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MICHEL EYQUEM DE MONTAIGNE
French philosopher and essayist
(1533 - 1592)
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We are all of us richer than we think we are; but we are taught to borrow and to beg, and brought up more to make use of what is another's than our own. Man can in nothing fix and conform himself to his mere necessity. Of pleasure, wealth and power he grasps at more than he can hold; his greediness is incapable of moderation.
      - [Riches]

We are neither obstinately nor wilfully to oppose evils, nor truckle under them for want of courage, but that we are naturally to give way to them, according to their condition and our own, we ought to grant free passage to diseases; and I find they stay less with me who let them alone. And I have lost those which are reputed the most tenacious and obstinate of their own defervescence, without any help or art, and contrary to their rules. Let us a little permit nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we.
      - [Evil]

We are never present with, but always beyond ourselves. Fear, desire, and hope are still pushing us on towards the future.
      - [Progress]

We call comeliness a mischance in the first respect, which belongs principally to the face.
      - [Beauty]

We commend a horse for his strength, and sureness of foot, and not for his rich caparisons; a greyhound for his share of heels, not for his fine collar; a hawk for her wing, not for her jesses and bells. Why, in like manner, do we not value a man for what is properly his own? He has a great train, a beautiful palace, so much credit, so many thousand pounds a year, and all these are about him, but not in him.
      - [Appreciation]

We do not correct the man we hang; we correct others by him.
      - [Punishment]

We have more poets than judges and interpreters of poetry. It is easier to write an indifferent poem than to understand a good one. There is, indeed, a certain low and moderate sort of poetry, that a man may well enough judge by certain rules of art; but the true, supreme, and divine poesy is equally above all rules and reason. And whoever discerns the beauty of it with the most assured and most steady sight sees no more than the quick reflection of a flash of lightning.
      - [Poetry]

We hold death, poverty, and grief for our principal enemies; but this death, which some repute the most dreadful of all dreadful things, who does not know that others call it the only secure harbor from the storm and tempests of life, the sovereign good of nature, the sole support of liberty, and the common and sudden remedy of all evils?
      - [Death]

We must learn to suffer what we cannot evade.
      - [Resignation]

We ought to love temperance for itself, and in obedience to God who has commanded it and chastity; but what I am forced to by catarrhs, or owe to the stone, is neither chastity nor temperance.
      - [Temperance]

We wake sleeping, and sleep waking. I do not see so clearly in my sleep; but as to my being awake, I never found it clear enough and free from clouds.
      - [Sleep]

Whatever is preached to us, and whatever we learn, we should still remember that it is man that gives, and man that receives; it is a mortal hand that presents it to us, it is a mortal hand that accepts it.
      - [Preaching]

Whatever the benefits of fortune are, they yet require a palate fit to relish and taste them; it is fruition, and not possession, that renders us happy.
      - [Appreciation]

When all is summed up, a man never speaks of himself without loss; his accusations of himself are always believed, his praises never.
      - [Egotism]

Who is it that does not voluntarily exchange his health, his repose, and his very life for reputation and glory? The most useless, frivolous, and false coin that passes current among us.
      - [Glory]

Who is only good that others may know it, and that he may be the better esteemed when 'tis known, who will do well but upon condition that his virtue may be known to men, is one from whom much service is not to be expected.
      - [Goodness]

Wit is a dangerous weapon, even to the possessor, if he knows not how to use it discreetly.
      - [Wit]

Women are more susceptible to pain than to pleasure.
      - [Emotion]

The music of the spheres.
  [Fr., La musique celeste.]
      - bk. I, ch. XXII [Music]

The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast is the same mould. . . . The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbo neighbour causes a war betwixt princes.
      - Apology for Raimond de Sebond
         (bk. II, ch. XII) [Comparison]

When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport, than she makes me?
      - Apology for Raimond de Sebonde [Sport]

Every one's true worship was that which he found in use in the place where he chanced to be.
      - Apology for Raimond Sebond, quoting Apollo
        [Worship]

He that I am reading seems always to have the most force.
      - Apology for Raimond Sebond [Reading]

Arts and sciences are not cast in a mould, but are found and perfected by degrees, by often handling and polishing, as bears leisurely lick their clubs into shape.
      - Apology for Raimond Sebond
         (bk. II, ch. XII) [Bears : Growth]

Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.
      - Apology for Raimond Sebond
         (bk. II, ch. XII) [Gods]


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