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Montaigne's Essays Volume II


Source: Michel Montaigne. The Essays of Michael Lord of Montaigne, 1580, 1597. Translated by John Florio, 1603. World's Classics edition. 3 volumes, Vol. 2. London:  Frowde, 1904. Before using any portion of this text in any theme, essay, research paper, thesis, or dissertation, please read the disclaimer.

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Table of Contents:    2.I+ Of the inconstancie of our Actions | 2.II+ Of Drunkennesse | 2.III+ A Custome of the Ile of Cea | 2.IV+ To-morrow is a New Day | 2.V+ Of Conscience | 2.VI+ Of Exercise or Practice | 2.VII+ Of the Recompenses or Rewards of Honour | 2.VIII+ Of the Affections of Fathers to their Children:  To the Lady of Estissac | 2.IX+ Of the Parthians Armes | 2.X+ Of Bookes | 2.XI+ Of Crueltie | 2.XII+ An Apologie of Raymond Sebond | 2.XIII+ Of Judging of others' Death | 2.XIV+ How that our Spirit hindereth itself | 2.XV+ That our Desires are encreased by Difficultie | 2.XVI+ Of Glory | 2.XVII+ Of Presumption | 2.XVIII+ Of giving the Lie | 2.XIX+ Of the Liberty of Conscience | 2.XX+ We taste nothing purely | 2.XXI+ Against Idlenesse, or doing Nothing | 2.XXII+ Of Running Posts, or Couriers+ | 2.XXIII+ Of Bad Meanes emploied to a Good End | 2.XXIV+ Of the Roman Greatnesse | 2.XXV+ How a Man should not Counterfeit to be Sicke | 2.XXVI+ Of Thumbs | 2.XXVII+ Cowardize the Mother of Cruelty | 2.XXVIII+ All Things have their Season | 2.XXIX+ Of Vertue | 2.XXX+ Of a Monstrous Child | 2.XXXI+ Of Anger and Choler | 2.XXXII+ A Defence of Seneca. and Plutarke | 2.XXXIII+ The Historie of Spurina | 2.XXXIV+ Observations concerning the meanes to warre after the maner of Julius Caesar | 2.XXXV+ Of Three Good Women | 2.XXXVI+ Of the Worthiest and Most Excellent Men | 2.XXXVII+ Of the Resemblance betweene Children and Fathers | 2.XXXVIII+ To my Lady of Duras 
INDEX:   Aesopes+(1) | Agincourt+(1) | Alcibiades+(1) | Alexander+(1) | Amadis+(1) | amateur+(3) | amitie+(1) | ancient_Authors+(1) | ancients+(4) | Androclus+(1) | anger+(1) | ANGER+(1) | animal_rationis+(1) | Antonio+(5) | Antonius+(1) | Aristotle+(2) | benefit+(1) | boaster+(2) | boasting+(1) | Bocace+(1) | bourgeois_individualism+(1) | braggard+(1) | Brutus+(5) | Caesar+(2) | Caesars+(1) | canibales+(1) | carelessness+(1) | carelessnesse+(1) | Cato+(3) | Catoes+(1) | choler+(1) | Cicero+(4) | clemencie+(1) | Clitus+(1) | colonialism+(1) | common+(5) | common_sort+(1) | common_wealths+(1) | conquest_of_the_Indias+(1) | Constable+(1) | constancie+(7) | constancy+(2) | constant+(1) | Coriolanus+(1) | covetousnesse+(1) | curiosity+(1) | Dante+(1) | death+(6) | DEATH+(1) | deeds+(2) | die_well+(1) | diffidence+(2) | diffident+(1) | divinations+(1) | doe+(1) | Donne+(1) | doubt+(1) | EBWhite+(1) | effeminacy+(1) | effeminate+(1) | Epaminondas+(2) | Epictetus+(2) | Epicurean_sect+(1) | fidelitie+(1) | fidelity+(1) | flatterer+(1) | flattery+(1) | Fortitude+(1) | fortune+(7) | Fortune+(3) | friend+(1) | Froissard+(1) | gentle+(1) | gentleman+(1) | glorie+(2) | glory+(2) | GLORY+(1) | Gloucester+(2) | goodnesse+(1) | grace+(1) | gracefulnes+(1) | gratitude+(1) | Greeke_books+(1) | Gulliver+(1) | Gyges+(1) | Hal+(2) | Hamlet+(1) | Hemingway+(1) | honest+(1) | honestie+(2) | honesty+(2) | honour+(3) | Hotspur+(2) | humilitie+(1) | ignorance=bliss+(1) | incivilitie+(1) | innocencie+(1) | Instabilitie+(1) | integrity+(1) | intellectual_snobbery+(1) | Justice+(1) | Kent+(6) | Koffka+(1) | Kurtz+(2) | Lacedemonian+(1) | Laputa+(1) | lawyer+(1) | lawyers+(2) | Lawyers+(1) | Lear+(3) | letters+(1) | lie+(1) | Lipsius+(1) | list+(1) | list_of_virtues+(2) | low_esteem+(1) | lowlinesse+(1) | Lucan+(1) | Lucretius+(1) | lust+(1) | lying+(1) | Machiavels+(1) | magnanimitie+(2) | Major+(1) | military+(1) | military_vocation+(1) | Milton+(1) | moderation+(1) | modesty+(2) | morality_of_history+(1) | my_Seneca+(1) | negligence+(1) | Nil_admirari+(1) | noble_savage+(2) | non_nobis+(1) | obey+(1) | old_age+(1) | original_sin+(1) | otherphobia+(1) | Ovid+(1) | passion+(1) | passions+(1) | peasant+(1) | peasant_stand_up+(1) | pedants+(1) | PlainDealer+(26) | plaine_French+(1) | Plautus+(1) | Plutarch+(1) | Plutark+(1) | Plutarke+(3) | PLUTARKE+(2) | Pompey+(1) | Pope+(6) | promise+(1) | proper_study+(2) | property+(1) | Prospero+(1) | publike_offices+(1) | pusillanimitie+(1) | Rabelais+(1) | reason+(1) | reciprocity+(1) | reputation+(3) | revenge+(3) | rightist+(1) | savage+(1) | Scipio+(2) | selfcrit+(1) | selfcriticism+(1) | Seneca+(3) | SENECA+(1) | service+(1) | Shylock+(1) | simplicitie+(5) | simplicities+(1) | simplicity+(2) | society+(1) | Socrates+(5) | Spaniards+(1) | sprezzatura+(2) | Stoicall+(1) | stoicism+(1) | Stoicke+(2) | Stoickes+(1) | Stoike+(1) | Stoikes+(1) | sufferance+(1) | temperance+(1) | Terence+(1) | tyrant+(1) | tyrants+(1) | Tyrants+(1) | unilateral_disarmament+(1) | usthem+(11) | valour+(1) | Varro+(2) | Ventidius+(1) | Venus+(1) | vertue+(1) | Vertue+(1) | Virgil+(1) | Virtue+(1) | virtue_own_reward+(2) | war+(1) | warre+(4) | WARRE+(1) | wdswth+(1) | wheel+(1) | words+(1) | Wordsworth+(1) | Yahoo+(8) 

 
 

CHAPTER 2.I+ OF THE INCONSTANCIE OF OUR ACTIONS

     THose which exercise themselves in controuling humane actions, finde no such let in any one part as to peece them together and bring them to one same lustre:  For they commonly contradict one another so strangely, as it seemeth impossible they should be parcels of one Warehouse. Young Marias is sometimes found to be the sonne of Mars, and other times the childe of Venus.  Pope Boniface the Eight is reported to have entred into his charge as a Fox, to have carried himselfe therein as a Lion, and to have died like a Dog.  And who would thinke it was Nero, that lively image of cruelty, who being required to sign (as the custome was) the sentence of a criminall offender that had beene condemned to die, that ever he should answer, 'Oh would to God I could never have written?  So neare was his heart grieved to doome a man to death.  The wo rld is so full of such examples that every man may store himselfe; and I wonder to see men of understanding trouble themselves with sorting these parcels:  Sithence (mee seemeth) irresolution is the most apparent and common
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<Mont2-2>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

vice of our nature: as witnesseth that famous verse of Publius the Commedian:

 Malum consilium est, quod mutari non potest./1
The counsel is but bad,
Whose change may not be had.
     There is some apparence to judge a man by the most common conditions of his life but seeing the naturall instability of our customes and opinions, I have often thought that even good Authors doe ill and take a wrong course, wilfully to opinionate themselves about framing a constant and solide contexture of us.  They chuse an universal ayre, and following that image, range and interpret all a mans actions; which if they cannot wrest sufficiently, they remit them unto dissimulation. Augustus hath escaped their hands; for there is so apparent, so sudden and continual a variety of actions found in him through the course of his life, that even the boldest Judges and strictest censurers have beene faine to give him over, and leave him undecided.  There is nothing I so hardly beleeve to be in man as constancie+, and nothing so easie to be found in him, as inconstancy.  He that should distinctly and part by part judge of him, should often jumpe to speake truth.  View all antiquity over, and you shall finde it a hard matter to chuse out of a dozen of men that have directed their life unto one certaine, setled, and assured course; which is the surest drift of wisdome.  For to comprehend all in one word, saith an ancient writer, and to embrace all the rules of our life into one, it is at all times to will, and not to will one same thing.  I would not vouchsafe (saith he) to adde anything: alwayes provided the will be just: for, if it be unjust, it is impossible it should ever continue one.  Verily, I have heretofore learned that vice is nothing but a disorder and want of measure, and by consequence it is impossible to fasten constancy unto it.  It is a saying of Demosthenes (as some report) that consultation and
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1 PUBLIUS.  Mim. ap.  AUL.  GELL. l. xvii. c. 14. 
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deliberation is the beginning of all virtue, and constancie the end and perfection.  If by reason or discourse we should take a certaine way, we should then take the fairest: but no man hath thought on it.

Quod petiit, spernit, repetit quod nuper omisit
AEstuat, et vitae disconvenit ordine toto./1

He scornes that which he sought, seek's that he scorn'd of late,
He flowes, ebbes, disagrees in his lifes whole estate.

Our ordinary manner is to follow the inclination of our appetite this way and that way, in the left and on the right hand; upward and downeward, according as the winde of occasions doth transport us: we never thinke on what we would have, but at the instant we would have it: and change as that beast that takes the colour of the place wherein it is laid.  What we even now purposed we alter by and by, and presently returne to out former biase; all is but changing, motire, and inconstancy:
Ducimur ut nervis alienis mobile lignum./2

So are we drawne, as wood is shoved,
By others sinnewes each way moved.

     We goe not, but we are carried: as things that flote, now gliding gently, now hulling violently, according as the water is, either stormy or calme.
      ----- nonne videmus
Quid sibi quisque relit nescire et quaerere semper,
Commuttare locum quasi onus deponere possit? /3
See we not, every man in his thoughts height
Knowes not what he would have, yet seekes he streight
To change place, as he could lay downe his weight?
     Every day new toyes, each hour new fantasies, and our humours move and fleet with the fleetings and movings of time.
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. i. 98. 2 HOR. 1. ii.  Sat. vii. 82. 3 LUCRET. 1. iii. 1070. 
<Mont2-4>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
Tales sunt hominum mentes, quali Pater ipse
Jupiter auctifero lustravit lumine terras./1

Such are mens mindes, as that great God of might
Surveies the earth with encrease bearing light.

     We float and waver betweene divers opinions: we will nothing freely, nothing absolutely, nothing constantly.  Had any man prescribed certaine Lawes or established assured policies in his owne head, in his life should we daily see to shine an equality of customes, an assured order and an infallible relation from one thing to another (Empedocles noted this deformitie to he amongstthe Agrigentines, that they gave themselves so over unto delights as if they should die to morrow next, and built as if they should never die) the discourse thereof were easie to be made. As is seene in young Cato:  He that toucht but one step of it hath touched all.  It is an harmoony of well according tunes and which cannnot contradict it selfe.  With us it is clean contrarie, so many actions, so many particular judgements are there required.  The surest way (in mine opinion) were to refer them unto the next circumstances, without entering into further search, and without concluding any other consequence of them.  During the late tumultuous broiles of our mangled estate, it was told me that a young woman not farre from mee had headlong cast her selfe out of a high window, with intent to kill herselfe, only to avoid the ravishment of a rascally-base souldier that lay in her house, who offered to force her: and perceiving that with the fall she had not killed herselfe, to make an end of her enterprize she would have cut her owne throat with a knife, but that she was hindered by some that came into her:  Neverthelesse having sore wounded herselfe, she voluntarily confessed that the souldier had yet but urged her with importunate requests, suing solicitations, and golden bribes, but she feared he would in the end have obtained his purpose by compulsion: by whose earnest speeches,
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1 CIC.  Fragm. 
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resolute countenance, and gored bloud (a true testimony of her chaste vertue) she might appeare to be the lively patterne of another Lucrece, yet know I certainly that, both before that time and afterward, she had beene enjoyed of others upon easier composition.  And as the common saying is; Faire and soft, as squemish-honest as she seemes, although you misse of your intent, conclude not rashly an inviolable chastitie to be in your Mistresse; for a groome or a horse-keeper may finde an houre to thrive in; and a dog hath a day.  Antigonus having taken upon him to favour a souldier of his by reason of his vertue and valour, to have great care of him, and see whether they could recover him of a lingering and inward disease which had long tormented him, who being perfectly cured, he afterward perceiving him to be nothing so earnest and diligent in his affaires, demanded of him how he was so changed from himselfe, and become so cowardish: 'Your selfe,h good sir,' answered he, 'have made me so by ridding me of those infirmities which so did grieve me that I made no accompt of my life.  A souldier of Lucullus, having by his enemies beene robbed of all he had, to revenge himselfe undertooke a notable and desperat atempt upon them; and having recovered his losses, Lucullus conceived a very good opinion of him, and with the greatest shewes of assured trust and loving kindnesse be could bethinke himselfe, made especiall accompt of him, and in any dangerous enterprize seemed to trust and employ him only:

Verbis qum timido quoque possent addere mentem./1

With words, which to a coward might
Adde courage, had he any spright.

"Imploy," said he unto him, "some wretch-stripped and robbed Souldier,"
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1 HOR. 1.ii.  Epist. ii. 34. 
<Mont2-6>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
      ------ quantumvis rusticus ibit,
Ibit eo quo vis, qui zonam perdidit, inquit./1

None is, saith he, so clownish, but will-on,
Where you will have him, if his purse be gone

and absolutely refused to obey him.  When we reade that Mahomet, having outrageously rated Chasan, chiefe leader of his Janizers, because he saw his troup wel-nigh defeated by the Hungarians, and hee to behave himselfe but faintly in the fight, Chasan without making other reply alone as he was, and without more adoe, with his weapon in his hand rushed furiously in the thickest throng of his enemies that he first met withall, of whom he was instantly slaine:  This, may haply be deemed rather a rash conceit than a justification, and a new spight than a naturall prowes.  He whom you saw yesterday so boldly venturous, wonder not if you see him a daastardly meacocke to morrow next: for either anger or necessitie, company or wine, a sudden fury or the clang of a trumpet, might rowse-up his heart and stir up his courage.  It is no heart nor courage so framed by discourse- or deliberation: These circumstances have setled the same in him:  Therefore it is no marvell if by other contrary circumstance he become a craven and change coppy. This supple variation and easie yeelding contradiction which is scene in us, hath made some to imagine that wee had two soules, and others two faculties; whereof every one as best she pleaseth, accompanieth and doth agitate us; the one towards good, the other towards evill.  Forsomuch as such a rough diversitie cannot wel sort and agree in one simple subject.  The blast of accidents doth not only remove me according to his inclination; for, besides, I remove and trouble my selfe by the instability of my posture, and whosoever looketh narrowly about himselfe, shall hardly see himselfe twice in the same state.  Sometimes I give my soule one visage and sometimes another, according unto the posture or side I lay her in.  If I speake diversly of
---- ---
1 HOR. 1. ii.  Epist. ii. 37. 
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selfe it is because I looke diversly upon my selfe.  All contrarieties are found in her, according to some turne or removing, and in some fashion or other; shamefast, bashfull, insolent, chaste, luxurious, peevish, pratling, silent, fond, doting, labourious, nice, delicate, ingenious, slow, dull, froward, humorous, debonaire, wise, ignorant, false in words, true-speaking, both liberall, covetous, and prodigall. [characters] All these I perceive in some measure or other to bee in mee, according as I stirre or turne my selfe; And whosoever shall heedfully survey and consider himselfe, shall finde this volubility and discordance to be in himselfe, yea and in his very judgement.  I have nothing to say entirely, simply, and with soliditie of my selfe, without confusion, disorder, blending, mingling, and in one word, Distinguo is the most universall part of my logike.  Although I ever purpose to speak good of good, and rather to enterpret those things that will beare it, unto a good sense; yet is it that the strangenesse of our condition admitteth that we are often urged to doe well by vice it selfe, if well doing were not judged by the intention only.  Therefore may not a courageous act conclude a man to be valiant.  He that is so, when just occasion serveth, shall ever be so, and upon all occasions.  If it were an habitude of vertue, and not a sudden humour, it would make a man equally resolute at all assayes, in all accidents:  Such alone, as in company; such in a single combat, as in a set battel:  For, whatsoever some say, valour is all alike, and not one in the street or towne, and another in the campe or field.  As courageously should a man beare a sicknesse in his hed as a hurt in the field, and feare death no more at home in his house than abroad in an assault.  We should not then see one same man enter the breach, or charge his enemie with an assured and undouted fiercenesse, and afterward having escaped that, to vexe, to grive and torment himselfe like unto a seely woman, or faint- hearted milkesop for the losse of a sute, or death of a childe.  If one chance to be carelesly base-minded in his infancie, and constantly-resolute in 


<Mont2-8>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

povertie; if he be timorously-fearfull at sight of a barbers razor, and afterward stowtly-undismayed against his enemies swords: the action is commendable, but not the man.  Divers Grecians (saith Cicero) cannot endure to looke their enemy in the face, yet are they most constant in their sicknesses; whereas the Cimbrians and Celtiberians are meere contrary. Nihil enim potest esse aequabile, quod non a certa ratione proficiscatur:/1 'For nothing can beare it selfe even which proceedeth not from resolved reason.  There is no valor more extreme in his kinde than that of Alexander; yet it is but in species, nor every where sufficiently full and universall. As incomparable as it is, it hath his blemishes, which is the reason that in the idleest of suspitions he apprehendeth at the conspiracies of his followers against his life, we see him so earnestly to vex and trouble ^himselfe:  In search and pursuit of whereof he demeaneth himselfe with so vehement and indiscreet an injustice, and with such a demisse feare that even his naturall reason is thereby subverted.  Also the superstition wherewith he is so thoroughly tainted beareih some shew of pusilanimitie. And the unlimited excesse of the repentance he shewed for the murther of Clitus is also a witnesse of the inequalitie of his courage.  Our matters are but parcels hudled up and peeces patched together, and we endevour to acquire honour by false meanes and untrue tokens.   Vertue will not bee followed but by herselfe: and if at any time we borrow her maske, upon some other occasion she will as soone pull it from our face.  It is a lively hew and strong die, if the soule be once dyed with the same perfectly, and which will never fade or be gone, except it carry the skin away with it.  Therefore to judge a man, we must a long time follow, and very curiously marke his steps; whether constancie do wholy subsist and continue upon her owne foundation in him.  Cui vivendi via considerata atque provisa est./2 'Who hath forecast and considered the way of
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. ii. c. 27. 2 CIC.  Parad. v. 


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life;' whether the variety of occurrences make him change his pace (I meane his way, for his pace may either be hastened or slowed) let him run on: such a one (as sayeth the imprease of our good Talbot) goeth before the wind.  It is no marvell (saith an old writer) that hazard hath such power over us, since wee live by hazard.  It is impossible for him to dispose of his particular actions, that bath not in grose directed his life unto one certaine end.  It is impossible for him to range all peeces in order, that hath not a plot or forme of the totall frame in his head.  What avayleth the provision of all sorts of colours unto one that knowes not what be is to draw?  No man makes any certaine designe of his life, and we deliberate of it but by parcels.  A skilfull archer ought first to know the marke he aimeth at, and then apply his hand, his bow, his string, his arrow and his motion accordingly.  Our counsels goe a stray because they are not rightly addressed, and have no fixed end.  No winde makes for him that hath no intended post to saile unto.  As for me, I allow not greatly of that judgement which some made of Sophocles, and to have concluded him sufficient in the managing of domesticall matters, against the accusation of his owne sonne, only by the sight of one of his tragedies.  Nor doe I commend the conjecture of the Parians sent to reforme the Milesians, as sufficient to the consequence they drew thence.  In visiting and surveying the ile, they marked the landes that were best husbanded, and observed the country houses that were, best governed.  And having registered the names of their owners, and afterward made an assembly of the Townesmen of the Citie, they named and instituted those owners as new Governours and Magistrates, judging and concluding, that being good husbands and carefull of their housebold affaires, they must consequently be so of publike matters.  We are all framed of flaps and patches and of so shapelesse and diverse a contexture that every peece and every moment playeth his part.  And there is as much difference found betweene us and our selves as there is betweene 


<Mont2-10>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

ourselves and other.  Magnam rem puta, unun hominem agere: 'Esteeme it a great matter to play but one man.       Since ambition may teach men both valor temperance, liberality, yea and justice: sith covetousnesse may settle in the minde of a Shop-prentise-boy, brought up in ease and idlenesse, a dreadlesse assurance to leave his home-bred ease, and forgoe his place of education, and in a small barke to yeeld himselfe unto the mercy of blustring waves, mercilesse windes and wrathfull Neptune; and that it also teacheth discretion and wisdome [Crusoe]; And that Venus [Mars/Venus] herself ministreth resolution and hardinesse unto tender youth as yet subject to the discipline of the rod, and teacheth the ruthlesse Souldier the soft and tenderly effeminate heart of women in their mothers laps:

Hac duce custodes furtim transgressa jacentes, Adjuvenem tenebris sola puella venit./1
The wench by stealeth her lodg'd guards having stript,
By this guide, sole, i'th darke, to' th yonker skipt;
It is no part of a well-grounded judgement simply to judge ourselves by our exterior actions:  A man must into his heart, and there see by what wards or springs the motions stirre.  But forsomuch as it is a hazardous and high enterprise, I would not have so many to meddle with it as doe.
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1 TIB. 1. ii.  Eleg. i. 75. 

 
 

CHAPTER 2.II+ OF DRUNKENESSE

THE world is nothing but variety and dissemblance.  Vices are all alike, inasmuch as they are all vices:  And so do haply the Stoikes meane it.  But though they are equally vices, they are not equall vices; and that hee who hath started a hundred steps beyond the limits

Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum,/l
On this side, or beyond the which
No man can hold a right true pitch
is not of worse condition than he that is ten steps short of it, is no whit credible: and that sacrilege is not worse than the stealing of a colewort out of a garden.
Nec vincet ratio, tantumdem ut peccet, idemque, Qui teneros caules alieni fregerit horti,
Et qui nocturnus divum sacra legerit./2
No reason can evict, as great or same sinne taints
Him that breakes in anothers Garden tender plants,
And him that steales by night things consecrate to Saints.
     There is as much diversity in that as in any other thing.  The confusion of order and measure of crimes is dangerous:  Murtherers, Traitors and Tyrants, have too much gaine by it: it is no reason their conscience should be eased, in that some other is either idle or lascivious, or lesse assiduous unto devotion.  Every man poiseth upon his fellowes sinne, and elevates his owne.  Even teachers do often range it ill in my conceit. As Socrates said, that the chiefest office of wisdome was to distinguish goods and evils.  We
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Sat. i. 107. 2 Ib. iii. 115.
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<Mont2-12>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

others, to whom the best is ever in vice, should say the like of knowledge to distinguish vices, without which, and that very exacet, both vertuous and wicked men remaine confounded and unknowen.  Now drunkennesse amongst others appeareth to me a grose and brutish vice.  The minde hath more part else where; and some vices there are which (if it may lawfully be spoken) have a kinde of I wot not what generosity in them.  Some there are that have learning, diligence, valour, prudence, wit, cunning, dexterity, and subtlety joyned with them; whereas this is meerely corporall and terrestriall. And the grosest and rudest nation that liveth amongst us at this day is only that which keepeth it in credit.  Other vices but alter and distract the understanding, whereas this utterly subverteth the same, and astonieth the body.

     ----- Cum vini vis penetravit,
Consequitur qravitas membrorum, praepediuntur
Crura vacillanti, tardescit lingua madet mens,
Nant oculi, clamor, singultus,jurgia gliscunt.1
When once the force of wine hath inly pierst,
Limbes-heavinesse is next, legs faine would goe,
But reeling cannot, tongue drawles, mindes disperst,
Eyes swimme, cries, hickups, brables grow.
     The worst estate of man is where he loseth the knowledge and government of himselfe.  And amongst other things it is said that as must wine boyling and working in a vessel, workes and sends upwards what ever, it containeth in the bottom, so doth wine cause those that drink excessively of it to worke up and break out their most concealed secrets.
      ------ tu sapientium
Curas, et arcanum jocoso
Consilium retegis Lyaeo./2
 

Thou (wine-cup) doest by wine reveale
The cares, which wise men would conceale
And close drifts, at a merry meale.

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1 LUCRET. 1. iii. 479. 2 HOR. 1. iii.  Od. xxi. 14. 
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     Josephus reporteth that by making an Ambassador to tipple- square, whom his enemies had sent unto him, he wrested all his secrets out of him.  Neverthelesse Augustus having trusted Lucius Piso, that conquered Thrace, with the secretest affaires he had in hand, had never cause to be discontented with him; nor Tiberius with Cossus, to whom he imparted all his seriousest counsels, although we know them both to have so given themselves to drinking of wine that they were often faine to be carried from the Senat, and both were reputed notable drunkards.

      ------ Hesterno inflatum venas de more Lyaeo/1
Veines pufft up, as it used alway
By wine which was dranke yesterday.
     And as faithfully as the complot and purpose to kill Caesar committed unto Cimber, who would daily be drunke with quaffing of wine, as unto Cassius, that drunke nothing but water, whereupon he answered very pleasantly, 'What! shall I bear a tyrant that am not able to beare wine?  We see our carowsing tospot German souldiers, when they are most plunged in their cups and as drunke as rats, to have perfect remembrance of their quarter, of the watchword, and of their files.
      ------ Nec facilis victoria de madidis, et
Bloesis, atque mero titubantibus./2
Nor is the conquest easie of men sowst,
Lisping and reeling with wine they carowst.
     I would never have beleeved so sound, so deepe and so excessive drunkennesse had I not read in histories that Attalus having envited to sup with him (with intent to doe him some notable indignity) the same Pausanias who for the same cause killed afterward Philip, King of Macedon (a king, who by the eminent faire qualities that were in him, bore a testimonie of the education he had learned in the house and company of 1 VIRG.  Buc.  Ecl. vi. 152 2 JUV.  Sat. xv. 47. 
<Mont2-14>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

Epaminondas), made him so dead-drunke that insensibly and without feeling he might prostitute his beauty as the body of a common hedge-harlot, to Mulettiers, Groomes and maany of the abject servants of his house.  And what a lady (whom I much honour and highly esteeme) told mee , protesting that neere Bourdeaux, towards Castres, where her house is, a widdow country-woman, reputed very chaste and honest, suspecting herselfe to be with childe, told her neighbours that had she a husband she should verily thinke she was with childe; but the occasion of this suspition increasing more and more, and perceiving herseIfe so big-bellied that she could no longer conceale it, she resolved to make the Parish-priest acquainted with it, whom she entreated to publish in the Church that whosover hee were that were guilty of the fact, and would avow it, she would freely forgive him, and if hee were so pleased, take him to her husband.  A certaine swaine or hyne-boy of hers, emboldened by this proclamation, declared how that having one holliday found her welltippled with wine, and so sound asleep by the chimnie side lying so fit and ready for him, without awaking her he had the full use of her body.  Whom she accepted for her husband, and both live together at this day.  It is assured that antiquitie hath not greatly described this vice.  The compositions of diverse Philosophers speake but sparingly of it.  Yea, and some of the Stoikes deeme it not amisse for man sometimes to take his liquor roundly, and drinke drunke, thereby to recreate his spirits.

Hoc quoque virtutum quondam certamine magnum
Socratem palmam promeruisse ferunt./1
They say, in this too, Socrates the wise,
And great in vertues combats, bare the prize.
Cato, that strict censurer and severe corrector of others, hath beene reproved for much drinking.
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1 COR.  GAL.  El. i. 
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Narratur et prisci Catonis
Saepe mero coluisse virtus./1
'Tis said, by use of wine repeated
Old Catoes vertue oft was heated.
     Cyrus, that so far-renowned king, amongst his other commendations, meaning to preferre himselfe before his brother Artaxerxes, and get the start of him, aleageth that he could drinke better and tipple more than he.  And amongst the best policed and formalest nations, the custome of drinking and pledging of healths was much in use.  I have beard Silvius, that excellelent phisitian of Paris, affirme that to preserve the vigor of our stomake from, empairing, it is not amisse once a month to rowze up the same by this excesse of drinking, and lest it should grow dull and stupid thereby to stirre it up.  And it is written that the Persians, after they had well tippled, were wont to consult of their chiefest affaires. My taste, my rellish, and my complexion are sharper enemies unto this vice than my discourse, for besides that I captivatee more easily my conceits under the auctoritie of ancient opinions, indeed I finde it to be a fond, a stupid, and a base kinde of vice, but lesse malicious and hurtfull than others; all which shocke and with a sharper edge wound publike societie. And if we cannot give ourselves any pleasure except (as they say) it cost us something; I finde this vice to be lesse chargeable unto our conscience than others; besides it is not hard to be prepared, difficult to be found; a consideration not to be despised.  A man well advanced in years and dignitie, amongst three principall commodities he told me to have remaining in life, counted this: and where shall a man more rightly finde it than amongst the naturall?  But he tooke it ill, delicatenesse, and the choice of wines is therein to be avoided.  If you prepare your voluptuousnesse to drinke it with pleasure and daintily neat, you tie your selfe unto an inconvenience to drinke it other than is alwayes to be had.  A man must have
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1 HOR. 1. iii.  Od. xxi. ii. 
<Mont2-16>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

a milder, a loose and freer taste.  To be a true drinker a man should not have so tender and squeamish a palat.  The Germans doe in a manner drinke equally of all sorts of wine with like pleasure.  Their end is rather to gulpe it downe freely than to tast it kindly.  And To say truth they have it better cheape.  Their voluptuousnesse is more plenteous and fuller.  Secondarily, to drinke after the French manner, as two droughts and moderately, is over much to restraine the favours of that God.  There is more time and constancie required thereunto.  Our forefathers were wont to spend whole nights in that exercise, yea often times they joyned whole long dayes unto them. And a man must proportion his ordinarie more large and firme.  I have in my dayes seene a principall Lord, a man of great employment and enterprises and famous for good success, who without straining himselfe and eating but an ordinary meales-meate, was wont to drinke little lesse than five pottles of wine, yet at his rising seemed to be nothing distempered, but rather, as we have found to our no small cost in managing our affaires, over- wise and considerate.  The pleasure of that whereof we would make account in the course of our life ought to be employed longer space.  It were necessary, as shop-boyes or labouring people, that we should refuse no occasion to drinke and continually to have this desire in our minde. It seemeth that wee daily shorten the use of this, and that in our houses (as I have seene in mine infancie) breakfasts, nunchions, and beavers should be more frequent and often used than now adayes they are.  And should wee thereby in any sort proceed towards amendment?  No verily.  But it may be that we have much more given our selves over unto paillardise and all manner of luxurie than our fathers were.  They are two occupations that enter-hinder one another in their vigor.  On the one side it hath empaired and weakned our stomacke, and on the other sobrietie serveth to make us more jolly-quaint, lusty, and wanton for the exercise of love matters.  It is a wonder to thinke on the strange tales I have heard my 


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father report of the chastitie of his time.  He might well speake of it as he that was both by art and nature proper for the use and solace of ladies.  He spake little and well, few words, but to the purpose, and was ever wont to entermixe some ornament taken from vulgar bookes, and above all Spanish amongst his common speeches.  And of all Spanish authors, none was more familiar unto him than Marcus Aurelius./1  His demeanour and carriage was ever milde, meeke, gentle+, and, very modest, and above all grave and stately.  There is nothing he seemed to be more carefull of than of his honesty, and observe a kinde of decencie of his person, and orderly decorum in his habits, were it on foot or on horsebacke.  He was exceeding nice in performing his word or promise+.  And so strictly concscientious and obsequious in religion, that generally he seemed to incline toward superstition than the contrary.  Though he were but a little man, his courage and vigor was great.  He was of an upright and well proportioned stature, of a pleasing, cheerfull- Iooking countenance, of a swarthy hue, nimbly addicted, and exquisitely nimble unto all noble and gentleman-like exercises. I have seene some hollow staves of his filled with lead which hee wont to use and exercise his armes withall, the better to enable himselfe to pitch the barre, to throw the sledge, to cast the pole, and to @play at fence; and shoes with leaden soles, which he wore to ensure himselfe to leape, to vault, and to run.  I may without blushing say, that in memorie of himselfe, he hath left certaine petie miracles amongst us.  I have seene him when he was past threescore years of age mocke at all our sports, and out-countenance our youthfull pastimes with a heavy furr'd gowne about him to leap into his saddle.  To make the pommada round about a table upon his thumb, and seldome to ascend any staires without skipping three or four steps at once.  And concerning my discourse, hee was wont to say that in a whole province there was scarce any woman of qualitie that
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1 GUEVARA. 


<Mont2-18>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

had an ill name.  Hee would often report strange familiarities, namely of his owne, with very honest women, without any suspicion at all.  And protested very religiously that when he was married he was yet a pure virgine; yet had he long time followed the warres beyond the mountaines, and therein served long, whereof he hath left a Journall-booke of his owne collecting, wherein he hath particularly noted whatsoever happened day by day worthy the observation so long as he served, both for the publike and his particular use.  And he was well strucken in years when he tooke a wife.  For returning out of Italie in the yeare of our Lord one thousand five hundred eight and twenty, and being full three and thirty years old by the way hee chose himselfe a wife.  But come we to our drinking againe.  The incommodities of age wbich need some helpe and refreshing, might with some reason beget in me a desire or longing of this faculty, for it is in a man the last pleasure which the course of our years stealeth upon us.  Good fellowes say that naturall heat is first taken in our feet: that properly belongeth to infancie.  From thence it ascendeth unto the middle region, where it is setled and contitlueth a long time, and in mine opinion there produceth the only true and moving pleasures of this corporall life.  Other delight and sensualities in respect of that doe but sleepe.  In the end, like unto a vapour which by little and little exhaleth and mounteth aloft, it comes unto the throat and there makes her last bode.  Yet could I never conceive how any man may either encrease or prolong the pleasure of drinking beyond thirst, and in his imagination frame an artificial appetite, and against nature.  My stomacke could not well reach so farre: it is very much troubled to come to an end of that which it takes for his need.  My constitution is to make no accompt of drinking but to succeed meat, and therefore doe I ever make my last draught the greatest.  And forasmmuch as in age we have the roofe of our mouthes covered with rhume, or distempered, distated and altered through some other evill 


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constitution, wine seemeth better unto us and of a quicker relish, according as our pores be either more or lesse open and washed.  At least I seldome relish the same very well, except it be the first drought I take.  Anacharsis wondered to see the Grecians drinke in greater glasses at the end of their meales than in the beginning.  It was (as I imagine) for the very same reason that the Germans doe it, who never begin to carouse but when they have well fed.  Plato forbiddeth children to drinke any wine before they be eighteene yeares of age, and to be drunke before they come to forty.  But to such as have once attained the age of fortie he is content to pardon them, if they chance to delight themselves with it, and alloweth them somwhat to blend the influence of Dionysius in their banquets, that good God, who bestoweth cheerfulnesse upon men, and youth unto aged men, who layeth and aswageteh the passions of the minde, even as yron is made flexible by the fire: and in his profitable lawes holds drinking-meetings or quaffing companies as necessary and commendable (alwaies provided there be a chiefe leader amongst them to containe and order them) drunkennesse being a good and certaine tryall of every mans nature; and therewithall proper to give aged men the courage to make merry in dancing and musicke; things alowable and profitable, and such as they dare not undertake being sober and settled: That wine is capable to supply the mind with temperance and the body with health.  Notwithstanding, these restrictions, partly borrowed of the Carthaginians, please him well.  Let those forbeare it that are going about any expedition of warre.  Let every magistrate and all judges abstain from it at what time they are to execute their charge, and to consult of publike affaires.  Let none bestow the day in drinking, as the time that is due unto more serious negotiations, nor the nights wherein a man intendeth to get children. It is reported that Stilpo the Philosopher, finding himselfe surcharged with age, did purposely hasten his end by drinking of with pure wine.  The like cause (though not wittingly) did 


<Mont2-20>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

also suffocate the vital forces, crazed through old age, of the Philosopher Arcesilaus.  But it is an old and pleasant question whether a wise mans mind were like to yeeld unto the force of wine.

Si munitae adhibet vim sapientia./1
If unresisted force it bends,
Gainst wisdome which it selfe defends.
     Unto what vanity doth the good opinion we have of ourselves provoke us?  The most temperate and perfectest minde of the world findes it too great a taske to keepe herselfe upright, lest she fall by her owne weaknesse.  Of a thousand there is not one perfectly righteous and settled but one instant of her life, and question might be made whether according to her natural condition she might at any time be so.  But to joyne constancie unto it is her last perfection:  I meane if nothing should shocke ber; which a thousand accidents may doe.  Lucretius, that famous Poet, may philosophie and bandie at his pleasure:  Loe where be lieth senslesse of an amorous potion.  Thinkes any man that an apoplexie cannot as soone astonish Socrates as a poore labouring man?  Some of them have by the force of a sicknesse forgot their own names, and a slight hurt hath overthrown the judgement of others.  Let him be as wise as he can, in the end he is but a man; what is more fraile, more miserable, or more vaine?  Wisdome forceth not our naturall conditions.
Sudores itaque, et pallorem existere toto
Corpore, et infringi linguam, vocemque aboriri
Caligare, oculos, sonari aures, succidere artus,
Denique concidere ex animi terrore videmus./2
We see therefore, paleness and sweats oregrow
Our bodies, tongues doe falter, voyce doth breake,
Eyes dazle, eares buzze, joints doe shrinke below,
Lastly we swoune by hart-fright, terrours weake.
     He must seele his eyes against the blow that threateneth him; being. neere the brimme of a precipice, he
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1 HOR.  Od. xxviii. 4. 2 LUCRET. 1. iii. 155. 
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must cry out like a child:  Nature having purposed to reserve these light markes other aucthoritie unto herselfe, inexpuguable unto our reason, and to the Stoicke vertue: to teach him his mortalitie and our insipiditie. He waxeth pale for feare, be blusheth for shame, he groaneth feeling the cholike, if not with a desperate and lowd-roaring voice, yet with a low, smothered, and hoarse-sounding noise.

Humani a se nihil alienum putat,/1
He thinkes, that nothing strange be can
To him that longs to any man.
     Giddie-headed Poets, that faine what they list, dare not so much as discharge their Heroes from tears.
Sic fatur lachrymans, classigue immitit habemas./2
So said he weeping, and so saide,
Himselfe hand to the sterage laide.
     Let it suffice him to bridle his affections, and moderate his inclinations; for it is not in him to beare them away.  Plutarke himselfe, who is so perfect and excellent a judge of human actions, seeing Brutus and Torquatus to kill their own children, remaineth doubtfull whether vertue could reach so far and whether such men were not rather moved by some other passion.  All actions beyond the ordinary limits are subject to some sinister interpretation.  Forasmuch as our taste doth no more come unto that which is above it, than to that which is under it.  Let us omit that other sect which maketh open profession of fierceness.  But when in the very same sect which is esteemed the most demisse, we heare the bragges of Metrodorus:
Occupavi te, Fortuna, atqe cepi; omnesque aditus tuos interclusi, ut ad me amirare non posses:/3

'Fortune+, I have prevented, caught, and overtaken thee:
I have mured and ramd up all thy passages, whereby thou mightest attaine unto mee:


When Anaxarchus, by the appointment of Nicocreon, the tyrant of Cipres,
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1 TER.  Heaut. act i. sc. 1, 25. 2 VIRG.  Aen. 1. vi 1. 3 METR.  Cic. Tusc.  Qu. 1. v.


<Mont2-22>           MONTAIGNE's ESSAYES

being laid along in a trough of stone, and smoten with yron sledges, ceaseth not to crie out, 'Streeke, smite and breake; it is not Anaxarchus, it is but his vaile you martyr so:' When we heare our martyrs in the middst of a flame crie aloud unto the Tyrant, 'This side is roasted enough, chop it, eat it, it is full roasted, now begin on the other:' When in Josephus wee heere a child all to rent with biting snippers, and pierced with the breath of Antiochus, to defie him to death, crie with a lowde-assured and undismaid voyce, 'Tyrant, thou losest time, loe I am still at mine ease; where is that smarting paine, where are those torments wherewith whilom thou didst so threaten me?  My constancie doth more trouble thee than I have feeling of thy crueltie:  Oh faint hearted varlet, doest thou yeeld when I gather strength?  Make mee to faint or shrinke, cause me to moane or lament, force me to yeeld and sue for grace if thou canst; encourage thy satallities, harden thy executioners; loe how they droope and have no more power; arme them, strengthen them, flesh them.  Verely we must needs confesse there is some alteration, and some furie (how holy soever) in those mindes, When we come unto these Stoick evasions:  I had rather be furious than voluptuous: the saying of Antisthenes, Gkasjh sasgsh, 'Rather would I be mad than merry;' when Sextius telleth us, he had rather be surprised with pain than sensuality; when Epicurus undertakes to have the goute to wantonize and faune upon him, and refuseth ease and health, with a hearty cheerefullnesse defie all evils, and scornefully despising lesse sharpe griefs disdaining to grapple with them, he blithely desireth and calleth for sharper, more forcible and worthy of him.

Spumantemque dari, pecora inter inertia, votis
Optat aprum, aut fulvum descendere monte leonem:/2
He wisht, mongst hartlesse beasts some foming Bore,
Or mountaine-Lyon would come downe and rore;
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1 ANTIST.  Diogen.  Laert. 1. vi. c. i. 2 VIRG.  Aen. 1. iv. 158. 
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     Who would not judge them to be prankes of a courage removed from his wonted seate?  Our minde cannot out of her place attaine so higb.  She must quit it and raise herselfe aloft, and taking the bridle in her teeth, carry and transport her man so farre, that afterward he wonder at himselfe, and rest amazed at his actions.  As in exploit of warre, the heat and earnestnesse of the fight doth often provoke the noble minded souldiers to adventure on so dangerous passages that afterward being better advised, they are the first to wonder at it.  As also Poets are often surprised and rapt with admiration at their owne labours, and forget the trace by which they pass so happy a career.  It is that which some terme a fury or madnesse in them.  And as Plato saith that a setled and reposed man doth in vaine knocke at Poesies gate; Aristotle likewise saith that no excellent minde is freely exempted from some or other entermixture of folly.  And be hath reason to call any starting or extraordinarie conceit (how commendable soever) and which exceedeth our judgement and discourse, folly.  Forsomuch as wisdome is an orderly and regular managing of the minde, and which; she addresseth with measure, and conducteth with proportion; and taketh her owne word for it.  Plato disputeth thus: that the facultie of prophesying and divination is far above us, and that when wee treat it, we must be besides ourselves: our wisdome must be darkened and over shadowed by sleepe, by sicknesse, or by drowzinesse; or by some celestial fury, ravished from her owne seat. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.III+ A CUSTOME OF THE ILE OF CEA

IF, as some say, to philosophate be to doubt; with much more reason to rave and fantastiquize, as I doe, must necessarily be to doubt:  For, to enquire and debate belongeth to a scholler, and to resolve appertaines to a cathedrall master.  But know, my cathedrall, it is the authoritie of Gods divine will, that without any contradiction doth sway us, and hath her ranke beyond these humane and vaine contestations.  Philip being with an armed band entered the countrie of Peloponnesus, some one told Damidas the Lacedemonians were like to endure much if they sought not to reobtaine his lost favour. 'Oh varlet as thou art (answered be).  And what can they suffer who have no feare at all of death?  Agis being demanded, how a man might do to live free, answered; 'Despising and contemning to die.  These and a thousand like propositions, which concurre in this purpose, do evidently inferre some thing beyond patient expecting of death it selfe to be suffered in this life: witnesse the Lacedemonian child, taken by Antigonus, and sold for a slave, who urged by his master to perform some abject service; 'Thou shalt see (said he) whom thou hast bought, for it were a shame for me to serve, having libertie so neere at hand;' and therewithall threw himselfe headlong downe from the top of the house.  Antipater, sharply threatning the Lacedemonians, to make them yeeld to a certains request of his; they answered, shouldest thou menace us worse than death, we will rather die. And to Philip, who having written unto them that he would hinder all their enterprises; 'What? (say they) wilt thou, also
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hinder us from dying?  That is the reason why some say that the wise man liveth as long as he ought, and not so long as he can.  And that the favourablest gift nature hath bequeathed us, and which removeth all meanes from us to complaine of our condition, is, that she hath left us the key of the fields.  She hath appointed but one entrance unto life, but many a thousand ways out of it:  Well may we want ground to live upon, but never ground to die, in; as Boiocalus answered the Romanes.  Why dost thou complaine against this world?  It doth not containe thee:  If thou livest in paine and sorrow, thy base courage is the cause of it.  To die there wanteth but will.

Ubigue nors est. optime hoc cavit Deus,
Eripere vitam memo non homini potest:
At nemo mortem: mille ad hanc aditus patent./1
Each where death is:  God did this well purvey,
No man but can from man life take away,
But none barres death, to it lies many a way.
     And it is not a receipt to one malady alone; Death is a remedy against all evils:  It is a most assured haven, never to be feared, and often to be sought:  All comes to one period, whether man make an end of himselfe, or whether he endure it; whether he run before his day, or whether he expect it: whence soever it come, it is ever his owne, where ever the threed be broken, it is all there, it's the end of the web. The voluntariest death is the fairest.  Life dependeth on the will of others, death on ours.  In nothing should we so much accommodate our selves to our humors as in that.  Reputation doth nothing concerne such an enterprise, it is folly to have any respect unto it.  To live is to serve, if the libertie to dye he wanting.  The common course of curing any infirmitie is ever directed at the charge of life: we have incisions made into us, we are cauterized, we have limbs cut and mangled, we are let bloud, we are dieted.  Goe we but one step further, we need no more physicke, we are-perfectly whole. Why
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1 SEN.  Theb. act mod. 1. 1. sc. 
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is not our jugular or throat-veine as much at our command as the medians ?  To extreme sicknesses, extreme remedies.  Servius the Grammarian being troubled with the gowt, found no better meanes to be rid of it than to apply poison to mortifie his legs.  He cared not whether they were Podagrees or no, so they were insensible.  God giveth us sufficient privilege, when be placeth us in such an estate, as life is worse than death unto us.  It is weaknesse to yeeld to evils, but folly to foster them.  The Stoikes say it is a convenient naturall life, for a wise man, to forgoe life, although he abound in all happinesse, if he doe it opportunely:  And for a foole to prolong his life, albeit he be most miserable, provided he be in most part of things, which they say to be according unto nature; As I offend not the lawes made against theeves when I cut mine owne purse, and carry away mine owne goods; nor of destroyers when I burne mine owne wood; so am I nothing tied unto lawes made against murtherers, if I deprive my selfe of mine owne life.  Hegesias was wont to say, that even as the condition of life, so should the qualitie of death depend on our election.  And Diogenes meeting with the Philosopher Speusippus, long time afflicted with the dropsie, and therefore carried in a litter, who cried out unto him, All haile Diogenes: And to thee no health at all (replied Diogenes), that endurest to live in so wretched an estate.  True it is, that a while after, Speusippus, as overtired with so languishing a condition of life, compassed his owne death. But this goeth not without some contradiction:  For many are of opinion, that without the expresse commandment of him that hath placed us in this world, we may by no meanes forsake the garrison of it, and that it is in the hands of God only, who therein bath placed us, not for our selves alone, but for his glory, and others services when ever it shall please him to discharge us hence, and not for us to take leave:  That we are not borne for our selves, but for our Countrie:  The Lawes for their owne interest require an accompt at our hands for our selves, and have a just action of murther against us.  Else as for- 


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sakers of our owne charge, we are punished in the other world.

Proxima deinde tenent maesti loca, qui sibi lethum
Insontes peperere manu, lucemque perosi
Projecere animas./1
Next place they lamentable hold in hell,
Whose hand their death caused causelesse, (but not well) And hating life did thence their soules expell.
     There is more constancie in using the chaine that holds us than in breaking the same; and more triall of stedfastnesse in Regulus than in Cato.  It is indiscretion and impatience that hastneth our way.  No accidents can force a man to turne his backe from lively vertue: She seeketh out evils and sorrowes as her nourishment.  The threats of fell tyrants, tortures and torments, executioners and torturers, doe animate and quicken her.
Duris ut ilex tonsa bipennibus
Nigrae feraci frondis in Algido
Per damna, per caedes, ab ipso
Ducit opes animumque fero./2
As holme-tree doth with hard axe lopt
On hils with many holme-trees topt,
From losse, from cuttings it doth feele,
Courage and store rise ev'n from steele,
And as the other saith,
Non est putas virtus, pater,
Timere vitam, sed malis ingentibus
Obstare, nec se vertereac vetro dare./3
Sir, 'tis not vertue, as you understand,
To feare life, but grosse mischiefe to withstand,
Not to retire, turne backe, at any hand.
Rebus in adversis facile est contemnere mortem.  Fortius ille facit, qui miser esse potest./4  'Tis easie in crosse chance death to despise:  He that can wretched be, doth stronger rise.' It is the part of cowardlinesse, and not of vertue, to
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1 VIRG.  Aen. 1. vi. 434. 2 HOR. 1. iv.  Od. iv. 57. 3 SEN.  Theb. act i. sc. 1. 4 MART. 1. xi.  Epig. lvii. 15. 
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seeke to squat it selfe in some hollow lurking hole, or to hide her selfe under some massie tombe, thereby to shun the strokes of fortune. She never forsakes her course, nor leaves her way, what stormie weather soever crosse her.

Si fractus illabatur orbis.
Impavidam ferient ruinae./1
If the world broken should upon her fall,
The ruines may her strike, but not appall,
The avoyding of other inconveniences doth most commonly drive us into this, yea, sometimes the shunning of death makes us to run into it.
Hic, rogo, nonfuror est, ne moriare, mori?|2
Madnesse is't not, say I,
To dye, lest you should dye?
     As those who for feare, of a break-necke downe-fall, doe headlong cast themselves into it.
      ------ multos in summa pericula misit
Venturi timor ipse mali fortissimus ille est,
Qui promptus metuenda pati, si cominus instent
Et diferre potest./3
The very feare of ils to come, hath sent
Many to mighty dangers: strongest they,
Who fearfull things t' endure are ready bent
If they confront them, yet can them delay.
Usque adeo mortisformidine, vitae
Percepit humanos odium, lucisqe videndae,
Ut sibi consciscant maerenti pectore lethum,
Obliti fonte currarum hunc esse timorem.4
So far by feare of death, the hate of life,
And seeing light, doth men as men possesse,
They grieving kill themselves to end the strife,
Forgetting, feare is spring of their distresse.
Plato in his Lawes alots him that hath deprived his 1 HOR. 1. iii.  Od. iii. 7. 2 MART. 1. ii.  Epig. lxxx. 2. 3 LUCAN. 1. vii. 104. 4 LUCRET. 1. iii. 79. 
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neerest and deerest friend of life (that is to say, himselfe) and abridged him of the destinies course, not constrained by any publike judgement, nor by any lewd and inevitilble accident of fortune, nor by any intolerable shame or infamy, but through basenesse of minde, and weakenesse of a faint-fearful courage, to have a most ignominious and ever-reproachfull buriall.  And the opinion which disdaineth our life is ridiculous:  For in fine it is our being.  It is our all in all.  Things that have a nobler and richer being nay accuse ours:  But it is against nature, we should despise, and carelesly set our selves at naught:  It is a particular infirmitie, and, which is not seene in any other creature, to hate and disdaine himselfe.  It is of like vanitie, that we desire to be other than we are.  The fruit of such a desire doth not concerne us, forasmuch as it contradicteth and hindereth it selfe in it selfe.  He that desireth to be made of a man an Angell doth nothing for himselfe:  He should be nothing the better by it:  And being no more, who shall rejoyce or conceive any gladnesse of this change or amendment for him?

Debet enim misere cui forte aegreque futuram est,
Ipse quoque esse in eo tum tempore, cum male possit
Accidere./1

For he, who shall perchance prove miserable,
And speed but ill, should then himselfe be able
To be himselfe, when ils may chance unstable.

     The security, indolencie, impassibility, and privation of this lifes evils, which we purchase at the price of death, bring us no cornmoditie at all.  In vaine doth he avoid warre that cannot enjoy peace; and bootlesse doth he shun paine that hath no meanes to feele rest.  Amongst those of the first opinion, great questioning hath beene to know what occasions are sufficiently just and lawfull to make a man undertake the killing of himselfe, they call that  c6xo-yo;, Eta-yco rhp,/2  a reasonable orderly out-let.  For, although they say a man must
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1 LUCR. 1. iii. 905. 2 ALEX.  Aphrod.
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often dye for slight causes, since these that keepe us alive are not very strong; yet is some measure required in them.  There are certaine fantasticall and brainesicke humors, which have not only provoked particular men, but whole Nations to defeat themselves.  I have heretofore aleaged some examples of them:  And moreover we reade of certaine Milesian virgins, who upon a furious conspiracie hanged themselves one after another, untill such time as the Magistrate provided for it, appointing that such as should be found so hanged, should with their owne halters be dragged naked thorow the streets of the citie.  When Threicion perswadeth Cleomenes to kill himselfe, by reason of the bad and desperate estate his affaires stood in, and having escaped a more honourable death in the battell which he had lately lost, moveth him to accept of this other, which is second to him in honour, and give the Conqueror no leisure to make him endure, either another death, or else a shamefull life, Cleomenes, with a Lacedemonian and Stoike courage, refuseth this counsell as base and effeminate:  It is a receipt (saith he) which can never faile me, and whereof a man should make no use, so long as there remaineth but one inch of hope:  That to live, is sometimes constancie and valour; 'That he will have his very death serve his Countrie, and by it shew an act of honour and of vertue.  Threicion then beleeved, and killed himselfe.  Cleomenes did afterwards as much, but not before he had tried and assayed the utmost power of fortune.  All inconveniencies are not so much worth that a man should dye to eschue them.  Moreover, there being so many sudden changes and violent alterations in humane things, it is hard to judge in what state or point we are justly at the end of our hope: [Edgar]

Sperat et in saeva victus gladiator arena,
Sit licet infesto pollice turba minax./1

The Fencer hopes, though down in lists he lye,
And people with turn'd hand threats he must dye.

     All things, saith an ancient proverb, may a man
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1 SEN.  Epist. xiii. 
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hope for so long as he liveth: yea, but answereth Seneca, wherefore shall I rather have that in minde; that fortune can do all things for him that is living, than this; that fortune hath no power at all over him who knoweth how to dye?  Josephus is seene engaged in so apparent-approaching danger, with a whole nation against him, that according to humane reason there was no way for him to escape; notwithstanding being (as he saith) counselled by a friend of his, at that instant, to kill himselfe, it fell out well for him to opinionate himselfe yet in hope: for fortune, beyond all mans discourse, did so turne and change that accident, that without any inconvenience at all, he saw himselfe delivered: whereas on the contrarie Brutus and Cassius, by reason of the down-fall and rashnesse, wherewith before due time and occasion they killed themselves; did utterly lose the reliques of the Roman libertie , whereof they were protectors.  The Lord of Anguien in the battell of Serisolles, as one desperate of the combats successe, which on his side went to wracke, attempted twice to run himselfe thorow the throat with his rapier and thought by precipitation to bereave himselfe of the enjoying of so notable a victorie.  I have seene a hundred Hares save themselves even in the Grey-hounds jawes: liquis carnifici suo superstes fuit./1  'Some man hath outlived his Hang-man.

Multa dies variusque labor mutabilis evi
Rettulit in melius, multos alterna revisens
Lusit, et in solido rursus fortuna locavit./2
Time, and of turning age the divers strains,
Hath much to better brought, fortunes turn'd traine
Hath many mock'd, and set them fast againe.
     Plinie saith there are but three sorts of sicknesses, which to avoid, a man may have some colour of reason to kill himselfe. The sharpest of all is the stone in the bladder, when the urine is there stopped.  Seneca, those onely, which for long time disturbe and distract the offices of the minde.  To avoid a worse death,
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1 SEN.  Epist. xiii. 2 VIRG.  Aen. 1. xi. 426. 
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some are of opinion, a man should take it at his owne pleasure.  Democritus, chiefe of the AEtolians, being led captive to Rome, found meanes to escape by night but being pursued by his keepers, rather, than he would be taken againe, ran himselfe thorow with his sword.  Antinous and Theodotus, their Citie of Epirus being by the Romans reduced unto great extremitie, concluded, and perswaded all the people to kill themselves.  But the counsell, rather to yield, having prevailed, they went to seeke their owne death, and rushed amidst the thickest of their enemies, with an intention rather to strike than to ward themselves.      The Iland of Gosa, being some yeares since surprised and over-run by the Turkes, a certaine Sicilian therein dwelling, having two faire daughters ready to be marrried, killed them both with his owne bands, together with their mother, that came in to help them that done, running out into the streets, with a crossebow in one band and a caliver in the other, at two shoots slew the two first Turks that came next to his gates, then resolutely drawing his sword, ran furiously among them, by whom he was suddenly hewen in peeces:  Thus, did be save himselfe from slavish bondage, having first delivered his owne from it.  The Jewish women, after they had caused their children to be circumcised, to avoid the crueltie of Antiochus, did headlong precipitate themselves and them unto death.  I have heard it credibly reported that a gentleman of qood quality being prisoner in one of our gaols, his parents advertized that he should assuredly be condemned to avoid the infamie of so reproachfull a deathg, appointed a priest to tell him that the best remedy was to recommend himselfe to such a with such a saint, with such ,@and such a vow, and to continue eight dayes without taking any sustenance, what faintnesse or weaknesse soever he should feele in himselfe.  He believed them, and so without thinking on it, was delivered out of life and danger.  Scribonia perswading Libo her nephew, to kill himselfe, rather than to await the stroke of justice, told him that for a 


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man to preserve his owne life, to put it into the hands of such as three or foure dayes after should come and seek it, was even to dispatch another man's business, and that it was no other than for one to serve his enemies to preserve his bloud, therewith to make food.  We read in the Bible that Nicanor the persecutor of Gods law, having seint his satellites to apprehend the good old man Rasias for the honour of his vertue, surnamed the father of the Jewes; when that good man saw no other means left him, his gate being burned, and his enemies ready to lay hold on him, chose rather than to fall into the hands of such villaines and be so basely abused against the honour of his place, to dye nobly, and so smote himselfe with his owne sword; but by reason of his haste, having not thoroughly slaine himselfe, he ran to throw himselfe downe from an high wall, amongst the throng of people, which making him roome, he fell right upon his head.  All which notwithstanding, perceiving life to remaine in him, he tooke heart againe; and getting up on his feet, all goared with bloud and loaden with strokes, making way through the prease, came to a craggy and downe-steepy rock, where, unable to go any further, by one of his wounds with both his hands pulled out his guts, and tearing and breaking them cast them amongst such as pursued him, calling and attesting the vengeance of God to light upon them.  Of all violences committed against conscience, the most in mine opinion to be avoided is that which is offered against the chastitie of women. Forasmuch as there is naturally some corporall pleasure commixt with it, and therefore the dissent cannot fully enough be joyned thereunto; and it seemeth that force is in some sort intermixed with some will.  The ecclesiastical storie hath in especiall reverence sundry such examples of devout persons who called for death to warrant them from the outrages which some tyrants prepared against their religion and consciences.  Pelagia and Sophronia, both canonised, the first, together with her mother and sisters, to escape the outrageous rapes of some souldiers, threw 


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her selfe into a river; the other, to shun the force of Maxentius, the Emperor, slew her selfe.  It shall peradventure redound to our honour in future ages, that a wise author of these dayes, and namely a Parisian,, doth labour to perswade the ladies of our times rather to hazard upon any resolution than to embrace so horrible a counsell of such desperation. I am sorie that to put amongst his discourses he knew not the good saying I learnt of a woman at Tholouse, who had passed through the hands of some souldiers: 'God be praised,' said she, 'that once in my life I have had my belly full without sinne.  Verify these cruelties are not worthy of the French curtesie.  And God be thanked, since this good advertisement, our ayre is infinitely purged of them.  Let it suffice that in doing it they say no, and take it, following the rule of Marot.  The historie is very full of such, who a thousand ways have changed lingering, toylsome life with death.  Lucius Aruntius killed himselfe, as he said to avoid what was past and eschue what was to come.  Granius Sylvanus and Statius Proximus, after they had beene pardoned by Nero, killed themselves, either because they scorned to live by the favour of so wicked a man, or because they would not another time be in danger of a second pardon, seeing his so easie-yielding unto suspicions and accusations against honest men.  Spargapises, sonne unto Queene Tomiris, prisoner by the law of warre unto Cyrus, employed the first favour that Cyrus did him by setting him free, to kill himselfe, as be who never pretended to reap other fruit by his liberty, than to revenge the infamie of his taking upon himselfe.  Boges, a Governor for King Xerxes, in the country of Ionia, being besieged by the Athenians army, under the conduct of Cymon, refused the composition to returne safely, together with his goods and treasure, into Asia, as one impatient to survive the loss of what his master had given him in charge; and after he had stoutly, and even to the last extremity, defended the towne, having no manner of victuals left him; first he all the gold and treasure, with whatsoever he 


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imagined the enemy might reap any commoditie by, into the river Strimon. Then having caused a great pile of wood to be set on fire, and made all women, children, concubines and servants to be stripped and throwne into the flames, afterward ran in himselfe, where all were burned.  Ninachetuen, a lord in the East Indies, having had an inkling of the King of Portugales viceroys deliberation to dispossess him, without any apparent cause of the charge he had in Malaca, for to give it unto the King of Campar, of himselfe took this resolution:  First, he caused an high scaffold to be set up, somewhat longer than broad, underpropped with pillars, all gorgeously hanged with rich tapestrie, strewed with flowers and adorned with precious perfumes.  Then, having put on a sumptuous long robe of cloth of gold, richly beset with store of precious stones of inestimable worth, he came out of the palace into the street, and by certaine steps ascended the scaffold, in one of the corners whereof was a pile of aromaticall wood set afire. All the people of the citie were flocked together to see what the meaning of such unaccustomed preparation might tend unto.  Ninachetuen, with an undanted, bold, yet seeming discontented countenance, declared the manifold obligations which the Portugal nation was endebted unto him for, expostulated how faithfully and truly he had dealt in his charge; that having so often witnessed, armed at all assayes for others, that his honour was much dearer unto him than life, he was not to forsake the care of it for himselfe; that fortune refusing him all means to oppose himselfe against the injurie intended against him, his courage at the least willed him to remove the feeling thereof, and not become a laughing stocke unto the people, and a triumph to men of lesse worth than himselfe, which words, as he was speaking, he cast himselfe into the fire.  Sextilia, the wife of Scaurus, and Praxea, wife unto Labeo, to encourage their husbands to avoid the dangers which pressed them, wherein they had no share (but in regard of the interest of their conjugal 


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affection), voluntarily engaged their life, in this extreme necessitie, to serve them as an example to imitate and company to regard.  What they performed for their husbands, Cocceius Nerva acted for his countrie, and though lesse profitable, yet equall in true love.  That famous interpreter of the lawes, abounding in riches, in reputation, in credit, and flourishing in health about the Emperour, had no other cause to rid himselfe of life but the compassion of the miserable estate, wherein he saw the Romane commonwealth. Nothing can be added unto the daintinesse of the wifes death of Fulvius who was so inward with Augustus.  Augustus perceiving he had blabbed a certaine secret of importance, which he on trust had revealed unto him, one morning comming to visit him, he seemed to frowne upon him for it; whereupon as guilty, he returneth home as one full of despaire, and in piteous sort told his wife that sithence he was falne into such a misechiefe, be was resolved to kill himselfe; shee, as one no whit dismaied, replied unto him: 'Thou shalt doe but right, since having so often exprienced the incontinence of my tongue, thou hast not learnt to beware of it, yet give me leave to kill my selfe first,' and without more adoe ran her selfe thorow with a sword.  Vibius Virius despairing of his cities safetie, besieged by the Romans, and mistrusting their mercie, in their Senates last consultation, after many remonstrances employed to that end, concluded that the best and fairest way was to escape fortune by their owne bands.  The very enemies should have them in more honour, and Hanniball might perceive what faithfull friends he had forsaken.  Enviting those that should allow of his advice to come and take a good supper, which was prepared in his house, where, after great cheere, they should drinke together whatsoever should be presented unto him; a drinke that shall deliver our bodies from torments, free our mindes from injuries, and release our eyes and eares from seeing and hearing so horrible mischiefes, which the conquered must endure at the hands of most cruell and offended conquerors. 


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'I have,' quoth he, 'taken order that nen fit for that purpose shall be ready, when we shall be expired, to cast us into a great burning pile of wood.  Diverse approved of his high resolution, but few did imitate the same.  Seven and twentie Senators followed him, who after they had attempted to stifle so irkesome and suppress so terror-moving a thought, with quaffing and swelling of wine, they ended their repast by this deadly messe: and enter-bracing one another, after they had in common deplored and bewailed their countries misfortunes, some went home to their owne house, othersome stayed there, to be entombed with Vibius in his owne fire, whose death was so long and lingering, forsomuch as the vapor of the wine having possessed their veines, and slowed the effect and operation of the poyson, that some lived an hour after they had seen their enemies enter Capua,, which they caried the next day after, and incurred the miseries and saw the calamities which at so high a rate they had sought to eschue.      Taurea Iubellius, another citizen there, the Consull Fulvius returning from that shameful slaughter which he had committed of 225 Senators, called him churlishly by his name, and having arrested him; 'Co;nmand, 'quoth he unto him, 'that I also be massacred after so many others, that so thou maiest brag to have murthered a much more valiant man than ever thou wast. Fulvius, as one enraged, disdaining him; forasmuch as be had newly received letters from Rome contrarie to the inhumanitie of his execution, which inhibited him to proceed any further; Iubellius, continuing his speech, said: 'Sithence my Countrie is taken, my friends butchered, and having with mine owne hands slaine my wife and children, as the onely meane to free them from the desolation of this ruine, I may not dye the death of my fellow citizens, let us borrow the vengeance of this hatefull life from vertue:' And drawing a blade he had hidden under his garments, therewith ran himselfe thorow, and falling on his face, died at the Consuls feet. Alexander besieged a Citie in India, the inhabitants whereof, 


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perceiving themselves brought to a very narrow pinch, resolved obstinately to deprive him of the pleasure he might get of his victorie, and together with their Citie, in despite of his humanitie set both the Towne and themselves on a light fire, and so were all consumed.  A new kinde of warring, where the enemies did all they could, and sought to save them, they to loose themselves, and to be assured of their death, did all a man can possibly effect to warrant his life.  Astapa, a Citie in Spaine, being very weake of wals and other defences, to withstand the Romanes that besieged it; the inhabitants drew all their riches and wealth into the market-place, whereof having made a heap, and on the top of it placed their wives and children, and encompassed and covered the same with drie brush wood that it might burne the easier, and having appointed fifty lusty young men of theirs for the performance of their resolution, made a sally, where following their determined vow, seeing they could not vanquish, suffered themselves to be slaine every mothers childe.  The fifty, after they had massacred every living soule remaining in the Citie, and set fire to the heap joyfully leaped there-into, ending their generous liberty in a state rather insensible than dolorous and reproachfull; showing their enemies that, if fortune had beene so pleased, they should as well have had the courage to bereave them of the victory as they, had to yeeld it them both vaine and hideous, yea, and mortall to those who allured by the glittering of the gold that moulten ran from out the flame, thicke and threefold approching greedily unto it, were therein smothered and burned, the formost being unable to give back, by reason of the throng that followed them.  The Abideans, pressed by Philip, resolved upon the very same, but being prevented, the King whose heart abhorred to see the fond-rash precipitation of such an execution (having first seized upon and saved the treasure and moveables, which they had diversly condemned to the lames and utter spoyle) retiring all the Souldiers, granted them the full space of three dayes to make 


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themselves away, that so they might doe it with more order and leisure; which three dayes they replenished with blood and murther beyond all hostile cruelty:  And which is strange, there was no one person saved that had power upon himselfe.  There are infinite examples of such-like popular conclusions, which seeme more violent by how much more the effect of them is more universall. They are lesse than when severall.  What discourse would not doe in each one, it doth in all the vehemence of societie ravishing particular judgements. Such as were condemned to dye in the time of Tiberius, and delaid their execution any while, lost their goods, and could not be buried; but such as prvented the same, in killing themselves,, were solemnly enterred, and might at their pleasure bequeath such goods as they had to whom they list. But a man doth also sometimes desire death, in hope of a greater good. 'I desire,' saith Saint Paul, 'to be out of this world, that I may be with Jesus Christ: and who shal release me out of these bonds?  Cleombrotus Ambraciota, having read Platoes Pheadon, was so possessed with a desire and longing for an after-life, that without other occasion or more adoe, he went and headlong cast himselfe into the sea.  Whereby it appeareth how improperly we call this voluntarie dissolution despaire; unto which the violence of hope doth often transport us, and as often a peacefull ana setled inclination of judgement.  Iaques du Castell, Bishop of Soissons, in the voyage which Saint Lewes undertooke beyond the seas, seeing the King and all his army ready to returne into France, and leave the affaires of Religion imperfect, resolved with himselfe rather to goe to heaven; And having bidden his friends farewell, in the open view of all men, rushed alone into the enemies troops, of whom he was forthwith hewen in pieces.  In a certaine kingdome of these late- discovered Indies, upon a day of a solemne procession, in which the idols they adore are publikely carried up and down upon a chariot of exceeding greatnesse: besides that, there are many seene to cut 


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and slice great mammocks of their quicke flesh to offer the said idols; there are numbers of others seene who, prostrating themselves alongst the ground, endure very patiently to be mouldred and crushed to death under the chariots wheels, thinking thereby to purchase after their death a veneration of holinesse, of which they are not defrauded.  The death of this Bishop, armed as we have said, argueth more generositie and lesse sense: the heat of the combat ammusing one part of it.  Some common-wealths there are that have gone about to sway the justice and direct the opportunitie of voluntarie deaths.  In our Citie of Marseille they were wont in former ages ever to keepe some poison in store, prepared and compounded with hemlocke, at the Cities charge, for such as would upon any occasion shorten their daies, having first approved the reasons of their enterprise unto the six hundred Elders of the Towne, which was their Senate:  For otherwise it was unlawfull for any body, except by the Magistrates permission, and for very lawfully-urgent occasions, to lay violent hands upon himselfe.  The very same law was likewise used in other places.  Sextus Pompeius, going into Asia, passed thorow the Iland of Cea, belonging to Negropont; it fortuned whilest he abode there (as one as one reporteth that was in his companie) that a woman of great authority, having first yielded an accompt unto her Citizens and shewed good reasons why she was resolved to end her life, earnestly entreated Pompey to be an assistant at her at her death, that so it might be esteemed more honourable, which he assented unto; and having long time in vaine sought, by vertue of his eloquence (wherein be was exceeding ready) and force of perswasion, to alter her intent and remove her from her purpose, in the end yeelded to her request.  She had lived foure score and ten yeares in a most happy state of minde and body, but when lying on her bed, better adorned than before she was accustomed to have it, and leaning on her elbow, thus she bespoke: 'The Gods, O Sextus Pompeius, and rather those I forgoe than those I goe unto, reward and appay thee, for that 


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thou hast vouchsafed to be both a counsellor of my life and a witnesse of my death.  As for my part, having hitherto ever tasted the favourable visage of fortune, for feare the desire of living overlong should make me taste of her frownes, with an happy and successfull end I will now depart, and set free the remainder of my soule, leaving behind me two daughters of, mine, with a legion of grand-children and nephewes.  That done, having preached unto and exhorted all her people and kinsfolks to an unitie and peace, and divided her goods amongst them, and recommended her household Gods unto her eldest daughter, with an assuredly-staide hand she tooke the cup wherein the poyson was, and having made her vowes unto Mercurie, and prayers to conduct her unto some happy place in the other world, roundly swallowed that mortall potion; which done, she intertained the progresse of her behaviour, and as the parts of her body were one after another possessed with the cold operation of that venom: untill such time as shee felt it worke at the heart and in her entrals, shee called her daughter to doe her the last office and close her eyes.  Plinie reporteth of a certaine Hiperborean nation, wherein, by reason of the mild temperature of the aire, the inhabitants thereof commonly never dye, but when they please to make themselves away, and that being weary and tired with living they are accustomed at the end of a long-long age, having first made merry and good cheare with their friends, from the top of an high-steepy rocke appointed for that purpose, to cast themselves headlong into the sea.  Grieving-smart, and a worse death seeme to me the most ecxusable incitations. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.IV+ TO-MORROW IS A NEW DAY

     I DO with some reason, as me seemeth, give pricke and praise unto Iaques Amiot above all our French writers, not only for his natural purity, and pure elegancie of the tongue, wherin he excelleth all others, nor for his indefatigable constancie of so long and toilesome a labour, nor for the unsearchable depth of his knowledge, having so successfully-happy been able to explaine an Author so close and thorny, and unfold a writer so mysterious and entangled (for let any man tell me what he list, I have no skill of the Greeke, but I see thorowout al his translation a sense so closely-joynted, and so pithily- continued, that either he hath assuredly understood and inned the very imagination, and the true conceit of the Author, or having through a long and continnall conversion, lively planted in his minde a generall Idea of that of Plutarke, he hath at least lent him nothing that doth belye him, or misseeme him) but above all, I kon him thanks that he hath had the hap to chuse, and knowledge to cull-out so worthy a worke, and a booke so fit to the purpose, therewith to make so unvaluable a present unto his Countrie.  We that are in the number of the ignorant had beene utterly confounded, had not his booke raised us from out the dust of ignorance:  God-a-mercy his endevours we dare not both speak and write:  Even Ladies are therewith able to confront Masters of arts:  It is our breviarie.  If so good a man chance to live, I bequeath Xenophon unto him, to doe as much.  It is an easier peece of worke, and so much the more agreeing to his age.  Moreover I wot not how me
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seemeth, although he roundly and clearly disintangle himself from hard passages,, that notwithstanding his stile is more close and neerer it selfe when it is not laboured and wrested, and that it glideth smoothly at his pleasure.  I was even now reading of that place where Plutarke speaketh of himself, that Rusticus being present at a declamation of his in Rome, received a packet from the Emperour, which he temporized to open untill he had made an end: wherein (saith he) all the assistants did singularly commend the gravitie of the man.  Verily, being on the instance of curiositie and on the greedy and insatiate passion of newes, which with such indiscreet impatience and impatient indiscretion, induceth us to neglect all things for to entertaine a new-come guest, and forget all respect and countenance whersoover we be, suddenly to break up such letters as are brought us; he had reason to commend the gravitie of Rusticus: to which he might also have added the commendation of his civilitie and curtesie, for that be would not interrupt the course of his declamation:  But I make a question whether he might be commended for his wisdome; for receiving unexpected letters, and especially from an Emperour, it might very well have fortuned that this deferring to read them might have caused some notable inconvenience. Recklesness is the vice contrarie unto curiosity+, towards which I am naturally inclined, aud wherein I have seen many men, so extremely plunged, that three or foure days after the receiving of letters which have been sent them, they have been found in their pockets yet unopened.  I never opened any, not only of such as had beene committed to my keeping, but of such as by any fortune came to my hands.  And I make a conscience standing neare some great person if mine eyes chance unawares to steale some knowledge of any letters of importance that he readeth.  Never was man lesse inquisitive, or pryed lesse into other mens affaires than I.  In our fathers time the Lord of Boutieres was like to have lost Turin, forsomuch as being one night at supper in very good company he deferred the reading 


<Mont2-44>           MONTAIGNES ESSAYES

of an advertisement which was delivered him of the treasons that were practised and complotted against that Citie where he commanded.  And Plutarke himselfe has taught me that Iulius Caesar had escaped death, if going to the Senate-house that day wherein he was murdered by the conspirators he had read a memorial which was presented unto him.  Who likewise reporteth the storie of Archias, the Tyrant of Thebes, how the night fore- going the execution of the enterprize that Pelopidas had complotted to kill him, thereby to set his Countrie at libertie: another Archias of Athens writ him a letter wherein he particularly related unto him all that was conspired and complotted against him; which letter being delivered him whilst he sate at supper, he deferred the opening of it, pronouncing this by-word: 'To morrow is a new day,' which afterward was turned to a Proverb in Greece. A wise man may, in mine opinion, for the interest of others, as not unmannerly to breake companie like unto Rusticus, or not to discontinue some other affaire of importance, remit and defer to understand such newes as are brought him; but for his own private interest or particular pleasure, namely, if he be a man having publike charge, if he regard his dinner so much that he will not break it off, or his sleepe that he will not interrupt it: to doe it, is inexcusable.  And in former ages was the Consulate-place in Rome, which they named the most honourable at the table, because it was more free and more accessible for such as might casually come in, to entertaine him that should be there placed.  Witnesse, that though they were sitting at the board, they neither omitted nor gave over the managing of other affaires and following of other accidents.  But when all is said, it is very hard, chiefely in humane actions, to prescribe so exact rules by discourse of reason, that fortune+ doe not sway, and keepe her right in them.



