the Egyptian madman who was inflamed with love for the corpse of a dead woman he was embalming while wrapping it in its shroud, and who gave rise to the law subsequently proclaimed in Egypt that the corpses of beautiful young women and of women of noble families should be kept for three days before being handed over to those whose task it was to bury them.  Periander acted more horrifyingly still when he prolonged his conjugal love (itself most proper and legitimate) by enjoying his departed wife Melissa. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.311)


16.40 Year shorten

In France, some two or three year ago now, they shortened the year by ten days. (Michel De Montaigne: The Essays - A Selection (Penguin) P.351)