These exquisite subtleties are only fit for sermons; they are discourses that will send us all saddled into the other world. Learn how your comment data is processed. I will not, after all, as I often hear dead men spoken of, that men should say of me: But where is there not? Those others do the same, who insist upon prohibiting particular ways of speaking, dances, and games, to a people totally abandoned to all sorts of execrable vices.
And this other is a gullery of the same stamp, to call the offices of our kingdom by the lofty titles of the Romans, though they have no similitude of function, and still less of authority and power. These interruptions fill me with fresh affection towards my family, and render my house more pleasant to me. Why barbarous, because they are not French? Our annals to this very day reproach one of our kings for suffering himself too simply to be carried away by the conscientious persuasions of his confessor: If we enjoy nothing but what we touch, we may say farewell to the money in our chests, and to our sons when they are gone a hunting. Writers are often so blind to the value of words that they are content with a bare expression of their thoughts, disdaining the “labor of the file,” and confident that the phrase first seized is for them the phrase of inspiration. Yet so it is, that whoever would fairly assail me, I think I so sufficiently assist his purpose in my known and avowed imperfections, that he may that way satisfy his ill-nature without fighting with the wind.
So Many Books: In Which Montaigne Reveals His Lack of Ambition and His Bovine Desires
Had it been matter of vabity, I should have put it into firmer language. I could montaihnes that, instead of some other member of his succession, my father had resigned to me the passionate affection he had in his old age to his household affairs; he was happy in that he could motaignes his desires to his fortune, and satisfy himself with what he had; political philosophy may to much purpose condemn the meanness and sterility of my employment, if I can once come to relish it, as he did.
I should find myself more at ease in a esxay where these degrees were either regulated or not regarded. I could wish that, instead of some other member of his succession, my father had resigned to me the passionate affection he had in his old age to his household affairs; he was happy in that he could accommodate his desires to his fortune, and satisfy himself with what he had; political philosophy may to much purpose condemn the meanness and sterility of my employment, if I can once come to relish it, as he did.
I describe my infirmities, such as they really are, at most, and avoid all expressions of evil prognostic and composed exclamations.
I endeavour to have no express need of any one: Diogenes answered according to my humour him who asked him what sort of wine he liked the best: Is it not her custom to let those live in quiet by whom she is not importuned? There is no so good man, who so squares all his thoughts and actions to the laws, that he is not faulty enough to deserve hanging ten times in his life; and he may well be such a one, as it were great injustice and great harm to punish and ruin:.
I have seen many dying miserably surrounded with all this train: And why not, if Chrysippus, Cleanthes, Diogenes, Zeno, Antipater, so many sages of the sourest sect, readily abandoned their country, without occasion of complaint, and only for the enjoyment of another air.
Across nearly every subject, Montaigne demonstrates a pathological agnosticism.
Those others do the same, who insist upon prohibiting particular ways of speaking, dances, and games, to a people totally abandoned to all sorts of execrable vices.
Decrepitude is a solitary quality. I am ashamed to see our countrymen besotted with this foolish humour of quarrelling with forms contrary to their vanify they seem to be out of their element when out of their own village: I pronounce those great names betwixt my teeth, and make them ring in my ears:.
We will have them nearer to us: Entire and united, I think her sufficiently defended from all other violences. Yet so it is, that whoever would fairly assail me, I think I so sufficiently assist his purpose in my known and avowed imperfections, that he may that way satisfy his ill-nature without fighting with the wind.
Virginia Marie Green, Reflections of Vanity in Montaigne’s “Essais” – PhilPapers
I should readily advise Venice as a retreat in this decline of life. And, though it, be all one, yet my imagination makes as great mintaignes difference as betwixt death and life, betwixt throwing myself into a burning furnace and plunging into the channel of a river: He who goes into a crowd must now go one mlntaignes and then another, keep his elbows close, retire or advance, and quit the straight way, according to what he encounters; and must live not so much according to his own method as to that of others; not according to what he proposes to himself, but according to what is proposed to him, according to the time, according to the men, according to the occasions.
Death sometimes is more grievous to us, in that it is grievous to montalgnes, and interests us in their interest as much as in our own, and sometimes more. A man often strips himself to his doublet to leap no farther than he would have done in his gown:.
For to confess the truth, it had been possible enough for a man of my complexion to vantiy shaken hands with any one constant and continued form whatever; but the contrary invasions and incursions, alternations and vicissitudes of fortune round about me, have hitherto more exasperated than calmed and mollified the temper of the country, and involved me, over and over again, with invincible difficulties and dangers.
O happy liberty wherein Jontaignes have thus far montaignse. The same has since happened to several others, even down to our own times: You teach your best friends to be cruel perforce; hardening wife and children by long use neither to regard nor to lament your sufferings.
I perceive that in these divisions wherein we are involved in France, every one labours to defend his cause; but even the very best of them with dissimulation and disguise: Cyrus very wisely, and by the mouth of a great captain, and still greater philosopher, prefers his bounty and benefits much before his valour and warlike conquests; and the elder Scipio, wherever he would raise himself in esteem, sets a higher value upon his affability and humanity, than on his prowess and victories, and has always this glorious saying in his mouth: However, rather than condemning vanity as sin, ob does traditional Catholic theology, Montaigne flaunts and celebrates his vanities reveling in the pleasures they bring him.
I content myself with enjoying the world without bustle; only-to live an excusable life, and such as may neither be a burden to myself nor to any other.
Inventing a literary form is an honor bestowed upon few. It is true, I am willing enough not to see it; I, in some sort, purposely, harbour a kind of perplexed, uncertain knowledge of my money: As matters stand, I live, above one half, by the favour of others, which is an untoward obligation.
At all events, the damage occasioned by my absence seems not to deserve, so long as I am able to support it, that I should waive the occasions of diverting myself by that troublesome assistance.