 
 

CHAPTER 2.V+ OF CONSCIENCE

My brother the Lord of Brousse and myself, during the time of our civill warres, travelling one day together, we fortuned to meet upon the way with a Gentleman in outward semblance, of good demeanour:  He was of our contrary faction, but forasmuch as he counterfeited himselfe otherwise, I knew it not.  And the worst of these tumultuous intestine broyles is, that the cards are so shuffled (your enemie being neither by language nor by fashion, nor by any other apparent marke distinguished from you; nay, which is more, brought up under the same lawes and customes, and breathing the same ayre) that it is a very hard matter to avoid confusion and shun disorder.  Which consideration made me not a little fearefull to meet with our troopes, especially where I was not knowns, lest I should be urged to tell my name, and haply doe worse.  As other times before it had befalne me; for, by such a chance, or rather mistaking, I fortuned once to lose all my men and horses and hardly escaped myself: and amongst other my losses and servants that were slaine, the thing that most grieved me was the untimely and miserable death of a young Italian Gentlemen whom I kept as my Page, and very carefully brought up, with whom dyed as forward, as budding and as hopefull a youth as ever I saw.  But this man seemed fearfully dismaid, and at every encounter of horseman and passage by, or thorow any Towne that held for the King, I observed him to be so strangely distracted that in the end I perceived and guessed they were but guilty alarums that his conscience gave him. It eemed unto this seely man that all might apparently,
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<Mont2-46>           MONTAIGNES ESSAYES

both through his blushing selfe-accusing countenance, and by the crosses he wore upon his upper garments, read the secret intentions of his faint heart.  Of such marvailous-working power is the sting of conscience: which often induceth us to bewray, to accuse, and to combat our selves; and for want of other evidences she produceth our selves against our selves.

Occultum quaetiens animo tortore flagellum./1
Their minde, the tormentor of sinne,
Shaking an unscene whip within.
     The storie of Bessus the Paeonian is so common, that even children have it in their mouths, who being found, fault withal, that in mirth he had beaten downe a nest of young Sparrowes and then killed them, answered, he had great reason to doe it; forsomuch as those young birds ceased not falsly to accuse him to have murthered his father, which parricide was never suspected to have beene committed by him, and until that day had layen secret; but the revengefull furies of the conscience made the same partie to reveale it, that by all right was to do penance for so hatefull and unnaturall a murther.  Hesiodus correcteth the saying of Plato, that punishment doth commonly succeed the guilt, and follow sinne at hand: for, he affirmeth, that it rather is borne at the instant and together with sinne it selfe, and they are as twinnes borne at one birth together. 'Whosoever expects punishment suffereth the same, and whosoever deserveth it, he doth expect it.  Impietie doth invent, and iniquitie doth frame torments against itselfe,' - Malum constilium consultori pessimum, - /2  Bad counsell is worst for the counsellor that gives the counsell, even as the waspe stingeth and offendeth others, but herselfe much more; for, in hurting others, she loseth her force and sting for ever.
-----
1 JUVEN.  Sat. xiii. 195. 2 ERAS.  Chil. i. cent. ii. ad. 14. 
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      ------ vitasque in vulnere ponunt./1
They, while they others sting,
Death to themselves do bring.
     The Cantharides have some part in them, which by a contrarietie of nature serveth as an antidot or counter-poison against their poison: so likewise, as one taketh pleasure in vice, there is a certaine contrarie displeasure engendred in the conscience, which by sundry irksome and painfull imaginations, perplexeth and tormenteth us, both waking and asleep.
Quippe ubi se multi per somnia saepe loquentes, Aut morbo delirantes protraxe ferantur,
Et celata diu in medium peccata delisse./2
Many in dreames oft speaking, or unhealed,
In sicknesse raving have themselves revealed,
And brought to light their sinnes long time concealed.
     Apollodorus dreamed he saw himselfe first flead by the Scythians, and then boyled in a pot, and that his owne heart murmured, saying: 'I only have caused this mischiefe to light upon thee.  Epicurus was wont to say, that no lurking hole can shroud the wicked, for they can never assure themselves to be sufficiently hidden, sithence conscience is ever ready to disclose them to themselves.
      ------ prima est haec ultio, quod se
Iudice nemo nocens absolvitur./3
 

This is the first revenge, no guilty mind
Is quitted, though it selfe be judge assign'd.

     Which as it doth fill us with feare and doubt, so doth it store us with assurance and trust.  And I may boldly say that I have waded thorow many dangerous hazards with a more untired pace, only in consideration of the secret knowledge I had of mine owne will, and innocencie of my desseignes.
-----
1 VIRG.  Georg. 1. iv. 238. 2 LUCR. 1. v. 1168. 3 JUVEN.  Sat. xiii. 2. 
<Mont2-48>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
Conscia mens ut cuique sua est, ita concipit intra
Pectora pro facto spemque metumque suo./1
As each mans minde is guiltie, so doth he
Inlie breed hope and feare, as his deeds be.
     Of examples there are thousands:  It shall suffice us to alleage three only, and all of one man.  Scipio being one day accused before the Romane people of an urgent and capitall accusation, in stead of excusing himselfe, or flattering the Judges; turning to them, he said: 'It will well beseeme you to undertake to judge of his head, by whose meanes you have authoritie to judge of all the world.  The same man, another time, being vehemently urged by a Tribune of the people, who charged him with sundry imputations, in lieu of pleading or excusing his cause, gave him this sudden and short answer: 'Let us goe (quoth he), my good Citizens; let us forthwith goe (I say) to give hartie thanks unto the Gods for the victorie, which even upon such a day as this is they gave me against the Carthaginians.  And therewith advancing himselfe to march before the people, all the assembly, and even his accuser himselfe did undelayedly follow him towards the Temple.  After that, Petilius having beene animated and stirred up by Cato to solicite and demand a strict accompt of him, of the money he had managed, and which was committed to his trust whilest he was in the Province of Antioch, Scipio, being come into the Senate- house of purpose to answer for himselfe, pulling out the booke of his accompts from under his gowne, told them all that that booke contained truly both the receipt and laying out thereof; and being required to deliver the same unto a Clarke to register it, he refused to doe it, saying he would not doe himselfe that wrong or indignitie; and thereupon with his owne hands, in presence of all the Senate, tore the booke in peeces.  I cannot apprehend or beleeve that a guiltie-cauterized conscience could possibly dissemble or counterfet such an undismayed assurance:  His heart was naturally too
-----
1 OVID.  Fast. 1. i. 487. 
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great, and enured to overhigh fortune (saith Titus Livius) to know how to be a criminall offender, and stoopingly to yeeld himself to the baseness to defend his innocencie.  Tortrure and racking are dangerous inventions, and seeme rather to be trials of patience than Essayes of truth.  And both he that can, and he that cannot endure them, conceale the truth.  For wherefore shall paine or smart rather compell me to confesse that which is so indeed than force me to tell that which is not?  And contrariwise, if he who hath not done that whereof he is accused, is sufficiently patient to endure those torments, why shall not he @ able to tolerate them who hath done it, and is guilty indeed; so deare and worthy a reward as life being proposed unto him?  I am of opinion that the ground of this invention proceedeth from the consideration of the power and facultie of the conscience.  For, to the guilty, it seemeth to give a kinde of furtherance to the torture, to make him confesse his fault, and weakneth and dismayeth him: and on the other part, it encourageth and strengthneth the innocent against torture. To say truth, it is a meane full of uncertainty and danger.  What would not a man say, nay, what not doe, to avoid so grievous paines and shun such torments?

Etiam innocentes cogit mentiri dolor./1
Torment to lye sometimes will drive,
Ev'n the most innocent alive.
     Whence it followeth that he whom the Judge hath tortured, because he shall not dye an innocent, he shall bring him to his death, both innocent and tortured.  Many thousands have thereby charged their heads with false confessions.  Amongst which I may well place Phylotas, considering the circumstances of the endictment that Alexander framed against him, and the progresse of his torture.  But so it is, that (as men say) it is the least evill humane weaknesse could invent;
-----
1 Ex Mimis Publicanis. 
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though, in my conceit, very inhumanely, and there withall most unprofitably. Many Nations lesse barbarous in that than the Grecian or the Romane, who terme them so, judge it a horrible and cruell thing to racke and torment a man for a fault whereof you are yet in doubt.  Is your ignorance long of him?  What can he doe withall?  Are not you unjust who because you will not put him to death without some cause, you doe worse than kill him?  And that it is so, consider but how often he rather chuseth to dye guiltlesse than passe by this informat1on, much more painfull than the punishment or torment; and who many times, by reason of the sharpnesse of it, preventeth, furthereth, yea, and executeth the punishment.  I wot not whence I heard this story, but it exactly hath reference unto the conscience of our Justice. A countrie woman accused a souldier before his Generall, being a most severe Justicer, that he, with violence, had snatched from out her poore childrens hands, the small remainder of some pap or water-gruell, which she had onely left to sustaine them, forsomuch as the Army had ravaged and wasted all. The poore woman had neither witnesse nor proofe of it: it was but her yea and his no; which the Generall perceiving, after be had summoned her to be well advised what she spake, and that shee should not accuse him wrongfully; for, if shee spake an untruth, shee should then be culpable of his-accusation: But shee constantly persisting to charge him, he forthwith, to discover the truth, and to be thoroughly resolved, caused the accused Souldiers belly to be ripped, who was found faulty, and the poore woman to have said true; whereupon shee was discharged.  A condemnation instructive to others. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.VI+ OF EXERCISE OR PRACTICE

It is a hard matter (although our conceit doe willingly apply, it selfe unto it) that Discourse and Instruction should sufficiently be powerful to direct us to action, and addresse us to performance, if, over and besides that, we doe not by experience exercise and frame our minde to the traine whereunto we will range it: otherwise, when we shall be on the point of the effects, it will doubtlesse finde it selfe much engaged aud empeached. And that is the reason why amongst Philosophers, those that have willed to attaine to some greater excellence, have not beene content, at home and at rest, to expect the rigors of fortune+, for feare she should surprise them unexperienced and finde them novices, if she should chance to enterfight with them but have rather gone to meet and front her before, and witting-earnestly cast themselves to the triall of the hardest difficulties.  Some have thereby voluntarily forsaken great riches, onely to practise a voluntarie povertie; others have willingly found out labour, and an austeritie of a toylesome life thereby to harden and enure themselves to evill and travell; othersome have frankly deprived themselves of the dearest and best parts of their body, as of their eyes and members of generation, lest their overpleasing and too-too wanton service might in any sort mollifie and distract the constant resolution of their minde.  But to dye, which is the greatest worke we have to doe, exercise can nothing availe us thereunto.  A man may, by custome aud experience, fortifie himselfe against griefe, sorrow, shame, want, and such like accidents; but concerning
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<Mont2-52>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

death, we can but once feele and trie the same.  We are all novices, and new to learne when we come unto it.  There have, in former times, beene found men so good husbands and thrifty of time, that even in death they have assayed to taste and savor it; and bent their minde to observe and see what manner of thing that passage of death was; but none did ever yet come backe againe to tell us tidings of it. [Hamlet]

      ------ nemo expergitus extat
Frigida quem semel est vitai pausa sequuta./1
No man doth ever-after wake,
Whom once his lifes cold rest doth take.
     Canius Iulius, a noble Romane, a man of singular vertue and constancie, having beene condemned to death by that lewdly- misehievous monster of men, Caligula: besides many marvelous evident assurances he gave of his matchlesse resolution, when he was even in the nicke to endure the last stroke of the executioner; a Philosopher, being his friend, interrupted him with this question, saying: 'Canius, in what state is your soule now? what doth she? what th oughts possesse you now? 'I thought,' answered he, to keepe me ready and prepared with all my force, to see whether in this instant of death, so short and so neere at hand, I might perceive some dislodging or distraction of the soule, and whether it will shew some feeling of her sudden departure; that (if I apprehend or learne any thing of her) I may afterward, if I can, returne and give advertisement thereof unto my friends.  Loe-here a Philosopher, not only untill death, but even in death it selfe: what assurance was it, and what fiercenes of courage, to will that his owne death should serve him as a lesson, and have leasure to thinke else where in a matter of such consequence;
       ----- jus hoc animi morientis habebat.2/
This power of minde had he,
When it from him did flee.
-----
1 LUCRET. 1. iii. 973. 2 LUCAN. 1. viii. 636. 
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     Me seemeth, neverthelesse, that in some sort there is a meane to familiarize our selves with it, and to assay it.  We may have some experience of it, if not whole and perfect, at least such as may not altogether be unprofitable, and whicb may yeeld us better fortified and more assured.  If we cannot attaine unto it, we may at least approch it, and discerne the same:  And if we cannot enter her fort, yet shal we see and frequent the approches unto it.  It is not without reason we are taught to take notice of our sleepe for the resemblance it hath with death. [Donne, Hamlet] How easily we passe from wakmg to sleeping; with how little interest we lose the knowledge of light and of our selves.  The facultie of sleepe might haply seeme unprofitable and against nature, sithence it depriveth up of all actions and barreth us of all sense, were it not that nature doth thereby instruct us that she hath equally made us as well to live as to die; and by life presenteth the eternal state unto us which she after the same reserveth for us, so to accustome us thereunto, and remove the feare of it from us.  But such as by some violent accident are falne into a faintnes of heart, and have lost all senses, they, in mine opinion, have well-nigh beene where they might behold her true and naturall visage:  For, touching the instant or moment of the passage, it is not to be feared it should bring any traveil or displeasure with it, forasmuch as we can have nor sense nor feeling without pleasure.  Our sufferances have need of time, which is so short, and plunged in death, that necessarily it must be insensible.  It is the approches that lead unto it we should feare; and those may fall within the compasse of mans experience.  Many things seeme greater by imagination than by effect.  I have passed over a good part of my age in sound and perfect health.  I say not only sound but blithe and wantonly lustfull.  That state full of lust, of prime and mirth, made me deeme the consideration of sicknesses so yrkesome and horrible, that when I came to the experience of them I have found their fits but weake, and their assaults but faint, in respect of my apprehended feare. Lo here 


<Mont2-54>           MONTAIGNES ESSAYES

what I daily prove.  Let me be under a roofe, in a good chamber, warme-clad, and well at ease, in some tempestuous and stormy night.  I am exceedingly perplexed and much grieved for such as are abroad and have no shelter: But let me be in the storme my selfe, I doe not so much as desire to be else-where:  Only to be continually pent up in a chamber seemed intolerable to me.  I have now enured my selfe to live a whole weeke, yea a moneth in my chamber, full of care, trouble, alteration, and weaknesse; and have found that in the time of my best health I moaned such as were sicke much more than I can well moane my selfe when I am ill at ease: and that the power of my apprehension did well- nigh halfe endeare the essence and truth of the thing it selfe.  I am in good hope the like will happen to me of death: and that it is not worth the labour I take for so many preparations as I prepare against her; and so many helpes as I call to sustaine, and assemble to endure the shocke and violence of it.  But hab or nab we can never take too much advantage of it.  During our second or third troubles (I doe not well remember which) I fortuned one day, for recreation sake, to goe forth and take the ayre, about a league from my house, who am seated even in the bowels of all troubles of our civill warres of France, supposing to be most safe, so neere mine owne home and retreite, that I had no need of better attendance or equipage.  I was mounted upon a very easie-going nag, but not very sure.  At my returning home againe, a sudden occasion being offered me to make use of this nag in a peece of service whereto he was neither trained nor accustomed, one of my men (a strong sturdy fellow), mounted upon a young strongheaded horse, and that a desperate hard mouth, fresh, lusty and in breath, to shew his courage, and to outgoe his fellowes, fortuned with might and maine to set spurrs unto him, and givinf him the bridle, to come right into the path where I was, and as a colossus with his weight riding over me and my nag, that were both very little, he overthrew us both, and made us fall with our heeles upward: so that the nag lay along astonied 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-55>

in one place, and I in a trance groveling on the ground ten or twelfe paces wide of him: my face all torne and brused, my sword which I had in my hand a good way from me, my girdle broken, with no more motion or sense in me than a stocke.  It is the only swooning that ever I felt yet.  Those that were with, me, after they had assayed all possible meanes to bring me to my selfe againe, supposing me dead, tooke me in their armes, and with much adoe were carrying me home to my house, which was about halfe a French league thence: upon the way, and after I had for two houres space by all beene supposed dead and past all recoverie, I began to stir and breathe: for so great aboundance of bloud was falne into my stomake, that to discharge it nature was foreed to rowse up her spirits.  I was immediately set upon my feet, and bending forward, I presently cast up in quantitie as much clottie pure bloud as a bucket will hold and by the way was constrained to doe the like divers times before I could get home, whereby, I began to recover a little life, but it was by little and little, and so long adoing, that my chiefe senses were much more enclining to death than to life.

Perche dubbiosa ancor del suo ritorno
iVon s'assicura attonita la mente./1
For yet the minde doubtfull of it's returne
Is not assured, but astonished.
     The remembrance whereof (which yet I beare deepely imprinted in my minde) representing me her visage and Idea so lively and so naturally, doth in some sort reconcile me unto her.  And when I began to see, it was with so dim, so weake and so troubled a sight, that I could not discerne anything of the light,
      ------ come quel ch'or apre, or chiude
Gli occhi, mezzo tra l' sonno e l'esser desto./2
As he that sometimes opens, sometimes shuts
His eyes, betweene sleepe and awake.
-----
1 TASSO, Gierus. xii. 74. 2 Ibid. viii. 26. 
<Mont2-56>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

     Touching the functions of the soule, they started up and came in the same progresse as those of the bodie.  I perceived my selfe all bloudy; for my doublet was all sullied with the bloud I had cast. The first conceit I apprehended was that I had received some shot in my head; and in truth, at the same instant, there were divers that shot round about us.  Me thought my selfe had no other hold of me but of my lips-ends. I closed mine eyes to help (as me seemed) to send it forth, and tooke a kinde of pleasure to linger and languishingly to let my selfe goe from my selfe.  It was an imagination swimming superficially in my minde, as weake and as tender as all the rest: but in truth, not only exempted from displeasure but rather commixt with that pleasant sweetesse which they feel that suffer themselves to fall into a soft-slumbring and sense-entrancing sleepe.  I beleeve it is the same state they find themselves in, whom in the agony of death we see to droop and faint thorow weaknesse: and am of opinion we plaine and moane them without cause, esteeming that either they are agitated with grievous pangs, or that their soule is pressed with painfull cogitations.  It was ever my conceit against the opinion of many, yea and against that of Estienne de la Bo‰tie,that those whom we see so overwhelmed and faintly-drooping at the approches of their end, or utterly cast downe with the lingring tediousnesse of their deseases, or by accident of some apoplexie or falling-evill,

     ----- (vi morbi saepe coactus
Ante oculos aliquis nostros ut fulminis ictu,
Concidit, et spumas agit, ingemit, et fremit artus,
Desipit exentant nervos torquetur, anhelat,
Inconstanter et in jactando membra fatigat),/1
(Some man by force of sicknesse drivn doth fall,
As if by thunder stroke, before our eyes;
He fomes, he grones, he trembles over all,
He raves, he stretches, he's vext, panting lyes,
He tyr's his limmes by tossing,
Now this now that way crossing,)
-----
1 LUCRET. 1. iii. 490. 
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or hurt in the head, whom we heare throb and rattle, and send forth grones and gaspes, although we gather some tokens from them, whereby it seemeth they have yet some knowledge left and certaine motions we see them make with their body:  I say, I have ever thought they had their soule and body buried and asleepe.

Vivat et est vitae nescius ipse sum./1

He lives yet knowes not he,
That he alive should be.

     And I could not beleeve that at so great an astonishment of members and deffailance of senses the soule could maintaine any force within, to know herselfe; and therefore had no manner of discourse tormenting them, which might make them judge and feele the misery of their condition, and that consequently they were not greatly to be moaned.  As for my selfe, I imagine no state so intolerable nor condition so horrible, as to have a feelingly-afflicted soule, void of meanes to disburthen and declare herselfe: As I would say of those we send to execution, having first caused their tongue to be cut out, were it not that in this manner of death the most dumbe seemes unto me the fittest, namely, if it be accompanied with a resolute and grave countenance.  And as those miserable prisoners which light in the hands of those hard-harted and villenous Souldiers of these times, of whom they are tormented with all maner of cruell entreatie, by compulsion to drawe them unto some excessive and unpossible ransoms, keeping them al that while in so hard a condition and place, that they have no way left them to utter their thoughts and expresse their miserie.  The Poets have fained there were some Gods that favoured the release of such as suffered so languishing deaths.
     -----hunc ego Diti
Sacrum jussa fero, teque isto corpore solvo./2
This to death sacred, I, as was my charge,
Doe beare, and from this body thee enlarge.
-----
1 OVID.  Trist. 1. i.  El. iii. 12. 2 VIRG.  AEn. 1. iv. 703. 
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And the faltering speeches and uncertaine answers, that by continuall ringing in their eares and incessant urging them, are sometimes by force wrested from them, or by the motions which seeme to have some sympathy with that whereof they are examined, is notwithstanding no witnes that they live at least a perfect sound life.  We do also in yawning, before sleep fully seize upon us, apprehend as it were in a slumber, what is done about us, and with a troubled and uncertains hearing, follow the voyces, which seeme to sound but on the outward limits of our soule; and frame answers according to the last words we heard, which taste more of chance than of sense: which thing now I have proved by experience, I make no doubt but hitherto I have well judged of it.  For, first lying as in a trance, I laboured even with my nailes to open my doublet (for I was unarmed), and well I wot that in my imagination I felt nothing did hurt me.  For, there are several motions in us which proceed not of our free wil.

Semianimesque micant digiti, ferrumque retractant./1
The halfe-dead fingers stirre, and feele,
(Though it they cannot stirre) for steele.
     Those that fall, doe commonly by a naturall impulsion cast their armes abroad before their falling, which sheweth that our members have certaine offices, which they lend one to another, and possesse certaine agitations, apart from our discourse:
Falciferos memorant currus abscindere membra,
Ut tremere in terra videatur ab artubus, id quod
Decidit abscissum, cum mens tamen atque hominis vis
Mobilitate mali non quit sentire dolorem./2
They say, sith-bearing chariots limbes bereave,
So as on earth, that which cut-off they leave,
Doth seeme to quake; when yet mans force and minde
Doth not the paine, through so quicke motion, finde.
---- -
1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. x. 396. 2 LUCRET. 1. iii.

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My stomacke was surcharged with clotted bloud, my hands of themselves were still running to it, as often they are wont (yea against the knowledge of our will) where we feele it to itch.  There are many creatures, yea and some men, in whom after they are dead we may see their muskles to close and stirre.  All men know by experience, there be some parts of our bodies which often without any consent of ours doe stirre, stand, and lye down againe.  Now these passions, which but exteriourly touch us, cannot properly be termed ours; for, to make them ours, a man must wholy be engaged unto them:  And the paities that ourlfeet or hands feele whilst we sleepe are not ours.  When I came neere my house, where the tidings of my fall was already come, and those of my household met me, with such outcries as are used in like times, I did not only answer some words to what I was demanded, but some tell me I had the memory to command my men to give my wife a horse, whom I perceieved to be overtired, and labouring in the way, which is very hilly, foule, and rugged.  It seemeth this consideration proceeded from a vigilant soule: yet was I cleane distracated from it, they were but vaine conceits, and as in a cloud, were only moved by the senses of the eyes and eares: they came not from my selfe.  All which not withstanding, I knew neither whence I came nor whither I went, nor could I understand or consider what was spoken unto me.  They were but light effects, that my senses produced of themselves, as it were of custome.  Whatsoever the soule did assist it with was but a dreame, being lightly touched, and only sprinkled by the soft impression of the sense.  In the meane time my state was verily most pleasant and easefull.  I felt no manner of care or affliction, neither for my selfe nor others.  It was a slumbering, languishing and extreme weaknesse, without any paine at all.  I saw mine own house and knew it not; when I was laid in my bed, I felt great ease in my rest, For I had beene vilely hurried and haled by those poore men, which had taken the paines to carry me upon their armes a long and wearysome way, and to


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say truth, they had all beene wearied twice or thrice over, and were faine to shift several] times.  Many remedies were presently offered me, but I tooke none, supposing verily I had beene deadly hurt in the head. To say truth, it had beene a very happy death:  For, the weaknesse of my discourse hindered me from judging of it, and the feeblenesse of my body from feeling the same.  Me thought I was yeelding up the ghost so gently, and after so easie and indolent a manner, that I feele no other action lesse burthensome than that was.  But when I began to come to life againe and recover my former strength -

Vt tandem sensus convaluere mei - /1
At last when all the sprites I beare,
Recalled aild recollected were -
which was within two or three houres after, I presently felt my selfe full of aches and paines all my body over; for, each part thereof was with the violence of the fall much brused and tainted; and for two or three nights after I found my self so ill, that I verily supposed I shold have had another fit of death:  But that a more lively, and sensible one: (and to speak plaine) I feele my bruses yet, and feare me shall do while I live:  I will not forget to tell you, that the last thing I could rightly fall into againe was the remembrance of this accident, and I made my men many times to repeat me over and over againe, whither I was going, whence I came, and what houre that chance befell me, before I could throughly conceive it.  Concerning the manner of my falling, they in favour of him who had beene the cause of it, concealed the truth from me, and told me other flim flam tales. But a while after and the morrow next, when my memorie began to come to itselfe againe, and represent the state unto me wherein I was at the instant, when I perceived the horse riding over me (for being at my heeles, I chanced to espy him and helde my selfe for dead: yet was the conceit so sudden that feare had no leasure to
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1 OVID.  Trist. 1. i.  El.. iii. 14. 
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enter my thoughts) me seemed it was a flashing or lightning that smote my soule with shaking, and that I came from another world.  This discourse of so slight an accident is but vaine and frivolous were not the instructions I have drawne from thence for my use:  For truly, for a man to acquaint himselfe with death+, I finde no better way than to approach unto it.  Now, as Plinie saith, every man is a good discipline unto himselfe, alwayes provided he be able to prie into himselfe.  This is not my doctrine, it is but my study and not another man's lesson, but mine owne:  Yet ought no man to blame me if I impart the same.  What serves my turne may haply serve another mans: otherwise I marre nothing; what I make use of is mine owne.  And if I play the foole, it is at mine owne cost, and without any other bodies interest, For it is but a kind of folly that dies in me, and hath no traine.  We have notice but of two or three former ancients that have trodden this path; yet can we not say, whether altogether like unto this of mine, for we know but their names.  No man since hath followed their steps; it is a thorny and crabbed enterprise, and more than it makes show of, to follow so strange and vagabond a path as that of our spirit: to penetrate the shady, and enter the thicke-covered depths of these infernall winding crankes; to chuse so many and settle so severall aires of his agitatations: And tis a new extraordinary ammusing that distracts us from the common occupation of the world, yea, and from the most recommended:  Many yeares are past since I have no other aime whereto my thoughts bend, but my selfe, and that I controule and study nothing but my selfe.  And if I study anything else, it is immediately to place it upon, or to say better in myselfe. And met hinks I err not, as commonly men doe in other sciences, without all comparison less profitable.  I impart what I have content not my selfe therein. 'There is no description so hard, nor so profitable, as is the description of a man own life.  Yet must a man handsomely 


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trimme-up, yea and dispose and range himselfe to appeare on the Theatre of this world.  Now I continually tricke up my selfe; for I uncessantly describe my selfe.  Custome hath made a mans speech of himselfe vicious, and obstinately forbids it in hatred of boasting+, which ever seemeth closely to follow one's selfe witnesses.  Whereas a man should wipe the childs nose, that is now called to unnose himselfe.

In vicium ducit culpae fuga./1
Some shunning of some sinne,
Doe draw some further in.
     I finde more evill than good by this remedy:  But suppose it were true, that for a man to entertaine the company with talking of himself were necessarily presumption, I ought not, following my generall intent, to refuse an action that publisheth this crazed quality, since I have it in my seIfe: and I should not conceal this fault, which I have not only in use but in profession.  Neverthelesse, to speak my opinion of it, this custome to condemne wine is much to blame, because many are there with made drunke.  Only good things may be abused.  And I believe this rule hath only regard to popular defects:  They are snares wherewith neither Saints, nor Philosophers, nor Divines, whom we heare so gloriously to speak of themselves, will in any sort be bridled.  No more doe I, though I be no more the one than the other.  If they write purposely or directly of it, yet when occasion doth conveniently lead them unto it, faine they not headlong to cast themselves into the lists?  Whereof doth Socrates treat more at large than of himselfe?  To what doth he more often direct his disciples discourses, than to speake of themselves, not for their bookes lesson, but of the essence and moving of their soule?  We religiously shrive our selves to God and our Confessor, as our neighbours to all the people.  But will some answer me, we report but accusation; wee then report all:  For even our
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1 HOR.  Art.  Poet. 81. 
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virtue it self is faulty and repentable.  My art and profession is to live.  Who forbids me to speake of it according to my sense, experience, and custome; let him appoint the Architect to speake of buildings, not according to himselfe, but his neighbours according to anothers skill, and not his owne.  If it be a glory for a man to publish his owne worth himselfe, why does not Cicero prefer the eloquence of Hortensius, and Hortensius that of Cicero?  Some may peradventure suppose that by deeds and effects, and not simply by words, I witnesse of my selfe.  I principally set forth my cogitations; a shapelesse subject, and which cannot fall within the compasse of a workemanlike production; with much adoe can I set it downe in this ayrie bodie of the voice.  Wiser men, and more learned and devout, have lived avoiding all apparent effects.  Effects would speak more of fortune than of me.  They witnesse their part and not mine, unlesse it be conjecturally and uncertainly: parcels of a particular shew.  I wholy set forth and expose my selfe:  It is a Sceletos; where at first sight appeare all the vaines, muskles, gristles, sinnewes and tendons, each severall part in his due place.  The effect of the cough produceth, one part, that of at of palenesse or panting of the heart another, and that doubtfully.  I write not my gests, but my selfe and my essence.  I am of opinion that a man must be very wise to esteeme himselfe, and equally consciencious to give testimony of it: be it low, be it high indifferently.  If I did absolutely seeme good and wise unto my selfe, I would boldly declare it.  To speake lesse of himselfe than he possesseth, is folly, and not modesty+.  To say himself for lesse than he is worth is basenesse and pusilanimity, saith Aristotle.  No vertue aids it self with false-hood, and truth is never a matter of errour.  And yet for a man to say more of himself than he can well prove, is not ever presumption though often sottishnesse.  For a man to over-weene and please himself exceedingly with what he is, and fall into indiscreet love with himselfe, is in my conceit the substance of this vice.  The best remedy to cure him, is to do 


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cleane contrary to that which those appoint, who in forbidding men to speak of themselves, do consequentiy also inhibit more to thinke of themselves. Pride consisteth in conceit.  The tongue can have no great share in it. For one to ammuse on himself is in their imagination to please himselfe: And for a man to frequent and practise himselfe, is at an over-deare rate to please himselfe.  But this excess doth only breed in them, that but superficially feele and search themselves that are seene to follow their affaires, which call idleness and fondnesse for a man to entertaine, to applaud, and to endeare himselfe, and frame Chimeraes or build Castles in the ayre, deeming themselves as a third person and strangers to themselves.  If any be besotted with his owne knowledge looking upon himselfe, let him cast his eyes towards former ages, his pride shall be abated, his ambition shall be quailed; for there shall he find many thousands of spirits that will cleane suppress and tread him under.  If he fortune to enter any selfe-presumption of his own worth, let him but call to remembrance the lives of Scipio+ and Epaminondas+; so many armies, and so many Nations which leave him so far behind them.{ancients+} No particular quality shall make him proud, that therewith shall reckon so many imperfect and weak qualities that in him and at last the nullity of the human condition.  Forsomuch as Socrates+ had truly only nibled on the precept of his God to know himself, and had learned to contemne himself, he alone was esteemed worthy of the name of Wise.  Whosoever shall so know himselfe let him boldly make himself knowns by his own mouth. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.VII+ OF THE RECOMPENSES OR REWARDS OF HONOUR

THOSE which write the life of Augustas Caesar note this in his military discipline, that he was exceeding liberal and lavish in his gifts to such as were of any desert; but as sparing and strait-handed in meere recompences of honour+.  Yet so it is that himselfe had beene liberally gratified by his Unkle with militarie rewards, before ever he went to warres.  It hath beene a witty invention, and received in most parts of the worlds Common-wealths, to establish and ordaine certaine vaine and worthles markes, therewith to honour and recompence vertue:  As are the wreathes of Lawrell, the Chaplets of Oake, and the Garlands of Myrtle, the forme of a certaine peculiar garment; the privilege to ride in Coach thorow the City; or by night to have a Torch carried before one:  Some particular place to sit in in common assemblies; the prerogatives of certaine surnames and titles, and proper additions in armes, and such like things; the, use whereof hath beene diversly received according to the opinion of nations which continueth to this day.  We have for our part, together with divers of our neighbour-nations, the orders of knighthood, which only were established to this purpose.  Verily it is a most laudable use and profitable custome, to find means to reward the worth and acknowledge the valour of rare and excellent men, to satisfie and content them with such payments as in no sort charge the commonwealth, and put the prince to no cost at all.  And that which was ever knowne by ancient experience, and at other times we have plainly perceived amongst ourselves, that men of qualitie were ever more jealous
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of such recompences than of others wherein was both gaine and profit, which was not without reason and great apparence.  If to the prize, which ought simply to be of honour, there be other commodities and riches joyned, this kinde of commixing, instead of encreasing the estimation thereof, doth empaire, dissipate, and abridge it.  The order of the Knights of Saint Michael in France, which of so long contuauance hath beene in credit amongst as, had no greater commoditie than that it had no manner of communication with any other advantage or profit, which hath heretofore beene the cause that there was no charge or state of what quality soever, whereto the nobilitie pretended with so much desire, or aspired with more affection, as it did to obtaine that order; nor calling that was followed with more respect or greatnesse.  Vertue+ embracing with more ambition, nud more willingly aspiring after a recompense, that is meerely and simply her owne, and which is rather glorious than profitable.  For, to say truth, other gifts have no use so worthy, inasmuch as they are imployed to all manner of occasions. With riches a man doth reward the service of a groome, the diligence of a messenger, the hopping of a dancer, the tricks of a vaulter, the breath of a lawyer+, and the basest offices a man may receive; yea, with the same paultry pelfe mony, vice is payed and sin requited, as flattery, murther, treason, Maquerelage, and what not?  It is then no marvel, if vertue doth lesse willingly desire this kinde of common trash, mony, than that which is only proper and peculiar to her selfe, and is altogether noble and generous. Augustus had therefore reason to be much more niggardly amd sparing of this last than of the former, forasmuch as honour+ is a privilege that draws his preincipall essence from rareness; and so doth verture it selfe.

Cui malus est nemo, quis bonus esse potest?/1
To him who good can seeme,
Who doth none bad esteeme?
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1 MART. 1. xii.  Epig. lxxxii. 2. 
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     We shall not see a man highly regarded, or extraordinarily commended, that is curiously carefull to have his children well nurtured, because it is a common {usthem+} action, how just and worthy praise soever it be, no more than one great tree, where the forrest is full of such.  I doe not thinke that any Spartane Citizen did boastingly glorifie himselfe for his valour, because it was a popular vertue in that nation, and as, little for his fidelity+ and contempt of riches.  There is no recompence falls unto vertue, how great soever it be, if it once have past into custome; and I wot not whether we might call it great, being common.  Since then the rewards of honour have no other prise and estimation than that few enjoy it, there is no way to disannul them but to make a largesse of them.  Were there now more men found deserving the same than in former ages, yet should not the reputation of it be corrupted.  And it may easily happen that more deserve it, for there is no vertue doth so easily spread it selfe as military valiancie.  There is another true, perfect, and philosophicall, whereof I speake not (I use this word according to our custome), farre greater and more full than this,, which is a force and assurance of the soule, equally contemning all manner of contrarie accidents, upright, uniforme, and constant, whereof ours is but an easie and glimmering raie.  Custome, institution, example and fashion, may effect what ever they list in the establishing of that I speake of, and easily make it vulgare, as may plainely be seene by the experience our civill warres give us of it.  And whosoever could now joyne us together, and eagerly flesh all our people to a common enterprise, we should make our ancient military name and chivalrous credit to flourish againe.  It is most certaine that the recompense of our order did not in former nines only concerne prowis and respect valour; it had a further aime.  It was never the reward or payment of a valiant ssouldier, but of a famous Captaine.  The skill to obey+ could not deserve so honorable an hire; for, cast we back our eyes to antiquity, we shall perceive that for the worthy obtaining 


<Mont2-68>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

thereof, there was required more universal warrelike expertnesse, and which might embrace the greatest part, and most parts of a military man. Neque enim eaedem militares et imperatoriae artes sunt, 'For the same arts and parts belong not to a generall and common souldier;' and who besides that should also be of a fit and accommodable condition for such a dignitie. But I say, that if more men should now adayes be found worthy of it than have been heretofore, yet should not ounr princes be more liberall of it, and it had beene much better not to bestow it upon all them to whom it was due, than for ever to lose, as of late we have done, the use of so profitable an invention.  No man of courage vouchsafeth to advantage himselfe of that which is common unto many.  And those which in our dayes bee least merited that honourable recompence, seeme, in all apparence, most to disdaine it, by that meanes place themselves in the ranke of those to whom the wrong is offered by unworthy bestowing and vilifying of that badge which particularly was due unto them.  Now by defacing and abolishing this to suppose, suddenly to be able to bring into credit and renue a semblable custome, is no convenient enterprise in so licentious, so corruptedi and so declining age, as is this wherein we now live.  And it will come to passe that the last shall even from her birth incur the incommodities which have lately ruined and overthrowne the other.  The rules of this new orders dispensation had need to be otherwise wrested and constrained for to give it authority, and this tumultuous season is not capable of a short and ordered bridle.  Besides, before a man is able to give credit unto it, it is requisite a man lose the memory of the first, and of the contempt whereinto it is fallen.  This place might admit some discourse upon the consideration of valour, and difference betweene this virtue and others.  But Plutarch having often spoken of this matter, it were in vaine here for me to repeat what he says of it.  This is worthy to be considered, that our nation giveth the chiefe preheminence of all vertue unto valiancie, as the 


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etymology of the word sheweth, which cometh of valour or worth; and that according to our received custome, when after the phrase of our court and nobility we speake of a worthy man, or of an honest man, we thereby inferre no other thing than a valiant man; after the usuall Roman fashion. For the generall denomination of vertue doth amongst them take her etymology of force or might.  The only proper and essentiall forme of our nobility in France is military_vocation+.  It is very likely that the first vertue that ever appeared amongst men, and which to some hath given preheminence over others, hath beene this by which the strongest and most courageous have become masters over the weakest, and purchased a particular ranke and reputation to themselves.  Whereby this honour and dignity of speech is left unto it: or else these nations, being very warlike, have given the price unto that of vertues, which was the worthiest and more familiar unto them.  Even as our passion, and this heart-panting and mind-vexing carefull diligence, and diligent carefulnesse, which we continually apprehend about woman's chastity, causeth also that a good woman, an honest woman, a woman of honour and vertue, doth in effect and substance signifle no other thing unto us than a chaste wife or woman; as if to bind them to this duty, we did neglect all others, and give them free liberty to commit any other fault, to covenant with them never to quit or forsake this duty. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.VIII+  OF THE AFFECTIONS OF FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN.
TO THE LADY OF ESTISSAC

MADAME, if strangenesse doe not save or novelty shield mee, which are woiat to give things reputation, I shall never, with honesty, quit myselfe of this enterprise yet is it so fantasticall and bears a shew so differient from common custome, that that may haply purchase it free passage.  It is a melancholy humour, and consequently a hatefull enemy to my natural complexion, bred by the anxietie and produced by the anguish of carking care, whereinto some years since I cast myselfe, that first put this humorous conceipt of writing into my head.  And finding myselfe afterward wholy unprovided of subject, and void of other matter, I have presented myselfe unto myselfe for a subject to write and argument to descant upon.  It is the only booke in the world of this kinde, and of a wilde extravagant designe.  Moreover, there is nothing in it worthy the marking but this fantasticalnesse.  For, to so vaine a ground and base a subject, the worlds best workman could never have given a fashion deserving to be accompted of.  Not (worthy Lady) sithence I must pourtray my selfe to the life, I should have forgotten a part of importance, if therewithall I had not represented the honour I have ever yeelded to your deserts, which I have especially beene willing to declare in the forefront of this chapter; Forasmuch as amongst your other good parts and commendable qualities, that of loving amity, which you have shewen to your children, holdeth one of the first rankes.  Whosoever shall understand and know the age, wherein your late
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husband the Lord of Estissac left you a Widdow, the great, and nonorable matches have beene offered you (as worthy and as many as to any other Lady in France of your condition) the constant resolution, and resolute constancie, wherewith so many yeares you have sustained, and even in spight or athwart so manifold thorny difficulties, the charge and conduct of their affaires, which have tossed, turmoyled and removed you in all comers of France, and still hold you besieged; the happy and successfull forwardnes you, which only through your wisdome or good fortune have given them, he will easily say with mee, that in our age we have no patterne of motherly affecttion more exemplarie than yours.  I praise God (Madame) it hathe beene so well employed :  For, the good hopes, which the young Lord of REstissac, your sonne, giveth of himselfe, fore-shew he shall come to an undoubted assurance that when he shall come to yeares of discretion, you shall reape the obedience of a noble, and finde the acknowledgement of a good childe.  But because, by reason of his child-hood, he could not take notice of the exceeding kindnesse and many-fold offices he hath received from you, my meaning is, that if ever these my compositions shall haply one day come into his hands (when-peradventure I shall neither have mouth nor speech to declare it unto him), he receive this testimonie in all veritie from me; which shall also more lively be testified unto him by the good effects, (whereof, if so it please God, be shall have a sensible feeling) that there is no Gentleman in France more endebted to his mother than he; and that hereafter he cannot yeeld a more certaine proofe of his goodnes, and testimonie of his vertue, than in acknowledging and confessing you for such.  If there be any truly-naturall law, that is to say, any instinct, universally and perpetually imprinted, both in beasts and us, (which is not without controversie) I may, according to mine opinion, say, that next to the care which each living creature hath to his preservation, and to flie what doth hurt him, the affection which the engenderer beareth his off-spring holds the second place in this ranke.  And 


<Mont2-72>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

forasmuch as nature seemeth to have recommended the same unto us, ayming to extend, encrease, and advance the successive parts or parcels of this her frame; it is no wonder if backagaine it is not so great from children unto fathers.  This other Aristotelian consideration remembred: that hee who doth benefit+ another, loveth him better than hee is beloved of him againe; and hee to whom a debt is owing, loveth better than hee that oweth: And every workman loveth his worke better than hee should bee beloved of it againe, if it had sense or feeling.  Forasmuch as we love to be, and being consisteth in moving and action; therefore is every ma-n, in some sort or other.. in his owne workmanship.  Whosoever doth a good deed, exerciseth a faire and honest action: whosoever receiveth exerciseth only a profitable action.  And profit is nothing so much to be esteemed or loved as honesty+.{PlainDealer+} Honesty is firme and permanent, affording him that did it a constant gratification.  Profit is very slipperie and easily lost, nor is the memorie of it so sweet or so fresh.  Such things are dearest unto us, that have cost us most; and to give is of more cost that to take.  Since it hath pleased God to endow us with some capacitie of discourse, that as beasts we should not servily be subjected to common lawes, but rather with judgement and voluntary liberty apply ourselves unto them; we ought somewhat to yeeld unto the simple auctoritie of Nature, but not suffer her tyranny to carry us away: only reason ought to have the conduct of our inclinations.  As for me, my tast is strangely distasted to its propensions, which in us are produced without the ordinance and direction of our judgement. As upon this subject I speak of, I cannot receive this passion, wherewith some embrace children scarsly borne,. having neither motion in the soule, nor forme well to be distinguished in the body whereby they might make themselves lovely or amiable.  And I could never well endure to have them brought up or nursed neere about me.  A true and well ordered affection ought to be borne and augmented, with the knowledge they owe us of themselves; and 


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then, if they deserve it (naturall inclination marching hand in hand with reason) to cherish and make much of them, with a perfect fatherly love and loving friendship, and conformably to judge of them if they be otherwise, alwayes yeelding our selves unto reason, notwithstanding natural power.  For the most part, it goeth cleane contrary, and commonly we feele our selves more moved with the sports, idlenesses wantonnesse, and infant- trifles of our children, than afterward we do with all their actions, when they bee men:  As if we had loved them for our pastimes, as we do apes, monkies, or perokitoes, and not as man.  And some that liberally furnish them with sporting bables while they be children, will miserably pinch it in the least expense for necessaries when they grow men.  Nay, it seemeth that the jelousie we have to see them appeare into, and injoy the world, when we are ready to leave them, makes us more sparing and close-handed toward them.  It vexeth and grieveth us when we see them following us at our heels, supposing they solicite us to be gone hence: {Hal+} And if we were to feare that since the order of things beareth, that they cannot indeed, neither be, nor live, but by our being and life, we should not meddle to be fathers.  As for mee, I deeme it a kind of cruelty and injustice, not to receive them into the share and society of our goods, and to admit them as Partners in the understanding of our domestical affaires (if they be once capable of it and not to cut off and shut-up our commodities to provide for theirs, since we have engendred them to that purpose.  It is meere injustice to see an old, crazed, sinnow-shronken, and nigh dead father sitting alone in a Chimny-corner, to enjoy so many goods as would suffice for the preferment and entertainment of many children, and in the meane while, for want of meanes, to suffer them to lose their best dayes and yeares, without thrusting them into publike service and knowledge of men; whereby they are often cast into dispaire, to seeke, by some way how unlawfull soever to provide for their necessaries.  And in my dayes, I have seene divers yong-men, of 


<Mont2-74>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

good houses so given to stealing and filching, that no correction could divert them from it.  I know one very well alied, to whom, at the instance of a brother of his (a most honest, gallant, and vertuous Gentleman) I spake to that purpose, who boldly answered and confessed unto me, that only by the rigor and covetism of his father he had beene forced and driven to fall into such lewdnesse and wickednesse.  And even at that time he came from stealing certaine jewels from a Lady, in whose bed-chamber he fortuned to come with certaine other Gentlemen when she was rising, and had almost beene taken.  He made me remember a tale I had heard of another Gentleman, from his youth so fashioned and inclined to this goodly trade of pilfering that comming afterward to be heire and Lord of his owne goods, resolved to give over that manner of life, could notwithstanding (if he chanced to come neere a shop, where he saw any thing he stood in need of) not chuse but steale the same, though afterward he would ever send mony and pay for it.  And I have seene diverse so inured to that vice, that amongst their companios they would ordinarily steale such things as they would restore againe.  I am a Gascoine, and there is no vice wherein I have lesse skill: I hate it somewhat more by complexion than I accuse it by discourse.  I doe not so much as desire another mans goods.  And although my Countrey-men be indeed somewhat more taxed with this fault than other Provinces of France, yet have we seene, of late dayes, and that sundry times, men well borne and of good parentage in other parts of France, in the hands of justice, and lawfully convicted of many most horrible robberies.  I am of opinion that in regard of these debauches and lewd actions, fathers may, in some sort, be blamed, and that it is only long of them.  And if any shall answer mee, as did once a Gentleman of good worth and understanding, that he thriftily endevoured to hoard up riches, to no other purpose, nor to have any use and commodity of them, than to be honoured, respected and suingly sought unto by his friends and kinsfolke 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-75>

and that age having bereaved him of all other forces, it was the only remedy he had left to maintaine himselfe in authority with his houshold, and keepe him from falling into contempyt and disdaine of all the world. And truly according to Aristotle, not only old_age+, but each imbecility, is the promoter and motive of covetousnesse+.  That is something, but it is a remedy for an evill, whereof the birth should have beene hindered, and breeding avoyded.  That father may truly be said miserable that holdeth the affection of his children tied unto him by no other meanes than by the need they have of his helpe, or want of his assistance, if that may be termed affection:  A man should yeeld himselfe respectable by virtue and sufficiency, and amiable by his goodnesse, and gentlenesse of manners. The very cinders of so rich a matter have their value: so have the bones and relics of honourable men, whom we hold in respect and reverence.  No age can be so crazed and drooping in a man that hath lived honourably, but must needs prove venerable, and especially unto his children, whose minds ought so to be directed by the parents, that reason and wisdome, not necessity and need, nor rudenesse and compulsion, may make them know and performe their dutie.

      ------ et errat longe, mea quidem sententia,
Qui imperium credat esse gravius aut stabilius,
Vi quod fit, quam illud quod amicitia adjungitur./1
In mine opinion he doth much mistake,
Who, that command more grave, more firme doth take,
Which force doth get, than that which friendships make.
     I utterly condemne all manner of violence in the education of a young spirit, brought up to honour and libertie.  There is a kind of slavishnesse in churlish rigour and servility in compulsion; and I hold that that which cannot be compassed by reason, wisdome, and discretion, can never be attained by force and constraint.  So was I brought up: they tell me that in all my youth I never felt rod but twice, and that very
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1 TER.  Adelph. act i. sc. i, 39.
<Mont2-76>                MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

lightly.  And what education I have had myselfe, the same have l given mv children.  But such is my ill hap,that they dye all very yong: {usthem+} yet hath Leonora my only daughter escaped this misfortune, and attained to the age of six yeares, and somewhat more; for the conduct of whose youth and punishment childish faults (the indulgence of her mother applying it selfe very mildly unto it) was never other meanes used but gentle words. And were my desire frustrate there are diverse other causes to take hold of without reproving my discipline, which I know to be just and naturall. I would also have beene much more religious in that towards male-children, not borne to serve as women and of a freer condition.  I should have loved to have stored their minde with ingenuity and liberty.  I have seene no other effects in rods, but to make childrens mindes more remisse, or more maliciously headstrong.      Desire we to be loved of our children!  Will we remove all occasions from them to wish our death? (although no occasion of so horrible and unnaturall wishes can either be just or excusable) nullum scelus rationem habet, no ill deed hath a good reason.  Let us reasonably accommodate their life with such things as are in our power.  And therefore should not we marry so young that our age do in a manner confound it selfe with theirs.  For, this inconvenience doth unavoidably cast us into many difficulties and encombrances.  This I speake chiefly unto nobility, which is of an idle disposition, or loitering condition, and which (as we say) liveth ony by her lands or rents: for else, where life standeth upon gaine, plurality and company of children is an easefull furtherance of husbandry.  They are as many new implements to thrive, and instruments to grow rich.  I was married at thirty yeares of age and commend the opinion of thirty-five, which is said to be Aristotles.  Plato would have no man married before thirty, and hath good reason to scoffe at them that will defer it till after fifty- five and then marry; and condemneth their breed as unworthy of life and sustenance.  Thales appointed the best limits, who by his 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-77>

mother being instantly urged to marry whilest he was young, answered that it was not yet time; and when he came to be old, he said it was no more time.  A man must refuse opportunity to every importunate action.  The ancient Gaules deemed it a shamefull reproach to have the acquaintance of a woman before the age of twenty yeares; and did especially recommend unto men that sought to be trained up in warres the carefull preservation of their maiden-head until they were of good yeares, forsomuch as by losing it in youth, courages are thereby much weakned and greatly empaired, and by coupling with women diverted from all vertuous action. {effeminacy+}

Ma hor congiunto i giovinetta sposa,
Lieto homai de' figli', era invilito
Ne gli afetti di padre et di marito./1
But now conjoyn'd to a fresh-springing spouse,
Joy'd in his children, he was thought-abased,
In passions twixt a sire and husband placed.
     Muleasses King of Thunes, he whom the Emperor Charles the fifth restored unto his owne state againe, was wont to upbraid his fathers memorie for so dissolutely-frequenting of women, {Gloucester+} terming him a sloven, effeminate, and a lustfull engenderer of children. The Greek storie doth note Iccus the Tarentine, Crisso, Astyllus, Diopompus, and others, who to keep their bodies tough and strong for the service of the Olympicke courses, wrestlings and such bodily exercises they did, as long as they were possessed with that care, heedefully abstaine from all venerian acts and touching of women.  In a certaine country of the Spanish Indies, no man was suffered to take a wife before he were thirtie yeares old, and women might marry at ten yeares of age.  There is no reason, neither is it convenient, that a Gentleman of five and thirtie yeares should give place to his sonne, that is but twenty:  For then is the father as seemly and may as well appear and set himselfe forward, in all manner of voyages of warres as well by
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1 TASSO, Gierus. x. 39. 
<Mont2-78>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

land as sea, and doe his prince as good service, in court or elsewhere, as his sonne:  He hath need of all his parts and ought truly to impart them, but so that be forget not himselfe for others:  And to such may justly that answer serve which fathers have commonly in their mouthes: 'I will not put off my clothes before I be ready to go to bed.  But a father over- burthened with yeares and crazed through sicknesse and by reason of weaknesse and want of health barred from the common society of men, doth both wrong himself, injure his, idly and to no use to hoord up and keepe close a great heape of riches and deal of pelfe.  He is in state good enough, if he be wise to have a desire to put off his clothes to goe to bed.  I will not say to his shirt, but to a good warme night gowne, As for other pomp and trash whereof hee hath no longer use or need, hee ought willingly to distribute and bestow them amongst those to whom by naturall degree they ought to belong.  It is reason he should have the use and bequeath the fruition of them, since nature doth also deprive him of them, otherwise without doubt there is both envy and malice stirring.  The worthiest action that ever the Emperour Charles the fifth performed was this, in imitation of some ancients of his quality, that he had the discretion to know that reason commanded us to strip or shift our selves when our cloathes trouble and are too heavy for us, and that it is high time to go to bed when our legs faile us. {usthem+} He resigned his meanes, his greatnesse and Kingdome to his Sonne, at what time he found his former undanted resolution to decay, and force to conduct his affaires to droope in himselfe, together with the glory he had thereby acquired.

Solve senescentem mature sanus equum ne
Peccet ad extremum ridentus, et ilia ducat./1
If you be wise, the horse growne-old betimes cast-off,
Lest he at last fall lame, foulter, and breed a skoffe.
This fault for a man not to be able to know himselfe betimes and not to feele the impuissance and extreme
-----
1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. i. 8. 
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alteration that age doth naturally bring, both to the body and the minde (which in my opinion is equall if the mind hath but one halfe), hath lost the reputation of the most part of the great men in the world.  I have in my dayes both seene and familiarly knowen some men of great authority, whom a man might easily discerne, to be strangely fallen from that ancient sufficiency, which I know by the reputation they had thereby attained unto in their best yeares.  I could willingly for their honors sake have wisht them at home about their own businesse, discharged from all negotiations of the commonwealth and employments of war that were no longer fit for them.  I have sometimes beene familiar in a Gentleman's house, who was both an old man and a widdower, yet lusty of his age.  This man had many daughters marriageable and a sonne grown to mans state and ready to appeare in the world; a thing that drew-on and was the cause of great charges and many visitations, wherein he tooke but little pleasure, not only for the continuall care hee had to save but more by reason of his age, hee had betoken himselfe to a manner of life farre different from ours.  I chanced one day to tell him somewhat boldly (as my custome is) {Kent+} that it would better beseeme him to give us place and resigne his chiefe house to his sonne (for he had no other mannor-house conveniently well furnished), and quietly retire himselfe to some farme of his where no man might trouble him or disturbe his rest, since he could not otherwise avoid our importunitie, seeing the condition of his children; who afterward followed my counsell and found great ease by it.  It is not to be said that they hate any thing given them by such a way of obligation, which a man may not recall againe:  I, that am ready to play such a part, would give over unto them the full possession of my house and enjoying of my good and limited condition as if they should give me occasion, I might repent myself of my gift and revoke my deed. I would leave the use and fruition of all unto them, the rather because it were no longer fit for me to weald the 


<Mont2-80>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

same.  And touching the disposing of all matters in grosse, I would reserve what I pleased unto my selfe.  Having ever judged that it must be a great contentment to an aged father, himselfe to direct his children in the government of his household affaires, and to be able whilest himselfe liveth to checks and controule their demeanors, storing them with instruction and advised counsell, according to the experience he hath had of them, and himselfe to address the ancient honour and order of his house in the hands of his successours, and that way warrant himselfe of the hope hee may conceive of their future conduct and or successe.  And to this effect I would not shun their company.  I would not be far from them, but as much as the condition of my age would permit, enjoy and be a partner of their sports, mirths, and feasts.  If I did not continually live amongst them (as I could not well without offending their meetings and hindering their recreation, by reason of the peevish. forwardnesse of my age and the trouble of my infirmities, and also without forcing their rules, and resisting the forme of life I should then follow), I would at least live neere them, in some corner of my house, not the best and fairest in show, but the most easefull and commodious. And not, as some years since I saw a Deane of S.  Hillarie of Poictiers, reduced by reason and the incommoditie of his melancholy to such a continuall solitarinesse, that when I entered into his chamber be had never removed one step out of it in two and twenty yeares before; yet had all his faculties free and easie, onely a rheume excepted that fell into his stomacke.  Scarce once a weeke would he suffer any body to come and see him.  Hee would ever be shut up in his chamber all alone, where no man should come, except a boy, who once a day brought him meat, and who might not tarry there, but as soone as he was in must goe out again.  All his exercise was sometimes to walke up and downe his chamber, aud now and then reade on some booke (for he had some understanding of letters) but obstinately resolved to live and dye in that course, as he did shortly after.  I would endevour by 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-81>

a kinde of civil demeanour and milde conversation to breede and settle in my children a true-harty loving friendship, and unfained good will towards me: a thing easily obtained amongst well-borne mindes, For if they prove, or be such surly-furious beasts, or given to churlish disobedience, as our age bringeth forth thousands, they must as beasts be hated, as churls neglected, and as degenerate avoided.  I hate this custome, to forbid children to call their fathers father, and to teach them another strange name, as of more reverence; as if nature had not sufficiently provided for our authoritie. We call God Almighty by the name of father, and disdaine our children should call us so.  I have reformed this fault in mine owne household.  It is also folly and injustice to deprive children, especially being of competent age, of their fathers familiaritie, and ever to shew them a surly, austere, grim, and disdainefall countenance, hoping thereby, to keepe them in awfull feare and duteous obedience.  For it is a very unprofitable proceedingy and which maketh fathers yrkesome unto children, and which is worse, ridiculous. They have youth and strength in their hands, and consequently the breath and favour of the world; and doe with mockery and contempt receive these churlish, fierce, and tyrannical countenances, from a man that hath no lusty bloud left him, neither in his heart nor in his vaines; meere bugbeares, and scar crowes, to scare birdes withall.  If it lay in my power to make my selfe feared, I had rather make my selfe beloved. {tyrant+} There are so many sorts of defects in age, and so much impuissance; it is so subject to contempt, that the best purchase it can make is the good will, love and affection of others. {Koffka+} Commandement and feare are no longer her weapons.  I have knowne one whose youth had beene very imperious and rough, but when he came to mans age, although hee live in as good plight and health as may be, yet he chaseth, he scoldeth, he brawleth, he fighteth, he sweareth, and biteth, as the most boistrous and tempestuous master of France; he frets and consumes hims-elfe 


<Mont2-82>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

with carke and care and vigilancy (all which is but a jugling and ground for his familiar to play upon, and cozen him the more) as for his goods, his garners, his cellars, his coffers, yea his purse, whilst himselfe keepes the keyes of them close in his bosome and under his boulster, as charily as he doth his eyes, other enjoy and command the better part of them; whilst he pleaseth and flattereth himselfe with the niggardly sparing of his table, all goth to wracke, and is lavishly wasted in divers corners of his house, in play, in riotous spending, and in soothingly entertaining the accompts or tales of his vaine chasing, foresight, and providing.  Every man watcheth and keepeth sentinell against him, if any silly or heedless servant doe by fortune apply himselfe unto it, he is presently made to suspect him. A quality on which age doth immediately bite of it selfe.  How many times hath he vaunted and applauding himselfe the strict orders of his house, of his good husbandry, of the awe he kept his household in, and of the exact obedience and regardfull reverence he received of all his family, and how cleare-sighted he was in his own businesse:

Ille solus nescit omnia./1
Of all things none but he,
Most ignorant must be.
     I know no man that could produce more parts, both naturall and artificiall, fit to preserve his masterie, and to maintaine his absolutenesse, than be doth; yet is hee cleane falne from them like a childe.  Therefore have I made choice of him amongst many such conditions that I know, as most exemplare.  It were a matter beseeming a scholasticall question, whether it be better so or otherwise.  In his presence all things give place unto him.  This vaine course is ever left unto his authority, that he is never gain-said.  He is had in awe, he is feared, he is beleeved, he is respected his belly-full, Doth he discharge any boy or servant? he presently trusseth up his packe, then he is gone;
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1 TER.  Adel. act iv. sc. 21 9. 
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but whither? onely out of his sight, not out of his house.  The steps of age are so slow, the senses so troubled, the minde so distracted, that he shall live and doe his office a whole year in one same house, and never be perceived.  And when fit time or occasion serveth, letters are produced from farre places, humbly suing and pittifully complayning, with promises to doe better and to amend, by which he is brought into favour and office again.  Doth the master make any bargaine or dispatch that pleaseth not, it is immediately smothered and supressed soon after forging causes, and devising colourable excuses, to excuse the want of execution or answer. No forraine letters being first presented unto him, he seeth but such as are fit for his knowledge. lf peradventure they come into his hands, as he that trusteth some one of his men to reade them unto him, he will presently devise what he thinketh good, whereby they often invent that such a one seemeth to aske him forgivenesse, that wrongeth him by his letter.  To conclude, he never lookes into his owne businesse, but by a disposed, designed and as much as may be pleasing image, so contrived by such as are about him, because they will not stirre up his choler, move his impatience, and exasperate his frowardnesse.  I have seene under different formes many long and constant, and of like effect, economies.  It is ever proper unto women to be readily bent to contradict and crosse their husbands.  They will with might and maine, hand over head, take hold of any colour oG thwart and withstand them: the first excuse they meet with serves them as a plenary justification. I have seene some that would in grosse steale from their husbands to the end (as they told their Confessor) they might give the greater almes.  Trust you to such religious dispensations.  They thinke no libertie to have or managing to possesse sufficient authoritie, if it come from their husbands consent:  They must necessarily usurpe it, either by wily craft or maine force, and ever iniuriouslv, thereby to give it more grace and authoritie. As in my discourse, when it is 


<Mont2-84>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

against a poore old man, and for children, then take they hold of this title, and therewith gloriously serve their turne and passion, and as in a common servitude, easily usurpe and monopolize against his government and domination.  If they be men-children, tall, of good spirit, and forward, then they presently suborne, either by threats, force, or favour, both Steward, Bailiffe, Clarke, Receiver, and all the Fathers Officers, and Servant.  Such as have neither wife nor children, do more hardly fall into his mischiefe; but yet more cruelly and unworthily.  Old Cato was wont to say, 'So many servants, so many enemies.  Note whether according to the distance that was between the purity of his age, and the corruption of our times, he did not fore-warne us that wives, children, and servants are to us so many enemies.  Well fits it decrepitude to store us with the sweet benefit of ignorance and unperceiving facility wherewith we are deceived. If we did yeeld unto it, what would become of us?  Doe we not see that even then if we have any suits in lawe, or matters to be decided before Judges, both Lawyers+ and Judges will commonly take part with and favour our childrens causes against us, as men interested in the same?  And if I chance not to spy or plainly perceive how I am cheated, cozoned and beguiled, I must of necessitie discover in the end how I am subject, and may be cheated, beguiled, and cozened.  And shall the tongue of man ever bee able to expresse the ynvaluable worth of a friend+, in comparison of these civill bonds? The lively image and idea whereof I perceive to be among beasts so unspotted. Oh, with what religion doe I respect and observe the same!  If others deceive me, yet do I not deceive my selfe, to esteeme my selfe capable and of power to looke unto my selfe, nor to trouble my braines to yeeld my selfe unto it.  I doe beware and keepe my selfe from such treasons, and cunny- catching in mine owne bosome, not by an unquiet and tumultuary curiosity, but rather by a diversion and resolution.  When I heare the state of any one reported or discoursed of, I ammuse not my 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-85>

selfe on him, but presently cast mine eyes on my selfe, and all my wits together, to see in what state I am, aud how it goeth with me.  Whatsoever concerneth him, the same hath relation to me.  His fortunes forewarne me, and summon up my spirits that way; There is no day nor houre but we speake that of others we might properly speake of ourselves, could we as well enfold as we can infold our consideration. {common+} And many authours doe in this manner wound the protection of their cause by over- rashly running against that which they take hold of, thirling such darts at their enemies that might with much more advantage be cast at them.  The Lord of Montluc, late one of the Lord Marshals of France, having lost his sonne, who died in the Iland of Madera, a worthy, forward and gallant young gentleman, and truely of good hope, amongst other his griefes and regrets did greatly move me to condole the infinite displeasure and hearts- sorrow that he felt, inasmuch as he had never communicated and opened himselfe vnto him: for, with his austere humour and continuall endevouring to hold a grimme-stern-fatherly gravity over him, he had lost the meanes perfectly to finde and throughly to know his sonne, and so to manifest vnto him the extreme affection he bare him, and the worthy judgement he made of his vertue. 'Alas,' was he wont to say, 'the poore lad saw never anything in me but a severe-surly countenance, full of disdaine, and haply was possessed with this conceit, that I could neither love nor esteeme him according to his merits.  Ay- me, to whom did I reserve, to discover that singular and loving affection which in my soule I bare vnto him?  Was it not he that should have had all the pleasure and acknowledgenient thereof?  I have forced and tormented my selfe to maintaine this vaine maske, and have vtterly lost the pleasure of his conversation, and therwithal his good will, which surely was but faintly cold towards me, forsomuch as he never received but rude entertainement of me, and never felt but a tyrannicall proceeding in me towards him.  I am of opinion his complaint was reasonable and well 


<Mont2-86> MOINTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

grounded.  For, as I know by certaine experience, there is no comfort so sweet in the losse of friends, as that our owne knowledge or conscience tels vs we never omitted to tell them everything, and expostulate all matters vnto them, and to have had a perfect and free communication with them. Tell me, my good friend, am I the better or the worse by having a taste of it?  Surely I am much the better.  His griefe doth both comfort and honour mee.  Is it not a religious and pleasing office of my life for ever to make the obsequies thereof?  Can there be any pleasure worth this privation? I doe vnfold and open my self as much as I can to mine owne people, and willingly declare the state of my will and judgment towards them, as commonly I doe towards all men:  I make haste to produce and present my selfe, for I would have no man mistake me, in what part soever.  Amongst other particular customes which our ancient Gaules had as Caesar affirmeth), this was one, that children never came before their fathers, nor were in any publike assembly seene in their company, but when they began to beare armes: as if they would infer that then was the time fathers should admit them to their acquaintance and familiarity.  I have also observed another kinde of indiscretion in some fathers of our times, who during their owne life would never be induced to acquaint or impart vnto their children that share or portion which, by the Law of Nature, they were to have in their fortunes: nay, some there are who, after their death, bequeath and commit the same auctority over them and their goods, vnto their wives, with full power and law to dispose of them at their pleasure.  And my selfe have knowen a Gentleman, a chiefe officer of our crowne, that by right and hope of succession (had he lived unto it) was to inherit above fifty thousand crownes a yeere good land, who at the age of more then fifty yeeres, fell into such necessity and want, and was run so farre in debt, that he had nothing left him, and, as it is supposed, died for very need: whilest his mother, in her extreme decrepitude, enjoyed all 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-87>

his lands and possessed all his goods, by vertue of his fathers will and testament, who had lived very neere foure-score years: a thing (in my conceit) no way to be commended, but rather blamed.  Therefore doe I thinke that a man but little advantaged or bettered in estate who is able to liue of himselfe, and is out of debt, especially if he have children, and goeth about to marry a wife that must have a great joynter out of his lands, assuredly there is no other debt that brings more ruine vnto houses than that.  My predecessors have commonly followed this counsell, and so have I, and all have found good by it.  But those that disswade vs from marrying of rich wives, lest they might proove over disdainefull and peevish, or lesse tractable and loving, are also deceived to make vs neglect and for-goe a reall commoditie for so frivolous a conjecture, To an vnreasonable woman, it is all one cost to her whether they passe vnder one reason or vnder another. 'They love to be where they are most wronged.  Injustice doth allure them, as the honour of their vertuous actions enticeth the good.  And by how much richer they are, so much more milde and gentle are they; as more willingly and gloriously chaste, by how much fairer they are.  Some colour of reason there is, men should leave the administration of their goods and affaires vnto mothers whilest their children are not of competent age, or fit according to the lawes to manage the charge of them:  And ill hath their father brought them vp, if he cannot hope, these comming to yeares of discretion, they shal have no more wit, reason, and sufficiencie, than his wife, considering the weaknesse of their sexe.  Yet truly were it as much against nature so to order things that mothers must wholy depend on their childrens discretion.  They ought largely and competently to be provided wherewith to maintaine their estate according to the quality of their house and age: because 'need and want is much more unseemely and hard to he indured in women than in men:' And children rather than mothers ought to be charged therewith.  In generall, my opinion is that the best 


<Mont2-88>           MONTAIGNES ESSAYES

distribution of goods is, when we die, to distribute them according to the custome of the Country.  The lawes have better thought vpon them than we:  And better is it to let them erre in their election than for vs rashly to hazard to faile in ours.  They are not properly our owne, since without vs, and by a civil prescription, they are appointed to certaine successours.  And albeit we have some further liberty, I thinke it should be a great and most apparent cause to induce vs to take from one, and barre him from that which Fortune hath allotted him, and the common lawes and Justice hath called him unto:  And that against reason we abuse this liberty, by suting the same unto our priuate humours and frivolous fantasies.  My fortune hath beene good, inasmuch as yet it never presented me with any occasions that might tempt or divert my affections from the common and lawful ordinance.  I see some towards whom it is but labour lost, carefully to endevour to doe any good offices.  A word ill taken defaceth the merit of ten yeeres.  Happy he that, at this last passage, is ready to sooth and applaud their will.  The next action transporteth him; not the best and most frequent offices, but the freshest and present worke the deede.  They are the people that play with their wils and testaments as with apples and rods, to gratify or chastize every action of those who pretend any interest thereunto.  It is a matter of over-long pursute, and of exceeding consequence, at every instance to be thus dilated, and wherein the wiser sort establish themselves once for all, chiefely respecting reason and publike observance.  We somewhat over-much take these masculine substitutions to hart, and propose a ridiculous eternity unto our names.  We also over-weight such vaine future conjectures, which infant-spirits give vs.  It might peradventure have beene from out my rancke, because I was the dullest, the slowest, the unwillingest, the most leaden-pated to learn my lesson or any good, that ever was not onely of all my brethren, but of all the children in my countrie, were the lesson concerning 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-89>

my exercise of the minde or body.  It is follie to trie any extraordinarie conclusions vpon the trust of their divinations+, wherein we are so often deceived.  If this rule may be contradicted, and the destinies corrected, in the choice they have made of our heires, with so much more apparence, may it be done in consideration of some remarkable and enormous corporall deformtie; a constant and incorrigible vice; and according to vs great esteemers of beautie; a matter of important prejudice.  The pleasant dialogue of Plato the law-giver, with his citizens, will much honour this passage: "Why then,' say they, perceiving their end to approach, 'shall we not dispose of that which, is our owne towhom and according as we please?  O Gods, what cruelty is this?  That it shall not be lawfull for us to give or bequeath more or lesse, according to our fantasies, to such as have served us, and taken paines with us in our sicknesses, in our age, and in our business? To whom the law-giver answereth in this manner: 'My friends,' saith he, 'who doubtlesse shall shortly die, it is a hard matter for you both to know yourselves and what is your's according to the Delphike inscription: As for me, who am the maker of your lawes, I am of opinion that neither yourselves are your owne, nor that which you enjoy. {property+} And both you and your goods, past and to come, belong to your familie; and, moreover, both your families and your goods are the common_wealths+.  Wherefore, lest any flatterer, either in your age or in time of sickness, or any other passion, should unadvisedly induce you to make any unlawfull conveyance or unjust will and testament, I will looke to you and keepe you from it. But having an especiall respect both to the universall interest of your Citie, and particular state of your houses, I will establish lawes, and by reason make you perceive and confesse that a particular commoditie ought to yeeld to a publike benefit.  Follow that course meerely whereto humane necessitie doth call you.  To me it belongeth, who have no more regard to one thing than to another, and who, as much as I can, take care for the general, to 


<Mont2-90>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

have a regardful respect of that which you leave behind you.  But to return to my former discourse, me thinkes we seldome see that woman borne to whom the superioritie or majestie over men is due, except the motherly and naturall; unlesse it be for the chastisement of such as by some fond-febricitant humour have voluntarily submitted themselves unto them:  But that doth nothing concerne old women, of whom we speake here.  It is the apparence of this consideration hath made us to frame and willingly to establish this law (never seene elsewhere) that barreth women from the succession of this crowne, and there are few principalities in the world where it is not alleaged, as wel as here, by a likely and apparent reason, which authoriseth the same.  But fortune hath given more credit unto it in some places than in other some.  It is dangerous to leave the dispensation of our succession unto their judgement, according to the choyse they shall make of their children, which is most commonly unjust and fantasticall.  For the same unrulie appetite and distasted relish, or strange longings, which they have when they are great with child, the same have they at al times in their minds.  They are commonly seene to affect the weakest, the simplest and most abject, or such, if they have any, that had more need to sucke. For, wanting reasonable discourse to chuse, and embrace what they ought, they rather suffer themselves to be directed where nature's impressions are most single as other creatures, which take no longer knowledge of their yonng ones than they are sucking.  Moreover, experience doth manifestly shew unto us that the same naturall affection to which we ascribe so much authoritie, hath but a weake foundation.  For a very small gaine we daily take mothers owne children from them and induce them to take charge of ours.  Doe we not often procure them to bequeath their children to some fond, filthie, sluttish, and unhealthie nurce, to whom we would be very loth to commit ours, or to some brutish goat, not onely forbidding them to nurce and feed their owne children, what danger soever 


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may betide them, but also to have any care of them, to the end they may the more diligently follow and carefully attend the service of ours? Whereby wee soone see through custome a certaine kinde of bastard affection to be engendered in them, more vehement than the naturall, and to be much more tender and carefull for the welfare and preservation of other men's children than for their owne.  And the reason why I have made mention of goats is, beeause it is an ordinarie thing round about me where I dwell to see the countrie women, when they have not milke enough to feed their infants with their owne breasts, to call for goats to helpe them.  And myselfe have now two lackies wayting on me, who except it were eight daies never suck't other milk than goats.  They are presently to come at call and give young infants sucke, and become so well acquainted with their voice that when they heare them crie they runne forthwith unto them.  And if by chance they have any other child put to their teats then their nurseling, they refuse and reject him, and so doth the child a strange goat.  Myselfe saw that one not long since, from whom the father tooke a goat, which he had sucked two or three daies, because he had but borrowed it of one of his neighbours, who could never be induced to sucke any other, whereby he shortly died, and, as I verily thinke, of meere hunger. {usthem+} Beasts, as well as we, doe soon alter, and easily bastardize their naturall affection. I believe that in that which Herodotus reporteth of a certaine province of Libia, their often followeth great error and- mistaking.  He saith that men doe indifferently use, and as it were in common frequent women, and that the childe, as soone as he is able to goe, comming to any solemne meetings and great assemblies, led by a naturall instinct, findeth out hes owne father; where being turned loose in the middest of the multitude, looke what man the childe: doth first addresse his steps unto, and then goe to him, the same is ever afterward reputed to be his right father. Now if we shall duly consider this simple occasion of loving our children, because we have 


<Mont2-92>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

begotten them, for which we mu them our other selves; it seemes there is another production coming from us, and which is of no lesse recommendation and consequence.  For what we engender by the minde, the fruits of our courage, sufficiencie, or spirit, are brought forth by a far more noble part than the corporall, and more our owne.  We are both father and mother together in this generation; such fruits cost us much dearer and bring us more honour, and chiefly if they have any good or rare thing in them.  For the value of our other children is much more theirs than ours.  The share we have in them is but little, but of these all the beautie, all the grace, and all the worth is ours.  And therefore do they represent and resemble us much more lively than others.  Plato addeth, moreover, that these are immortant issues, and immortalize their fathers, yea and desire them, as Licurgus, Solon, and Minos.  All histories being full of examples of this mutuall friendship of fathers toward their children, I have not thought it amisse to set downe some choice ones of this kinde.  Heliodorus, that good Bishop of Tricea, loved rather to lose the dignity, profit, and devotion of so venerable a prelateship than to forgoe his daughter, a young woman to this day commended for her beautie, but haply somewhat more curiously and wantonly pranked up than beseemed the daughter of a churchman and a Bishop, and of over-amorous behaviour.  There was one Labienus, in Rome, a man of great worth and authority, and amongst other commendable qualities, most excellent in all manner of learning, who, as I thinke, was the sonne of that great Labienus, chiefe of all the captaines that followed and were under Caesar in the warres against the Gaules, and who afterward taking great Pompey's part, behaved himselfe so valiantly and so constantly, that he never forsooke him untill Caesar defeated hm@ in Spaine.  This Labienus, of whom I spake, had many that envied his vertues: but above all, as it is likely, courtiers, and such as in his time were favored of the Emperors, who hated his franknesse,{PlainDealer+} his fatherly humors, and distaste he bare 


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still against tyrannie, wherewith it may be supposed he had stuffed his bookes and compositions.  His adversaries vehemently pursued him before the magistrate of Rome, and prevailed so far that many of his works which he had published were condemned to be burned.  He was the first on whom this new example of punishment was put in practice, which after continued long in Rome, and executed on divers others, to punish learning, studies, and writings with death and consuming fire.  There were neither means enough, or matter sufficient of crueltie, unlesse we had entermingled among them things which nature hath exempted from all sense and sufferance, as reputation, and the inventions of our minde: and except we communicated corporall mischiefs unto disciplines and monuments of the muses.  Which losse Labienus could not endure, nor brooke to survive those his deare and highly-esteemed issues, and therefore caused himselfe to be carried, and shut up alive within his authors monument, where, with a dreadlesse resolution, he at once provided both to kill himselfe and be buried together.  It is hard to shew any more vehement fatherly affection than that.  Cassius Severus, a most eloquent man, and his familiar friend, seeing his bookes burnt, exclaimed, that by the same sentenee hee should therewithall be condemned to be burned alive, for hee still bare and kept in minde what they contained in them. A like accident happened to Geruntius Cordus, who was accused to have commended Brutus and Cassius in his bookes.  That base, senile, and corrupted Senate, and worthie of a farre worse master than Tiberius, adjudged his writings, to be consumed by fire; and he was pleased to accompany them in their death, for he pined away by abstaining from all manner of meat.  That notable man Lucane, being adjudged by that lewd varlet, Nero, to death, at the latter end of his life, when al his bloud was well-nigh spent from out the veins of his arme, which by his physician he had caused to be opened to hasten his death, and that a chilling cold began to seize the uttermost parts of his 


<Mont2-94>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

limbes, and approach his vital spirits, the last thing he had in memory was some of his owne verses, written in his booke of the Pharsalian warres, which with a distinct voice hee repeated, and so yeelded up the ghost, having those last words in his mouth.  What was that but a kinde, tender, and fatherly farewell which he tooke of his children? representing the last adiewes, and parting embracements, which at our death we give vnto our dearest issues?  And an effect of that naturall inclination, which in that last extremity puts us in minde of those things which in our life we have held dearest and most precious?  Shall we imagine that Epicurus, who (as himselfe said) dying tormented with the extreme paine of the chollik, had all his comfort in the beauty of the doctrine which he left behinde him in the world, would have received as much contentment of a number of well-borne and better-bred children (if he had had any) as he did of the production of his rich compositions?  And if it had beene in his choise, to leave behind him either a counterfeit, deformed, or ill-borne childe, or a foolish, triviall, and idle booke, not onely he, but all men in the world besides of like learning and sufficiency, would much rather have chosen to incurre the former than the latter mischiefe.  It might peradventure be deemed impiety in Saint Augustine (for example- sake) if on the one part one should propose unto him to bury all his bookes, whence our religion receiveth so much good, or to interre his children of in case he had any) that he would not rather chuse to bury his children, or the issue of his loynes, than the fruits of his minde.  And I wot not well, whether my selfe should not much rather desire to beget and produce a perfectly-well-shaped and excellently-qualited infant, by the acquaintance of the Muses than by the acquaintance of my wife.  Whatsoever I give to this, let the world allow of it as it please, I give it as purely and irrevocable as any man can give it to his corporall children.  That little good which I have done him is no longer in my disposition.  He may know many things that my selfe know no 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-95>

longer, and hold of me what I could not hold my selfe: and which (if need should require) I must borrow of him as of a stranger.  If I be wiser than be, he is richer than I.  There are few men given unto Poesie that would not esteeme it for a greater honour to be the fathers of Virgils AEneidos than of the goodliest boy in Rome, and that would not rather endure the losse of the one than the perishing of the other.  For, according to Aristotle, 'Of all workemen, the Poet is principally the most amorous of his productions and conceited of his Labours.  It is not easie to be beleeved that Epaminondas, who wanted to leave some daughters behind him, which unto all posterity, should one day highly honour their father (they were the two famous victories which be had gained of the Lacedemonians) would ever have given his free consent to change them with the best-borne, most gorgeous, and goodliest damsels of all Greece: or that Alexander and Caesar did ever wish to be deprived of the greatnesse of their glorious deeds of warre, for the commodity to have children and heires of their owne bodies, how absolutely-perfect and well accomplished so ever they might be.  Nay, I mahe a great question whether Phidias, or any other excellent Statuary, would as highly esteeme and dearely love the preservation and successfull continuance of his naturall children, as be would an exquisite and matchlesse-wrought Image, that with long study and diligent care he had perfected according unto art.  And as concerning those vicious and furious passions which sometimes have inflamed some fathers to the love of their daughters, or mothers towards their, sonnes, the very same and more partially-earnest is also found in this other kinde of childe-bearing and aliance.  Witnesse that which is reported of Pigmalion, who having curiously framed a goodly statue of a most singularly-beauteous woman, was so strange- fondly and passionately surprised with the lustfull love of his owne workmanship that the Gods through his raging importunity were faine in favour of him to give it life. 


