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The Essays of Montaigne, Complete by Michel de Montaigne

Part 22 out of 23

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["I can scarcely remember six bouts in one night"
--Ovid, Amor., iii. 7, 26.]

'Tis certainly a misfortune and a miracle at once to confess at what a
tender age I first came under the subjection of love: it was, indeed, by
chance; for it was long before the years of choice or knowledge; I do not
remember myself so far back; and my fortune may well be coupled with that
of Quartilla, who could not remember when she was a maid:

"Inde tragus, celeresque pili, mirandaque matri
Barba meae."

["Thence the odour of the arm-pits, the precocious hair, and the
beard which astonished my mother."--Martial, xi. 22, 7.]

Physicians modify their rules according to the violent longings that
happen to sick persons, ordinarily with good success; this great desire
cannot be imagined so strange and vicious, but that nature must have a
hand in it. And then how easy a thing is it to satisfy the fancy? In my
opinion; this part wholly carries it, at least, above all the rest. The
most grievous and ordinary evils are those that fancy loads us with; this
Spanish saying pleases me in several aspects:

"Defenda me Dios de me."

["God defend me from myself."]

I am sorry when I am sick, that I have not some longing that might give
me the pleasure of satisfying it; all the rules of physic would hardly be
able to divert me from it. I do the same when I am well; I can see very
little more to be hoped or wished for. 'Twere pity a man should be so
weak and languishing, as not to have even wishing left to him.

The art of physic is not so fixed, that we need be without authority for
whatever we do; it changes according to climates and moons, according to
Fernel and to Scaliger.--[Physicians to Henry II.]--If your physician
does not think it good for you to sleep, to drink wine, or to eat such
and such meats, never trouble yourself; I will find you another that
shall not be of his opinion; the diversity of medical arguments and
opinions embraces all sorts and forms. I saw a miserable sick person
panting and burning for thirst, that he might be cured, who was
afterwards laughed at for his pains by another physician, who condemned
that advice as prejudicial to him: had he not tormented himself to good
purpose? There lately died of the stone a man of that profession, who
had made use of extreme abstinence to contend with his disease: his
fellow-physicians say that, on the contrary, this abstinence had dried
him up and baked the gravel in his kidneys.

I have observed, that both in wounds and sicknesses, speaking discomposes
and hurts me, as much as any irregularity I can commit. My voice pains
and tires me, for 'tis loud and forced; so that when I have gone to a
whisper some great persons about affairs of consequence, they have often
desired me to moderate my voice.

This story is worth a diversion. Some one in a certain Greek school
speaking loud as I do, the master of the ceremonies sent to him to speak
softly: "Tell him, then, he must send me," replied the other, "the tone
he would have me speak in." To which the other replied, "That he should
take the tone from the ears of him to whom he spake." It was well said,
if it is to be understood: "Speak according to the affair you are
speaking about to your auditor," for if it mean, "'tis sufficient that he
hear you, or govern yourself by him," I do not find it to be reason. The
tone and motion of my voice carries with it a great deal of the
expression and signification of my meaning, and 'tis I who am to govern
it, to make myself understood: there is a voice to instruct, a voice to
flatter, and a voice to reprehend. I will not only that my voice reach
him, but, peradventure, that it strike and pierce him. When I rate my
valet with sharp and bitter language, it would be very pretty for him to
say; "Pray, master, speak lower; I hear you very well":

"Est quaedam vox ad auditum accommodata,
non magnitudine, sed proprietate."

["There is a certain voice accommodated to the hearing, not by its
loudness, but by its propriety."--Quintilian, xi. 3.]

Speaking is half his who speaks, and half his who hears; the latter ought
to prepare himself to receive it, according to its bias; as with tennis-
players, he who receives the ball, shifts and prepares, according as he
sees him move who strikes the stroke, and according to the stroke itself.

Experience has, moreover, taught me this, that we ruin ourselves by
impatience. Evils have their life and limits, their diseases and their

The constitution of maladies is formed by the pattern of the constitution
of animals; they have their fortune and their days limited from their
birth; he who attempts imperiously to cut them short by force in the
middle of their course, lengthens and multiplies them, and incenses
instead of appeasing them. I am of Crantor's opinion, that we are
neither obstinately and deafly to oppose evils, nor succumb to them from
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; I find they stay less with me, who let them alone; and I have
lost some, reputed the most tenacious and obstinate, by their own decay,
without help and without art, and contrary to its rules. Let us a little
permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs
than we. But such an one died of it; and so shall you: if not of that
disease, of another. And how many have not escaped dying, who have had
three physicians at their tails? Example is a vague and universal
mirror, and of various reflections. If it be a delicious medicine, take
it: 'tis always so much present good. I will never stick at the name nor
the colour, if it be pleasant and grateful to the palate: pleasure is one
of the chiefest kinds of profit. I have suffered colds, gouty
defluxions, relaxations, palpitations of the heart, megrims, and other
accidents, to grow old and die in time a natural death. I have so lost
them when I was half fit to keep them: they are sooner prevailed upon by
courtesy than huffing. We must patiently suffer the laws of our
condition; we are born to grow old, to grow weak, and to be sick, in
despite of all medicine. 'Tis the first lesson the Mexicans teach their
children; so soon as ever they are born they thus salute them: "Thou art
come into the world, child, to endure: endure, suffer, and say nothing."
'Tis injustice to lament that which has befallen any one which may befall
every one:

"Indignare, si quid in to inique proprio constitutum est."

["Then be angry, when there is anything unjustly decreed against
thee alone."--Seneca, Ep., 91.]

See an old man who begs of God that he will maintain his health vigorous
and entire; that is to say, that he restore him to youth:

"Stulte, quid haec frustra votis puerilibus optas?"

["Fool! why do you vainly form these puerile wishes?"
--Ovid., Trist., 111. 8, II.]

is it not folly? his condition is not capable of it. The gout, the
stone, and indigestion are symptoms of long years; as heat, rains, and
winds are of long journeys. Plato does not believe that AEsculapius
troubled himself to provide by regimen to prolong life in a weak and
wasted body, useless to his country and to his profession, or to beget
healthful and robust children; and does not think this care suitable to
the Divine justice and prudence, which is to direct all things to
utility. My good friend, your business is done; nobody can restore you;
they can, at the most, but patch you up, and prop you a little, and by
that means prolong your misery an hour or two:

"Non secus instantem cupiens fulcire ruinam,
Diversis contra nititur obiicibus;
Donec certa dies, omni compage soluta,
Ipsum cum rebus subruat auxilium."

["Like one who, desiring to stay an impending ruin, places various
props against it, till, in a short time, the house, the props, and
all, giving way, fall together."--Pseudo-Gallus, i. 171.]

We must learn to suffer what we cannot evade; our life, like the harmony
of the world, is composed of contrary things--of diverse tones, sweet and
harsh, sharp and flat, sprightly and solemn: the musician who should only
affect some of these, what would he be able to do? he must know how to
make use of them all, and to mix them; and so we should mingle the goods
and evils which are consubstantial with our life; our being cannot
subsist without this mixture, and the one part is no less necessary to it
than the other. To attempt to combat natural necessity, is to represent
the folly of Ctesiphon, who undertook to kick with his mule.--[Plutarch,
How to restrain Anger, c. 8.]

I consult little about the alterations I feel: for these doctors take
advantage; when they have you at their mercy, they surfeit your ears with
their prognostics; and formerly surprising me, weakened with sickness,
injuriously handled me with their dogmas and magisterial fopperies--one
while menacing me with great pains, and another with approaching death.
Hereby I was indeed moved and shaken, but not subdued nor jostled from my
place; and though my judgment was neither altered nor distracted, yet it
was at least disturbed: 'tis always agitation and combat.

Now, I use my imagination as gently as I can, and would discharge it, if
I could, of all trouble and contest; a man must assist, flatter, and
deceive it, if he can; my mind is fit for that office; it needs no
appearances throughout: could it persuade as it preaches, it would
successfully relieve me. Will you have an example? It tells me: "that
'tis for my good to have the stone: that the structure of my age must
naturally suffer some decay, and it is now time it should begin to
disjoin and to confess a breach; 'tis a common necessity, and there is
nothing in it either miraculous or new; I therein pay what is due to old
age, and I cannot expect a better bargain; that society ought to comfort
me, being fallen into the most common infirmity of my age; I see
everywhere men tormented with the same disease, and am honoured by the
fellowship, forasmuch as men of the best quality are most frequently
afflicted with it: 'tis a noble and dignified disease: that of such as
are struck with it, few have it to a less degree of pain; that these are
put to the trouble of a strict diet and the daily taking of nauseous
potions, whereas I owe my better state purely to my good fortune; for
some ordinary broths of eringo or burst-wort that I have twice or thrice
taken to oblige the ladies, who, with greater kindness than my pain was
sharp, would needs present me half of theirs, seemed to me equally easy
to take and fruitless in operation, the others have to pay a thousand
vows to AEsculapius, and as many crowns to their physicians, for the
voiding a little gravel, which I often do by the aid of nature: even the
decorum of my countenance is not disturbed in company; and I can hold my
water ten hours, and as long as any man in health. The fear of this
disease," says my mind, "formerly affrighted thee, when it was unknown to
thee; the cries and despairing groans of those who make it worse by their
impatience, begot a horror in thee. 'Tis an infirmity that punishes the
members by which thou hast most offended. Thou art a conscientious

"Quae venit indigne poena, dolenda venit:"

["We are entitled to complain of a punishment that we have not
deserved."--Ovid, Heroid., v. 8.]

"consider this chastisement: 'tis very easy in comparison of others, and
inflicted with a paternal tenderness: do but observe how late it comes;
it only seizes on and incommodes that part of thy life which is, one way
and another, sterile and lost; having, as it were by composition, given
time for the licence and pleasures of thy youth. The fear and the
compassion that the people have of this disease serve thee for matter of
glory; a quality whereof if thou bast thy judgment purified, and that thy
reason has somewhat cured it, thy friends notwithstanding, discern some
tincture in thy complexion. 'Tis a pleasure to hear it said of oneself
what strength of mind, what patience! Thou art seen to sweat with pain,
to turn pale and red, to tremble, to vomit blood, to suffer strange
contractions and convulsions, at times to let great tears drop from thine
eyes, to urine thick, black, and dreadful water, or to have it suppressed
by some sharp and craggy stone, that cruelly pricks and tears the neck of
the bladder, whilst all the while thou entertainest the company with an
ordinary countenance; droning by fits with thy people; making one in a
continuous discourse, now and then making excuse for thy pain, and
representing thy suffering less than it is. Dost thou call to mind the
men of past times, who so greedily sought diseases to keep their virtue
in breath and exercise? Put the case that nature sets thee on and impels
thee to this glorious school, into which thou wouldst never have entered
of thy own free will. If thou tellest me that it is a dangerous and
mortal disease, what others are not so? for 'tis a physical cheat to
expect any that they say do not go direct to death: what matters if they
go thither by accident, or if they easily slide and slip into the path
that leads us to it? But thou dost not die because thou art sick; thou
diest because thou art living: death kills thee without the help of
sickness: and sickness has deferred death in some, who have lived longer
by reason that they thought themselves always dying; to which may be
added, that as in wounds, so in diseases, some are medicinal and
wholesome. The stone is often no less long-lived than you; we see men
with whom it has continued from their infancy even to their extreme old
age; and if they had not broken company, it would have been with them
longer still; you more often kill it than it kills you. And though it
should present to you the image of approaching death, were it not a good
office to a man of such an age, to put him in mind of his end? And,
which is worse, thou hast no longer anything that should make thee desire
to be cured. Whether or no, common necessity will soon call thee away.
Do but consider how skilfully and gently she puts thee out of concern
with life, and weans thee from the world; not forcing thee with a
tyrannical subjection, like so many other infirmities which thou seest
old men afflicted withal, that hold them in continual torment, and keep
them in perpetual and unintermitted weakness and pains, but by warnings
and instructions at intervals, intermixing long pauses of repose, as it
were to give thee opportunity to meditate and ruminate upon thy lesson,
at thy own ease and leisure. To give thee means to judge aright, and to
assume the resolution of a man of courage, it presents to thee the state
of thy entire condition, both in good and evil; and one while a very
cheerful and another an insupportable life, in one and the same day. If
thou embracest not death, at least thou shakest hands with it once a
month; whence thou hast more cause to hope that it will one day surprise
thee without menace; and that being so often conducted to the water-side,
but still thinking thyself to be upon the accustomed terms, thou and thy
confidence will at one time or another be unexpectedly wafted over. A
man cannot reasonably complain of diseases that fairly divide the time
with health."

