Michel de Montaigne

By some might be said of me that here I have but gathered a nosegay of strange flowers, and have put nothing of mine unto it but the thread to bind them.

How many things served us but yesterday as articles of faith, which today we deem but fables?

An unattempted lady could not vaunt of her chastity.

For truly it is to be noted, that children's plays are not sports, and should be deemed as their most serious actions.

Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.

There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.

Every abridgement of a good book is a fool abridged.

The worst of my actions or conditions seem not so ugly unto me as I find it both ugly and base not to dare to avouch for them.

Example is a bright looking-glass, universal and for all shapes to look into.

There is not much less vexation in the government of a private family than in the managing of an entire state.

If a man urge me to tell wherefore I loved him, I feel it cannot be expressed but by answering: Because it was he, because it was myself.

Girls: Even from their infancy we frame them to the sports of love: their instruction, behaviour, attire, grace, learning and all their words aimeth only at love, respects only affection. Their nurses and their keepers imprint no other thing in them.

To honor him whom we have made is far from honoring him that hath made us.

My art and profession is to live.

Marriage: We cannot do without it, and yet we disgrace and vilify the same. It may be compared to a cage, the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair to get out.

Scratching is one of nature's sweetest gratifications, and the one nearest at hand.

The same reason that makes us chide and brawl and fall out with any of our neighbours, causeth a war to follow between Princes.

Have you known how to take rest? You have done more than he who hath taken empires and cities.

Few men have been admired of their familiars.

Oh senseless man, who cannot possibly make a worm, and yet will make Gods by dozens.

My reason is not framed to bend or stoop: my knees are.

One may disavow and disclaim vices that surprise us, and whereto our passions transport us; but those which by long habits are rooted in a strong and . . . powerful will are not subject to contradiction. Repentance is but a denying of our will, and an opposition of our fantasies.

The greatest thing of the world is for a man to know how to be his own.

Who feareth to suffer suffereth already, because he feareth.

It is the part of cowardliness, and not of virtue, to seek to squat itself in some hollow lurking hole, or to hide herself under some massive tomb, thereby to shun the strokes of fortune.

A man should ever . . . be ready booted to take his journey.

Virtue rejects facility to be her companion. . . . She requires a craggy, rough and thorny way.

Wisdom hath her excesses, and no less need of moderation than folly.


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