<Mont2-96>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
Tentatum mollescit ebur, positogue rigore
Subsidit digitis./1
As he assaid it, th' ivory softned much,
And (hardnesse left) did yeeld to fingers touch.
-----
1 OVID.  Metam 1. x. 283. 

 
 

CHAPTER 2.IX+

OF THE PARTHIANS ARMES IT is a vitious, fond, fashion of the Nobility and Gentry of our age, and full of nice-tendernesse, never to betake themselves to armes, except upon some urgent and extreme necessitie: and to quit them as soone as they perceive the least hope or apparence that the danger is past; Whence ensue many disorders, and inconveniences:  For, every one running and calling for his armes when the alarum is given, some have not yet buckled their cuirace when their fellowes are already defeated.  Indeed our forefathers would have their Caske, Lance, Gantlets, and Shields carried, but so long as the service lasted, themselves would never leave-off their other peeces. Our troopes are now all confounded and disordered, by reason of bag and baggage, of carriages of lackies, and foot-boies, which because of their masters armes they carry, can never leave them.  Titus Livius, speaking of the French, saith, Intolerantissima laboris corpora vix arma humeris gerebant:  Their bodies most impatient of labour could hardly beare armour on their backes. /1 Divers Nations, as they did in former times, so yet at this day, are seene to goe to the warres, without any thing about them, or if they had, it was of no defence; but were all naked and bare.

Tegmina quas capitum raptus de subere cortex./2
Whose caske to cover all their head,
Was made of barke from Corke-tree flea'd.
     Alexander, the most daring and hazardous Captain
-----
1 LIV.  Dec. i. 1. 10. 2 VIR.  AEn. 1. 742.
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that ever was, did very seldome arme himselfe:  And those which amongst us neglect them, doe not thereby much empaire their reputation.  If any man chance to be slaine for want of an armour, there are as many more that miscarry with the over-heavy burthen of their armes, and by them are engaged, and by a counterbutte are brused, or otherwise defeated.  For in truth to see the unweildy weight of our and their thicknesse, it seemeth we but endevour to defend our selves, and we are rather charged than covered by them.  We have enough to doe to endure the burthen of them, and are so engived and shackled in them, as if we were to fight but with the shocke or brunt of our armes, and as if we were as much bound to defend them as they to shield us. {Agincourt+} Cornelius Tacitus doth pleasantly quip and jest at the men of war of our ancient Gaules, so armed, only to maintaine themselves, as they that have no meane either to offend or to be offended, or to raise themselves being overthrowne.  Lucullus seeing certaine Median men at armes, which were in the front of Tigranes Army, heavily and unweildily armed, as in an iron prison, apprehended thereby an opinion that he might easily defeat them, and began to charge them first, and got the victory.  And now that our Muskettiers, are in such credit, I thinke we shall have some invention found to immure us up, that so we may be warranted from them, and to traine us to the warres in Skonces and Bastions, as those which our fathers caused to be carried by Elephants.  A humour farre different from that of Scipio the younger, who sharply reprooved his souldiers because thy had scattered certaine Calthrops under the water alongst a dike, by which those of the Towne that he had besieged might sally out upon him, saying, that those which assailed should resolve to enterprise and not to feare:  And had some reason to feare that this provision might secure and lull their vigilancy asleepe to guard themselves.  Moreover he said to a young man, that shewed him a faire shield he had, 'Indeed good youth, it is a faire one; but a Roman souldier ought to have more confidence in his 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-99>

right hand than in his left.  It is onely custome that makes the burthen of our armes intolerable unto us.

L'usbergo in dosso haveano, e l'elmo in testa,
Due di quelli guerrier dei quali io canto.
Ne notte o di dopo ch'entraro in questa
Stanza, gl'haveano mai messi da canto;
Che facile a portar come la resta
Era lor, perche in vso l'havean tanto.
Cuirasse on backe did those two warriors beare,
And caske on head, of whom I make report,
Nor day, nor night, after they entred there,
Had they them laid aside from their support
They could with ease them as a garment weare,
For long time had they usde them in such sort.
     The Emperour Caracalla in leading of his Army was ever wont to march afoot armed at all assaies.  The Roman footmen caried not their motions, sword, and target only, as for other armes (saith Cicero) they were so accustomed to weare them continually, that they hindered them no more than their limbs:  Arma enim, membra militia esse dicunt: for they say, armor and weapon are a souldiers limbs; but therewithal such victuals as they should need for a fortnight and a certaine number of stakes to make their rampards or palisadoes with, so much as weighed three score pound weight.  And Marius, his souldiers thus loden, marching in battal array, were taught to march five leagues in five hours, yea six if need required.  Their military discipline was much more laboursome than ours: so did it produce far different effects.  Scipio the younger, reforming his army in Spaine, appointed his souldiers to eat no meat but standing, and nothing sodden or rosted.  It is worth there membrance how a Lacedemonian+ souldier being in an expedition of warre, was much noted and blamed because hee was once seene to seeke for shelter under a house.  They were so hardened to endure all manner of labour and toyle that it was counted a reprochfull infamy for a souldier to be seene under any other roofe than that of heavens vault, in what weather soever. {stoicism+} Were we to doe so, we should never lead our
-----
1 ARIOSTO.  Orl.  Cant. xii. stan. 30. 
<Mont2-100>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

men far.  Marcellinus, a man well trained in the Roman wars, doth curiously observe the manner which the Parthians used to arme themselves, and noteth it so much the more by how much it was far different from the Romans.  They had (saith he) certaine armes so curiously enter-wrought as they seemed to be made like feathers, which nothing hindered the stirring of their, bodies and yet so strong, that our darts hitting them did rather rebound, or glance by, than hurt them (they be the scales our ancestors were so much wont to use).  In another place they had (saith he) their horses stiffe and strong, covered with thick hides, and themselves armed from head to foot with massie iron plates so artificially contrived that where the joynts are there they furthered the motion and helped the stirring.  A man would have said they had been men made of yron, for they had peeces so handsomly fitted, and so lively representing the forme and parts of the face, that there was no way to wound them but at certaine little holes before their eyes, which served to give them some light, and by certaine chinkes about their nostrils by which they hardly drew breath.

Flexilis inductis animator lamina nembris,
Horribilis visu, credas simulacra moveri
Ferrea, cognatoque viros spirare metallo.
Par vestitus equis, ferrata fronte minantur,
Ferratosque movent securi vulneris armos/1
The bending plate is hook't on limbes orespread,
Fearefull to fight, steele images seem'd lead,
And men to breathe in mettall with them bred,
Like furniture for horse, with steeled head,
They threat, and safe from wound,
With barr'd limbs tread the ground.
 Loe-heere a description much resembling the equipage of a complete French-man-at-armes with all his bards.  Plutarke reporteth that Demetrius caused two armours to be made, each one weighing six score pounds: one for himselfe, the other for Alcinus, the chiefe man of war that was next to him: whereas all common armours weighed but three score.
----------
1 GLAUD. in Ruf. l. ii. 358. 

 
 

CHAPTER 2.X+ OF BOOKS

I MAKE no doubt but it shall often befall me to speake of things which are better, and with more truth, handled by such as are their crafts-masters. Here is simply an essay of my natural faculties, and no whit of those that I have acquired.  And he that shall task me with ignorance shall have no great victory at my hands; for hardly could I give others reasons for my discourses that give none unto my selfe, and am not well satisfied with them.  He that shall make search after knowledge, let him seek it where it is: there is nothing I professe lesse. {PlainDealer+} These are but my fantasies by which endevour not to make things known, but my selfe. They may haply one day be knowne unto me, or have bin at other times, according as fortune hath brought me where they were declared or manifested.  But I remember them no more.  And if I be a man of some reading, yet I am a man of no remembering.  I conceive no certainty, except it bee to give notice how farre the knowledge I have of it doth now reach.  Let no man busie himselfe about the matters, but on the fashion I give them.  Let that which I borrow be surveied, and then tell me whether I have made good choice of ornaments to beautifie and set foorth the invention which ever comes from mee.  For I make others to relate (not after mine owne fantastie, but as it best falleth out) what I cannot so well expresse either through unskill of language or want of judgement.  I number not my borrowings, but I weigh them. {ancients+} And if I would have made their number to prevail, I would have had twice as many.  They are
<Mont2-101> 


<Mont2-102>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

all, or almost all, of so famous and ancient names that me thinks they sufficiently name themselves without mee.  If in reasons, comparisons, and arguments, I transplant any into my soile, or confound them with mine owne, I purposely conceale the author, thereby to bridle the rashnesse of these hastie censures that are so headlong cast upon all manner of compositions, namely young writings of men yet living; and in vulgare that admit all the world to talke of them and which seemeth to convince the conception and publike designs alike.  I will have them to give Plutarch+ a bob upon mine own lips, and vex themselves in wronging Seneca+ in mee.  My weaknesse must be hidden under such great credits.  I will love him that shal trace or unfeather me; I meane through clearenesse of judgement, and by the onely distinction of the force and beautie of my discourses.  For my selfe, who for want of memorie am ever to seeke how to trie and refine them by the knowledge of their country, knowe perfectly, by measuring mine owne strength, that my soyle is no way capable of some over-pretious flowers that therein I find set, and that all the fruits of my increase could not make it amends. This am I bound to answer for if I hinder my selfe, if there be either vanitie or fault in my discourses that I perceive not or am not able to discerne if they be showed me.  For many faults do often escape our eyes; but the infirmitie of judgement consisteth in not being able to perceive them when another discovereth them unto us.  Knnowledge and truth may be in us without judgement, and we may have judgement without them yea, the acknowledgement of ignorance is one of the best and surest testimonies of judgement that I can finde. {Socrates+{PlainDealer+} I have no other sergeant of band to marshal] my rapsodies than fortune.  And looke how my humours or conceits present themselves, so I shuffle them up.  Sometimes they prease thicke and three fold, and other times they come out languishing one by one.  I will have my naturall and ordinarie pace seen as loose and shuffling as it is.  As I am so go I on plodding.  And 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-103>

besides, these are matters that a man may not be ignorant of, and rashly and casually to speake of them.  I would wish to have a more perfect understanding of things, but I will not purchase it so deare as it cost.  My intention is to passe the remainder of my life quietly and not laboriously, in rest and not in care.  There is nothing I will trouble or vex myself about, no not for science it selfe, what esteeme soever it be of.  I doe not search and tosse over books but for an honester recreation to please, and pastime to delight my selfe: or if I studie, I only endevour to find out the knowledge that teacheth or handleth the knowledge of my selfe, and which may instruct me how to die_well+ and how to live well.

Has meus ad metas sudet oportet equus./1

My horse must sweating runne,
That this goale may be wonne.

     If in reading I fortune to meet with any difficult plants, I fret not my selfe about them, but after I have given them a charge or two, I leave them as I found them.  Should I earnestly plod upon them, I should loose both time and my selfe, for I have a skipping wit.  What I see not at the first view, I shall lesse see it if I opinionate my selfe upon it.  I doe nothing without blithnesse; and an over obstinate continuation and plodding contention doth dazle, du], and wearie the same: my sight is thereby confounded and diminished.  I must therefore withdraw it, and at fittes goe to it againe.  Even as to judge well of the lustre of scarlet we are taught to cast our eyes over it, in running over by divers glances, sodaine glimpses and reiterated reprisings.  If one booke seeme tedious unto me I take another, which I follow not with any earnestnesse, except it be at such houres as I am idle, or that I am weary with doing nothing. I am not greatly affected to new books, because ancient_Authors+ are, in my judgement, more full and pithy: nor am I much addicted to ----- PROPERT. 1. iv.  El. i. 70. 
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Greeke_books+, forasmuch as my understanding cannot well rid his worke with a childish and apprentise intelligence.  Amongst moderne bookes meerly pleasant, I esteeme Bocace+ his Decameron, Rabelais+, and the kisses of John the second (if they may be placed under this title), worth the paines-taking to reade them.  As for Amadis+ and such like trash of writings, they had never the credit so much as to allure my youth to delight in them.  This I will say more, either boldly or rashly that this old and beavie-pased minde of mine will no more be pleased with Aristotle+, or tickled with good Ovid+: his facility and quaint inventions, which heretofore have so ravished me, they can now a days scarcely entertaine me.  I speake my minde freely of all things, yea, of such as peradventure exceed my sufficiencie, and that no way I hold to be of my jurisdiction.  What my conceit is of them is told also to manifest the proportion of my insight, and not the measure of things.  If at any time I finde my selfe distasted of Platoes Axiochus, as of a forceles worke, due regard had to such an Author, my judgement doth nothing beleeve it selfe:  It is not so fond-hardy, or selfe-conceited, as it durst dare to oppose it selfe against the authority of so many other famous ancient judgements, which he reputeth his regents and masters, and with whom hee had rather erre.  He chafeth with, and condemneth himselfe, either to rely on the superficiall sense, being unable to pierce into the centre, or to view the thing by some false lustre.  He is pleased only to warrant himselfe from trouble and unrulinesse:  As for weaknesses he acknowledgeth and ingeniously avoweth the same.  He thinks to give a just interpretation to the apparences which his conception presents unto him, but they are shallow and imperfect.  Most of Aesopes+ fables have divers senses, and severall interpretations:  Those which inlythologize them, chose some kiude of colour well sutirig with the fable; but for the most part, it is no other than the firstand superficiall glosse:  There are others more quicke, more siniaowie, more essentiall, and more internall, into which they could 


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never penetrate; and thus thinke I with them.  But to follow my course., I have ever deemed that in Poesie, Virgil, Lucretius, Catullus, and Horace, doe doubtles by far hold the first ratike: and especially @ir@ in his Georgiks, which I esteeme to be the most accomplished peece of.worke of Poesie:  In comparison of which one may easily discerne, that there are some passages in the AEneidos to which the Author (had he lived) would no doubt have given some review or correction:  The fifth booke whereof is (in my minde) the most absolutely perfect.  I also love Lucan+, and willingly read him, not so much for his stile, as for his owne worth and truth of his opinion and judgement.
As for good Terence, I allow the quaintnesse and grace of his Latine tongue, and judge him wonderfull conceited and apt, lively to represent the motions and passions of the minde, and the condition of our manners: our actions make me often remember him.  I can never reade him so often but still I discover some new grace and beautie in him.  Those that lived about Virgil's time, complained that some would compare Lucretius unto him.  I am of opinion that verily it is an unequall comparison; yet can I hardly assure my seffe in this opinion whensoever I finde my selfe entangled in some notable passage of Lucretius.  If they were moved at this comparison, what would they say now of the fond, hardy and barbarous stupiditie of those which now adayes compare Ariosto unto him?  Nay, what would Ariosto say of it himselfe?

O seclum insipiens et infacetum.

O age that hath no wit,
And small conceit in it.

     I thinke our ancestors had also more reason to cry out against those that blushed not to equall Plautus+ unto Terence+ (who makes more show to be a Gentleman) than Lucretius+ unto Virgil+.  This one thing doth greatly advantage the estimation and preferring of
-----
1 CATUL.  Epig. xl. 8. 
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Terence, that the father of the Roman eloquence, of men of his quality doth so often make mention of him; and the censure which the chiefs Judge of the Roman Poets giveth of his companion.  It hath often come unto my minde, how such as in our dayes give themselves to composing of comedies (as the Italians who are very happy in them) employ three or foure arguments of Terence and Plautus to nake up one of theirs.  In one onely comedy they will huddle up five or six of Bocaces tales.  That which makes them so to charge themselves with matter, is the distrust they have of their owne sufficiency, and that they are not able to undergoe so heavie a burthen with their owne strength.  They are forced to finde a body on which they may rely and leane themselves: and wanting matter of their owne wherewith to please us, they will have the story or tale to busie and ammuse us: where as in my Authors it is cleane contrary:  The elegancies, the perfections and ornaments of his manner of speech, make us neglect and lose the longing for his subject.  His quaintnesse and grace doe still retaine us to him. He is every where pleasantly conceited,

Liquidus puroque simillimus amni,/1
So clearely-neate, so neately-cleare,
As he a fine-pure River were,
and doth so replenish our minde with his graces that we forget those of the fable.  The same consideration drawes me somewhat further.  I perceive that good and ancient Poets have shunned the affectation and enquest, not only of fantasticall, new fangled, Spagniolized and Petrarchisticall elevations, but also of more sweet and sparing inventions, which are the ornament of all the Poeticall workes of succeeding ages.  Yet is there no competent Judge that findeth them wanting in those Ancient ones, and that doth not much more admire that smoothly equall neatnesse, continued sweetnesse, and flourishing comelinesse of Catullus his
-----
1 HOR. 1. ii.  Epig. ii. 120. 
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Epigrams, than all the sharpe quips and witty girds wherewith Martiall doth whet and embellish the conclusions of his.  It is the same reason I spake of erewhile, as Martiall of himselfe.  Minus illi ingenio laborandum fuit, in cuius locum materia successerat:/1  'He needed the less worke with his wit, in place whereof matter came in supply.' The former without being moved or pricked cause themselves to be beard lowd enough: they have matter to laugh at every where, and need not tickle themselves; where as these must have foraine helpe: according as they have lesse spirit, they must have more body.  They leape on horse- backe, because they are not sufficiently strong in their legs to march on foot.  Even as in our dances, those base conditioned men that keepe dancing schooles, because they are unfit to represent the port and decencie of our nobilitie, endevour to get commendation by dangerous lofty trickes, and other strange tumbler-like friskes and motions.  And some Ladies make a better shew of their countenances in those dances, wherein are divers changes, cuttings, turnings, and agitations of the body, than in some dances of state and gravity, where they need but simply to tread a naturall, measure, represent an unaffected cariage, and their ordinary grace; And as I have also seene some excellent Lourdans, or Clownes, attired in their ordinary workyday clothes, and with a common homely countenance, affoord us all the pleasure that may be had from their art: but prentises and learners that are not of so high a forme, besmeare their faces, to disguise themselves, and in motions counterfeit strange visages and antickes, to enduce us to laughter.  This my conception is no where better discerned than in the comparison betweene Virgils AEneidos and Orlando Furioso.  The first is seene to soare aloft with full-spread wings, and with so high and strong a pitch, ever following his point; the other faintly to hover and flatter from tale to tale, and as it were skipping from bough to bough, alwayes distrusting his owne wings, except it be for some short
-----
1 MART.  Praef. 1. viii. 


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flight, and for feare his strength and breath should faile him, to sit downe at every fields-end;

Excursusque breves tentat./1
Out-lopes sometimes he doth assay,
But very short, and as he may.
Loe here then, concerning this kinde of subjects, what Authors please me best:  As for my other lesson, which somewhat more mixeth profit with pleasure, whereby I learne to range my opinions and addresse my conditions, the Bookes that serve me thereinto are Plutarke+ (since be spake French) and Seneca+, both have this excellent commodity for my humour, that the knowledge I seeke in them is there so scatteringly and loosely handled, that whosoever readeth them is not tied to plod long upon them, whereof I am uncapable. And so are Plutarkes little workes and Senecas Epistles, which are the best and most profitable parts of their writings.  It is no great matter to draw mee to them, and I leave them where I list.  For they succeed not and depend not one of another.  Both jumpe and suit together, in most true and profitable opinions:  And fortune brought them both into the world in one age.  Both were Tutors unto two Roman Emperours:  Both were strangers, and came from farre Countries; both rich and mighty in the common-wealth, and in credit with their masters.  Their instruction is the prime and creame of Philosophy, and presented with a plaine, unaffected, and pertinent fashion. Plutarke is more uniforme and constant; Seneca more waving and diverse. This doth labour, force, and extend himselfe, to arme and strengthen vertue against weaknesse feare, and vitious desires; the other seemeth nothing so much to feare their force or attempt, and in a manner scorneth to hasten or change his pace about them, and to put himselfe upon his guard.  Plutarkes opinions are Platonicall, gentle and accommodable unto civill societie: Senecaes Stoicall and Epicurian, further from
-----
1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. iv. 194. 
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common use, but in my conceit more proper particular, and more solid. It appeareth in Seneca that he somewhat inclineth and yeeldeth to the tyrannie of the Emperors which were in his daies; for I verily believe, it is with a forced judgement he condemneth the cause of those noblie-minded murtherers of Caesar; {Brutus+} Plutarke is every where free and open hearted; Seneca fullfraught with points and sallies; Plutarke stuft with matters.  The former doth move and enflame you more; the latter content, please, and pay you better:  This doth guide you, the other drive you on!  As for Cicero, of all his works, those that treat of Philosophie (namely morall) are they which best serve my turne, and square with my intent.  But boldly to confess the truth (for, since the bars of impudencie were broken downe, all curbing is taken away), his manner of writing seemeth verie tedious unto me, as doth all such like stuffe.  For his prefaces, definitions, divisions, and Etymologies consume the greatest part of his works; whatsoever quick, wittie, and pithie conceit is in him is surcharged and confounded by those his long and far-fetcht preambles.  If I bestow but one hour in reading them, which is much for me, and let me call to minde what substance or juice I have drawne from him, for the most part I find nothing but wind and ostentation in him; for he is not yet come to the arguments which make for his purpose, and reasons that concerne the knot or pith I seek after.  These Logicall and Aristotelian ordinances are not availfull for me who onely endeavour to become more wise and sufficient and not more wittie or eloquent.  I would have one begin with the last point; I understand sufficiently what death and voluptuousuesse are: let not a man busie himselfe to anatomize them. At the first reading of a booke I seeke for good and solid reasons that may instruct me how to sustaine their assaults.  It is neither grammaticall subtilties or logicall quiddities, nor the wittie contexture of choice words or arguments and syllogismes, that will serve my turne. {PlainDealer+} I like those discourses that give the first charge to the strongest part of the doubt; 


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his are but flourishes, and languish everywhere.  They are good for schooles, at the barre, or for Orators and Preachers, where we may slumber: and though we wake a quarter of an houre after, we may finde and trace him soone enough. Such a manner of speech is fit for those judges that a man would corrupt by hooke or crooke, by right or wrong, or for children and the common people, unto whom a man must tell all, and see what the event would be.  I would not have a man go about and labour by circumlocutions to induce and winne me to attention, and that (as our Heralds or Criers do) they shall ring out their words:  Now heare me, now listen, or ho-yes.  The Romanes in their religion were went to say, 'Hoc age;' which in ours we say, 'Sursum corda. There are so many lost words for me.  I come readie prepared from my house. I neede no allurement nor sawce, my stomacke is good enough to digest raw meat:  And whereas with these preparatives and flourishes, or preambles, they thinke to sharpen my taste or stir my stomacke, they cloy and make it wallowish.  Shall the privilege of times excuse me from this sacrilegious boldnesse, to deeme Platoes Dialogismes to be as languishing, by overfilling and stuffing his matter?  And to bewaile the time that a man who had so many thousands of things to utter, spends about so many, so long, so vaine, and idle interlocutions, and preparatives?  My ignorance shall better - excus me, in that I see nothing in the beautie of his language.  I generally enquire after bookes that use sciences, and not after such as institute them.  The two first, and Plinie, with others of their ranke, have no Hoc age in them, they will have to doe with men that have forewarned themselves; or if they have, it is a materiall and substantiall Hoc age, and that hath his bodie apart.  I likewise love to read the Epistles and ad Atticum, not onely because they contains a most ample instruction of the historic and affaires of his times, but much more because in them I descrie his private humours.  For (as I have said elsewhere) I am wonderfull curious to discover and know the minde, the soul the genuine 


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disposition and naturall judgement of my authors.  A man ought to judge their sufficiencie and not their customes, nor them by the show of their writings, which they set forth on this world's theatre.  I have sorrowed a thousand times that ever we lost the booke that Brutus+ writ of Vertue. Oh it is a goodly thing to learne the Theorike of such as understand the practice well.  But forsomuch as the Sermon is one thing and the Preacher an other, I love as much to see Brutus in Plutarke+ as in himself:  I would rather make choice to know certainly what talk he had in his tent with some of his familiar friends, the night fore-going the battell, than the speech he made the morrow after to his Armie and what he did in his chamber or closet, than what in the senate or market place.  As for Cicero+, I am of the common judgement, that besides learning there was no exquisite eloquence in him:  He was a good citizen, of an honest, gentle nature, as are commonly fat and burly men: for so was he:  But to speake truly of him, full of ambitious vanity and remisse niceness.  And I know not well how to excuse him, in that be deemed his Poesie worthy to be published.  It is no great imperfection to make bad verses, but it is an imperfection in him that he never perceived how unworthy they were of the glorie of his name.  Concerning his eloquence, it is beyond all comparison, and I verily beleeve that none shall ever equall it.  Cicero the younger, who resembled his father in nothing but in name, commanding in Asia, chanced one day to have many strangers at his board, and amongst others, one Caestius sitting at the lower end, as the manner is to thrust in at great mens tables:  Cicero inquired of one of his men what he was, who told him his name, but he dreaming on other matters, and having forgotten what answere his man made him, asked him his name twice or thrice more: the servant, because he would not be troubled to tell him one thing so often, and by some circumstance to make him to know him better, 'It is,' said he, 'the same Caestius of whom some have told you that, in respect of his owne, maketh no accompt of your fathers eloquence:' 


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Cicero being suddainly mooved, commanded the said Caestius to be presently taken from the table, and well whipped in his presence:  Lo heere an uncivill and barbarous host.  Even amongst those which (all things considered) have deemed his eloquence matchlesse and incomparable, others there have been who have not spared to note some faults in it.  As great Brutus+ said, that it was an eloquence broken, halting, and disjoynted, fractam et elumbem. 'Incoherent and sinnnowlesse.  Those Orators that lived about his age, reproved also in him the curious care he had of a certaine long cadence at the end of his clauses, and noted these words, esse videatur, which he so often useth.  As for me, I rather like a cadence that falleth shorter, cut like Iambikes: yet doth he sometimes confounde his numbers, but it is seldome: I have especially observed this one place;
Ego vero me minus diu senem esse mallem, quam esse senem, antequam essem:/1  'But I had ather not be an old man, so long as I might be, than to be old before I should be.'    Historians are my right hand, for they are pleasant and easie; and therewithall the man with whom I desire generally to be acquainted may more lively and perfectly be discovered in them than in any other composition: the varietie and truth of his inward conditions, in grosse and by retale: the diversitie of the meanes of his collection and composing, and of the accidents that threaten him.  Now those that write of mens lives, forasmuch as they ammuse and busie themselves more about counsels than events, more about that which commeth from within than that which appeareth outward; they are fittest for me: And that's the reason why Plutarke above all in that kind doth best please me.  Indeed I am not a little grieved that we have not a dozen of Laertius, or that be is not more knowne, or better understood; for I am no lesse curious to know the fortunes and lives of these great masters of the world than to understand the diversitie of their decrees and conceits.  In this kind of studie of historie a man must, without distinction, tosse and - ---- CIC.  De Senect. 


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turne over all sorts of Authors, both old and new, both French and others, if he will learne the things they so diversly treat of.  But me thinkes that Caesar+ above all doth singularly deserve to be studied, not onely for the understanding of the historie as of himselfe; so much perfection and excellencie is there in him more than in others, although Salust be reckoned one of the number.  Verily I read that author with a little more reverence and respects than commonly men reade profane and humane Workes: sometimes considering him by his actions and wonders of his greatnesse, and other times waighing the puritie and inimitable polishing and elegancie of his tongue, which (as Cicero saith) hath not onely exceeded all historians, but haply Cicero+ himselfe: with such sinceritie in his judgement, speaking of his enemies, that except the false colours wherewith he goeth about to cloakebis bad cause, and the corruption and filthinesse of his pestilent ambition, I am perswaded there is nothing in him to be found fault with: and that he hath been over-sparing to speake of himselfe; for so many notable and great things could never be executed by him, unlesse he bad put more of his owne into them than be setteth downe.  I love those Historians that a-re either very simple or most excellent.  The simple who have nothing of their owne to adde unto the storie and have but the care and diligence to collect whatsoever come to their knowledge, and sincerely and faithfully to register all things, without choice or culling, by the naked truth leave our judgment more entire and better satisfied.  Such amongst others (for examples sake) plaine and well-meaning Froissard+, who in his enterprise hath marched with so free and genuine a puritie, that having committed some oversight, he is neither ashamed to acknowledge nor afraid to correct the same, wheresoever h hath either notice or warning of it: and who representeth unto us the diversitie of the newes then current and the diferent reports that were made unto him.  The subject of an historie should be naked, bare, and formelesse; each man according to his capacitie or 


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understanding may reap commoditie out of it.  The curious and most excellent have the sufficiencie to cull and chuse that which is worthie to be knowne and may select of two relations that which is most likely: from the condition of Princes and of their humours, they conclude their counsels and attribute fit words to them: they assume a just authoritie and bind our faith to theirs.  But truly that belongs not to many.  Such as are betweene both (which is the most common fashion), it is they that spoil all; they will needs chew our meat for us and take upon them a law to judge, and by consequence to square and encline the storie according to their fantasie; for, where the judgement bendeth one way, a man cannot chose but wrest and turne his narration that way.  They undertake to chuse things worthy to bee knowne, and now and then conceal either a word or a secret action from us, which would much better instruct us: omitting such things as they understand not as incredible: and haply such matters as they know not how to declare either in good Latin or tolerable French.  Let them boldly enstall their eloquence and discourse:  Let them censure at their pleasure, but let them also give us leave to judge after them:  And let them neither alter nor dispense by their abridgements and choice anything belonging to the substance of the matter; but let them rather send it pure and entire with all her dimensions unto us.  Most commonly (as chiefly in our age) this charge of writing histories is committed unto base, ignorant, and mechanicall kind of people, only for this consideration that they can speake well; as if we sought to learne the Grammer of them; and they have some reason, being only hired to that end, and publishing nothing but their tittle-tattle to aime at nothing else so much.  Thus with store of choice and quaint words, and wyre drawne phrases, they huddle up and make a hodge-pot of a laboured contexture of the reports which they gather in the market places or such other assemblies.  The only good histories are those that are written by such as commanded or were 


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imploied themselves in weighty affaires or that were partners in the conduct of them, or that at least have had the fortune to manage others of like qualitie.  Such in a manner are all the Graecians and Romans.  For many eyewitness having written of one same subject it hapned in those times when Greatnesse and Knowledge did commonly meet) if any fault or oversight have past them, it must be deemed exceeding light and upon some doubtfull accident.  What may a man expect at a Phisitians hand that discourseth of warre, or of a bare Scholler treating of Princes secret designes?  If we shall but note the religion which the Romans had in that, wee need no other example:  Asinus Pollio found some mistaking or or oversight in Caesars Commentaries, whereinto he was faine, only because he could not possiblie oversee all things with his owne eyes that hapned in his Armie, but was faine to rely on the reports of particular men, who often related untruths unto him; or else because he had not been curiously advertised and distinctly enformed by his Lieutenants and Captaines of such matters as they in his absence had managed or affected.  Whereby may be seen that nothing is so hard or so uncertaine to be found out as the certaintie of the truth, sithence no man can put any assured confidence concerning the truth of a battel, neither in the knowledge of him that was Generall or commanded over it, nor in the soldiers that fought, of anything that hath hapned amongst them; except after the manner of a strict point of law, the severall witnesses are brought and examined face to face, and that all matters be nicely and thorowly sifted by the objects and trials of the successe of every accident. Verily the knowledge we have of our owne affaires is much more barren and feeble.  But this hath sufficiently been handled by Bodin, and agreeing with my conception.  Somewhat to aid the weaknesse of my memorie and to assist her great defects; for it hath often been my chance to light upon bookes which I supposed to be new and never to have read, which I had not understanding diligently read and ran over 


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many years before, and all bescribled with my notes:  I have a while since accustomed my selfe to note at the end of my booke (I meane such as I purpose to read but once) the time I made an end to read it, and to set downe what censure or judgement I gave of it; that so it may at least at another time represent unto my mind the aire and generall idea I bad conceived of the author in reading him.  I will here set downe the Copie of some of my annotations, and especially what I noted upon my Guicciardine about ten yeares since (For what language soever my books speake unto me I speake unto them in mine owne.) He is a diligent Historiographer and from whom in my conceit a man may as exactly learne the truth of such affaires as passed in his time, as of any other writer whatsoever and the rather because himselfe hath been an Actor of most part of them and in verie honourable place.  There is no signe or apparance that ever be disguised or coloured any matter, either through hatred, malice, favour, or vanitie; whereof the free and impartiall judgements he giveth of great men, and namely of those by whom he had been advanced or imployed in his important charges, as of Pope Clement the seaventh, beareth undoubted testimony.  Concerning the parts wherein be most goeth about to prevaile, which are his digressions and discourses, many of them are verie excellent and enriched with faire ornaments, but he hath too much pleased himselfe in them: for endeavouring to omit nothing that might be spoken, having so full and large a subject, and almost infinite, he proveth somewhat languishing, and giveth a taste of a kind of scholasticall tedious babling.  Moreover, I have noted this, that of so severall and divers armes, successes, and effects he judgeth of; of so many and variable motives, alterations, and counsels, that be relateth, he never referreth any one unto vertue, religion, or conscience as if they were all extinguished and banished the world: {morality_of_history+} and of all actions how glorious soever in apparance they be of themselves, he doth ever impute the cause of them to some vicious and blame-worthie 


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occasion, or to some commoditie and profit.  It is impossible to imagine that amongst so infinite a number of actions whereof he judgeth, some one have not been produced and compassed by way of reason.  No corruption could ever possesse men so universally but that some one must of necessity escape the contagion; which makes me to feare he hath had some distaste or blame in his passion, and it hath haply fortuned that he hath judged or esteemed of others according to himselfe.  In my Philip de Comines there is this: In him you shall find a pleasing-sweet and gently-gliding speech, fraught with a purely sincere simplicitie, his narration pure and unaffected, and wherein the Authours unspotted good meaning doth evidently appeare, void of all manner of vanitie or ostentation speaking of himselfe, and free from all afection or envie-speaking of others; his discourses and perswasions accompanied more with a well-meaning zeale and meere veritie than with any laboured and exquisite sufficiencie, and allthrough with gravitie and authoritie, representing a man well-borne and brought up in high negotiations. Upon the menioires and historie of Monsieur du Bellay.  It is ever a well-pleasing thing to see matters written by those that have assaid how and in what manner they ought to be directed and managed: yet can it not be denied but that in both these Lords there will manifestly appeare a great declination from a free libertie of writing, which clearely shineth in ancient writers of their kind: as in the Lord of Iouinille, familiar unto Saint Lewis; Eginard, Chancellor unto Charlemaine; and of more fresh memorie in Philip de Comines.  This is rather a declamation or pleading for king Francis against the Emperour Charles the fifth, than an Historie.  I will not beleeve they have altered or changed any thing concerning the generalitie of matters, but rather to wrest and turne the judgement of the events many times against reason, to our advantage, and to omit whatsoever they supposed to be doubtful or ticklish in their masters life: they have made a business of it: witnesse the recoylings of the 


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Lords of Momorancy and Byron, which therein are forgotten; and which is more, you shall not so much as find the name of the Ladie of Estampes mentioned at all.  A man may sometimes colour and haply hide secret actions, but absolutely to conceal that which all the world knoweth, and especially such things as have drawne-on publike effects, and of such consequence, it is an inexcusable defect, or as I may say unpardonable oversight.  To conclude, whosoever desireth to have perfect information and knowledge of king Francis the first, and of the things hapned in his time, let him addresse himselfe elsewhere if he will give any credit unto me.  The profit he may reap here is by the particular description of the battels and exploits of warre wherein these gentlemen were present; some privie conferences, speeches, or secret actions of some princes that then lived, and the practices managed, or negotiations directed by the Lord of Langeay, in which doubtless are verie many things well worthy to be knowne, and diverse discourses not vulgare. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XI+  OF CRUELTIE

METHINKS Virtue+ is another manner of thing, and much more noble than the inclinations unto Goodnesse, which in us are engendered.  Mindes wellborne, and directed by themselves, follow one same path, and in their actions represent the same visage that the vertuous doe.  But Vertue importeth and soundeth somewhat I wot not what greater and more active than by an happy complexion, gently and peaceably, to suffer itself to be led or drawne to follow reason.  He that through a naturall facilitie and genuine mildnesse should neglect or contemne injuries received, should no doubt performe a rare action, and worthy commendation: but he who being toucht and stung lo the quicke with any wrong or offence received, should arme himselfe with reason against this furiously blind desire of revenge, and in the end after a great conflict yeeld himselfe master over it, should doubtlesse doe much more.  The first should doe well, the other vertuously: the one action might be termed Goodnesse, the other Vertue.  For it seemeth that the very name of Vertue presupposeth difficulties and inferreth resistance, and cannot well exercise itselfe without an eneniie.  It is peradventure the reason why we call God good, mightie, liberall, and just, but we term him not vertuous.  His workes are all voluntarie, unforced, and without compulsion.  Of Philosophers, not only Stoicks, but also Epicureans (which phrasing I borrow of the common received opinion, which is false, whatsoever the nimble saying or wittie quipping of Arcesilaus implied, who answered the man that upbraided him, how divers men went from his schoole to the Epicureans, but none came
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from thence to him:  I easily beleeve it (said he) for of cocks are many capons made, but no man could ever make a cock of a capon.  For truly in constancie opinion and strictnesse of precepts, the Epicurean_sect+ doth in no sort yeeld to the Stoicke+.  And a Stoike acknowledging a better faith than those disputers who, to contend with Epicurus and make sport with him, make him to infer and say what he never meant, wresting and wyre-drawing his words to a contrarie sense, arguing and silogizing, by the grammarians privilege, another meaning, by the manner of his speech and another opinion than that they knew he had either in his minde or manners, saith that he left to be an Epicurean for this one consideration amongst others, that he findeth their pitch to be over high and inaccessible:

Et ii qui otzOovot vocantur, sunt pt

JwaXOL et OiXo8imatot omnesque virtutes et colunt et retinent:/1
'And those that are called lovers of pleasures, are lovers of honestie and justice, and doe reverence and retaine all sorts of vertue.  Of Stoicke and Epicurean Philosophers, I say, there are divers who have judged that it was not sufficient to have the minde well placed, well ordered, and well disposed unto vertue; it was not enough to have our resolutions and discourse beyond all the affronts and checks of fortune; but that, moreover, it was verie requisite to seeke for occasions whereby a man might come to the triall of it.  They will diligently quest and seeke out for paine, smart, necessitie, want, and contempt, that so they may combat them, and keepe their minde in breath:  Multum sibi adjicit virtus lacessita: 'Vertue provoked addes much to it selfe.  It is one of the reasons why Epaminondas (who was of a third sect) by a verie lawfull way refuseth some riches fortune had put into his hands, to the end (as he saith) he might have cause to strive and resist povertie, in which want and extremitie he ever continued after.  Socrates+ did in my minde more undauntedly enure himselfe to this humor, maintaining for his exercise
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1 SEN.  Epist. xiii. 
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the peevish frowardnesse of his wife, than which no essay can be more vexfull, and is a continuall fighting at the sharpe.  Metellus of all the Roman senators he onely having undertaken with the power of vertue, to endure the violence of Saturninus Tribune of the people in Rome, who by maine force went about to have a most unjust law passe in favour of the Communaltie: by which opposition, having incurred all the capital paines that Saturninus had imposed on such as should refuse it, entertained those that led him to the place of execution, with such speeches:  That to doe evill was a thing verie easie, and too demissely base, and to doe well where was no danger, was a common thing, but to doe well where was both perill and opposition, was the peculiar office of a man of vertue. {Kent+} These words of Metellus doe clearly represent unto us what I would have verified ; which is, that vertue rejecteth facilitie to be her companion: And that an easefull, pleasant, and declining way by which the regular steps of a good inclination of nature are directed is not the way of true vertue.  She requireth a craggie, rough, and thornie way. {Donne+} She would either have strange difficulties to wrestle withall (as that of Metellus) by whose meanes fortune her selfe is pleased to breake the roughnesse of his course; or such inward incombrances as the disordinate appetites and imperfections of our condition bring unto her.  Hitherto I have come at good ease; but at the end of this discourse one thing commeth into my minde, which is that the soule of Socrates+, which is absolute the perfectest that ever came to my knowledge, would, according to my accompt, prove a soule deserving but little commendation:  For I can conceive no manner of violence or vicious concupiscence in him:  I can imagine no manner of difficultie or compulsion in the whole course of his vertue.  I know his reason so powerfull, and so absolute mistress over him, that she can never give him way in any vicious desire, and will not suffer it so much as to breed in him.  To a vertue so exquisite and so high raised as his is, I can perswade nothing. Me thinks I see it march with a victorious 


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and triumphant pace, in pompe and at ease, without let or disturbance. If vertue cannot shine but by resisting contrarie appetites, shall we then say it cannot passe without the assistance of vice, and oweth him this, that by his meanes it attaineth to honour and credit?  What should also betide of that glorious and generous Epicurean voluptuousnesse that makes accompt effeminately to pamper vertue in her lap, and there wantonly to entertains it, allowing it for her recreation, shame, reproch, agues, povertie, death, and tortures? if I presuppose that perfect vertue is knowne by combating sorrow and patiently undergoing paine, by tolerating the fits and agonies of the gout, without stirring out of his place; if for a necessarie object I appoint her sharpnesse and difficultie, what shall become of that vertue which hath attained so high a degree, as it doth not only despise all manner of paine, but rather rejoyceth at it, and when a strong fit of the collike shall assaile it, to cause it selfe to be tickled, as that is which the Epicureans have established, and whereof divers amongst them have by their actions left most certaine proofes unto us?  As also others have, whom ill effect finde to have exceeded the verie rules of their discipline; witnesseCato+ the younger; when I see him die, tearing and mangling his entrails, I cannot simply content my selfe to beleeve that at that time he had his soule wholly exempted from all trouble or free from vexation:  I cannot imagine be did only maintaine himselfe in this march or course which the rule of the Stoike sect had ordained unto him, setled, without alteration or emotion, and impassible.  There was, in my conceit, in this mans vertue overmuch cheerefulnesse and youthfulnesse to stay there.  I verily beleeve he felt a kind of pleasure and sensualitie in so noble an action, and that therein he more pleased himself than in any other be ever performed in his life.  Sic abiit e vita, ut causam moriendi nactum se esse gauderet:/1 'So departed be his life, that he rejoiced to have found an occasion of death.' I doe so constantly beleeve it,
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. i. 


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that I make a doubt whether be would have had the occasion of so noble an exploit taken from him.  And if the goodnesse which induced him to embrace publike commodities more than his owne did not bridle me, I should easily fall into this opinion, that he thought himselfe greatly beholding unto fortune to have put his vertue unto so noble a triall, and to have favoured that robber to tread the ancient libertie of his countrie under foot.  In which action me thinks I read a kinde of unspeakable joy in his minde, and a motion of extraordinary pleasure, joined to a manlike voluptuonsnesse, at what time it beheld the worthinesse, and considered the generositie and haughtinesse of his enterprise,

Deliberata morte ferocior/1
Then most in fiercenesse did he passe,
When he of death resolved was,
not urged or set-on by any hope of glorie, as the popular and effeminate judgements have judged:  For, that consideration is over base, to touch so generous, so haughtie, and so constant+ a heart; but for the beautie of the thing it selfe, which he, who managed all the springs and directed all the wards thereof, saw much more clearer, and in its perfection, than we can doe.  Philosophie hath done me a pleasure to judge that so honorable an action had been undecently placed in any other life than in Catoes, and that onely unto his it appertained to make such an end.  Therefore did he with reason perswade both his sonne and the Senators that accompanied him, to provide otherwise for themselves.  Catoni quum incredibilem natura tribuisset gravitatem, eamque ipse perpetua constantia roboravisset, semperque in proposito consilio permansisset: mortendum potius quam tyranni vultus aspiciendus erat: 'Whereas nature had affoorded Cato an incredible gravitie, and he had strengthened it by continuall constancie, and ever had stood firme in his proposed desseignes, rather to die than behold the Tyrants face.  Each
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Od. xxvii. xxix.  Cleopatra. 
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death+ should be such as the life hath been.  By dying we become no other than we were.  I ever interpret a mans death by his life.  And if a man shall tell me of any one undanted in apparance, joyned unto a weake life; I imagine it to proceed of some weake cause, and sutable to his life.  The ease therefore of his death, and the facilitie he had acquired by the vigor of his minde, shall we say, it ought to abate something of the lustre of his vertue? And which of those that have their spirits touched, be it never so little, with the true tincture of Philosophie, can content himselfe to imagine Socrates, onely, free from feare and passion, in the accident of his imprisonment, of his fetters, and of his condemnation?  And who doth not perceive in him, not onely constancie+ and resolution (which were ever his ordinarie qualities) but also a kinde of I wot not what new contentment, and carelesse rejoycing in his last behaviour, and discourses?  By the startling at the pleasure, which he feeleth in clawing of his legges, after his fetters were taken-off; doth he not manifestly declare an equal glee and joy in his soule for being rid of his former incommodities, and entering into the knowledge of things to come?  Cato shall pardon me (if he please) his death is more tragicall, and further extended, whereas this in a certaine manner is more faire and glorious.  Aristippus answered those that bewailed the same, 'When I die, I pray the Gods send me such a death.  A man shall plainly perceive in the minds of these two men, and of such as imitate them (for I make a question whether ever they could be matched) so perfect an habitude unto vertue, that it was even converted into their complexion.  It is no longer a painefull vertue, nor by the ordinances of reason, for the maintaining of which their minde must be strengthened:  It is the verie essence of their soule; it is her naturall and ordinarie habit.  They have made it such, by a long exercise and observing the rules and precepts of Philosophic, having lighted upon a faire and rich nature.  Those vicious passions which breed in us finde no entrance in them.  The vigor and con- 


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stancie of their soules, doth suppresse and extinguish all manner of concupiscences so soone as they but begin to move.  Now that it be not more glorious, by an undaunted and divine resolution, to hinder the growth of temptations, and for a man to frame himselfe to vertue, so that the verie seeds of vice be cleane rooted out; than by mayne force to hinder their progresse; and having suffred himselfe to be surprised by the first assaults of passions, to arme and bandie himselfe, to stay their course and to suppresse them:  And that this second effect be not also much fairer than to be simply stored with a facile and gentle nature, and of it selfe distasted and in dislike with licentiousnesse and vice, I am perswaded there is no doubt. For this third and last manner seemeth in some sort to make a man innocent, but not vertuous: free from doing ill, but not sufficiently apt to doe well.  Seeing this condition is so neere unto imperfection and weaknesses that I know not well how to cleare their confines and distinctions.  The verie names of goodnesse and innocencie, are for this respect in some sort names of contempt.  I see that many vertues, as chastitie, sobrietie, and temperance, may come unto us by meanes of corporall defects and imbecilities. Constancie in dangers (if it may be termed constancie) contempt of death, patiencie in misfortunes, may happen and are often seen in men, for want of good judgeent in such accidents, and that they are not apprehended for such as they are indeed.  Lacke of apprehension and stupiditie counterfeit vertuous effects.  As I have often seen come to passe, that some men arc commended for things they rather deserve to be blamed.  An Italian gentleman did once hold this position in my presence, to the prejudice and disadvantage of his nation; That the subtiltie of the Italians, and the vivacitie of their conceptions was so great that they foresaw such dangers and accidents as might betide them so far-off that it was not to be deemed strange if in times of warre they were often seene to provide for their safetie, yea, before they had perceived the danger:  That we and the 


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Spaniards, who were not so warie and subtill, went further; and that before we could be frighted with any perill, we must be induced to see it with our eyes, and feel it with our hands, and that even then we had no more hold:  But that the Germanes and Switzers, more shallow and leaden-headed, had scarce the sense and wit to re-advise themselves, at what times they were even overwhelmed with miserie, and the axe readie to fall on their heads.  It was peradventure but in jest that be spake-it, yet is it most true that in the art of warre-fare new trained souldlers, and such as are but novices in the trade, doe often headlong and hand over head cast themselves into dangers, with more inconsideration than afterward when they have seene and endured the first shocks, and are better trained in the schoole of perils.

      ------ haud iqnarus, quantum nova gloria in armis,
Et praedulce decus primo certamine possit.
Not ignorant, how much in armes new praise,
And sweetest honour, in first conflict weighes.
     Lo here the reason why when we judge of a particular action, we must first consider many circumstances, and throughly observe the man, that hath produced the same before we name and censure it.  But to speake a word of my selfe:  I have sometimes noted my friends to terme that wisdome in me which was but meere fortune, and to deeme that advantage of courage and patience that was advantage of judgement and opinion; and to attribute one title for another unto me, sometimes to my profit, and now and then to my losse.  As for the rest, I am far from attaining unto that chiefe and most perfect degree of excellences, where a habitude is made of vertue, that even of the second I have made no great triall.  I have not greatly strived to bridle the desires wherewith I have found my selfe urged and pressed.  My vertue is a vertue, or to say better innocencie, accidentall and casuall.  Had I been borne with a lesse regular complexion, I imagine my state had been verie pittifull, and it would 
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have gon hard with me: for, I could never perceive any great constancie in my soule, to resist and undergoe passions, had they been any thing violent. I cannot foster quarels, or endure contentions in my house.  So am I not greatly beholding unto my selfe, in that I am exempted from many vices:

      ------ si vitiis mediocribus, et mea paucis
Mendosa est natura, alioqui recta, velut si
Egregio inspersos reprehendas corpore naevos./1
If in a few more faults my nature faile,
Right otherwise: as if that you would raile
On prettie moles well placed,
On bodie seemely graced:
     I am more endebted to my fortune+ than to my reason for it:  Shee hath made me to be borne of a race famous for integritie and honestie, and of a verie good father.  I wot not well whether any part of his humours have descended into me, or whether the domestike examples and good institution of my infancie have insensibly set their helping hand unto it; or whether I were otherwise so borne:
Seu Libra, seu me Scorpius aspicit
Formidolosus, pars violentior
Natalis horae, seu tyrannus
Hesperiae Capricornus undae/2
Whether the chiefe part of my birth-houre were
Ascendent Libra, or Scorpius full of feare,
Or in my Horoseope were Capricorne,
Whose tyrannie neere westerne seas is borne:
     But so it is, that naturally of my selfe I abhorre and detest all manner of vices.  The answer of Antisthenes to one that demanded of him which was the best thing to be learned; To unlearne evill, seemed to be fixed on this image, or to have an ayme at thi.  I abhorre them (I say) with so naturall and so innated an opinion, that the very same instinct and impression which I suckt from my nurse, I have so kept that no occasions
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1 HOR. 1. viii.  Sat. vi. 65. 2 Ibid. 1. ii, Od. xvii. 17, 
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could ever make me alter the same: no, not mine owne discourses, which, because they have been somewhat lavish in noting or taxing something of the common course, could easily induce me to some actions which this my naturall inclination makes me to hate.  I will tell you a wonder, I will tell it you indeed:  I thereby find in many things more stay and order in my manners than in my opinion: and my concupiscence lesse debauched than my reason.  Aristippus established certaine opinions so bold, in favour of voluptuousnesse and riches, that he made all Philosophie to mutinie against him.  But concerning his manners, Dionysius the tyrant, having presented him with three faire young wenches, that he might chuse the fairest, he answered he would chuse them all three, and that Paris had verie ill successes forsomuch as be had preferred one above her fellowes.  But they being brought to his owne house, he sent them backe againe, without tasting them.  His servant one day carrying store of money after him, and being so overcharged with the weight of it that he complained, his master commanded him to cast so much thereof away as troubled him.  And Epicurus, whose positions are irreligious and delicate, demeaned himselfe in his life very laboriously and devoutly.  He wrote to a friend of his, that he lived but with browne bread and water, and entreated him to send him a piece of cheese, against the time he was to make a solemne feast.  May it be true, that to be perfectly good we must be so by an hidden, naturall, and universall proprietie, without law, reason, and example?  The disorders and excesses wherein I have found my selfe engaged are not (God be thanked) of the worst.  I have rejected and condemned them in my selfe, according to their worth; for my judgement was never found to be infected by them.  And on the other side, I accuse them more rigorously in my selfe than in another.  But that is all: as for the rest, I applie but little resistance unto them, and suffer my selfe over-easily to encline to the other side of the ballance, except it be to order and empeach them from being 


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commixt with others, which (if a man take not good heed unto himselfe) for the most part entertaine and enterchaine themselves the one with the other.  As for mine, I have, as much as it hath laine in my power, abridged them, and kept them as single and as alone as I could:

     -----nec ultra,
Errorem foveo/1
Nor doe I cherish any more,
The error which I bred before.
     For, as touching the Stoikes opinion, who say, that when the wise man worketh, he worketh with all his vertues together; howbeit, according to the nature of the action, there be one more apparent than other (to which purpose the similitude of mans bodie might, in some sort, serve their turne; for the action of choler cannot exercise it selfe, except all the humours set-to their helping hand, although choler be predominant) if thence they will draw a like consequence, that when the offender trespasseth, he doth it with all the vices together, I doe not so easily beleeve them, or else I understand them not: for, in effect, I feel the contrarie.  They are sharpe-wittie subtilties, and without substance, about which Philosophie doth often busie it selfe.  Some vices I shun; but othersome I eschew as much as any saint can doe.  The Peripatetikes doe also disavow this connexitie and indissoluble knitting together.  And Aristotle is of opinion that a wise and just man may be both intemperate and incontinent.  Socrates avowed unto them, who in his phisiognomie perceived some inclination unto vice, that indeed it was his naturall propension, but that by discipline he had corrected the same.  And the familiar friends of the Philosopher Stilpo were went to say, that being borne subject unto wine and women, he had, by studie, brought himself to abstaine from both.  On the other side; what good I have, I have it by the lot of my birth:  I have it neither by law nor prescription, {Antonio+} nor
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1 JUV.  Sat. viii. 164. 
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by any apprentiship.  The innocericie that is in me is nde of simple-plaine innocencie, ivitbout vigor or art.  Amongst all other vices, there is none I hate more than Crueltie, both by nature and judgement, as the extremist of all vices. {Prospero+} But it is with such an yearning and faint-hartednesse, that if I see but a chickins necke puld off, or a pigge stickt, I cannot chuse but grieve, and I cannot well endure a seelie dewbedabled hare to groane when she is seized upon by the houndes, although hunting be a violent pleasure.  Those that are to withstand voluptuousnesse doe willingly use this argument, to shew it is altogether vicious and unreasonable:  That where she is in her greatest prime and chiefe strength, she doth so over-sway us, that reason can have no accesse unto us, and for a further triall, alleage the experience wee feel and have of it in our acquaintance with women.

      ------cum iam praesagit gaudia corpus
Atque in eo est Venus, ut muliebria conserat arva./1
When now the bodie doth light-joyes fore-know,
And Venus set the womans fields to sow.
     Where they thinke pleasure doth so far transport us beyond our selves, that our discourse, then altogether overwhelmed, and our reason wholie ravished in the gulfe of sensualitie, cannot by any meanes discharge her function.  I know it may be otherwise: and if a man but please, be may sometimes, even upon the verie instant cast his mind on other conceits.  But she must be strained to a higher key, and heedfully pursued.  I know a man may gourmandize the earnest and thoughtconfounding violence of that pleasure: for I may with some experience speak of it, and I have not found Venus+ to be so imperious a Goddesse as many, and more reformed than my selfe, witnesse her to be.  I thinke it not a wonder, as doth the Queene of Navarre, in one of the tales of her Heptameron (which, respecting the subject it treateth of, is a verie prettie booke) nor doe I deeme it a matter of extreame difficultie for
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1 LUCR 1. iv. 1097. 
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a man to weare out a whole night, in all opportunitie and libertie, in companie of a faire mistresses long time before sued-unto, and by him desired; religiously keeping his word, if be have engaged himselfe, to be contented with simple kisses and plaine touching.  I am of opinion that the example of the sport in hunting would more fit the same: wherein as there is lesse pleasure, so there is more distraction and surprising, whereby our reason being amazed, looseth the leasure to prepare her selfe against it: when as after a long game, the beast doth suddenly start, or rowse up before us, and haply in such a place where we least expected the same. That suddaine motion and the earnestnesse of showting, jubeting and hallowing, still ringing in our eares, would make it verie hard for those who love that kind of close or chamber-hunting, at that verie instant, to withdraw their thoughts elsewhere.  And poets make Diana victoriously to triumph both over the firebrand and arrowes of Cupid.

Quis non malarum quas amor curas habet
Haec inter obliviscitur/1
While this is doing, who doth not forget
The wicked cares wherewith Love's heart doth fret?
     But to returne to my former discourse, I have a verie feeling and tender compassion of other mens afflictions, and should more easily weep for companie sake, if possible for any occasion whatsoever I could shed teares.  There is nothing sooner moveth teares in me than to see others weepe, not onely fainedly, but howsoever, whether truly or forcedly. I do not greatly waile for the dead, but rather envie them.  Yet doe I much waile and moane the dying.  The canibales+ and savage people do not so much offend me with roasting and eating of dead bodies; as those which torment and persecute the living.  Let any man be executed by law, how deservedly soever, I cannot endure to behold the execution with an unrelenting eye. Some one going
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1 HOR.  Epod. ii. 37. 
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about to witnesse the clemencie of lulius Caesar; 'He was,' saith he, 'tractable and milde in matters of revenge.  Having compelled the pirates to yeeld themselves unto him, who had before taken him prisoner and put him to ransome, forasmnch as he had threatned to have them all crucified, he condemned them to that kind of death, but it was after he had caused them to be strangled.  Philemon his secretarie, who would have poysoned him, had no sharper punishment of him than an ordinarie death.  Without mentioning the Latin Author, who for a testimonie of clemencie, dared to alleage the onely killing of those by whom a man hath been offended, it may easily be guessed that he is tainted with vile and horrible examples of cruelties such as Romane Tyrants brought into fashion.  As for me, even in matters of justice, whatsoever is beyond a simple death, I deeme it to be meere crueltie: and especiall amongst us, who ought to have a regardfull respect that their soules should be sent to heaven, which cannot be, having first by intolerable tortures agitated, and as it were brought them to dispaire.  A souldier, not long since, being a prisoner, and perceiving from a loft a tower, where he was kept, that store of people flocked together on a greene, and carpenters were busie at worke to erect a skaffold, suppposing the same to be for him, as one desperat, resolved to kill himselfe, and searching up and downe for something to make himselfe away, found nothing but an old rustie cart-naile, which fortune presented him with; he tooke it, and therewithall, with all the strength he had, strooke and wounded himselfe twice in the throat, but seeing it would not rid him of life, he then thrust it into his bellie up to the head, where he left it fast- sticking.  Shortly after, one of his keepers coming in unto him, and yet living, finding him in that miserable plight, but weltring in his goare-blood and readie to gaspe his last, told the Magistrates of it, which, to prevent time before he should die, hastned to pronounce sentence against him: which when he heard, and that he was onely condemned to have his 


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head cut off, he seemed to take heart of grace againe, and to be sorie for what be had done, and tooke some comfortable drinks, which before be had refused, greatly thanking the Judges for his unhoped gentle condemnation: And told them, that for feare of a more, sharply-cruell, and intolerable death by law, he had resolved to prevent it by some violent manner of death, having by the preparations he had seen the carpenters make, and by gathering of people together, conceived an opinion that they would torture him with some horrible torment, and seemed to be delivered from death onely by the change of it.  Were I worthie to give counsell, I would have these examples of rigor, by which superior powers goe about to keep the common people in awe, to be onely exercised on the bodies of criminall malefactors: {usthem+} For, to see them deprived of Christian buriall, to see them haled, disbowelled, parboyled, and quartered, might haply touch the common sort as much as the paines they make the living to endure: howbeit in effect it be little or nothing, as saith God,  Qui corpus occidunt, et postea non habent quod faciant./1 'Those that kill the bodie', but have afterwards no more to doe:' And Poets make the horror of this picture greatly to prevaile, yea, and above death,

Heu reliquias semiassi Regis, denudatis ossibus,
Per terram sanie delibutas foede divexarier./2
O that the reliques of an halfe burnt King, bones bared,
On earth besmear'd with filth, should be so fouly marred.
     It was my fortune to be at Rome upon a day that one Catena, a notorious high-way theefe, was executed: at his strangling no man of the companie seemed to be mooved to any ruth; but when he came to be quartered, the Executioner gave no blow that was not accompanied with a piteous voyce and hartie exclamation, as if every man had had a feeling sympathie, or lent his senses to the poor mangled wretch.  Such inhumane outrages and barbarous excesses should
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1 Luke xii. 4. 2 Cic.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. 
<Mont2-134>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

be exercised against the rinde, and not practised against the quicke. In a case somewhat like unto this, did Artaxerxes asswage and mitigate the sharpnesse of the ancient lawes of Persia, appointing that the Lords which had trespassed in their estate, whereas they were wont to be whipped, they should be stripped naked, and their clothes whipped for them; and where they were accustomed to have their haire pulled off, they should onely have their hat taken off.  The Aegyptians, so devout and religious, thought they did sufficiently satisfie divine Justice, in sacrificing painted and counterfeit hogges unto it:  An over-hardy invention to go about with pictures and shadowes to appease God, a substance so essentiall and divine. I live in an age wherein we abound with incredible examples of this vice, through the licentiousnesse of our civill and intestine warres: and read all ancient stories, be they never so tragicall, you shall flnd none to equall those we daily see practised.  But that hath nothing made me acquainted with it.  I could hardly be perswaded before I had seene it, that the world could have afforded so marble-hearted and savage-minded men, that for the onely pleasure of murther would commit it; then cut, mangle, and hacke other members in pieces to rouze and sharpen their wits, to invent unused tortures and unheard-of torments: to devise new and unknowne deaths, and that in cold blood, without any former enmitie or quarrell, or without any gaine or profit; and onely to this end, that they may enjoy the pleasing spectacle of the languishing gestures, pitifull notions, horror-moving yellings, deep fetcht groanes, and lamentable voyces of a dying and drooping man.  For that is the extremest point whereunto the crueltie of man may attaine.  Ut homo hominem, non iratus, non timens, tantum spectaturus occidat;/1 'That one man should kill another, neither being angrie nor afeard, but onely to looke on.  As for me, I could never so much as endure, without remorse or griefe, to see a poore, sillie, and innocent beast pursued and killed, which is
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1 SEN.  Clem. 1. ii. c. 4. 


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harmlesse and void of defence, and of whom we receive no offence at all.  And as it commonly hapneth, that when the Stag begins to be embost, and finds his strength to faile him, having no other remedie left him, doth yeeld and bequeath himselfe unto us that pursue him, with teares suing to us for mercie:

      ------ questque cruentus
Atque imploranti similis:/1
With blood from throat, and teares from eyes,
It seemes that he for pittie cryes:
was ever a grievous spectacle unto me.  I seldom take any beast alive but I give him his libertie.  Pythagoras was wont to buy fishes of fishers, and birds of fowlers to set them free againe.
      ------ primoque a caede ferarum
Incaluisse puto maculatum sanguine ferrum./2
And first our blades in blood embrude deeme
With slaughter of poore beasts did reeking steeme.
     Such as by nature shew themselves bloodie-minded towards harmlesse beasts, witnesse a naturall propension unto crueltie. After the ancient Romanes had once enured themselves without horror to behold the slaughter of wild beasts in their shewes, they came to the murther of men and Gladiators.  Nature (I fear me) hath of her owne selfe added unto man a certaine instinct to inhumanitie.  No man taketh delight to see wild beasts sport and wantonly to make much one of another:  Yet all are pleased to see them tugge, mangle, and enterteare one another.  And lest any bodie should jeast at this sympathie, which I have with them, Divinitie itselfe willeth us to shew them some favour:  And considering that one selfe-same master (I mean that incomprehensible worlds-framer) hath placed all creatures in this his wondrous palace for his service, and that they, as well as we, are of his household:
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vii. 521. 2 OVID.  Metam. 1. xv. 106. 
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I say it hath some reason to injoyne us to shew some respect and affection towards them.  Pythagoras borrowed etempsychosis of the AEgyptians, but since it hath been received of divers Nations, and especially of our Druides:

Morte carent animae, semperique priore relicta
Sede, novis domibus vivunt, habitantque receptae./1
Our death-lesse soules, their former seats refrained,
In harbors new live and lodge entertained.
     The Religion of our ancient Gaules inferred, that soules being eternall, ceased not to remove and change place from one bodie to another: to which fantasie was also entermixed some consideration of divine justice.  For, according to the soules behaviors, during the time she had been with Alexander, they sayd that God appointed it another bodie to dwell in either more or lesse painfull, and suitable to her condition.
      ----  muta ferarum
Cogit vincla pati truculentos ingerit ursis,
Praedonesque lupis, fallaces vilpibus addit.
Atque per varios annos per mille figuras
Egit, letheo purgatos flumine tandem
Rursus ad humanae revocat primordia formae./2

Dumbe hands of beasts he makes men's soules endure,
Blood-thirstie soules he doth to Beares enure,
Craftie to Foxes, to Woolves bent to rapes;
Thus when for many yeares, through many shapes,
He hath them driv'n in Lethe lake at last,
Them purg'd he turns to mans forms whence they past.

     If the soule had been valiant, they placed it in the bodie of a Lion: if Voluptuous, in a Swine: if faint-harted, in a Stagge or a Hare; if malicious, in a Foxe; and so of the, rest, untill that being purified by this punishment, it re-assumed and tooke the bodie of some other man againe.
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1 OVID.  Metam. 1. xv. 158. 2 CLAUD. in Ruff. 1. ii. 482. 
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Ipse ego, nam memini, Troiani tempore belli
Panthoides Euphorbus eram,/1
When Troy was won, I, as I call to mind,
Euphorbus was, and Panthus sonne by kind,
     As touching that alliance betweene us and beasts, I make no great accompt of it, nor do I greatly admit it, neither of that which divers Nations, and namely of the most ancient and noble, who have not onely received beasts into their societie and companie, but allowed them a place farre above themselves; sometimes deeming them to be familiars and favored of their Gods, and holding them in a certaine awfull respect and reverence more than humane, and others acknowledging no other God nor no other Divinity than they.  Belluae a barbaris propter beneficium consecratae:/2 'Beasts by the Barbarians were made sacred for some benefit.'
     ----- crocodilon adorat
Pars haec, illa pavet saturam serpentibus Ibin,
Effigies sacri hic nitet aurea Corcopitheci./3
This Country doth the Crocodile adore,
That feares the Storks glutted with Serpents gore,
The sacred Babion here,
In gold shape doth appeare.
      ------hic piscem fluminis, illic
Oppida tota canem venerantur./4
A fish here whole Townes reverence most,
A dog they honour in that coast.
     And the very same interpretation that Plutarke giveth unto this error, which is very well taken, is also honourable for them.  For, he saith, that (for example sake) it was neither the Cat nor the Oxe that the AEgyptians adored, but that in those beasts they worshipped some image of divine faculties.  In this patience and utility, and in that vivacity, or as our neighbours the Burgundians with all Germany the impatience to see themselves shut up:  Whereby they
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1 OVID.  Metam. 1. xv. 160. 2 JUVEN.  Sat. xv. 2. 3 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. c. 86. 4 Ibid. 7. 
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represented the liberty which they loved and adored beyond all other divine faculty, and so of others.  But when amongst the most moderate opinions I meet with some discourses that goe about and labour to shew the &rC resemblance betweene us and beasts, and what share they have in our greatest privileges, and with how much likely-hood they are compared unto us, truly I abate much of our presumption, and am easily removed from that imaginary soveraigntie that some& ve and ascribe unto us above all other creatures. If g&ll that were to be contradicted, yet is there a kinde of respect and a generall duty of humanity which tieth us not only unto brute beasts that have life and sense, but even unto trees and plants.  Unto men we owe Justice, and to all other creatures that are capable of it, grace and benignity. There is a kinde of enterchangeable commerce and mutual bond betweene them and us.  I am not ashamed nor afraid to declare the tendernesse of my childish Nature which is such that I cannot well reject my Dog if he chance (although out of season) to fawne upone me, or beg of me to play with him.  The Turkes have almes and certaine hospitals appointed for brute beasts.  The Romans have a publike care to breed and nourish Geese,&by whose vigilance their capital had beene saved.  The Athenians did precisely ordaine that all manner of Mules which had served or beene imploied about the building of their temple called Hecatorn&%doil should be free and suffered to feed wheresoever they pleased, without any let or impeachment.  The Agrigentines had an ordinary custome seriously and solemnly to bury all such beasts as they had held deare; as horses of rare worth and merit speciall dogs, choice or profitable birds, or such as had but served to make their children sport.  And the sumptnous magnificence which in all other things was ordinary and peculiar unto them, appeared also almost notably in the stately sumptuousnesse and costly number of monuments erected to that end, which many ages after have endured and been maintained in pride and state.  The AEgyptians were wont to bury their Wolves, their Dogs, their Cats, 


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their Beares, and Crocodiles in holy places, embalming their carcasses, and at their deaths, to weare mourning weeds for them.  Cymon caused a stately honourable tombe to be erected for the Mares, wherewith he had three times gained the prize at running in the Olimpike games.  Ancient Xantippus caused his Dog to be enterred upon a hill by the sea shore, which ever since hath beene named by him.  And Plutarch (as himselfe saith) made it a matter of conscience, in hope of a small gaine to sell or send an Oxe to the shambles that had served him a long time. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XII+  AN APOLOGIE OF RAYMOND SEBOND

KNOWLEDGE is without all Contradiction a most profitable and chiefe ornament, Those who despise it declare evidently their sottishnesse:  Yet doe not I value it at so excessive a rate as some have done; namely Herillus the Philosopher, who grounded his chiefe felicitie upon it, and held that it lay in her power to make us content and wise: which I cannot beleeve, nor that which others have said, that Knowledge is the mother of all vertue, and that all vice proceedeth of ignorance.  Which if it be it is subject to a large interpretation.  My house hath long since ever stood open to men of understanding, and is very well knowne to many of them: for my father, who commanded the same fifty yeeres and upward, set on fire by that new kinde of earnestnesse wherewith King Francis the first imbraced Letters, and raised them unto credit, did with great diligence and much cost endevour to purchase the acquaintance of learned men; receiving and entertaining them as holy persons, and who had some particular inspiration of divine wisdom; collecting their sentences and discourses as if they had beene Oracles; and with so much more reverence and religious regard by how much lesse authority hee had to judge of them: for hee had no knowledge of Letters no more than his predecessors before him.  As for mee I love them indeed, but yet I worship them not.  Amongst others, Peter Bunel (a man in his time by reason of his learning of high esteeme) having sojourned a few daies at Montaigne with my father and others of his coat being ready to depart thence, presented him
<Mont2-140> 


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with a booke entituled Theologia naturalis; sive liber creaturarum magistri Raimondi de Sebonde.  And for so much as the Italian and Spanish tongues were very familiar unto him, and that the book was written in a kinde of latinized Spanish, whereof divers words had Latine terminations; he hoped that with little aid he might reape no small profit by it, and commended the same very much unto him, as a booke most profitable, and fitting the dayes in which he gave it him.  It was even at what time the new fangles of Luther began to creepe in favour, and in many places to shake the foundation of our ancient beleefe.  Wherein he seemed to be well advised, as be who by discourse of reason fore-saw that this budding disease would easily turne to an execrable Atheisme:  For the vulgar wanting the faculty to judge of things by themselves, suffering it selfe to be carried away by fortune and led on by outward appamraces, if once it be possessed with the boldnesse to despise and malapertnesse to impugne the opinions which tofore it held in awful reverence (as are those wherein consisteth their salvation) and that some articles of their religion be made doubtfull and questionable, they will soon and easily admit an equal uncertainty in all other parts of their beleefe, as they that had no other grounded authoritie or foundation but such as are now shaken and weakned, and immediately reject (as a tyrannical yoke) all impressions they had in former times received by the authoritie of Lawes, or reverence of ancient custome.