I am obliged to Fortune for having so often assaulted me with the same
sort of weapons: she forms and fashions me by use, hardens and habituates
me, so that I can know within a little for how much I shall be quit. For
want of natural memory, I make one of paper; and as any new symptom
happens in my disease, I set it down, whence it falls out that, having
now almost passed through all sorts of examples, if anything striking
threatens me, turning over these little loose notes, as the Sybilline
leaves, I never fail of finding matter of consolation from some
favourable prognostic in my past experience. Custom also makes me hope
better for the time to come; for, the conduct of this clearing out having
so long continued, 'tis to be believed that nature will not alter her
course, and that no other worse accident will happen than what I already
feel. And besides, the condition of this disease is not unsuitable to my
prompt and sudden complexion: when it assaults me gently, I am afraid,
for 'tis then for a great while; but it has, naturally, brisk and
vigorous excesses; it claws me to purpose for a day or two. My kidneys
held out an age without alteration; and I have almost now lived another,
since they changed their state; evils have their periods, as well as
benefits: peradventure, the infirmity draws towards an end. Age weakens
the heat of my stomach, and, its digestion being less perfect, sends this
crude matter to my kidneys; why, at a certain revolution, may not the
heat of my kidneys be also abated, so that they can no more petrify my
phlegm, and nature find out some other way of purgation. Years have
evidently helped me to drain certain rheums; and why not these excrements
which furnish matter for gravel? But is there anything delightful in
comparison of this sudden change, when from an excessive pain, I come, by
the voiding of a stone, to recover, as by a flash of lightning, the
beautiful light of health, so free and full, as it happens in our sudden
and sharpest colics? Is there anything in the pain suffered, that one
can counterpoise to the pleasure of so sudden an amendment? Oh, how much
does health seem the more pleasant to me, after a sickness so near and so
contiguous, that I can distinguish them in the presence of one another,
in their greatest show; when they appear in emulation, as if to make head
against and dispute it with one another! As the Stoics say that vices
are profitably introduced to give value to and to set off virtue, we can,
with better reason and less temerity of conjecture, say that nature has
given us pain for the honour and service of pleasure and indolence. When
Socrates, after his fetters were knocked off, felt the pleasure of that
itching which the weight of them had caused in his legs, he rejoiced to
consider the strict alliance betwixt pain and pleasure; how they are
linked together by a necessary connection, so that by turns they follow
and mutually beget one another; and cried out to good AEsop, that he
ought out of this consideration to have taken matter for a fine fable.

The worst that I see in other diseases is, that they are not so grievous
in their effect as they are in their issue: a man is a whole year in
recovering, and all the while full of weakness and fear. There is so
much hazard, and so many steps to arrive at safety, that there is no end
on't before they have unmuffled you of a kerchief, and then of a cap,
before they allow you to walk abroad and take the air, to drink wine, to
lie with your wife, to eat melons, 'tis odds you relapse into some new
distemper. The stone has this privilege, that it carries itself clean
off: whereas the other maladies always leave behind them some impression
and alteration that render the body subject to a new disease, and lend a
hand to one another. Those are excusable that content themselves with
possessing us, without extending farther and introducing their followers;
but courteous and kind are those whose passage brings us any profitable
issue. Since I have been troubled with the stone, I find myself freed
from all other accidents, much more, methinks, than I was before, and
have never had any fever since; I argue that the extreme and frequent
vomitings that I am subject to purge me: and, on the other hand, my
distastes for this and that, and the strange fasts I am forced to keep,
digest my peccant humours, and nature, with those stones, voids whatever
there is in me superfluous and hurtful. Let them never tell me that it
is a medicine too dear bought: for what avail so many stinking draughts,
so many caustics, incisions, sweats, setons, diets, and so many other
methods of cure, which often, by reason we are not able to undergo their
violence and importunity, bring us to our graves? So that when I have
the stone, I look upon it as physic; when free from it, as an absolute

And here is another particular benefit of my disease; which is, that it
almost plays its game by itself, and lets 'me play mine, if I have only
courage to do it; for, in its greatest fury, I have endured it ten hours
together on horseback. Do but endure only; you need no other regimen
play, run, dine, do this and t'other, if you can; your debauch will do
you more good than harm; say as much to one that has the pox, the gout,
or hernia! The other diseases have more universal obligations; rack our
actions after another kind of manner, disturb our whole order, and to
their consideration engage the whole state of life: this only pinches the
skin; it leaves the understanding and the will wholly at our own
disposal, and the tongue, the hands, and the feet; it rather awakens than
stupefies you. The soul is struck with the ardour of a fever,
overwhelmed with an epilepsy, and displaced by a sharp megrim, and, in
short, astounded by all the diseases that hurt the whole mass and the
most noble parts; this never meddles with the soul; if anything goes
amiss with her, 'tis her own fault; she betrays, dismounts, and abandons
herself. There are none but fools who suffer themselves to be persuaded
that this hard and massive body which is baked in our kidneys is to be
dissolved by drinks; wherefore, when it is once stirred, there is nothing
to be done but to give it passage; and, for that matter, it will itself
make one.

I moreover observe this particular convenience in it, that it is a
disease wherein we have little to guess at: we are dispensed from the
trouble into which other diseases throw us by the uncertainty of their
causes, conditions, and progress; a trouble that is infinitely painful:
we have no need of consultations and doctoral interpretations; the senses
well enough inform us both what it is and where it is.

By suchlike arguments, weak and strong, as Cicero with the disease of his
old age, I try to rock asleep and amuse my imagination, and to dress its
wounds. If I find them worse tomorrow, I will provide new stratagems.
That this is true: I am come to that pass of late, that the least motion
forces pure blood out of my kidneys: what of that? I move about,
nevertheless, as before, and ride after my hounds with a juvenile and
insolent ardour; and hold that I have very good satisfaction for an
accident of that importance, when it costs me no more but a dull
heaviness and uneasiness in that part; 'tis some great stone that wastes
and consumes the substance of my kidneys and my life, which I by little
and little evacuate, not without some natural pleasure, as an excrement
henceforward superfluous and troublesome. Now if I feel anything
stirring, do not fancy that I trouble myself to consult my pulse or my
urine, thereby to put myself upon some annoying prevention; I shall soon
enough feel the pain, without making it more and longer by the disease of
fear. He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears. To
which may be added that the doubts and ignorance of those who take upon
them to expound the designs of nature and her internal progressions, and
the many false prognostics of their art, ought to give us to understand
that her ways are inscrutable and utterly unknown; there is great
uncertainty, variety, and obscurity in what she either promises or
threatens. Old age excepted, which is an indubitable sign of the
approach of death, in all other accidents I see few signs of the future,
whereon we may ground our divination. I only judge of myself by actual
sensation, not by reasoning: to what end, since I am resolved to bring
nothing to it but expectation and patience? Will you know how much I get
by this? observe those who do otherwise, and who rely upon so many
diverse persuasions and counsels; how often the imagination presses upon
them without any bodily pain. I have many times amused myself, being
well and in safety, and quite free from these dangerous attacks in
communicating them to the physicians as then beginning to discover
themselves in me; I underwent the decree of their dreadful conclusions,
being all the while quite at my ease, and so much the more obliged to the
favour of God and better satisfied of the vanity of this art.

There is nothing that ought so much to be recommended to youth as
activity and vigilance our life is nothing but movement. I bestir myself
with great difficulty, and am slow in everything, whether in rising,
going to bed, or eating: seven of the clock in the morning is early for
me, and where I rule, I never dine before eleven, nor sup till after six.
I formerly attributed the cause of the fevers and other diseases I fell
into to the heaviness that long sleeping had brought upon me, and have
ever repented going to sleep again in the morning. Plato is more angry
at excess of sleeping than at excess of drinking. I love to lie hard and
alone, even without my wife, as kings do; pretty well covered with
clothes. They never warm my bed, but since I have grown old they give me
at need cloths to lay to my feet and stomach. They found fault with the
great Scipio that he was a great sleeper; not, in my opinion, for any
other reason than that men were displeased that he alone should have
nothing in him to be found fault with. If I am anything fastidious in my
way of living 'tis rather in my lying than anything else; but generally
I give way and accommodate myself as well as any one to necessity.
Sleeping has taken up a great part of my life, and I yet continue, at the
age I now am, to sleep eight or nine hours at one breath. I wean myself
with utility from this proneness to sloth, and am evidently the better
for so doing. I find the change a little hard indeed, but in three days
'tis over; and I see but few who live with less sleep, when need
requires, and who more constantly exercise themselves, or to whom long
journeys are less troublesome. My body is capable of a firm, but not of
a violent or sudden agitation. I escape of late from violent exercises,
and such as make me sweat: my limbs grow weary before they are warm.
I can stand a whole day together, and am never weary of walking; but from
my youth I have ever preferred to ride upon paved roads; on foot, I get
up to the haunches in dirt, and little fellows as I am are subject in the
streets to be elbowed and jostled for want of presence; I have ever loved
to repose myself, whether sitting or lying, with my heels as high or
higher than my seat.

There is no profession as pleasant as the military, a profession both
noble in its execution (for valour is the stoutest, proudest, and most
generous of all virtues), and noble in its cause: there is no utility
either more universal or more just than the protection of the peace and
greatness of one's country. The company of so many noble, young, and
active men delights you; the ordinary sight of so many tragic spectacles;
the freedom of the conversation, without art; a masculine and
unceremonious way of living, please you; the variety of a thousand
several actions; the encouraging harmony of martial music that ravishes
and inflames both your ears and souls; the honour of this occupation,
nay, even its hardships and difficulties, which Plato holds so light that
in his Republic he makes women and children share in them, are delightful
to you. You put yourself voluntarily upon particular exploits and
hazards, according as you judge of their lustre and importance; and, a
volunteer, find even life itself excusably employed:

"Pulchrumque mori succurrit in armis."

["'Tis fine to die sword in hand." ("And he remembers that it
is honourable to die in arms.")--AEneid, ii. 317.]

To fear common dangers that concern so great a multitude of men; not to
dare to do what so many sorts of souls, what a whole people dare, is for
a heart that is poor and mean beyond all measure: company encourages even
children. If others excel you in knowledge, in gracefulness, in
strength, or fortune, you have alternative resources at your disposal;
but to give place to them in stability of mind, you can blame no one for
that but yourself. Death is more abject, more languishing and
troublesome, in bed than in a fight: fevers and catarrhs as painful and
mortal as a musket-shot. Whoever has fortified himself valiantly to bear
the accidents of common life need not raise his courage to be a soldier:

"Vivere, mi Lucili, militare est."

["To live, my Lucilius, is (to make war) to be a soldier."
--Seneca, Ep., 96.]

I do not remember that I ever had the itch, and yet scratching is one of
nature's sweetest gratifications, and so much at hand; but repentance
follows too near. I use it most in my ears, which are at intervals apt
to itch.

I came into the world with all my senses entire, even to perfection. My
stomach is commodiously good, as also is my head and my breath; and, for
the most part, uphold themselves so in the height of fevers. I have
passed the age to which some nations, not without reason, have prescribed
so just a term of life that they would not suffer men to exceed it; and
yet I have some intermissions, though short and inconstant, so clean and
sound as to be little inferior to the health and pleasantness of my
youth. I do not speak of vigour and sprightliness; 'tis not reason they
should follow me beyond their limits:

"Non hoc amplius est liminis, aut aquae
Coelestis, patiens latus."

["I am no longer able to stand waiting at a door in the rain."
--Horace, Od., iii. 10, 9.]

My face and eyes presently discover my condition; all my alterations
begin there, and appear somewhat worse than they really are; my friends
often pity me before I feel the cause in myself. My looking-glass does
not frighten me; for even in my youth it has befallen me more than once
to have a scurvy complexion and of ill augury, without any great
consequence, so that the physicians, not finding any cause within
answerable to that outward alteration, attributed it to the mind and to
some secret passion that tormented me within; but they were deceived.
If my body would govern itself as well, according to my rule, as my mind
does, we should move a little more at our ease. My mind was then not
only free from trouble, but, moreover, full of joy and satisfaction,
as it commonly is, half by its complexion, half by its design:

"Nec vitiant artus aegrae contagia mentis."

["Nor do the troubles of the body ever affect my mind."
--Ovid, Trist., iii. 8, 25.]

I am of the opinion that this temperature of my soul has often raised my
body from its lapses; this is often depressed; if the other be not brisk
and gay, 'tis at least tranquil and at rest. I had a quartan ague four
or five months, that made me look miserably ill; my mind was always, if
not calm, yet pleasant. If the pain be without me, the weakness and
languor do not much afflict me; I see various corporal faintings, that
beget a horror in me but to name, which yet I should less fear than a
thousand passions and agitations of the mind that I see about me. I make
up my mind no more to run; 'tis enough that I can crawl along; nor do I
more complain of the natural decadence that I feel in myself:

"Quis tumidum guttur miratur in Alpibus?"

["Who is surprised to see a swollen goitre in the Alps?"
--Juvenal, xiii. 162.]

than I regret that my duration shall not be as long and entire as that of
an oak.

I have no reason to complain of my imagination; I have had few thoughts
in my life that have so much as broken my sleep, except those of desire,
which have awakened without afflicting me. I dream but seldom, and then
of chimaeras and fantastic things, commonly produced from pleasant
thoughts, and rather ridiculous than sad; and I believe it to be true
that dreams are faithful interpreters of our inclinations; but there is
art required to sort and understand them

"Res, quae in vita usurpant homines, cogitant, curant, vident,
Quaeque agunt vigilantes, agitantque, ea si cui in somno accidunt,
Minus mirandum est."

["'Tis less wonder, what men practise, think, care for, see, and do
when waking, (should also run in their heads and disturb them when
they are asleep) and which affect their feelings, if they happen to
any in sleep."--Attius, cited in Cicero, De Divin., i. 22.]

Plato, moreover, says, that 'tis the office of prudence to draw
instructions of divination of future things from dreams: I don't know
about this, but there are wonderful instances of it that Socrates,
Xenophon, and Aristotle, men of irreproachable authority, relate.
Historians say that the Atlantes never dream; who also never eat any
animal food, which I add, forasmuch as it is, peradventure, the reason
why they never dream, for Pythagoras ordered a certain preparation of
diet to beget appropriate dreams. Mine are very gentle, without any
agitation of body or expression of voice. I have seen several of my time
wonderfully disturbed by them. Theon the philosopher walked in his
sleep, and so did Pericles servant, and that upon the tiles and top of
the house.

I hardly ever choose my dish at table, but take the next at hand, and
unwillingly change it for another. A confusion of meats and a clatter of
dishes displease me as much as any other confusion: I am easily satisfied
with few dishes: and am an enemy to the opinion of Favorinus, that in a
feast they should snatch from you the meat you like, and set a plate of
another sort before you; and that 'tis a pitiful supper, if you do not
sate your guests with the rumps of various fowls, the beccafico only
deserving to be all eaten. I usually eat salt meats, yet I prefer bread
that has no salt in it; and my baker never sends up other to my table,
contrary to the custom of the country. In my infancy, what they had most
to correct in me was the refusal of things that children commonly best
love, as sugar, sweetmeats, and march-panes. My tutor contended with
this aversion to delicate things, as a kind of over-nicety; and indeed
'tis nothing else but a difficulty of taste, in anything it applies
itself to. Whoever cures a child of an obstinate liking for brown bread,
bacon, or garlic, cures him also of pampering his palate. There are some
who affect temperance and plainness by wishing for beef and ham amongst
the partridges; 'tis all very fine; this is the delicacy of the delicate;
'tis the taste of an effeminate fortune that disrelishes ordinary and
accustomed things.

"Per qux luxuria divitiarum taedio ludit."

["By which the luxury of wealth causes tedium."--Seneca, Ep., 18.]

Not to make good cheer with what another is enjoying, and to be curious
in what a man eats, is the essence of this vice:

"Si modica coenare times olus omne patella."

["If you can't be content with herbs in a small dish for supper."
--Horace, Ep., i. 5, 2.]

There is indeed this difference, that 'tis better to oblige one's
appetite to things that are most easy to be had; but 'tis always vice to
oblige one's self. I formerly said a kinsman of mine was overnice, who,
by being in our galleys, had unlearned the use of beds and to undress
when he went to sleep.

If I had any sons, I should willingly wish them my fortune. The good
father that God gave me (who has nothing of me but the acknowledgment of
his goodness, but truly 'tis a very hearty one) sent me from my cradle to
be brought up in a poor village of his, and there continued me all the
while I was at nurse, and still longer, bringing me up to the meanest and
most common way of living:

"Magna pars libertatis est bene moratus venter."

["A well-governed stomach is a great part of liberty."
--Seneca,Ep., 123.]

Never take upon yourselves, and much less give up to your wives, the care
of their nurture; leave the formation to fortune, under popular and
natural laws; leave it to custom to train them up to frugality and
hardship, that they may rather descend from rigour than mount up to it.
This humour of his yet aimed at another end, to make me familiar with the
people and the condition of men who most need our assistance; considering
that I should rather regard them who extend their arms to me, than those
who turn their backs upon me; and for this reason it was that he provided
to hold me at the font persons of the meanest fortune, to oblige and
attach me to them.

Nor has his design succeeded altogether ill; for, whether upon the
account of the more honour in such a condescension, or out of a natural
compassion that has a very great power over me, I have an inclination
towards the meaner sort of people. The faction which I should condemn in
our wars, I should more sharply condemn, flourishing and successful; it
will somewhat reconcile me to it, when I shall see it miserable and
overwhelmed. How willingly do I admire the fine humour of Cheilonis,
daughter and wife to kings of Sparta. Whilst her husband Cleombrotus, in
the commotion of her city, had the advantage over Leonidas her father,
she, like a good daughter, stuck close to her father in all his misery
and exile, in opposition to the conqueror. But so soon as the chance of
war turned, she changed her will with the change of fortune, and bravely
turned to her husband's side, whom she accompanied throughout, where his
ruin carried him: admitting, as it appears to me, no other choice than to
cleave to the side that stood most in need of her, and where she could
best manifest her compassion. I am naturally more apt to follow the
example of Flaminius, who rather gave his assistance to those who had
most need of him than to those who had power to do him good, than I do to
that of Pyrrhus, who was of an humour to truckle under the great and to
domineer over the poor.

Long sittings at table both trouble me and do me harm; for, be it that I
was so accustomed when a child, I eat all the while I sit. Therefore it
is that at my own house, though the meals there are of the shortest, I
usually sit down a little while after the rest, after the manner of
Augustus, but I do not imitate him in rising also before the rest; on the
contrary, I love to sit still a long time after, and to hear them talk,
provided I am none of the talkers: for I tire and hurt myself with
speaking upon a full stomach, as much as I find it very wholesome and
pleasant to argue and to strain my voice before dinner.

The ancient Greeks and Romans had more reason than we in setting apart
for eating, which is a principal action of life, if they were not
prevented by other extraordinary business, many hours and the greatest
part of the night; eating and drinking more deliberately than we do, who
perform all our actions post-haste; and in extending this natural
pleasure to more leisure and better use, intermixing with profitable

They whose concern it is to have a care of me, may very easily hinder me
from eating anything they think will do me harm; for in such matters I
never covet nor miss anything I do not see; but withal, if it once comes
in my sight, 'tis in vain to persuade me to forbear; so that when I
design to fast I must be kept apart from the suppers, and must have only
so much given me as is required for a prescribed collation; for if to
table, I forget my resolution. When I order my cook to alter the manner
of dressing any dish, all my family know what it means, that my stomach
is out of order, and that I shall not touch it.

I love to have all meats, that will endure it, very little boiled or
roasted, and prefer them very high, and even, as to several, quite gone.
Nothing but hardness generally offends me (of any other quality I am as
patient and indifferent as any man I have known); so that, contrary to
the common humour, even in fish it often happens that I find them both
too fresh and too firm; not for want of teeth, which I ever had good,
even to excellence, and which age does not now begin to threaten; I have
always been used every morning to rub them with a napkin, and before and
after dinner. God is favourable to those whom He makes to die by
degrees; 'tis the only benefit of old age; the last death will be so much
the less painful; it will kill but a half or a quarter of a man. There
is one tooth lately fallen out without drawing and without pain; it was
the natural term of its duration; in that part of my being and several
others, are already dead, others half dead, of those that were most
active and in the first rank during my vigorous years; 'tis so I melt and
steal away from myself. What a folly it would be in my understanding to
apprehend the height of this fall, already so much advanced, as if it
were from the very top! I hope I shall not. I, in truth, receive a
principal consolation in meditating my death, that it will be just and
natural, and that henceforward I cannot herein either require or hope
from Destiny any other but unlawful favour. Men make themselves believe
that we formerly had longer lives as well as greater stature. But they
deceive themselves; and Solon, who was of those elder times, limits the
duration of life to threescore and ten years. I, who have so much and so
universally adored that "The mean is best," of the passed time, and who
have concluded the most moderate measures to be the most perfect, shall
I pretend to an immeasurable and prodigious old age? Whatever happens
contrary to the course of nature may be troublesome; but what comes
according to her should always be pleasant:

"Omnia, quae secundum naturam fiunt, sunt habenda in bonis."

["All things that are done according to nature
are to be accounted good."--Cicero, De Senect., c. 19.]

And so, says Plato, the death which is occasioned by wounds and diseases
is violent; but that which comes upon us, old age conducting us to it, is
of all others the most easy, and in some sort delicious:

"Vitam adolescentibus vis aufert, senibus maturitas."

["Young men are taken away by violence, old men by maturity."
--Cicero, ubi sup.]