Nam cupide conculcatur nimis anti metutum./1
That which we fear'd before too much,
We gladly scorne when tis not such.
Undertaking thenceforward to allow of nothing, except they have first given their voice and particular consent to the same.  My father, a few daies before his death, lighting by chance upon this booke, which before he had neglected, amongst other writings commanded
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 1150. 
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mee to translate the same into French.  It is easie to translate such Authors, where nothing but the matter is to be represented; but hard and dangerous to undertake such as have added much to the grace and elegancy of the language, namely to reduce them into a weaker and poorer tongue. It was a strange taske and new occupation for me: but by fortune being then at leisure and unable to gainsay the commandement of the best father that ever was, I came ere long (as well as I could) to an end of it: wherein he toook singular delight, and commanded the same to be printed, which accordingly was after his decease performed.  I found the conceits of the author to be excellent, the contexture of his worke well followed, and his project full of pietie.  Now forasmuch as divers ammuse themselves to reade it, and especially Ladies, to whom we owne most service, it hath often beene my hap to help them, when they were reading it, to discharge the booke of two principall objections, which are brought against the same. His drift is bold, and his scope adventurous for he undertaketh by humane and naturall reasons, to establish and verifie all the articles of Christian religion against Atheists.  Wherein (to say truth) I find him so resolute and so happy, as I deem it a thing impossible to doe better in that argument, and thinke that none equalleth him.  Which booke seeming to me both over-rich and exquisite, being written by an author whose name is so little knowne, and of whom all we know is, that be was a Spaniard, who about two hundred yeeres since professed Physicke in Tholouse:  I demanded once of Adrianus Turnebus (a man who knew all things) what such a booke might be; who answered, that he deemed the same to be some Quintessence extracted from out Saint Thomes Aquinas:  For, in good truth, onely such a spirit fraught with so infinite erudition, and so full admirable subtilities was capable of such and so rare imitiations.  So it is, that whosoever be the author or deviser of it (the title whereof ought not without further reason to be taken from Sebond) he was a very 


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sufficient-worthie man, and endowed with sundrie other excellent qualities. The first thing he is reproved for in his Booke is, that Christians wrong themselve much, in that they ground their beleefe upon humane reasons, which is conceived but by faith and by a particular inspiration of God. Which objection seemeth to containe some zeale of pietie; by reason whereof we ought, with so much more mildnes and regard, endevour to satisfie them that propose it.  It were a charge more befitting a man conversant, and sutable to one acquainted with the holy Scriptures, than me, who am altogether ignorant in them.  Neverthelesse I thinke, that even as to a matter so divine and high, and so much exceeding al humane understanding, as is this verity, wherwith it hath pleased the goodness of God to enlighten as, it is most requisit that he affoord and lend us his helpe; And that; with an extraordinary and privileged favour, that so we may the better conceive and entertaine the same:  For, I suppose that meanes meerely humane can no way be capable of it; which if they were, so many rare and excellent mindes, and so plenteously stored with naturall faculties, as have beene in times past, would never by their discourse have mist the attayning of this knowledge.  It is faith onely which lively and assuredly embraceth the high mysteries of our Religion. And no man can doubt but that it is a most excellent and commendable enterprise, properly to accommodate and fit to the service of our faith, the natural helpes and humane implements which God hath bestowed upon us.  And no question is to be made but that it is the most honourable employment we can put them unto; and that there is no occupation or intent more worthy a good Christian, than by all meanes, studies, and imaginations, carefully to endevour how to embellish, amplifie, and extend the truth of his beleefe and religion.  It is not enough for us to serve God in spirit and soule; we owe him besides, and wee yeeld unto him, a corporall worshipping; we applie our limbs, our motions, and all external things, to honour him. 


<Mont2-144>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

The like ought to be done, and we should accompany our faith with all the reason we possesse:  Yet alwayes with this proviso, that we thinke it doth not depend of us, and that all our strength and arguments can never attaine to so supernaturall and divine a knowledge:  Except it seize upon us, and as it were enter into us by an extraordinarie infusion:  And unlesse it also enter into us not onely by discourse, but also by humane meanes, she is not in her dignitie nor in her glorie.  And verily I feare therfore, that except this way, we should not enjoy it.  Had we fast-hold on God; by the interposition of a lively faith; had we hold-fast on God by himselfe, and not by us; had we a divine foundation; then should not humane and worldly occasions have the power so to shake and totter us, as they have.  Our hold would not then yeeld to so weake a batterie:  The love of noveltie; the constrainte of Princes; the good successe of one partie; the rash and casuall changing of our opinions, should not then have the power to shake and alter our beleefe.  We should not suffer the same to be troubled at the wil and pleasure of a new argument, and at the perswasion , no, not of all the rhetorike that ever was we should withstand these boistrous billowes with an inflexible and unmoveable constancie+:

Illisos fluctus rupes, ut vasta refundit
Et varias circumlatrantes dissipat undas,
Mole sua./1
As huge rocks doe regorge th' invective waves,
And dissipate the billowes brawling braves,
Which these gainst those still bellowe out.
Those being big and standing stout.
     If this raie of Divinitie did in any sort touch us, it would everie where appeare:  Not only our words, but our actions, would beare some shew and lustre of it.  Whatsoever should proceed from us, might be seene inlightned with this noble and matchlesse brightness. We should blush for shame, that in humane sects there
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vii. 587.
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was never any so factious, what difficultie or strangenesse soever his doctrine maintained, but some sort conforme his behaviors and square his life unto it:  Whereas so divine and heavenly an institution never markes Christians but by the tongue.  And will you see whether it be so?  Compare but our manners unto a Turke, or a Pagan, and we must needs yeeld unto them:  Whereas in respect of our religious superioritie, we ought by much, yea by an incomparable distance, out-shine them in excellencie:  And well might a man say, Are they so just, so charitable, and so good?  Then must they be Christians.  All other outward shewes and exterior apparences are common to all religious:  As hope, affiance, events, ceremonies, penitence, and martyrdoms.  The peculiar badge of our truth should be vertue; As it is the heavenliest and most difficult marke, and worthiest production of Verity it selfe, And therefore was our good Saint Lewis in the right, when that Tartarian King, who was become a Christian, intended to come to Lyons, to kisse the Popes feet, and there to view the sanctitie he hoped to find in our lives and manners, instantly to divert him from it, fearing lest our dissolute manners and licentious kind of life might scandalize him, and so alter his opinion fore-conceived of so sacred a religion.  Howbeit the contrary happened to another, who for the same effect being come to Rome, and there viewing the disolutenesse of the Prelates and people of those dayes, was so much the more confirmed in our religion; considering with himselfe what force and divinity it must of consequence have, since it was able, amidst so many corruptions and so viciously- poluted hands, to maintaine her dignitie and splendor.  Had wee but one onely graine of faith, wee should then be able to remove mountaines from out their place, saith the Holy Writ.  Our actions being guided and accompanied with Divinitie, should not then be meerely humane, but eveil as our beliefe, containe some wonder-causing thing.  Brevis est institutio vitae honestae beataeque, si credas: 'The institution of an honest and 


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blessed life is but short, if a man beleeve.  Some make the world beleeve that they beleeve things they never doe.  Others (and they are the greater number) perswade themselves they doe so, as unable to conceive what it is to beleeve.  We thinke it strange if in warres, which at this time doe so oppresse our state we see the events to float so strangely, and with so common and ordinarie a manner to change and alter:  The reason is, we adde nothing unto it but our owne.  Justice, which is on the one side, is used but for a cloake and ornament; she is indeed alleadged, but not received, nor harboured, nor wedded.  She is as in the mouth of a Lawyer, and not as she ought in the heart and affection of the partie.  God oweth his extraordinarie assistance unto faith and religion, and not to our passions.  Men are but directors unto it and use religion for a show:  It ought to be cleane contrarie. Doe hot marke if we doe not handle it as it were a peece of waxe, from out so right and so firme a rule, to draw so many contrary shapes.  When was this better seene than now-adaies in France?  Those which have taken it on the left, and those who have taken it on the right hand:  Such as speake the false, and such who speake the truth of it, do so alike employ and fit the same to their violent and ambitious enterprises, proceede unto it with so conformable a proceeding in riotousnesse and injustice, they make the diversitie they pretend in their opinions doubtfull, and hard to be beleeved, in a thing from which depends the conduct and law of our life.  Can a man see from one same Schoole and Discipline, more united and like customes and fashions to proceed?  View but the horrible impudencie wherewith we tosse divine reasons to and fro, and how irreligiously wee have both rejected and taken them againe, according as fortune hath in these publike stormes transported us from place to place.  This solemne proposition:  Whether it be lawfull for a subject, for the defence of religion, to rebell and take armes against his Prince:  Call but to minde in what mouthes but a twelve-moneth agoe the affirmative 


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of the same was the chiefe pillar of the one part; the negative was the maine-underprop of the other:  And listen now from whence commeth the voyce and instruction of one and other: and whether armes clatter and clang less for this than for that cause.  And we burne those men which say that truth must be made to abide the yoke of our need:  And how much worse doth France than speak it.  Let us confesse the truth: he that from out this lawfull armie should cull out first those who follow it for meere zeale of a religious affection than such as only regard the defence and protection of their countries lawes or service of their Prince; whether hee could ever erect a compleat company of armed men.  How comes it to passe that so few are found who have still held one same wil and progresse in our publike revolutions, and that we see them now and then but faintly and sometimes as fast as they can headlong to runne into the action?  And the same men, now by their violence and rashnesse, and now through their slowness demissnes, and heavines to spoile, and as it were overthrow our affaires, but that ihey are thrust into them by casual motives, and particular consideration, according to the diversities wherewith they are moved?  I plainly perceive we lend nothing unto devotion but the offices that flatter our passions. There is no hostilitie so excellent as that which is absolutely Christian. Our zeale worketh wonders, whenever it secondeth our inclinations towards hatred, crueltie, ambition, avarice, detraction, or rebellion.  Towards goodnes, benignitie, or temperance it goeth but slowly, and against the haire, except miraculously, some rare complexion leade him unto it, it neither runnes nor flieth to it.  Our religion was ordained to root out vices, but it shrowdeth, fostreth, and provoketh them.  As commonly we say, 'We must not make a foole of God.  Did we believe in him, I say not through faith, but with a simple beleefe; yea (I speake it to our confusion) did we but beleeve and know him, as wee doe another storie, or as one of our companions; we should then love him 


<Mont2-148>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

above all other things, by reason of the infinite goodnes and unspeakable beauty that is and shines in him:  Had he but the same place in our affections that riches, Pleasures, glory, and our friends have:  The best of us doth not so much feare to wrong him as he doth to injure his neighbour, his kinsman, or his master.  Is there so simple a minde who, on the one side having before him the object of one of our vicious pleasures, and on the other to his full view perfect knowledge and assured perswasion, the state of an immortall glorie, that would enter into contention of one for the other?  And so we often refuse it through meere contempt: for what drawes us to blaspheming, unlesse it be at all adventures, the desire it selfe of the offence?  The Philosopher Antisthenes, when he was initiated in the mysteries of Orpheus, the priest saying unto him that such as vowed themselves to that religion should after death receive eternall and perfect felicities, replied, 'If thou beleeve it, why dost thou not die thy selfe?  Diogenes more roughly (as his manner was) and further from our purpose, answered the priest who perswaded him to be one of his order, that so he might come unto and attaine the happinesse of the other world: 'Wilt thou have me beleeve that those famous men, Agesilaus and Epaminondas, shall be miserable, and that thou, who art but an asse, and doth nothing of any worth; shalt be happy, because thou art a Priest?  Did we but receive these large promises of everlasting blessednesse with like authoritie as we do a philosophicall discourse, we should not then have death in that horror as we have:

Non jam se moriens dissolvi conquereretur,
Sed magis ire foras, vestemque relinquere ut anguis
Gauderet, praelonga senex aut cornua cervus./1
He would not now complains to be dissolved dying,
But rather more rejoice, that now he is forth-flying,
Or as a Snake his coat out-worne,
Or as old Harts, doth cast his horne.
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1 LUCRET. iii. 630
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     I will be dissolved, should we say, and be with Jesus Christ.  The forcible power of Platoes discourse of the immortality of the soule provoked divers of his Schollers unto death, that so they might more speedily enjoy the hopes he told them of.  All which is a most evident token that we receive our religion but according to our fashion and by our owne hands, and no otherwise than other religions are received. We are placed in the countrie where it was in use; where we regard her antiquity, or the authority of those who have maintained her; where we fears the menaces wherewith she threatneth all misbeleevers, or follow her promises.  The considerations ought to be applied and employed to our beleefe, but as subsidiaries: they be human bonds.  Another country, other testimonies, equall promises, alike menaces, might semblaby imprint a cleane contrary religion in us: we are Christians by the same title as we are either Perigordins or Germans.  And as Plato saith: 'There are few so confirmed in Atheisme but some great danger will bring unto the knowledge of God's divine power.  The part doth not touch or concerne a good Christians:  It is for mortall and worldly religions to be received by a humane convoy. What faith is that like to be which cowardice of heart doth plant and weaknesse establish in us?  A goodly faith, that beleeves that which it beleeveth onely because it wanteth the courage not to beleeve the same.  A vicious passion, as that of inconstancie and astonishment is, can it possibly ground any regular production in our mindes or soules?  They establish, saith he, by the reason of their judgement, that whatsoover is reported of hell, or of after-comming paines, is but a fiction: but the occasions to make triall of it, offering itselfe at what time age or sicknesse doth summon them to death, the errour of the same, through the horrour of their future condition, doth then replenish them with another kind of beleefe.  And because such impressions make mens hearts fearfull, hee by his lawes inhibiteth all instruction of such threats and the perswasion that any evill may come unto man from the 


<Mont2-150>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

Gods, except for his greater good, and for a medicinable effect, whensoever he falleth into it.  They report of Bion that being infected with the Atheismes of Theodorus, he had for a long time made but a mockerie of religious men; but when death did once seize upon him he yeelded unto the extremest superstitious: As if the Gods would either be removed or come again, according to Bions businesses Plato and these examples conclude that we are brought to beleeve in God either by reason or by compulsion, Atheisme being a proposition as unnaturall and monstrous as it is hard and uneasie to be established in any mans minde, how insolent and unruly soever he may be: many have beene seene to have conceived either through vanitie or fiercenesse, strange and seld-knowne opinion, as if they would become reformers of the world by affecting a profession only in countenance: who though they be sufficiently foolish, yet are they not powerfull enough to ground or settle it in their consciences.  Yet will not such leave to lift up their joyned hands to heaven, give them but a stoccado on their breast: and when fear shall have supprest, or sicknesse vanquished this licentious fervour of a wavering minde, then will they suffer themselves gently to be reclaimed, and discreetly to be perswaded to give credit unto true beliefe and publike examples.  A decree seriously digested is one thing, and these shallow and superficiall impressions another, which bred by the dissolutenesse of a loose spirit, doe rashly and uncertainely float up and downe the fantasie of a man.  Oh men, most braine-sicke and miserable, that endeavour to be worse than they can!  The errour of Paganisme and the ignorance of our sacred truth, was the cause of this great soules-fall: but onely great in worldly greatnes; also in this next abuse, which is, that children and old men are found to be more susceptible or capable of religion, as if it were bred and had her credit from our imbecillitie.  The bond which should binde our judgement, tie our will, enforce and joyne our soules to our Creator, should be a bond taking his doubling and forces, not 


THE SECOND BOOIKE <Mont2-151> from our considerations, reasons, and passions, but from a divine and supernaturall compulsion, having but one forme, one countenance, and one grace ; which is the authoritie and grace of God,      Now our heart being ruled and our soule commanded by faith, reason willeth that she drawes all our other parts to the service of her intent, according to their power and facultie. Nor is it likely but that this vast worlds-frame must beare the impression of some markes, therein imprinted by the hand of this great wondrous architect,-and that even in all things therein created there must be some image, somewhat resembling and having coherencie with the workeman that wrought and framed them.  He hath left imprinted in these higlh and misterious works the characters of his divinitie: and onely our imbecilitie is the cause wee can not discover nor read them.  It is that which himselfe telleth us, that by his visible operations be doth manifest those that are invisible to us.  Sebond hath much travelled about this worthie studie, and sheweth us, that there is no parcell of this world that either belyeth or shameth his Maker.  It were a manifest wronging of God's goodnesse if all this universe did not consent and sympathise with our beleefe.  Heaven, earth, the elements, our bodies, our soule, yea all things else, conspire and agree unto it: onely the meanes how to make use of them must be found out:  They will instruct us sufficiently, be we but capable to learne and to to understand.  For this world is a most holy temple, into which man is brought there to behold statues and images not wrought by mortall hand, but such as the secret thought of God hath made sensible, as the Sunne, the Starres, the Waters and the Earth, thereby to represent the intelligible unto us. 'The invisible things of God,' saith St.  Paul, 'doe evidently appeae by the creation of the world, judgeing of his eternall Wisdome and Divinity by his workes.
Atque adeo faciem coeli non invidet orbi
Ipse Deus, vultusque suos corpusque recludit

<Mont2-152>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
Semper volvendo! seque ipsum inculcat et offert
Ut bene coqnosci possit, doceatque videndo
Qualis est, doceatque suas attendere leges./1
God to the world doth not heav'ns face envie,
But by still moving it doth notifie
His face and essence, doth himselfe applie,
That he may well be knowen, and teach by seeing,
How he goes, how we should marke his decreeing.
     Now our reason and humane discourse is as the lumpish and barren matter, and the Grace of God is the form thereof. 'Tis that which giveth both fashion and worth unto it.  Even as the vertuous actions of Socrates and Cato are but frivolous and unprofitable because they had not their end, and regarded not the love and obedience of the true creator of all things, and namely, because they were ignorant of the true knowledge of God:  So is it of our imaginations and discourse; they have a kind of body, but a shapelesse masse, without light or fashion, unlesse faith and the grace of God be ioyned thereunto.  Faith, giving as it were a tincturo and lustre unto Sebonds arguments, make them the more firme and solid:  They may well serve for a direction and guide to a young learner, to lead and set him in the right way of this knowledge.  They in some sort fashion and make him capable of the grace of God, by meanes whereof our beliefe is afterwards achieved and made perfect.  I know a man of authority, brought up in letters, who confessed unto me that he was reclaimed from out the errours of mis-beleeving by the arguments of Sebond.  And if it happen they be dispoyled of this ornament, and of the helpe and approbation of faith, and taken but for meere humane fantazies, yet to combat those that headlong are fallen into the dreadfull error and horrible darkenesse of irreligious even then shall they be found as firme and forcible as any other of that condition that may be opposed against them.  So that we shall stand upon terms to say unto our parties, ----- !MANIL. 1. iv. 840 
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Si melius quid habes, accerse, vel imperium fer./1

If you have any better, send for me,
Or else that I bid you, contented be.

     Let them either abide the force of our proofes, or show us some others, upon some other subject, better compact and more full.  I have in a manner unawares half engaged my selfe in the second objection, to which I had purposed to frame an answer for Sebond.  Some of his arguments are weake and simple to verifie what he would, and undertake to front him easily.  Such fellowes must somewhat more roughly be handled, for they are more dangerous and more malicious than the first.  Man doth willingly apply other mens sayings to the advantage of the opinions be hath fore-judged in himselfe. 'To an Atheist all writings make for Atheisme.  He with his owne venome infecteth the innocent matter.  These have some preoccupation of judgment that makes their taste wallowish and tastelesse, to conceive the reasons of Sebond.  As for the rest, they thinke to have faire play offered them if they have free liberty to combat our religion with meere worldly weapons; which they durst not charge, did they behold her in her majesty, full of authority and commandement.  The meanes I use to suppresse this frenzy,, and which seemeth the fittest for my purpose, is to crush and trample this humane pride and fiercenesse under foot, to make them feele the emptinesse, vacuitie, and no worth of man: and violently to pull out of their hands the silly weapons of their reason; to make them stoope, and bite and snarle at the ground, under the authority and reverence of God's Majesty.  Onely to her belongeth science and wisdome, it is she alone can judge of her selfe; and from her we steale whatsoever we repute, value, and count ourselves to be.
O. @ap IVOPOV46,@ 0 oe6y 14iy.n
Of greater, better, wiser minde than he,
God can abide no mortall man should be.
-----
1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. v. 6. 2 Prov. iii. 14; James iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5. 
<Mont2-154>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

     Let us suppress this overweening, the first foundation of the tyrannie of the wicked spirit.  Deus superbis resistit: humilibus autem dat gratiam: 'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.  Plato saith 'that intelligence is in all the Gods, but little or nothing at all in men.  Meanewhile it is a great comfort unto a Christian man to see our mortall implements and fading tooles so fitly sorted to our holy and divine faith; that when they are employed to the mortal and fading subjects of their nature, they are never more forcible nor more joyntlie appropriated unto them.  Let us then see whether man hath an other stronger reasons in his power then Sebondes, and whether it be in him, by argument or discourse, to come to any certainty.  For, St.  Augustine, pleading against these kind of men, because he would upbraid them with their injustice, in that they hold the parts of our beleefe to be false, and that our reason faileth in establishing them: and to shew that many things may be, and have beene, whereof our discourse can never ground the nature and the causes: he proposeth and setteth downe before them certaine knowen and undoubted experiments, wherein man confesseth to see nothing, which he doth as all things else, with a curious and ingenious search. More must be done, and they must be taught, that to convince the weaknesse of their reason we need not go far to cull out rare examples.  And that it is so defective and blinde, as there is no facility so clear that is clear enough unto her: that easie and uneasie is all one to her; that all subjects equally, and Nature in generall disavoweth her jurisdiction and interposition.  What preacheth truth unto us, when it biddeth us flie and shun worldly philosophy; when it so often telleth us 'that all our wisdome is but folly before God; that of all vanities man is the greatest; that man, who presumeth of his knowledge, doth not yet know what knowledge is: and that man, who is nothing, if he but thinke to be something, seduceth and deceiveth bimselfe?  These sentences of the Holy Ghost do so lively and manifestly 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-155>

expresse what I would maintaine, as I should neede no proofe against such as with all submission and obeysance would yeeld to his authority. But these will needs be whipt to their owne cost, and cannot abide their reason to be combatted, but by itselfe.  Let us now but consider man alone without other help, armed but with his own weapons, and unprovided of the grace and knowledge of God, which is all his honour, all his strength, and all the ground of his being.  Let us see what hold-fast or free- bold he hath in this gorgeous and goodly equipage.  Let him with the utmost power of his discourse make me understand upon what foundation he hath built those great advantages and ods he supposeth to have over other creatures. Who hath perswaded him that this admirable moving of heavens vaults, that the eternal light of these lampes so fiercely rowling over his head, that the horror-moving and continnall motion of this infinite vaste ocean were established, and continue so many ages for his commoditie and service? Is it possible to imagine anything so ridiculous as this miserable and wretched creature, which is not so much as master of himselfe, exposed and subject to offences of all things, and yet dareth call himselfe Master and Emperour of this Universe?  In whose power it is not to know the least part of it., much lesse to command the same.  And the Privileges which he so fondly challengeth to be the onely absolute creature in this huge worlds frame, perfectly able to know the absolute beautie and several parts thereof, and that he is only of power to yeeld the great architect thereof due thanks for it, and to keepe account both of the receipts and layings out of the world.  Who hath sealed him his patent?  Let him shew us his letters of privilegefor so noble and so great a charge.  Have they been granted onely in favour of the wise?  Then concerne they but a few.  Are the foolish and wicked worthy of so extraordinary a favour, who being the worst part of the world, should they be preferred before the rest?  Shall we believe him:  Quorum igitur causa quis dixerit effectum esse mundum?


<Mont2-156>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

Eorum scilicet animantium quo ratione utuntur.  Hi sunt dii et homines, quibus profecto nihil est melius:/1 'For whose cause then shall a man say that the world was made?'  In sooth, for those creatures sake which have the use of reason; those are Gods and men, than whom assuredly nothing is better.  We shall never sufficiently baffle the impudency of this conjoyning.  But silly wretch, what hath he in him worthie such an advantage?  To consider the incorruptible life of the celestiall bodies, their beauty, greatnesse, and agitation, continued with so just and regular a course.

      ------ cum suspicimus magni celestia mundi
Templa super, stellisque micantibus Aethera fixum,
Et venit in mentem Lunae Solisque viarum./2
When we of this great world the heavenly temples see
Above us, and the skies with shine-starres fixt to be,
And marks in our discourse,
Of Sunne and Moone the course.
To consider the power of domination these bodies have not onely upon our lives and condition of our fortune.
Facta etenim et vitas hominum suspendit ab astris./3
For on the stars he doth suspend
Of men, the deeds, the lives, and end.
     But also over our dispositions and inclinations, our discourses and wils, which they rule, provoke, and move at the pleasure of their influences, as our reason finds and teacheth us.
      ------ speculataque longe
Deprendit tacitis dominantia legibus astra.
Et totum alterna mundum ratione moveri,
Fatorumque vices certis discernere signis./4
By speculation it from far discerns,
How stars by secret lawes do guide our sterns,
And this whole world is moov'd by entercourse
And by sure signes of fates to know the course.
-----
1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. ii. 2 LUCR. 1. v. 1214. 3 MANIL.  Astron. 1. iii. 58. 4 MANIL.  Astron. 1. i. 62.

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     Seeing that not a man alone, nor a king only, but monarchies and empires; yea, and all the world below is moved at the shaking of one of the least heavenly motions.
Quantaque quam parvi faciant discrimina motus:
Tantum est hoc regnum quod regibus imperat ipsis./1

How little motions make, how different affection:
So great this Kingdoms is, that hath Kings in subjection.
     If our vertue, vices, sufficiency and knowledge, and the same discourse we make of the power of the starres, and the comparison betweene them and us, commeth as our reason judgeth by their meane and through their favour;
          -----furit alter amore,
Et pontum tranare potest, et vertere Troiam,
Alterius sors est scibendis legibus apta:
Ecce patrem nati perimunt, natosque parentes,
Mutuaque armati coeunt in vulnera fratres,
Non nostrum hoc bellum est; coquntur tanta movere,
Inque suas ferri ponas, lacerandaque membra:
Hoc quoque fatale est sic ipsum expandere fatum:/2
One with love madded, his love to enjoy
Can crosse the seas, and overturns all Troy
Anothers lot is to set lawes severe.
Loe sonnes ill fathers, fathers sonnes destroy,
Brothers for mutuall wounds their armes doe beare,
Such war is not our owne, forc't are we to it,
Drawne to our owne paines, our owne limbs to teare
Fates so t'observe t'is fatall, we must doe it
     If we hold that portion of reason, which we have from the distribution of heaven, how can she make us equall unto it?  How can she submit his essence and conditions unto our knowledge?  Whatsoever we behold in those high bodies doth affright us:Quae molitio, quae ferramenta, qui vectes, quo machinae, qui ministri tanti operis fuerunt?/3 'What workmanship?  What yron- braces?  What maine beames, what engines?
-----
1 MANIL.  Astron. 1. i. 57, iv. 93. 2 Ib. 1. iv. 178. 3 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 
<Mont2-158>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
What masons and carpenters were to so great a worke?
Why doe we then deprive them of soule, of life, and of discourse?
Have we discovered or knowen any unmoveable or insensible stupidity in them?  We, who have no commerce but of obedience with them?  Shall we say we have seene the use of a reasonable soule in no other creature but in man?  What?  Have we seene anything comparable to the sunne?  Leaveth he to be, because we have seene nothing semblable unto it?  And doth he leave his moving because his equall is nowhere to be found?  If that which we have not seene is not, our knowledge is that wonderfull abridged.  Quae sunt tantae, animi angustia? 'What narrownesse of my heart is such?  Be they not dreames of humane vanity, to make a celestiall earth or world of the moone, as Anaxagoras did?  And therein to plant habitations, and as Plato and Plutarch doe, erect their colonies for our use.  And to make of our knowne earth a bright shining planet? Inter caetera mortalitatis incommoda, et hoc est caligo mentium: nec tantum necessitas errandi, sed errorum amor:/1  'Among other discommodities of our mortality this is one, there is darknesse in our minds, and in us not onely necessity of erring, but a love of errors.' Corruptibile corpus aggravat animam, et deprimit terrena inhabitatio sensum multa cogitantem:/2  XXX'Our corruptible body doth overlode our soule, and our dwelling on earth weighs downe our sense that is set to thinke of many matters.' Presumption is our naturall and originall infirmitie.  Of all creatures man is the most miserable and fraile, and therewithall the proudest and disdainfullest. Who perceiveth and seeth himselfe placed here amidst the filth and mire of the world, fast-tied and nailed to the worst, most senselesse, and drooping part of the world, in the vilest corner of the house, and farthest from heavens coape, with those creatures that are the worst of the three conditions; and yet dareth imaginarily place himself above the circle of the moon, and reduce heaven under his feet.  It is through the vanitie of the
-----
1 SEN.  Ira. 1. ii. c. 9. 2 Ib.  Epist. xcv. 
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same imagination that he dare equall himself to God, that he ascribeth divine conditions unto himself, that he selecteth and separateth himselfe from out the ranke of other creatures; to which his fellow-brethren and compeers he cuts out and shareth their parts, and allotteth them what portions of meanes or forces he thinkes good.  How knoweth he by the vertue of his understanding the inward and secret motions of beasts?  By what comparison from them to us doth he conclude the brutishnesse be ascribeth unto them? When I am playing with my cat, who knowes whether she have more sport in dallying with me than I have in gaming with her?  We entertaine one another with mutuall apish trickes.  If I have my houre to begin or to refuse, so hath she hers.  Plato in setting forth the golden age under Saturne, amongst the chiefe advantages that man had then, reporteth the communication he had with beasts, of whom enquiring and taking instruction, he knew the true qualities and differences of every one of them: by and from whom he got an absolute understanding and perfect wisedome, whereby he led a happier life than we can doe.  Can we have a better proofe to judge of mans impudency touching beasts?  This notable author was of opinion that in, the greatest part of the corporall forme which nature hath bestowed on them, she hath only respected the use of the prognostications, which in his daies were thereby gathered.  The defect which hindreth the communication betweene them and us, why may it not as well be in us as in them?  It is a matter of divination to guesse in whom the fault is that we understand not one another.  For we understand them no more than they us.  By the same reason, may they as well esteeme us beasts as we them.  It is no great marvell if we understand them not: no more doe we the Cornish, the Welch, or Irish. Yet have some boasted that they understood them, as Apollonius Thyaneus, Melampus, Tiresias, Thales, and others.  And if it be (as Cosmographers report that there are nations who receive and admit a dogge 


<Mont2-160>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

to be their king, it must necessarily follow that they give a certaine interpretation to his voice and moving.  We must note the parity that is betweene us.  We have some meane understanding of their senses, so have beasts of ours, about the same measure.  They flatter and faune upon us, they threat and entreat us, so doe we them.  Touching other matters, we manifestly perceive that there is a full and perfect communication amongst them, and that not only those of one same kinde understand one another, but even such as are of different kindes.

Et mutae pecudes, et denique secla ferarum
Dissimilis fuerunt voces variasqe cluere,
Cum metus aut dolor est, aut eum tam gaudia gliscunt./1
Whole heard's (though dumbe) of beasts, both wild and tame,
Use divers voices, diffrent sounds to frame,
As joy, or griefe, or feare,
Upspringing passions beare.
     By one kinde of barking of a dogge, the horse knoweth he is angrie; by another voice of his, he is nothing dismaid.  Even in beasts that have no voice at all, by the reciprocall kindnesse which we see in them, we easily inferre there is some other meane of entercommunication: their jestures treat, and their motions discourse.
Non alia longe ratione atque ipse videtur
Protrahere ad gestum, pueros infantia lingua/2
No otherwise, then for they cannot speake,
Children are drawne by signes their mindes to breake.
      And why not, as well as our dumbe men dispute, argue, and tell histories by signes?  I have some so ready and so excellent in it, that (in good sooth) they wanted nothing to have their meaning perfectly understood.  Doe we not daily see lovers with the lookes and rowling of their eyes, plainly show when they are angrie or pleased, and how they entreat and thanke one another, assigne meetings, and expresse any passion?
-----
1 LUCR. 1. v. 1069. 2 Ib. 1040. 
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El silentio ancor suole
Haver prieghi e parole.
Silence also hath a way,
Words and prayers to convay.
     What doe we with our hands?  Doe we not sue and entreat, promise and performe, call men unto us 'and discharge them, bid them farewell and be gone, threaten, pray, beseech, deny, refuse, demand, admire, number, confesse, repent, feare, bee ashamed, doubt, instruct, command, incite, encourage, sweare, witnesse, accuse, condemne, absolve, injurie, despise, defie, despight, flatter, applaud, blesse, humble, mocke, reconcile, recommend, exalt, shew gladnesse, rejoyce, complaine, waile, sorrow, discomfort, dispaire, cry out, forbid, declare silence and astonishment: and what not? with so great variation and amplifying as if they would contend with the tongue.  And with our head doe we not invite and and call to us, discharge and send away, avow, disavow, honour, worship, disdaine, demand, direct, rejoyce, affirme, deny, complaine, cherish, blandish, chide, yeeld, submit, brag, boast, threaten, exhort, warrant, assure, and enquire?  What doe we with our eye- lids? and with our shoulders?  To conclude, there is no motion nor jesture that doth not speake, and speakes in a language very easie, and without any teaching to be understood: nay, which is more, it is a language common and publike to all: whereby it followeth (seeing the varietie and severall use it hath from others) that this must rather he deemed the proper and peculiar speech of humane nature.  I omit that which necessitie in time of need doth particularly instruct and suddenly teach such as need it; and the alphabets upon fingers, and grammars by jestures; and the sciences which are onely exercised and expressed by them: and the nations Plinie reporeth to have no other speech.  An Ambassador of the Citie of Abdera, after he had talked a long time unto Agis, King of Sparta, said thus unto him: 'O King, what answer wilt thou that I beare backe unto our citizens? 'Thus (answered he) that 
<Mont2-162>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

I have suffered thee to speake all thou wouldst, and as long as thou pleasedst, without ever speaking one word.  Is not this a kind of speaking silence, and easie to be understood?  And as for other matters; what sufficiency is there in us that we must not acknowledge from the industry and labours of beasts?  Can there be a more formall and better ordained policie, divided into so severall charges and offices, more constantly entertained, and better maintained, than that of Bees?  Shall we imagine their so orderly disposing of their actions, and managing of their vocations, have so proportioned and formall a conduct without discourse, reason, and forecast?

His quidam signis atque hoc exempla sequuti,
Esse apibus partem divinae mentis, et haustus
Aethereos doxere./1
Some by these signes, by these examples moved,
Said that in Bees there is and may be proved
Some taste of heavenly kinde,
Part of celestial minde.
     The Swallowes which, at the approach of springtime, we see to pry, to search, and ferret all the corners of our houses; is it without judgement they seeke, or without discretion they chuse from out a thousand places, that which is fittest for them to build their nest andlodging?  And in that prety cunning contexture and admirable framing of their houses, would birds rather fit themselves with a round than a square figure, with an obtuse than a right angle, except they knew both the commodities and effects of them?  Would they (suppose you) first take water and then clay, unlesse they guessed that the hardnesse of the one is softened by the moistnesse of the other?  Would they floore their palace with mosse or downe, except they foresaw that the tender parts of their young ones shall thereby be more soft and easie?  Would they shroud and shelter themselves from stormy weather, and build their cabbins towards the East,
-----
1 VIRG.  Geor. 1.  IV. 219. 
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unlesse they knew the different conditions of winds, and considered that some are more healthfull and safe for them than some others?  Why doth the Spider spin her artificiall web thicke in one place and thin in another? And now useth one, and then another knot, except she had an imaginary kinde of deliberation, fore-thought, and conclusion?  We perceive by the greater part of their workes what excellency beasts have over us, and how weake our art and short our cunning is, if we goe about to imitate them.  We see, notwithstanding, even in our grosest works, what faculties we employ in them, and how our minde employeth the uttermost of her skill and forces in them: why should wee not thinke as much of them?  Wherefore doe we attribute the workes which excell whatever we can performe, either by nature or by art, unto a kinde of unknowne, naturall, and servile inclination?  Wherein unawares wee give them a great advantage over us, to infer that nature, led by a certaine loving kindnesses leadeth and accompanieth them (as it were by the hand) unto all the actions and commodities of their life; and that she forsaketh and leaveth us to the hazard of fortune; and by art to quest and finde out those things that are behovefull and necessarie for our preservation: and therewithall demeth us the meanes to attaine by any institution and contention of spirit to the naturall sufficiency of brute beasts:  So that their brutish stupidity doth in all commodities exceed whatsoever our divine intelligence can effect.  Verily, by this account, wee might have just cause and great reason to terme her a most injust and partiall step-dame:  But there is no such thing, our policy is not so deformed and disordered.  Nature hath generally imbraced all her creatures:  And there is not any but she hath amply stored with all necessary meanes for the preservation of their being.  For the daily plaints, which I often heare men (when the licence of their conceits doth sometimes raise them above the clouds, and then headlong tumble them downe even to the Antipodes), 


<Mont2-164>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

exclaiming that man is the onely forsaken and out-cast creature, naked on the bare earth, fast bound and swathed, having nothing to cover and arme himselfe withall but the spoile of others; whereas Nature hath clad and mantled all other creatures, some with shels, some with huskes, with rindes, with haire, with wooll, with stings, with bristles, with hides, with mosse, with feathers, with skales, with fleeces, and with silke, according as their quality might need or their condition require:  And hath fenced and armed them with clawes, with talons, with hoofes, with teeth, with stings, and with hornes, both to assaile others and to defend themselves: And hath moreover instructed them in everything fit and requisite for them, as to swim, to runne, to creepe, to flie, to roare, to bellow, and to sing: whereas man only (Oh, silly, wretched man) can neither goe, nor speake, nor shift, nor feed himselfe, unlesse it be to whine and weepe onely, except hee bee taught.

Tum porro, puer ut saevis projectus ab undis
Navila, nudus humi, jacit infans indignus omni
Vitali auxilio, cum primum in luminis oras
Nexibus ex alvomatris natura profundit,
Vagituque locum lugibri complet, et aequm est
Cui tantum in vita restet transire malorum:
At variae crescunt pecudes, armenta, feraeque,
Nec crepitacula eis opus est, nec cuiquam adhibenda est
Almae nutricis blanda atque infracta loquela:
Nec varias quaerunt vestes pro tempore caeli:
Denique non armis opus est, non maenibus altis
Qeis sua tutentur quando omnibus omnia large
Tellus ipsa parit, naturaque daedata rerum./1
An infant, like a shipwracke ship-boy cast from seas,
Lies naked on the ground and speechlesse, wanting all
The helpes of vitall spirit, when nature with small ease
Of throes, to see first light, from her wombe lets him fall,
Then, as is meet, with mournfull cries he fils the place,
For whom so many ils remaine in his lives race.
But divers herds of tame and wild beasts foreward spring,
Nor need they rattles, nor of Nurces cockring-kind
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 222. 
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The flattering broken speech their lullaby need sing.
Nor seeke they divers coats, as divers seasons bind.
Lastly no armour need they, nor high-reared wall
Whereby to guard their owne, since all things unto all
Worke-master nature doth produce, And the earth largely to their use.
     Such complaints are false.  There is a greater equality and more uniforme relation in the policy of the world.  Our skin is as sufficiently provided with hardnesse against the injuries of the weather as theirs.  Witnesse divers nations which yet never knew the use of clothes.  Our ancient Gaules were but slightly apparelled, no more are the Irish-men, our neighbours, in so cold a climate: which we may better judge by our selves, for all those parts of our bodie we are pleased to leave bare to winde and wether, are by experience found able to endure it.  If there were any weake part in us which in likely-hood should seeme to feare cold, it ought to be the stomacke, where digestion is made.  Our forefathers used to have it bare, and our ladies (as dainty-nice as they be) are many times seene to goe open-breasted, as low as their navill. The handles and swathes about our children are no more necessary: and the mothers of Lacedemonia brought up theirs in all liberty and loosenesse of moving their limbs without swathing or binding.  Our whining, our puling, and our weeping is common to most creatures, and divers of them are often seene to waile and grone a long time after their birth, forsomuch as it is a countenance fitting the weaknesse wherein they feele themselves.  As for the use of eating and feeding, it is in us, as in them, naturall and without teaching.
Sentit enim vim quisque suam quam possit abuti./1
For every one soone-understanding is
Of his owne strength, which he may use amisse.
     Who will make question that a child having attained the strength to feed himselfe, could not quest for his meat and shift for his drinke?  The earth without
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 104. 
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labour or tilling doth sufficiently produce and offer him as much as he shall need.  And if not at all times, no more doth she unto beasts; witnesse the provision wee see the ants and other silly creatures to make against the cold and barren seasons of the yeare.  The nations that have lately bin discovered, so plenteously stored with all manner of naturall meat and drinke, without care or labor, teach us that bread is not our onely food: and that without toyling our common mother nature hath with great plentie stored us with whatsoever should be needfull for us, yea, as it is most likely, more richly and amply than now adaies she doth, that we have added so much art unto it.

Et tellus nitidas fruges vinetaque laeta
Sponte sua primum mortalibus creavit,
Ipsa dedit dulces foetus, et pabulaa laeta,
Quae nunc vix nostro grandescunt aucta labore,
Conterimusque boves et vires agricolarum:
The earth it selfe at first of th' owne accord
Did men rich Vineyards, and cleane fruit afford.
It gave sweet of-springs, food from sweeter soyle
Which yet scarse greater grow for all our toyle,
Yet tire therein we doe,
Both Plough-men's strength and Oxen too.
     The gluttonous excesse and intemperate lavishnesse of our appetite exceeding all the inventions we endevour to finde out wherewith to glut and cloy the same.  As for armes and weapons, we have more that be naturall unto us than the greatest part of other beasts.  We have more severall motions of limbs, and naturally without reaching: we reape more serviceable nse of them than they doe.  Those which are trained up to fight naked, are seene head long to cast themselves into the same hazards and dangers as we doe.  If some beasts excell us in this advantage, we exceed many others: and the industrie to enable the skill to fortifie and the wit to shelter and cover our body by artificiall meanes, we have it by a kinde of naturall intinct and teaching.  Which to prove, the elephant doth whet and sharpen his teeth
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1 LUCR. 1. ii. 1166. 
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he useth in warre (for he hath some he only useth for that purpose) which he heedfully spareth and never puts them to other service:  When buls prepare themselves to fight, and they raise, scatter, and with their feet cast the dust about them: the wilde boare whets his tusks; when the Ichneumon is to grapple with the crocodile, he walloweth his body in the mire, then lets the same drie and harden upon him, which he doth so often that at last the same becomes as hard and tough as well as any compact crust, which serveth him in stead of a cuirace.  Why shall we not say that it is as naturall for us to arme our selves with wood and yron?  As for speech, sure it is that if it be not naturall it is not necessary.  I beleeve, neverthelesse, that if a childe, bred in some uncouth solitarinesse, farre from haunt of people (though it were a hard matter to make triall of it) would no doubt have some kinde of words to expresse, and speech to utter his conceits. And it is not to be imagined that nature hath refused us that meane and barred us that helpe which she hath bestowed upon many and divers other creatures: for what is that faculty we see in them when they seeme to complaine, to rejoice, to call one unto another for helpe, and bid one another to loving conjunction (as commonly they doe) by the use of their voice, but a kind of speech?  And shall not they speake among themselves that speake and utter their minde unto us and we to them?  How many waies speake we unto our dogges, and they seeme to understand and answer us?  With another language and with other names speake we unto and call them than we doe our birds, our hogges, our oxen, our horses, and such like; and according to their different kindes we change our idiome.

Cosi per entro loco schiera bruna
S'ammusa l'una con I'altra formica,
Forse a spiar lor via, et lor fortuna./1
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1 DANTE.  Purgatorio, xxvi. 84. 
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So Ants amidst their sable-coloured band
One with another mouth to mouth confer,
Haply their way, or state to understand.
Me seemeth that Lactantius/1  doth not onely attribute speech unto beasts, but also laughing.  And the same difference of tongue, which according to the diversitie of countries is found amongst us, is also found amongst beasts of one same kinde.  Aristotle to that purpose alleageth the divers calles or purres of partriges, according to the situation of their place of breeding.
     ----- variaeque volucres
Longe alias alio jaciunt in temepore voces,
Et partim mutant cum tempestatibus una
Raucisonos cantus./2
And divers birds, send forth much divers sounde
At divers times, and partly change the grounds
Of their hoarce-sounding song,
As seasons change along.
     But it would be knowne what language such a child should speake, and what some report by divination hath no great likelyhood. And if against this opinion a man would alleage unto me that such as are naturally deafe, speake not at all:  I answer that it is not onely because they could not receive the instruction of the world by their eares, but rather inasmuch as the sense of hearing, whereof they are deprived, hath some affinity with that of speaking, both which with a naturall kinde of ligament or seame hold and are fastned together.  In such sort as what we speake we must first speake it unto our selves, and before we utter and send the same forth to strangers we make it inwardly to sound unto our eares.  I have said all this to maintaine the coherency and resemblance that is in all humane things, and to bring us unto the generall throng. We are neither above nor under the rest: what ever is under the coape of heaven (saith the wise man) runneth one law, and followeth one fortune.
Indupedita suis fatalibus omnia vinclis./3
All things enfolded are,
In fatall bonds as fits their share. {Pope+}
-----
1 Instit.  Divin. 1. iii. c. 10. 2 LUCR. 1.  V. 1088. 3 Ibid. 885. 
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     Some difference there is, there are orders and degrees; but all is under the visage of one same nature,

     ----- res quaque suo ritu procedit, et omnes
Faedere natura certo discrimina servant./1
All things proceed in their course, natures all
Keeps difference, as in their league doth fall.
Man must be forced and marshalled within the lists of this policie.  Miserable man, with all his wit, cannot in effect goe beyond it: he is embraced and engaged, and as other creatures of his ranke are, he is subjected in like bond, and without any prerogative or essentiall pre-excellenceie; and what ever privilege he assume unto himselfe, he is of very meane condition.{Yahoo+} That which is given by opinion or fantasie hath neither body nor taste.  And if it be so that he alone, above all other creatures, hath this liberty of imagination and this licence of thoughts which represent unto him both what:is and what is not, and what him pleaseth, falsehood and truth; it is an advantage bought at a very high rate, and whereof he hath little reason to glorie: for thence springs the chiefest source of all the mischiefs that oppresse him, as sinne, sicknesse, irresolution, trouble and despaire.  But to come to my purpose, I say therefore, there is no likelyhood, we should imagine, the beasts doe the very same things by a naturall inclination and forced genuitie, which we doe of our freewil and industrie.  Of the very same effects we must conclude alike faculties, and by the richest effects infer the noblest faculites, and consequently acknowledge that the same discourse and way we hold in working, the very same, or perhaps some other better, doe beasts hold.  Wherefore shall we imagine that naturall compulsion in them, that prove no such effect our selves?  Since it is more honourable to be addressed to act, and tyed to worke orderly, by and through a natural and unavoideable condition and most approching to Divinitie, than regularly to worke and act by and through a casuall and rash libertie; and
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 932. 
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it is safer to leave the reignes of our conduct unto nature than unto ourselves.  The vanitie of our presumption maketh us rather to be beholding and as it were endebted unto our owne strength, {Shylock+} {Antonio] for our sufficiency, than unto her liberalitie; and we enrich other creatures with naturall gifts, and yeeld those unto them, that so we may ennoble and Honour our selves with gifts purchased, as me thinketh, by a very simple humour: for I would prize graces and value gifts that were altogether mine owne, and naturall unto me, as much as I would those I had begged, and, with a long prentiship, shifted for.  It lyeth not in our power to obtaine a greater commendation than to be favoured both of God and Nature.  By that reason, the fox, which the inhabitants of Thrace use when they will attempt to march upon the yce of some frozen river, and to that end let her go loose afore them, should we see her running alongst the river side, approch her eare close to the yce, to listen whether by any farre or neere distance she may heare the noyse or roaring of the water running under the same, and according as she perceiveth the yce thereby to be thicke or thinne, to goe either forward or backward; might not we lawfuify judge that the same discourse possesseth her head as in like case it would ours?  And that it is a kinde of debating reason and consequence drawen from naturall sense? Whatsoever maketh a noyse moveth, whatsoever moveth is not frozen, whatsoever is not frozen is liquid, whatsoever is liquid yeelds under any weight? For to impute that only to a quicknesse of the sense of hearing, without discourse or consequence, is but a fond conceipt, and cannot enter into my imagination.  The like must be judged of so many wiles and inventions wherewith beasts save themselves from the snares and scape the baits we lay to entrap them.  And if we will take hold of any advantage tending to that purpose, that it is in our power to seize upon them, to employ them to our service, and to use them at our pleasure; it is but the same oddes we have one upon another.  To which purpose we have our slaves or 


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bond-men; and were not the Climacides certain women in Syria, which creeping on al foure upon the ground, served the ladies in steed of footstoles or ladders to get up into their coachs?  Where the greater part of free men, for very slight causes, abandon both their life and being to the power of others.  The wives and concubines of the Thracians strive and contend which of them shal be chosen to bee slaine over her husbands or lovers tombe.  Have tyrants ever failed to find many men vowed to their devotion? Where some for an overplus or supererogation have added this necessity, that they must necessarily accompany them as well in death as in life. Whole hostes of men have thus tyed themselves unto their captaines.  The tenor of the oath ministred unto the schollars that entered and were admitted the rude schoole of Roman Gladiators emplied these promises, which was this: we vow and sweare to suffer our selves to be enchained, beaten, burned, and killed with the sword, and endure whatsoever any lawfull fenser ought to endure for his master: most religiously engaging both our bodie and soule to the use of his service:

Ure meum, si vis, flamma caput et pete ferro
Corpus, et intorto verbere terga seca,/1
Burne tyrant (if thou wilt my head with fire, with sword
My body strike, my backe cut with hard-twisted cord.
     Was not this a very strict covenant?  Yet were there some yeares ten thousand found that entered and lost themselves in those schooles. {death+} When the Scithians buried their king, they strangled over his dead body first the chiefest and best beloved of his concubines, then his cup-bearer, the master of his horse, his chamberlains, the usher of his chamber, and his master cooke.  And in his anniversary killed fiftie horse, mounted with fifty pages, whom before they had slaine with thrusting sharpe stakes into their fundament, which, going up along their chine-bone, came out at their throat; whom thus mounted; they set in
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1 TIBUL. 1. i.  El. ix. 21. 
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orderly rankes about the tombe.  The men that serve us doe it better cheape, and for a lesse curious and favourable entreating than we use unto birds, unto horses, and unto dogges.  What carke and toile apply we not ourselves unto for their sakes?  Me thinks the vilest and basest servants will never doe that so willingly for their masters which princes are glad to doe for their beasts.  Diogenes, seeing his kinsfolks to take care how they might redeeme him out of thraldome; 'they are fooles,' said he, 'for it is my master that governeth, keepeth, feedeih, and serveth me:' And such as keepe or entertaine beasts may rather say they serve them than that they are served of them. {service+} And yet they have that naturall greater magnanimity, that never lyon was seen to subject bimselfe unto another lyon, nor one horse unto another horse, for want of heart.  As wee hunt after beasts, so tygers and lyons hunt after men, and have a like exercise one upon another: hounds over the hare; the pike or luce over the tench; the swallowes over the grasse- hoppers) and the sparrow-hawkes over blacke-birds and larkes.

     ----- serpente ciconia pullos
Nutrit, et inventa per devia rura lacerta,
Et leporem aut capream famulae Iovis, et generosae
In saltu venantur aves./1
The storke her young feeds with serpents prey,
And lyzarts found somewhere out of the way,
Joves servants - Eagles, hawkes of noblera kynde,
In forrests hunt, a hare or kid to finde,
     We share the fruits of our prey with our dogges and hawkes, as a meed of their paine and reward of their industry.  As about Amphipolis, in Thrace, faulkners and wilde hawks divide their game equally: and as about the Maeotid fennes, if fishers doe not very honestly leave behind them an even share of their fishings for the woolves that range about those coasts, they presently run and teare their nets.  And as we have a kinde of fishing rather managed by sleight than strength,
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1 JUV.  Sat. xiv. 74. 
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As that of hooke and line about our angling-rods, so have beasts amongst themselves.  Aristotle reporteth that the cuttle-fish casteth a long gut out of her throat, which like a line she sendeth forth, and at her pleasure pulleth it in againe, according as she perceiveth some little fish come neere her, who being close hidden in the gravell or stronde, letteth him nible or bite the end of it, and then by little and little drawes it in unto her, untill the fish be so neere that, with a soudaine leape, she may catch it.  Touching strength, there is no creature in the world open to so many wrongs and injuries as man: we need not a whale, an elephant, nor a crocodile, nor any such other wilde beast, of which one alone is of power to defeat a great number of men; seely lice are able to make Silla give over his Dictatorship: the heart and life of a mighty and triumphant emperor is but the break-fast of a seely little worme.  Why say we that skill to discerne and knowledge to make choyce (gotten by art and acquired by discourse) of things good for this life, and availfull against sicknesse, and to distinguish of those which are hurtfull, and to know the vertue of reubarb, qualitie of oake ferne and operation of polipodie, is only peculiar unto man?  When we see the Goats of Candia being shot with an arrow to choose from out a million of simples the herb Dittany or Garden-ginger, and there-with cure themselves; and the Tortoise having eaten of a Viper immediately to seek for Origon or wild Marjoram to purge herselfe: the Dragon to run and cleare his eies with Fenel:  Cranes with their bils to minister glisters of sea-water unto themselves; the Elephants to pull out, not only from themselves and their fellowes, but also from their masters (witnesse that of King Porus, whom Alexander defeated) such javelins or darts as in fight have beene hurled or shot at them, so nimbly and so cunningly as ourselves could never do it so easily and with so little paine:  Why say wee not likewise that that is science and prudence in them?  For, if to depress them some would alleage it is by the onely instruction and instinct of Nature they 


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know it, that will not take the name of science and title of prudence from them; it is rather to ascribe it unto them than unto us for the honour of so assured a schoole-mistris.  Chrysippus, albeit in other things as disdainfull a judge of the condition of beasts as any other Philosopher, considering the earliest movings of the dog, who comming into a path that led three severall wayes in search or quest of his Master, whom he had lost, or in pursuit of some prey that hath escaped him, goeth senting first one way and then another, and having assured himself of two, because he findeth not the tracke of what he hunteth for, without more adoe furiously betakes himselfe to the third; he is enforced to confesse that such a dog must necessarily discourse thus with himselfe, 'I have followed my Masters footing hitherto, hee must of necessity pass by one of these three wayes; it is neither this nor that, then consequently hee is gone this other. And by this conclusion or discourse assuming him selfe, comming to the third path, hee useth his sense no more, nor sounds it any longer, but by the power of reason suffers himselfe violently to be carried through it.  This meere logicall tricke, and this use of divided and conjoyned. propositions, and of the sufficient numbring of parts: is it not as good that the dog know it by him selfe, as by Trapezuntius his logicke?  Yet are not beasts altogether unapt to be instructed after our manner.  We teach Blacke-birds, Starlins, Ravens, Piots, and Parots to chat; and that facilitie we perceive in them to lend us their voyce so supple and their wind so tractable, that so wee may frame and bring it to a certaine number of letters and silables, witnesseth they have a kinds of inward reason which makes them so docile and willing to learne.  I thinke every man is cloied and wearied with seeing so many apish and mimmike trickes that juglers teach their Dogges, as the dances, where they misse not one cadence of the sounds or notes they heare:  Marke but the divers turnings and severall kinds of motions which by the commandement of their bare words they make them performe: But I wonder 


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not a little at the effect, which is ordinary amongst us; and that is, the dogs which blind men' use, both in Citie and in Country:  I have observed how sodainly they will stop when they come before some doores where they are wont to receive alms: how carefully they will avoyd the shocke of Carts and Coaches, even when they have roome enough to passe by themselves.  I have seene some going along a Towne-ditch leave a plaine and even path and take a worse, that so they might draw their Master from the ditch. How could a man make the dog conceive his charge was only to looke to his masters safetie, and for his service to despise his own commoditie and good?  And how should he have the knowledge that such a path would be broade enough for him, but not for a blind man?  Can all this he conceived without reason?  We must not forget what Plutarke affirmeth to have seene a dog in Rome doe before the Emperour Vespasian the father in the Theatre of Marcellus.  This Dog served a jugler, who was to play a fiction of many faces and sundry countenances, where he also was to act a part.  Amongst other things he was for a long while to counterfeit and faine himself dead, because he had eaten of a certain drugge: having swallowed a piece of bread, which was supposed to be the drug, he began sodainly to stagger and shake as if he had beene giddie, then stretching and laying himselfe along as stiffe as if hee were starke dead, suffered himself to be dragged and haled from one place to another, according to the subject and plot of the play, and when he knew his time, first he began faire and softly to stirre as if he were roused out of a dead slumber, then lifting up his head hee looked and stared so gastly that all the bystanders were amazed.  The Oxen, which in the Kings gardens of Susa were taught to water them and to draw water out of deepe wells, turned certaine great wheeles, to which were fastned great buckets (as in many places of Languedoke is commonly seene) and being every one appointed to draw just a hundred turnes a day, they were so accustomed to that number as it was impossible by any 


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compulsion to make them draw one more, which taske ended they would suddenly stop.  We are growne striplings before we can tell a hundred; and many nations have lately beene discovered that never knew what numbers meant.  More discourse is required to teach others than to be taught.  And omitting what Democritus judged and proved, which is, that beasts have instructed us in most of our Arts:  As the Spider to weave and sew, the Swallow to build, the Swan and the Nightingale musicke, and divers beasts, by imitating them, the art of Physicke:  Aristotle is of opinion that Nightingales teach their young ones to sing, wherein they employ both long time and much care: whence it followeth that those which we keepe tame in cages and have not had leasure to go to their parents schoole, lose much grace in their singing.  Whereby we may conclude they are much amended by discipline and study.  And amongst those that run wilde, their song is not all one nor alike.  Each one hath learnt either better or worse, according to his capacity.  And so jealous are they in their prentiseship, that to excell one another they will so stoutly contend for the mastery that many times such as are vanquished die; their winde and strength sooner failing than their voice.  The young ones wil very sadly sit recording their lesson, and are often seene labouring how to imitate certaine song-notes:  The Scholler listeneth attentively to his Masters lesson, and carefully yeeldeth account of it; now one and then another shall hold his peace:  Marke but how they endevour to amend their faults, and how the elder striveth to reprove the youngest.  Arrius protesteth to have seene an Elephant who on every thigh had a cimball hanging and one fastned to his truncke, at the sound of which all other Elephants danced in a round, now rising aloft, then lowting full low at certaine cadences, even as the instrument directed them, and was much delighted with the harmony.  In the great showes of Rome Elephants were ordinarily seene, taught to move and dance at the sound of a voice, certaine dances, wherein 


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were many strange shifts, enterchanges, caprings, and cadences, very hard to be learned.  Some have beene noted to konne and practise their lessons, using much study and care, as being loath to be chidden and beaten of their masters.  But the tale of the piot is very strange, which Plutarke confidently witnesseth to have seene: 'This jay was in a Barbers shop of Rome, and was admirable in counterfeiting with her voice whatsoever she heard:  It fortuned one day that certaine Trumpeters staied before this shop and there sounded a good while; and being gone, all that day and the next after the piot began to be very sad, silent, and melancholy, whereat all men marvelled, and surmized that the noise or clang of the trumpets had thus affrighted and dizzied her, and that with her hearing she had also lost her voice. But at last they found she was but in a deep study and dumpish, retracting into herself, exercising her minde, and preparing her voice to represent the sound, and expresse the noise of the Trumpets she had heard.  And the first voice she uttered was that wherein she perfectly expressed their straines, their closes, and their changes: having by her new prentiship altogether quit, and as it were scorned whatever she could prattle before. I will not omit to alleage another example of a Dogge, which Plutarke also saith to have seen (as for any order or method I know very well I do but confound it, which I observe no more in ranging these examples than I doe in all the rest of my business), who being in a ship, noted that his Dogge was in great perplexity how to get some Oyle out of a deepe Pitcher, which by reason of its narrow mouth he could not reach with his tongue, got him presently some Pibble stones, and put so many into the jarre that he made the Oyle come up so neare the brimme as he could easily reach and licke some.  And what is that but the effect of a very subtill spirit?  It is reported that the ravens of Barbary will doe the like, when the water they would drinke is too low.  This action doth somewhat resemble that which Juba, a King of that Nation, relateth of their elephants; 


<Mont2-178>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

that when through the wiles of those that chase them, anyone chanceth to fall into certaine deep pits which they prepare for them, and to deceive them they cover over with reeds, shrubs, and boughes, his fellowes will speedily with all diligence bring great store of stones and peeces of timber that so they may helpe to recover him out againe.  But this beast hath in many other effects such affinity with man's sufficiency, that would I particularly trace out what experience hath taught, I should easily get an affirmation of what I so ordinarily maintaine, which is, that there is more difference found betweene such and such a man, than betweene such a beast and such a man.  An Elephants keeper in a private house of Syria was wont every meale to steele away halfe of the allowance which was allotted him; it fortuned on a day his master would needs feed him himselfe, and having poured that just measure of barley which for his allowance he had prescribed for him, into his manger, the elephant, sternely eying his master, with his truncke divided the provender in two equal parts, and laid the one aside, by which he declared the wrong his keeper did him.  Another having a keeper, who to encrease the measure of his provender was wont to mingle stones with it, came one day to the pot which with meat in it for his keepers dinner was seething over the fire, and filled it up with ashes.  These are but particular effects, but that which all the world hath seene, and all men know, which is, that in all the armies that came out of the East, their chiefest strength consisted in their elephants, by whom they reaped, without comparison, farre greater effects than now adaies we do by our great ordnance, which in a manner holds their place in a ranged battel (such as have any knowledge in ancient histories may easily guesse it to be true).

      -----si quidem Tyrio servire solebant
Anibali, et nostris ducibus, regique Molosso
Horum majores, et dorso ferre cohortes,
Partem aliquam belli, et euntem in praelia surriam./1
-----
1 JUV.  Sat. xii. 107. 
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Their elders usde great Hannibal to steed
Our Leaders, and Molossian Kings at need,
And on their backe to beare strong guarding Knights,
Part of the warre, and troupes addrest to fights.
     A man must needs rest assured of the confidence they had in these beasts, and of their discourse, yeelding the front of a battel unto them; where the least stay they could have made, by reason of their hugenesse and weight of their bodies, and the least amazement that might have made them turne head upon their owne men, had bin sufficient to lose all.  And few examples have been noted that ever it fortuned they turned upon their owns troupes, whereas we head-long throng one upon another, and so are put to rout.  They had charge given them, not onely of one simple moving, but of many and severall parts in the combat.  As the Spaniards+ did to their dogges in their new conquest_of_the_Indias+, to whom they gave wages and imparted their booties, which beasts shewed as much dexteritie in pursuing and judgement in staying their victorie, in charging or retreating, and, as occasion served, in distinguishing their friends from their enemies, as they did earnestnesse and eagerness.  We rather admire and consider strange than common things, without which I should never so long have ammused my selfe about this tedious catalogue.  For, in my judgement, he that shall meerly check what we ordinarily see in those beasts that live amongst us shall in them flnde as wonderful effects as those which with so much toile are collected in far countries and passed ages.  It is one same nature which still doth keepe her course.  He that throughly should judge her present estate might safely conclude both what shall happen and what is past.  I have seen amongst us men brought by sea from distant countries, whose language, because we could in no wise understand, and that their fashions, their countenance, and their clothes did altogether differ from ours, who of us did not deem them brutish and savage+?  Who did not impute their mutenesse into stupiditie or beastlines, and to see them 
<Mont2-180>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

ignorant of the French tongue, of our kissing the hands, of our low-lowting courtesies, of our behaviour and carriage, by which without contradiction, humane nature ought to take her patterne?  Whatsoever seemeth strange unto us, and we understand not, we blame and condemne. {otherphobia+} The like befalleth us in our judging of beasts.  They have diverse qualities, which somewhat simbolize witih ours, from which we may comparatively draw some conjecture, but of such as are peculiar unto them what know we what they are?  Horses, dogges, oxen, sheepe, birds, and the greater number of sensitive creatures that live amongst us, know our voyce, and by it suffer themselves to be directed.  So did the lamprey which Crassus had, and came to him when he called it: so do the eeles that breed in Arethusa's fountains.  And my selfe have seene some fish-ponds where at a certaine crie of those that kept them, the fish would presently come to shoare, where they were wont to be fed.

      ------ nomen habent, et ad magistri
Vocem quisque sui venit citatus./1
They have their proper Dames, and every one
Comes at his master's voyce, as call'd upon.
     By which we may judge and conclude that elephants have some apprehension of religion, forsomuch as after diverse washings and purificttions, they are seene to lift up their truncke as we doe our armes, and at certaine houres of the day, without any instruction, of their owne accord, holding their eyes fixed towards the sunne-rising, fall into a long meditating contemplation; yet, because we see no such appearance in other beasts, may wee rightly conclude that they are altogether void of religion, and may not take that ill payment which is hidden from us. As we perceive something in that action which the Philosopher Cleanthes well observed, because it somewhat draws neere unto ours.  He saw (as himselfe reporteth) a company of emmets goe from their nest, hearing amongst them the body of a dead -----1 MART. 1. iv.  Epig.  XXX. 6. 
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ant, toward another emmets nest, from which many other ants came, as it were to meet them by the way to parly with them, who after they had continued together awhile, they which came last, returned backe to consult (as you may imagine) with their fellow-citizens, and because they could hardly come to any capitulation, they made two or three voyages to and fro.  In the end, the last come brought unto the other a worme from their habitation, as for a ransome of the dead, which worme the first company tooke upon their backes, and carried it home, leaving the dead body unto the other.  Loe, here the interpretation that Cleanthes gave it:  Witnessing thereby that those creatures which have no voice at all, have neverthelesse mutual commerce and enterchangeable communication, whereof if we be not partakers, it is onely our fault; and therefore doe we fondly to censure it.  And they yet produce divers other effects, farre surpassing our capacity, and so farre out of the reach of our mutation that even our thoughts are unable to conceive them.  Many hold opinion that in the last and famous sea-fight which Antonie lost against Augustus, his admiral-galley was in her course staied by that little fish the Latines call Remora, and the English a Suck-stone, whose property is to stay any ship he can fasten himselfe unto.  And the Emperour Caligula, sailing with a great fleet along the coast of Romania, his owne galley was suddenly staied by such a fish, which he caused to be taken sticking fast to the keele, moodily raging that so little a creature had the power to force both sea and winde, and the violence of all his oares, onely with her bil sticking to his galley (for it is a kinde of shellfish) and was much more amazed when he perceived the fish being brought aboord his ship to have no longer that powerfull vertue which it had being in the sea.  A certaine citizen of Cyzicum, whilom purchased unto himselfe the reputation to be an excellent mathematician, because he had learnt the quality of the hedge-hogge, whose property is to build his hole or denne open diverse waies, and toward severall winds,


<Mont2-182>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

and fore-seeing rising stormes, he presently stoppeth the holes that way, which thing the foresad citizen heedfully observing, would in the City foretell any future storm, and what wind should blow.  The cameleon taketh the colour of the place wherein he is.  The fish called a pourcontrell, or manie-feet, changeth him selfe into what colour he lists as occasion offereth it selfe, that so he may hide himselfe from what he feareth, and catch what he seeketh for.  In the cameleon it is a change preceding of passion, but in the pourcontrell a change in action; we ourselves doe often change our colour and alter our countenance through sudden feare, choler, shame, and such like violent passions, which are wont to alter the hew of our faces, but it is by the effect of sufferance, as in the cameleon. The jaundise hath power to make us yelow, but it is not in the disposition of our wils.  The effects we perceive in other creatures, greater than ours, witnesse some more excellent faculty in them, which is concealed from us; as it is to be supposed diverse others of their conditions and forces are, whereof no appearance or knowledge commeth to us.  Of all former predictions, the ancientest and most certaine were such as were drawen from the flight of birds; we have nothing equall unto it, nor so admirable.  The rule of fluttering, and order of shaking their wings, by which they conjecture the consequences of things to ensue, must necessarily be directed to so noble an operation by some excellent and supernaturall meane.  For it is a wresting of the letter to attribute so wondrous effects to any naturall decree, without the knowledge, consent, or discourse of him that causeth and produceth them, and is a most false opinion, which to prove, the torpedo or cramp-fish hath the property to benumme and astonish, not onely the limbs of those that touch it, but also theirs that with any long pole or fishing line touch any part thereof, shee doth transmit and convey a kinde If heavie numming into the hands of those that stirre or handle the same. Moreover, it is averred that if any matter be cast upon them 


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the astonishment is sensibly felt to gaine upward, untill it come to the hands, and even through the water it astonisheth the feeling-sence. Is not this a wonderfull power?  Yet is it not altogether unprofitable for the Cramp-fish, she both knowes and makes use of it: for to catch prey she pursueth, she is seene to hide berselfe under the mud, that, other fishes swimming over her, strucken and benummed with her exceeding coldnesse, may fall into her clawes.  The Cranes, swallowes, and other wandering birds, changing their abode according to the seasons of the years, shew evidently the knowledge they have of their fore-divining faculty, and often put the same in use.  Hunters assure us that to chose the best dog, and which they purpose to keepe from out a litter of other young whelps, there is no better meane than the damme herselfe: for, if they be removed from out their kennell, him that she first brings thither againe shall alwaies prove the best; or if one but encompasse her kennell with fire, looke which of her whelps she first seeketh to save, is undoubtedly the best; whereby it appeareth they have a certaine use of prognosticating that we have not; or else some hidden vertue to judge of their young ones, different and more lively than ours.  The manner of all beasts breeding, engendering, nourishing, working, moving, living, and dying, being so neere to ours, what ever we abridge from their moving causes, and adde to our condition above theirs can no way depart from our reasons discourse.  For a regiment of our health, Physitians propose the example of bats manner of life and proceeding unto us: for this common saying is alwaies in the people's mouth:

Tenez chauds les pieds et la teste,
Au demeurant vivez en beste./1
Keep warme ('tis meete) the head and feete:
In all the rest, live like a beast.
Generation is the chiefest naturall action: we have
-----
1 JOUB.  Err Pop. ii. 140. 
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a certaine disposition of some members fittest for that purpose; nevertheless, they bid us range our selves unto a brutish situation and disposition, as most effectuall:

     ----- more ferarum,
Quadrupedumque maqis ritu, plerumque putantur
Concipere uxores: quia sic loca sumere possunt,
Pectoribus positis, sublatis semina lumbis./1
     And reject those indiscreet and insolent motions which women have so luxuriously found out, as hurtfull: conforming them to the example and use of beasts of their sex, as more modest and considerate.
Nam mulier prohibet se concipere, atgue repugnat,
Clunibus ipse viri Venerem si laeta retractet,
Atque exposato ciet omni pectore fluctus,
Et enim sulci recta regione viaque
Vomerem, atque locis avertit seminis ictum./2
If it be justice to give every one his due, beasts which serve, love, and defend their benefactors, pursue and outrage strangers, and such as offend them, by so doing they represent some shew of our justice, as also in reserving a high kinde of equality in dispensing of what they have to their young ones.  Touching friendship, without all comparison, they professe it more lively and shew it more constantly than men.  Hircanus, a dog of Lysimachus the King, his master being dead, without eating or drinking, would never come from off his bed, and when the dead corps was removed thence he followed it, and lastly flung himself into the fire where his master was burned. As did also the dogge of one called Pyrrhus, who after he was dead would never budge from his masters couch, and when he was removed suffered himselfe to be carried away with him, and at last flung himselfe into the fire wherein his master was consumed.  There are certaine inclinations of affection which, without counsell of reason, arise sometimes in us, proceeding of a casuall temerity, which some call sympathie: beasts as wel as men are -----
1 LUCR. 1. iv. 1256. 2 LUCR. 1. iv. 1260. 
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capable of it.  We see horses take a kinde of acquaintancee one of another, so that often, traveling by the highway or feeding together, we have much ado to keep them asunder; wee see them bend and applie their affections to some of their fellowes colours, as if it were upon a certaine visage: and when they meet with any such, with signes of joy and demonstration of good will to joine and accost them, and to hate and shunne some other formes and colours.  Beasts as well as wee have choice in their loves, and are very nice in chusing of their mates.  They are not altogether void of our extreme and unappeasable jealousies.  Lustfull desires are either naturall and necessary as eating and drinking; or else naturall and not necessary, as the acquaintance of males and females; or else neither necessary nor naturall: of this last kinde are almost all mens, for they are all superfluous and artificiall.  It is wonderfull to see with how little nature will be satisfied, and how little she hath left for us to be desired.  The preparations in our kitchens doe nothing at al concede her lawes.  The Stoikes say that a man might very well sustaine himselfe with one olive a day.  The delicacy of our wines is no part of her lesson, no more is the surcharge and relishing which we adde unto our letcherous appetites.

     -----neque illa
Magno prognatum deposcit console cunnum./1
These strange lustfull longings which the ignorance of good, and a false opinion, have possest us with, are in number so infinite that in a manner they expell all those which are naturall, even as if there were so many strangers in a city that should either banish and expell all the naturall inhabitants thereof, or utterly suppresse their ancient power and authority, and absolutely usurping the same, take possession of it.  Brute beastes are much more regulare than we, and with more moderation containe themselves within the compasse which nature hath prescribed them; but not so exactly -----
1 HOR. 1. i.  Sat. ii. 30. 
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but that they have some coherency with our riotous licenciousnesse. And even as there have beene found, certaine furious longings and unnaturall desires which have provoked men unto the love of beasts, so have diverse times some of them beene drawn to love us, and are possessed with monstrous affections from one kind to another: witnesse the elephant that in the love of an herb-wife, in the city of Alexandria, was corivall with Aristophanes the Grammarian, who in all offices pertayning to an earnest woer and passionate suiter yeelded nothing unto him; for, walking thorow the fruit-market, he would here and there snatch up some with his truncke, and carry them unto her: as neere as might be he would never loose the sight of her, and now and then over her hand put his truncke into her bosome, to feele her breasts.  They also report of a dragon that was exceedingly in love with a young maiden, and of a goose in the city of Asope which dearely loved a young childe; also of a ram that belonged to the musitian Glausia.  Do we not daily see munkies ragingly in love with women, and furiously to pursue them?  And certaine other beasts given to love the males of their owns sex?  Oppianus and others report some examples to show the reverence and manifest the awe some beasts in their marriages beare unto their kindred; but experience makes us often see the contrary:

     -----nec habetur turpe juvencae
Ferre patrem tergo: tua filia coniux:
Quasque creavit, init pecudes caper: ipsaque cuius
Semine concepta est, ex illo conecepit ales/1
To beare her Sire the Heifer shameth not:
The Horse takes his owne Fillies maiden-head:
The Goat gets them with young whom he begot:
Birds bred by them, by whom themselves were bred.
     Touching a subtil pranke and witty tricke, is there any so famous as that of Thales the philosopher's mule, which, laden with salt, passing thorow a river chanced
-----
1 OVID.  Metam. 1. x. 325. 
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to stumble, so that the sacks she carried were all wet, and perceiving the salt (because the water had melted it to grow lighter, ceased not, as seene as she came neere any water, together with her load, to plunge herselfe therein, untill her master, being aware of her craft, commanded her to be laden with wooll, which being wet became heavier; the mule finding herselfe deceived, used her former policy no more.  There are many of them that lively represent the visage of our avarice, who with a greedy kinde of desire endevour to surprise whatsoever comes within their reach, and though they reap no commodity, nor have any use of it, to hide the same very curiously.  As for husbandry, they exceed us, not onely in fore-sight to spare and gather together for times to come, but have also many parts of the skill belonging thereunto.  As the ants, when they perceive their corne to grow mustie and graine to be sowre, for feare it should rut and putrifie, spread the same abroad before their nests, that so it may aire and drie.  But the caution they use in gnawing, and prevention they employ in paring their graines of wheat, is beyond all imagination of mans wit: Because wheat doth not alwaies keep drie nor wholesome, but moisten, melt, and dissolve into a kind of whey, namely, when it beginneth to bud, fearing it should turne to seed, and lose the nature of a storehouse, for their sustenance, the part and gnaw off the end whereat it wonts to bud.  As forwarre+, which is the greatest and most glorious of all humane actions, I would faine know if we will use it for an argument of some prerogative, or otherwise for a testimonie of our imbecilitie and imperfection, as in truth the science we use to defeat and kill one another, to spoile and utterly to overthrow our owne kind, it seemeth it hath not much to make it selfe to be wished for in beasts, that have it not.