Death mixes and confounds itself throughout with life; decay anticipates
its hour, and shoulders itself even into the course of our advance.
I have portraits of myself taken at five-and-twenty and five-and-thirty
years of age. I compare them with that lately drawn: how many times is
it no longer me; how much more is my present image unlike the former,
than unlike my dying one? It is too much to abuse nature, to make her
trot so far that she must be forced to leave us, and abandon our conduct,
our eyes, teeth, legs, and all the rest to the mercy of a foreign and
haggard countenance, and to resign us into the hands of art, being weary
of following us herself.

I am not excessively fond either of salads or fruits, except melons. My
father hated all sorts of sauces; I love them all. Eating too much hurts
me; but, as to the quality of what I eat, I do not yet certainly know
that any sort of meat disagrees with me; neither have I observed that
either full moon or decrease, autumn or spring, have any influence upon
me. We have in us motions that are inconstant and unknown; for example,
I found radishes first grateful to my stomach, since that nauseous, and
now again grateful. In several other things, I find my stomach and
appetite vary after the same manner; I have changed again and again from
white wine to claret, from claret to white wine.

I am a great lover of fish, and consequently make my fasts feasts and
feasts fasts; and I believe what some people say, that it is more easy of
digestion than flesh. As I make a conscience of eating flesh upon fish-
days, so does my taste make a conscience of mixing fish and flesh; the
difference betwixt them seems to me too remote.

From my youth, I have sometimes kept out of the way at meals; either to
sharpen my appetite against the next morning (for, as Epicurus fasted and
made lean meals to accustom his pleasure to make shift without abundance,
I, on the contrary, do it to prepare my pleasure to make better and more
cheerful use of abundance); or else I fasted to preserve my vigour for
the service of some action of body or mind: for both the one and the
other of these is cruelly dulled in me by repletion; and, above all
things, I hate that foolish coupling of so healthful and sprightly a
goddess with that little belching god, bloated with the fumes of his
liquor--[ Montaigne did not approve of coupling Bacchus with Venus.]--
or to cure my sick stomach, or for want of fit company; for I say, as the
same Epicurus did, that one is not so much to regard what he eats, as
with whom; and I commend Chilo, that he would not engage himself to be at
Periander's feast till he was first informed who were to be the other
guests; no dish is so acceptable to me, nor no sauce so appetising, as
that which is extracted from society. I think it more wholesome to eat
more leisurely and less, and to eat oftener; but I would have appetite
and hunger attended to; I should take no pleasure to be fed with three or
four pitiful and stinted repasts a day, after a medicinal manner: who
will assure me that, if I have a good appetite in the morning, I shall
have the same at supper? But we old fellows especially, let us take the
first opportune time of eating, and leave to almanac-makers hopes and
prognostics. The utmost fruit of my health is pleasure; let us take hold
of the present and known. I avoid the invariable in these laws of
fasting; he who would have one form serve him, let him avoid the
continuing it; we harden ourselves in it; our strength is there stupefied
and laid asleep; six months after, you shall find your stomach so inured
to it, that all you have got is the loss of your liberty of doing
otherwise but to your prejudice.

I never keep my legs and thighs warmer in winter than in summer; one
simple pair of silk stockings is all. I have suffered myself, for the
relief of my colds, to keep my head warmer, and my belly upon the account
of my colic: my diseases in a few days habituate themselves thereto, and
disdained my ordinary provisions: we soon get from a coif to a kerchief
over it, from a simple cap to a quilted hat; the trimmings of the doublet
must not merely serve for ornament: there must be added a hare's skin or
a vulture's skin, and a cap under the hat: follow this gradation, and you
will go a very fine way to work. I will do nothing of the sort, and
would willingly leave off what I have begun. If you fall into any new
inconvenience, all this is labour lost; you are accustomed to it; seek
out some other. Thus do they destroy themselves who submit to be
pestered with these enforced and superstitious rules; they must add
something more, and something more after that; there is no end on't.

For what concerns our affairs and pleasures, it is much more commodious,
as the ancients did, to lose one's dinner, and defer making good cheer
till the hour of retirement and repose, without breaking up a day; and so
was I formerly used to do. As to health, I since by experience find, on
the contrary, that it is better to dine, and that the digestion is better
while awake. I am not very used to be thirsty, either well or sick; my
mouth is, indeed, apt to be dry, but without thirst; and commonly I never
drink but with thirst that is created by eating, and far on in the meal;
I drink pretty well for a man of my pitch: in summer, and at a relishing
meal, I do not only exceed the limits of Augustus, who drank but thrice
precisely; but not to offend Democritus rule, who forbade that men should
stop at four times as an unlucky number, I proceed at need to the fifth
glass, about three half-pints; for the little glasses are my favourites,
and I like to drink them off, which other people avoid as an unbecoming
thing. I mix my wine sometimes with half, sometimes with the third part
water; and when I am at home, by an ancient custom that my father's
physician prescribed both to him and himself, they mix that which is
designed for me in the buttery, two or three hours before 'tis brought
in. 'Tis said that Cranabs, king of Attica, was the inventor of this
custom of diluting wine; whether useful or no, I have heard disputed.
I think it more decent and wholesome for children to drink no wine till
after sixteen or eighteen years of age. The most usual and common method
of living is the most becoming; all particularity, in my opinion, is to
be avoided; and I should as much hate a German who mixed water with his
wine, as I should a Frenchman who drank it pure. Public usage gives the
law in these things.

I fear a mist, and fly from smoke as from the plague: the first repairs I
fell upon in my own house were the chimneys and houses of office, the
common and insupportable defects of all old buildings; and amongst the
difficulties of war I reckon the choking dust they made us ride in a
whole day together. I have a free and easy respiration, and my colds for
the most part go off without offence to the lungs and without a cough.

The heat of summer is more an enemy to me than the cold of winter; for,
besides the incommodity of heat, less remediable than cold, and besides
the force of the sunbeams that strike upon the head, all glittering light
offends my eyes, so that I could not now sit at dinner over against a
flaming fire.

To dull the whiteness of paper, in those times when I was more wont to
read, I laid a piece of glass upon my book, and found my eyes much
relieved by it. I am to this hour--to the age of fifty-four--Ignorant of
the use of spectacles; and I can see as far as ever I did, or any other.
'Tis true that in the evening I begin to find a little disturbance and
weakness in my sight if I read, an exercise I have always found
troublesome, especially by night. Here is one step back, and a very
manifest one; I shall retire another: from the second to the third, and
so to the fourth, so gently, that I shall be stark blind before I shall
be sensible of the age and decay of my sight: so artificially do the
Fatal Sisters untwist our lives. And so I doubt whether my hearing
begins to grow thick; and you will see I shall have half lost it, when I
shall still lay the fault on the voices of those who speak to me. A man
must screw up his soul to a high pitch to make it sensible how it ebbs

My walking is quick and firm; and I know not which of the two, my mind or
my body, I have most to do to keep in the same state. That preacher is
very much my friend who can fix my attention a whole sermon through: in
places of ceremony, where every one's countenance is so starched, where I
have seen the ladies keep even their eyes so fixed, I could never order
it so, that some part or other of me did not lash out; so that though I
was seated, I was never settled; and as to gesticulation, I am never
without a switch in my hand, walking or riding. As the philosopher
Chrysippus' maid said of her master, that he was only drunk in his legs,
for it was his custom to be always kicking them about in what place
soever he sat; and she said it when, the wine having made all his
companions drunk, he found no alteration in himself at all; it may have
been said of me from my infancy, that I had either folly or quicksilver
in my feet, so much stirring and unsettledness there is in them, wherever
they are placed.

'Tis indecent, besides the hurt it does to one's health, and even to the
pleasure of eating, to eat greedily as I do; I often bite my tongue, and
sometimes my fingers, in my haste. Diogenes, meeting a boy eating after
that manner, gave his tutor a box on the ear! There were men at Rome
that taught people to chew, as well as to walk, with a good grace. I
lose thereby the leisure of speaking, which gives great relish to the
table, provided the discourse be suitable, that is, pleasant and short.

There is jealousy and envy amongst our pleasures; they cross and hinder
one another. Alcibiades, a man who well understood how to make good
cheer, banished even music from the table, that it might not disturb the
entertainment of discourse, for the reason, as Plato tells us, "that it
is the custom of ordinary people to call fiddlers and singing men to
feasts, for want of good discourse and pleasant talk, with which men of
understanding know how to entertain one another." Varro requires all
this in entertainments: "Persons of graceful presence and agreeable
conversation, who are neither silent nor garrulous; neatness and
delicacy, both of meat and place; and fair weather." The art of dining
well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure; neither the
greatest captains nor the greatest philosophers have disdained the use or
science of eating well. My imagination has delivered three repasts to
the custody of my memory, which fortune rendered sovereignly sweet to me,
upon several occasions in my more flourishing age; my present state
excludes me; for every one, according to the good temper of body and mind
wherein he then finds himself, furnishes for his own share a particular
grace and savour. I, who but crawl upon the earth, hate this inhuman
wisdom, that will have us despise and hate all culture of the body; I
look upon it as an equal injustice to loath natural pleasures as to be
too much in love with them. Xerxes was a blockhead, who, environed with
all human delights, proposed a reward to him who could find out others;
but he is not much less so who cuts off any of those pleasures that
nature has provided for him. A man should neither pursue nor avoid them,
but receive them. I receive them, I confess, a little too warmly and
kindly, and easily suffer myself to follow my natural propensions. We
have no need to exaggerate their inanity; they themselves will make us
sufficiently sensible of it, thanks to our sick wet-blanket mind, that
puts us out of taste with them as with itself; it treats both itself and
all it receives, one while better, and another worse, according to its
insatiable, vagabond, and versatile essence:

"Sincerum est nisi vas, quodcunque infundis, acescit."

["Unless the vessel be clean, it will sour whatever
you put into it."--Horace, Ep., i. 2, 54.]

I, who boast that I so curiously and particularly embrace the
conveniences of life, find them, when I most nearly consider them, very
little more than wind. But what? We are all wind throughout; and,
moreover, the wind itself, more discreet than we, loves to bluster and
shift from corner to corner, and contents itself with its proper offices
without desiring stability and solidity-qualities not its own.

The pure pleasures, as well as the pure displeasures, of the imagination,
say some, are the greatest, as was expressed by the balance of
Critolaiis. 'Tis no wonder; it makes them to its own liking, and cuts
them out of the whole cloth; of this I every day see notable examples,
and, peradventure, to be desired. But I, who am of a mixed and heavy
condition, cannot snap so soon at this one simple object, but that I
negligently suffer myself to be carried away with the present pleasures
of the, general human law, intellectually sensible, and sensibly
intellectual. The Cyrenaic philosophers will have it that as corporal
pains, so corporal pleasures are more powerful, both as double and as
more just. There are some, as Aristotle says, who out of a savage kind
of stupidity dislike them; and I know others who out of ambition do the
same. Why do they not, moreover, forswear breathing? why do they not
live of their own? why not refuse light, because it is gratuitous, and
costs them neither invention nor exertion? Let Mars, Pallas, or Mercury
afford them their light by which to see, instead of Venus, Ceres, and
Bacchus. These boastful humours may counterfeit some content, for what
will not fancy do? But as to wisdom, there is no touch of it. Will they
not seek the quadrature of the circle, even when on their wives? I hate
that we should be enjoined to have our minds in the clouds, when our
bodies are at table; I would not have the mind nailed there, nor wallow
there; I would have it take place there and sit, but not lie down.
Aristippus maintained nothing but the body, as if we had no soul; Zeno
comprehended only the soul, as if we had no body: both of them faultily.
Pythagoras, they say, followed a philosophy that was all contemplation,
Socrates one that was all conduct and action; Plato found a mean betwixt
the two; but they only say this for the sake of talking. The true
temperament is found in Socrates; and, Plato is much more Socratic than
Pythagoric, and it becomes him better. When I dance, I dance; when I
sleep, I sleep. Nay, when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my
thoughts are some part of the time taken up with external occurrences,
I some part of the time call them back again to my walk, to the orchard,
to the sweetness of that solitude, and to myself.