     ----- quando leoni
Fortior eripuit ritam leo, quo nemore unquam
Expirarit aper maioris dentibus apri?/1
-----
1 JUVEN.  Sat. xv. 160. 
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When hath a greater Lion damnifide
A Lions life? in what wood ever di'de,
A boare by tusks and gore,
Of any greater boare?
Yet are not they altogether exempted from it witnesse the furious encounters of Bees, and the hostile enterprises of the Princes and Leaders of the two contrary Armies.
     ----- saepe duobus
Regibus incessit magn6o discordia motu,
Continuoque animos vulgi et trepidantia bello
Corda licet longe praesciscere./1
Oft-times twixt two so great Kings great dissentio
With much adoe doth set them at contention;
The vulgare mindes strait may you see from farre,
And hearts that tremble at the thought of warre.
     I never marke this divine description but mee thinkes I read humane foolishnesse and worldly vanitie painted in it.  For these motions of warre, which out of their horror and astonishment breed this tempest of cries and clang of sounds in us:
Fulgur ubi ad caelum se tollit, totaque circum
AEre renidescit tellus, subterque virum vi
Excitur pedibus sonitus, clamoreque montes
Icti rejectant voces ad sidera mundi:/2
Where lightning raiseth it selfe to the skies,
The earth shines round with armour, soundes doe rise
By mens force under feet, wounded with noyse
The hilles to heav'n reverberate their voyce.
     This horror-causing aray of so many thousands of armed men, so great fusion, earnest fervor, and undaunted courage, it would make one laugh to see by how many vaine occasions it is raised and set on fire, and by what light meanes it is again suppressed and extinct.
     ----- Paridis propter narrator amorem
Graecia Barbariae diro collisa duello./3
For Paris lustfull love (as Stories tell)
All Creece to direfull warre with Asia fell.
-----
1 VIRG.  Georg. 1. iv. 67. 2 LUCR. 1. ii. 326. 3 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. ii. 6. 
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     The hatred of one man, a spight, a pleasure, a familiar suspect, or a jealousie, causes which ought not to move two scolding fish-wives to scratch one another, is the soule and motive of all this hurly-burly.  Shall we beleeve them that are the principall authors and causes therof?  Let us but hearken unto the greatest and most victorious Emperour that ever, was, how pleasantly he laughs and wittily he plaies at so many battells and blooody fights, hazarded by both sea and land, at the blood and lives of five hundred thousand soules which followed his fortune, and the strength and riches of two parts of the world consumed and drawne drie for the service of his enterprise:

Quod futuit Glaphyran Antonius, hanc mihi poenam
Fulvia constituit, se quoque uti futuam
Fulviam ego ut furuam? quid si me Manius oret
Paedicam, faciam? non puto, si sapiam.
Aut futue, aut pugnemus, ait: quid si mihi vita
Charior est ipsa mentula?  Signa canant./1
(I use my Latine somewhat boldly, but it is with that leave which you have given mee.) This vast huge bodie hath so many faces and severall motion, which seeme to threat both heaven and earth.
Quam multi Lybico volvuntur marmore fluctus,
Saevus ubi Orion hybernis conditur undis.
Vel cum sole novo densae torrentur aristae,
Aut Hermi campo, aut Lyciae flaventibus arvis,
Scuta sonant, pulsuque pedum tremit excita tellus./2
As many waves as rowle in Affricke marble bounds,
When fierce Orion hides in Winter waves his head:
Or when thicke-eares of Corne are parch't by Suune new- spred.
In Hermus fruitfull fields, or Lycaes yellow grounds,
With noyse of shields and feet, the trembling earth so sounds.
'This many-headed, divers-armed, and furiously-raging monster, is man, wretched, weake and miserable man; whom, if you consider well, what is he but a crawling and ever-moving ants-nest? {Pope+}
-----
1 MART, 1. xi.  Epig. xxi. 2 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vii. 717. 
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It nigrum campis agmen:/1
The sable-coloured band,
Marches along the Land.
     A gust of contrarie winds, the croking of a flight of Ravens, the false pase of a horse, the casual flight of an Eagle, a dream, a sodaine voyce, a false signe, a mornings mist, an evenings fogge, are enough to overthrow, sufficient to overwhelme and able to pull him to the ground.  Let the Sunne but shine hot upon his face, hee faints and swelters with heat: cast but a little dust in his eyes, as to the Bees mentioned by our Poet, all our ensignes, all our legions, yea great Pompey himselfe, in the forefront of them is overthrowne and put to rout. (For as I remember it was he whom Sertorius vanquished in Spaine, with all those goodly armes.) This also served Eumenes against Antigonus, and Surena against Crassus:
Hi motus animorum, atque haec certamina tanta,
Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescent./2
Their stomacke-motions, these contentions great,
Clam'd with a little dust, strait lose their heat.
     Let us but uncouple some of our ordinary flies, and let loose a few gnats amongst them, they shall have both the force to scatter and courage to consume him.  The Portugals not long since beleagring the City of Tamly, in the territory of Xiatine, the inhabitants thereof brought great store of hives (whereof they have plentie) upon their walls; and with fire drove them so forcible upon their enemies, who, as unable to abide their assaults and endure their stingings, left their enterprize. Thus by this new kinde of help was the libertie of the towne gained and victory purchased; with so happy successe, that in their retreating there was not one townes-man found wanting.  The soules of Emperours and Coblers are all cast in one same mould.  Considering the importance of Princes actions,
-----
1 VIRG, AEn. 1. iv. 404. 2 VIRG.  Georg. 1. iv. 86, 87. 
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and their weight, wee perswade ourselves they are brought forth by some weighty and important causes; wee are deceived:  They are moved, stirred and removed in their motions by the same springs and wards that we are in ours.  The same reason that makes us chide and braule and fall out with any of our neighbours, causeth a warre to follow betweene Princes; the same reason that makes us whip or beat a lackey maketh a Prince (if hee apprehend it) to spoyle and waste a whole Province.  They have as easie a will as we, but they can doe much more.  Alike desires perturbe both a skinne-worme and an Elephant.  Touching trust and faithfulnesse, there is no creature in the world so trecherous as man.  Our histories report the earnest pursuit and sharpe chase that some dogges have made for the death of their masters.  King Pirrhus, finding a dog that watched a dead man, and understanding he had done so three daies and nights together, commanded the corps to be enterred and tooke the dog along with himn It fortuned one day, as Pirrbus was surveying the general] musters of his army the dog perceiving in that multitude the man who had murthered his maister, loud-barking and with great rage ran furiously upon him; by which signes he furthered and procured his maisters revenge, which by way of justice was shortly executed.  Even so did the dogge belonging to Hesiodus, surnamed the wise, having convicted the children of Canister of Naupactus of the murther committed on his Masters person.  Another Dogge being apointed to watch a Temple in Athens, having perceived a sacrilegious theefe to carrie away the fairest jewels therein, barked at him so long as he was able, and seeing he could not awaken the Sextons or temple- keepers, followed the theefe whither-soever he went; daie-light being come, he kept himselfe a loof-off, but never lost the sight of him: if he offered him meat, he utterly refused it; but if any passenger chanced to come by, on them he fawned, with wagging his taile, and tooke what-ever they offered him; if the theefe staied to rest himselfe, 


<Mont2-192>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

he also staied in the same place.  The newes of this Dogge being come to the Temple-keepers, they as they went along, enquiring of the Dogs haire and colour, pursued his tracke so long that at last they found both the Dog and the theefe in the Citie of Cromyon, whom they brought backe to Athens, where for his offence he was severely punished.  And the judges in acknowledgement of the Dogges good office, at the Cities charge appointed him for his sustenance a certaine daily measure of Corne, and enjoyned the Priests of the Temple, carefully to looke unto him.  Plutarke affirmeth this storie to be most true, and to have hapned in his time.  Touching gratitude+ and thankfulnesse (for me thinks we have need to further this word greatly), this onely example shall suffice, of which Appion reporteth to have been a spectator himself.  One day (saith he) that the Senate of Rome (to please and recreate the common people) causd a great number of wilde beasts to be baited, namely huge great Lions, it so fortuned that there was one amongst the rest, who by reason of his furious and stately carriage, of his unmatched strength, of his great limbs, and of his loud and terror-causing roaring, drew all bystanders eyes to gaze upon him.  Amongst other slaves, that in sight of all the people were presented to encounter with these beasts, there chanced to be one Androclus+ of Dacia, who belonged unto a Roman Lord who had been Consull.  This huge Lion, having eyed him afar off, first made a suddaine stop, as strucken into a kind of admiration, then with a milde and gentle contenance, as if he would willingly have taken acquaintance of him), faire and softly approached unto him:  Which done, and resting, assured he was the man he tooke him for, begun fawningly to wagge his taile, as dogges doe that fawne upon their newfound masters, and licke the poore and miserable slaves bands and thighs, who through fears was almost out of his wits and halfe dead.  Androclus at last taking hart of grace, and by reason of the Lions mildnesse having rouzed up his spirits, and wishly 


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fixing his eies upon him, to see whether he could call him to remembrance, it was to all beholders a singular pleasure to observe the love, the joy, and blandishments each endevored to enter-shew one another.  Whereat the people raising a loud crie, and by their shouting and clapping; of hands seeming to be much pleased, the Emperour willed the slave to be brought before him, as desirous to understand of him the cause of so strange and seld-seene an accident, who related this new and wonderfull storie unto him.      My Master (said he) being Proconsull in Affrica, forsomuch as he caused me every day to be most cruelly beaten, and held me in so rigorous bondage, I was constrained, as being wearie of my life, to run away; and safely to scape from so eminent a person, and who had so great authoritie in the Countrie, I thought it best to get me to the desart and most unfrequented wildernesses of that region, with a full resolution, if I could not compasse the meanes to sustaine my selfe, to finde one way or other, with violence to make myselfe away.  One day the Sunne about noone- tide became extremely hote, and the scorching heat thereof intolerable, I fortuned to come unto a wilde unhauted cave, hidden amongst crags and almost inaccessible, and where imagined no footing had ever been; therein I hid myselfe.  I had not long been there but in comes this Lion, with one of his pawes sore hurt, and bloody-goared, wailing for the smart, and groaning for the paine he felt; at whose arrivall I was much dismaied, but he seeing me lie close-cowering in a corner of his den, gently made his approaches unto me, holding forth his goared paw toward me and seemed with shewing the same humbly to sue and suppliantly to beg for help at my hands.  I, moved with ruth, taking it into my hand, pulled out a great splint which was gotten into it, and shaking off all feare, first I wrung and crusht his sore, and caused the filth and matter, which therein was gathered, to come forth; then, as gently as for my heart I could, I cleansed, wiped, and dried the same.  He feeling 


<Mont2-194>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

some ease in his griefe, and his paine to cease, still holding his foot betweene my hands, began to sleep and take some rest.  Thence forward he and I lived together the full space of three yeares in his den, with such meat as he shifted-for; for what beasts he killed, or what prey soever he tooke, he ever brought home the better part and shared it with me, which for want of fire I rotted in the Sunne, and therewith nourished my selfe all that while.  But at last, wearied with this kind of brutish life, the Lion being one day gone to purchase his wonted prey, I left the place, hoping to mend my fortunes, and having wandred up and downe three dayes, I was at last taken by certaine souldiers, which from Africa brought me into this Citie to my Master againe, who immediately condemned me to death, and to be devoured by wilde beasts.  And as I now perceive, the same Lion was also shortly after taken, who as you see hath now requited me of the good turne I did him, and the health which by my meanes he recovered.  Behold here the historie Androclus reported unto the Emperour, which after he caused to be declared unto all the people, at whose generall request he was forthwith set at libertie, and quit of his punishment, and by the common consent of all had the Lion bestowed upon him.  Appion saith further, that Androclus was daily seen to lead the Lion up and downe the streets of Rome, tied onely with a little twine, and walking from taverne to taverne, received such money as was given him, who would gently suffer himseIf to be handled, touched, decked, and strowed with flowers, all over and over, many saying when they met him: 'Yonder is the Lion that is the mans hoste, and yonder is the man that is the Lions Physitian.  We often mourne and weepe for the losse of those beasts we love, so doe they many times for the losse of us.

Post bellator equus positis insiqnibus Aethon
It lacrimans, guttisque humectat grandibus ora./1
Next AEthon horse of warre, all omaments laid downe,
Goes weeping, with great drops bedewes his cheeckes adowne.
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VIRG.  AEn. 1. xi. 89.
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     As some of our nations have wives in common and some in severall, each man keeping himselfe to his owne, so have some beasts; yet some there are that observe their marriage with as great respect as we doe ours.  Touching the mutuall societie and reciprocall confederation which they devise amongst themselves, that so they may be fast combined together, and in times of need help one another, it is apparant that if Oxen, Hogs, and other beasts, being hurt by us, chance to crie, all the heard runnes to aid him, and in his defence will joine all together.  The fish, called of the Latines Scarus, having swallowed the fishers hook, his fellowes will presently flocke about him, and nible the line in sunder; and if any of them happen to be taken in a bow-net, some of his fellowes, turning his head away, will put his taile in at the neck of the net, who with his teeth fast- bolding the same, never leave him untill they have pulled him out.  The Barbel fishes, if one of them chance to be engaged, will set the line against their backes, and with a fin they have, toothed like a sharp saw, presently saw and fret the same asunder.  Concerning particular offices, which we for the benefit of our life draw one from an other, many like examples are found amongst them.  It is assuredly beleeved that the Whale never swimmeth unlesse she have a little fish going before her as her vantgard; it is in shape like a Gudgeon, and both the Latines and we call it the Whale-guide; for she doth ever follow him, suffering herself as easily to be led and turned by him as the ship is directed and turned by a sterne: for requitall of which good turne, whereas all things else, be it beast, fish, or vessell, that comes within the horrible Chaos of this monstrous mouth, is presently lost and devoured, this little fish doth safety retire himselfe therein, and there sleepes verie quietly, and as long as he sleepes the Whale never stirs; but as soone as he awaketh and goeth his way, wherever he takes his course she alwaies followeth him, and if she fortune to lose him, she wanders here and there, and often striketh upon the rocks, as a ship that hath nor 


<Mont2-196>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

mast nor rudder.  This Plutarke witnesseth to have seen in the Iland of Anticyra.  There is such a like societie betweene the little bird called a Wren and the Crocodill; for the Wren serveth as a sentinell to so great a monster:  And if the Ichneumon, which is his mortall enemie, approach to fight with him, the little birdlet, lest he might surprise him whilst he sleepeth, with his singing, and pecking him with his bill, awakens him, and gives him warning of the danger he is in.  The bird liveth by the scraps, and feedeth upon the leavings of that monster, who gently receiveth him into his mouth, and suffers him to pecke his jawes and teeth for such mamokes of flesh as sticke betweene them: and if he purpose to close his mouth, he doth first warne him to be gone, faire and easie closing it by little and little, without any whit crushing or hurting him.  The shell-fish called a nacre liveth even so with the pinnotere, which is a little creature like unto a crabfish, and as his porter or usher waits upon him, attending the opening of the nacre, which he continually keepes gaping until he see some little fish enter in, fit for their turne, then he creepes into the nacre, and leaves not pinching his quicke flesh untill he makes him close his shell, and so they both together, fast in their hold, devour their prey. In the manner of the tunnies life may be discovered a singular knowledge of the three parts of the mathematikes.  First for astrologie, it may well be said that man doth learne it of them: for wheresoever the winter Solstitium doth take them, there do they stay themselves, and never stir till the next Equinoctium, and that is the reason why Aristotle doth so willingly ascribe that art unto them: then for geometric and arithmetike, they alwaies frame their shole of a cubike figure, every way square: and so forme a solide close and well-ranged battalion, encompassed round about of six equall sides.  Thus orderly marshaled, they take their course and swim whither their journey tends, as broad and wide behind as before: so that he that seeth and telleth but one ranke, may easily number all the troope, forsomuch as 


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the number of the depth is equall unto the bredth, and the bredth unto the length.  Touching magnanimitie and haughtie courage, it is hard to set it forth more lively, and to produce a rarer patterne than that of the dog which from India was sent unto Alexander: to whom was first presented a stag, then a wilde boare, and then a beare, with each of which he should have foughten, but he seemed to make no accompt of them, and would not so much as remove out of his place for them; but when he saw a lion, he presently rouzed himselfe, shewing evidently he meant onely so noble a beast worthie to enter combat with him.  Concerning repentance and acknowledging of faults committed, it is reported that an elephant, having, through rage of choler, slaine his governour, conceived such an extreme inward griefe that he would never afterward touch any food, and suffered himselfe to pine to death.  Touching clemencie, it is reported of a tiger (the fiercest and most inhumane beast of all having a kid given her to feed upon, endured the force of gnawing hunger two daies together rather than she would hurt him; the third day with maine strength she brake the cage wherein she was kept pent, and went elsewhere to shift for feeding; as one unwilling to seize upon the seelie kid, her familiar and guest.  And concerning privileges of familiaritie and sympathie caused by conversation, is it not oft seen how some make cats, dogs, and hares so tame, so gentle, and so milde, that, without harming one another, they shall live and continue together?  But that which experience teacheth sea-faring men, especially those that come into the seas of Sicilie, of the qualitie and condition of the Halcyon bird, or as some call it alcedo or kings-fisher, exceeds all mens conceit. In what kinds of creature did ever nature so much prefer both their hatching, sitting, brooding, and birth?  Poets faine that the Iland of Delos, being before wandring and fleeting up and downe, was for the delivery of Latona made firme and setled; but Gods decree hath beene that all the watrie wildernesse should be quiet and made calm, without raine, wind, 


<Mont2-198>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYEE; or tempest, during the time the Halcyon sitteth and bringeth forth her young ones, which is much about the winter Solstitium, and shorteest day in the yeare: by whose privilege even in the hart and deadest time of xinter we have seven calme daies, and as many nights to saile without any danger.  Their hens know no other cocke but their owne: they never forsake him all the daies of their life; and if the cocke chance to be weake and crazed, the hen will take him upon her neck and carrie him with her wheresoever she goeth, and serve him even untill death.  Mans wit could never yet attaine to the full knowledge of that admirable kind of building or structure which the Halcyon useth in contriving of her neast, no, nor devise what it is of.  Plutarke, who hath seen and handled many of them, thinkes it to be made of certaine fish-bones, which she so compacts and conjoyneth together, enterlacing some long and some crosse- waise, adding some foldings and roundings to it, that in the end she frameth a round kind of vessel, readie to float and swim upon the water: which done, she carrieth the same where the sea waves beat most; there the sea gently beating upon it, shewes her how to daube and patch up the parts not well closed, and how to strengthen those places and fashion those ribs that are not fast, but stir with the sea waves: and on the other side, that which is closely wrought, the sea beating on it, doth so fasten and conjoyne together, that nothing, no, not stone or yron, can any way loosen divide, or break the same except with great violence and what is most to be wondred at is the proportion and figure of the concavitie within; for it is so composed and proportioned that it can receive or admit no manner of thing but the bird that built it; for to all things else it is so impenetrable, close, and hard, that nothing can possibly enter in: no, not so much as the sea water.  Loe here a most plaine description of this building or construction taken from a verie good author: yet me thinks it doth not fully and sufficiently resolve us of the difficultie in this kinde of architecture. 
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Now from what vanitie can it proceed, we should so willfully contemne and disdainfully interpret those effects, which we can neither imitate nor conceive?  But to follow this equalitie or correspondences betweene us and beasts somewhat further: the privilege whereof our soule vants, to bring to her condition whatsoever it conceiveth, and to despoile what of mortall and corporall qualities belongs unto it, to marshall those things which she deemed worthie her acquaintance, to disrobe and deprive their corruptible conditions, and to make them leave as superfluous and base garments, thicknesses, length, depth, weight, colour, smell, roughnesse, smoothnesse, hardnesse, softnesse, and all sensible accidents else, to fit and appropriate them to her immortall and spirituall condition: so that Rome and Paris, which I have in my soule; Paris which I imagine; yea, I imagine and conceive the same without reatnesse and place, without stone and morter. and without wood; then say I unto my selfe, the same privilege seemeth likewise to be in beasts: for a horse accustomed to heare the sound of trumpets, the noyse of shot, and the clattering of armes, whom we see to snort, to startle, and to neigh in his sleep, as he lies along upon his litter, even as he were in the hurly burly; it is most certaine, that in his minde he apprebends the sound of a drum without any noyse, and an armie without armes or bodie.

Quippe videbis equos fortes, cum membra jacebunt
In somnis, sudare tamen, spirareque saepe,
Et quasi de palma summas contenders vires./1
You shall see warlike horses, when in sleep
Their limbs lie, yet sweat, and a snorting keep.
And stretch their utmost strength,
As for a goale at length.
     That hare which a grey-bound imagineth in his dreame, after whom as he sleepeth we see him bay quest, yelp, and snort, stretch out his taile, shake his
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 982. 
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legs, and perfectly represent the motions of his course the same is a hare without bones, without haire.

Venantumque canes in molli saepe quiete,
Iactant crura tamen subito, vocesque repente
Mittunt, et crebras reducunt naribus auras,
Ut vestigia si teneant inventa ferarunt
Expergefactique, sequuntur inania saepe,
Crvorum simulacra, fugae quasi dedita cernant:
Donec discussis redeant erroribus ad se./1
Oft times the hunters dogs in easie rest
Stir their legs, suddainly, open, and quest,
And send from nosthrils thicke-thicke snuffing sent
As if on traile they were of game full-bent:
And wakened so, they follow shadowes vaine
Of Deere in chase, as if they fled amaine:
Till, their fault left, they turne to sense againe.
     Those watching-dogs which in their sleep we sometimes see to grumble, and then barking, to startle suddainly out of their slumber, as if they perceived some stranger to arive, that stranger which their minde seemeth to see is but an imaginarie man, and not perceived, without any dimension, colour, or being:
      ------Consueta domi catulorum blanda propago
Degere, saepe levem ex oculis volucremque soporem
Discutere, et corpus de terra corripere instant
Proinde quasi ignotas facies atque ora tuantur./2
The fawning kind of whelps, at home that liv's,
O From eyes to shake light-swift sleepe often striv's,
And from the ground their starting bodies hie,
As if some unknowne stranger they did spie.
Touching corporall beauties before I goe any further it were necessarie I know whether we are yet agreed about her description.  It is very likely that we know not well what beautie either in nature or in generall is, since we give so many and attribute so divers formes to humane beauties yea, and to our beautie:  Of which if there were any naturall or lively description, we should generally know it, as we doe the heat of fire.
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 986. 2 Ib. 993. 
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We imagine and faine her formes, as our fantasies lead us.

Turpis Romano Belgicus ore color./1
A Dutch-froes colour hath no grace,
Seen in a Roman Ladies face.
     The Indians describe it blacks and swarthy, with blabbered- thick lips, with a broad and flat nose, the inward gristle whereof they loade with great gold rings, hanging downe to their mouth, and their neather lips with great circlets beset with precious stones, which cover all their chins, deeming it an especiall grace to shew their teeth to the roots.  In Peru, the greatest eares are ever esteemed the fairest, which with all art and industrie they are continually stretching out; and a man (who yet liveth) sweareth to have seen in a Province of the East Indias the people so carefull to make them great, and so to load them with heavie jewels, that with ease he could have thrust his arme through one of their eare-holes.  There are other Nations who endevour to make their teeth as blacke as jeat, and skorne to have them white; and in other places they die them red.  Not onely in the province of Baske, but in other places, women are accounted fairest when their heads are shaven, and which is strange, in some of the Northerly frozen-countries, as Plinie affirmeth.  Those of Mexico esteems the littlenesse of their foreheads as one of the chiefest beauties, and whereas they shave their haire over all their bodie besides, by artificiall meanes they labour to nourish and make it grow onely in their foreheads; and so love to have great dugs, that they strive to have their children sucke over their shoulders.  So would we set forth ilfavordnesse. The Italians proportion it big and plum; the Spaniards spynie and lanke; and amongst us one would bave her white, another browne, and soft and delicate, another strong and lustie; some desire wantonnesse and blithnesse, and othersome sturdinesse and
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1 PROPERT. 1. ii.  Eleg. xviii. 26. 
<Mont2-202>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

majestie to be joyned with it.  Even as the preheminence in beauties which Plato ascribeth unto the Sphericall figure, the Epicureans refer the same unto the Piramidall or Square; and say they cannot swallow a God made round like a bowle.  But howsoever it is, nature hath no more privileged us in that than in other things, concerning her common lawes.  And if we impartially enter into judgement with our selves, we shall finde that if there be any creature or beast lesse favoured in that than we, there are others (and that in great numbers) to whom nature hath been more favourable than to us.  A multis animalibus decore vincimur:/1 'We are excelled in comelinesse, by many living creatures:'  Yea, of terrestriall creatures that live with us.  For, concerning those of the Sea, omitting their figure, which no proportion can containe, so much doth it differ, both in colour, in neatnesse, in smoothnesse, and in disposition, we must give place unto them: which in all qualities we must likewise doe to the eyrie ones.  And that prerogative which Poets yeeld unto our upright stature, looking towards heaven whence her beginning is,

Pronaque cum spectent animalia caetera terram,
Os homini sublime dedit, caelumque videre
Iussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus,/2
Where other creatures on earth looke and lie,
A loftie looke God gave man, had him prie
On heav'n, rais'd his high countenance to the skie,
is meerely poeticall, for there are many little beasts that have their sight directly, fixed towards heaven:  I finde the Camels and the Estridges necke much more raised and upright than ours.  What beasts have not their face aloft and before, and looke not directly opposite as we; and in their naturall posture descrie not as much of heaven and earth as man doth?  And what qualities of our corporall constitution, both in Plato and Cicero, cannot fit and serve a thousand beasts?  Such as most resemble man are the vilest and
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1 SEN.  Epist. cxxiv. 1 OVID.  Metam. 1. i. 84 
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filthiest of all the rout:  As for outward apparance and true shape of the visage, it is the Munkie or Ape:

Simia quam similis, turpissima bestia, nobis!/1
An Ape, a most il-favored beast,
How like to us in all the rest?' {Yahoo+}
as for inward and vitall parts, it is the Hog.  Truely, when I consider man all naked (yea, be it in that sex which seemeth to have and challenge the greatest share of eye-pleasing beautie) and view his defects, his naturall subjection, and manifold imperfections, I finde we have had much more reason to hide and cover our nakednesse than any creature else.  We may be excused for borrowing those which nature had therein favored more than us, with their beauties to adorne us, and under their spoiles of wooll, of haire, of feathers, and of silke to shroud us.  Let us moreover observe, that man is the onely creature whose wants offend his owne fellowes, and he alone that in naturall actions must withdraw and sequester himselfe from those of his owne kinde.  Verely it is an effect worthie consideration, that the skilfullest masters of amorous dalliaunce appoint for a remedie of venierian passions a free and full survay of the bodie, which one longeth and seeks after: and that to coole the longing and aswage the heat of friendship, one need but perfectly view and thoroughly consider what he loveth.
Ille quod obscaenas in aperto corpore partes
Viderat, in cursu qui fuit, heasit amor./2
The love stood still, that ran in full cariere,
When bare it saw parts that should not appeare.
     And although this remedie may haply proceed from a squeamish and cold humor, yet it is a wonderfull signe of our imbecillitie that the use and knowledge should so make us to be cloyd one of an other. It is not bashfulnesse so much as art and foresight makes our Ladies so circumspect and unwilling to let us come
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1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i.  Enni. 1 OVID.  Rem.  Am. 1. ii. 33. 
<Mont2-204>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

into their closets before they are fully readie and throughly painted, to come abroad and shew themselves:

Nec veneres nostras hoc fallit, quo magis ipsae
Omnia summopere hos vitae post scaenia celant,
Quos retinere volunt adstrictoque esse in amore./1
Our Mistresses know this, which makes them not disclose
Parts to be plaid within, especially from those
Whom they would servants hold, and in their love-bands close:
     Whereas, in other creatures there is nothing but we love and pleaseth our senses: so that even from their excrements and ordure we draw not only dainties to eat, but our richest ornaments and perfumes.  This discourse of beautie toucheth only our common order, and is not so sacrilegious as it intendeth or dareth to comprehend those divine, supernaturally and extraordinarie beauties which sometimes are seen to shine amongst as, even as stars under a corporall and terrestriall veile. Moreover, that part of natures favours which we impart unto beasts, is by our owne confession much more advantageous unto them.  We assume unto our selves imaginarie and fantasticall goods, future and absent goods, which humane capacitie can no way warrant unto her selfe; or some other, which by the overweening of our owne opinion we falsely ascribe unto our selves; as reason, honour, and knowledge; and to them as their proper share we leave the essentiall, the manageable, and palpable goods, as peace, rest, securitie, innocencie, and health:  I say, which is the goodliest and richest present nature can impart unto us.  So that even Stoike Philosophie dareth to affirme, that if Heraclitus and Pherecydes could have changed their wisdome with health,'and by that meanes the one to have rid himselfe of the dropsie and the other of the lowsie- evill, which so sore tormented them, they would surely have done it: whereby they also yeeld so much more honor unto wisdom by comparing and counterpeizing the same
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 1176. 
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unto health, than they do in this other proposition of theirs, where they say, that if Circe had presented Vlisses with two kinds of drinke, the one to turne a wise man into a foole, the other to change a foole into a wise man, he would rather have accepted that of folly, than have been pleased that Circe should transforme his humane shape into a beasts.  And they say that Wisdome herselfe would thus have spoken unto him: 'Meddle not with me, but leave me rather than then shouldst place me under the shape and bodie of an Asse.  What?  This great and heavenly wisdom?  Are Phylosophers contented then to quit it for a corporall and earthly veile?  Why then it is not for reasons sake, nor by discourse and for the soule, we so much excell beasts: it is for the love we beare unto our beautie, unto our faire hew, and goodly disposition of limbs, that we reject and set our understanding at naught, our wisdome, and what else we have.  Well, I allow of this ingenious and voluntarie confession surely they knew those parts we so much labour to pamper to be meere fantasies.  Suppose beasts had all the vertue, the knowledge, the wisdome and sufficiency of the Stoikes, they should still be beasts; nor might they ever be compared unto a miserable, wretched, and senseless man.  For, when all is done, whatsoever is not as we are, is not of any worth.  And God to be esteemed of us, must (as we will show anon) draw somewhat neere it.  Whereby it appeareth that it is not long of a true discourse, but of a foolish hardinesse and selfe-perfuming obstinacie, we prefer ourselves before other creatures, and sequester our selves from their condition and societie. {Gulliver+} But to returne to our purpose: we have for our part inconstancie, irresolution, uncertaintie, sorrow, superstition, carefulnesse for future things (yea after our life), ambition, covetousnesse, jelousie, envie, inordinate, mad, untamed appetites, warre, falsehood, disloyaltie, detraction, and curiositie.  Surely we have strangely overpaid this worthie discourse, whereof we so much glorie, and this readinesse to judge, or capacitie to 


<Mont2-206>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

Knowow, if we have purchased the same with the price of so infinite passions to which we are uncessantly enthralled.  If we be not pleased (as Socrates is) to make this noble prerogative over beasts, to be of force, that whereas nature hath subscribed them certaine seasons and bounds for their naturall lust and voluptuousnesse, she hath given us at all howers and occasions the full reines of them.

Ut vinum aegrotis, quia prodest raro, nocet saepissime, melius est non adhibere omnino, quam, spe dubiae salutis, in apertam perniciem incurrere:  Sic, ha ud scio, an melius fuerit humano generi motum motum celerem cogitationis, acumen, solertiam quam rationem vocamus, quoniam pestifera sint multis, admodum paucis salutaria, non dari omnino, quam tam munifice et tam large dari:/1
'As it is better not to use wine at all in sicke persons, because it seldome doth them good, but many times much hurt, than in hope of doubtfull health to run into undoubted danger; so doe I not knowe whether it were better that this swift motion of the thought, this sharpenesse this conceitednesse which we call reason+, should not at all be given to mankind (because it is pernicious unto many and healthfull to very few) than that it should be given so plentifully and so largely. {animal_rationis+} What good or commoditie may we imagine this far-understanding of so many things brought ever unto Varro+ and to Aristotle?  Did it ever exempt, or could it at any time free them from humane inconveniences?  Were they ever discharged of those accidents that incidently follow a seelie labouring man?  Could they ever draw any ease for the gout from logike?  And howbeit they knew the humour engendering the same to lodge in the joints, have they felt it the lesse?  Did they at any time make a covenant with death, although they knew full well that some nations rejoice at her comming? as also of cuckoldship, because they knew women to be common in some countries?  But contrariwise having both held the first ranke in knowledge, the one amongst the Romans, the other among the Grecians, yea, and at such times
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1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. iii. c. 27. 
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wherein sciences flourished most, we could never learne they had any speciall excellencie in their life.  Wee see the Graecian hath been put to his plunges in seeking to discharge himselfe from some notable imputations in his life.  Was it ever found that sensualitie and health are more pIeasing unto him that understands Astrologie and Grammar?

(Illiterate num minus nervi rigent?/1
As stiffe unlearned sinnewes stand,
As theirs that much more understand.)
or shame and povertie lesse importunate and vexing?
Scilicet et morbis, et debilitate carebis,
Et luctun, et curam et tempora vitae
Longa tibi posthaec fato meliore dabuntur./2
Thou shalt be from disease and weaknesse free,
From moane, from care, long time of life to thee
; Shall by more friendly fate affoorded be.
     I have in my daies seene a hundred artificers, and as many labourers, more wise and more happy than some sectors in the Universitie, and whom I would rather resemble.  Me thinks learning hath a place amongst things necessarie for mans life, as glorie+, noblenesse, dignitie, or at most as riches, {list+} and such other qualities, which indeed stead the same; but afar off and more in conceipt than by Nature. We have not much more need of offices, of rules, and lawes how to live in our commonwealth than the cranes and ants have in theirs.  Which notwithstanding, we see how orderly and without instruction they maintaine themselves.  If man were wise he would value everything according to its worth, and as it is either more profitable or more necessarie for life.  He that shall number us by our actions and proceedings, shall doubtlesse finde many more excellent ones amongst the ignorant than among the wiser sort:  I meane in all kinde of vertues.  My opinion is, that ancient Rome brought
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1 HOR.  Epod. viii. 17. 2 JUVEN.  Sat. xiv. 166. 
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forth many men of much more valour and sufficiencie, both for peace and warre, than this late learned Rome, which with all her wisdom hath overthrowne her erst-flourishing estate.  If all the rest were alike, then should honestie+ and innocencie at least belong to the ancient, for she was exceedingly well placed with simplicities+.  But I will shorten this discourse, which haply would draw me further than I would willingly follow: yet thus much I will say more, that onely humilitie+ and submission is able to make a perfect honest+ man.  Every one must not have the knowledge of his dutie referred to his owne judgement, but ought rather to have it prescribed unto him, and not be allowed to chose it at his pleasure and free will: otherwise, according to the imbecilitie of our reasons, and infinite varietie of our opinions, we might peradventure forge and devise such duties unto ourselves, as would induce us (as Epicurus saith) to endevour to destroy and devoure one another. {bourgeois_individualism+} The first law that ever God gave unto man was a law of pure obedience.  It was a bare and simple commandement whereof man should enquire and know no further: forasmuch as to obey is the proper dutie of a reasonable soul, acknowledging a heavenly and superiour benefactor.  From obeying and yeelding unto him proceed all other vertues, even as all sinnes derive from selfe-overweening. Contrariwise, the first temptation that ever seized on human nature was disobedience, by the devils instigation, whose first poison so far insinuated it selfe into us, by reason of the promises he made us of wisdome and knowledg:  Eritis sicut Dii scientes bonum et malum:/1  'You shall be like Gods, knowing both good and evill.'
And the Syrens, to deceive Vllysses, and alluring him to fall into their dangerous and confounding snares, offer to give him the full fruition of knowledge.  The opinion of wisdome is the plague of man. {intellectual_snobbery+} That is the occasion why ignorance is by our religion recommended unto us as an instrument fitting beleefe and obedience:  Cavete, ne
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1 Gen. iii. 5. 


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Quis vos decipiat per Philosophiam et inanessseductiones, secundum elementa mundi:/1 'Take heed lest any man deceive you by Philosophie and vaine seducements, according to the rudiments of the world.' All the Philosophers of all the sects that ever were doe generally agree in this point, that the chiefest felicitie, or summum onum, consisteth in the peace and tranquillitie of the soule and bodie: but where shall we finde it?

Ad summum sapiens uno minor est Iove, dives;
Liber, honoratus, puIcher, Rex denique Regum:
Praecipue sanus, nisi cum pituita molesta est./2
In summe, who wise is knowne,
Is less than Jove alone,
Rich, honorable, free, faire, King of Kings,
Chiefely in health, but when fleagme trouble brings.
     It seemeth verily that nature for the comfort of our miserable and wretched condition hath allotted us no other portion but presumption.  It is therefore (as Epictetus+ saith) that man hath nothing that is properly his owne but the use of his opinions.  Our hereditarie portion is nothing but smoke and wind.  The Gods (as saith Philosophie) have health in true essence, and sicknesse in conceipt.  Man, cleane contrarie, possesseth goods in imagination, and evils essentially.  Wee have had reason to make the powers of our imagination to be of force: for all our facilities are but in conceipt, and as it were in a dreame. {Fortune+} Heare but this poore and miserable creature vaunt himselfe.  There is nothing (saith Cicero) so delightfull and pleasant as the knowledge of letters; of letters+, I say, by whose meanes the infinitie of things, the incomprehensible greatnesse of nature, the heavens, the earth, and all the seas of this vast universe, are made knowne unto us.  They have taught us religion, moderation, stowtnesse of courage, and redeemed our soule out of darknesse, to make her see and distinguish of all things, the high as well as the lowe, the first as the last, and those betweene both.
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1 Col. ii. 8. 2 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. i. 106 
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It is they that store and supply us with all such things as may make us live happily and well, and instruct us how to passe our time without sorrow or offence.  Seemeth not this goodly orator to speake of the Almighties and everliving Gods condition?  And touching effects, a thousand poore seelie women in a countrie towne have lived and live a life much more reposed, more peaceable, and more constant than ever he did. {Wordsworth+}

     -----Deus ille fuit Deus, inclyte Memmi,
Qui princeps vitae rationem invenit eam, quae
Nunc appellatur sapienta, quique per artem,
Fluctibus e tantis vitam tantisque tenebris,
In tam tranquillo et tam clara luce locavit.

Good sir, it was God, God it was, flrst found
That course of man's life, which now is renown'd
By name of wisdome; who by art reposed,
Our life in so cleare light, calme so composed,
From so great darknesse, so great waves opposed.

     Observe what glorious and noble words these be yet but a sleight accident brought this wisemans understanding to a far worse condition than that of a simple shepherd: notwithstanding this divine Teacher, and this heavenly wisdome.  Of like impudence is the promise of Democritus his Booke, 'I will now speake of all things;' And that fond title which Aristotle gives us of mortall gods, and that rash judgement of Chrysippus that Dion was as vertuous as God:  And my_Seneca+ saith he acknowledgeth that God hath given him life, but how to live well that he hath of himselfe.  Like unto this other:  In virtute vere gloriamur, quod non contingeret, si id donum a Deo non a nobis haberemus:/2 {non_nobis+} 'We rightly vaunt us of vertue, which we should not doe, if we had it of God, not of ourselves:' This also is Senecaes, that the wise man hath a fortitude like unto Gods; but in humanity weaknesse wherein he excelleth him.  There is nothing more common than to meet with such passages of temeritie: There is not any of us that will be so much offended to see himselfe
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 8. 2 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. iii. 
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compared to God as he will deeme himselfe wrong to be depressed in the ranke of other creatures.  So much are we more jealous of our owne interest than of our Creators.  But we must tread this foolish vanitie under foot, and boldly shake off and lively reject those fond ridiculous foundations whereon these false opinions are built.  So long as man shall be perswaded to have meanes or power of himselfe, so long will he denie and never acknowledge what he oweth unto his Master: he shall alwaies (as the common saying is) make shift with his owne:  He must be stripped unto his shirt.  Let us consider some notable example of the effect of Philosophie.  Possidonius having long time been grieved with a painfull-lingring diseease which with the smarting paine made him wring his hands and gnash his teeth, thought to scorne grief with exclaiming and crying out against it: 'Doe what thou list, yet will I never say that thou art evil or paine.  He feeleth the same passions that my lackey doth, but he boasteth himselfe that at least he conteineth his tongue under the lawes of his sect.  Re succumbere non oportebat verbis gloriantem;/1  'It was not for him to yeeld in deeds, who had so braved it in words+.' Arcesilas lying sicke of the gowt, Carneades comming to visit him, and seeing him to frowne, supposing he had been angrie, was going away again, but he called him back, and shewing him his feet and breast, said unto him, 'There is nothing come from thence hither.  This hath somewhat a better garb;' for he feeleth himselfe grieved with sicknesse, and would faine be rid of it, yet is not his heart vanquished or weakned thereby, the other stands upon his stifnesse (as I feare) more verball than essentiall And Dionysius Heracleotes being tormented with a violent smarting in his eies, was at last perswaded to quit these Stoicke+ resolutions.      Be it supposed that Learning and Knowledge should worke those effects they speake of, that is, to blunt and abate the sharpnesse of those accidents or mischances that follow and attend us; doth she any more than
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. ii. c. 25. 


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what ignorance effecteth much more evidently and simply?  The Philosopher Pyrrho being at sea, and by reason of a violent storme in great danger to be cast away, presented nothing unto those that were with him in the ship to imitate but the securitie of an Hog which was aboard, who, nothing at all dismaied, seemed to behold and outstare the tempest.  Philosophie after all her precepts gives us over to the examples of a Wrestler or of a Muletier, in whom we ordinarily perceive much lesse feeling of death, of paine, of grief, and other conveniences, and more undaunted constancie, than ever Learning or Knowledge could store a man withall, {common+} unlesse he were born and of himselfe through some naturall habitude prepared unto it.  What is the cause the tender members of a childe or limbs of a horse are much more easie and with lesse paine cut and incised than ours, if it be not ignorance?  How many, only through the power of imagination, have falne into dangerous diseases?  We ordinarily see diverse that will cause themselves to be let bloud, purged, and dieted, because they would be cured of diseases they never felt but in conceit; when essentiall and true maladies faile us, then Science and Knowledge lend us hers:  This colour or complexion (said she) presageth some rheumatike defluxion will ensue you:  This soultring-hot season menaceth you with some febricant commotion; this cutting of the vitall line of your left hand warneth you of some notable and approaching indisposition.  And at last she will roundly addresse herselfe unto perfect health; saying this youthly vigour and suddain joy cannot possibly stay in one place, her bloud and strength must be abated, for feare it turne you to some mischiefe.  Compare but the life of a man subject to these like imaginations, unto that of a day-laboring swaine, who followes his naturall appetites, who measureth all things onely by the present sense, and hath neither learning nor prognostications, who feeleth no disease but when he hath it: whereas the other hath often the stone imaginarily before he have it in his reines: as if it were not time 


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enough to endure the sicknesse when it shall come, he doth in his fancie prevent the same, and beadlong runneth to meet with it.  What I speake of Physicke, the same may generally be applied and drawne to all manner of learning.  Thence came this ancient opinion of those Philosophers who placed chiefe felicitie in the knowledge of our judgements weaknesse.  My ignorance affords me as much cause of hope as of feare: and having no other regiment for my health than that of other men's examples, and of the events I see elsewhere in like occasions whereof I find some of all sorts: and relie upon the comparisons that are most favourable unto me.  I embrace health with open armes, free, plaine, and full, and prepare my appetite to enjoy it, by how much more it is now lesse ordinarie and more rare unto me: so far is it from me that I, with the bitternesse of some new and forced kind of life, trouble her rest and molest her ease.  Beasts do manifestly declare unto us how many infirmities our mindes agitation brings us.  That which is told us of those that inhabit Bresill, who die onely through age, which some impute to the clearnesse and calmnenesse of their aire, I rather ascribe to the calmenesse and clearnesse of their mindes, void and free from all passions, cares, toiling, and unpleasant labours, as a people that passe their life in a wonderfull kind of simplicitie and ignorance, without letters, or lawes and without Kings or any Religion. {noble_savage+} Whenc comes it (as we daily see by experience) that the rudest and grossest clownes are more tough, strong, and more desired in amorous executions; and that the love of a Muletier is often more accepted than that of a perfumed quaint courtier?  But because in the latter the agitation of his mind doth so distract, trouble, and wearie the force of his bodie, {Hamlet+} as it also troubleth and wearieth it selfe, who doth belie, or more commonly cast the same down even into madnesse, but her own promptitude, her point, her agilitie, and, to conclude, her proper force?  Whence proceeds the subtilest follie but from the subtilest wisdome? {PlainDealer+} As from the extremest 


<Mont2-214>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

friendships proceed the extremest enmities and from the soundest healths the mortallest diseases, so from the rarest and quickest agitations of our mindes ensue the most distempered and outrageous frenzies.  There wants but half a pegs turne to passe from the one to the other.  In mad mens actions we see how fitlie follie suteth and meets with the strongest operations of our minde.  Who knowes not how unperceivable the neighbourhood between follie with the liveliest elevations of a free minde is, and the effects of a supreme and extraordinarie vertue.  Plato affirmeth that melancholy mindes are more excellent and discipliuable; so are there none more inclinable unto follie.  Diverse spirits, are seen to be overthrowne by their owne force and proper nimblenesse.  What a start hath one/1 of the most judicious, ingenious, and most fitted under the ayre of true ancient poesie, lately gotten by his owne agitation and selfe- gladnesse, above all other Italian Poets that have been of a long time?  Hath not he wherewith to be beholding unto this his killing vivacitie? unto this clearnesse that hath so blinded him? unto his exact and far-reaching apprehension of reasons which hath made him voide of reason? unto the curious and laborious pursute of Sciences, that have brought him unto sottishnesse? unto this rare aptitude to the exercises of the minde, which hath made him without minde or exercise? I rather spited than pitied him when I saw him at Ferrara, in so piteous a plight, that he survived himselfe; misacknowledging both himselfe and his labours, which unwitting to him, and even to his face, have been published both uncorrected and maimed.  Will you have a man healthy, will you have him regular, and in constant and safe condition? overwhelme him in the darke pit of idlenesse and dulnesse.  We must be besotted ere we can become wise, and dazzled before we can be led.  And if a man shall tell me that the commoditie to have the appetite cold to griefes and wallowish to evils, drawes this incommoditie after it, it is also consequently the same
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1 TORQUATO TASSO. 


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that makes us lesse sharpe and greedie to the enjoying of good and of pleasures:  It is true but the miserie of our condition beareth that we have not so much to enjoy as to shun, and that extreme voluptuousnesse doth not so much pinch us as a light smart:  egnius homines bona quam mala sentiunt:/1
'Men have a duller feeling of a good turne than of an ill;' we have not so sensible a feeling of perfect health as we have of the least sicknesse,'

     -----pungit
In cute vix sumnma violatum plagula corpus
Quando valere nihil quemquam movet.  Hoc juvat unum
Quod me non torquet latus aut pes; caetera quisquam
Vix queat aut sanum sese aut sentire valentem.
A light stroke that dooth scarce the top-skin wound,
Greeves the gall'd bodie, when in health to be,
Doth scarce move any: onely ease is found.
That neither side nor foot torementeth me:
Scarce any in the rest can feel he's sound.
     Our being in health is but the privation of being ill.  See therefore where the sect of Philosophie that hath most preferred sensualitie, hath also placed the same but to indolencie or unfeeling of paine.  To have no infirmitie at all is the chiefest possession of health that man can hope for (as Ennius said)
Nimium boni est, cui nihil est mali.
He hath but too much good,
Whom no ill hath withstood.
     For the same tickling and pricking which a man doth feel in some pleasures, and seemes beyond simple health and indolencie, this active and moving sensualitie, or as I may terme it, itching and tickling pleasure, aymes but to be free from paine, as her chiefest scope.  The lust-full longing which allures us to the acquaintance of women seekes but to expell that paine which an earnest and burning desire doth possesse us with, and desireth but to allay it thereby to come to rest and be
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1 TIT.  LIV. 1. xxx. c. 21. 
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exempted from this fever; and so of others.  I say therefore, that ifsimplicitie+ directeth us to have no evill, it also addresseth us according to our condition to a most happy estate.  Yet ought it not to be imagined so dull and heavie than the altogether senselesse.  And Crantor had great reason to withstand the unsensiblenesse of Epicurus, if it were so deeply rooted that the approching and birth of evils might gainsay it.  I commend not that unsensiblenesse which is neither possible nor to be desired.  I am well pleased not to be sicke, but if I be, I will know that I am so; and if I be cauterized or cut, I will feel it.  Verily, he that should root out the knowledge of evill should therewithall extirp the knowledge of voluptuousnesse, and at last bring man to nothing.  Istud nihil dolere, non sine magna mercede contingit immanitatis in animo, stuporis in corpore:/1 'This verse point, not to be offended or grieved with any thing, befals not freely to a man without either inhumanitie in his minde or senselesnesse in his bodie.'  Sicknesse is not amiss unto man, comming in her turne; nor is he alwaies to shun pain, nor ever to follow sensualitie.  It is a great advantage for the honour of ignorance that Science it selfe throwes us into her armes when she findes her selfe busie to make us strong against the assaults of evils: she is forced to come to this composition: to yeeld us the bridle, and give us leave to shrowd our selves in her lap, and submit ourselves unto her favour, to shelter us against the assaults and injuries of fortune.  For what meaneth she else when she perswades us to withdraw our thought from the evils that possesse us, and entertains them with foregon pleasures, and stead us as a comfort of present evils with the remembrance of forepast felicities, and call a vanished content to our help, for to oppose it against that which vexeth us?  Levationes, aegritudinum in avocatione a cogitanda molestia, et revocatione ad contemplandas voluptates ponit./2 'Eases of grief she reposeth either in calling from the thought of offence, or calling to the contemplations of some pleasures.
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. iii. 2 Ibid. 


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Unlesse it be that where force fails her, she will use policie and shew a tricke of nimblenesse and turne away, where the vigor both of her bodie and armes shall faile her.  For not onely to a strict Philosopher, but simply to any setled man, when he by experience feeleth the burning alteration of a hot fever, what currant paiment is it to pay him with the remembrance of the sweetnesse of Greeke wine?  It would rather empaire his bargaine.

Che ricordarsi il ben doppia la noia.

For to thinke of our joy,
Redoubles our annoy.

Of that condition is this other counsell, which Philosophie giveth onely to keepe forepast felicities in memories and thence blot out such griefes as we have felt: as if the skill to forget were in our power: and counsell of which we have much lesse regard:
Suavis est laborum praeteritorum memoria./1
Of labours overpast,
Remembrance hath sweet taste
What? shall Philosophie, which ought to put the weapons into my hands to fight against Fortune; which should harden my courage, to suppress and lay at my feet all humane adversities, will she so faint as to make me like a fearfull cunnie creepe into some lurking-hole, and like a craven to tremble and yeeld?  For memorie representeth unto us, not what we chuse, but what pleaseth her.  Nay, there is nothing so deeply imprinteth anything in our remembrance as the desire to forget the same: it is a good way to commend to the keeping, and imprinteth anything in our minde, to solicit her to lose the same. And that is false, Est situm in nobis, ut et adversa quasi perpetua oblivione obruamus, et secunda jucunde et suaviter eminerimus:/2 'This is engraffed in us, or at least in our power, that we both burie in perpetuall oblivion things past against
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1 CIC.  Fin. 1. ii.; Eurip. 2 CIC.  Fin.  Bon. 1. i. 
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us, and record with pleasure and delight what soever was for us.' And this is true, Memini etiam quae nolo; oblivisci non possum quae volo:/1 'I remember even those things I would not; and can not forget what I would.' And whose counsell is this? his, Qui se unus sapientem profiteri sit ausus:/1 'Who only durst professe himselfe a wise man'

Qui genus humanum ingenio superavit, et omnes
Praestrinaeit stellas, exortas uti aetherius Sol./2
Who from all mankind bare for wit the prize,
And dim'd the stars as when skies Sunne doth rise.
     To emptie and diminish the memorie, is it not the readie and onely way to ignorance?
Iners malorum remedium ignorantia est./3
Of ills a remedie by chance,
And verie dull is ignorance.
We see diverse like precepts, by which we are permitted to borrow frivolous appearances from the vulgar sort, where lively and strong reason is not of force sufficient: alwaies provided they bring us content and comfort. Where they can not cure a sore they are pleased to stupifie and hide the same.  I am perswaded they will not denie me this, that if, they could possibly add any order or constancie to a mans life, that it might thereby be still maintained in pleasure and tranquillitie, by or through any weaknesse or infirmitie of judgement, but they would accept it.
     ----- potare, et spargere flores
Incipiam, patiarque vel inconsultus haberi./4
I will begin to strew flowers, and drinke free,
And suffer witlesse, thriftlesse, held to bee.
     There should many Philosophers he found of Lycas his opinion:  This man in all other things being very temperate and orderly in his demeanors, living quietly
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1 EPIC. in CIC.  De Fin. 1. ii. 2 LUCR. 1. iii. 1086; EPICUR. 3 SEN. Oed. act iii. sc. 1. 4 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. iii. 14. 
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and contentedly with his families wanting of no dutie or office both towards his own houshold and strangers, verie carefully preserving himselfe from all hurtfull things: notwithstanding through some alteration of his senses or spirits, he was so possessed with this fantasticall conceipt or obstinate humour that he ever and continually thought to be amongst the Theatres, where he still saw all manner of spectacles, pastimes, sports and the best Comedies of the world.  But being at last by the skill of Physitians cured of this maladie, and his offending humour Purged, he could hardly be held from putting them in suite, to the end they might restore him to the former pleasures and contents of his imagination.

     ----- pol me occidistis amici,
Non servastis, ait, cui sic extorta voluptas,
Et demptus per vim menti gratissimus error./1
You have not sav'd me, friends, but slaine me quite,
(Quoth he) from whom so reft is my delight;
And errour purg'd, which best did please my spright.
     Of a raving like unto that of Thrasilaus, sonne unto Pythodorus, who verily beleeved that all the ships that went out from the haven of Pyraeus, yea and all such as came into it, did only travell about his businesse, rejoycing when any of them had made a fortunate voyage, and welcommed them with great gladnesse:  His brother Crito, having caused him to be cured and restored to his better senses, he much bewailed and grieved of the condition wherein he had formerly lived in, such joy, and so void of all care and griefe.  It is that which that ancient Greeke verse saith:  That not to be so advised brings many commodities with it:
'E Tp op--tim Yip inai, aL Tor/2

The sweetest life I wis,
In knowing nothing is. {ignorance=bliss+}

     And as Ecclesiastes witnesseth: 'In much wisdome is much sorrow.  And who getteth knowledge purchaseth sorrow and griefe' Even that which Philosophy
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. ii. 138. 2 SOPH.  Ala.  Flag. 
<Mont2-220>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

doth in generall tearmes allow, this last remedy which she ordaineth for all manner of necessities; that is, to make an end of that life which we cannot endure. {Hemingway+} Placet? pare: placet? quacunque vis exi. Pungit dolor? vel fodiat sane: si nudus es, da jugulum:  sin tectus armis vulcaniis, id est, fortitudine, resiste:/1 'Doth it like you? obey: doth it not like you? get out as you will; doth griefe pricke you? and let it pierce you too: if you be naked, yeeld your throat: but if you be covered with the armour of Vulcan, that is, with fortitude, resist.' And that saving, used of the Graecians in their banquets, which they aply unto it,  Aut bibat, aut abeat:/2 'Either let him carouse, or carry him out of the house:'  which rather fitteth the mouth of a Gascoine, who very easily doth change the letter B into V, than that of Cicero:

Vivere si recte nescis, discede peritis:
Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti:
Tempus abire tibi est, largius aequo
Ridat, et pulset lascivia descentius aetas:/3
Live well you cannot, them that can, give place;      Well have you sported, eaten well, drunke well: 'Tis time you part; lest wanton youth with grace
Laugh at, and knock you that with swilling dwell.
what is it but a confession of his insufficiency, and a sending one backe not only to ignorance, there to be shrowded, but unto stupidity it selfe, unto unsensiblenesse and not being?
      ------ Democritum postquam matura vetustas
Admonuit memorem, motus lanquescere mentis.
Sponte sua letho caput obvius obtulit ipse./4

When ripe age put Democritus in minde,
That his mindes motions fainted, he to finde
His death went willing, and his life resign'd.

-----
1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. ii. 2 CIC.  Ib. 1. v. 3 HOR. 1. ii.  Epist. ii. ult. 4 LUCR. 1. iii. 1083. 
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It is that which Anthisthenes said, that a man must provide himselfe either of wit to understand or of a halter to hang himselfe:  And that which Chrysippus alleaged upon the speech of the Poet Tyrtaius,

De la vertue, ou de mort approcher./1

Or vertue to approch,
Or else let death incroch.

     And Crates said that love was cured with hunger, if not by time; and in him that liked not these two meanes, by the halter. That Sextius, to whom Seneca and Plutarke give so much commendation, having given over all things else and betaken himselfe to the study of Philosophy, seeing the progress of his studies so tedious and slow, purposed to cast himself into the Sea; Ranne unto death for want of knowledge:  Reade here what the law saith upon the subject.  If peradventure any great inconvenience happen, which cannot be remedied, the haven is not farre-off, and by swimming may a man save himselve out of his bodie, as out of a leaking boat: for it is feare to die, and not desire to live, which keepes a foole ioyned to his body.  As life through simplicity+ becommmeth more pleasant, so (as I erewhile began to say) becommeth it more innocent and better.  The simple and the ignorant (saith St.  Paul) raise themselves up to heaven, and take possession of it; whereas we, with all the knowledge we have plunge ourselves downe to the pit of hell.  I rely neither upon Valentian (a professed enemy to knowledge and learning), nor upon Licinius (both-Roman Emperours), who named them the venime and plague of all politike estates:  Nor on Mahomet, who, as I have heard, doth utterly interdict all manner of learning to his subjects.  But the example of that great Lycurgus and his authority, ought to beare chiefe sway and the revernce of that divine Lacedemonian policy, so great, so admirable, and so long time flourishing in all vertue and felicity without any institution or exercise at all of letters.  Those who returne from
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1 PLUT. in Solon's Life.  AMYOT's Trans. 
<Mont2-222>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAY ES that new world which of late hath been discovered by the Spaniards, can witnesse unto us how those nations, being without Magistrates or law, live much more regularly and formally than we, who have amongst us more officers and lawes than men of other professions or actions.
Di citatorie piene e di libelli,
Dessamine, e di carte, di procure
Hanno mani e il seno, e gran fastelli
Di chiose, di consioli e di letture,
Per cui le faculta de' poverelli
Non sono mai ne le citta sicure,
Hanno dietro e dinanzi e d'ambi i lati,
Notai, procuratori, e advocate./1
Their hands and bosoms with writs and citations,
With papers, libels, proxies, full they beare,
And bundels great of strict examiunations,
Of glosses, counsels, readings here and there.
Whereby in townes poore men of occupations
Possesse not their small goods secure from feare,
Before, behind, on each sides Advocates,
Proctors, and Notaries hold up debates. {pedants+{lawyers+}
     It was that which a Roman Senator said, that 'their predecessors had their breath stinking of garlike, and their stomacke perfumed with a good, conscience:' and contrary, the men of his time outwardly smelt of nothing but sweet odours, but inwardly they stunke of all vices: which, in mine opinion, is as much to say they had much knowledge and sufficiency, but great want of honesty.  Incivility, ignorance, simplicity+, and rudenesse are commonly joyned with innocency. {PlainDealer+} Curiosity, subtility, and knowledge are ever followed with malice:  Humility, feare, obedience, and honesty (which are the principall instruments for the preservation of humane society) require a single docile soule and which presumeth little of her selfe: {modesty+} Christians have a peculiar knowledge how curiosity is in a man a naturall and originall infirmity.  The care to increase in wisdome and knowledge was the first overthrow of
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1 ARIOSTO, cant. xiv. stan. 84. 
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man-kinde: is the way whereby man hath headlong cast himselfe downe into eternall damnation. {original_sin+} Pride is his losse and corruption: it is pride that misleadeth him from common waies; that makes him to embrace all new fangles, and rather chuse to be chiefe of a straggling troupe and in the path of perdition, and be regent of some erroneous sect, and a teacher of falsehood, than a disciple in the schoole of truth, and suffer himselfe to be led and directed by the hand of others in the ready beaten highway. It is haply that which the ancient Greeke proverb implieth, Seto-iaatuopia, Ka8a7rep 7rarp), -r Tv(p,; sef9e7-at: 'Superstition obaieth pride as a father.  Oh overweaning, how much doest thou hinder us?  Socrates being advertised that the God of wisdome had attributed the name of wise unto him, was thereat much astonished, and diligently searching and rouzing up himselfe, and ransacking the very secrets of his heart, found no foundation or ground for this divine sentence.  He knew some that were as just, as temperate, as valiant and as wise as he, and more eloquent, more faire and more profitable to their country.  In fine he resolved that he was distinguished from others, and reputed wise, onely because he did not so esteeme himselfe:  And that his God deemed the opinion of science and wisdome a singular sottishnes in man; and that his best doctrine was the doctrine of ignorance, and simplicitie+ his greatest wisdome.  The sacred writ pronounceth them to be miserable in this world that esteeme themselves. 'Dust and ashes,' saith he, 'what is there in thee thou shouldest so much glory of?  And in another place God hath made man like unto a shadowe, of which who shall judge when, the light being gone, it shall vanish away?  Man is a thing of nothing.  So far are our faculties from conceiving that high Deitie, that of our Creators works, those beare his marke best, and are most his owne, which we understand least.  It is an occasion to induce Christians to beleeve, when they chance to meet with any incredible thing, that it is so much the more according unto reason, by how much 


<Mont2-224>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

more it is against humane reason.  If it were according unto reason, it were no more a wonder; and were it to be matched, it re no more singular. Melius scitur Deus nesciendo, 'God is better knowen by our not knowing him,' saith S.  Augustine: and Tacitus, Sanctius est ac reverentius de actis deorum credere quam scire:/1  'It is a course of more holinesse and reverence to hold beleefe than to have knowledge of Gods actions.' And Plato deemes it to be a vice of impiety overcuriously to enquire after God, after the world, and after the first causes of things. Atque illum quidem parentem hujus universitatis invenire, difficile; et quum jam inveneris, indicare in vulgus, nefas:/2 ''Both it is difficult to finde out the father of this universe, and when you have found him, it is unlawfull to reveale Him to the vulgar,' saith Cicero.  We easily pronounce puissance, truth, and justice; they be words importing some great matter, but that thing we neither see nor conceive.  We say that God feareth, that God will be angry, and that God loveth.

Immortalia mortali sermone notantes,/3
Who with tearmes of mortality
Note things of immortality.
     They be all agitations and motions, which according to our forms can have no place in God, nor we imagine them according to his.  It onely belongs to God to know himselfe and interpret his owne workes; and in our tongues he doth it improperly, to descend and come downe to us, that are and lie groveling on the ground.  How can wisdome (which is the choice betweene good and evill) beseeme him, seeing no evill doth touch him?  How reason and intelligence, which we use to come from obscure to apparant things, seeing there is no obscure thing in God?  Justice+, which distributeth unto every man what belongs unto him, created for the society and conversation of man, how is she in
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1 TACITUS, Mor.  German. 2 CIC. de Univer.  Fragm. 3 LUCR. 1. v. 122. 
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God?  How, temperance+, which is the moderation of corporall sensualities, which have no place at all in his God-head?  Fortitude+ patiently to endure sorrowes, and labours and dangers, appertaineth little unto him, these three things no way approaching him, having no accesse unto him.  And therefore Aristotle holds him to be equally exempted from vertue and from vice. Neque gratia, neque ira teneri potest, quod quae talia essent, imbecilla essent omnia:/1 'Nor can he be possessed with favor and anger; for, all that is so is but weake.'  The participation which we have of the knowledge, of truth, what soever she is, it is not by our owne strength we have gotten it; God hath sufficiently taught it us in that he hath made choice of the simple, common, and ignorant to teach us His wonderfull secrets.  Our faith hath not been purchased by us: it is a gift proceeding from the liberality of others.  It is not by our discourse or understanding that we have received our religion, it is by a forreine authority and commandement.  The weaknesse of our judgement helps us more than our strength to compasse the same, and our blindnesse more than our clear-sighted eies.  It is more by the meanes of our ignorance than of our skill that we are wise in heavenly knowledge.  It is no marvell if our naturall and terrestriall meanes cannot conceive the supernaturall or apprehend the celestial knowledge.  Let us adde nothing of our own unto it but obedience and subjection: for (as it is written) 'I will confound the wisdome of the wise, and destroy the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise? where is the scribe, where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made the wisdome of this world foolishuesse? For seeing the world by wisdome knew not God, in the wisdome of God, it hath pleased Him, by the vanity of preaching, to save them that beleeve. Yet must I see at last whether it be in mans power to finde what he seekes for: and if this long search, wherein he hath continued so many ages, hath enriched him with any new strength or solid truth:  I am perswaded, if be speake in
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1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 2 1 COR. i. 19-21. 


<Mont2-226>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

conscience, he will confesse that all the benefit he hath gotten by so tedious a pursuit hath been that he hath learned to know his owne weaknesse. That ignorance which in us was naturall, we have with long study confirmed and averred.  It hath happened unto those that are truly learned, as it hapneth unto eares of corne, which as long as they are empty, grow and raise their head aloft, upright and stout; but if they once become full and bigge with ripe corne, they begin to humble and droope downeward.  So men having tried and sounded all, and in all this chaos and huge heape of learning and provision of so infinite different things, found nothing that is substantiall, firme, and steadie, but all vanitie, have renounced their presumption, and too late known their naturall condition. {Pope+} It is that which Velleius upbraids Cotta and Cicero withall, that they have learnt of Philo to have learned nothing.  Pherecydes, one of the seven wise men, writing to Thales even as he was yeelding up the ghost, 'I have,' saith he, 'appoynted my friends, as soon as I shal be layed in my grave, to bring thee all my writings.  If they please thee and the other sages, publish them; if not, conceale them.  They containe no certainties nor doe they any whit satisfie mee.  My profession is not to know the truth nor to attaine it.  I rather open than discover things.  The wisest that ever was, being demanded what he knew, answered, he knew that he knew nothing. He verified what some say, that the greatest part of what we know is the least part of what we know not: that is, that that which we thinke to know is but a parcel, yea, and a small particle, of our ignorance. 'We know things in a dreame' saith Plato, 'and we are ignorant of them in truth:. Omnes pene veteres nihil cognosci, nihil percipi, nihil sciri posse dixerunt angustos sensus, imbecilles animos, brevia curricula vitae:/1 'Almost all the ancients affirmed nothing may be knowen, nothing perceived, nothing understood: that our senses, are narrow, our mindes are weake, and the race of our life is short.' Cicero himselfe, who ought
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1 CIC.  Acad.  Ou. 1. i. 


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all he had unto learning, Valerius saith, that in his age he begun to disesteeme letters: and whilst he practised them, it was without bond to any speciall body, following what seemed probable unto him, now in the one and now in the other sect; ever holding himselfe under the Academies doubtfulnesse.  Dicendum est, sed ita ut nihil affirmem; quaeram omnia, dubitans plerumque, et mihi diffidens:/1 'Speake I must, but so as I avouch nothing, question all things, for the most part in doubt+ and distrust of my selfe.  I should have too much adoe if I would consider man after his owne fashion, and in grose:' which I might doe by his owne rule, who is wont to judge of truth, not by the weight or value of voices, but by the number.  But leave we the common people,

Qui vigilans stertit,/2
Who snoare while they are awake.
Mortua cui vita est, prope jam vivo atque videnti:/3
Whose life is dead while yet they see,
And in a manner living be.
     Who feeleth not himselfe, who judgeth not himselfe, who leaves the greatest part of his naturall parts idle.  I will take man even in his highest estate.  Let us consider him in this small number of excellent and choice men, who having naturally beene endowed with a peculiar and exquisite wit, have also fostred and sharpened the same with care, with study and with art, and have brought and strained unto the highest pitch of wisdome it may possibly reach unto.  They have fitted their soule unto all senses, and squared the same to all byases; they have strengthned and under-propped it with all foraine helpes, that might any way fit or stead her, and have enriched and adorned her with whatsoever they have beene able to borrow, either within or without the world for her availe: It is in them that the extreme height of humane nature doth lodge.  They have reformed the world with policies and lawes.
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1 CIC.  Divin. 1. i. 2 LUCR. i. iii. 1091. 3 Ib. 1089. 
<Mont2-228>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

They have instructed the same with arts and sciences, as also by example of their wonderfull manners and life.  I will but make accompt of such people, of their witnesse and of their experience.  Let us see how far they have gone, and what holdfast they have held by.  The maladies and defects which we shall finde in that college, the world may boldly allow them to be his. Whosoever seekes for any thing, commeth at last to this conclusion and saith, that either he hath found it, or that it cannot be found, or that he is still in pursuit after it.  All philosophy is divided into these three kindes.  Her puprose is to seeke out the truth, the knowledge and the certainty. The Peripatetike, the Epicureans, the Stoikes+ and others have thought they had found it.  These have established the sciences that we have, and as of certaine knowledges have treated of them; Clitomachus, Carneades, and the Academikes have despaired the finding of it, and judged that truth could not be conceived by our meanes.  The end of these is weaknesse and ignorance.  The former had more followers and the worthiest sectaries.  Pyrrho and other sceptikes, or epechistes, whose doctrine or manner of teaching many auncient learned men have thought to have beene drawne from Homer, from the seaven wise men, from Archilochus and Euripides, to whom they joyne Zeno, Democritus, and Xenophanes, say that they are still seeking after truth.  These judge that those are infinitely deceived who imagine they have found it, and that the second degree is over boldly vaine in affirming that mans power is altogether unable to attaine unto it.  For to establish the measure of our strength to know and distinguish of the difficulty of things is a great, a notable and extreme science, which they doubt whether man be capable thereof or no.

Nil sciri quisquis putat, id quoque nescit,
An sciri possit, quo se nil scire fatetur./1
Who thinks nothing is knowne, knowes not that
Whereby hee Grauntes he knowes nothing if it knowne may bee.
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 471. 
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     That ignorance which knoweth, judgeth, and condemneth it selfe, is not an absolute ignorance: for to be so, she must altogether be ignorant of her selfe.  So that the profession of the Pyrrhonians is ever to waver, to doubt, and to enquire; never to be assured of any thing, nor to take any warrant of himself.  Of the three actions or faculties of the soule, that is to say, the imaginative, the concupiscible, and the consenting, they allow and conceive the two former: the last they hold and defend to be ambiguous, without inclination or approbation either of one or other side, be it never so light.  Zeno in jesture painted forth his imagination upon this division of the soules faculties: the open and outstretched hand was apparance; the hand halfe-shut, and fingers somewhat bending, consent; the fist closed, comprehension: if the fist of the left hand were closely clinched together, it signified Science.  Now this situation of their judgement, straight and inflexible, receiving all objects with application or consent, leads them unto their Ataraxie, which is the condition of a quiet and settled life, exempted from the agitations which we receive by the impression of the opinion and knowledge we imagine to have of things; whence proceed feare, avarice, envie, immoderate desires, ambition, pride, superstition, love of novelties, rebellion, disobedience, obstinacie, and the greatest number of corporall evils: yea, by that meane they are exempted from the jealousie of their owne discipline, for they contend but faintly: they feare nor revenge nor contradiction in the disputations.  When they say that heavy things descend downward, they would be loth to be beleeved, but desire to be contradicted, thereby to engender doubt and suspence of judgement, which is their end and drift.  They put forth their propositions but to contend with those they imagine wee hold in our conceipt.  If you take theirs, then will they undertake to maintaine the contrarie all is one to them, nor will they give a penny to chuse.  If you propose that snow is blacke, they will argue on the other side that it is white. lf you say it is neither 


<Mont2-230>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

one nor other, they will maintaine it to be both.  If by a certaine judgement you say that you cannot tell, they will maintaine that you can tell.  Nay, if by an affirmative axiome you swear that you stand in some doubt, they will dupute that you doubt not of it, or that you cannot judge or maintaine that you are in doubt.  And by this extremitie of doubt, which staggereth it selfe, they separate and divide themselves from many opinions, yea from those which divers ways have maintained both the doubt and the ignorance. Why shall it not be granted then (say they) as to Dogmatists, or Doctrine-teachers, for one to say greene and another yellow, so for them to doubt?  Is there any thing can be proposed unto you, either to allow or refuse which may not lawfully be considered as ambiguous and doubtfull?  And whereas others be carried either by the custome of their countries or by the institution of their parents, or by chance, as by a tempest, without choyce or judgement, yea sometimes before the age of discretion, to such and such another opinion, to the Stoike or Epicurean Sect, to which they finde themselves more engaged, subjected, or fast tyed, as to a prize they cannot let goe:  Ad quamcunque disciplinam, velut Tempestate, delati, ad eam tanquam ad saxum adhaerescunt: /1 'Being carried as it were by a Tempest to any kinde of doctrine, they sticke close to it as it were to a rocke.' Why shall not these likewise be permitted to maintaine their libertie and consider of things without dutie or compulsion?Hoc liberiores et solutiores, quod integra illis, est judicandi potestatas:/2'They are so much the freer and at libertie, for that their power of judgement is kept entire.' Is it not some advantage for one to finde himselfe disengaged from necessitie which brideleth others:  Is it not better to remaine in suspence than to entangle himselfe in so many errours that humane fantasia hath brought forth?  Is it not better for a man to suspend his owne perswasion than to meddle with these sedicious and quarrellous divisions?  What shall I chuse? Mary, what you list,
-----1
CIC.  Acad.  Qu. l. x. 2 Ibid. 