Nature has mother-like observed this, that the actions she has enjoined
us for our necessity should be also pleasurable to us; and she invites us
to them, not only by reason, but also by appetite, and 'tis injustice to
infringe her laws. When I see alike Caesar and Alexander, in the midst
of his greatest business, so fully enjoy human and corporal pleasures, I
do not say that he relaxed his mind: I say that he strengthened it, by
vigour of courage subjecting those violent employments and laborious
thoughts to the ordinary usage of life: wise, had he believed the last
was his ordinary, the first his extraordinary, vocation. We are great
fools. "He has passed his life in idleness," say we: "I have done
nothing to-day." What? have you not lived? that is not only the
fundamental, but the most illustrious, of your occupations. "Had I been
put to the management of great affairs, I should have made it seen what I
could do." "Have you known how to meditate and manage your life? you
have performed the greatest work of all." In order to shew and develop
herself, nature needs only fortune; she equally manifests herself in all
stages, and behind a curtain as well as without one. Have you known how
to regulate your conduct, you have done a great deal more than he who has
composed books. Have you known how to take repose, you have done more
than he who has taken empires and cities.

The glorious masterpiece of man is to live to purpose; all other things:
to reign, to lay up treasure, to build, are but little appendices and
props. I take pleasure in seeing a general of an army, at the foot of a
breach he is presently to assault, give himself up entire and free at
dinner, to talk and be merry with his friends. And Brutus, when heaven
and earth were conspired against him and the Roman liberty, stealing some
hour of the night from his rounds to read and scan Polybius in all
security. 'Tis for little souls, buried under the weight of affairs, not
from them to know how clearly to disengage themselves, not to know how to
lay them aside and take them up again:

"O fortes, pejoraque passi
Mecum saepe viri! nunc vino pellite curas
Cras ingens iterabimus aequor."

["O brave spirits, who have often suffered sorrow with me, drink
cares away; tomorrow we will embark once more on the vast sea."
--Horace, Od., i. 7, 30.]

Whether it be in jest or earnest, that the theological and Sorbonnical
wine, and their feasts, are turned into a proverb, I find it reasonable
they should dine so much more commodiously and pleasantly, as they have
profitably and seriously employed the morning in the exercise of their
schools. The conscience of having well spent the other hours, is the
just and savoury sauce of the dinner-table. The sages lived after that
manner; and that inimitable emulation to virtue, which astonishes us both
in the one and the other Cato, that humour of theirs, so severe as even
to be importunate, gently submits itself and yields to the laws of the
human condition, of Venus and Bacchus; according to the precepts of their
sect, that require the perfect sage to be as expert and intelligent in
the use of natural pleasures as in all other duties of life:

"Cui cor sapiat, ei et sapiat palatus."

Relaxation and facility, methinks, wonderfully honour and best become a
strong and generous soul. Epaminondas did not think that to take part,
and that heartily, in songs and sports and dances with the young men of
his city, were things that in any way derogated from the honour of his
glorious victories and the perfect purity of manners that was in him.
And amongst so many admirable actions of Scipio the grandfather, a person
worthy to be reputed of a heavenly extraction, there is nothing that
gives him a greater grace than to see him carelessly and childishly
trifling at gathering and selecting cockle shells, and playing at quoits,

[This game, as the "Dictionnaire de Trevoux" describes it, is one
wherein two persons contend which of them shall soonest pick up some

amusing and tickling himself in representing by writing in comedies the
meanest and most popular actions of men. And his head full of that
wonderful enterprise of Hannibal and Africa, visiting the schools in
Sicily, and attending philosophical lectures, to the extent of arming the
blind envy of his enemies at Rome. Nor is there anything more remarkable
in Socrates than that, old as he was, he found time to make himself
taught dancing and playing upon instruments, and thought it time well
spent. This same man was seen in an ecstasy, standing upon his feet a
whole day and a night together, in the presence of all the Grecian army,
surprised and absorbed by some profound thought. He was the first,
amongst so many valiant men of the army, to run to the relief of
Alcibiades, oppressed with the enemy, to shield him with his own body,
and disengage him from the crowd by absolute force of arms. It was he
who, in the Delian battle, raised and saved Xenophon when fallen from his
horse; and who, amongst all the people of Athens, enraged as he was at so
unworthy a spectacle, first presented himself to rescue Theramenes, whom
the thirty tyrants were leading to execution by their satellites, and
desisted not from his bold enterprise but at the remonstrance of
Theramenes himself, though he was only followed by two more in all. He
was seen, when courted by a beauty with whom he was in love, to maintain
at need a severe abstinence. He was seen ever to go to the wars, and
walk upon ice, with bare feet; to wear the same robe, winter and summer;
to surpass all his companions in patience of bearing hardships, and to
eat no more at a feast than at his own private dinner. He was seen, for
seven-and-twenty years together, to endure hunger, poverty, the
indocility of his children, and the nails of his wife, with the same
countenance. And, in the end, calumny, tyranny, imprisonment, fetters,
and poison. But was this man obliged to drink full bumpers by any rule
of civility? he was also the man of the whole army with whom the
advantage in drinking, remained. And he never refused to play at
noisettes, nor to ride the hobby-horse with children, and it became him
well; for all actions, says philosophy, equally become and equally honour
a wise man. We have enough wherewithal to do it, and we ought never to
be weary of presenting the image of this great man in all the patterns
and forms of perfection. There are very few examples of life, full and
pure; and we wrong our teaching every day, to propose to ourselves those
that are weak and imperfect, scarce good for any one service, and rather
pull us back; corrupters rather than correctors of manners. The people
deceive themselves; a man goes much more easily indeed by the ends, where
the extremity serves for a bound, a stop, and guide, than by the middle
way, large and open; and according to art, more than according to nature:
but withal much less nobly and commendably.

Greatness of soul consists not so much in mounting and in pressing
forward, as in knowing how to govern and circumscribe itself; it takes
everything for great, that is enough, and demonstrates itself in
preferring moderate to eminent things. There is nothing so fine and
legitimate as well and duly to play the man; nor science so arduous as
well and naturally to know how to live this life; and of all the
infirmities we have, 'tis the most barbarous to despise our being.

Whoever has a mind to isolate his spirit, when the body is ill at ease,
to preserve it from the contagion, let him by all means do it if he can:
but otherwise let him on the contrary favour and assist it, and not
refuse to participate of its natural pleasures with a conjugal
complacency, bringing to it, if it be the wiser, moderation, lest by
indiscretion they should get confounded with displeasure. Intemperance
is the pest of pleasure; and temperance is not its scourge, but rather
its seasoning. Euxodus, who therein established the sovereign good, and
his companions, who set so high a value upon it, tasted it in its most
charming sweetness, by the means of temperance, which in them was
singular and exemplary.

I enjoin my soul to look upon pain and pleasure with an eye equally

"Eodem enim vitio est effusio animi in laetitia
quo in dolore contractio,"

["For from the same imperfection arises the expansion of the
mind in pleasure and its contraction in sorrow."
--Cicero, Tusc. Quaes., iv. 31.]

and equally firm; but the one gaily and the other severely, and so far as
it is able, to be careful to extinguish the one as to extend the other.
The judging rightly of good brings along with it the judging soundly of
evil: pain has something of the inevitable in its tender beginnings, and
pleasure something of the evitable in its excessive end. Plato couples
them together, and wills that it should be equally the office of
fortitude to fight against pain, and against the immoderate and charming
blandishments of pleasure: they are two fountains, from which whoever
draws, when and as much as he needs, whether city, man, or beast, is very
fortunate. The first is to be taken medicinally and upon necessity, and
more scantily; the other for thirst, but not to, drunkenness. Pain,
pleasure, love and hatred are the first things that a child is sensible
of: if, when reason comes, they apply it to themselves, that is virtue.

I have a special vocabulary of my own; I "pass away time," when it is ill
and uneasy, but when 'tis good I do not pass it away: "I taste it over
again and adhere to it"; one must run over the ill and settle upon the
good. This ordinary phrase of pastime, and passing away the time,
represents the usage of those wise sort of people who think they cannot
do better with their lives than to let them run out and slide away, pass
them over, and baulk them, and, as much as they can, ignore them and shun
them as a thing of troublesome and contemptible quality: but I know it to
be another kind of thing, and find it both valuable and commodious, even
in its latest decay, wherein I now enjoy it; and nature has delivered it
into our hands in such and so favourable circumstances that we have only
ourselves to blame if it be troublesome to us, or escapes us

"Stulti vita ingrata est, trepida est, tota in futurum fertur."

["The life of a fool is thankless, timorous, and wholly bent upon
the future."--Seneca, Ep:, 15.]

Nevertheless I compose myself to lose mine without regret; but withal as
a thing that is perishable by its condition, not that it molests or
annoys me. Nor does it properly well become any not to be displeased
when they die, excepting such as are pleased to live. There is good
husbandry in enjoying it: I enjoy it double to what others do; for the
measure of its fruition depends upon our more or less application to it.
Chiefly that I perceive mine to be so short in time, I desire to extend
it in weight; I will stop the promptitude of its flight by the
promptitude of my grasp; and by the vigour of using it compensate the
speed of its running away. In proportion as the possession of life is
more short, I must make it so much deeper and fuller.

Others feel the pleasure of content and prosperity; I feel it too, as
well as they, but not as it passes and slips by; one should study, taste,
and ruminate upon it to render condign thanks to Him who grants it to us.
They enjoy the other pleasures as they do that of sleep, without knowing
it. To the end that even sleep itself should not so stupidly escape from
me, I have formerly caused myself to be disturbed in my sleep, so that I
might the better and more sensibly relish and taste it. I ponder with
myself of content; I do not skim over, but sound it; and I bend my
reason, now grown perverse and peevish, to entertain it. Do I find
myself in any calm composedness? is there any pleasure that tickles me?
I do not suffer it to dally with my senses only; I associate my soul to
it too: not there to engage itself, but therein to take delight; not
there to lose itself, but to be present there; and I employ it, on its
part, to view itself in this prosperous state, to weigh and appreciate
its happiness and to amplify it. It reckons how much it stands indebted
to God that its conscience and the intestine passions are in repose; that
it has the body in its natural disposition, orderly and competently
enjoying the soft and soothing functions by which He, of His grace is
pleased to compensate the sufferings wherewith His justice at His good
pleasure chastises us. It reflects how great a benefit it is to be so
protected, that which way soever it turns its eye the heavens are calm
around it. No desire, no fear, no doubt, troubles the air; no
difficulty, past, present, or to, come, that its imagination may not pass
over without offence. This consideration takes great lustre from the
comparison of different conditions. So it is that I present to my
thought, in a thousand aspects, those whom fortune or their own error
carries away and torments. And, again, those who, more like to me, so
negligently and incuriously receive their good fortune. Those are folks
who spend their time indeed; they pass over the present and that which
they possess, to wait on hope, and for shadows and vain images which
fancy puts before them:

"Morte obita quales fama est volitare figuras,
Aut quae sopitos deludunt somnia sensus:"

["Such forms as those which after death are reputed to hover about,
or dreams which delude the senses in sleep."--AEneid, x. 641.]

which hasten and prolong their flight, according as they are pursued.
The fruit and end of their pursuit is to pursue; as Alexander said, that
the end of his labour was to labour:

"Nil actum credens, cum quid superesset agendum."