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soyoun chuse very foolish answer: to which it seemeth nevertheless that all Dogmatisme arriveth; by which it is not lawfull for you to bee ignorant of that we know not.  Take the best and strongest side, it shall never be so sure but you shall have occasion to defend the same, to close and combat a hundred and a hundred sides?  Is it not better to keepe out of this confusion? You are suffered to embrace as your honour and life Aristotles opinion upon the eternitie of the Soule, and to belie and contradict whatsoever Plato saith concerning that; and shall they be interdicted to doubt of it?  If it be lawfull for Panaecius to maintaine his judgement about auspices, dreames, oracles, and prophecies, whereof the Stoikes make no doubt at all: wherfore shall not a wise man dare that in all things which this man dareth in such as he hath learned of his masters, confirmed and established by the general consent of the schoole whereof he is a sectary and a professor? If it be a childe that judgeth, he wots not what it is; if a learned man, he is forestalled.  They have reserved a great advantage for themselves in the combat, having discharged themselves of the care how to shroud themselves. They care not to be beaten, so they may strike againe: and all is fish that comes to net with them.  If they overcome, your proposition halteth; if you, theirs is lame; if they faile, they verifie ignorance; if you, she is verified by you; if they prove that nothing is knowen, it is very well; if they cannot prove it, it is good alike: Vt quum in eadem re paria contrariis in partibus momenta inveniuntur, facilius ab utraque parte assertio sustineatur;/1 XXXX
'So as when the same matter the like weight and moment is found on divers parts, we may the more easily hold with avouching on both parts.' And they suppose to find out more easily why a thing is false than true, and that which is not than that which is: and what they beleeve not, than that what they beleeve.  Their manner of speech is, 'I confirme nothing. It is no more so than thus, or neither:  I
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1 CIC.  Acad.  Qu. 1. x 


<Mont2-232>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

conceive it not; apparances are every where alike.  The law of speaking pro or contra is all one. 'Nothing seemeth true that may not seeme false. Their sacramental word is c7rcXco; which is as much to say as I hold and stir not.  Behold the burdens of their songs and other such like.  Theyr effects is a pure, entire, and absolute surceasing and suspence of judgement. They use their reason to enquire and to debate, and not to stay and choose. Whosoever shall imagine a perpetuall confession of ignorance, and a judgement upright and without staggering, to what occasion soever may chance, that man conceives the true Pyrrhonisme.  I expound this fantazy as plaine as I can, because many deeme it hard to be conceived: and the authors themselves represent it somewhat obscurely and diversly.  Touching the actions of life, in that they are after the common sort, they are lent and applied to naturall inclinations, to the impulsion and constraint of passions, to the constitutiones of lawes and customes, and to the tradition of arts: Non enim nos Deus ista scire, sed tantummodo uti voluit:/1 'For God would not have us know these things, but only use them.' By such meanes they suffer their common actions to be directed without any conceit or judgement, which is the reason that I cannot well sort unto this discourse what is said of Pyrrho.  They faine him to be stupide and unmovable, leading a kinde of wild and unsociable life, not shunning to be hit with carts, presenting himselfe unto downefalls, refusing to conforme himselfe to the lawes.  It is an endearing of his discipline.  Hee would not make himselfe a stone or a blocke, but a living, discoursing, and reasoning man, enjoying all pIeasures and naturall commodities, busying himselfe with and using all his corporall and spirituall parts in rule and right.  The fantasticall and imaginary and false privileges which man hath usurped unto himselfe to sway, to appoint, and to establish, he hath absolutely renounced and quit them.  Yet is there no Sect but is enforced to allow her wise Sectary, in chiefe to follow
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1 CIC.  Divin. 1. i. 


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diverse things nor comprehended, nor perceived, nor allowed, if he will live.  And if he take shipping, he follows his purpose, not knowing whether it shall be profitable or no: and yeeldes to this, that the ship is good, the pilote is skilfull, and that the season is fit, circumstances only probable.  After which he is bound to goe and suffer himselfe to be removed by apparances, alwaies provided they have no expresse contrariety in them. Hee hath a body, he hath a soule, his senses urge him forward, his minde moveth him.  Although he finde not this proper and singular marke of judging in himselfe, and that he perceive he should not engage his consent seeing some falsehood may be like unto this truth: hee ceaseth not to conduct the offices of his life fully and commodiously.  How many arts are there which professe to consist more in conjecture than in the science; that distinguish not betweene truth and falsehood, but only follow seeming? There is both true and false (say they), and there are meanes in us to seeke it out, but not to stay it when we touch it.  It is better for us to suffer the order of the world to manage us without further inquisition. A mind warranted from prejudice hath a marvellous preferment to tranquillity. Men that censure and controule their judges doe never duly submit unto them.  How much more docile and tractable are simple and uncurious mindes found both towards the lawes of religion and Politike decrees, than these over-vigilant and nice wits, teachers of divine and humane causes?  There is nothing in mans invention wherein is so much likelybood, possibilities and profit.  This representeth man bare and naked, acknowledging his naturall weaknesse, apt to receive from above some strange power, disfurnished of all humane knowledge, and so much the more fitte to harbour divine understanding, disannulling his judgement, that so he may give more place unto faith. Neither misbeleeving nor establishing any doctrine or opinion repugnant unto common lawes and observances, humble, obedient, disciplinable and studious; a sworne enemy to Heresie, and by consequence exempting himselfe from all vaine 


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and irreligious opinions, invented and brought up by false Sects.  It is a white sheet prepared to take from the finger of God what form so ever it shall please him to imprint therein.  The more we addresse and commit our selves to God, and reject our selves, the better it is for us.  Accept (saith Ecclesiastes) in good part things both in shew and taste, as from day to day they are presented unto thee, the rest is beyond thy knowledge. Dominus novit cogitationes hominum, quoniam vanae sunt:/1 'The Lord knowes the thoughts of men, that they are vayne.'  See how of three generall Sects of Philosophie, two make expresse profession of doubt and ignorance and in the third, which is the Dogmatists, it is easie to be discerned that the greatest number have taken the face of assurance; onely because they could set a better countenance on the matter.  They have not so much gone about to establish any certainty in us, as to shew how farre they had waded in seeking out the truth.
Quam docti fingunt magis quam norunt: 'Which the learned doe rather conceit than know.'
     Timaeus, being to instruct Socrates of what he knowes of the Gods, of the world, and of men, purposeth to speake of it as one man to another; and that it sufficeth, if his reasons be as probable as another mans.  For exact reasons are neither in his hands, nor in any mortall man; which one of his Sectaries hath thus imitated:  Vt potero, explicabo: nec tamen, ut Pythius Apollo, certa ut sint et fixa quae dixero; sed ut homunculus, probabilia conjectura sequens:/2 'As I can, I will explaine them; yet not as Apollo giving oracles, that all should bee certaine and set downe, that I say but as a meane man who followes likelihood by his conjecture.' And that upon the discourse of the contempt of death; a naturall and popular discourse.  Elsewhere he hath translated it, upon Platoes very words: Si forte, de Deorum natura ortuque mundi disserentes, minus id quod habemus in animo consequimur,
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1 Psalm xcii. 11. 2 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. i. 


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haud erit mirum.  AEquum est enim meminisse, et me, qui disseram, hominem esse, et vos qui judicetis: ut, si probabilia dicentur, nihil ultra requiratis/1 'It will be no marvell if arguing of the nature of Gods and originall of the world, we scarcely reach to that which in our minde we comprehend; for it is meet we remember that both I am a man who am to argue, and you who are to judge, so as you seeke no further, if I speake but things likely.' Aristotle ordinarily hoardeth us up a number of other opinions and other beleefes, that so he may compare his unto it, and make us see how farre he hath gone further, and how neere he comes unto true-likelyhood. For truth is not judged by authorities nor by others testimonie.  And therefore did Epicurus religiously avoyd to aleadge any in his compositions.  He is the Prince of Dogmatists, and yet we learne of him that, to know much breedes an occasion to doubt more.  He is often seene seriously to shelter himselfe under so inextricable obscurities that his meaning cannot be perceived. In effect, it is a Pyrrhonisme under a resolving forme.  Listen to Ciceroes protestation, who doth declare us others fantasies by his owne.Qui requirunt, quid de quaque re ipsi sentiamus; curiosius id faciunt, quam necesse est. Haec in Philosophia ratio contra omnia disserendi, nullamque rem aperte judicandi, profecta a Socrate, repetita ab Arcesila, confirmata a Carneade, usque ad nostram viget aetatem.  Hi sumus, qui omnibus veris falsa quaedam adiuncta esse dicamus, tanta similitudine, ut in iis nulla insit certe judicandi et assentiendi nota:/2  'They that would know what we conceit of everything, use more curiosity than needs.  This course in Philosophy to dispute against all things, to judge eexpressly of nothing, derived from Socrates, renewed by Arcesilas, confirmed by Carneades, is in force till our time: we are those that aver some falsehood entermixt with every truth, and that with such likenesses as there is no set note in those things for any assuredly to give judgement or assent.' Why hath not Aristotle alone, but the
-- ---
1 CIC.  Univers. 2 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 


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greatest number of Philosophers, affected difficulty, unlesse it be to make the vanity of the subject to prevaile, and to ammuse the our curiosity of our minde, seeking to feed it by gnawing so raw and bare a bone?  Clytomachus affirmed that he could never understand by the writings of Carneades, what opinion he was of.  Why hath Epicurus interdicted facility unto his Sectaries? And wherefore hath Heraclitus beene surnamed O'KOTCiV S, 'a darke mysty crowded fellow'?  Difficulty is a coine that wise men make use of, as juglers doe with passe and repasse, because they will not display the vanity of their art, and wherewith humane foolishnesse is easily apaid.

Clarus ob obscuram linguam, magis inter inanes,
Omnia enim stolidi magis admirantur amantgue.
Inversis quae sub verbi; latitantia cernunt./1
For his darke speech much prais'd, but of th' unwise;
For fooles doe all still more admire and prize
That under words turn'd topsie-turvie lies.
     Cicero reproveth some of his friends because they were wont to bestow more time about astrology, law, logike, and geometry, than such arts could deserve; and diverted them from the devoirs of their life, more profitable and more honest.  The Cyrenaike philosophers equally contemned naturall philosophy and logicke. {PlainDealer+} Zeno in the beginning of his bookes of the Commonwealth declared all the liberall sciences to be unprofitable. {PlainDealer+} Chrysippus aid,.that which Plato and Aristotle had written of logike, they had written the same in jest and for exercise sake, and could not beleeve that ever they spake in good earnest of so vaine and idle a subject.  Plutarke saith the same of the metaphysikes: Epicurus would have said it of rhetorike, of grammar, of poesie, of the mathematikes, and (except naturall philosophy of all other sciences: and Socrates of all, but of the art of civill manners and life. {PlainDealer+} Whatsoever he was demanded of any man, he would ever first enquire of him to give an accompt of his life, {selfcriticism+} both present and past, which he would --- --1 LUCR. 1. i. 636.
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seriously examine and judge of; deeming all other apprentiships as subsequents and of supererogation in regard of that Parum mihi placeant ex literae quae ad virtutem doctoribus nihil profuerunt: 'That learning pleaseth me but a little, which nothing profiteth the teachers of it unto vertue.  Most of the arts have thus beene contemned by knowledge it selfe, for they thought it not amisse to exercise their mindes in matters wherein was no profitable solidity. {PlainDealer+} As for the rest, some have judged Plato a dogmatist, others a doubter; some a dogmatist in one thing, and some a doubter in another.  Socrates, the fore-man of his Dialogues doth ever aske and propose his disputation; yet never concluding, nor ever satisfying, and saith he hath no other science but that of opposing.  Their author, Homer, hath equally grounded the foundations of all sects of philosophy, thereby to shew how indifferent he was which way he went.  Some say that of Plato arose ten diverse sects.  And as I thinke, never was instruction wavering and nothing avouching if his be not.  Socrates was wont to say that when midwives begin once to put in practice the trade to make other women bring forth children, themselves become barren.  That be, by the title of wise, which the gods had conferred upon him, had also in his man-like and mentall love shaken off the faculty of begetting:  Being well pleased to afford all helpe and favor to such as were engenderers; to open their nature, to suple their passages, to ease the issue of their child-bearing, to judge thereof, to baptise the same, to foster it, to strengthen it, to swathe it, and to circumcise it, exercising and handling his instrument at the perill and fortune of others.  So is it with most authors of this third kinde, as the ancients have well noted by the writings of Anaxagoras, Democritus, Parmenides, Xenophanes, and others.  They have a manner of writing doubtfull both in substance and intent, rather enquiring than instructing: albeit here and there they enterlace their stile with dogmaticall cadences.  And is not that as well seene in Seneca and 


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in Plutarke?  How much doe they speake sometimes of one face and sometimes of another, for such as looke neere unto it?  Those who reconcile lawyers, ought first to have reconciled them every one unto himselfe.  Plato hath (in my seeming) loved this manner of philosophying dialogue wise in good earnest, that thereby he might more decently place in sundry mouthes the diversity and variation of his owne conceits.  Diversly to treat of matters is as good and better as to treat them conformably; that is to say, more copiously and more profitably.  Let us take example by our selves.  Definite sentences make the last period of dogmaticall and resolving speech; yet see wee that those which our Parliaments present unto our people as the most exemplare and fittest to nourish in them the reverence they owe unto this dignitie, especially by reason of the sufficiencie of those persons which exercise the same, taking their glory, not by the conclusion, which to them is dayly, and is common to al judges as much as the debating of diverse and agitations of contrary reasonings of law causes will admit. And the largest scope for reprehensions of some Philosophers against others, draweth contradictions and diversities with it, wherein every one of them findeth himself so entangled, either by intent to show the wavering of mans minde above all matters, or ignorantly forced by the volubilitie and incomprehensiblenesse of all matters:  What meaneth this burden?  In a slippery and gliding place let us suspend our beliefe.  For as Euripides saith, Les oeuvres de Dieu en diverges Facons, nous donnent des traverses.  Gods workes doe travers our imaginations, And crosse our workers in divers different fashions.      Like unto that which Empedocles was wont often to scatter amongst his bookes, as moved by a divine furie and forced by truth.  No, no, we feel nothing, we see nothing; all things are hid from us; there is not one that we may establish, how and what it is.  But 


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returning to this holy word,Cogitatione mortalium timidae, et incertae adinventiones nostrae, et providentiae/1   The thoughts of mortal men are feareful, our devices and foresights are uncertaine.  It must not be thought strange if men disparing of the goale have yet taken pleasure in the chase of it; studie being in itselfe a pleasing occupation, yea so pleasing that amid sensualities the Stoikes forbid also that which comes from the exercise of the minde, and require a bridle to it, and finde intemperance in over much knowledge.  Democritus having at his table eaten some figges that tasted of hony, began presently in his minde to seeke out whence this unusuall sweetness in them might proceed; and to be resolved, rose from the board, to view the place where those figges had beene gathered. His maide servant noting this alteration in her master, smilingly said unto him, that he should no more busie himselfe about it; the reason was, she had laide them in a vessell where hony had beene; whereat he seemed to be wroth in that shee had deprived him of the occasion of his intended search, and robbed his curiositie of matter to worke upon. 'Away,' quoth he unto her, 'thou hast much offended mee; yet will I not omit to finde out the cause, as if it were naturally so.  Who perhaps would not have missed to finde some likely or true reason for a false and supposed effect.  This storie of a famous and great Philosopher doth evidently represent unto us this studious passion, which so doth ammuse us in pursuit of things, of whose obtaining wee despaire.  Plutarke reporteth a like example of one who would not be resolved of what he doubted, because hee would not lose the pleasure hee had in seeking it:  As another, that would not have his Physitian remove the thirst he felt in his ague, because he would not lose the pleasure he tooke in quenching the same with drinking. Satius est supervacua discere, quam nihil:/2 It is better to learne more than wee need than nothing at all.  Even as in all feeding, pleasure is alwayes alone and single
-----
1 Wisd. ix. 14. 2 SEN.  Epist. lxxxix. 


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and all we take that is pleasant is not ever nourishing and wholesome: So likewise, what our minde drawes from learning leaveth not to be voluptuous, although it neither nourish nor be wholesome.  Note what their saying is: 'The consideration of nature is a food proper for our mindes, it raiseth and puffeth us up, it makes us by the comparison, of heavenly and high things to disdaine base and low matters.  The search of hidden and great causes is very pleasant, yea unto him that attaines nought but the reverence and feare to judge of them.  These are the very words of their profession. The vaine image of this crazed curiositie is more manifestly seen in this other example, which they for honour-sake have so often in their mouths. Eudoxus wished, and praid to the Gods, that he might once view the Sunne neere at hand, to comprehend his forme, his greatnesse and his beautie: on condition he might immediately be burnt and consumed by it.  Thus with the price of his owne life would he attaine a Science, whereof both use and possession shall therewith bee taken from him; and for so sudden and fleeting knowledge lose and forgoe all the knowledges he either now hath, or ever hereafter may have.  I can not easily be perswaded that Epicurus, Plato, or Pythagoras have sold us their atomes, their ideas and their numbers for ready payment.  They were over wise to establish their articles of faith upon things so uncertaine and disputable.  But in this obscuritie and ignorance of the world, each of these notable men hath endeavoured to bring some kinde of shew or image of light; and have busied their mindes about inventions that might at least have a pleasing and wilie apparance, provided (notwithstanding it were false) it might be maintained against contrary oppositions:  Vnicuiquce ista pro ingenio finguntur, non ex Scientiae vi: 'These things are conceited by every man as his wit serves, not as his knowledge stretches and reaches. An ancient Phylosopher being blamed for professing that Philosophie, whereof in his judgement 


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bee made no esteeme; answered, that that was true Philosophizing.  They have gone about to consider all, to ballance all, and have found that it was an occupation fitting the naturall curiositie which is in us.  Some things they have written for the behoofe of common societie, as their religions: And for this consideration was it reasonable that they would not throughly unfold common opinions, that so they might not breed trouble in the obedience of lawes and customes of their countries.  Plato treateth this mysterie in a very manifest kinde of sport.  For, where he writeth according to himselfe, he prescribeth nothing for certaintie:  When he institutes a Law giver, he borroweth a very swaying and avouching kinde of stile:  Wherein he boldly entermingleth his most fantasticall opinions; as profitable to perswade the common sort, as ridiculous to perswade himselfe:  Knowing how apt wee are to receive all impressions, and chiefly the most wicked and enormous. And therefore is he very carefull in his lawes that nothing bee sung in publike but Poesies the fabulous fictions of which tend to some profitable end: being so apt to imprint all manner of illusion in man's minde, that it is injustice not to feed them rather with commodious lies, than with lies either unprofitable or damageable.  He flatly saith in his Common-wealth that for the benefit of men, it is often necessarie to deceive them.  It is easie to distinguish how some Sects have rather followed truth, and some profit; by which the latter have gained credit.  It is the miserie of our condition that often what offers it selfe unto our imagination for the likelyst, presents not it selfe unto it for the most beneficiall unto our life.  The boldest sects, both Epicurean, Pirrhonian and new Academike, when they have cast their accompt are compelled to stoope to the civill law.  There are other subjects which they have tossed, some on the left and some on the right hand, each one labouring and striving to give it some semblance, were it right or wrong:  For, having found nothing so secret, whereof they have not attempted 


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to speak, they are many times forced to forge divers feeble and fond conjectures :  Not that themselves tooke them for a ground- worke, not to establish a truth, but for an exercise of their studie.  Non tam id sensisse, quod dicerent, quam exercere ingenia materiae difficultate videntur voluisse. 'They seem not so much to have thought as they said, as rather willing to exercise their wits in the difficulty of the matter.  And if it were not so taken, how should we cloke so great an inconstancie, varietie and vanity of opinions, which wee see to have beene produced by these excellent and admirable spirits?  As for example, What greater vanitie can there be than to goe about by our proportions and conjectures to guess at God?  And to governe both him and the world according to our capacitie and lawes? And to use this small scantlin of sufficiencie, which he hath pleased to impart unto our naturall condition, at the cost and charges or divinitie? And because we cannot extend our sight so farre as his glorious throne, to have removed him downe to our corruption and miseries?  Of all humane and ancient opinions concerning religion, I thinke that to have had more likelyhood and excuse, which knowledged and confessed God to be an incomprehensible power, chiefe beginning and preserver of all things; all goodness, all perfection; accepting in good part the honour and reverence which mortall men did yeeld him, under what usage, name and manner soever it was.

Iupiter omnipotens rerum, regumque, Deumque,
Progenitor, genitrixque./1
Almightie love is parent said to be
Of things, of Kings, of Gods, both he and she.
     This zeale hath universally beene regarded of heaven with a gentle and gracious eye.  All policies have reaped some fruit by their devotion; Men and impious actions have every where had correspondent events.
-----
1 VALERIUS SORANUS, quoted from VARRO by AUGUSTIN, De Civ.  Dei. 
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Heathen histories acknowledge dignitie, order, justice, prodigies, and oracles, employed for their benefit and instruction in their fabulous religion: God of hismercy daining, peradventure, to foster by his temporal blessings the budding and tender beginnings of such bruteknowledge as naturall reason gave them of him athwart the false images of their deluding dreames:  Not only false but impious and injurious are those which man hath forged and devised by his owne invention.  And of all religions Saint Paul found in credit at Athens, that which they had consecrated onto a ccrtaine hidden and unknowne divinitie seemed to be most excusable.  Pythagoras shadowed the truth somewhat neerer, judgeing that the knowledge of this first cause and Ensentium must be undefined, without any prescription or declaration. That it was nothing else but the extreme indevour of our imagination toward perfection, every one amplifying the idea thereof according to his capacitie. But if Numa undertooke to conforme the devotion of his people to this project, to joyne the same to a religion meerely mental without any prefixt object or materiall mixture, he undertooke a matter to no use.  Mans minde could never be maintained if it were still floting up and downe in this infinite deepe of shapeles conceits.  They must be framed onto her to some image according to her model.  The majesty of God hath in some sort suffered itself to be circumscribed to corporall limits:  His supernaturall and celestiall Sacraments beare signes of our terrestriall condition.  His adoration is exprest by offices and sensible words; for it is man that beleeveth and praieth.  I omit other arguments that are employed about this subject.  But I could hardly be made beleeve that the sight of our Crucifixes and pictures of that pittiful torment, that the ornaments and ceremonious motions in our Churches, that the voyces accomodated and suted to our thoughts-devotions, and this stirring of our senses, doth not greatly inflame the peoples soules with a religious passion of wonderous beneficiall good.  Of those to 


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which they have given bodies, as necessity required amid this generall blindnesse, as for me; I should rather have taken part with those who worshipped the Sunne.

     -----la lumiere comnune,
L'ail du monde; et si Dieu au chef porte des yeux,
Les rayons du Soleil sont ses yeux radieux
Qui donnent vie a tous, nous maintiennent et gardent,
Et les faicts des humains en ce monde regardent:
Ce beau, ce grand Soleil, qui nous fait les saysons,
Selon qu'il entre ou sort de ses douze maysons:
Qui remplit l'univers de ses vertus cognues,
Qui d'un traict de ses yeux nous dissipe les nues:
L'espirit, l'ame du monde, ardent et flamboyant,
En la course d'un iour tout le Ciel tournoyant,
Plein d'immense grandeur, rond, vagabond et ferme:
Lequel tient dessoubs luy tout le monde pour terme,
En repos sans repos, oysif, et sans seiour,
Fils aisne de Nature, et le Pere du iour.

The common light,
The worlds eye: and if God beare eyes in his cheefe head,
His most resplendent eyes the Sunne-beames may be said,
Which unto all give life, which us maintaine and guard,
And in this world of men, the workes of men regard:
This great, this beauteous Sunne, which us our seasons makes,
As in twelve houses be ingresse or egresse takes;
Who with his Vertues knowne, doth fill this universe,
With one cast of his eyes doth us all clowds disperse:
The spirit, and the soule of this world, flaming, burning,
Round about heav'n in course of one dayes journey turning.
Of endlesse greatnesse full, round, moveable and fast:
Who all the world for bounds beneath himselfe hath pla'st:
In rest, without rest, and still more staid, without stay,
Of Nature th' eldest Childe, and Father of the day.

     Forasmuch as besides this greatnesse and matchlesse beautie of his, it is the onely glorious piece of this vaste worlds frame, which we perceive to be furthest from us:  And by that meane so little knowne as they are pardonable, they entered into admiration and reverence of it. Thales, who was the firstto enquire and find out this matter, esteemed God to be a spirit who made all things of water.  Anaximander thought the Gods did 
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dy, and were new borne at divers seasons, and that the worlds were infinite in number.  Anaximenes deemed the ayre to be a God, which was created immense and always moving.  Anaxagoras was the first that held the description and manner of all things to be directed by the power and reason of a spirit infinite Alcmaeon hath ascribed divinity unto the Sunne, unto the Moone, unto Stars, and unto the Soule.  Pythagoras hath made God a spirit dispersed through the Nature of all things, whence our soules are derived.  Parmenides, a circle circumpassing the heavens, and by the heat of light maintaining the world.  Empedocles said the four Natures, whereof all things are made, to be Gods.  Protagoras, that he had nothing to say whether they were or were not, or what they were.  Democritus would sometimes say that the images and their circuitions were Gods, and othertimes this Nature, which disperseth these images, and then our knowledge and intelligence.  Plato scattereth his beliefe after diverse semblances.  In his Timaeus he saith that the worlds father could not be named.  In his Lawes that his being must not be enquired after.  And elsewhere in the said bookes he maketh the world, the heaven, the starres, the earth, and our soules, to be Gods; and besides, admitteth those that by ancient institutions have beene received in every commonwealth.  Xenophon reporteth a like difference of Socrates his discipline. Sometimes that Gods forme ought not to be inquired after; then he makes him infer that the Sunne is a God, and the Soule a God; othertimes that there is but one, and then more.  Speusippus, Nephew unto Plato, makes God to be a certaine power, governing all things, and having a soule.  Aristotle saith sometimes that it is the spirit, and sometimes the world; othertimes he appoynteth another ruler over this world, and sometimes he makes God to be the heat of heaven.  Xenocrates makes eight; five named amongst the planets, the sixth composed of all the fixed starres, as of his owne members; the seaventh and eighth the Sunne and the Moone.  Heraclides Ponticus doth but 


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roame among his opinions, and in fine depriveth God of sense, and maks him remove and transchange himselfe from one forme to another; and then saith that is both heaven and earth.  Theophrastus in all his fantasies wandereth still in like irresolutions, attributing the worlds superintendency now to the intelligence, now to the heaven, and now to the starres.  Strabo, that it is Nature having power to engender, to augment and to diminish, without forme or sense.  Zeno, the naturall Law, commanding the good and prohibiting the evill; which Lawe is a breathing creature, and removeth the accustomed Gods, Iupiter, Iuno, and Vesta.  Diogenes Apolloniates, that it is Age.  Xenophanes makes God round, seeing, hearing not breathing, and having nothing common with humane Nature.  Aristo deemeth the forme of God to bee incomprehensible, and depriveth him of senses, and wotteth not certainely whether he bee a breathing soule or something else.  Cleanthes, sometimes reason, othertimes the World; now the soule of Nature, and other-while the supreme heat, enfoulding and containing all.  Perseus, Zenoes disciple, hath beene of opinion that they were surnamed Gods who had brought some notable good or benefit unto humane life, or had invented profitable things. Chrysippus made a confused huddle of all the foresaid sentences, and amongst a thousand formes of the Gods which he faineth, hee also accompteth those men that are immortalized.  Diagoras and Theodorus flatly denied that there were anie Gods:  Epicurus makes the Gods bright-shining, transparent, and perflable, placed as it were betweene two Forts, betweene two Worlds, safely sheltered from all blowes, invested with a humane shape, and with our members, which unto them are of no use.

Deum genus esse semper duxi, et dicam caelitum, Sed eos non curare opinor, quid agat humanum genus./1
I still thought and wil say, of Gods there is a kinde;
But what Our mankinde doth, I thinke they nothing minde. -----1 ENN. in CIC.  De Div. 1. ii.

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     Trust to your Philosophie, boast to have hit the naile on the head; or to have found out the beane of this cake, to see this coile and hurly-burly of so many Philosophical wits.  The trouble or confusion of worldly shapes and formes hath gotten this of mee, that customes and conceipts differing from mine doe not so much dislike me as instruct me; and at what time I conferre or compare them together, they doe not so much puffe me up with pride as humble me with lowlinesse+.  And each other choyce, except that which commeth from the expresse hand of God, seemeth to me a choyce of small prerogative or consequence The worlds policies are no less contrarie one to another in this subject than the schooles whereby we may learne that Fortune herself is no more divers, changing, and variable, than our reason, nor more blinde and inconsiderat. Things most unknowne are fittest to be deified.  Wherefore to make Gods of our selves (as antiquitie hath done), it exceeds the extreme weaknesse of discourse.  I would rather have followed those that worshipped the Serpent, the Dogge, and the Ox, forsomuch as their Nature and being is least knowne to us, and we may more lawfully imagine what we list of those beasts, and ascribe extraordinarie faculties unto them.  But to have made Gods of our conditions, whose imperfections we should know, and to have attributed desire, choler, revenge, marriages, generation, alliances, love, and jealousie, our limbs and our bones, our infirmities, our pleasures, our deaths, and our sepulchres unto them hath of necessity proceeded from a meere and egregious sottishness or drunkennesse of mans wit.

Quae procul usque adeo divino ab numine distant.
Ingue Deum numero quae sint indigna videri./1
Which from Divinity so distant are,
To stand in ranks of Gods unworthy farre.
     Formae, aetates, vestitus ornatus noti sunt: genera, conjugia, cognationes, omniaque traducta ad similitudinem imbecillitatis humanae: nam et perturbatis animis
-----
1 LUCR. 1. v. 123. 
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inducuntur; accipimus enim Deorum cupiditates aegritudines, iracundias: 'Their shapes, their ages, their aparrell, their furnitures are knowen; their kindes, their marriages, their kindred, and all translated to the likenesse of man's weaknesse:  For they are also brought in with mindes much troubled; for we read of the lustfulnesse, the grievings, the angrinesse of the Gods.  As to have ascribed Divinity, not only unto faith, vertue, honour, concord, liberty, victory and piety; but also unto voluptuousnesse, fraud, death, envy, age and misery; yea unto feare, unto ague, and unto evill fortune, and such other industries and wrongs to our fraile and transitory life:

Quid juvat hoc, templis nostros inducere mores?
O curvae in terris animae et caelestium inanes!/1
What boots it, into Temples to bring manners of our kindes?
O crooked soules on earth, and void of heavenly mindes.
     The Aegyptians, with an impudent wisdome forbad, upon a of hanging, that no man should dare to say that Serapis and Isis, their Gods, had whilome beene but men, when all knew they had been so. And their images or pictures drawne with a finger acrosse their mouth imported (as Varro saith) this misterious rule unto their priests, to conceal their mortall off-spring, which by necessary reason disannuled all their veneration. Since man desired so much to equall himselfe to God, it had beene better for him (saith Cicero) to draw those divine conditions unto himselfe, and bring them downe to earth, than to send his corruption and place his misery above in heaven; but to take him aright, he hath divers wayes, and with like vanitie of opinion, doth both the one and other.  When Philosophers blazon and display the Hierarchy of their gods, and to the utmost of their skill endevour to distinguish their aliances, their charges, and their powers; I cannot beleeve they speake in good earnest.  When Plato decyphreth unto us the orchard of Pluto, and the commodities or corporall paines which even after the ruine
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1 PERS.  Sat. ii. 62, 61. 
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and consumption of our body waite for us, and applyeth them to the apprehension or feeling we have in this life;

Secreti celant colles, et myrtea circum
Sylva tegit, curae non ipsa in morte relinquunt;/1
Them paths aside conceale, a mirtle grove
Shades them round; cares in death doe not remove;
when Mahomet promiseth unto his followers a paradise all tapestried, adorned with gold and precious stones, peopled with exceeding beauteous damsels, stored with wines and singular cates:  I well perceive they are but scoffers which sute and apply themselves unto our foolishness, thereby to enhonny and allure us to these opinions and hopes fitting our mortall appetite. Even so are some of our men falne into like errours by promising unto themselves after their resurrection a terrestriall and temporal life accompanied with all sorts of pleasures and worldly commodities.  Shall we thinke that Plato, who had so heavenly conceptions and was so well acquainted with Divinity as of most he purchased the surname of Divine, was ever of opinion that man (this seely and wretched creature man) had any one thing in him which might in any sort he applied and suted to this incomprehensible and unspeakable power? or ever imagined that our languishing hold-fasts were capable, or the vertue of our understanding of force, to participate or be partakers either of the blessednesse or eternal punishment?  He ought in the behalfe of humane reasoned he answered:  If the pleasures thou promisest us in the other life are such as I have felt here below, they have nothing in them common with infinity. if all my five naturall senses were even surcharged with joy and gladnesse, and my soule possessed with all the contents and delights it could possibly desire or hope for (and we know what it either can wish or hope for) yet were it nothing.  If there bee any thing that is mine, then is
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vi. 443. 
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there nothing that is Divine; if it be nothing else but what may appertaine unto this our present condition, it may not be accounted of.  All mortall mens contentment is mortall.  The acknowledging of our parents, of our children and of our friends, if it cannot touch, move or tickle us in the other world, if we still take hold of such a pleasure, we continue in terrestrial and transitorie commodities.  We can not worthily conceive of these high, mysterious, and divine promises, if wee can but in any sort conceive them, and so imagine them aright; they must be thought to be immaginable, unspeakeable and incomprehensible, and absolutely and perfectly other than those of our miserable experience. 'No eye can behold (saith Saint Paul) the hap that God prepareth for his elect, nor can it possibly enter the heart of man.' /1  And if to make us capable of it (as thou saist, Plato, by thy purifications), our being is reformed and essence changed, it must be by so extreme and universall a change that, according to philosophicall doctrine, wee shall be no more ourselves:

Hector erat tunc cum belle certabat, at ille
Tractus ab AEmonio non erat Hector equo./2
Hector he was, when he in fight us'd force;
Hector he was not, drawne by th'enemics horse.
it shall be some other thing that shall receive these recompences.
      ------quod mutatur, dissolvitur; interit ergo:
Trajiciuntur enim partes atgue ordine migrant./3
What is chang'd is dissolved, therefore dies:
Translated parts in order fall and rise.
     For in the Metempsychosis or transmigration of soules of Pythagoras, and the change of habitation which he imagined the soules to make, shall we thinke that the lion in whom abideth the soule of Caesar, doth wed the passions which concerned Caesar, or that it is
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1 1 COR. ii. 9. 2 OVID.  Trist. 1. iii.; El. xi. 27. 3 LUCR. 1. iii. 781. 
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bee?  And if it were hee, those had some reason who, debating this opinion against Plato, object that the sonne might one day bee found committing with his mother under the shape of a Mules body, and such like absurdities. And shall wee imagine that in the transmigrations which are made from the bodies of some creatures into others of the same kind, the new succeeding ones are not other than their predecessors were?  Of a Phenixes cinders, first (as they say) is engendred a worme and then another Phenix: who can imagine that this second Phenix be no other and different from the first? Our Silk-wormes are seene to dye and then to wither drie, and of that body breedeth a Butter-flie, and of that a worme, were it not ridiculous to thinke the same to be the first Silkeworm? what hath once lost its being is no more.

Nec si materiam nostram collegerit aetas
Post obitum, rursumque redegerit, ut sita nunc est,
Atque iterum nobis fuerint data lumina vitae,
Pertineat quidquam tamen ad nos id quoque factum,
Interrupta semel cum sit repetentia nostra./1
If time should recollect, when life is past,
Our stuffe, and it replace, as now 'tis plac't,
And light of life were granted us againe,
Yet nothing would that deed to us pertaine,
When interrupted were our turne againe.
     And Plato, when in another place thou saist that it shall be the spirituall part of man that shall enjoy the recompences of the other life, thou tellest of things of as small likely- hood.
Scilicet avulsus radicibus ut nequit ullam
Dispicere ipse oculus rem, seorsum corpore toto./2
Ev'n as no eye, by th' root's pull'd out, can see
Ought in whole body severall to bee.
For by this reckoning it shall no longer be man, nor consequently us, to whom this enjoyment shall
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1 LUCR. 1. iii. 890. 2 Ib. 580. 
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appertaine; for we are built of two principall essential parts, the separation of which is the death and consummation of our being.

Inter enim jecta est vitai pausa vageque
Deerrarunt passim motus ab sensibus omnes./1
A pause of life is interpos'd; from sense
All motions straied are, far wandring thence.
We doe not say that man suffereth when the wormes gnaw his body and limbs whereby he lived, and that the earth consumeth them:
Et nihil hoc ad nos, qui coitu conjugioque
Corporis atque animae consistimus uniter apti./2
This nought concerns us, who consist of union
Of minde and body joyn'd in meet communion.
     Moreover, upon what ground of their justice can the Gods reward man and be thankfull unto him after his death, for his good and vertuous actions, since themselves addressed and bred them in him?  And wherefore are they offended and revenge his vicious deeds, when themselves have created him with so defective a condition, and that but with one twinkling of their will they may hinder him from sinning?  Might not Epicurus with some shew of humane reason object that unto Plato, if he did not often shrowd himselfe under this sentence, that it is impossible by mortall nature to establish any certainty of the immortall?  Shee is ever straying but especially when she medleth with divine matters.  Who feeles it more evidently than we?  For, although we have ascribed unto her assured and infallible Principles, albeit wee enlighten her steps with the holy lampe of that truth which God hath been pleased to impart unto us, we notwithstanding see daily, how little soever she stray from the ordinary path that she start or stragle
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1 LUCR. 1. iii. 903. 2 Ib. 888. 
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out of the way traced and measured out by the Church, how soone she loseth, entangleth and confoundeth her selfe; turning, tossing and floating up and downe in this vast, troublesome and tempestuous sea of mans opinions without restraint or scope.  So soone as she loseth this high and common way, shee divideth and scattereth herselfe a thousand diverse ways.  Man can be no other than he is, nor imagine but according to his capacity. It is greater presumption (saith Plutarch in them that are but men, to attempt to reason and discourse of Gods and of demi-Gods, than in a man meerly ignorant of musicke to judge of those that sing; or for a man that was never in warres to dispute of, Armes and warre, presuming by some light conjecture to comprehend the effects of an art altogether beyond his skill. As I thinke, Antiquity imagined it did something for divine Majesty when shee compared the same unto man, attiring her with his faculties, and enriching her with his strange humours and most shamefull necessities: offering her some of our cates to feed upon, and some of our dances, mummeries, and enterludes to make her merry, with our clothes to apparrell her, and our houses to lodge her, cherishing her with the sweet odors of incense, and sounds of musicke, adorning her with garlands and flowers, and to draw her to our vicious passion, to flatter her justice with an inhuman revenge, gladding her with the ruine and dissipation of things created and preserved by her.  As Tiberius Sempronius, who for a sacrifice to Vulcan caused the rich spoiles and armes which he had gotten of his enemies in Sardinia to be burned:  And Paulus Emilius, those he had obtained in Macedonia, to Mars and Minerva.  And Alexander, comming to the Ocean of India, cast in favour of Thetis many great rich vessels of gold into the Sea, replenishing, moreover, her Altars with a butcherly slaughter, not onely of innocent beasts, but of men, as diverse Nations, and amongst the rest, ours were wont to doe. And I thinke none hath beene exempted from shewing the like Essayes.


<Mont2-254>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
     -----Sulmone creatos
Quatuor hic juvenes, totidem, quos educat Usens,
Viventes rapit, inferias quos immolet umbris./1
Foure young-men borne of Sulmo, and foure more
Whom Usens bred, he living over-bore,
Whom he to his dead friend
A sacrifice might send.
     The Getes deeme themselves immortall, and their death but the beginning of a journey to their God Zamolxis.  From five to five yeares they dispatch some one among themselves toward him, to require of him necessarie things.  This deputy of theirs is chosen by lots; and the manner to dispatch him, after they have by word of mouth instructed him of his charge, is that amongst those which assist his election, three hold so many javelins upright, upon which the others, by meere strength of armes, throw him; if he chance to sticke upon them in any mortall place, and that he dye suddenly, it is to them an assured argument of divine favour; but if he escape, they deeme him a wicked and execrable man, and then chuse another.  Amestris, mother unto Xerxes, being become aged, caused at one time fourteen young striplings of the noblest houses of Persia (following the religion of her countrie) to be buried all alive, thereby to gratifie some God of under earth.  Even at this day the Idols of Temixitan are cemented with the bloud of young children, and love no sacrifice but of such infant and pure soules:  Oh justice, greedy of the blood of innocencie.
Tantum religio portuit suadere malorum./2
Religion so much mischeefe could
Perswade, where it much better should.
     The Carthaginians were went to sacrifice their owne children unto Saturne, and who had none was faine to buy some: and their fathers and mothers were enforced in their proper persons, with cheerefull and pleasant countenance to assist that office.  It was a
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. x.517. 2 LUCR. 1. i. 102. 
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strange conceit, with our owne affliction to goe about to please and appay divine goodnesse:  As the Lacedemonians, who flattered and wantonized their Diana by torturing of young boys, whom often in favour of her they caused to be whipped to death.  It was a savage kinde of humour to thinke to gratifie the Architect with the subversion of his Architecture, and to cancel the punishment due unto the guiltie by punishing the guiltles, and to imagine that poore Iphigenia, in the port of Aulis, should by her death and sacrifice discharge and expiate towards God, the Grecians armie of the offences which they had committed.

Et casta inceste nubendi tempore in ipso
Hostia concideret mactatu maesta parentis./1
She, a chaste offring, griev'd incestuously
By fathers stroke, when she should wed,to dye.
     And those two noble and generous soules of the Decii, father and sonne, to reconcile and appease the favour of the Gods towards the Romanes affaires, should headlong cast their bodies athwart the thickest throng of their enemies.  Quae fuit tanta Deorum iniquitas, ut placari populo Romano non possint, nisi tales viri occidissent?/2

'What injustice of the Gods was so great as they could not be appeased unlesse such men perished?  Considering that it lies not in the offender to cause himselfe to be whipped, how and when he list, but in the judge, who accompteth nothing a right punishment except the torture he appointeth and cannot impute that unto punishment which is in the free choice of him that suffereth.  The divine vengeance presupposeth our full dissent, for his justice and our paine.  And ridiculous was that humor of Polycrates, the Tyrant of Samos, who, to interrupt the course of his continuall happinesse, and to recompence it, cast the richest and most precious jewell he had into the Sea, deeming that by this purposed mishap he should satisfie the revolution and vicissitude of fortune; which, to deride his folly, caused, the very same jewel,
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1 LUCR. 1. i. 99. 2 CIC.  De Nat.  Deor. 1. iii. 6. 


<Mont2-256>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

being found in a fishes belly, to returne to his hands againe.  And to what purpose are the manglings and dismembrings of the Corybantes, of the Maenades, and now a dayes of the Mahumetans, who skar and gash their faces, their stomacke and their limbes, to gratifie their prophet: seeing the offence consisteth in the will not in the breast, nor eyes, nor in the genitories, health, shoulders, or throat?  Tantus est perturbatae mentis et sedibus suis pulsae furor, ut sic Dii placentur, quemadmodum ne homines quidem saeviunt:/1  'So great is the fury of a troubled minde put from the state it should be in, as the Gods must be so pacified, as even men would not be so outrageous.' This naturall contexture doth by her use not only respect us, but also the service of God and other mens: it is injustice to make it miscarie at our pleasure, as under what pretence soever it be to kill our selves.  It seemeth to be a great cowardise and manifest treason to abuse the stupide and corrupt the servile functions of the body, to spare the diligence unto the soule how to direct them according unto reason.  Vbi iratos Deos timent, qui sic propitios habere merentur.  In regiae libidinis voluptatem castrate sunt quidam; sed nemo sibi, ne vir esset, jubente Domino manus intulit:/2 'Where are they afeard of Gods anger, who in such sort deserve to have his favour; some have beene guelded for Princes lustfull pleasure; but no man at the Lords command hath laid hands on himselfe to be lesse than a man.' Thus did they replenish their religion and stuffe it with divers bad effects.

     -----saepius olim
Religio peperit scelerosa atque impia facta./3
Religion hath oft times in former times
Bred execrable facts, ungodly crimes,
     Now can nothing of ours, in what manner soever, be either compared or referred unto divine nature, that doth not blemish and defile the same with as much imperfection.  How can this infinite beauty, power, and
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1 AUG.  Civ.  Dei. 1. vi. c. 10. 2 Ib. ex SEN. 3 LUCR. 1. i. 82. 
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goodnes admit any correspondencie or similitude with a thing so base and abject as we are, without extreme interest, and manifest derogation from his divine greatnesse? Infirmum Dei fortius est hominibus; et stultum Dei sapientius est hominibus:/1  The weaknesse of God is stronger than man; and the foolishnesse of God is wiser than men.  Stilpo the Philosopher being demanded whether the Gods rejoyce at our honours and sacrifices; you are indiscreet (said he), let us withdraw our selves apart if you, speake of such matters.  Notwithstanding we prescribe him limits, we lay continuall siege unto his power by our reasons. (I call our dreames and our vanities reason, with the dispensation of Philosophy, which saith that both the foole and the wicked doe rave and dote by reason, but that it is a reason of severall and particular forme.) We will subject him to the vaine and weake apparances of our understanding: him who hath made both us and our knowledge.  Because nothing is made of nothing:  God was not able to frame the world without matter.  What? hath God delivered into our hands the keyes, and the strongest wards of his infinit puissance?  Hath he obliged himselfe not to exceed the bounds of our knowledge?  Suppose, oh man, that herein thou hast beene able to marke some signes of his effects.  Thinkest thou he hath therein employed all he was able to doe, and that he hath placed all his formes and ideas in this peece of worke?  Thou seest but the order and policie of this little cell wherein thou art placed.  The question is, whether thou seest it.  His divinitie hath an infinit jurisdiction far beyond that.  This peece is nothing in respect of the whole. {Pope+}

     -----omnia cum caelo terraque marique,
Nil sunt ad summam summai totius omnem./2
All things that are, with heav'n, with sea, and land,
To th' whole summe of th' whole summe as nothing stand.
     This law thou aleagest is but a municipall law, and thou knowest not what the universall is: tie thy
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1 COR. i. 25. 2 LUCR. 1. vi. 675. 
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selfe unto that whereto thou art subject, but tie not him: he is neither thy companion, nor thy brother, nor thy fellow citizen, nor thy copesmate. If lie in any sort have communicated himselfe unto thee, it is not to debase himselfe, or stoope to thy smalnesse, nor to give thee the controulment of his power.  Mans body cannot soare up into the clouds, this is for thee. The sunne uncessantly goeth his ordinary course the bounds of the seas and of the earth cannot be confounded: the water is ever fleeting, wavering, and without firmnesse: a wall without breach or flaw, impenetrable unto a solid body: man cannot preserve his life amidst the flames, he cannot corporally be both in heaven and on earth, and in a thousand places together and at once.  It is for thee that be hath made these rules: it is thou they take hold of.  He hath testified unto Christians that when ever it hath pleased him he hath out gone them all.  And in truth, omnipotent as he is, wherefore should he have restrained his forces unto a limited measure? In favour of whom should be have renounced his privilege?  Thy reason hath in no one other thing more likely-hood and foundation, than in that which perswadeth thee a plurality of words.

Terramque et solem, lunam, mare, caetera quae sunt,
Non esse unica, sed numero magis innumerali./1
The earth, the sunne, the moone, the sea and all
In number numberlesse, not one they call.
     The famousest wits of former ages have beleeved it, yea and some of our moderne, as forced thereunto by the apparance of humane reason.  For as much as whatsoever eye see in this vast worlds frame, there is no one thing alone, single and one.
     ---- cum in summa res nulla sit una,
Unica quae gignatur, et unica solaque crescat:
Whereas in generall summe, nothing is one,
To be bred only one, grow only one.
And that all severall kindes are multiplied in some
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1 LUCR. 1. ii. 1094. 2 Ib. 1086. 
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number: whereby it seemeth unlikely that God hath framed this peece of work alone without a fellow: and that the matter of this forme hath wholy beene spent in this only Individuum.

Quare etiam atqae etiam tales fateare necesse est,
Esse alios alibi congressus matiriae,
Qualis hic est avidi complexu quem tenet AEther./1
Wherefore you must confesse, againe againe,
Of matters such like meetings elsewhere raigne
As this, these skies in greedy gripe containe.
     Namely, if it be a breathing creature, as its motions make it so likely, that Plato assureth it, and divers of ours either affirme it, or dare not impugne it; no more than this old opinion, that the heaven, the starres, and other members of the world, are creatures composed both of body and soule; mortall in respect of their composition, but immortall by the Creators decree.  Now if there be divers worlds, as Democritus, Epicurus, and well neere all Philosophy hath thought; what know wee whether the principles and the rules of this one concerns or touch likewise the others?  Haply they have another semblance and another policie. Epicurus imagineth them either like or unlike.  We see an infinite difference and varietie in this world only by the distance of places.  There is neither corne nor wine, no nor any of our beasts seene in that new corner of the world which our fathers have lately discovered: all things differ from ours.  And in the old time, marke but in how many parts of the world they had never knowledge nor et Bacchus nor of Ceres.  If any credit may be given unto Plinie or to Herodotus, there is in some places a kinde of men that have very little or no resemblance at all with ours.  And there be mungrell and ambiguous shapes betweene a humane and brutish nature.  Some countries there are where men are borne headlesse, with eyes and mouths in their breasts; where all are Hermaphrodites; where they creepe on all foure;
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1 LUCR. 1. ii. 1073. 
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where they have but one eye in their forehead, and heads more like unto a dog than ours; where from the navill downewards they are half fish and live in the water; where women are brought a bed at five years of age, and live but eight; where their heads and the skin of their browes are so hard that no yron can pierce them, but will rather turne edge; where men never have beards.  Other nations there are that never have use of fire; others whose sperme is of a blacke colour.  What shall we speake of them who natarally change themselves into woolves, into coults, and then into men againe?  And if it bee (as Plutark saith) that in some part of the Indiaes there are men without mouthes, and who live only by the smell of certaine sweet odours; how many of our descriptions be then false?  Hee is no more risible, nor perhaps capable of reason and societie.  The direction and cause of our inward frame should for the most part be to no purpose.  Moreover, how many things are there in our knowledge that oppugne these goodly rules which we have allotted and prescribed unto Nature?  And we undertake to joyne God himselfe unto her.  How many things doe we name miraculous and against Nature?  Each man and every nation doth it according to the measure of his ignorance.  How many hidden proprieties and quintessences doe we daily discover?  For us to go according to Nature, is but to follow according to our understanding, as far as it can follow, and as much as we can perceive in it.  Whatsoever is beyond it, is monstrous and disordered.  By this accompt all shall then be monstrous, to the wisest and most sufficient; for even to such humane reason hath perswaded that she had neither ground nor footing, no not so much as to warrant snow to be white: and Anaxagoras said it was blacke.  Whether there be anything or nothing; whether there be knowledge or ignorance, which Metrodorus Chius denied that any man might say; or whether we live, as Euripides seemeth to doubt and call in question; whether the life we live be a life or no, or whether that which we call death be a life:


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T'Is' 8'o,'d.y c, C o 0' 5 xgkkn,.t O.",..
T6 th@ 8@ O@4aKe,. g@,,;/1
Who knowes if thus to live, be called death,
And if it be to dye, thus to draw breath;
     And not without apparance.  For wherefore doe we from that instant take a title of being, which is but a twinkling in the infinit course of an eternall night, and so short an interruption of our perpetuall and naturall condition?  Death possessing what ever is before and behind this moment, and also a good part of this moment.  Some others affirme there is no motion, and that nothing stirreth; namely, those which follow Melissus.  For if there be but one, neither can this sphericall motion serve him, nor the moving from one place to another, as Plato proveth, that there is neither generation nor corruption in nature.  Protagoras saith there is nothing in nature but doubt: that a man may equally dispute of all things: and of that also, whether aall things may equally be disputed of:  Nausiphanes said, that of things which seeme to be, no one thing is nno more than it is not.  That nothing is certaine but uncertainty.  Parmenides, that of that which seemeth there is no one thing in generall.  That there is but one Zeno, that one selfe same is not: and that there is nothing. If one were, he should either be in another, or in himselfe: if he be in another, then are they two: if he be in himselfe, they are also two, the comprising and the comprised.  According to these rules or doctrines, the Nature of things is but a false or vaine shadow.  I have ever thought this manner of speech in a Christian is full of indiscretion and irreverence; God cannot dye, God cannot gaine-say himselfe, God cannot doe this or that. I cannot allow a man should so bound Gods heavenly power under the Lawes of our word.  And that apparence, which in these propositions offers it selfe unto us, ought to be represented more reverently and more religiously. Our speech hath his infirmities and defects, as all things else have.  Most
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1 PLAT.  Gorg. ex EURIP. 
<Mont2-262>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

of the occasions of this worlds troubles are Grammaticall.  Our suits and processes proceed but from the canvasing and debating the interpretation of the Lawes, and most of our warres from the want of knowledge in State-counsellors, that could not cleerely distinguish and fully expresse the Covenants and Conditions of accords betweene Prince and Prince.  How many weighty strifes and important quarels hath the doubt of this one sillable, hoc, brought forth in the world?  Examine the plainest sentence that Logike it selfe can present unto us.  If you say, it is faire weather, and in so saying, say true, it is faire weather then.  Is not this a certaine forme of speech? Yet will it deceive us:  That it is so, let us follow the example:  If you say, I lye, and in that you should say true, you lie then.  The Art, the reason, the force of the conclusion of this last, are like unto the other; notwithstanding we are entangled.  I see the Pyrrhonian philosophers, who can by no manner of speech expresse their generall conceit: for they had need of a new language.  Ours is altogether composed of affirmative propositions, which are directly against them.  So that when they say I doubt, you have them fast by the throat to make them avow that at least you are assured and know that they doubt.  So have they beene compelled to save themselves by this comparison of Physicke, without which their conceit would be inexplicable and intricate.  When they pronounce, I know not, or I doubt, they say that this proposition transportes it selfe together with the rest, even as the Rewbarbe doeth, which scowred ill humours away, and therewith is carried away himselfe.  This conceipt is more certainly conceived by an interrogation: What can I tell?  As I beare it in an Imprese of a paire of ballances.  Note how some prevaile with this kinde of unreverent and unhallowed speech. In the disputations that are nowadayes in our religion, if you overmuch urge the adversaries, they will roundly tell you that it lieth not in the power of God to make his body at once to be in Paradise and on earth, and in many other places 


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together.  And how that ancient skoffer made profitable use of it.  At least (saith he) it is no small comfort unto man to see that God cannot doe all things; for he cannot kill himselfe if he would, which is the greatest benefit we have in our condition; he cannot make mortall men immortall nor raise the dead to life againe, nor make him that hath lived never to have lives, and him who hath had honours not to have had them, having no other right over what is past, but of forgetfulnesse.  And that this society betweene God and Man may also be combined with some pleasant examples, he cannot make twice ten not to be twenty.  See what, he saith, and which a Christian ought to abhor, that ever such and so profane words should passe his mouth:  Whereas, on the contrary part, it seemeth that fond men endevour to finde out this foolish-boldnesse of speech, that so they may turne and winde God almighty according to their measure.

     -----cras vel atra
Nube polum pater occupato,
Vel sole puro, non tamen irritum
Quodcumque retro est efficiet, neque
Diffinget effectumque reddet
Quod fugiens semel hora vexit./1
Tommorrow let our father fill the skie,
With darke cloud, or with cleare Sunne, he thereby
Shall not make voyd what once is overpast:
Nor shall he undoe, or in new mold cast,
What time hath once caught, that flyeth hence so fast.
     When we say that the infinite of ages, as well past as to come, is but one instant with God; that his wisdome, goodnesse and power, are one selfe-same thing with his essence; our tongue speaks it, but our understanding can no whit apprehend it.  Yet will our selfe overweening sift his divinitie through our sieve: whence are engendered all the vanities and errours wherewith this world is so full-fraught, reducing and weighing with his uncertaine balance a thing so farre from his
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1 HOR.  Car. 1. iii.  Od. xxix. 43. 
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reach, and so distant from his weight. Mirum quo procedat improbitas cordis humani, parvulo aliquo invitata successu./1
'It is a wonder whither the perverse wickednesse of mans heart will proceed, if it be but called-on with any little successes.' {Yahoo+} How insolently doe the Stoikes charge Epicurus, because he holds that to be perfectly good and absolutely happy belongs but only unto God; and that the wise man hath but a shadow and similitude thereof?  How rashly have they joyned God unto destiny? (Which at my request, let none that beareth the surname of a Christian doe at this day.) And Thales, Plato, and Pythagoras have subjected him unto necessities.  This over- boldnesse, or rather bold-fiercenesse, to seeke to discover God by and with our eyes, hath beene the cause that a notable man of our times hath attributed a corporall forme unto divinitie, and is the cause of that which daily hapneth unto us, which is by a particular assignation to impute all important events to God: which because they touch us, it seemeth they also touch him, and that he regardeth them with more care and attention than those that are but slight and ordinary unto us. Magna dii curant, parva negligunt:/2 'The Gods take some care for great things, but none for little.' Note his example; he will enlighten you with his reason. Nec in regnis quidem reges omnia minima curant:/3   'Nor doe Kings in their Kingdomes much care for the least matters.' As if it were all one to that King, either to remove an Empire or a leafe of a tree: and if his providence were otherwise exercised, inclining or regarding no more the successe of a battell than the skip of a flea.  The hand of his government affords itselfe to all things after a like tenure, fashion and order; our interest addeth nothing unto it: our motions and our measures concerne him nothing and move him no whit.  Deus ita artifex magnus in magnis, ut minor non sit in parvis: 'God is so great a workman in great things,
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1 PLIN.  Nat.  Hist. 1. ii, c. 23. 2 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. ii. 3 Ib. 1. iii. 


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as he is no lesse in small things.  Our arrogancie setteth ever before us this blasphemous equality, because our occupations charge us.  Strato hath presented the Gods with all immunitie of offices, as are their Priests. He maketh nature to produce and preserve all things, and by her weights and motions to compact all parts of the world, discharging humane nature from the feare of divine judgments. Quod beatum aeternumque sit, id nec habere, negotii quicquam, nec exhibere alteri;/1 'That which is blessed and eternall, nor is troubled it selfe, nor troubleth others.' Nature willeth that in all things alike there be also like relation.  Then the infinite number of mortall men concludeth a like number of immortall: The infinite things that kill and destroy presuppose as many that preserve and profit.  As the soules of the Gods, sanse tougues, sanse eyes, and sanse eares, have each one, in themselves a feeling of that which the other feel, and judge of our thoughts; so mens soules, when they are free and severed from the body, either by sleepe or any distraction, divine, prognosticate and see things, which being conjoyned to their bodies, they could not see. Men, saith Saint Paul,/2 when they professed themselves to be wise, they became fooles, for they turned the glory of the incorruptible God to the similitude of the image of a corruptible man.  Marke, I pray you, a little the iugling of ancient Deifications.  After the great, solemne and prowd pompe of funerals, when the fire began to burne the top of the Pyramis, and to take hold of the bed or hearce wherein the dead corps lay, even at that instant they let fly an Eagle, which taking her flight aloft upward, signified that the soule went directly to Paradise.  We have yet a thousand medailes and monuments, namely, of that honest woman Faustina, wherein that Eagle is represented carrying a cocke- horse up towards heaven those deified soules.  It is pity we should so deceive our selves with our owne foolish devises and apish inventions,
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1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 2 Rom i. 22, 23. 


<Mont2-266>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
Quod finxere timent,/1
Of that they stand in feare,
Which they in fancie beare,
as children will be afeard of their fellowes visage, which themselves have besmeared and blackt.  Quasi quicquam infaelicius sit homine, cui sua figmenta dominantur: 'As though any thing were more wretched than man over whom his owne imaginations beare sway and domineere.  To honour him whom we have made is farre from honouring him that hath made us.  Augustus had as many Temples as Iupiter and served with as much religion and opinion of miracles. The Thracians, in requitall of the benefits they had received of Agesilaus, came to tell him how they had canonized him. 'Hath your Nation,' said he, 'the power to make those whom it pleaseth Gods?  Then first (for example sake) make one of your selves, and when I shall have seene what good he shall have thereby, I will then thanke you for your offer.  Oh sencelesse man, who cannot possibly make a worme, and yet will make Gods by dozens. Listen to Trismegistus when he praiseth our sufficiencie:  For man to finde out divine nature, and to make it, hath surmounted the admiration of all admirable things.  Loe here arguments out of Philosophies schooles itselfe.
Noscere cui Divos et coeli numina soli,
Aut soli nescire datum./2
Only to whom heav'ns Deities to know,
Only to whom is giv'n, them not to know.
If God be, he is a living creature; if he be a living creature, he hath sense; and if he have sense, he is subject to corruption.  If he be without a body, he is without a soule, and consequently without action: and if he have a body, he is corruptible.  Is not this brave?  We are incapable to have made the world, then is there some more excellent nature that hath set her
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1 LUCAN. 1. i. 484. 2 Ib. 462. 
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helping hand unto it.  Were it not a sottish arrogancie that wee should thinke ourselves to be the perfectest thing of this universe?  Then sure there is some better thing.  And that is God.  When you see a rich and stately mansion house, although you know not who is owner of it, yet will you not say that it was built for rats.  And this more than humane frame and divine composition, which we see, of heavens pallace, must we not deeme it to be the mansion of some Lord greater than our selves?  Is not the highest ever the most worthy?  And we are seated in the lowest place.  Nothing that is without a soule and void of reason is able to bring forth a living soule capable of reason.  The world doth bring us forth, then the world hath both soule and reason.  Each part of us is lesse than our selves, we are part of the world, then the world is stored with wisdome and with reason, and that more plenteously than we are.  It is a goodly thing to have a great government.  Then the worlds government belongeth to some blessed and happy nature.  The Starres annoy us not, then the Starres are full of goodnesse. We have need of nourishment, then so have the Gods, and feed themselves with the vapours arising here below.  Worldly goods are not goods unto God. Then are not they goods unto us.  To offend and to be offended are equall witnesses of imbecilitie:  Then it is folly to, feare God.  God is good by his owne nature, man by his industry: which is more?  Divine wisdome and mans wisdome have no other distinction but that the first is eternall. Now lastingnesse is an accession unto wisdome.  Therefore are we fellowes. We have life reason, and libertie, we esteeme goodnesse, charitie and justice; these qualities are then in him.  In conclusion, the building and destroying the conditions of divinity are forged by man according to the relation to himselfe.  Oh what a patterne, and what a model!  Let us raise and let us amplifie humane qualities as much as we please.  Puffe-up thy selfe poore man, yea swell and swell againe. 


<Mont2-268>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
     ----- non si te ruperis, inquit./1

Swell till you breake, you shall not be,
Equall to that great one, quoth he.

     Profecto non teum, quem cogitare non possunt, sed semetipsos pro illo cogitantes, non illum, sed seipsos, non illi, sed sibi comparant. 'Of a truth, they conceiting not God, whom they cannot conceive, but themselves instead of God, doe not compare him, but themselves, not to him but themseves.  In naturall things the effects doe but balfe referre their causes.  What this?  It is above natures order, its condition is too high, too far out of reach, and overswaying to endure, that our conclusions should seize upon or fetter the same.  It is not by our meanes we reach unto it, this traine is too low.  We are no nerer heaven on the top of Sina mount than in the bottome of the deepest sea:  Consider of it that you may see with your Astrolabe.  They bring God even to the carnall acquaintance of women, to a prefixed number of times, and to how many generations. Paulina, wife unto Saturnius, a matron of great reputation in Rome, supposing to lye with the God Serapis, by the maquerelage of the priests of that Temple, found herself in the armes of a wanton lover of hers.  Varro, the most subtill and wisest Latine Author, in his bookes of divinitie writeth that Hercules his Sextaine, with one hand casting lots for himselfe, and with the other for Hercules, gaged a supper and a wench against him: if he won, at the charge of his offerings, but if he lost, at his owne cost. He lost, and paid for a supper and a wench: her name was Laurentina: who by the night saw that God in her armes, saying moreover unto her that the next day the first man she met withall should heavenly pay her her wages. It was fortuned to be one Taruncius, a very rich young man, who tooke her home with him, and in time left her absolute heire of all he had.  And she, when it came to her turne, hoping to doe that God some acceptable service, left the Romane people
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1 HOR.  Serm. 1. ii.  Sat. iii. 324. 
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heire generall or all her wealth.  And therefore she had divine honours attributed unto her.  As if it were not sufficient for Plato to descend originally from the Gods by a twofold line, and to have Neptune for the common author of his race.  It was certainly beleeved at Athens that Ariston, desiring to enjoy faire Perictyone, he could not, and that in his dreame he was warned by God Apollo to leave her untoucht and unpolluted untill such time as she were brought a bed.  And these were the father and mother of Plato.  How many such-like cuckoldries are there in histories, procured by the Gods against seely mortall men?  And husbands most injuriously blazoned in favor of their children?  In Mahomets religion, by the easie beleefe of that people are many Merlins found, that is to say, fatherless children: spirituall children, conceived and borne divinely in the wombs of virgins, and that in their language beare names importing as much.  We must note that nothing is more deare and precious to any thing than its owne being (the Lyon, the Eagle and the Dolphin esteeme nothing above their kind), each thing referreth the qualities of all other things unto her owne conditions, which we may either amplifie or shorten; but that is all: for besides this principle, and out of this reference, our imagination cannot go, and guesse further: and it is unpossible it should exceed that, or goe beyond it. Whence arise these ancient conclusions.  Of all formes, that of man is the fairest: then God is of this forme.  No man can he happy without vertue, nor can vertue be without reason; and no reason can lodge but in a humane shape:  God is then invested with a humane figure.  Ita est informatum anticipatum mentibus nostris, ut homini, quum de Deo cogitet, forma occurrat humana:/1 'The prejudice forestaled in our mindes is so framed as the forme of man comes to mans minde when he is thinking of God.' Therefore Xenophanes said presently, that if beasts frame any Gods unto themselves, as likely it is they do, they surely frame them like unto themselves,
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1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 


<Mont2-270>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

and glorifle themselves as we do.  For why may not a goose say thus? All parts of the world behold me, the earth serveth me to tread upon, the Sunne to give me light, the Starres to inspire me with influence; this commoditie I have of the wind, and this benefit of the waters: there is nothing that this worlds-vault doth so favourably look upon as me selfe; I am the favorite of nature; is it not man that careth for me, that keepeth me, lodgeth me, and serveth me?  For me it is he soweth, reapeth, and grindeth: if he eat me, so doth man feed on his fellow and so doe I on the wormes that consume and eat him.  As much might a Crane say, yea and more boldly, by reason of her flights libertie, and the possession of this goodly and high-bownding region. Tam blanda conciliatrix, et tam sui est lena ipsa natura:/1  'So flattring a broker and bawd (as it were) is nature to it selfe.' Now by the same consequence the destinies are for us, the world is for us; it shineth, and thundreth for us: both the creator and the creatures are for us: it is the marke and point whereat the universitie of things aymeth.  Survay but the register which Philosophy hath kept these two thousand years and more, of heavenly affaires.  The Gods never acted, and never spake, but for man:  She ascribeth no other consultation, nor imputeth other vacation unto them.  Loe how they are up in armes against us.

      ------domitosque Herculea manu
Telluris iuvenes, unde periculum
Fulgens contremuit domus
Saturni veteris./2
And young earth-gallants tamed by the hand
Of Hercules, whereby the habitation
Of old Saturnus did in perill stand,
And, shyn'd it ne'er so bright, yet fear'd invasion,
     See how they are partakers of our troubles, that so they may be even with us, forsomuch as so many times we tire partakers of theirs. -----1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 2 HOR.  Car. 1. ii.  Od. xii. 6. 
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Neptunus muros magnogue emota tridenti
Fundamenta quatit, totamque a sedibus urbem
Eruit: hic Iuno Scaeas saavissima portas Prima tenet./1
Neptunas with his great three-forked mace
Shaks the weake wall, and tottering foundation,
And from the site the Cittie doth displace,
Fierce Juno first holds ope the gates t'invasion.
     The Caunians, for the jelousie of their owne Gods dominations upon their devotion day arme themselves, and running up and downe, brandishing and striking the ayre with their glaives, and in this earnest manner they expell all foraine and banish all strange Gods from out their territories.  Their powers are limited according to our necessitie. Some heale horses, some cure men, some the plague, some the scald, some the cough, some one kind of scab, and some another:  Adeo minimis etiam rebus prava religio inserit Deos: 'This corrupt religion engageth and inserteth Gods even in the least matters:' some make grapes to growe, and some garlike; some have the charge of bawdrie and uncleanesse, and some of merchandise: to every kinde of trades-man a God.  Some one hath his province and credit in the East, and some in the West:
      ------hic illius arma
Hic currus fuit./1
His armor here
His chariots there appeare.
O sancte Apollo, qui umbilicum certum terrarum obtines./3

Sacred Apollo, who enfoldest
The earths set navell, and it holdest.

Pallada Cecropiae, Minoia Creta Dianam,
Vulcanum tellus Hipsi illa colit.
Iunonem Sparte, Pelopeiadesque Mycena,
Pinigerum Fauni Maenalis ora caput:
Mars Latio venerandus./4
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. ii. 610. 2 Ib. 1. i. 20. 3 CIC.  Div. 1. ii. 4 OVID. Fast. 1. iii. 81. 
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Besmeared with bloud and goare.
Th'Athenians Pallas; Minos-Candy coast
Diana, Lemnos Vulcan honors most;
Mycene and Sparta, Juno thinke divine;
The coast of Maenalus Fauns crown'd with pine;
Latium doth Mars adore.
     Some hath but one borough or family in his possession: some lodgeth alone, and some in company, either voluntarily or necessarily.
Iunctaque sunt magno templa nepotis avo./1

To the great grand-sires shrine,
The nephews temples doe combine.

     Some there are so seely and popular (for their number amounteth to six and thirty thousand) that five or six of them must be shufled up together to produce an eare of corne, and thereof they take their severall names.  Three to a doore, one to be the boards, one to be the hinges, and the third to be the threshold.  Foure to a childe, as protectors of his bandels, of his drinke, of his meat, and of his sucking.  Some are certaine, others uncertaine, some doubtfull, and some that come not yet into paradise.
Quos, quoniam coeli nondum dignamur honore,
Quas dedimus certe terras habitare sinamus./2
Whom for as yet with heav'n we have not graced,
Let them on earth by our good grant be placed.
There are some Philosophicall, some poeticall, and some civill, some of a meane condition, betweene divine and humane nature, mediators and spokes-men betweene us and God: worshipped in a kinde of second or diminutive order of adoration: infinite in titles and offices: some good, some bad, some old and crazed, and some mortall.  For Chrysippus thought that in the last conflagration or burning of the world, all the Gods should have an end, except Jupiter.  Man faineth a thousand pleasant societies betweene God and him.  Nay, is he not his countrieman?
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1 OVID.  Fast. 1. i. 294. 1 OVID.  Metam. 1. i. 194.
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      ------Iovis incunabula Creten./1

The Ile of famous Creet,
For Jove a cradle meet.

     Behold the excuse that Scaevola, chiefe Bishop, and Varro, a great Divine, in their dayes, give us upon the consideration of this subject.  It is necessary (say they) that man be altogether ignorant of true things, and beleeve many false.  Quum veritatem qua liberetur, inquirat; credatur ei expedite, quod fallitur: 'Since they seeke the truth, whereby they may be free, let us beleeve it is expedient for them to be received. Mans eye cannotr perceive things but by the formes of his knowledge.  And we remember not the downfall of miserable Phaeton, forsomuch as he undertooke to guide the reins of his fathers steeds with a mortall hand.  Our minde doth still relapse into the same depth, and by her owne temeritie doth dissipate and bruise it selfe.  If you enquire of Philosophy what matter the Sun is composed of, what will it answer? but of yron and stone, or other stuffe for his use.  Demand of Zeno what Nature is?  A fire (saith he), an Artist fit to engender and proceeding orderly.  Archimedes, master of this Science, and who in truth and certaintie assumeth unto himselfe a precedencie above all others, saith the Sunne is a God of enflamed yron. Is not this a quaint imagination, produced by the inevitable necessitie of Geometricall demonstrations?  Yet not so unavoidable and beneficiall, but Socrates hath beene of opinion that it sufficed to know so much of it as that a man might measure out the land he either demized or tooke to rent: and that Polyaenus, who therein had beene a famous and principall Doctor after he had tasted the sweet fruits of the lazie, idle and delicious gardens of Epicurus, did not contemne them as full of falsehood and apparent vanity.  Socrates, in Xenophon, upon this point of Anaxagoras, allowed and esteemed of antiquitie, well seene and expert above all others in heavenly and divine matters, saith, that he
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1 OVID.  Metam. 1. viii. 99. 
<Mont2-274>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

weakened his braines much, as all men doe, who over nicely and greedily will search out those knowledges which hang not for their mowing nor pertaine unto them.  When he would needs have the sunn to be a burning stone, he remembered not that stone doth not shine in the fire; and which is more, that it consumes therein.  And when he made the Sunne and fire to be all one, he forgot that fire doth not tan and black those he looketh upon; that wee fixly looke upon the fire, and that fire consumeth and killeth all plants and herbs.  According to the advice of Socrates and mine, 'The wisest judging of heaven is not to judge of it at all.  Plato in his Timeus, being to speake of Daemons and spirits, saith it is an enterprise far exceeding my skill and ability: we must beleeve what those ancient forefathers hath said of them, who have said to have beene engendred by them.  It is against reason not to give credit unto the children of the Gods, although their sayings be neither grounded upon necessary nor likely reasons, since they tell us that they speake of familiar and household matters.  Let us see whether we have a little more insight in the knowledge of humane and naturall things.  Is it not a fond enterprise to those unto which, by our owne confession, our learning cannot possibly attaine, to devise and forge them another body, and of our owne invention to give them a false forme? as is seene in the planetary motions, unto which because our minde cannot reach, nor imagine their naturall conduct, we lend them something of ours, that is to say, materiall, grose, and corporall springs and wards:

     ----- temo aureus, aurea summae
Curvatura rota, radiorum argenteus ordo./1
The Axe-tree gold, the wheeles whole circle gold,
The ranke of raies did all of silver hold.
You would say, we have the Coach-makers, Carpenters, and Painters, who have gone up thither, and there have placed engines with diverse motions, and ranged the
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1 OVID.  Metam. 1. ii. 107. 
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wheelings, the windings and enterlacements of the celestial bodies diapred in colours, according to Plato, about the spindle of necessity.