["Thinking nothing done, if anything remained to be done.
--"Lucan, ii. 657.]

For my part then, I love life and cultivate it, such as it has pleased
God to bestow it upon us. I do not desire it should be without the
necessity of eating and drinking; and I should think it a not less
excusable failing to wish it had been twice as long;

"Sapiens divitiarum naturalium quaesitor acerrimus:"

["A wise man is the keenest seeker for natural riches."
--Seneca, Ep., 119.]

nor that we should support ourselves by putting only a little of that
drug into our mouths, by which Epimenides took away his appetite and kept
himself alive; nor that we should stupidly beget children with our
fingers or heels, but rather; with reverence be it spoken, that we might
voluptuously beget them with our fingers and heels; nor that the body
should be without desire and without titillation. These are ungrateful
and wicked complaints. I accept kindly, and with gratitude, what nature
has done for me; am well pleased with it, and proud of it. A man does
wrong to that great and omnipotent giver to refuse, annul, or disfigure
his gift: all goodness himself, he has made everything good:

"Omnia quae secundum naturam sunt, aestimatione digna sunt."

["All things that are according to nature are worthy of esteem."
--Cicero, De Fin., iii. 6.]

Of philosophical opinions, I preferably embrace those that are most
solid, that is to say, the most human and most our own: my discourse is,
suitable to my manners, low and humble: philosophy plays the child, to my
thinking, when it puts itself upon its Ergos to preach to us that 'tis a
barbarous alliance to marry the divine with the earthly, the reasonable
with the unreasonable, the severe with the indulgent, the honest with the
dishonest. That pleasure is a brutish quality, unworthy to be tasted by
a wise man; that the sole pleasure he extracts from the enjoyment of a
fair young wife is a pleasure of his conscience to perform an action
according to order, as to put on his boots for a profitable journey.
Oh, that its followers had no more right, nor nerves, nor vigour in
getting their wives' maidenheads than in its lesson.

This is not what Socrates says, who is its master and ours: he values, as
he ought, bodily pleasure; but he prefers that of the mind as having more
force, constancy, facility, variety, and dignity. This, according to
him, goes by no means alone--he is not so fantastic--but only it goes
first; temperance with him is the moderatrix, not the adversary of
pleasure. Nature is a gentle guide, but not more sweet and gentle than
prudent and just.

"Intrandum est in rerum naturam, et penitus,
quid ea postulet, pervidendum."

["A man must search into the nature of things, and fully examine
what she requires."--Cicero, De Fin., V. 16.]

I hunt after her foot throughout: we have confounded it with artificial
traces; and that academic and peripatetic good, which is "to live
according to it," becomes on this account hard to limit and explain; and
that of the Stoics, neighbour to it, which is "to consent to nature."
Is it not an error to esteem any actions less worthy, because they are
necessary? And yet they will not take it out of my head, that it is not
a very convenient marriage of pleasure with necessity, with which, says
an ancient, the gods always conspire. To what end do we dismember by
divorce a building united by so close and brotherly a correspondence?
Let us, on the contrary, confirm it by mutual offices; let the mind rouse
and quicken the heaviness of the body, and the body stay and fix the
levity of the soul:

"Qui, velut summum bonum, laudat animac naturam, et, tanquam malum,
naturam carnis accusat, profectd et animam carnatiter appetit, et
carnem carnaliter fugit; quoniam id vanitate sentit humans, non
veritate divina."

["He who commends the nature of the soul as the supreme good, and
condemns the nature of the flesh as evil, at once both carnally
desires the soul, and carnally flies the flesh, because he feels
thus from human vanity, not from divine truth."
--St. Augustin, De Civit. Dei, xiv. 5.]

In this present that God has made us, there is nothing unworthy our care;
we stand accountable for it even to a hair; and is it not a commission to
man, to conduct man according to his condition; 'tis express, plain, and
the very principal one, and the Creator has seriously and strictly
prescribed it to us. Authority has power only to work in regard to
matters of common judgment, and is of more weight in a foreign language;
therefore let us again charge at it in this place:

"Stultitiae proprium quis non dixerit, ignave et contumaciter
facere, quae facienda sunt; et alio corpus impellere, alio animum;
distrahique inter diversissimos motus?"

["Who will not say, that it is the property of folly, slothfully and
contumaciously to perform what is to be done, and to bend the body
one way and the mind another, and to be distracted betwixt wholly
different motions?"--Seneca, Ep., 74.]

To make this apparent, ask any one, some day, to tell you what whimsies
and imaginations he put into his pate, upon the account of which he
diverted his thoughts from a good meal, and regrets the time he spends in
eating; you will find there is nothing so insipid in all the dishes at
your table as this wise meditation of his (for the most part we had
better sleep than wake to the purpose we wake); and that his discourses
and notions are not worth the worst mess there. Though they were the
ecstasies of Archimedes himself, what then? I do not here speak of, nor
mix with the rabble of us ordinary men, and the vanity of the thoughts
and desires that divert us, those venerable souls, elevated by the ardour
of devotion and religion, to a constant and conscientious meditation of
divine things, who, by the energy of vivid and vehement hope,
prepossessing the use of the eternal nourishment, the final aim and last
step of Christian desires, the sole constant, and incorruptible pleasure,
disdain to apply themselves to our necessitous, fluid, and ambiguous
conveniences, and easily resign to the body the care and use of sensual
and temporal pasture; 'tis a privileged study. Between ourselves, I have
ever observed supercelestial opinions and subterranean manners to be of
singular accord.

AEsop, that great man, saw his master piss as he walked: "What then,"
said he, "must we drop as we run?" Let us manage our time; there yet
remains a great deal idle and ill employed. The mind has not willingly
other hours enough wherein to do its business, without disassociating
itself from the body, in that little space it must have for its
necessity. They would put themselves out of themselves, and escape from
being men. It is folly; instead of transforming themselves into angels,
they transform themselves into beasts; instead of elevating, they lay
themselves lower. These transcendental humours affright me, like high
and inaccessible places; and nothing is hard for me to digest in the life
of Socrates but his ecstasies and communication with demons; nothing so
human in Plato as that for which they say he was called divine; and of
our sciences, those seem to be the most terrestrial and low that are
highest mounted; and I find nothing so humble and mortal in the life of
Alexander as his fancies about his immortalisation. Philotas pleasantly
quipped him in his answer; he congratulated him by letter concerning the
oracle of Jupiter Ammon, which had placed him amongst the gods: "Upon thy
account I am glad of it, but the men are to be pitied who are to live
with a man, and to obey him, who exceeds and is not contented with the
measure of a man:"

"Diis to minorem quod geris, imperas."

["Because thou carriest thyself lower than the gods, thou rulest."
--Horace, Od., iii. 6, 5.]

The pretty inscription wherewith the Athenians honoured the entry of
Pompey into their city is conformable to my sense: "By so much thou art
a god, as thou confessest thee a man." 'Tis an absolute and, as it were,
a divine perfection, for a man to know how loyally to enjoy his being.
We seek other conditions, by reason we do not understand the use of our
own; and go out of ourselves, because we know not how there to reside.
'Tis to much purpose to go upon stilts, for, when upon stilts, we must
yet walk with our legs; and when seated upon the most elevated throne in
the world, we are but seated upon our breech. The fairest lives, in my
opinion, are those which regularly accommodate themselves to the common
and human model without miracle, without extravagance. Old age stands a
little in need of a more gentle treatment. Let us recommend that to God,
the protector of health and wisdom, but let it be gay and sociable:

"Frui paratis et valido mihi
Latoe, dones, et precor, integra
Cum mente; nec turpem senectam
Degere, nec Cithara carentem."

["Grant it to me, Apollo, that I may enjoy my possessions in good
health; let me be sound in mind; let me not lead a dishonourable
old age, nor want the cittern."--Horace, Od., i. 31, 17.]


["Grant it to me, Apollo, that I may enjoy what I have in good
health; let me be sound in body and mind; let me live in honour when
old, nor let music be wanting."]

[In fact, the first edition of the Essays (Bordeaux, 1580) has very few
quotations. These became more numerous in the edition of 1588; but the
multitude of classical texts which at times encumber Montaigne's text,
only dates from the posthumous edition of 1595] he had made these
collections in the four last years of his life, as an amusement of his
"idleness."--Le Clerc. They grow, however, more sparing in the Third


A well-governed stomach is a great part of liberty
Affirmation and obstinacy are express signs of want of wit
Alexander said, that the end of his labour was to labour
All actions equally become and equally honour a wise man
As we were formerly by crimes, so we are now overburdened by law
At the most, but patch you up, and prop you a little
better have none at all than to have them in so prodigious a num
Both kings and philosophers go to stool
Cannot stand the liberty of a friend's advice
Cleave to the side that stood most in need of her
Condemnations have I seen more criminal than the crimes
Customs and laws make justice
Dignify our fopperies when we commit them to the press
Diversity of medical arguments and opinions embraces all
Every man thinks himself sufficiently intelligent
Excuse myself from knowing anything which enslaves me to others
First informed who were to be the other guests
Go out of ourselves, because we know not how there to reside
Got up but an inch upon the shoulders of the last, but one
Hate remedies that are more troublesome than the disease itself
He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears
How many and many times he has been mistaken in his own judgment
"I have done nothing to-day."--"What? have you not lived?"
If it be a delicious medicine, take it
Intelligence is required to be able to know that a man knows not
Intemperance is the pest of pleasure
Language: obscure and unintelligible in wills and contracts
Last death will kill but a half or a quarter of a man
Law: breeder of altercation and division
Laws keep up their credit, not for being just--but as laws
Lay the fault on the voices of those who speak to me.
Learn my own debility and the treachery of my understanding
Life of Caesar has no greater example for us than our own
Long sittings at table both trouble me and do me harm
Made all medicinal conclusions largely give way to my pleasure
Man after who held out his pulse to a physician was a fool
Man must learn that he is nothing but a fool
More ado to interpret interpretations
More books upon books than upon any other subject
Never did two men make the same judgment of the same thing
Nnone that less keep their promise(than physicians)
Nor get children but before I sleep, nor get them standing
Nothing so grossly, nor so ordinarily faulty, as the laws
Our justice presents to us but one hand
Perpetual scolding of his wife (of Socrates)
Physician: pass through all the diseases he pretends to cure
Plato angry at excess of sleeping than at excess of drinking
Plato: lawyers and physicians are bad institutions of a country
Prolong your misery an hour or two
Put us into a way of extending and diversifying difficulties
Resolved to bring nothing to it but expectation and patience
Scratching is one of nature's sweetest gratifications
Seek the quadrature of the circle, even when on their wives
So weak and languishing, as not to have even wishing left to him
Soft, easy, and wholesome pillow is ignorance and incuriosity
Study makes me sensible how much I have to learn
Style wherewith men establish religions and laws
Subdividing these subtilties we teach men to increase their doub
That we may live, we cease to live
The mean is best
There is none of us who would not be worse than kings
Thinking nothing done, if anything remained to be done
Thinks nothing profitable that is not painful
Thou diest because thou art living
Tis so I melt and steal away from myself
Truth itself has not the privilege to be spoken at all times
Truth, that for being older it is none the wiser
We must learn to suffer what we cannot evade
We ought to grant free passage to diseases
Whoever will call to mind the excess of his past anger
Why do we not imitate the Roman architecture?
Wrangling arrogance, wholly believing and trusting in itself
Yet do we find any end of the need of interpretating?