Mundus domus est maximna rerum,
Quam quinque altitonae fragmine zonae
Cingunt, per quam limbus pictus bis sex signis,
Stellimicantibus, altus, in obliquo aethere, Lunae Bigas acceptat.
The world, of things the greatest habitation,
Which five high-thundring Zones by separation
Engird, through which a scarfe depainted faire
With twice six signes star-shining in the aire.
Obliquely raisde, the waine
O' th' Moone doth entertaine.
     They are all dreames, and mad follies.  Why will not nature one day be pleased to open her bosome to us, and make us perfectly see the meanes and conduct of her motions, and enable our eyes to judge of them?  Oh, good God, what abuses, and what distractions should we find in our poor understanding and weake knowledge!  I am deceived if she hold one thing directly in its point, and I shall part hence more ignorant of all other things than mine ignorance.  Have I not seene this divine saying in Plato, that Nature is nothing but an aenigmaticall poesie?  As a man might say, an overshadowed and darke picture, enter- shining with an infinite varietie of false lights, to exercise our conjectures: Latent ista omnia crassis occultata et circumfusa tenebris: ut nulla acies humani ingenii tanta sit, quae penetrare incaelum, terram intrare possit:/1  'All these things lye hid so veiled and environed with misty darknesse, as no edge of man is so piersant as it can passe into heaven or dive into the earth.' And truly Philosophy is nothing else but a sophisticated poesie: whence have these ancient authors all their authorities but from poets? And the first were poets themselves, and in their art treated the same. Plato is but a loose poet.  All high and more than humane sciences are decked and enrobed with a poeticall style.  Even as
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1 CIC.  Acad.  Qu. 1. iv. 
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women, when their naturall teeth faile them, use some of yuorie and in stead of a true beauties or lively colour, lay on some artificiall hew; and as they make trunk sleeves of wire, and whale-bone bodies, backes of lathes, and stiffe bombasted verdugals, and to the open-view 'of all men paint and embellish themselves with counterfeit and borrowed beauties; so doth learning (and our law hath, as some say, certaine lawfull fictions, on which it groundeth the truth of justice) which in liew of currant payment and presupposition, delivereth us those things, which she her selfe teacheth us to be meere inventions: for these Epicycles Excentriques, and Concentriques, which Astrology useth to direct the state and motions of her starres, she giveth them unto us, as the best she could ever invent, to fit and sute unto this subject: as in all things else, Philosophy presenteth unto us, not that which is or she beleeveth, but what she inventeth as having most apparence, likelihood, or comelinesse.  Plato upon the discourse of our bodies estate and of that of beasts: that what we have said is true we would be assured of it had we but the confirmation of some oracle to confirme it.  This only we warrant, that it is the likeliest we could say.  It is not to heaven alone that she sendeth her cordages, her engines, and her wheeles.  Let us but somewhat consider what she saith of our selves and of our contexture.  There is no more retrogradation, trepidation, augmentation, recoyling, and violence in the starres and celestiall bodies than they have fained and devised in this, poor seeley little body of man.  Verily they have thence had reason to name it Microcosmos, or little world, so many severall parts and visages have they imploied to fashion and frame the same.  To accommodate the motions which they see in man, the divers functions and faculties that We feel in our selves.  Into how many severall parts have they divided our soule?  Into how many seats have they placed her?  Into how many orders, stages, and stations have they divided this wretched man, beside the naturall and perceptible? and to how many distinct offices and vocations?  They make a 


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publike imaginarie thing of it.  It is a subject which they hold and handle: they have all power granted them to rip him, to sever him, to range him, to join and reunite him together againe, and to stuffe him every one according to his fantasia; and yet they neither have nor possess him.  They cannot so order or rule him, not in truth onely, but in imagination, but still some cadence or sound is discovered which escapeth their architecture, bad as it is, and botched together with a thousand false patches and fantasticall peeces.  And they have no reason to be excused: for to painters when they pourtray the heaven, the earth, the seas, the hills, the scattered Ilands, we pardon them if they but represent us with some slight apparence of them; and as of things unknowne we are contented with such fained shadows.  But when they draw us, or any other subject that is familiarly knowne unto us, to the life, then seeke we to draw from them a perfect and exact representation of their or our true lineaments or colours, and scorne if they misse never so little.  I commend the Milesian wench, who seeing Thales the Philosopher continually amusing himself in the contemplation of heavens wide-bounding vault, and ever holding his eyes aloft, laid something in his way to make him stumble, thereby to warne and put him in minde that he should not amuse his thoughts about matters above the clouds before he had provided for and well considered those at his feet. {Laputa+} Verily she advised him well, and it better became him rather to looke to himselfe than to gaze on heaven; for, as Democritus by the mouth of Cicero saith,

Quod este ante pedes, nemo spectat; coli scrutantur plagas/1
No man lookes what before his feet doth lie,
They seeke and search the climates of the skie.
     But our condition beareth that the knowledge of what we touch with our hands and have amongst us, is as far from us and above the clouds as that of the stars.  As saith Socrates in Plato, that one may justly say to
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1 CIC.  Div. 1. ii. 
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him who medleth with Philosophy, as the woman said to Thales, which is, he seeth nothing of that which is before him.  For every Philosopher is ignorant of what his neighbour doth; yea, he knowes not what himselfe doth, and wots not what both are, whether beasts or men.  These people who thinke Sebondes reasons to be weake and lame, who know nothing themselves, and yet will take upon them to governe the world and know all:

Quae mare compescant causae, quid temperet annum,
Stellae sponte sua, jussaeve vagentur et errent:  Quid premat obscurae
Lunae, quid proferat orbem,
Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors./1
What cause doth calm the Sea, what cleares the yeare,
Whether Stars force't, or of selfe-will appeares;
What makes the Moones darke Orbe to wax or wane,
What friendly fewd of things both will and can.
     Did they never sound amid their books the difficulties that present themselves to them to know their owne being?  We see very well that our finger stirreth and our foot moveth, that some parts of our body move of themselves without our leave, and other some that stirr but at our pleasure: and we see that certaine apprehensions engender a blushing-red colour, others a palenesse; that some imagination doth only worke in the milt, another in the braine; some one enduceth us to laugh, another causeth us to weep; some astonisheth and stupifieth all our senses, and staieth the motion of all our limbs; at some object the stomake riseth, and at some other the lower parts.  But how a spirituall impression causeth or worketh such a dent or flaw in a massie and solid body or subject, and the nature of the conjoyning and compacting of these admirable springs and wards, man yet never knew: Omnia incerta ratione, et in naturae majestate abdita:/2  'All uncertaine in reason, and hid in the majesty of nature.' Saith Plinie and Saint Augustine: Modus, quo corporibus adhaerent spiritus, omnino mirus est nec comprehendi ab homine potent, et hoc
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. xii. 16. 2 PLIN. 
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ipso homo est:/1  'The meane is clearely wonderfull whereby spirits cleave to our bodies, nor can it be comprehended by man, and that is very man.' Yet is there no doubt made of him: for mens opinions are received after ancient beliefs by authority and upon credit; as if it were a religion and a law.  What is commonly held of it, is received as a gibrish or fustian tongue.  This trueth, with all her framing of arguments and proporcioning of proofes, is received as a firme and solid body which is no more shaken, which is no more judged.  On the other side, every one the best he can patcheth up and comforteth this received beliefe with all the meanes his reason can afford him, which is an instrument very supple, pliable, and yeelding to all shapes. 'Thus is the world filled with toyes, and overwhelmed in lies and leasings.  The reason that men doubt not much of things is that common impressions are never throughly tride and sifted, their ground is not sounded, nor where the fault and weaknes lieth.  Men only debate and question of the branch, not of the tree: they aske not whether a thing be true, but whether it was understood or meant thus and thus.  They enquire not whether Galen hath spoken any thing of worth, but whether thus, or so, or otherwise.  Truly there was some reason this bridle or restraint of our judgements liberty, and this tyranny over our beliefs should extend it selfe even to schooles and arts.  The God of scholasticall learning is Aristotle:  It is religion to debate of his ordinances, as those of Lycurgus in Sparta.  His doctrine is to us as a canon law, which peradventure is as false as another.  I know not why I should or might not, as soone and as easie accept either Platoes Ideas, or Epicurus his atomes and indivisible things, or the fulnesse and emptines of Leucippus and Democritus, or the water of Thales, or Anaximanders infinite of nature, or the aire of Diogenes, or the numbers or proportion of Pythagoras, or the infinite of Parmenides, or the single-one of Musaeus, or the water and fire of Apollodorus, or the similarie and
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1 AUG.  De Spir. et Anim.  De Civ.  Dei, xxi. 10. 


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resembling parts of Anaxagoras, or the discord and concord of Empedocles, or the fire of Heraclitus, or an other opinion (of this infinit confusion of opinions an sentences which this goodly humane reason, by her certainty and clear-sighted vigilancie brings forth in whatsoever it medleth withal) as I should of Aristotle's conceit, touching this subject of the principles of naturall things, which he frameth of three parts; that is to say, matter, forme, and privation.  And what greater vanitie can there be than to make inanitie it selfe the cause of the production of thingS?  Privation is a negative: with what humour could he make it the cause and beginning of things that are?  Yet durst no man move that but for an exercise of logike: wherein nothing is disputed to put it in doubt, but to defend the author of fhe schoole from strange objections.  His authoritie is the marke beyond which it is not lawfull to enquire.  It is easie to frame what one list upon allowed foundations: for, according to the law and ordinance of this positive beginning, the other parts of the frame are easily directed without crack or danger.  By which way we finde our reason well grounded, and we discourse without rub or let in the way:  For our masters preoccupate and gains afore-hand as much place in our beleefe as they need to conclude afterward what they please, as geometricians doe by their graunted questions: the consent and approbation which we lend them, giving them wherewith to draw us, either on the right or left hand, and at their pleasure to winde and turne us.  Whosoever is beleeved in his presuppositions, he is our master, and our God.  He will lay the plot of his foundations so ample and easie, that, if he list, he will carrie us up, even unto the clouds.  In this practice or negotiation of learning, we have taken the saying of Pythagoras for currant payment; which is, that every expert man ought to be bielieved in his owne trade.  The logitian referreth himselfe to the grammarian for the Signification of words..  The rhetoritian borroweth the places of arguments from the logitian; the poet his measures from the musician; the geo- 


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metrician his proportions from the arithmetician; the metaphisikes take the conjectures of the physikes for a ground, for every art hath her presupposed principles by which mans judgment is bridled on all parts.  If you come to the shocke or front of this barre, in which consists the principall error, they immediately pronounce this sentence: that there is no disputing against such as deny principles.  There can be no principles in men, except divinitie hath revealed them unto them: all the rest, both beginning, middle, and end, is but a dreame and a vapor.  Those that argue by presupposition, we must presuppose against them the very same axiome which is disputed of.  For, each humane presupposition, and every invention, unlesse reason make a difference of it, hath as much authoritie as another.  So must they all be equally balanced, and first the generall and those that tyrannize us.  A perswasion of certaintie is a manifest testimonie of foolishnesse, and of extreme uncertaintie.  And no people are lesse philosophers and more foolish than Platoe's Philodoxes, or lovers of their owne opinions.  We must know whether fire be hot, whether snow be white, whether, in our knowledge, there be anything hard or soft.  And touching the answers, whereof they tell old tales, as to him who made a doubt of heat, to whom one replied, that to trie he should caste himselfe into the fire; to him that denied the yce to be cold, that he should put some in his bosome; they are most unworthy the profession of a philosophers.  If they had left us in our owne naturall estate, admitting of strange apparences as they present themselves unto us by our senses, and had suffered us to follow our naturall appetites, directed by the condition of our birth, they should then have reason to speak so.  But from them it is that we have learnt to become judges of the world; it is from them we hold this conceit, that mans reason is the generall controuler of all that is, both without and within heavens-vault, which imbraceth all and can doe all, by meanes whereof all things are knowne and discerned.  This answer were good among the canibals, 


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who without any of Aristotles precepts, or so much as knowing the name of naturall philosophy, enjoy most happily a long, a quiet, and a peaceable life. {noble_savage+} This answer might haply availe more, and be of more force, than all those they can borrow from their reason and invention. All living creatures, yea, beasts and all, where the commandment of the naturall law is yet pure and simple, might with us be capable of this answer, but they have renounced it.  They shall not need to tell me it is true, for you both heare and see it is so.  They must tell me if what I thinke I feel, I feel the same in effect; and if I feel it, then let them tell me wherefore I feel it, and how and what.  Let them tell me the name, the beginninly, the tennons, and the abuttings of heat and of cold, with the qualities of him that is agent, or of the patient: or let them quit me their profession, which is neither to admit nor approve anything by way of reason.  It is their touchstone to try all kinds of essayes.  But surely it is a touchstone full of falsehood, errors, imperefection and weakenesse: which way can we better make triall of it than by it selfe?  If she may not be credited speaking of her selfe, I hardly can she be fit to judge of strange matters.  If she know anything, it can be but her being and domicile. She is in the soule, and either a part or effect of the same.  For the true and essential reason (whose name we steal by false signes) lodgeth in Gods bosome.  There is her home, and there is her retreat, thence she takes her flight when Gods pleasure is that we shall see some glimps of it: even as Pallas issued out of her fathers bead, to communicate and empart her selfe unto the world.  Now let us see what mans reason hath taught us of her selfe and of the soule: not of the soule in generall, whereof well nigh all philosophy maketh both the celestiall and first bodies partakers; not of that which Thales attributed even unto things that are reputed without soule or life, drawne thereunto by the consideration of the Adamant stone: but of that which appertaineth to us, and which we should know best. 


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Iqnoratur enim qu&, sit natura animai,
Nata sit, an contra nascentibus insinuetur,
Et simul intereat nobiscum morte dirempta,
An tenebras orci visat, vastasque lacunas,
An pecudes alias divinitus insinuet se./1
What the soules nature is, we doe not know:
If it be bred, or put in those are bred,
Whether by death divorst with us it goe,
Or see the darke vast lakes of hell below,
Or into other creatures turne the head.
     To Crates and Dicaearchus it seemed that there was none at all; but that the body stirred thus with and by a naturall motion: to Plato, that it was a substance moving of it selfe; to Thales, a Nature without rest; to Asclepiades, an exercitation of the senses; to Hesiodus and Anaximander, a thing composed of earth and water; to Parmenides; of earth and fire; to Empedocles, of blood:
Sanguineam vomit ille animant./2
His soule of purple-bloud he vomits out.
To Possidoinus, Cleanthes, and Galen, a heat, or hot complexion:
Igneus est ollis vigor, et coelestis origo:/3
A firy vigor and celestiall spring,
In their originall they strangely bring.
To Hyppocrates, a spirit dispersed thorow the body; to Varro, an air received in at the mouth, heated in the lungs, tempered in the heart, and dispersed thorow all parts of the body; to Zeno, the quintessence of the foure elements; to Heraclides Ponticus, the light; to Xenocrates and to the Egyptians, a moving number; to the Chaldeans, a vertue without any determinate forme.
      ------Habitum quemdam vitalem corporis esse,
Harmoniam Gaeci quam dicunt.4
There of the body is a vitall frame,
The which the Greeks a harmony doe name.
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1 LUCR. 1. i. 113. 2 VIRG.  AEn. 1. ix. 849. 3 Ib. vi. 730. 4 LUCR. 1. iii. 100. 
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     And not forgetting Aristotle, that which naturally causeth the body to move, who calleth it Entelechy, or perfection moving of itselfe (as cold an invention as any other), for he neither speaketh of the essence, nor of the beginning nor of the soules nature, but onely noteth the effects of it:  Lactantius, Seneca, and the better part amongst the Dogmatists, have confessed they never understood what it was: and after all this rable of opinions. Harum sententiarum quae vera sit, Deus aliquis viderit:/1  'Which of these opinions is true, let some God looke unto it,' saith Cicero.  I know by myselfe, quoth Saint Bernard, how God is incomprehensible, since I am not able to comprehend the parts of mine owne being:  Heraclitus, who held that every place was full of Soules and Demons, maintained neverthelesse that a man could never goe so far towards the knowledge of the soule as that he could come unto it; so deep and mysterious was her essence.  There is no lesse dissention nor disputing about the place where she should be seated.  Hypocrates and Herophilus place it in the ventricle of the brain:  Democritus and Aristotle, through all the body:

Ut bona scope valetudo cum dicitur esse
Corporis, et non est tanten haec pars ulla valentis./2
As health is of the body said to be,
Yet is no part of him in health we see.
Epicurus in the stomacke.
Hic exultat enim pavor ac metus, haec loca circum
Laetitiae mulcent./3
For in these places feare doth domineere,
And neere these places joy keepes merry cheere.
The Stoickes, within and about the heart; Erasistratus, joyning the membrane of the epicranium:  Empedocles, in the bloud: as also Moses, which was the cause he forbade the eating of beasts bloud, unto which their soule is commixed:  Galen thought that every part of the body had his soule:  Strato hath placed it betweene
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. i. 2 2 LUCR. 1. iii. 103. 3 Ib. 142.
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the two upper eyelids: Qua facie quidem sit animus aut ubi habitet, nec quaerendum quidem est:/1   'We must not so much as enquire what face the minde beares, or where it dwells,' saith Cicero.  I am well pleased to let this man use his owne words: for why should I alter the speech of eloquence it selfe? since there is small gaine in stealing matter from his inventions:  They are both little used, not very forcible, and little unknowne.  But the reason why Chrysippus and those of his sect will prove the soule to be about the heart, {PlainDealer+} is not to be forgotten. It is (saith he) because when we will affirme or swear anything, we lay our hand upon the stomacke; and when we will pronounce %@&, which signifieth my selfe, we put downe our chin towards the stomacke.  This passage ought not to be past-over without noting the vanity of so great a personage: for, besides that his considerations are of themselves very slight, the latter proveth but to the Graecians that they have their soule in that place.  No humane judgement is so vigilant or Argoesied, but sometimes shall fall asleep or slumber.  What shall we feare to say?  Bebold the Stoickes+, fathers of humane wisdome, who devise that the soule of man, overwhelmed with any ruine, laboureth and panteth a long time to get out, unable to free herselfe from that charge, even as a mouse taken in a trap.  Some are of opinion that the world was made to give a body, in lieu of punishment, unto the spirits, which through their fault were fallen from the puritie wherein they were created: the first creation having been incorporeall. And that according as they have more or lesse removed themselves their spirituality, so are they more or lesse merily and giovally. or rudely and saturnally incorporated: whence proceedeth the infinite variety of so much matter created.  But the spirit, who for his chastizement was invested wite bodie of the Sunne, must of necessitie have a very rare and particular measure of alteration.  The extremities of our curious search turne to a glimmering and all to a dazeling.  As Plutarke saith
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. i. 


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of the off-spring of histories, that after the manner of cards or maps, the utmost limits of known countries are set downe to be full of thicke marrish grounds, shady forrests, desart and uncouth places.  See here wherefore the grosest and most childish dotings are more commonly found in these which treat of highest and fnrthest matters; even confounding and overwhelming themselves in their own curiositie and presumption.  The end and beginning of learning are equally accompted foolish.  Marke but how Plato talketh and raiseth his flight aloft in his Poeticall clouds, or cloudy Poesies. Behold and read in him the gibbrish of the Gods. nbsp; But what dreamed or doted he on when he defined man to be a creature with two feet, and without feathers; giving them that were disposed to mocke at him a pleasant and scopefull occasion to doe it?  For, having plucked-off the feathers of a live capon, they named him the man of Plato.  And by what simplicitie did the Epicureans first imagine that the Atomes or Motes, which they termed to be bodies, having some weight and a naturall moving downeward, had framed the world; untill such time as they were advised by their adversaries that by this description it was not possible they should joyne and take hold one of another; their fall being so downe-right and perpendicular, and every way engendring parallel lines?  And therefore was it necessarie they should afterward adde a causall moving sideling unto them:  And moreover to give their Atomes crooked and forked tailes, that so they might take hold of any thing and claspe themselves.  And even then those that pursue them with this other consideration, doe they not much trouble them?  If Atomes have by chance formed so many sorts of figures, why did they never meet together to frame a house or make a shooe?  Why should we not likewise beleeve that an infinit number of Greek letters, confusedly scattered in some open place, might one day meet and joyne together to the contexture of the Iliads? That which is capable of reason (saith Zeno) is better than that which is not.  There is nothing better than the 


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world: then the world is capable of reason.  By the same arguing Cotta maketh the world a Mathematician, and by this other arguing of Zeno, he makes him a Musitian and an Organist.  The whole is more than the part: we are capable of wisdom, and we are part of the world: then the world is wise.  There are infinit like examples seene, not only of false, but foolish arguments, which cannot hold, and which accuse their authors not so much of ignorance as of folly, in the reproaches that Philosophers charge one another with, about the disagreeings in their opinions and sects.  He that should fardle-up a bundle or huddle of the fooleries of mans wisdome, might recount wonders.  I willingly assemble some (as a shew or patterns) by some means or byase, no lesse profitable than the most moderate instructions. Let us by that judge what we are to esteeme of man, of his sense, and of his reason; since in these great men, and who have raised mans sufficiencie so high, there are found so grose errors and so apparant defects.  As for me, I would rather beleeve that they have thus casually treated learning even as a sporting childs baby, and have sported themselves with reason, as of a vaine and frivolous instrument, setting forth all sorts of inventions, devices, and fantasies, sometimes more outstretched, and sometimes more loose.  The same Plato, who defineth man like unto a Capon, saith elsewhere, after Socrates, that in good sooth he knoweth not what man is; and that of all parts of the world there is none so hard to be knowne.  By this varietie of conceits and instabilitie of opinions, they, as it were, leade us closely by the hand to this resolution of their irresolution.  They make a profession not alwayes to present their advice manifest and unmasked: they have oft concealed the same under the fabulous shadows of Poesie, and sometimes under other vizards.  For our imperfection admitteth this also, that raw meats are not alwayes good for our stomacks: but they must be dried, altred, and corrupted, and so doe they who sometimes shadow their simple opinions and judgements; and that they may 


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the better sute themselves unto common use, they many times falsifie them.  They will not make open profession of ignorance, and of the imbecilitie of mans reason, because they will not make children afraid, but they manifestly declare the same unto us under the shew of a troubled Science and unconstant learning.  I perswaded somebody in Italy, who laboured very much to speak Italian, that always provided he desired but to be understood, and not to seek to excell others therein, he should onely imploy and use such words as came first to his month, whether they were Latine, French, Spanish, or Gascoine, and that adding the Italian terminations unto them, he should never misse to fall upon some idiome of the countrie, either Tuscan, Roman, Venetian, Piemontoise, or Neapolitan; and amongst so many severall formes of speech to take hold of one.  The very same I say of Philosophy.  She hath so many faces and so much varietie, and hath said so much, that all our dreames and devices are found in her.  The fantasie of man can conceive or imagine nothing, be it good or evill, that is not to be found in her: Nihil tam absurde dici potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo Philosophorum/1 'Nothing may be spoken so absurdly, but that it is spoken by some of the Philosophers.  And therefore doe I suffer my humours or caprices more freely to passe in publike; forasmuch as though they are borne with, and of me, and without any patterne, well I wot they will be found to have relation to some ancient humour, and some shall be found that will both know and tell whence and of whom I have borrowed them.  My customes are naturall; when I contrived them, I called not for the helpe of any discipline: and weake and faint as they were, when I have had a desire to expresse them, and to make them appear to the world a little more comely and decent, I have somewhat endevoured to aid them with discourse, and assist them with examples, I have wondred at my selfe that by meere chance I have met with them, agreeing and sutable to so many ancient examples and Philo-
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1 CIC.  Div. 1. ii. 


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sophicall discourses.  What regiment my life was of, I never knew nor learned but after it was much worne, and spent.  A new figure: an unpremeditated philosopher and a casuall.  But to returne unto our soule, where Plato hath seated reason in the braine; anger in the heart; lust in the liver; it is very likely that it was rather an interpretation of the soules motions than any division or separation he meant to make of it, as of a body into many members.  And the likeliest of their opinion is that it is alwayes a soule, which by her rationall faculty remembreth her selfe, comprehendeth, judgeth, desireth, and exerciseth all her other functions by divers instruments of the body, as the pilote ruleth and directeth his ship according to the experience he hath of it; now stretching, haling, or loosing a cable, sometimes hoysing the mainyard, removing an oare, or stirring the rudder, causing severall effects with one only power; and that she abideth in the braine, appeareth by this, that the hurts and accidents which touch that part doe presently offend the faculties of the soule, whence she may without inconvenience descend and glide through other parts of the body:

     ----- medium non deserit unquam
Coeli Phoebus iter: radus tamen omnia lustrat:/1
Never the Sunne forsakes heav'ns middle wayes,
Yet with his rayesa he lights all, all survayes:
As the sunne spreadeth his light, and infuseth his power from heaven, and therewith filleth the whole world.
Caetera pars animae per totum dissita corpus
Paret, et ad numen mentis nomenque movetur./2
Th' other part of the soule through all the body sent
Obeyes, and moved is, by the mindes government.
Some have said that there was a generall soule, like unto a great body, from which all particular, soules were extracted, and returned thither; alwayes reconjoyning and entermingling themselves unto that universall matter:
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1 CLAUD. vi.  Hons.  Cons.  Pan. 411, 2 LUCR. 1. iii. 144. 
<Mont2-290>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
     -----Deum namque ire per omnes
Terrasque tractusque maris coelumque profundum:
Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne ferarum,
Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas,
Scilicet huc reddi deinde, ac resoluta referri
Omnia: nec morti esse locum./1
For God through all the earth to passe is found,
Through all Sea currents, through the heav'n profound.
Here hence men, heards, and all wilde beasts that are,
Short life in birth each to themselves doe share.
All things resolved to this point restor'd
Returne, nor any place to death affoord.
Others, that they did but reconjoyne and fasten themselves to it againe: others, that they were produced by the divine substance: others, by the angels, of fire and aire: some from the beginning of the world, and some even at the time of need: others make them to descend from the round of the moone, and that they returne to it againe.  The common sort of antiquities that they are begotten from father to sonne, after the same manner and production that all other naturall things are; arguing so by the resemblances which are betweene fathers and children.
Insullata patris virtus tibi,/2
Thy vertues be
Instilled into thee.
Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis,/3

Of valiant Sires and good,
There comes a valiant brood.

And that from fathers we see descend unto children, not only the marks of their bodies, but also a resemblance of humours, of complexions, and inclinations of the soule.
Denique cur acrum violentia triste Leonum
Seminum sequitur, dolus Vulpibus, et fuga Cervis
A patribus datur, et patrius pavor incitat Artus,
Si non certa suo quia semine seminioque
Vis animi pariter crescit cum corpore toto?/4
-----
1 VIRG.  Georg. 1. iv. 222. 2 HOR.  Car. 1. iv.  Od. iv. 29 3 LUCR. 1. iii. 766. 4 Ib. 771. 
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Why followes violence the savage Lyons race?
Why craft the Foxes?  Why, to Deere to flye apace?
By parents is it given, when parents feare incites,
Unlesse because a certaine force of inward spirits
With all the body growes, As seed and seed-spring goes?
     That divine justice is grounded thereupon, punishing the fathers offences upon the children; forsomuch as the contagion of the fathers vices is in some sort printed in childrens soules, and that the misgovernment of their will toucheth them.{Gloucester+} Moreover, that if the soules came from any other place, then by a naturall consequence, and that out of the body they should have beene some other thing, they should have some remembrance of their first being: considering the naturall faculties which are proper unto him, to discourse, to reason, and to remember.
     ----- Si in corpus nascentibits insinuatur,
Cur super anteactam aetatem meminisse nequimus,
Nec vestigia gesta-um rerum ulla tenemus. /1
If our soule at our birth be in our body cast,
Why can we not remember ages over-past,
Nor any markes retaine of things done first or last?
     For, to make our soules condition to be of that worth we would, they must all be presupposed wise, even when they are in their naturall simplicitie and genuine puritie.  So should they have beene such, being freed from the corporall prison, as well before they entred the same, as we hope they shall be when they shall be out of it.  And it were necessarie they should (being yet in the body) remember the said knowledge (as Plato said) that what we learnt was but a new remembring of that which we had knowne before: a thing that any man may by experience maintaine to be false and erroneous.  First, because we doe not precisely remember what we are tanght, and that if memorie did meerely execute her functions she would at least suggest us with something besides our learning.  Secondly, what she -----1 LUCR. 1. iii. 692. 
<Mont2-292>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

knew being in her puritie, was a true understanding, knowing things as they are by her divine intelligence: whereas here, if she be instructed, she is made to receive lies and apprehend vice, wherein she cannot imploy her memorie; this image and conception having never had place in her.  To say that the corporall prison doth so suppresse her naturall faculties, that they are altogether extinct in her: first, is cleane contrarie to this other beleefe, to knowledge her forces so great, and the operations which men in this transitorie life feel of it, so wonderfull, as to have thereby concluded this divinitie, and fore-past eternitie, and the immortalitie to come:

Nam si tantopere est animi mutata potestas,
Omnis ut actarum excident retinentia rerum,
Non ut opinor ea ab letho jam longior errat./1
If of our minde the Power he so much altered,
As of things done all hold, all memorie is fled,
Then (as I guesse) it is not far from being dead.
     Moreover, it is here with us, and no where else, that the soules powers and effects are to be considered; all the rest of her perfections are vaine and unprofitable unto her: it is by her present condition that all her immortalitie must be rewarded and paid, and she is only accomptable for the life of man: it were injustice to have abridged her of her meanes and faculties, and to have disarmed her against the time of her captivitie and prison, for her weaknesse and sicknesse, of the time and season where she had hectic forced and compelled to draw the judgement and condemnation of infinite and endlesse continuance, and to relye upon the consideration of so short a time, which is peradventure of one or two houres, or, if the worst happen, of an age (which have no more proportion with infinitie than a moment definitively to appoint and establish of all her being by that instant of space.  It were an impious disproportion to wrest an eternall reward in consequence of so short a life.  Plato, to save himselfe from this
-----
1 LUCR. 1. iii. 696. 
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inconvenience, would have future payments limited to a hundred yeares continuance, relatively unto a humane continuance: and many of ours have given them temporall limits.  By this they judged that her generation followed the common condition of humane things: as also her life, by the opinion of Epicurus and Democritus, which hath most been received; following these goodly apparences.  That her birth was seene when the body was capable of her; her vertue and strength was perceived as the corporall encreased; in her infancie might her weaknesse he discerned, and in time her vigor and ripenesse, then her decay and age, and in the end her decrepitude.

      ------ gigni pariter cum corpore, et una
Crescere sentimus, pariterque senescere mentem./1
The minde is with the body bred, we doe behold,
It jointly growes with it, with it it waxeth old.
They perceived her to be capable of diverse passions, and agitated by many languishing and painfull motions, wherethrough she fell into wearinesse and griefe, capable of alteration and change of joy, stupefaction, and languishment, subject to her infirmities, diseases, and offences, even as the stomacke or the foot;
      ------mentem sanari, corpus ut aegrum
Cernimus, et flecti medicine posse videmus:/2
We see as bodies sicke are cur'd, so is the minde,
We see, how Physicke can it each way turne and winde,
dazled and troubled by the force of wine; removed from her seat by the vapors of a burning feaver; drowzie and sleepy by the application of some medicaments, and rouzed up againe by the vertue of some others.
      ------corpoream naturam animi esse necesse est,
Corporeis quoniam telis ictuque laborat./3
The nature of the minde must needs corporeall bee,
For with corporeall darts and strokes it's griev'd we see.
-----
1 LUCR. 1. iii. 450.  Ib. 517.  Ib. 176.

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She was seene to dismay and confound all her faculties by the only biting of a sicke dog, and to containe no great constancie of discourse, no sufficiencie, no vertue, no philosophicall resolution, no contention of her forces that might exempt her from the subjection of these accidents: the spittle or slavering of a mastive dog shed upon Socrates his hands, to trouble all his wisdome, to distemper his great and regular imagination, and so to vanquish and annull them that no signe or shew of his former knowledge was left in him:

     ----- vis animai
Conturbatur, et divisa seorsum
Disjectatur eodem illo distracta veneno./1
The soules force is disturbed, separated,
Distraught by that same poison, alienated.
     And the said venome to finde no more resistance in his soule than in that of a childe of foure yeares old, a venome able to make all Philosophy (were she incarnate) become furious and mad: so that Cato, who scorned both death and fortune, could not abide the sight of a looking glasse or of water; overcome with horrour, and quelled with amazement, if by the contagion of a mad dog he had fallen into that sicknesse which physitians call hydrophobia, or feare of waters.
     ----- vis morbi distracta per artus
Turbat aqens animam, spumantes aequore salso
Ventorum ut validis fervescunt viribus undae./2
The force of the disease disperst through joints offends,
Driving the soule, as in salt Seas the wave ascends,
Foming by furious force which the wind raging lends.
     Now, concerning this point.  Philosophy hath indeed armed man for the endurng' of all other accidents, whether with patience, or if it be overcostly to be found, with an infallible defeat in conveying her selfe altogether from the sense: but they are meanes which
-----1
LUCR. 1. iii. 501. 2 Ib. 495. 
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serve a soule that is her owne, and in her proper force capable of discourse and deliberation: not serving to this inconvenience wherewith a Philosopher, a soule becommeth the soule of a foole, troubled, vanquished and lost. Which divers occasions may produce, as in an over-violent agitation, which by some vehement passion the soule may beget in her selfe: or a hurt in some part of the body, or an exhalation from the stomacke, casting as into some astonishment, dazling, or giddinesse of the head:

      ------morbis in corporis avius errat
Saepe animus, dementit enim, delirague fatur,
Interdumque gravi -Lethargo fertur in altum
AEternumque soporem, oculis nutuque cadenti./1
The mind in bodies sicknesse often wandring strayes;
For it enraged raves, and idle talk outbrayes;
Brought by sharpe Lethargy sometime to more than deepe,
While eyes and eye-lids fall into eternall sleepe.
     Philosophers have, in mine opinion, but slightly harpt upon this string, no more than other of like consequence.  They have ever this dilemma in their mouth to comfort our mortall condition: 'The soule is either mortall or immortall: if mortall, she shall be without paine: if immortall, she shall mend.  They never touch the other branch: what if she empaire and be worse? and leave the menaces of future paines to Poets.  But thereby they deal themselves a good game.  These are two omissions which in their discourses doe often offer themselves unto me.  I come to the first againe: the soule loseth the use of that Stoicall chiefe felicitie, so constant and so firme.  Our goodly wisdome must necessarily in this place yeelde her selfe and quit her weapons.  As for other matters, they also considered by the vanitie of mans reason, that the admixture and societie of two so different parts as is the mortall and the immortall is unimaginable:
-----
1 LUCR. 1. iii. 467. 
<Mont2-296>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
Quippe etenim mortale aeterno jungere, et una
Consentire putare, et fungi mutua posse,
Desipere est.  Quid enim diversius esse putandum est,
Aut magis inter se disjuncture discrepitansque,
Quam mortale quod est, immortali atque perenni
Iunctum in concilio saevas tolerare procellas?/1
For what immortall is, mortall to joyne unto,
And thinke they caN agree, and mutual duties doe,
Is to be foolish: for what thinke we stranger is,
More disagreenble or more disjoyn'd than this,
That mortall with immortall endlesse joyn'd in union,
Can most outrageous stormes endure in their communion?
Moreover they felt their soule to be engaged in death as well as the body.
      ------ simul aevo fessa fatiscit,/2
It faints in one,
Wearied as age is gone.
     Which thing (according to Zeno) the image of sleep doth manifestly show unto us.  For he esteemeth that it is a fainting and declination of the soule as well as of the body: Contrahi animum, et quasi labi putat atque decidere:/3  'He thinks the minde is contracted, and doth as it were slide and fall downe.'  And that (which is perceived in some) its force and vigor maintaineth it selfe even in the end of life, they referred and imputed the same to the diversitie of diseases, as men are seene in that extremitie to maintaine some one sense and some another, some their hearing and some their smelling, without any alteration; and there is no weaknesse or decay seene so universall but some entire and vigorous parts will remaine.
Non alio pacto quam si pes cum dolet aegri,
In nullo caput interea sit forte dolore./4
No otherwise than if, when sick-mans foote doth ake,
Meane time perhaps his head no fellow-feeling take.
.-- ---
1 LUCR. 1. iii. 831. 2 Ib. 463. 3 CIC.  Div. 1. ii. c. 58. 1 LUCR. 1. iii. iii.

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     Our judgements sight referreth it selfe unto truth, as doth the owles eyes unto the shining of the sunne, as saith Aristotle. How should we better convince him than by so grosse blindnesse in so apparent a light?  For the contrarie opinion of the soules immortalitie, which Cicero saith to have first beene brought in (at least by the testimonie of books) by Pherecydes Syrius in the time of King Tullus (others ascribe the invention thereof to Thales, and other to others) it is the part of humane knowledge treated most sparingly and with more doubt.  The most constant Dogmatists (namely in this point) are enforced to cast themselves under the shelter of the Academikes wings.  No man knowes what Aristotle hath established upon this subject no more than all the ancients in generall, who handle the same with a very wavering beliefe:  Rem gratissimam promittentium magis quam probantium: 'Who rather promise than approve a thing most acceptable. He hath hidden himself under the clouds of intricat and ambiguous words and unintelligible senses, and hath left his Sectaries as much cause to dispute upon his judgement as upon the matter.  Two things made this his opinion plausible to them: the one, that without the immortality of soules there should no meanes be left to ground or settle the vaine hopes of glory+; a consideration of wonderfull credit in the world: the other (as Plato saith) that it is a most profitable impression, that vices, when they steal away from out the sight and knowledge of humane justice, remaine ever as a blancke before divine justice, which even after the death of the guilty will severely pursue them.  Man is ever possessed with an extreme desire to prolong his being, and hath to the uttermost of his skill provided for it.  Toombs and Monuments are for the preservation of his body, and glorie+ for the continuance of his name.  He hath employed all his wit to frame him selfe anew (as impatient of his fortune) and to underprop or uphold himselfe by his inventions.  The soule by reason of her trouble and imbecility, as unable to 


<Mont2-298>          MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

subsist of her selfe, is ever and in all places questing and searching comforts, hopes, foundations and forraine circumstances, on which she may take hold and settle herselfe.  And how light and fantasticall soever his invention doth frame them unto him, he notwithstanding relieth more surely upon them and more willingly than upon himself:  But it is a wonder to see how the most obstinat in this so just and manifest perswasion of our spirits immortalitie have found themselves short and unable to establish the same by their humane forces.  Somnia sunt non docentis sed optantis: 'These are dreames not of one that teacheth, but wisheth what he would have:' said an ancient Writer.  Man may by his owne testimonie know that the truth he alone discovereth, the same he oweth unto fortune and chance, since even when she is falne into his hands, he wanteth wherwith to lay hold on her and keepe her; and that this reason hath not the power to prevaile with it.  All things produced by our owne discource and sufficiencie, as well true as false, are subject to uncertaintie and disputation.  It is for the punishment of our temeritie and instruction of our miserie and incapacitie, that God caused the trouble, downefall and confusion of Babels Tower.  Whatsoever we attempt without his assistance, whatever we see without the lampe of his grace, is but vanity and folly:  With our weaknes we corrupt and adulterate the very essence of truth (which is uniforme and constant when fortune giveth us the possession of it.  What course soever man taketh of himself, it is Gods permission that he ever commeth to that confusion whose image he so lively representeth unto us by the just punishment, wherewith he framed the presumptuous overweening of Nembroth, and brought to nothing the frivolous enterprises of the building of his high-towring Pvramis or Heaven-menacing tower.  Perdam sapientiam sapientium et prudentiam prudentium reprobabo:/1  'I will destroy the wisdome of the wise, and reprove the providence of them that are most
-----
1 1 Cor. i. 19. 


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prudent.' The diversitie of tongues and languages wherewith he disturbed that worke and overthrew that proudly-raisd Pile; what else is it but this infinit altercation and perpetual discordance of opinions and reasons which accompanieth and entangleth the frivolous frame of mans learning, or vaine building of human science?  Which he doth most profitably.  Who might containe us, had we but one graine of knowledge?  This Saint hath done me much pleasure: Ipsa Veritatis occultatio, aut humilitatis exercitatio est, out elationis attritio:/1  'The very concealing of the profit is either an exercise of humilitie or a beating downe of arrogancie.' Unto what point of presumption and insolencie do we not carry our blindnesse and foolishnesse?  But to returne to my purpose: Verily there was great reason that we should be beholding to God alone,{Antonio+} and to the benefit of his grace, for the truth of so noble a beliefe, since from his liberalitie alone we receive the fruit of immortalitie, which consisteth in enjoying of eternall blessednesse.  Let us ingenuously confesse that only God and Faith hath told it us: for it is no lesson of Nature, nor comming from our reason.  And he that shall both within and without narrowly sift and curiously sound his being and his forces without this divine privilege, he that shall view and consider man without flattering him, shall nor finde nor see either efficacie or facultie in him that tasteth of any other thing but death and earth.  The more we give, the more we owe:{grace+} and the more we yeeld unto God, the more Christian- like doe we. That which the Stoike Philosopher said he held by the casuall consent of the peoples voice, had it not beene better he had held it of God? {Antonio+} Cum de animorum aeternitate disserimus, non leue momentum apud nos habet Consensus hominum, aut timentium inferos aut colentium.  Vtor hac publica persuasione:/2  'When we discourse of the immortalitie of soules, in my conceit the consent of those men is of no small authoritie, who either feare or adore the infernall powers.' This publike persuasion
-----
1 AUGUSTIN, de Civ.  Dei, xi. 22. 2 SEN.  Epist. 117. 


<Mont2-300>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

I make use of.  Now the weaknes of human arguments on this subject is very manifestly knowne by the fabulous circumstances they have added unto the traine of this opinion, to finde out what condition this our immortalitie was of.  Let us omit the Stoickes. Usuram nobis largiuntur, tanquam cornicibus: diu mansuros aiunt animos, semper, negant./1   'They grant us use of life, as is unto Ravens: they say our soules shall long continue, but they deny they shall last ever.  Who gives unto soules a life beyond this but finite.'  The most universall and received fantasie, and which endureth to this day, hath beene that whereof Pythagoras is made Author, not that he was the first inventor of it, but because it received much force and credit by the authoritie of his approbation; which is, that soules, at their departure from us did but pass and roule from one to another body, from a Lyon to a Horse, from a Horse to a King, uncessantly wandring up and downe from House to Mansion.  And himselfe said that he remembred to have been AEthalides, then Euphorbus, afterward Hermotimus, at last from Pyrrhus to have passed into Pythagoras; having memorie of himselfe the space of two hundred and six years: some added more, that the same soules doe sometimes ascend up to heaven and come downe againe:

O Pater anne aliquas ad coelum hinc ire putandum est
Sublimes animas, interumque ad tarda reverti
Corpora?  Quae lucis miseris tam dira cupido?/2
Must we thinke (Father) some soules hence doe go,
Raised to heav'n, thence turne to bodies slow?
Whence doth so dyre desire of light on wretches grow?
Origen makes them eternally to go and come from a good to a bad estate. The opinion that Varro reporteth is, that in the revolution of foure hundred and forty yeares they reconjoyned themselves unto their first bodies.  Chrysippus, that that must come to passe after a certaine space of time unknowne and not limited.  Plato (who saith that he holds this opinion from Pindarus and from ancient Poesie) of infinite vicissitudes ---- - 1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. i. 2 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vi. 739. 
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of alteration to which the soule is prepared, having no wearines nor rewards in the other world but temporall, as her life in this is but temporall, concludeth in her a singular knowledge of the affaires of Heaven, of Hell, and here below, where she hath passed, repassed, and sojourned in many voyages, a matter in his remembrance.  Beholde her progresse elsewhere: he that hath lived well reconjoyneth himself unto that Star or Planet to which he is assigned: who evill, passeth into a woman: and if then he amend not himself, he trans-changeth himselfe into a beast of condition agreeing to his vicious customes, and shall never see an end of his punishments untill he returne to his naturall condition, and by virtue of reason he have deprived himselfe of those grose, stupide, and elementarie qualities that were in him.  But I will not forget the objection which the Epicureans make unto this transmigration from one body to another: which is very pleasant. They demand what order there should be if the throng of the dying should be greater than that of such as be borne.  For the soules removed from their abode would throng and strive together who should get the best seat in this new case: and demand besides what they would pass their time about, whilst they should stay untill any other mansion were made ready for them: Or contrary-wise, if more creatures were borne than should dye, they say bodies shall be in an ill taking, expecting the infusion of their soule, and it would come to passe that some of them should dye before they had ever been living.

Denique connubia ad veneris, partusque ferarunt,
Esse animas praesto deridiculum esse videtur,
Et spectare immortales mortalia membra
Innumero numero, certareque praeproperanter
Inter se, quae prima potissimaque insinuetur./1

Lastly, ridiculous it is, soules should be prest
To Venus meetings, and begetting of a beast:
That they to mortall lims immortall be addrest
In number numberlesse, and over-hasty strive,
Which of them first and chiefe should get in there to live.

-----
1 LUCR. 1. iii. 802.
<Mont2-302>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

Others have staid the soule in the deceased bodies, therewith to animate serpents, wormes, and other beasts, which are said to engender from the corruption of our members, yea, and from our ashes: others divide it in two parts, one mortall, another immortall: others make it corporeall, and yet notwithstanding immortall: others make it immortall, without any science or knowledge.  Nay, there are some of ours who have deemed that of condemned mens souls divels were made: as Plutarke+ thinks, that Gods are made of those soules which are saved: for there be few things that this author doth more resolutely averre then this; holding every where else an ambiguous and doubtfull kind of speech.  It is to be imagined and firmlie believed (saith he) that the soules of men, vertuous both according unto nature and divine justice, become of Men, Saints, and of Saints, Demi-Gods, and after they are once perfectly, as in sacrifices of purgation, cleansed and purified {Dante+} being delivered from all possibility and mortalitie, become, of Demi-Gods (not by any civill ordinance, but in good truth, and according to manifest reason) perfect and very very Gods; receiving a most blessed and thrice glorious end.  But whosoever shall see him who is notwithstanding one of the most sparing and moderate of that faction, so undantedly to skirmish, and will beare him relate his wonders upon this subject, him I refer to his discourse of the Moone, and of Socrates his Daemon; where as evidently as in any other place, may be averred that the mysteries of Philosophy have many strange conceits, common with those of Poesie; mans understanding losing it selfe once goes about to sound and controule all things to the utmost ende; as, tired and troubled by a long and wearisome course of our life, we returne to a kind of doting childhood.  Note here the goodly and certaine instructions which concerning our soules-subject we drawe from humane knowledge.  There is no lesse rashnesse in that which shee teacheth us touching our corporall parts.  Let us make choyce but of one or two examples, else should 


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we lose our selves in this troublesome and vaste Ocean of Physicall errours.  Let us know whether they agree but in this one, that is to say, of what matter men are derived and produced one from another.  For, touching their first production, it is no marvell if in a thing so high and so ancient mans wit is troubled and confounded.  Archelaus, the Physitian, to whom (as Aristoxenus affirmeth) Socrates was disciple and Minion, assevered that both men and beasts had beene made of milkie slime or mudde, expressed by the heate of the earth.  Pythagoras saith that our seed is the scumme or froth of our best blood:  Plato, the distilling of the marrow in the back-bone, which he argueth thus because that place feeleth first the wearinesse which followeth the generative businesse.  Alcmaeon, a part of the braine substance, which to prove he saith their eyes are ever most troubled that over-intemperately addict themselves to that exercise.  Democritus, a substance extracted from all parts of this corporall Masse.  Epicurus, extracted from the last soule and the body.  Aristotle, an excrement drawne from the nourishment of the blood, the last scattereth it selfe in our severall members; others, blood, concocted and digested by the heate of the genitories, which they judge because in the extreme, earnest, and forced labours, many shed drops of pure blood; wherein some appearance seemeth to be, if from so infinit a confusion any likelihood may be drawne.  But to bring this seed to effect, how many contrary opinions make they of it?  Aristotle and Democritus hold that women have no sperme, that it is but a sweate, which by reason of the pleasure and frication they cast forth, and availeth nothing in generation.      Galen and his adherents contrariwise, affirme that there can be no generation except two seeds meete together.  Behold the Physitians, the Philosophers, the Lawyers, and the Divines pell-mell together by the eares with our women about the question and disputation how long women beare their fruite in their wombe.  And as for me, by mine owne example, I 


<Mont2-304>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

take their part that maintaine a woman may go eleven months with childe. The worlde is framed of this experience, there is no meane woman so simple that cannot give her censure upon all these contestations, although we could not agree.  This is sufficient to verifie that in the corporall part man is no more instructed of himselfe than in the spirituall.  We have proposed himselfe to himselfe, and his reason to reason, to see what shee shall tell us of it.  Mee thinkes I have sufficiently declared how little understanding shee hath of herselfe.  And hee who hath no understanding of himselfe, what can he have understanding of? Quasi vero mensuram ullius rei possit agere qui sui nesciat: 'As though he could take measure of any thing that knowes not his owne measure'.  Truely Protagoras told us prettie tales, when hee makes a man the measure of all things, who never knew so much as his owne.  If it be not hee, his dignitie will never suffer any other creature to have this advantage over him.  Now he being so contrary in himselfe, and one judgement so uncessantly subverting another, this favorable proposition was but a jest, which induced us necessarily to conclude the nullity of the Compasse and the Compasser.  When Thales judgeth the knowledge of man very hard unto man, he teacheth him the knowledge of all other things to be impossible unto him.  You for whom I have taken the paines to enlarge so long a worke (against my custome) will not shun to maintaine your Sebond with the ordinary forme of arguing, whereof you are daily instructed, and will therein exercise both your minde and study; for this last trick of sense must not be employed but as an extreme remedy.  It is a desperate thrust, gainst which you must forsake your weapons, to force your adversary to renounce his, and a secret slight, which must seldome and very sparingly be put in practice.  It is a great fond hardnesse to lose our selfe for the losse of another.  A man must not be willing to die to revenge+ himselfe, as Gobrias was: who being close by the eares
-----
1 PLIN.  Nat.  Hist. 1. ii. c. 1. 


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with a Lord of Persia, Darius chanced to come in with his sword in his hand, and fearing to strike for feare he should hurt Gobrias, he called unto him, and bade him smite boldly, although he should smite through both./1 I have heard armes and conditions of single combates being desperate, and in which he that offered them put not himselfe and his enemie in danger of an end inevitable to both, reproved as unjust, and condemned as unlawfull. The Portugais took once certaine Turkes prisoners in the Indian Seas, who, impatient of their capacity, resolved with themselves (and their resolution succeeded) by rubbing of Ship- nailes one against another, and causing sparkes of fire to fall amongst the barrels of powder (which lay not far from them) with intent to consume both themselves, their masters, and the ship.  We but touch at the skirts, and glance at the last closings of the Sciences, wherein extremity, as well as in vertue, is vicious.  Keepe your selves in the common path, it is not good to be so subtil and so curious.{PlainDealer+} Remember what the Italian proverbe saith,

Chi troppo assottiglia, si scavezza./2
Who makes himselfe too fine,
Doth break himselfe in fine.
     I perswade you, in your opinions and discourses, as much as in your customes, and in every other thing to use moderation and temperance, and avoide all newfangled inventions and strangenesse. All extravagant waies displease me.  You, who by the authoritie and preheminence which your greatnesse hath laied upon you, and more by the advantages which the qualities that are most your owne, bestow on you, may with a nod command whom you please, should have laied this charge upon some one that had made profession of learning, who might otherwise have disposed and enriched this fantasie.  Notwithstanding here you have enoughto supply your wants of it.  Epicurus said of the lawes that the worst were so necessary unto us, that without them men would
-----
1 JUSTIN, 1. i. 2 PETR. p. i. canz. xiii. 48. 
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enterdevour one another.  And Plato verifieth that without lawes we should live like beasts. {Yahoo+} Our spirit is a vagabond, a dangerous and fond-hardy implement; it is very harde to joyne order and measure to it.  In my time, such as have any rare excellency above others, or extraordinary vivacity, we see them almost all so lavish and unbridled in licence of opinions and manners, as it may be counted a wonder to find any one settled and sociable. There is great reason why the spirit of man should be so strictly embarred. In his study, as in all things else, he must have his steps numbered and ordered.  The limits of his pursuite must be cut out by art.  He is bridled and fettered with and by religions, lawes, customes, knowledge, precepts, paines, and recompences, both mortall and immortall; {Kurtz+} yet we see him, by meanes of his volubility and dissolution, escape all these bonds. It is a vaine body that hath no way about him to be seized on or cut off: a diverse and deformed body, on which neither knot nor hold may be fastened.{Yahoo+} Verily there are few soules so orderly, so constante and so well borne as may be trusted with their owne conduct, and may not with moderation, and without rashnes, faile in the liberty of their judgements beyond common opinions.  It is more expedient to give some body the charge and tuition of them.  The spirit is an outrageous glaive, yea even to his owne possessor, except he have the grace very orderly and discreetly to arme himselfe therewith. And there is no beast to whom one may more justly apply a blinding bord, to keepe her sight in and force her to her footing, and keepe from straying here and there, without the tracke which use and lawes trace her out. {Kurtz+} Therefore shall it be better for you to close and bound your selves in the accustomed path, however it be, than to take your flight to this unbridled licence.  But if any one of these new doctors shall undertake to play the wise or ingenious before you, at the charge of his and your health: to rid you out of this dangerous plague, which daily more and more spreds it selfe in your Courts this preservative will in any extreame necessity, be a 


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let, that the contagion of this venome shall neither offend you nor your assistance.  The liberty then, and the jollity of their ancient spirits brought forth many different Sects of opinions, in Philosophy and humane Sciences: every one undertaking to judge and chuse, so he might raise a faction.  But now that men walke all one way: Qui certis quibusdam destinatisque sententiis addicti et consecrate sunt, ut etiam quae non probant, cogantur defendere:/1  'Who are addicted and consecrated to certaine set and fore-decreed opinions, so as they are enforced to maintaine those things which they prove or approve not:' And that wee receive Arts by civill authority and appointment: so that Schooles have but one patterne, alike circumscribed discipline and institution; no man regardeth more what coines weigh and are worth; but every man in his turne receiveth them according to the value that common approbation and succession allotteth them:  Men dispute no longer of the alloy, but of the use.  So are all things spent and vented like. Physike is received as Geometry: and jugling tricks, encjantments, bonds, the commerce of deceased spirits, prognostications, domifications, yea even this ridiculous wit and wealth-consuming pursuite of the Philosophers stone, all is emploied and uttered without contradiction.  It sufficeth to know that Mars his place lodgeth in the middle of the hands triangle; that of Venus in the thumme; and Mercuries in the little finger: and when the table-line cutteth the fore- finger's rising, it is a signe of cruelty: when it falleth under the middle finger, and that the naturall median-line makes an angle with the vitall, under the same side, it is a signe of a miserable death: and when a womans naturall line is open, and closes not its angle with the vitall, it evidenty denotes that she will not be very chast.  I call your selfe to witnesse, if with this Science onely, a man may not passe with reputation and favour among all companies.  Theophrastus was wont to say that mans knowledge, directed by the sense, might judge of the causes of things unto 1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. ii. 


<Mont2-308>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

a certaine measure, but being come to the extream and first causes, it must necessarily stay, and be blunted or abated, either by reason of its weaknesse or of the things difficulty.  It is an indifferent and pleasing kind of opinion to thinke that our sufficiency may bring us to the knowledge of some things, and hath certaine measures of power beyond which it's temerity to employ it.  This opinion is plausible and brought in by way of composition: but it is hard to give our spirit any limits, being very curious and greedy, and not tied to stay rather at a thousand then at fifty spaces.  Having found by experience that if one had mist to attaine unto some one thing, another hath come unto it, and that which one age never knew, the age succeeding hath found out: and that Sciences and Arts are not cast in a mold, but rather by little and little formed and shaped by often handling and polishing them over: even as beares fashion their yong whelps by often licking them: what my strength cannot discover, I cease not to sound and try: and in handling and kneading this new matter, and with removing and chasing it, I open some faculty for him that shall follow me, that with more ease he may enjoy the same, and make it more facile, more supple and more pliable:

     -----vt hymettia sole
Cera remollescit, tractataque pollice, multas
Vertitur in facies, ipsoque fit vtilis vsu./1
As the best Bees wax melteth by the Sun,
And handling, into many formes doth run,
And is made aptly fit
For use by using it.
     As much will the second do for the third, which is a cause that difficulty doth not make me despaire, much lesse my unability: for it is but mine owne.  Man is as well capable of all things as of some. And if (as Theophrastus saith) he avow the ignorance of the first causes and beginnings, let him boldly quit all the rest of his knowledge.  If his foundation faile him, his
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1 OVID.  Metam. 1. x. 284. 
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discourse is overthrowne.  The dispute hath no other scope, and to enquire no other end but the principles:  If this end stay not his course, he casteth himself into an infinite irresolution.  Non potest aliud alio magis minusque comprehendi, quoiam omnium reram vna est definitio comprehendendi: 'One thing can neither more nor lesse be comprehended than another, since of all things there is one definition of comprehending.  Now it is likely that if the soule knew any thing, shee first know her selfe: and if she knew any without and besides her selfe, it must be her vaile and body before any thing else.  If even at this day the Gods of Physicke are seene to wrangle about our Anatomie,

Mulciber in Troiam, pro Troia stabat Apollo,/1
Apollo stood for Troy,
Vulcan Troy to destroy,
when shall we expect that they will be agreed?  We are neerer unto our selves, then is whitenesse unto snow or weight unto a stone.  If man know not himselfe, how can hee know his functions and forces?  It is not by fortune that some true notice doth not lodge with us but by hazard.  And forasmuch as by the same way, fashion and conduct, errours are received into our soule, she hath not wherewithall to distinguish them, nor whereby to chose the truth from falshood.  The Academikes received some inclination of judgment and found it over raw, to say, it was no more likely snow should be white then blacke, and that wee should be no more assured of the moving of a stone, which goeth from our hand, then of that of the eighth Spheare.  And to avoid this difficultie and strangenesse, which in truth cannot but hardly lodge in our imagination, howbeit they establish that we were no way capable of knowledge, and that truth is engulfed in the deepest Abysses, where mans sight can no way enter; yet avowed they some things to be more likely and possible then others, and receivd this faculty in their judgement
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1 OVID.  Trist. 1. i.  El. ii. 5. 
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that they might rather incline to one apparence then to another.  They allowed her this propension, interdicting her all resolution.  The Pyrrhonians advise is more hardy, and therewithall more likely.  For this Academicall inclination, and this propension rather to one then another proposition, what else is it then a recognition of some more apparant truth, in this than in that?  If our understanding be capable of the forme, of the lineaments, of the behaviour and face of truth, it might as well see it all compleat, as but halfe, growing and imperfect.  For this apparance of verisimilitude which makes them rather take the left then the right hand, doe you augment it; this one ounce of likelihood, which turnes the ballance, doe you multiply it by a hundred, nay by a thousand ounces; it wil in the end come to passe that the ballance will absolutely resolve and conclude one choice and perfect truth.  But how doe they suffer themselves to be made tractable by likelihood, if they know not truth?  How know they the semblance of that whereof they understand not the essence?  Either we are able to judge absolutely, or absolutely we cannot.  If our intellectuall and sensible faculties are without ground or footing, if they but hull up and downe and drive with the wind, for nothing suffer we our judgment to be carried away to any part of their operation, what apparauce soever it seemeth to present us with.  And the surest and most happy situation of our understanding should be that, where without any tottering or agitation it might maintaine it selfe setled, upright and inflexible.  Inter visa, vera, aut falsa, ad animi assensum, nihil interest:/1
'There is no difference betwixt true and false visions concerning the mindes assent.'  That things lodge not in us in their proper forme and essence, and make not their entrance into us of their owne power and authority, we see it most evidently.  For if it were so, we would receive them all alike: wine should be such in a sicke mans mouth as in a healthy mans.  He whose fingers are chopt through cold, and stiffe or benummed with
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1 CIC.  Acad.  Qu. 1. iv. 


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frost, should find the same hardnesse in the wood or iron he might handle, which another doth.  Then strange subjects yeeld unto our mercy, and lodge with us according to our pleasure.  Now if on our part we receive any thing without alteration, if mans holdfasts were capable and sufficiently powerfull by our proper meanes to seize on truth, those meanes being common to all; this truth would successively remove it selfe from one to another.  And of so many things as are in the world, at least one should be found, that by an universall consent should be beleeved of all.  But that no proposition is seene, which is not controversied and debated amongst us, or that may not be, declareth plainly that our judgment doth not absolutely and clearly seize on that which it seizeth: for my judgment cannot make my fellowes judgment to receive the same: which is a signe that I have seized upon it by some other meane then by a naturall power in me or other men.  Leave we apart this infinite confusion of opinions, which is seene amonge Philosophers themselves, and this universal and perpetuall disputation, in and concerning the knowledge of things.  For it is most truly presupposed that men (I mean the wisest, the best borne, yea and the most sufficient do never agree; no not so much that heaven is over our heads.  For they who doubt of all, doe also doubt of this: and such as affirme that we cannot conceive any thing, say we have not conceived whether heaven be over our heads; which two opinions are in number (without any comparison) the most forcible. Besides this diversity and infinite division, by reason of the trouble which our owne judgement layeth upon our selves, and the uncertainty which every man findes in himselfe, it may manifestly be perceived that this situation is very uncertaine and unstaid.  How diversely judge we of things? How often change we our phantasies?  What I hold and beleeve this day I beleeve and hold with all my beleefe: all my implements, springs and motions, embrace and claspe this opinion, and to the utmost of their power warrant the 


<Mont2-312>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

same:  I could not possibly embrace any verity, nor with more assurance keepe it, than I doe this.  I am wholy and absolutely given to it: but hath it not beene my fortune, not once, but a hundred, nay a thousand times, nay daily, to have embraced some other thing with the very same instruments and condition which upon better advise I have afterward judged false?  A man should, at the least become wise at his owne cost, and learne by others harmes.  If under this colour I have often found my selfe deceived, if my Touch-stone be commonly found false and my ballance un-even and unjust; what assurance may I more take of it at this time than at others?  Is it not folly in me to suffer my selfe so often to be beguiled and couzened by one guide?  Neverthelesse, let fortune remove us five hundred times from our place, let her doe nothing but incessantly empty and fill, as in a vessell, other and other opinions in our mind, the present and last is alwaies supposed certaine and infallible.  For this must a man have goods, honour, life, state, health and all:

     -----posterior res illa reperta
Perdit; et immutat sensus ad pristina guaeque./1
The latter thing destroies all found before;
And alters sense at all things lik'd of yore.
     Whatsoever is told us, and what ever we learne, we should ever remember: it is man that delivereth and man that receiveth: it is a mortall hand that presents it, and a mortall hand that receives it.  Onely things which come to us from heaven have right and authority of perswasion and markes of truth: which we neither see with our eyes nor receive by our meanes: this sacred and great image would be of no force in so wretched a Mansion except God prepare it to that use and purpose, unlesse God by his particular grace and supernaturall favor reforme and strengthen the same.  Our fraile and defective condition ought at least make us demeane our selves more moderately and more circumspectly in our changes.  We should remember that
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 1424. 
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whatsoever we receive in our understanding we often receive false things, and that it is by the same instruments which many times contradict and deceive themselves.  And no marvell if they contradict themselves, being so easy to encline, and upon very slight occasions subject to waver and turne.  Certaine it is that our apprehension, our judgement, and our soules faculties in generall, doe suffer according to the bodies motions and alterations, which are continuall.  Have we not our spirits more vigilant, our memorie more ready, and our discourses more lively in time of health then in sicknesse? Doth not joy and blithenesse make us receive the subjects that present themselves unto our soule, with another kind of countenance, then lowring vexation and drooping melancholy doth?  Doe you imagine that Catullus or Saphoes verses delight and please an old covetous chuff-penny wretch as they do a lusty and vigorous yong man?  Cleomenes the sonne of Anaxandridas being sick, his friends reproved him, saying he had new strange humors and unusuall phantasies: 'It is not unlikely,' answered he, 'for I am not the man I was wont to be in the time of health; but being other, so are my fantasies and my humors.  In the rabble case- canvasing of our plea-courts this byword, Gaudeat de bona fortuna: 'Let him joy in his good fortune" is much in use, and is spoken of criminall offenders, who happen to meete with Judges in some milde temper or well-pleased mood.  For it is most certaine that in times of condemnation the Judges doome or sentence is sometimes perceived to be more sharpen mercilesse and forward, and at other times more tractable, facile, and enclined to shadow or excuse an offence, according as he is well or ill pleased in mind.  A man that commeth out of his house troubled with the paine of the goute, vexed with jealousy, or angry that his servant hath robbed him, and whose mind is overcome with griefe, and plunged with vexation, and distracted with anger, there is not question to be made but his judgement is at that instant distempred, and much transported that way.  That 


<Mont2-314>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

venerable senate of the Areopagites was wont to judge and sentence by night, for feare the sight of the suters might corrupt justice.  The ayre it selfe, and the clearenes of the firmament, doth forbode us some change and alteration of weather, as saith that Greek verse in Cicero:

Tales sunt hominum mentes, quali pater ipse
Iupiter auctifera lustravit lampade terras./1
Such are mens mindes, as with increasefull light
Our father Jove survaies the world in sight.
     It is not onely fevers, drinkes and great accidents, that over-whelme our judgement: the least things in the world will turne it topsie-turvie.  And although we feele it not, it is not to bee doubted, if a continuall a ague may in the end suppresse our mind, a tertian will also (according to her measure and proportion) breed some alteration in it.  If an Apoplexie doth altogether stupifie and extinguish the sight of our understanding, it is not to be doubted but a cold and rheum will likewise dazle the same.  And by consequence, hardly shall a man in all his life find one houre wherein our judgement may alwaies be found in his right byase, our body being subject to so many continuall alterations, and stuft with so divers sorts of ginnes and motions, that, giving credit to Physitians, it is very hard to find one in perfect plight, and that doth not alwaies mistake his marke and shute wide.  As for the rest, this disease is not so easily discovered, except it be altogether extreame and remedilesse; forasmuch as reason marcheth ever crooked, halting and broken-hipt; and with falshood as with truth; and therefore it is very hard to discover her mistaking and disorder.  I alwaies call reason that apparance or shew of discourses which every man deviseth or forgeth in himselfe: that reason, of whose condition there may be a hundred, one contrary to another, about one selfe same subject: it is an instrument of lead and wax, stretching, pliable, and that may be fitted to all byases and squared to all
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1 CIC. ex Incert. 
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measures: there remaines nothing but the skill and sufficiency to know how to turne and winde the same.  How well soever a Judge meaneth, and what good mind so ever he beareth, if diligent care be not given unto him (to which few ammuse themselves) his inclination unto friendship, unto kindred, unto beauty, and unto revenge, and not onely matters of so weighty consequence, but this innated and casual instinct which us to favour one thing more than another, and encline to one man more than to another, and which, without any leave or reason, giveth us the choice in two like subjects, or some shadow of like vanity, may insensibly insinuate in his judgment the commendation and applause, or disfavour and disallowance of a cause, and give the ballance a twitch.  I that nearest prie into my selfe, and who have mine eyes uncessantly fixt upon me as one that hath not much else to do else where,.

Quis sub Arcto
Rex gelidae metuatur orae,
Quid Tyridatem terreat unice
Securus,/1

Only secure, who in cold coast
Under theNorth-pole rules the rost,
And there is feare or what would fright,
And Tyridates put to flight,

dare very hardly report the vanity and weaknesse I feele in myselfe.  My foot is so staggering and unstable and I finde it so ready to trip and so easie to stumble and my sight is so dimme and uncertaine that fasting I find my selfe other than full fed.  If my health applaud me, or but the calmenesse of one faire day smile upon me, then am I a lusty gallant; but if a corne wring my toe, then am I pouting, unpleasant and hard to be pleased. One same pace of a horse is sometimes hard and sometimes easie unto me; and one same way, one time short, another time long and wearisome; and one same forme, now more, now lesse agreeable and pleasing to me: sometimes I am apt to doe
-----
1 HOR. 1. i.  Od. xxvi. 3. 
<Mont2-316>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

any thing, and other times fit to doe nothing: what now is pleasing to me within a while after will be paineful.  There are a thousand indiscreet and casuall agitations in me.  Either a melancholy humour possesseth me, or a cholericke passion swaieth me, which having shaken off, sometimes frowardilesse and peevishnesse hath predominancy, and other times gladnes and blithnesse overrule me.  If I chance to take a booke in hand I shall in some passages perceive some excellent graces, and which ever wound me to the soule with delight; but let me lay it by and read him another time; let me turne and tosse him as I list, let me apply and manage him as I will, I shall finde it an unknowne and shapelesse masse.  Even in my writings I shall not at all times finde the tracke or ayre of my first imaginations; I wot not my selfe what I would have said, and shall vexe and fret my selfe in correcting and giving a new sense to them, because I have peradventure forgotten or lost the former, which happily was better.  I doe but come and goe; my judgement doth not alwaies goe forward, but is ever floting and wandering.

     ----- velut minuta magno
Deprensa navis in mari, vesaniente vento./1
Much like a pettie skiffe, that's taken short
In a grand Sea, when winds doe make mad sport.
     Many times (as commonly it is my hap to doe) having for exercise and sport-sake undertaken to maintaine an opinion contrarie to mine, my minde applying and turning it selfe that way doth so tie me unto it, as I finde no more the reason of my former conceit, and so I leave it.  Where I encline, thereeI entertains my selfe howsoever it be, and am carried away by mine owne weight.  Every man could neer-hand say as much of himselfe would he but looke into himselfe as I doe.  Preachers know that the emotion which surpriseth them whilst they are in their earnest speech doth animate them towards belief, and that being
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1 CATUL.  Lyr.  Epig. xxii. 12. 
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angrie we more violently give our selves to defend our proposition, emprint it in our selves, and embrace the same with more vehemencie and approbation than we did being in our temperate and reposed sense.  You relate simply your case unto a Lawyer; he answers faltring and doubtfully unto it, whereby you perceive it is indifferent unto him to defend either this or that side, all is one to him. {lawyers+} Have you paid him well, have you given him a good baite or fee to make him earnestly apprehend it, beginnes he to be enterested in the matter, is his will moved or his minde enflamed? Then will his reason be moved and his knowledge enflamed with all.  See then an apparent and undoubted truth presents it self to his understanding, wherein he discovers a new light, and believes it in good sooth, and so perswades himselfe.  Shall I tell you?  I wot not whether the heate proceedingk of spight and obstinacie against the impression and violence of a magistrate and of danger: or the interest of reputation have induced some man to maintaine, even in the fiery flames, the opinion for which amongst his friends and at libertie he would never have beene moved nor have ventured his fingers end.  The motions and fits which our soule receiveth by corporall passions doe greatly prevaile in her, but more her owne, with which it is so fully possest, as happily it may be maintained she hath no other or motion than by the blasts of her windes, and that without their agitation she should remaine without action, as a ship at sea which the winds have utterly forsaken.{Pope+} And he who should maintaine that following the Peripatetike faction should offer us no great wrong, since it is knowne that the greatest number of the soules actions proceede and have neede of this impulsion of passion; valor (say they) cannot be perfected without the assistance of choler.{anger+}

Semper Aiax fortis, fortissimus tamen in furore./1
Ajax every valor had,
Most then, when he was most mad.
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. iv.
<Mont2-318>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

     Nor doth any man run violently enough upon the wicked, or his enemies, except he be throughly angrie; and they are of opinion that an advocate or counsellor at the barre, to have the cause goe on his side, and to have justice at the judges hands, doth first endevor to provoke him to anger.  Longing-desires moved Themistocles and urged Demosthenes, and have provoked Philosophers to long travels, to tedious watchings, and to lingring peregrinations and leads us to honours, to doctrine, and to health: all profitable respects.  And this demissenes of the soule in suffering molestion and tediousness, serveth to no other purpose, but to breed repentance and cause penitence in our consciences, and for our punishment to feele the scourge of God and the rod of politike correction.  Compassion serveth as a sting unto clemencie, and wisdome to preserve and governe our selves, is by our owne feare rouzed up; and how many noble actions by ambition, how many by presumption.  To conclude, no eminent or glorious vertue can be without some immoderate and irregular agitation. {Pope+} May not this be one of the reasons which moved the Epicureans to discharge God of all care and thought of our affaires: forsomuch as the very effects of his goodnesse cannot exercise themselves towards us without disturbing his rest by meanes of the passions+ which are as motives and solicitations directing the soule to vertuous actions?  Or have they thought otherwise, and take them as tempests which shamefully lead astray the soule from her rest and tranquillitie? Vt maris tranquillita intelligitur, nulla, ne minima quidem, aura fluctus, commovente:  Sic animi quietus et placatus status cernitur, quam perturbatio nulla est, quw moveri queat:/1  'As we conceive the seas calmnesse, when not so much as the least pirling wind doth stirre the waves, so is a peaceable reposed state of the mind then seene when there is no perturbation whereby it may be moved.'  What differences of sense and reason, what contrarietie of imaginations doth the diversitie of our passions present unto us?  What
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. v. 


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assurance may we then take of so unconstant and wavering a thing, subject by its owne condition to the power of trouble, never marching but a forced and borrowed pace?  If our judgement be in the hands of sickenes itselfe and of perturbation; if by rashnesse and folly it be retained to receive the impression of things, what assurance may we expect at his hands?  Dares not Philosophie thinke that men produce their greatest effects, and neerest approaching to divinity when they are besides themselves, furious, and madde?  We amend our selves by the privation of reason, and by her drooping. The two naturall waies to enter the cabinet of the Gods, and there to foresee the course of the destinies, are furie and sleepe.  This is very pleasing to be considered.  By the dislocation that passions bring into our reason, we become vertuous; by the extirpation which either furie or the image of death bringeth us, we become Prophets and Divines.  I never beleeved it more willingly.  It is a meere divine inspiration that sacred truth hath inspired in a Philosophical spirit which against his proposition exacteth from him; that the quiet state of our soule, the best-settled estate, yea the healthfullesi that Philosophy can acquire unto it, is not the best estate.  Our vigilancie is more drouzie then asleepe it selfe: our wisdome lesse wise then folly; our dreames of more worth then our discourses.  The worst place we can take is in ourselves.  But thinks it not that we have the foresight to marke, that the voice which the spirit uttereth when he is gone from man so cleare sighted, so great, and so perfect, and whilst he is in man so earthly, so ignorant, and so overclouded, is a voice proceeding from the spirit which is in earthly, ignorant, and overclouded man; and therefore a trustles and not to be-believed voice?  I have no great experience in these violent agitations, being of a soft and dull complexion, the greatest part of which, without giving it leisure to acknowledge her selfe, doe sodainely surprise our soule.  But that passion, which in young mens harts is saied to be produced by idleness, although it march but 


<Mont2-320> MONTTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

leasurely and with a measured progress, doth evidently present to those that have assaid to oppose themselves against her endevour, the power of the conversion and alteration which our judgement suffereth.  I have some times enterprised to arme my selfe with a resolution to abide, resist, and suppresse the same.  For I am so farre from being in their ranke that call and allure vices, that unlesse they draw me I scarcely follow them. I felt it mauger my resistance, to breed, to growe, and to augment; and in the end, being in perfect health and cleare sighted, to seize upon and pollute me; in such sort that as in drunkennes the image of things began to appeare unto me otherwise then it was wont.  I saw the advantages of the subject I sought after evidently to swell and grow greater, and much to encrease by the winde of my imagination; and the difficulties of my enterprise to become more easie and plaine, and my discourse and conscience to shrinke and draw backe.  But that fire being evaporated all on a sodaine, as by the flashing of a lightning, my soule to reassume an other sight, an other state, and other judgement.  The difficultie in my retreate seemed great and invincible, and the very same things of another taste and shew than the fervency of desire had presented them unto me.  And which more truly, Pyrrho cannot tell.  We are never without some infirmitie.  Fevers have their heat and their cold: from the effects of a burning passion, we fall into the effects of a chilling passion.  So much as I had cast my selfe forward, so much doe I draw my selfe backe.

Qualis ubi alterno procurrens gurgite pontus,
Nunc ruit ad terrar, scopilisque superjacit undam,
Spumeus, extremamque sinu prefundit arenam,
Nunc rapidus retro, atque aestu rvoluta resorbens
Saxa, fugit, littusque vado labente relinquit./1
As th' Ocean flowing, ebbing in due course,
To land now rushes, foming throws his fource
On rocks, therewith bedewes the utmost sand,
Now swift returns the stones rowld backe from strand
By tide resucks, foord failing, leaves the land.
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. xi. 508. 
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     Now by the knowledge of my volubilitie, I have by accident engendred some constancy of opinions in my selfe; yea have not so much altered my first and naturall ones.  For, what apparance soever there be in novelty, I do not easily change for feare I should lose by the bargaine: and since I am not capable to chuse, I take the choice from others; and keepe my selfe in the seate that God hath placed me in.  Else could I hardly keepe my selfe from continuall rowling.  Thus have I by the Grace of God preserved my selfe whole (without agitation or trouble of conscience) in the ancient beliefe of our religion, in the middest of so many sects and divisions which our age hath brought forth.  The writings of the ancient fathers (I meane the good, the solide, and the serious) doe tempt, and in a manner remove me which way they list.  Him that I heare seemeth ever the most forcible.  I finde them everie one in his turne to have reason, although they contrary one another.  That facility which good witts have to prove any thing they please likel; and that there is nopthing so strange but that they will undertake to set so good a gloss on it, as it shall easily deceive a simplicity like unto mine, doth manifestly shew the weaknesse of their proofe.  The heavens and the planets have moved these three thousand yeares, and all the world beleeved as much, untill Cleanthes the Samian, or else (according to Theophrastus) Nicetas the Syracusian tooke upon him to maintaine, it was the earth that moved, by the oblique circle of the Zodiake, turning about her axell tree.  And in our daies Copernicus hath so well grounded this doctrine, that hee doth orderly fit it to all astrologicall consequences.  What shall we reape by it but only that wee neede not care which of the two it be?  And who knoweth whether a thousand yeares hence a third opinion will rise, which happily shall overthrow these two precedents?

Sic volvenda aetas vommutat tempora rerum,
Quodque fuit pretio, fit nullo denique honore,
Porro aliud succedit, et contemptibus exit,

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Inque dies magis appetitur, floretque repertum Laudibus, et miro est mortales inter honore./1

So age to be past-over alters times of things:
What earst was most esteem'd,
At last nought-worth is deem'd:
Another then succeeds, and from contempt upsprings,
Is daily more desir'd, flowreth as found but then
With praise and wondrous honor amongst mortall men.