A child should not be brought up in his mother's lap
A gallant man does not give over his pursuit for being refused
A generous heart ought not to belie its own thoughts
A hundred more escape us than ever come to our knowledge
A lady could not boast of her chastity who was never tempted
A little cheese when a mind to make a feast
A little thing will turn and divert us
A man may always study, but he must not always go to school
A man may govern himself well who cannot govern others so
A man may play the fool in everything else, but not in poetry
A man must either imitate the vicious or hate them
A man must have courage to fear
A man never speaks of himself without loss
A man should abhor lawsuits as much as he may
A man should diffuse joy, but, as much as he can, smother grief
A man's accusations of himself are always believed
A parrot would say as much as that
A person's look is but a feeble warranty
A well-bred man is a compound man
A well-governed stomach is a great part of liberty
A word ill taken obliterates ten years' merit
Abhorrence of the patient are necessary circumstances
Abominate that incidental repentance which old age brings
Accept all things we are not able to refute
Accommodated my subject to my strength
Accursed be thou, as he that arms himself for fear of death
Accusing all others of ignorance and imposition
Acquiesce and submit to truth
Acquire by his writings an immortal life
Addict thyself to the study of letters
Addresses his voyage to no certain, port
Admiration is the foundation of all philosophy
Advantageous, too, a little to recede from one's right
Advise to choose weapons of the shortest sort
Affect words that are not of current use
Affection towards their husbands, (not) until they have lost them
Affirmation and obstinacy are express signs of want of wit
Affright people with the very mention of death
Against my trifles you could say no more than I myself have said
Age imprints more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face
Agesilaus, what he thought most proper for boys to learn?
Agitated betwixt hope and fear
Agitation has usurped the place of reason
Alexander said, that the end of his labour was to labour
All actions equally become and equally honour a wise man
All apprentices when we come to it (death)
All defence shows a face of war
All I aim at is, to pass my time at my ease
All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice
All judgments in gross are weak and imperfect
All over-nice solicitude about riches smells of avarice
All things have their seasons, even good ones
All think he has yet twenty good years to come
All those who have authority to be angry in my family
Always be parading their pedantic science
Always complaining is the way never to be lamented
Always the perfect religion
Am as jealous of my repose as of my authority
An advantage in judgment we yield to none
"An emperor," said he, "must die standing"
An ignorance that knowledge creates and begets
Ancient Romans kept their youth always standing at school
And hate him so as you were one day to love him
And we suffer the ills of a long peace
Anger and hatred are beyond the duty of justice
Any argument if it be carried on with method
Any old government better than change and alteration
Any one may deprive us of life; no one can deprive us of death
Anything appears greatest to him that never knew a greater
Anything becomes foul when commended by the multitude
Anything of value in him, let him make it appear in his conduct
Appetite comes to me in eating
Appetite is more sharp than one already half-glutted by the eyes
Appetite runs after that it has not
Appetite to read more, than glutted with that we have
Applaud his judgment than commend his knowledge
Apprenticeship and a resemblance of death
Apprenticeships that are to be served beforehand
Apt to promise something less than what I am able to do
Archer that shoots over, misses as much as he that falls short
Armed parties (the true school of treason, inhumanity, robbery
Arrogant ignorance
Art that could come to the knowledge of but few persons
"Art thou not ashamed," said he to him, "to sing so well?"
Arts of persuasion, to insinuate it into our minds
As great a benefit to be without (children)
As if anything were so common as ignorance
As if impatience were of itself a better remedy than patience
As we were formerly by crimes, so we are now overburdened by law
Ashamed to lay out as much thought and study upon it
Assurance they give us of the certainty of their drugs
At least, if they do no good, they will do no harm
At the most, but patch you up, and prop you a little
Attribute facility of belief to simplicity and ignorance
Attribute to itself; all the happy successes that happen
Authority of the number and antiquity of the witnesses
Authority to be dissected by the vain fancies of men
Authority which a graceful presence and a majestic mien beget
Avoid all magnificences that will in a short time be forgotten
Away with that eloquence that enchants us with itself
Away with this violence! away with this compulsion!
Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age
Be not angry to no purpose
Be on which side you will, you have as fair a game to play
Bears well a changed fortune, acting both parts equally well
Beast of company, as the ancient said, but not of the herd
Beauty of stature is the only beauty of men
Because the people know so well how to obey
Become a fool by too much wisdom
Being as impatient of commanding as of being commanded
Being dead they were then by one day happier than he
Being over-studious, we impair our health and spoil our humour
Belief compared to the impression of a seal upon the soul
Believing Heaven concerned at our ordinary actions
Best part of a captain to know how to make use of occasions
Best test of truth is the multitude of believers in a crowd
Best virtue I have has in it some tincture of vice
Better at speaking than writing--Motion and action animate word
better have none at all than to have them in so prodigious a num
Better to be alone than in foolish and troublesome company
Blemishes of the great naturally appear greater
Books go side by side with me in my whole course
Books have many charming qualities to such as know how to choose
Books have not so much served me for instruction as exercise
Books I read over again, still smile upon me with fresh novelty
Books of things that were never either studied or understood
Both himself and his posterity declared ignoble, taxable
Both kings and philosophers go to stool
Burnt and roasted for opinions taken upon trust from others
Business to-morrow
But ill proves the honour and beauty of an action by its utility
But it is not enough that our education does not spoil us
By resenting the lie we acquit ourselves of the fault
By suspecting them, have given them a title to do ill
By the gods," said he, "if I was not angry, I would execute you
By the misery of this life, aiming at bliss in another
Caesar: he would be thought an excellent engineer to boot
Caesar's choice of death: "the shortest"
Can neither keep nor enjoy anything with a good grace
Cannot stand the liberty of a friend's advice
Carnal appetites only supported by use and exercise
Cato said: So many servants, so many enemies
Ceremony forbids us to express by words things that are lawful
Certain other things that people hide only to show them
Change is to be feared
Change of fashions
Change only gives form to injustice and tyranny
Cherish themselves most where they are most wrong
Chess: this idle and childish game
Chiefly knew himself to be mortal by this act
Childish ignorance of many very ordinary things
Children are amused with toys and men with words
Cicero: on fame
Civil innocence is measured according to times and places
Cleave to the side that stood most in need of her
cloak on one shoulder, my cap on one side, a stocking disordered
College: a real house of correction of imprisoned youth
Coming out of the same hole
Commit themselves to the common fortune
Common consolation, discourages and softens me
Common friendships will admit of division
Conclude the depth of my sense by its obscurity
Concluding no beauty can be greater than what they see
Condemn all violence in the education of a tender soul
Condemn the opposite affirmation equally
Condemnations have I seen more criminal than the crimes
Condemning wine, because some people will be drunk
Confession enervates reproach and disarms slander
Confidence in another man's virtue
Conscience makes us betray, accuse, and fight against ourselves
Conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature
Consent, and complacency in giving a man's self up to melancholy
Consoles himself upon the utility and eternity of his writings
Content: more easily found in want than in abundance
Counterfeit condolings of pretenders
Courageous in death, not because his soul is immortal--Socrates
Courtesy and good manners is a very necessary study
Crafty humility that springs from presumption
Crates did worse, who threw himself into the liberty of poverty
Cruelty is the very extreme of all vices
Culling out of several books the sentences that best please me
Curiosity and of that eager passion for news
Curiosity of knowing things has been given to man for a scourge
"Custom," replied Plato, "is no little thing"
Customs and laws make justice
Dangerous man you have deprived of all means to escape
Dangers do, in truth, little or nothing hasten our end
Dearness is a good sauce to meat
Death can, whenever we please, cut short inconveniences
Death conduces more to birth and augmentation than to loss
Death discharges us of all our obligations
Death has us every moment by the throat
Death is a part of you
Death is terrible to Cicero, coveted by Cato
Death of old age the most rare and very seldom seen
Deceit maintains and supplies most men's employment
Decree that says, "The court understands nothing of the matter"
Defence allures attempt, and defiance provokes an enemy
Defend most the defects with which we are most tainted
Defer my revenge to another and better time
Deformity of the first cruelty makes me abhor all imitation
Delivered into our own custody the keys of life
Denying all solicitation, both of hand and mind
Depend as much upon fortune as anything else we do
Desire of riches is more sharpened by their use than by the need
Desire of travel
Desires, that still increase as they are fulfilled
Detest in others the defects which are more manifest in us
Did my discourses came only from my mouth or from my heart
Did not approve all sorts of means to obtain a victory
Die well--that is, patiently and tranquilly
Difference betwixt memory and understanding
Difficulty gives all things their estimation
Dignify our fopperies when we commit them to the press
Diogenes, esteeming us no better than flies or bladders
Discover what there is of good and clean in the bottom of the po
Disdainful, contemplative, serious and grave as the ass
Disease had arrived at its period or an effect of chance?
Disgorge what we eat in the same condition it was swallowed
Disguise, by their abridgments and at their own choice
Dissentient and tumultuary drugs
Diversity of medical arguments and opinions embraces all
Diverting the opinions and conjectures of the people
Do not much blame them for making their advantage of our folly
Do not to pray that all things may go as we would have them
Do not, nevertheless, always believe myself
Do thine own work, and know thyself
Doctors: more felicity and duration in their own lives?
Doctrine much more intricate and fantastic than the thing itself
Dost thou, then, old man, collect food for others' ears?
Doubt whether those (old writings) we have be not the worst
Doubtful ills plague us worst
Downright and sincere obedience
Drugs being in its own nature an enemy to our health
Drunkeness a true and certain trial of every one's nature
Dying appears to him a natural and indifferent accident
Each amongst you has made somebody cuckold
Eat your bread with the sauce of a more pleasing imagination
Education ought to be carried on with a severe sweetness
Effect and performance are not at all in our power
Either tranquil life, or happy death
Eloquence prejudices the subject it would advance
Emperor Julian, surnamed the Apostate
Endeavouring to be brief, I become obscure
Engaged in the avenues of old age, being already past forty
Enough to do to comfort myself, without having to console others
Enslave our own contentment to the power of another?
Enters lightly into a quarrel is apt to go as lightly out of it
Entertain us with fables: astrologers and physicians
Establish this proposition by authority and huffing
Evade this tormenting and unprofitable knowledge
Even the very promises of physic are incredible in themselves
Events are a very poor testimony of our worth and parts
Every abridgment of a good book is a foolish abridgment
Every day travels towards death; the last only arrives at it
Every government has a god at the head of it
Every man thinks himself sufficiently intelligent
Every place of retirement requires a walk
Everything has many faces and several aspects
Examine, who is better learned, than who is more learned
Excel above the common rate in frivolous things
Excuse myself from knowing anything which enslaves me to others
Executions rather whet than dull the edge of vices
Expresses more contempt and condemnation than the other
Extend their anger and hatred beyond the dispute in question
Extremity of philosophy is hurtful
Fabric goes forming and piling itself up from hand to hand
Fame: an echo, a dream, nay, the shadow of a dream
Fancy that others cannot believe otherwise than as he does
Fantastic gibberish of the prophetic canting
Far more easy and pleasant to follow than to lead
Fathers conceal their affection from their children
Fault not to discern how far a man's worth extends
Fault will be theirs for having consulted me
Fear and distrust invite and draw on offence
Fear is more importunate and insupportable than death itself
Fear of the fall more fevers me than the fall itself
Fear to lose a thing, which being lost, cannot be lamented?
Fear was not that I should do ill, but that I should do nothing
Fear: begets a terrible astonishment and confusion
Feared, lest disgrace should make such delinquents desperate
Feminine polity has a mysterious procedure
Few men have been admired by their own domestics
Few men have made a wife of a mistress, who have not repented it
First informed who were to be the other guests
First thing to be considered in love matters: a fitting time
Flatterer in your old age or in your sickness
Follies do not make me laugh, it is our wisdom which does
Folly and absurdity are not to be cured by bare admonition
Folly of gaping after future things
Folly satisfied with itself than any reason can reasonably be
Folly than to be moved and angry at the follies of the world
Folly to hazard that upon the uncertainty of augmenting it
Folly to put out their own light and shine by a borrowed lustre
For fear of the laws and report of men
For who ever thought he wanted sense?
Fortune heaped up five or six such-like incidents
Fortune rules in all things
Fortune sometimes seems to delight in taking us at our word
Fortune will still be mistress of events
Fox, who found fault with what he could not obtain
Friend, it is not now time to play with your nails
Friend, the hook will not stick in such soft cheese
Friendships that the law and natural obligation impose upon us
Fruits of public commotion are seldom enjoyed
Gain to change an ill condition for one that is uncertain
Gave them new and more plausible names for their excuse
Gentleman would play the fool to make a show of defence
Gently to bear the inconstancy of a lover
Gewgaw to hang in a cabinet or at the end of the tongue
Give but the rind of my attention
Give me time to recover my strength and health
Give the ladies a cruel contempt of our natural furniture
Give these young wenches the things they long for
Give us history, more as they receive it than as they believe it
Giving is an ambitious and authoritative quality
Glory and curiosity are the scourges of the soul
Go out of ourselves, because we know not how there to reside
Good does not necessarily succeed evil; another evil may succeed
Good to be certain and finite, and evil, infinite and uncertain
Got up but an inch upon the shoulders of the last, but one
Gradations above and below pleasure
Gratify the gods and nature by massacre and murder
Great presumption to be so fond of one's own opinions
Greatest apprehensions, from things unseen, concealed
Greatest talkers, for the most part, do nothing to purpose
Greedy humour of new and unknown things
Grief provokes itself
Gross impostures of religions
Guess at our meaning under general and doubtful terms
Happen to do anything commendable, I attribute it to fortune
Hard to resolve a man's judgment against the common opinions
Haste trips up its own heels, fetters, and stops itself
Hate all sorts of obligation and restraint
Hate remedies that are more troublesome than the disease itself
Have ever had a great respect for her I loved
Have more wherewith to defray my journey, than I have way to go
Have no other title left me to these things but by the ears
Have you ever found any who have been dissatisfied with dying?
Having too good an opinion of our own worth
He cannot be good, seeing he is not evil even to the wicked
He did not think mankind worthy of a wise man's concern
He felt a pleasure and delight in so noble an action
He judged other men by himself
He may employ his passion, who can make no use of his reason
He may well go a foot, they say, who leads his horse in his hand
He must fool it a little who would not be deemed wholly a fool
He should discern in himself, as well as in others
He took himself along with him
He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears
He who is only a good man that men may know it
He who lays the cloth is ever at the charge of the feast
He who lives everywhere, lives nowhere
He who provides for all, provides for nothing
He who stops not the start will never be able to stop the course
He will choose to be alone
Headache should come before drunkenness
Health depends upon the vanity and falsity of their promises
Health is altered and corrupted by their frequent prescriptions
Health to be worth purchasing by all the most painful cauteries
Hearing a philosopher talk of military affairs
Heat and stir up their imagination, and then we find fault
Help: no other effect than that of lengthening my suffering
High time to die when there is more ill than good in living
Hoary head and rivelled face of ancient usage
Hobbes said that if he Had been at college as long as others--
Hold a stiff rein upon suspicion
Home anxieties and a mind enslaved by wearing complaints
Homer: The only words that have motion and action
Honour of valour consists in fighting, not in subduing
How infirm and decaying material this fabric of ours is
How many and many times he has been mistaken in his own judgment
How many more have died before they arrived at thy age
How many several ways has death to surprise us?
How many things," said he, "I do not desire!"
How many worthy men have we known to survive their reputation
How much easier is it not to enter in than it is to get out
How much it costs him to do no worse
How much more insupportable and painful an immortal life
How uncertain duration these accidental conveniences are
Humble out of pride
Husbands hate their wives only because they themselves do wrong
I always find superfluity superfluous
I am a little tenderly distrustful of things that I wish
I am apt to dream that I dream
I am disgusted with the world I frequent
I am hard to be got out, but being once upon the road
I am no longer in condition for any great change
I am not to be cuffed into belief
I am plain and heavy, and stick to the solid and the probable
I am very glad to find the way beaten before me by others
I am very willing to quit the government of my house
I bequeath to Areteus the maintenance of my mother
I can more hardly believe a man's constancy than any virtue
I cannot well refuse to play with my dog
I content myself with enjoying the world without bustle
I dare not promise but that I may one day be so much a fool
I do not consider what it is now, but what it was then
I do not judge opinions by years
I do not much lament the dead, and should envy them rather
I do not say that 'tis well said, but well thought
I do not willingly alight when I am once on horseback
I enter into confidence with dying
I ever justly feared to raise my head too high
I every day hear fools say things that are not foolish
I find myself here fettered by the laws of ceremony
I find no quality so easy to counterfeit as devotion
I for my part always went the plain way to work
I grudge nothing but care and trouble
I had much rather die than live upon charity
I had rather be old a brief time, than be old before old age
I hail and caress truth in what quarter soever I find it
I hate all sorts of tyranny, both in word and deed
I hate poverty equally with pain
I have a great aversion from a novelty
"I have done nothing to-day"--"What? have you not lived?"
I have lived longer by this one day than I should have done
I have no mind to die, but I have no objection to be dead
I have not a wit supple enough to evade a sudden question
I have nothing of my own that satisfies my judgment
I honour those most to whom I show the least honour
I lay no great stress upon my opinions; or of others
I look upon death carelessly when I look upon it universally
I love stout expressions amongst gentle men
I love temperate and moderate natures
I need not seek a fool from afar; I can laugh at myself
I owe it rather to my fortune than my reason
I receive but little advice, I also give but little
I scorn to mend myself by halves
I see no people so soon sick as those who take physic
I speak truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare
I take hold of, as little glorious and exemplary as you will
I understand my men even by their silence and smiles
I was always superstitiously afraid of giving offence
I was too frightened to be ill
"I wish you good health"--"No health to thee" replied the other
I would as willingly be lucky as wise
I would be rich of myself, and not by borrowing
I write my book for few men and for few years
Idleness is to me a very painful labour
Idleness, the mother of corruption
If a passion once prepossess and seize me, it carries me away
If I am talking my best, whoever interrupts me, stops me
If I stand in need of anger and inflammation, I borrow it
If it be a delicious medicine, take it
If it be the writer's wit or borrowed from some other
If nature do not help a little, it is very hard
If they can only be kind to us out of pity
If they chop upon one truth, that carries a mighty report
If they hear no noise, they think men sleep
If to philosophise be, as 'tis defined, to doubt
Ignorance does not offend me, but the foppery of it
Impotencies that so unseasonably surprise the lover
Ill luck is good for something
Imagne the mighty will not abase themselves so much as to live
Imitating other men's natures, thou layest aside thy own
Immoderate either seeking or evading glory or reputation
Impose them upon me as infallible
Impostures: very strangeness lends them credit
Improperly we call this voluntary dissolution, despair
Impunity pass with us for justice
In everything else a man may keep some decorum
In ordinary friendships I am somewhat cold and shy
In solitude, be company for thyself--Tibullus
In sorrow there is some mixture of pleasure
In the meantime, their halves were begging at their doors
In this last scene of death, there is no more counterfeiting
In those days, the tailor took measure of it
In war not to drive an enemy to despair
Inclination to love one another at the first sight
Inclination to variety and novelty common to us both
Incline the history to their own fancy
Inconsiderate excuses are a kind of self-accusation
Inconveniences that moderation brings (in civil war)
Indiscreet desire of a present cure, that so blind us
Indocile liberty of this member
Inquisitive after everything
Insensible of the stroke when our youth dies in us
Insert whole sections and pages out of ancient authors
Intelligence is required to be able to know that a man knows not
Intemperance is the pest of pleasure
Intended to get a new husband than to lament the old
Interdict all gifts betwixt man and wife
Interdiction incites, and who are more eager, being forbidden
It (my books) may know many things that are gone from me
It happens, as with cages, the birds without despair to get in
It is better to die than to live miserable
It is no hard matter to get children
It is not a book to read, 'tis a book to study and learn
It is not for outward show that the soul is to play its part
It's madness to nourish infirmity
Jealousy: no remedy but flight or patience
Judge by justice, and choose men by reason
Judge by the eye of reason, and not from common report
Judgment of duty principally lies in the will
Judgment of great things is many times formed from lesser thing
Justice als takes cognisance of those who glean after the reaper
Killing is good to frustrate an offence to come, not to revenge
Knock you down with the authority of their experience
Knot is not so sure that a man may not half suspect it will slip
Knowledge and truth may be in us without judgment
Knowledge is not so absolutely necessary as judgment
Knowledge of others, wherein the honour consists
Known evil was ever more supportable than one that was, new
Ladies are no sooner ours, than we are no more theirs
Language: obscure and unintelligible in wills and contracts
Lascivious poet: Homer
Last death will kill but a half or a quarter of a man
Law: breeder of altercation and division
Laws (of Plato on travel), which forbids it after threescore
Laws cannot subsist without mixture of injustice
Laws do what they can, when they cannot do what they would
Laws keep up their credit, not for being just--but as laws
Lay the fault on the voices of those who speak to me
Laying themselves low to avoid the danger of falling
Learn my own debility and the treachery of my understanding
Learn the theory from those who best know the practice
Learn what it is right to wish
Learning improves fortunes enough, but not minds
Least end of a hair will serve to draw them into my discourse
Least touch or prick of a pencil in comparison of the whole
Leave society when we can no longer add anything to it
Leaving nothing unsaid, how home and bitter soever
Led by the ears by this charming harmony of words
Lend himself to others, and only give himself to himself
Lessen the just value of things that I possess
Let a man take which course he will," said he; "he will repent"
Let him be as wise as he will, after all he is but a man
Let him be satisfied with correcting himself
Let him examine every man's talent
Let it alone a little
Let it be permitted to the timid to hope
Let not us seek illusions from without and unknown
Let us not be ashamed to speak what we are not ashamed to think
Let us not seek our disease out of ourselves; 'tis in us
Liberality at the expense of others
Liberty and laziness, the qualities most predominant in me
Liberty of poverty
Liberty to lean, but not to lay our whole weight upon others
Library: Tis there that I am in my kingdom
License of judgments is a great disturbance to great affairs
Life of Caesar has no greater example for us than our own
Life should be cut off in the sound and living part
Light griefs can speak: deep sorrows are dumb
Light prognostics they give of themselves in their tender years
Little affairs most disturb us
Little knacks and frivolous subtleties
Little learning is needed to form a sound mind" --Seneca

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