     So when any new doctrine is represented unto us, we have great cause to suspect it, and to consider how, before it was invented, the contrary unto it was in credit; and as that hath beene reversed by this latter, a third invention may peradventure succeed in afterages, which in like sort shall front the second.  Before the principles which Aristotle found out were in credit, other principles contented mans reason as his doe now content us.  What learning have these men, what particular priviledge, that the course of our invention should rely only upon them, and that the possession of our beliefe shall for ever hereafter belong to them?  They are no more exempted from being rejected than were their fore-fathers. If any man urge me with a new argument, it is in me to imagine that, if I cannot answere it, another can.  For, to believe all apparences which we cannot resolve, is meere simplicitie+. It would then follow that all the common sort (whereof we are all part) {diffident+} should have his beliefe turning and winding like a weather-cocke: for, his soule being soft and without resistance, should uncessantly be enforced to receive new and admit other impressions: the latter ever defacing the precedents trace.  He that perceiveth himselfe weake, ought to answer, according to law termes, that he will conferre with his learned counsel, or else referre himselfe to the wisest, from whom he hath had his prentiseship.  How long is it since physicke came first into the world?  It is reported that a new start-up fellow, whom they call Paracelsus, changeth and subverteth all the order of ancient and so long received rules, and maintaineth that untill this day it
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 1286. 
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bath only served to kill people.  I thinke he will easily verify it. But I suppose it were no great wisedome to hazard my life upon the triall of his newfangled experience. 'We must not beleeve all men,' saith the precept, since every man may say all things.  It is not long since that one of these professours of novelties and physical reformations told me that all our forefathers had notoriously abused themselves in the nature and motion of the winds, which, if I should listen unto him, he would manifestly make me perceive.  After I had with some patience given attendance to his arguments, which were indeed full of likelyhood, I demanded of him whether they which had sailed according to Theophrastus his lawes, went westward when they bent their course eastward?  Or whether they sailed sideling or backward? 'It is fortune,' answered he, 'but so it is, they tooke their marke amisse:' To whom I then replied that I would rather follow the effects than his reason.  They are things that often shock together: and it hath beene told mee that in geometry (which supposeth to have gained the high point of certainty amongst all sciences) there are found unavoidable demonstrations, and which subvert the truth of all experience: as James Peletier told me in mine owne house, that he had found out two lines bending their course one towards another, as if they would meet and joyne together; neverthelesse he affirmed that, even unto infinity, they could never come to touch one another.  And the Pyrrhonians use their arguments, and reason but to destroy the apparance of experience: and it is a wonder to see how far the supplenesse of our reason hath in this design followed them to resist the evidence of effects: for they affirme that we move not, that we speake not, that there is no weight, nor heat, with the same force of arguing that we averre the most likeliest things.  Ptolomey, who was an excellent man, had established the bounds of the world; all ancient philosophers have thought they had a perfect measure thereof, except it were certaine scattered ilands which might escape their knowledge: it had 


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beene to Pyrrhonize a thousand yeares agoe, had any man gone about to make a question of the art of cosmography: and the opinions that have beene received thereof, of all men in generall: it had beene flat heresie to avouch that there were Antipodes.  See how in our age an infinite greatnesse of firme land hath beene discovered, not an iland onely, nor one particular country, but a part in greatnesse very neere equall unto that which we knew.  Our moderne geographers cease not to affirme that now all is found, and all is discovered:

Nam quod adest praesto, placet, et pollere videtur,/1
For what is present here,
Seemes strong, is held most deare.
The question is now, if Ptolomey was heretofore deceived in the grounds of his reason, whether it were not folly in me to trust what these late fellowes say of it, and whether it be not more likely that this huge body which we terme the world is another manner of thing than we judge it.  Plato saith that it often changeth his countenance, that the heaven, the starres, and the sunne do sometimes re-enverse the motion we perceive in them, changing the east into the west.  The Aegyptian priests told Herodotus that since their first king, which was eleaven thousand and odde yeares (when they made him see the pictures of all their former kings, drawne to the life in statues) the sun course had changed his course foure times: that the sea and the earth doe enterchangeably change one into another; that the worlds birth is undetermined: the like said Aristotle and Cicero.  And some one amongst us averreth that it is altogether eternall, mortal, and new reviving againe, by many vicissitudes, calling Solomon and Esay to witnesse: to avoid these oppositions, that God hath sometimes been a Creator without a creature; that he hath beene idle; that he hath unsaid his idlenesse by setting his hand to this
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 1422. 
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worke, and that by consequence he is subject unto change.  In the most famous schooles of Greece, the world is reputed a God framed by another greater and mightier God, and is composed of a body and a soule, which abideth in his centre, spreading it selfe by musicall numbers unto his circumference, divine, thrice happy, very great, most wise and eternall. In it are other Gods, as the sea, the earth, and planets, which with an harmonious celestiall dance; sometime meeting, other times farre-sundering themselves; now hiding, them shewing themselves; and changing place, now forward, now backward.  Heraclitus firmly mainitained that the world was composed of fire, and by the destinies order it should one day burst forth into flames, and be so consumed into cinders, and another day it should be new borne againe.  And Apuleius of men saith: Sigillatim mortales; cunctim perpetui:/1  'Severally mortall; altogether everlasting.'   Alexander writ unto his mother the narration of an AEgyptian priest, drawne from out their monuments, witnessing the antiquitie of that nation, infinite; and comprehending the birth and progresse of their countries to the life. Cicero and Diodorus said in their daies that the Chaldeans kept a register of foure hundred thousand and odde yeares; Aristotle, Plinie, and others, that Zoroaster lived sixe thousand yeares before Plato.  And Plato saith that those of the citty of Sais have memories in writing of eight thousand yeares, and that the towne of Athens was built a thousand yeares before the citty of Sais.  Epicurus, that at one same time all things that are looke how we see them, they are all alike, and in the same fashion, in divers other Worlds, which he would have spoken more confidently had he seene the similitudes and correspondencies of this new-found world of the West Indiaes with ours, both present and past, by so many strange examples. Truly, when I consider what hath followed our learning by the course of this
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1 L.  APUL.  De Deo; SOCRAT. 


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terrestriall policies I have divers times wondered at my selfe, to see in so great a distance of times and places, the simpathy or jumping of so great a number of popular and wilde opinions, and of extravagant customes and beliefes, and which by no meanes seeme to hold with our naturall discourse. Man's spirit is a wonderfull worker of miracles.  But this relation hath yet a kind of I wot not what more Heteroclite: which is found both in names and a thousand other things.  For there were found Nations which (as far as we know) bad never heard of us, where circumcision was held in request; where great states and commonwealths were maintained onely by women, and no men: where our fasts and Lent was represented, adding thereunto the abstinence from women; where our crosses were severall waies in great esteeme. In some places they adorned and honored their sepulchres with them, and elsewhere especially that of Saint Andrew, they employed to shield themselves from nightly visions, and to lay them upon childrens couches, as good against enchantments and witchcrafts.  In another place they found one made of wood, of an exceeding height, worshipped for the God of raine; which was thrust very deepe into the ground.  There was found a very expresse and lively image of our Penitentiaries: the use of Miters, the Priestes single life; the Art of Divination by the entrailes of sacrificed beasts; the abstinence from all sorts of flesh and fish for their food; the order amongst Priests, in saying of their divine service, to use a not vulgar but a particular tongue; and this erroneous and fond conceipt, that the first God was expelled his throne by a younger brother of his: that they were at first created with all commodities, which afterward, by reason of their sinnes, were abridged them: that their territory hath beene changed; that their naturall condition hath beene much impaired: that they have heretofore beene drowned by the inundation of Waters come from heaven; that none were saved but a few families, which cast themselves into the cracks or hollows of 


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high Mountaines, which crackes they stoped very close, so that the Waters could not enter in, having before shut therin many kinds of beasts: that when they perceived the Raine to cease and Waters to fall, the first sent out certaine doggs, which returned cleane-washt and wet, they judged that the waters were not yet much falne; and that afterward sending out some other, which seeing to returne all muddy and foule, they issued forth of the mountaines, to repeople the world againe, which they found replenished onely with Serpents.  There were places found where they used the perswasion of the day of judgement, so that they grew wondrous wroth and offended with the Spaniards, who in digging and searching of riches in their graves, scattered here and there the bones of there deceased friends, saying that those dispersed bones could very hardly be reconjoyned againe.  They also found where they used traffic by exchange, and no otherwise; and had Faires and Markets for that purpose; they found dwarfes, and such other deformed creatures, used for the ornament of Princes tables: they found the use of hawking and fowling according to the nature of their birdes: tyrannical subsidies, and grievances upon subjects; delicate and pleasant gardens; dancing, tumbling, leaping, and lugling, musicke of instruments, armories, dicing-houses, tennisse-courts, and casting lottes, or mumne-chaunce, wherein they are often so earnest and moody, that they will play themselves and their liberty: using no other physicke but by charmes: the manner of writing by figures: beleeving in one first man, universall father of all people. The adoration of one God, who heretofore lived man in perfect Virginitie, fasting, and penance, preaching the law of Nature, and the ceremonies of religion; and who vanished out of the world without any naturall death: The opinion of Giants; the use of drunkennesse, with their manner of drinkes and drinking and pledging of, healths; religious ornaments painted over with bones and dead mens sculs; surplices, holy Water, and holy Water 


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sprinckles, Women and servants which thrivingly presnt themselves to be burned or enterred with their deceased husbands or masters: a law that the eldest or first borne child shall succeed and inherit all: where nothing at all is reserved for Punies, but obedience: a custome to the promotion of certaine officers of great authority, and where he that is promoted takes upon him a new name, and quiteth his owne:  Where they used to cast lime upon the knees of new borne children, saying unto him:  From dust then camest, and to dust then shalt returne againe: the Arts of Augures or prediction. These vaine shadowes of our religion, which are seene in some of these examples, witnesse the dignity and divinity thereof.  It hath not onely in some sort insinuated it selfe among all infidell Nations on this side by some imitations, but amongst those barbarous Nations beyond, as it were by a common and supernaturall inspiration:  For amongst them was also found the beliefe of Purgatory, but after a new forme: for, what we ascribe unto fire, they impute unto cold, and imagine that soules are both purged and punished by the vigor of an extreame coldnesse.  This example putteth me in mind of another pleasant diversity:  For, as there were some people found who tooke pleasure to unhood the end of their yard, and to cut off the fore-skinne after the manner of the Mahometans and Jewes, some there were found that made so great a conscience to unhood it, that with little strings they caried their fore-skin very carefully out-streched and fastened above, for feare that end should see the aire.  And of this other diversity also, that as we honour our Kings and celebrate our Holy-daies with decking and trimming our selves with the best habilliments we have; in some regions there, to shew all disparity and submission to their King, their subjects present themselves unto him in their basest and meanest apparrell; and entring unto his pallace they take some old torne garment and put it over their other attire, to the end all the glory and ornament may shine in their Soveraigne and Maister. 


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     But let us goe on: if Nature enclose within the limits of her ordinary progresse, as all other things, so the beliefes, the judgments and the opinions of men; if they have their revolutions, their seasons, their birth, and their death, even as cabbages: if heaven doth move, agitate and rowle them at his pleasure, what powerfull and permanent authority doe we ascribe unto them?  If by uncontroled experience we palpably touch, that the forme of our being depends of the aire, of the climate, and of the soile wherein we are borne and not onely the hew, the stature, the complexion and the countenance, but also the soules facilities:  Et plagae coeli non serum ad robor corporum, sed etiam animorum facit: 'The climate helpeth not onely for strength of body, but of minds,' saith Vegetius: And that the Goddesse, foundresse of the Citie of Athens, chose a temperature of a country to situate it in, that might make the men wise, as the AEgyptian Priests taught Solon: Athenis tenue eoclum: ex quo etiam acutiores putantur Attici: crassum Thebis: itague pingues Thebani, et valentes:/1  'About Athens is a thin aire, whereby those Country-men are esteemed the sharper witted: about Thebes the aire is grosse, and therefore the Thebans were grosse and strong of constitution.'  In such manner that as fruits and beasts doe spring up diverse and different; so men are borne either more or lesse warlike, martiall, just, temperate, and docile: here subject to wine, there to theft and whoredome: here inclined to superstition, addicted to misbehaving; here given to liberty; there to servitude; capable of some one art or science; grosse-witted or ingenious: either obedient or rebellious; good or bad, according as the inclination of the place beareth, where they are seated; and being removed from one soile to another (as plants are) they take a new complexion: which was the cause that Cirus would never permit the Persians to leave their barren, rough, and craggie Country, for to transport themselves into another, more gentle, more fertile, and
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1 CIC.  De Fato. 


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more plaine: saying, that 'fat and delicious countries make men wanton and effeminate+; and fertile soiles yeeld infertile spirits.  If sometime wee see one art to flourish, or a beliefe, and sometimes another, by some heavenly influence: some ages to produce this or that nature, and so to encline mankind to this or that base: mens spirits one while flourishing, another while barren, even as fields are seene to be; what become of all those goodly prerogatives wherewith we still flatter ourselves.  Since a wise man may mistake himselfe; yea, many men, and whole nations; and as wee say, mans nature either in one thing or other, hath for many ages together mistaken her selfe.  What assurance have we that at any time she leaveth her mistaking, and that she continueth not even at this day, in her error? Me thinkes amongst other testimonies of our imbecilities, this one ought not to be forgotten, that by wishing it selfe, man cannot yet finde out what he wanteth; that not by enjoying or possession, but by imagination and full wishing, we cannot all agree in one that we most stand in need of, and would best content us.  Let our imagination have free liberty to cut out and sew at her pleasure, she cannot so much as desire what is fittest to please and content her.

     -----quid enim ratione timemus
Aut cupimus? quid tam dextro pede concipis, ut te
Conatus non paeniteat, votique peracti?/1
By reason what doe we feare, or desire?
With such dexteritie what doest aspire,
But thou eftsoones repentest it,
Though thy attempt and vow doe hit?
     That is the reason why Socrates never requested the gods to give him anything but what they knew to be good for him.  And the publike and private prayer of the Lacedemonians did meerely implie that good and faire things might be granted them, remitting the election and choise of them to the discretion of the highest power.
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1 JUV.  Sat. x. 4. 
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Coniugium petimus partumque uxoris, at illis
Notum qui pueri, qualisque futura sit uxor./1
We wish a wife, wifes breeding: we would know,
What children; shall our wife be sheep or shrow.
     And the Christian beseecheth God, that his will may be done, least he should fall into that inconvenience which poets faine of King Midas, who requested of the Gods that whatsoever he toucht might be converted into gold: his praiers were heard, his wine was gold, his bread gold, the feathers of his bed, his shirt, and his garments were turned into gold, so that he found himselfe overwhelmed in the injoying of his desire, and being enricht with an intolerable commoditie, he must now unpray his prayers:
Attonitus novitate mali, divesque miserque,
Effugere optat opes, et quae modo voverat, odit/2
Wretched and rich, amaz'd at so strange ill,
His riches he would flie, hates his owns will.
Let me speake of my selfe; being very yong I besought fortune above all ibings that she would make me a knight of the order of Saint Michael, which in those daies was very rare, and the highest tipe of honour the French nobilitie aymed at; she very kindly granted my request; I had it.  In lieu of raising and advancing me from my place for the attaining of it, she hath much more graciously entreated me, she hath debased and depressed it, even unto my shoulders and under.  Cleobis and Biton, Trophonius and Agamedes, the two first having besought the Goddesse, the two latter their God, of some recompence worthy their pietie, received death for a reward. So much are heavenly opinions different from ours, concerning what we have need of.  God might grant us riches, honours, long life and health, but many times to our owne hurt.  For, whatsoever is pleasing to us, is not alwaies healthfull for us.  If in lieu of former health he send us death, or some worse sicknesse:  Virga tua et baculus 1 JUV.  Sat. x. 352. 2 OVID. Met. 1. xi. 128
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tuus ipsa me consolata sunt:/1 'Thy rod and thy staffe hath comforted me.' He doth it by the reasons of his providence, which more certainly considereth and regardeth what is meet for us then we ourselves can doe, and we ought to take it in good part as from a most wise and thrice-friendly hand.

     ----- si consilium vis,
Permittes ipsis expendere numinibus, quid
Conveniat nobis, rebusque sit vtile nostris:
Charior est illis homo quam sibi.2/
If you will counsell have, give the Gods leave
To weigh what is most meet we should receive,
And what for our estate most profit were:
To them, then to himselfe man is more deare.
For, to crave honours and charges of them, is to request them to cast you in some battle, or play at hazard, or some such thing, whereof the event is unknowen to you, and the fruit uncertaine.  There is no combate amongst philosophers so violent and sharpe as that which ariseth upon the question of mans chiefe felicitie, from which (according to Varroe's calculation) arose two hundred and foure score Sects.  Qui autem de summo hono dissentit, de tota Philosophiae ratione disputat: 'But he that disagrees about the chiefest felicitie, cals in question the whole course of Philosophie.
Tres mihi convivae prope dissentire videntur,
Poscentes vario multit diversa palato.
Ouid dem? quid non dem? renuis tu quod iubet alter:
Quod petis, id sane est invisum acidumque duobus./3
Three guests of mine doe seeme allmost at ods to fall,
Whilest they with divers taste for divers things doe call:
What should I give?  What not?  You will not, what he will;
What you would, to them twaine is hatefull, sowre and ill.
     Nature should thus answer their contestations and debates.  Some say our felicitie consisteth and is in vertue, others in voluptuousnesse, others in yeelding unto Nature, some others in learning, others in feeling no manner of paine or sorrow, others for a man never
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1 Psalm. xxiii. 4. 2 JUV.  Sat x. 346. 3 HOR. 1. ii.  Epist. ii. 61. 
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to suffer himselfe to be carried away by appearances, and to this opinion seemeth this other of ancient Pithagoras to incline,

Nil_admirari+, propre res est una,
Numici, Solaque, quae possit facere et servare beatum,
Sir, nothing to admire, is th' only thing,
That may keepe happy, and to happy bring,
which is the end and scope of the Pyrrhonian Sect.  Aristotle ascribeth unto magnanimitie+, to admire and wonder at nothing.  And Archesilaus said that sufference and an upright and inflexible state of judgement were true felicities; whereas consents and applications were vices and evils.  True it is, that where he establisheth it for a certaine Axiome, he started from Pyrrhonisme.  When the Pyrrhonians say that ataraxy is the chiefe felicitie, which is the immobilitie of judgement, their meaning is not to speake it affirmatively, but the very wavering of their mind, which makes them to shun downefalls, and to shrewd themselves under the shelter of calmenesse, presents this phantasie unto them, and makes them refuse another.  Oh how much doe I desire that whilest I live, either some other learned men, or Iustus Lipsius+, the most sufficient and learned man now living; of a most polished and judicious wit, true Cosingermane to my Turnebus, had both will, health, and leisure enough, sincerely and exactly, according to their divisions and formes, to collect into one volume or register, as much as by us might be seene, the opinions of ancient philosophy, concerning the subject of our being and customes, their controversies the credit, and partaking of factions and sides, the application of the authors and sectators lives, to their precepts in memorable and exemplarie accidents.  O what a worthy and profitable labour would it be!  Besides, if it be from our selves that we draw the regiment of our customes, into what a bottomles confusion doe we cast our selves?  For what our reason perswades us to be most likely for it, is
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. vi. 1. 
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generally for every man to obey the lawes of his country, as is the advise of Socrates, inspired (saith be) by a divine perswasion.  And what else meaneth she thereby, but only that our devoire or duety hath no other rule but casuall?  Truth ought to have a like and universall visage throughout the world.  Law and justice, if man knew any, that had a body and true essence, he would not fasten it to the condition of this or that countries customes. It is not according to the Persians or Indians fantazie that vertue should take her forme.  Nothing is more subject unto a continuall agitation then the laws.  I have, since I was borne, seene those of our neighbours, the English- men, changed and re-changed three or foure times, not only in politike subjects, which is that some will dispense of constancy, but in the most important subject that possibly can be, that is to say, in religion: whereof I am so much the more ashamed, because it is a nation with which my countriemen have heretofore had so inward and familiar acquaintance, that even to this day there remain in my house some ancient monuments of our former alliance.  Nay, I have seene amongst our selves some things become lawfull which erst were deemed capitall: and we that hold some others, are likewise in possibilitie, according to the uncertainty of warring fortune+, one day or other, to be offenders against the Majestie both of God and man, if our justice chance to fall under the mercy of justice; and in the space of few yeares possession, taking a contrary essence.  How could that ancient God more evidently accuse, in humane knowledge, the ignorance of divine essence, and teach men that their religion was but a peece of their owne invention, fit to combine their societies then in declaring, as he did, to those which sought the instruction of it, by his sacred Tripos, that the true worshipping of God was that which he found to be observed by the custome of the place where he lived?  Oh God, what bond or dutie is it that we owe not to our Soveragne Creators benignitie, in that he hath beene pleased to cleare and enfranchise our beliefe from 


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those vagabonding and arbitrary devotions, and fixt it upon the eternall base of his holy word?  What will Philosophie then say to us in this necessity? that we follow the lawes of our country, that is to say, this waveing sea of a peoples or of a Princes opinions, which shall paint me forth justice with as many c6oours, and reforme the same into as many visages as there are changes and alterations of passions in them.  I cannot have my judgement so flexible.  What goodnesse is that which but yesterday I saw in credit and esteeme, and to morrow to have lost all reputation, and that the crossing of a river is made a crime?  What truth is that which these Mountaines bound, and is a lie in the world beyond them?  But they are pleasant, when to allow the lawes some certaintie, they say that there be some firme, perpetuall and immoveable; which they call naturall, and by the condition of their proper essence, are imprinted in mankind: of which some make three in number, some foure, some more, some lesse: an evident token that it is a marke as doubtfull as the rest.  Now are they so unfortunate (for how can I terme that but misfortune, that of so infinit a number of lawes there is not so much as one to be found which the fortune or temeritie of chance hath graunted to be universally received, and by the consent of unanimitie of all Nations to be admitted?) they are (I say) so miserable that of these three or four choice-selected lawes there is not one alone that is not impugned or disallowed, not by one nation, but by many.  Now is the generalitie of approbation the onely likely ensigne by which they may argue some lawes to be naturall; for what nature had indeed ordained us, that should we doubtlesse follow with one common consent; and not one onely nation, but every man in particular should have a feeling of the force and violece which he should urge him with, that would incite him to contrarie and resist that law.  Let them all (for example sake) shew me but one of this condition. Protagoras and Ariston gave the justice of the lawes no other essence, but the authority and opinion of the law giver, and that excepted, both good 


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and honest lost their qualities, and remained but vaine and idle names of indifferent things.  Thrasymachus, in Plato, thinkes there is no other right but the commoditie of the superior.  There is nothing wherein the world differeth so much as in customes and lawes.  Some things are here accompted abominable, which in another place are esteemed commendable; as in Lacedemonia, the slight and subtlety in stealing marriages in proximity of blood are amongst us forbidden as capitall, elsewhere they are allowed and esteemed

     -----gentes esse feruntur,
In quibus et nato genitrix, et nata parenti
Iungitur, et pietas geminato crescit amore./1
There are some people where the another weddeth Her sonne the daughter her owne father beddeth, And so by doubling love, their kinduesse spreddeth.
The murthering of children and of parents; the communication with women; traffic of jobbing and stealing; free licence to all manner of sensuality; to conclude, there is nothing so extreme and horrible, but is found to be received and allowed by the custome of some nation.  It is credible that there be naturall lawes, as may be seene in other creatures, but in us they are lost: this goodly humane reason engrafting it self among all men, to sway and command, confounding and topsi-turving the visage of all things according to her inconstant vanitie and vaine inconstancy.  Nihil itaque amplius nostrum est, quod nostrum dico, artis est: 'Therefore nothing more is ours: all that I call ours belongs to art.  Subjects have divers lustres, and severall considerations, whence the diversity of opinion is chiefly engendred.  One nation vieweth a subject with one visage, and thereon it staies; an other with an other.  Nothing can be imagined so horrible as for one to eate and devour his owne father.  Those people which anciently kept this custome hold it neverthelesse for a testimonie of pietie and good affection: seeking by
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1 OVID.  Metam. 1. x. 331. 
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that meane to give their fathers the worthiest and most honourable sepulchre, harboring their fathers bodies and reliques in themselves, and in their marrow; in some sort reviving and regenerating them by the transmutation made in their quicke flesh by digestion and nourishment.  It is easie to be considered what abomination and cruelty it had beene, in men accustomed and trained in this inhumane superstition, to cast the carcases of their parents into the corruption of the earth, as food for beasts and wormes. Lycurgus wisely considereth in theft, the vivacitie, dilignce, courage, and nimblenesse that is required in surprising or taking any thing from ones neighbour, and the commoditie which thereby redoundeth to the common- wealth, that every man heedeth more curiously the keeping of that which is his owne, and judged that by this twofold institution to assaile and to defend, much good was drawne for military discipline (which was the principall Science and chiefe verue wherein he would enable that nation) of greater respect and more consideration than was the disorder and injustice of prevailing and taking other mens goods.  Dionysius, the tyrant offered Plato a robe made after the Persian fashion, long, damask, and perfumed: but he refused the same, saying, 'That being borne a man, he would not willingly put on a womans garment.  But Aristippus tooke it, with this answer, 'That no garment could corrupt a chaste mind.  His friends reproved his demissenesse in being so little offended, that Dionysius had spitten in his face. 'Tut (said be) fishers suffer themselves to be washed over head and eares to get a gudgion.  Diogenes washing of coleworts for his dinner, seeing him passe by, said unto him, 'If thou couldest live with coleworts, thou wouldest not court and fawne upon a tyrant;' to whom Aristippus replied, 'If thou couldest live among men, thou wouldest not wash coleworts.  See here how reason yeeldeth apparance to divers effects.  It is a pitcher with two eares, which a man may take hold on, either by the right or left hand. 


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     ----- bellunt o terra hospita portas,
Bello armantur equi, bellum haec armenta minantur:  Sed tamen iidem olim curru succedere sueti
Quadrupedes, et froena jugo concordia ferre,
Spes est pacis./1
O stranger-harbring land, thou bringst us warre;
Steeds serve for war;
These heards doe threaten jarre.
Yet horses erst were wont to draw our waines,
And harnest matches beare agreeing raines,
Hope is hereby that wee
In peace shall well agree.
     Solon being importuned not to shed vaine and bootles teares for the death of his sonne; 'Thats the reason (answered hee) I may more justly shed them, because they are bootlesse and vaine.  Socrates, his wife, exasperated her griefe by this circumstance. 'Good Lord (said she) how unjustly doe these bad judges put him to death. ' What! wouldest thou rather they should execute me justly? replied he to her.  It is a fashion amongst us to have holes bored in our eares: the Greekes held it for a badge of bondage.  We hide our selves when we will enjoy our wives: the Indians doe it in open view of all men.  The Scithians were wont to sacrifice strangers in their Temples, whereas in other places Churches are Sanctuaries for them
Inde furor vulgi, quodnumina vicinorum
Odit quisque locus, cum solos credat habendos
Esse Deos quos ipse colit./2
The vulgar hereupon doth rage, because
Each place doth hate their neighbours soveraigne lawes,
And onely Gods doth deeme,
Those Gods, themselves esteeme.
     I have heard it reported of a Judge who, when he met with any sharp conflict betweene Bartolus and Baldus, or with any case admitting contrarieties was wont to write in the margin of his book, 'A question for a friend,' which is to say, that the truth was so entangled and disputable that in such a case he might
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. iii. 559. 2 JUV.  Sat. xv. 36. 
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favour which party he should thinke good.  There was no want but of spirit and sufficiency, if he set not every where through his books, 'A question for a friend.  The Advocates and Judges of our time find in all cases byases too-too-many to fit them where they think good.  To so infinite a science, depending on the authority of so many opinions, and of so arbitrary a subject, it cannot be but that an exceeding confusion of judgements must arise. There are very few processes so cleare but the Lawiers advises upon them will be found to differ:  What one company hath judged another will adjudge the contrary, and the very same will another time change opinion.  Whereof we see ordinarie examples by this licence which wonderfully blemisheth the authoritie and lustre of our law, never to stay upon one sentence, but to run from one to another judge, to decide one same case.  Touching the libertie of Philosophicall opinions concerning vice and vertue, it is a thing needing no great extension, and wherein are found many advises which were better unspoken then published to weake capacities.  Arcesilaus was wont to say that in pailliardize it was not worthy consideration, where, on what side, and how it was done.  Et obcaenas voluptates, si natura requirit, non genera, aut loco, aut ordine, sed forma, aetate, figura metiendas Epicurus putat.  Ne amores quidem sanctos a sapiente atienos esse arbitrantur.  Quaeramus ad quam usque, aetatem iuvenes amandi sint: 'Obscene pleasures, if nature require them, the Epicure esteemeth not to be measured by kind, place, or order: but by forme, age, and fashion.  Nor doth he thinke that holy loves should be strange from a wise man.  Let us then question to what years yong folke may be beloved.  These two last Stoicke places, and upon this purpose, the reproch of Diogarchus to Plato himselfe, shew how many excessive licences and out of common use soundest Philosophy doth tolerate.  Lawes take their authoritie from possession and custome.  It is dangerous to reduce them to their beginning:  In rowling on they swell and grow greater and greater, as doe 


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our rivers: follow them upward into their source, and you shall find them but a bubble of water, scarce to be discerned, which in gliding on swelleth so proud and gathers so much strength.  Behold the ancient considerations which have given the first motion to this famous torrent, so full of dignitie, of honour and reverence, you shall finde them so light and weake that these men which will weigh all and complaine of reason, and who receive nothing upon trust and authoritie, it is no wonder if their judgments are often far distant from common judgement.  Men that take Natures first image for a patterne it is no marvaile if in most of their opinions they miss the common- beaten path.  As for example few amongst them would have approved the false conditions of our marriages, and most of them would have had women in community and without any private respect.  They refused our ceremonies: Chrysippus said that some Philosophers would in open view of all men shew a dozen of tumbling-tricks, yea, without any slops or breeches, for a dozen of olives.  He would hardly have perswaded Calisthenes to refuse his faire daughter Agarista to Hippoclides, because he had seen him graft the forked tree in her upon a table.  Metrocles somewhat indiscreetly, as he was disputing in his Schole, in presence of his auditory, let a fart, for shame whereof he afterwards kept his house and could not be drawen abroad untill such time as Crates went to visit him, who to his perswasions and reasons, adding the example of his liberty, began to fart a vie with him and to remove this scruple from off his conscience; and moreover won him to his Stoicall (the more free) Sect, from the Peripateticall (and more civill) one, which the-therunto he had followed.  That which we call civilitie not to dare to doe that openly, which amongst us is both awfull and honest, being done in secret, they termed folly:  And to play the wilie Foxe in concealing and disclaiming what nature, custome, and our desire publish and proclaims of our actions, they deemed to be a vice.  And thought it a suppressing


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of Venus her mysteries to remove them from out the private vestry of her temple, and expose them to the open view of the people.  And that to draw her sports from out the curtaines was to loose them.  Shame is matter of some consequence.  Concealing, reservation and circumspection are parts of estimation.  That sensuality under the maske of Vertu did very ingeniously procure not to be prostituted in the midst of highwaies, not trodden upon and seen by the common sort, alledging the dignity and commodity of her wonted Cabinets.  Whereupon some say that to forbid and remove the common brothel-houses is not only to spread whoredome every where, which only was allotted to those places, but also to incite idle and vagabond men to that vice by reason of the difficultie.

Maechus es Aufidiae qui vir Corvine fuisti,
Rivalis fuerat qui tuus, ille vir est.
Cur aliena placet tibi, qua, tua non placet uxor?
Nunquid securas non potes arrigere?/1
This experience is diversified by a thousand examples.
Nullus in vrbe fuit tota, qui tangere vellet
Uxorem gratis Caeciliane tuam,
Dum licuit: sed nunc positis custodibus, inqens
Turba fututorum est, ingeniosus homo es:./2
A Philosopher being taken with the deed, was demaunded what he did, answered very mildly, 'I plant man,' blushing no more being found so napping than if he had beene taken setting of Garlike.  It is (as I suppose) of a tender and respective opinion that a notable and religious Author holds this action so necessarily-bound to secrecy and shame, that in Cynike embracements and dalliances he coulidnot be perswaded that the worke should come to her end; but rather that it lingred and staid only to represent wanton gestures and lascivious motions, to maintaine the impudency of their schooles profession: and that to powre forth what shame had forced and bashfullnesse ---- - 1 MART. 1. iii.  Epig. lxx. 2 Ib. 1. i.  Epig. lxxiv.

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restrained, they had also afterward need to seeke some secret place. He had not seene far enough into their licenciousnesse: for Diogenes in sight of all, exercising his Masturbation, bred a longing desire in the bystanders, that in such sort they might fill their bellies by rubbing or clawing the same.  To those that asked him why he sought for no fitter place to feed in than in the open frequented highway he made answer, 'It is because I am hungry in the open frequented high-way.  The Philosophers Women, which medled with their Sects, did likewise in all places and without any discretion medle with their bodies:  And Crates had never received Hipparchia into his fellowship but upon condition io follow all the customes and fashions of his order.  These Philosophers set an extreme rate on vertue and rejected al other disciplins except the mortall; hence it is that in all actions they ascribed the Soveraigne authority to the election of their wise, yea, and above all lawes: and appointed no other restraint unto voluptuousness, but the moderation and preservation of others liberty.  Heraclitus and Protagoras, forsomuch as wine seemeth bitter unto the sicke and pleasing to the healthy; and an oare crooked in the water and straight to them that see it above water, and such-like contrary apparances which are found in some subjects; argued that all subjects had the causes of these apparances in them, and that there was some kind of bitternes in the wine which had a reference unto the sick mans taste; in the oare a certain crooked qualitie, having relation to him that seeth it in the water.  And so of all things else. Which implieth, that all is in all things, and by consequence nothing in any: for either nothing is, or all is.  This opinion put me in mind of the experience we have, that there is not any one sense or visage, either straight or crooked, bitter or sweet, but mans wit shall find in the writings which he undertaketh to runne over.  In the purest, most unspotted, and most absolutely perfect word that possibly can be, how many errors, falshoods and lies 


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have beene made to proceed from it?  What heresie hath not found testimonies and ground sufficient, both to undertake and to maintaine itself?  It is, therefore, that the Authors of such errors will never goe from this proofe of the testimony of words interpretation.  A man of worth going about by authority to approve the search of the Philosophers stone (wherein he was overwhelmed) alleadged at least five or six several passages out of the holy bible unto me, upon which (he said) he had at first gounded himselfe for the discharge of his conscience (for he is a man of Ecclesiastical profession), and truly the invention of them was not only pleasant, but also very fitly applied to the defence of this goodly and mind-enchanting science.  This way is the credit of divining fables attained to.  There is no prognosticator if he have but this authority that any one wil but vouchsafe to read him over, and curiously to search all the infoldings and lustres of his words, but a man shall make him say what he pleaseth, as the Sibils. There are so many means of interpretation that it is hard, be it flat-long, side-long, or edge-long, but an ingenious and pregnant wit shal in all subjects meet with some aire that wil fit his turn.  Therefore is a clowdy, darke and ambiguous stile found in so frequent and ancient custome, that the Author may gaine to draw, allure, and busie posterity to himselfe, which not only the sufficiency but the casuall favour of the matter may gaine as much or more.  As for other matters let him, be it either through foolishnes or subtilty, shew himself somewhat obscure and divers, it is no matter, care not he for that.  A number of spirits sifting and tossing him over will finde and express sundry formes, either accordinfg, or collaterally, or contrary to his owne, all which shall do him credit.  He shal see himselfe enriched by the meanes of his Disciples, as the Grammer Schools Maisters. It is that which hath made many things of nothing, to pass very currant, that hath brought divers books in credit, and charged with all sorts of matter that any hath but desired: one selfsame thing admitting 


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a thousand and a thousand, and as many severall images and divers considerations, as it best pleaseth us.  Is it possible that ever Homer meant all that which some make him to have meant?  And that he prostrated hiniselfe to so many, and so severall shapes, as, Divines, Lawiers, Captaines, Philosophers, and all sort of people else, which, how diversely and contrary soever it be they treat of sciences, do notwithstanding wholy rely, upon him, and refer themselves unto him as a Generall Maister for all offices, workes, sciences, and tradesmen, and an universall counsellor in all enterprises; whosoever hath had need of Oracles or Predictions, and would apply them to himselfe, hath found them in him for his purpose.  A notable man, and a good friend of mine, would make one marvel to beare what strange far-fetcht conceits and admirable affinities, in favor of our religion, he maketh to derive from him; and can hardly be drawne from this opinion, but that such was Homers intent and meaning (yet is Homer so familiar unto him, as I thinke no man of our age is better acquainted with him).  And what he finds in favour of our religion, many ancient learned men have found in favour of theirs.  See how Plato is tossed and turned over, every man endevoring to apply him to his purpose, giveth him what construction he list.  He is wrested and inserted to all newfangled opinions that the world receiveth or alloweth of, and according to the different course of subjects is made to be repugnant unto himselfe.  Every one according to his sense makes him to disavow the customes that were lawfull in his daies, inasmuch as they are unlawfull in these times.  All which is very lively and strongly maintained, according as the wit and learning of the interpreter is strong and quicke.  Upon the ground which Heraclitus had, and that sentence of his, that all things had those shapes in them which men found in them. And Democritus out of the very same drew a cleane contrarie conclusion, id est, that subjects had nothing at all in them of that which we found in them.  And forasmuch as honny was sweet to one man and bitter to another, 


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he argued that honny was neither sweet nor bitter.  The Pyrrhonians would say they know not whether it be sweet or bitter, or both or neither: for, they ever gain the highest point of doubting.  The Cyrenaicks held that nothing was perceptible outwardly, and only that was perceivable which by the inward touch or feeling touched or concerned us, as griefe and sensuality, distinguishing neither tune nor collours, but onely certaine affections that came to us of them; and that man had no other seate of his judgment. Protagoras deemed that to be true to all men, which to all men seemeth so.  The Epicurians place all judgment in the senses, and in the notice of things, and in voluptuousnesse.  Platoes mind was, that the judgment of truth, and truth it selfe drawne from opinions and senses, belonged to the spirit and to cogitation.  This discourse hath drawne me to the consideration of the senses, wherein consisteth the greatest foundation and triall of our ignorance.  Whatsoever is knowne, is without peradventure knowne by the faculty of the knower: for, since the judgment commeth from the operation of him that judgeth, reason requireth that he performe and act this operation by his meanes and will, and not by others compulsion: as it would follow if wee knew things by the force, and according to the law of their essence. Now all knowledge is addressed unto us by the senses: they are our maisters:

     -----via qua munita fidei
Proxima fert humanum in pectus, templaque mentis./1
Whereby a way for credit leads well-linde
Into man's breast and temple of his minde.
Science begins by them and in them is resolved.  After all, we should know no more then a stone, unlesse we know that here is sound, smell, light, savor, measure, weight, softnesse, hardnesse, sharpnesse, colour, smoothnesse, breadth and depth.  Behold here the platforme of all the frame and principles of the building of all our knowledge.  And according to some, science is nothing 1 LUCR. 1. v. 102. 
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else but what is knowne by the senses.  Whosoever can force me to contradict my senses, hath me fast by the throate, and cannot make me recoyle one foote backward.  The senses are the beginning and end of humane knowledge.

Invenies primis ab sensibus esse creatam
Notitiam veri, neque sensus posse refelli.
Quid maiore fide porro, guam sensus, haberi
Debet/1
You shall finde knowledge of the truth at first was bred
From our first senses, nor can senses be misseled.  What, then our senses, should
With us more credit hold?
     Attribute as little as may be unto them, yet must this ever be graunted them, that all our instruction is addressed by their meanes and intermission.  Cicero saith that Chrysippus having assaid to abate the power of his senses, and of their vertue, presented contrary arguments unto himselfe, and so vehement oppositions, that he could not satisfie himselfe.  Whereupon Carneades (who defended the contrary part boasted that he used the very same weapons and words of Chrysippus to combate against him and therefore cried out upon him, 'Oh miserable man! thine owne strength hath foiled thee.  There is no greater absurditie in our judgment, then to maintaine that fire heateth not, that light shineth not, that in iron there is neither weight nor firmenesse, which are notices our senses bring unto us:  Nor beliefe or science in man, that may be compared unto that, in certaintie.  The first consideration I have upon the senses subject is, that I make a question, whether man be provided of all naturall senses, or no.  I see divers creatures that live an entire and perfect life, some without sight, and some without hearing; who knoweth whether we also want either one, two, three, or many senses more:  For, if we want any one, our discourse cannot discover the want or defect thereof.  It is the senses priviledge to be the
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 480, 484. 
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extreme bounds of our perceiving.  There is nothing beyond them that may stead us to discover them:  No one sense can discover another.

An poterunt oculos aures reprehendere, an aures
Tactus, an hunc porro tactum sapor arguet oris,
An confutabunt nares, oculive revincent?/1
Can eares the eyes, or can touch reprehend
The cares, or shall mouthes taste that touch amend?
Shall our nose it confute,
Or eyes gainst it dispute?
     They all make the extreamest line of our facultie.
      ------seorsum cuique potestas
Divisa est, sua vis cuique est./2
To teach distinctly might
Is shar'de, each hath its right.
     It is impossible to make a man naturally blind, to conceive that he seeth not; impossible to make him desire to see, and sorrow his defect.  Therefore ought we not to take assurance that our mind is contented and satisfied with those we have, seeing it hath not wherewith to feel her owne malady, and perceive her imperfection, if it be in any It is impossible to tell that blind man any thing, either by discourse, argument, or similitude, that lodgeth any apprehension of light, colour, or sight in his imagination.  There is nothing more backward that may push the senses to any evidence.  The blind-borne, which we perceive desire to se, it is not to understand what they require; they have learnt of us that something they want, and something they desire, that is in us, with the effects and consequences thereof, which they call good: yet wot not they what it is, nor apprehend they it neere or far.  I have seene a gentleman of a good house, borne blind, at least blind in such an age that he knowes not what sight is; he understandeth so little what he wanteth, that as we doe, he useth words fitting sight, and applieth them after a manner onely proper and
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 488. 2 Ib. 491. 
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peculiar to himselfe.  A child being brought before him to whom he was god-father, taking him in his armes, he said, 'Good Lord, what a fine child this is! it is a goodly thing to see him.  What a cherefull countenance he hath! how prettily he looketh!' He will say as one of us, 'This hall hath a faire prospect.  It is very faire weather, The Sunne shines cleare. Nay, which is more: because hunting, hawking, tennis-play, and shuting at buts are our common sports and exercises (for so he hath heard) his mind will be so affected unto them, and he wil so busie himselfe about them, that he will thinke to have as great an interest in them as any of us, and shew himselfe as earnestly passionate, both in liking and disliking them, as any else; yet doth be conceive and receive them but by hearing. If he be in a faire champion ground, where he may ride, they will tell him, yonder is a Hare started, or the Hare is killed, he is as busily earnest of his game as he heareth others to be that have perfect sight.  Give him a ball, he takes it in the left hand, and with the right strikes it away with his racket; in a piece he shutes at randome; and is well pleased with what his men tell him, be it high or wide.  Who knowes whether mankind commit as great a folly, for want of some sense, and that by this default the greater part of the visage of things be concealed from us?  Who knowes whether the difficulties we find in sundry of Natures workes proceede thence?  And whether diverse effects of beasts, which exceed our capacitie, are produced by the facultie of some sense that we want?  And whether some of them have by that meane a fuller and more perfect life then ours?  We seize on an apple wel nigh with all our senses; we find rednesse, smoothnesse, odor and sweetnesse in it; besides which, it may have other vertues, either drying or binding, to which we have no sense to be referred.  The proprieties which in many things we call secret, as in the Adamant to draw iron, is it not likely there should be sensitive faculties in nature able to judge and perceive them, the want whereof breedeth in us the ignorance of the true 


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essence of such things?  It is happily some particular sense that unto cockes or chanticleares discovereth the morning and midnight houre, and moveth them to crow: that teacheth a hen, before any use or experience, to feare a hawke and not a goose or a peacocke, farre greater birds: that warneth yong chickins of the hostile qualitie which the cat hath against them, and not to distrust a dog; to strut and arme themselves against the mewing of the one (in some sort a flattering and milde voice) and not against the barking of the other (a snarling and quarrelous voice): that instructeth rats, wasps, and emmets, ever to chuse the best cheese and fruit, having never tasted them before: and that addresseth the stag, the elephant, and the serpent, to the knowledge of certaine herbs and simples, which, being either wounded or sicke, have the vertue to cure them.  There is no sense but hath some great domination, and which by his meane affordeth not an infinite number of knowledges.  If we were to report the intelligence of sounds, of harmony and of the voice, it would bring an imaginable confusion to all the rest of our learning and science.  For, besides what is tyed to the proper effect of every sense, how many arguments, consequences, and conclusions draw we unto other things, by comparing one sense to another? Let a skilfull, wise man but imagine humane nature to be originally produced without sight and discourse, how much ignorance and trouble such a defect would bring unto him, and what obscurity and blindnesse in our mind.  By that shall we perceive how much the privation of one, or two, or three such senses (if there be any in us) doth import us about the knowledge of truth.  We have by the consultation and concurrence of our five senses formed one Verity, whereas peradventure there was required the accord and consent of eight or ten senses, and their contribution, to attaine a perspicuous insight of her, and see her in her true essence.  Those Sects which combate mans science, doe principally combate the same by the uncertainty and feeblenesse of our senses.  For, since by their 


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meane and intermission all knowledge comes unto us, if they chance to misse in the report they make unto us, if either they corrupt or alter that, which from abroad they bring unto us, if the light which by them is transported into our soule be obscured in the passage, we have nothing else to hold by.  From this extreme difficultie are sprung all these phantazies, which everie subject containeth, whatsoever we finde in it, that it hath not what we suppose to finde in it, and that of the Epicurians, which is; that the sunne is no greater than our sight doth judge it:

Quicquid id est, nihilo fertur maiore figura,
Quam nostris oculis quam cernimus esse videtur:/1

Whate'er it be, it in no greater forme doth passe,
Then to our eyes, which it behold, it seeming was:

that the apparances, which represent a great body to him that is neare unto it, and a much lesser to him that is further from it, are both true:
Nec tamen hic oculis falli concedimzus hilum:  Proinde animi vitium hoc oculis adfingere noli:/2
Yet graunt we not, in this, our eyes deceiv'd or blind, Impute not then to eyes this error of the mind:
and resolutely, that there is no deceit in the senses that a man must stand to their mercy, and elsewhere seek reasons to excuse the difference and contradiction we find in them: yea invent all other untruthes and raving conceits (so farre come they) rather than accuse the senses.  Timagoras swore, that howsoever he winked or turned his eyes, he could never perceive the light of the candle to double: and that this seeming proceeded from the vice of opinion, and not from the instrument.  Of all absurdities the most absurd amongst the Epicurians is to disavow the force and effect of the senses.
Proinde quod in quoque est his visum tempore, verum est:  Et si non potuit ratio dissolvere causam,
Cur ed quae fuerint iuxtim quadrata, procul sint
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 676. 2 Ib. 1. iv. 380. 
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Viarotunda: tamen praestat rationis egentem
Reddere mendose causas vtriusque figurae,
Quam manibus manifesta suis emittere quoquam,
Et violare fidem primam, et convellere tota
Fundamenta, quibus nixatur vita salusque.
Non modo enim ratio ruat omnis, vita quoque ipsa
Concidat extemplo, nisi credere sensibus ausis, Praecipitesque locos vitare, et caetera quae sint
In genere hoc fugienda./1
What by the eyes is seene at any time, is true,
Though the cause treason could not render of the view,
Why, what was square at hand, a farre off seemed round,
Yet it much better were, that wanting reasons ground
The causes of both formes we harp-on, but not hit,
Then let slip from our hands things cleare, and them omit,
And violate our first beliefe, and rashly rend
All those grounorkes, whereon both life and health depend,
For not alone all reason falls, life likewise must
Faile out of hand, unlesse your senses you dare trust,
And breake-neeke places, and all other errours shunne,
From which we in this kinde most carefully should runne.
     This desperate and so little Philosophicall counsell, represents no other thing but that humane science cannot be maintained but by unreasonable, fond and mad reason; yet is it better that man use it to prevaile, yea and of all other remedies else how phantasticall soever they be, rather than avow his necessarie foolishnesse.:  So prejudiciall and disadvantageous a veritie he cannot avoide, but senses must necessarily be the Soveraigne maisters of his knowledge; but they are uncertaine and falsifiable to all circumstances.  There must a man strike to the utmost of his power, and if his just forces faile him (as they are wont) to use and employ obstinacie, temeritie and impudencie.  If that which the Epicurians affirme, be true, that is to say, we have no science, if the apparances of the senses be false, and that which the Stoicks say, if it is also true that the senses apparences are so false as they can produce us no science; we will conclude at the charges of these two great Dogmatist Sects, that there is no science.  Touching
-----
1 LUCR. 1. iv. 502. 
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the error and uncertaintie of the senses operation, a man may store himselfe with as many examples as he pleaseth, so ordinary are the faults and deceits they use towards us.  And the echoing or reporting of a valleys the sound of a trumpet seemeth to sound before us, which cometh a mile behind us.

Exstantesque procul medio de gargite montes
Idem apparent longe diversi licet./1
Et fugere ad puppim colles campique videntur
Quos agimus prater navim./2
      ------ubit in medio nobis equus acer abhaesit
Flumine, equi corpus transversum ferre videtur
Vis, et in adversum flumen contrudere raptim./3

And hills, which from the maine far-off to kenning stand,
Appeare all one, though they farre distant be, at hand,
And hilles and fields doe seeme unto our boate to flie,
Which we drive by our boate as we doe passe thereby,
When in midst of a streame a stately Horse doth stay,
The streame's orethwarting seemes his body crosse to sway,
And swiftly 'gainst the streame to thrust him th' other way.

     To roule a bullet under the fore finger, the midlemost being put over it, a man must very much enforce himselfe to affirme there is but one, so assuredly doth our sense present us two.  That the senses do often maister our discourse, and force it to receive impressions which he knoweth and judgeth to be false, it is daily seene.  I leave the sense of feeling which hath his functions neerer more quicke and substantiall, and which by the effect of the griefe or paine it brings to the body doth so often confound and re-enverse all these goodly Stoicall+ resolutions, and enforceth to cry out of the bellyache him who hath with all resolution established in his mind this doctrine, that the cholike, as every other sicknesse or paine, is a thing indifferent, wanting power to abate any thing of soveraigne good or chiefe felicity, wherein the wise man is placed by his owne vertue: there is no heart so demisse, but the rattling sound of a drum or the clang of a trumpet will rowse and inflame; nor mind so harsh and sterne, but
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 398. 2 Ib. 390. 3 Ib. 423. 
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the sweetnesse and harmony of musicke will move and tickle; nor any soule so skittish and stubborne, that hath not a feeling of some reverence in considering the clowdy vastitie and gloomie canapies of our churches, the eye-pleasing diversitie of ornaments, and orderly order of our ceremonies, and hearing the devout and religious sound of our organs, the moderate, symphonicall, and heavenly harmonie of our voices: even those that enter into them with an obstinate will and contemning minde have in their hearts a feeling of remorse, of chilnesse and horrour, that puts them into a certaine diffidence of their former opinions.  As for me, I distrust mine owne strength to heare with a settled minde some of Horace or Catullus verses sung with a sufficiently well tuned voice, uttered by and proceeding from a faire, yong, and hart-alluring mouth.  And Zeno had reason to say that the voice was the flower of beautie.  Some have gone about to make me beleeve that a man, who most of us French men know, in repeating of certaine verses he had maide, had imposed upon me that they were not such in writing as in the aire, and that mine eyes would judge of them otherwise than mine eares: so much credit hath pronounciation to give price and fashion to those workes that passe at her mercy; whereupon Philoxenus was not to be blamed, when hearing one to give an ill accent to some composition of his, he tooke in a rage some of his pots or bricks, and breaking them, trode and trampled them under his feet, saying unto him, 'I breake and trample what is thine, even as thou manglest and marrest what is mine.  Wherefore did they (who with an undanted resolve have procured their owne death, because they would not see the blow or stroke comming) turne their face away?  And those who for their health's sake cause themselves to be cut and cauterized, why cannot they endure the sight of the preparations, tooles, instruments and workes of the Chirurgion, since the sight can have no part of the paine or smart?  Are not these fit examples to verifie the authoritie which senses have over discourse?  We may long enough 


<Mont2-354>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

know that such a ones lockes or flaring tresses are borrowed of a page or taken from some lacky, that this faire ruby-red came from Spaine, and this whitenes or smoothnes from the ocean sea: yet must sight force us to find and deeme the subject more lovely and more pleasing against all reason.  For in that there is nothing of its owne.

Auferimur cultu: gemnis, auroque teguntur
Crimina, pars minima est ipsa puelia sui.
Saepe ubi sit quod ames inter tam multa requiras
Decepit hac oculos AEgide dives amor./1
We are misse-led by ornaments: what is amisse
Gold and gemmes cover, least part of her selfe the maiden is,
'Mongst things so many you may aske, where your love lies,
Rich love by this Gorgonian shield deceives thine eye.
How much doe Poets ascribe unto the vertue of the senses which makes Narcissus to have even fondly lost himselfe for the love of his shadow?
Cunctaque miratur, quibus est mirabilis ipsa,
Se cupit imprudens, et qui probat, ipse probatur,
Dumque petit petitur: pariterque accendit et ardit./2
He all admires, whereby himselfe is is admirable,
Fond he, fond of himseife, to himselfe amiable,
He that doth like, is lik'd, and while he doth desire:
He is desired, at once he burnes and sets on fire.
And Pygmalions wit's so troubled by the impression of the sight of his ivory statue that hee loves and serves it as if it had life:
Osculadat, reddique putat, sequiturque, tenetque
Et credit tactis digitos insidere membris,
Et metuit pressos veniat ne livor in artus./3
He kisses, and thinks kisses come againe,
He sues, pursues, and holds, beleeves in vaine
His fingers sinke where he doth touch the place,
And feares least black and blew toucht-lims deface.
-----
1 OVID.  Rem.  Am. 1. i. 343. 2 Ib.  Metam. 1. iii. 424. 3 Ib. 1. x. 256. 
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     Let a Philosopher be put in a cage made of small and thin- set iron wire, and hanged on the top of our Ladies Church steeple in Paris; he shall, by evident reason, perceive that it is impossible he should fall down out of it: yet can he not choose (except he have beene brought up to the trade of tilers or thatchers) but the sight of that exceeding height must needs dazle his sight, and amaze or turne his senses.  For we have much ado to warrant our selves in the walks or battlements of a high tower or steeple, if they be hattlemented and wrought with pillars, and somewhat wide one from another, although of stone and never so strong. Nay, some there are that call scarcely think or heare of such heights. Let a beame or planke be laid acrosse from one of those two steeples to the other, as big, as thick, as strong, and as broad as would suffice any man to walke safely upon it, there is no philosophicall wisdome of so great resolution and constancie that is able to encourage and perswade us to march upon it, as we would were it below on the ground.  I have sometimes made triall of it upon our mountaines on this side of Italie, yet am I one of those that will not easily be affrighted with such things, and I could not without horror to my minde and trembling of legs and thighes endure to looke on those infinite precipices and steepy downe-fals, though I were not neere the brim, nor any danger within my length and more; and unlesse I had willingly gone to the perill, I could not possibly have falne. Where I also noted that how deep soever the bottome were, if but a tree, a shrub, or any out-butting crag of a rock presented it selfe unto our eyes upon those steepe and high Alpes, somewhat to uphold the sight; and divide the same, it doth somewhat ease and assure us from feare, as if it were a thing which in our fall might either helpe or upheld us: and that we cannot without some dread and giddinesse in the head so much as abide to looke upon one of those even and downe- right precipices:  Vt despici sine vertigine simul oculorum animique non possit: 'So as they cannot looke downe without giddinesse both of 


<Mont2-356>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

eyes and mindes: which is an evident deception of the sight.  Therefore was it that a worthy Philosopher pulled out his eyes that so he might discharge his soule of the seducing and diverting he received by them, and the better and more freely apply himselfe unto Philosophy.  But by this accompt, he should also have stopped his eares, which (as Theopbrastus said) are the most dangerous instruments we have to receive violent and sodaine impressions to trouble and alter us, and should in the end have deprived himself of all his other senses; that is to say, both of his being and life.  For they have the power to command our discourses and sway our minde: Fit etiam saepe specie quadam, saepe vocum gravitate et cantibus, vt pellantur animi vehementius: saepe etiam cura et timore:/1 'It comes to passe that many times our mindes are much moved with some shadow, many times with deep sounding or singing of voices, many times with care and feare.' Physitians hold that there are certain complexions which by some sounds and instruments are agitated even unto furie.  I have seene some who, without infringing their patience, could not well heare a bone gnawne under their table: and we see few men but are much troubled at that sharpe, harsh, and teeth-edging noise that smiths make in filing of brasse, or scraping of iron and steele together: others will be offended if they but heare one chew his meat somewhat aloud; nay, some will be angrie with or hate a man that either speaks in the nose or rattles in the throat.  That piping prompter of Gracchus, who mollified, raised, and wound his masters voice whilst be was making orations at Rome; what good did he if the motion and qualitie of the sound had not the force to move and efficacy to alter the auditories judgement:  Verily there is great cause to make so much ado, and keepe such a coyle about the constancie and firmnesse of this goodly piece, which suffers it selfe to be handled, changed, and turned by the motion and accident of so light a winde.  The very same cheating and cozening that senses bring to our
-----
1 CIC.  Div. 1. i. 


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understanding, themselves receive it in their turnes.  Our mind doth likewise take revenge of it, they lie, they cog, and deceive one another a vie.  What we see and heare, being passionately transported by anger, we neither see nor heare it as it is.

Et solem geminum, et duplices se ostendere Thebas./1
That two Sunnes doe appeare,
And double Thebes are there.
The object which we love seemeth much more fairer unto us then it is:
Multimodis igitur pravos turpesque videmus
Esse in delitiis, summoque in honore vigere:/2
We therefore see that those, who many waies are bad,
And fowle, are yet belov'd, and in chiefe honour had;
and that much fowler which we loath.  To a pensive and heart- grieved man a cleare day seemes gloomie and duskie.  Our senses are not onely altered but many times dulled, by the passions of the mind.  How many things see we, which we perceive not, if our mind be either busied or distracted elsewhere?
      ------in rebus quoque apertis noscere possis,
Si non advertas animum, proinde esse, quasi omni
Tempore semotae fuerint, longeque remotae./3
Ev'n in things manifest it may be seene,
If you marke not, they are, as they had beene
At all times sever'd farre, remooved cleane.
     The soule seemeth to retire her selfe into the inmost parts, and ammuseth the senses faculties: so that both the inward and outward parts of man are full of weaknes and falshood.  Those which have compared our life unto a dreame, have happily had more reason so to doe then they were aware.  When we dreame, our soule liveth, worketh and exerciseth all her faculties, even and as much as when it waketh; and if more softly and obscurely, yet verily not so, as that it may admit so
-----
1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. iv. 470. 2 LUCR. 1. iv. 1147. 3 Ib. 808. 
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great a difference as there is betweene a dark night and a cleare day: yea as betweene a night and a shadow: there it sleepeth, here it slumbreth: more or lesse they are ever darknesses, yea Cimmerian darknesses.  We wake sleeping, and sleep waking.  In my sleep I see not so cleare; yet can I never find my waking cleare enough, or without dimnesse.  Sleepe also, in his deepest rest, doth sometimes bring dreames asleepe: but our waking is never so vigilant as it may clearely purge and dissipate the ravings or idle phantasies which are the dreames of the waking, and worse then dreames.  Our reason and soule, receiving the phantasies and opinions, which sleeping seize on them, and authorising our dreames actions, with like approbation, as it doth the daies, why make we not a doubt whether our thinking and our working be another dreaming, and our waking some kind of sleeping?  If the senses be our first judges, it is not ours that must only be called to counsell: for, in this facultie, beasts have as much (or more) right as we.  It is most certaine that some have their hearing more sharpe than man; others their sight; others their smelling; others their feeling, or taste.  Democritus said that Gods and beasts had the sensitive faculties much more perfect than man.  Now, betweene the effects of their senses and ours the difference is extreame.  Our spettle cleanseth and drieth our sores, and killeth serpents.

Tantaque in his rebus distantia differitasque est,
Ut quod alus cibus est, aliis fuat acre venenum.
Saepe etenim serpens, hominis contacta saliva,
Disperit, ac sese mandendo conficit ipsa./1
There is such distance, and such difference in these things,
As what to one is meate, t'another poison brings. {EBWhite+}
For oft a Serpent toucht with spettle of a man
Doth die, and gnaw it selfe with fretting all he can.
     What qualitie shall we give unto spettle, either according to us or according to the serpent? by which two senses shall we verifie its true essence, which we
-----
1 LUCR. 1. iv. 640. 
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seeke for?  Pliny saith that there are certaine seahares in India that to us are poison, and we bane to them; so that we die if we but touch them; now whether is man or the sea-hare poison?  Whom shall we beleeve, either the fish of man or the man of fish?  Some quality of the ayre infecteth man which nothing at all hurteth the one: some other the oxe, and not man: which of the two is, either in truth or nature, the pestilent quality? Such as are troubled with the yellow jandise deeme all things tey looks upon to be yellowish, which seeme more pale and wan to them then to us.

Lurida praeterea fiunt quaecunque tuentur
Arquati./1
And all that jaundis'd men behold,
They yellow straight or palish hold.
     Those which are sicke of the disease which phisitians call Hyposphagma, which is a suffusion of blood under the skin, imagine that all things they see are bloodie and red.  Those humours that so change the sights operation, what know we whether they are predominant and ordinarie in beasts?  For we see some whose eyes are as yellow as theirs that have the jandise, others that have them all blood-shotten with rednesse: it is likely that the objects collour they looke upon seemeth otherwise to them then to us: which of the two judgements shall be true?  For it is not said that the essence of things hath reference to man alone.  Hardnesse, whitenesse, depth, and sharpnesse touch the service and concerne the knowledge of beasts as well as ours:  Nature hath given the use of them to them as well as to us.  When we winke a little with our eye, wee perceive the bodies we looke upon to seeme longer and outstretched.  Many beasts have their eye as winking as we.  This length is then happily the true forme of that body, and not that which our eyes give it, being in their ordinarie seate. If we close our eye above, things seeme double unto us
-----
1 LUCR. 1. iv. 333. 
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Bina lucernarum florentia lumina flammis
Et duplices hominum facies, et corpora bina./1
The lights of candles double flaming then;
And faces twaine, and bodies twaine of men
     If our eares chance to be hindred by any thing, or that the passage of our hearing bee stopt, we receive the sound otherwise then we were ordinarily wont.  Such beasts as have hairie eares, or that in lieu of an eare have but a little hole, doe not by consequence heare that we heare, and receive the sound other then it is.  We see at solemn shewes or in theatres that, opposing any collourd glasse betweene our eyes and the torches light, whatsoever is in the roome seemes or greene, or yellow, or red unto us, according to the collour of the glasse:
Et vulgo faciunt id lutea russague vela,
Et ferruginea, cum magnis intenta theatris
Per malos volgata trabesque trementia pendent,:
Namque ibi consessum caveat subter, et omnem
Scenai speciem, patrum matrumque deorumque
Inficiunt coguntque suo fluitare colore./2
And yellow, russet, rustic curtained worke this feate
In common sights abroade, where over skaffold's great
Stretched on masts, spred over beames, they hang still waving.
All the seates circuit there, and all the stages braving,
Of fathers, mothers, Gods, and all the circle showe
They double-dye and in their colours make to flowe.
     It is likely that those beasts eyes which we see to be of divers collours, produce the apparances of those bodies they looke upon to be like their eyes.  To judge the senses operation, it were then necessary we were first agreed with beasts, and then betweene our selves; which we are not, that ever-and-anon disputing about that one seeth, heareth, or tasteth something to be other then indeed it is; and contend as much as about any thing else, of the diversity of those images our senses report unto us.  A yong child heareth, seeth,
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 452, 454. 2 Ib. 73. 
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and tasteth otherwise, by natures ordinary rule, then a man of thirtie yeares; and he otherwise then another of threescore.  The senses are to some more obscure and dimme, and to some more open and quicke.  We receive things differently, according as they are and seeme unto us.  Things being then so uncertaine and full of controversie, it is no longer a wonder if it be told us that we may avouch snow to seeme white unto us; but to affirme that it's such in essence and in truth, we cannot warrant ourselves: which foundation being so shaken, all the science in the world must necessarily goe to wracke.  What, doe our senses themselves hinder one another?  To the sight a picture seemeth to be raised aloft, and in the handling flat: shall we say that muske is so pleasing or no, which comforteth our smelling and offendeth our taste?  There are hearbs and ointments which to some parts of the body are good, and to other some hurtfull.  Honie is pleasing to the taste, but unpleasing to the sight.  Those jewefl wrought and fashioned like feathers or sprigs, which in impreses are called feathers without ends, no eye can discerne the bredth of them, and no man warrant himselfe from this deception, that on the one end or side it groweth not broder and broder, sharper and sharper, and on the other more and more narrow, especially being rouled about ones finger, when notwithstanding in handling it seemeth equal in bredth, and every where alike.  Those who to encrease and aide their luxury were anciently wont to use perspective or looking glasses, fit to make the object they represented appeare very big and great, that so the members they were to use might, by that ocular increase, please them the more: to whether of the two senses yeelded they, either to the sight presenting those members as big and great as they wisht them, or to the feeling that presented them little and to be disdained?  Is it our senses that lend these diverse conditions unto subjects, when for all that the subjects have but one? as we see in the Bread we eat: it is but Bread, but one using it, it maketh bones, blood, flesh, haire, and nailes thereof: 


<Mont2-362>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
Ut cibus in membra atque artus cum diditur omnes
Disperit, atque aliam naturam sufficit ex se./1
As meate distributed into the members, dies,
Another nature yet it perishing supplies.
The moistnesse which the roote of a tree suckes becomes a trunke, a leafe, and fruite:  And the aire being but one, applied unto a trumpet, becommoth diverse in a thousand sorts of sounds.  Is it our senses (say I) who likewise fashion of diverse qualities those subjects, or whether they have them so and such?  And upon this doubt, what may wee conclude of their true essence? Moreover, since the accidents of sicknesse, of madnesse, or of sleepe, make things appeare other unto us then they seeme unto the healthy, unto the wise, and to the waking: is it not likely that our right seate and naturall humors have also wherewith to give a being unto things, having reference unto their condition, and to appropriate them to it selfe, as doe inordinate humors; and our health as capable to give them his visage as sicknesse?  Why hath not the temperate man some forme of the objects relative unto himselfe as the intemperate: and shall not he likewise imprint his character in them?  The distasted impute wallowishnes unto wine: the healthier good taste; and the thirsty, brisknesse, rellish, and dellicacie. Now our condition appropriating things unto it selfe, and transforming them to its owne humour: wee know no more how things are in sooth and truth; for nothing comes unto us but falsified and altered by our senses.  Where the compasses, the quadrant, or the ruler are crooked, all proportions drawne by them, and all the buildings erected by their measure, are also necessarily defective and imperfect.  The uncertaintie of our senses yeelds what ever they produce, also uncertaine.
Denique ut in fabrica, si prava est regula prima,
Normaque si fallax rectis regionibus exit,
Et libella aliqua si ex parte claudicat hilum,
Omnia mendose fieri, atque obstipa necessum EST,
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1 LUCR. 1. iii. 728. 
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Prava, cubantia, prona, supina, atque absona tecta,
Iam ruere ut quaedam videantur velle, ruantque Prodita judiciis fallacibus
omnia primis.
Hic igitur ratio tibi rerum prava necesse est,
Falsaque sit falsis quaecunque a sensibus orta est./1
As in building if the first rule be to blame,
And the deceitful squire erre from right forms and frame,
If any instrument want any jot of weight,
All must needs faultie be, and stooping in their height,
The building naught, absurd, upward and downeward bended,
As if they meant to fall, and fall, as they intended;
And all this as betrayde
By judgements formost laid.
Of things the reason therefore needs must faultie bee
And false, which from false senses drawes its pedigree.
As for the rest, who shall bee a competent Judge in these differences? As wee said in controversies of religion, that we must have a judge inclined to either party, and free from partialitie, or affection, which is hardly to be had among Christians; so hapneth it in this:  For if he be old he cannot judge of ages sense, himself being a party in this controversie: and so if he be yong, healthy, sicke, sleeping, or waking, it is all one: We had need of some body void and exempted from all these qualities, that without any preoccupation of judgement might judge of these propositions as indifferent unto him: by which accompt we should have a judge that were no man.  To judge of the apparances that we receive of subjects, we had need have a judicatorie instrument: to verifie this instrument we should have demonstration; and to approve demonstration, an instrument; thus are we ever turning round.  Since the senses cannot determine our disputation, themselves being so full of uncertainty, it must then be reason: and no reason can be astiblished without another reason: then are we ever going backe unto infinity.  Our phantasie doth not apply it selfe to strange things, but is rather conceived by the interposition of senses; and senses cannot comprehend a strange subject; nay, not so much as their owne
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 514 
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passions: and so, nor the phantasie, nor the apparence is the subject's, but rathier the passion's only, and sufferance of the sense: which passion and subject are divers things:  Therefore, who judgeth by apparences, judgeth by a thing different from the subject.  And to say that the senses' passions referre the qualitie of strange subjects by resemblance unto the soule: How can the soule and the understanding rest assured of that resemblance, having of it selfe no commerce with forraigne subjects?  Even as he that knowes not Socrates, seeing his picture, cannot say that it resembleth him.  And would a man judge by apparences, be it by all it is impossible; for by their contraries and differences they hinder one another, as we see by experience.  May it be that some choice apparences rule and direct the others?  This choice must be verified by another choice, the second by a third: and so shal we never make an end.  In few, there is no constant existence, neither of our being, nor of the objects.  And we and our judgement and all mortall things else do uncessantly rowle, turns and passe away. Thus can nothing be certainely established, nor of the one nor of the other; both the judgeing and the judged being in continuall alteration and motion. We have no communication with being; for every humane nature is ever in the middle betweene being borne and dying; giving nothing of it selfe but an obscure apparence and shadow, and an uncertaine and weake opinion.  And if perhaps you fix your thought to take its being, it would be even as if one should go about to graspe the water: for, how much the more he shal close and presse that which by its owne nature is ever gliding, so much the more he shall loose what he would hold and fasten.  Thus, seeing all things are subject to passe from one change to another, reason, which therein seeketh a reall subsistence, findes her selfe deceived as unable to apprehend any thing subsistent and permanent: forsomuch as each thing either commeth to a being, and is not yet altogether: or beginneth to dy before it be borne.  Plato said that bodies had 


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never an existence but indeed a birth, supposing that Homer made the Ocean Father, and Thetis Mother of the Gods, thereby to shew us that all things are in continuall motion, change and variation.  As he sayeth, a common opinion amongst all the Philosophers before his time, only Parmenides excepted, who denied any motion to be in things of whose power he maketh no small accompt.  Pythagoras that each thing or matter was ever gliding and labile.  The Stoicks affirme there is no present time, and that which we call present is but conjoyning and assembling of future time and past. Heraclitus avereth that no man ever entered twice one same river; Epicharmus avoucheth that who ere while borrowed any money doth not now owe it; and that he who yesternight was bidden to dinner this day, commeth to day unbidden: since they are no more themselves, but are become others; and that one mortall substance could not twise be found in one self estate: for by the sodainesse and lightnesse of change sometimes it wasteth, and other times it assembleth; now it comes and now it goes; in some sort, that he who beginneth to be borne never comes to the perfection of being.  For, this being borne commeth never to an end, nor ever stayeth as being at an end; but after the seed proceedeth continually in change and alteration from one to another.  As of mans seed there is first made a shapelesse fruit in the Mothers Wombe, then a shapen Childe, then being out of the Wombe, a sucking babe, afterward he becometh a ladde, then consequently a stripling, then a full growne man, then an old man, and in the end an aged decrepite man.  So that age and subsequent generation goeth ever undoing and wasting the precedent.

Mutat enim mundi naturam totius aetas,
Ex alioque alius status excipere omnia debet,
Nec manet vlla sui similis res, omnia migrant,
Omnia commutat natura et vertere cogit./1
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1 LUCR. 1. v. 837. 
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Of th'universall world, age doth the nature change,
And all things from one state must to another range,
No one thing like it selfe remaines, all things doe passe,
Nature doth change, and drive to change, each thing that was.
     And then we doe foolishly feare a kind of death, whenas we have already past and dayly passe to many others; for, not only (as Heraclitus said) the death of fire is a generation of ayre: and the death of ayre a generation of water: but also we may most evidently see it in our selves.  The flower of age dieth, fadeth and fleeteth, when age comes upon us, and youth endeth in the flower of a full growne mans age: childhood in youth and the first age dieth in infancie: and yesterday endeth in this day, and to day shall die in to morrow.  And nothing remaineth or ever continueth in one state.  For to prove it, if we should ever continue one and the same, how is it then that now we rejoyce at one thing, and now at another?  How comes it to passe we love things contrary, or we bath them, or we love them, or we blame them?  How is it that we have different affections holding no more the same sense in the same thought?  For it is not likely that without alteration we should take other passions, and what admitteth alterations continueth not the same; and if it be not one selfe same, then it is not: but rather with being all one, the simple being doth also change, ever becoming other from other.  And by consequence Natures senses are deceived and lie falsly; taking what appeareth for what is, for want of truly knowing what it is that is.  But then what is it that is indeed?  That which is eternall, that is to say, that which never had birth, nor ever shall have end; and to which no time can bring change or cause alteration.  For time is a fleeting thing, and which appeareth as in a shadow, with the matter ever gliding, alwaies fluent without ever being stable or permanent; to whom rightly belong these termes, Before and After, and it Hath beene, or Shall be.  Which at first sight doth manifestly shew that it is not a thing which is: for it were great sottishnesse and apparent falsehood, 
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to say that that is which is not yet in being, or that already hath ceased from being.  And concerning these words, Present, Instant, Even now, by which it seemes that especially we uphold and principally ground the intelligence of time; reason discovering the same doth forthwith destroy it: for presently it severeth it asunder and divideth it into future and past times as willing to see it necessarily parted in two.  As much hapneth unto nature which is measured according unto time, which measureth her: for no more is there any thing in her that remaineth or is subsistent; rather all things in her are either borne or ready to be borne or dying. By means whereof it were a sinne to say of God, who is the only that is, that he was or shall be: for these words are declinations, passages, or vicissitudes of that which cannot last nor continue in being.  Wherefore we must conclude, that only God is, not according to any measure of time, but according to an immoveable and immutable eternity, not measured by time nor subject to any declination, before whom nothing is, nor nothing shall be after, nor more new nor more recent, but one really being: which by one onely Now or Present, filleth the Ever, and there is nothing that truly is but he alone: without saying he has bin or he shall be, without beginning and sans ending.  To this so religious conclusion of a heathen man I will only add this word, taken from a testimony of the same condition, for an end of this long and tedious discourse, which might well furnish me with endlesse matter. 'Oh, what a vile and abject thing is man (saith he) unlesse he raise himselfe above humanity!' Observe here a notable speech and a profitable desire; but likewise absurd.  For to make the handful] greater than the hand, and the embraced greater than the arme, and to hope to straddle more than our legs length, is impossible and monstrous: nor that man should mount over and above himselfe or humanity; for he cannot see but with his owne eyes, nor take hold but with his owne armes.  He shall raise himself up, if it please 


<Mont2-368>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

God to lend him his helping hand.  He may elevate himselfe by forsaking and renouncing his owne meanes, and suffering himseIfe to be elevated and raised by meere heavenly meanes.  It is for our Christian faith, not for his Stoicke vertue, to pretend or aspire to this divine Metamorphosis, or miraculous transmutation. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XIII+  OF JUDGING OF OTHERS' DEATH+

WHEN we judge of others assurance or boldnesse in death, which without all peradventure is the most remarkeable action of humane life, great heed is to be taken of one thing, which is, that a man will hardly beleeve he is come to that point.  Few men die with a resolution that it is their last houre: and nowher doth hopes deceit ammuse us more.  She never ceaseth to ring in our eares that others have been sicker and yet have not died: the cause is not so desperate as it is taken; and if the worst happen, God hath done greater wonders.  The reason is, that we make too much account of our selves, It seemeth that the generality of things doth in some sort suffer for our annullation and takes compassion of our state.  Forsomuch as our sight, being altered, represents unto itselfe things alike; and we imagine that things faile it as it doth to them:  As they who travell by sea, to whom mountaines, fields, townes, heaven and earth, seeme to goe the same motion, and keepe the same course they doe:

Provehimur portu, terraeque vrbesque recedunt./1
We sayling launch from harbour, and
Behinde our backes leave townes, leave land.
     Who ever saw old age that commended not times past, and blamed not the present, charging the world and mens customes with her misery and lowring discontent?
Iamque caput quassans grandis suspirat orator,
Et cum tempora temporibus prmsentia confert
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. iii. 72.
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<Mont2-370>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
Praeteritis, laudat fortitnas saepe parentis
Et crepat antiquum genus ut pietas repletum./1
The gray-beard Plow-man sighes, shaking his hoarie head,
Compares times that are now with times past heretofore.
Praises the fortunes of his father long since dead,
And crackes of ancient men, whose honesty was more.
     We entertaine and carry all with us:  Whence it followeth that we deeme our death to be some great matter, and which passeth not so easily, nor without a solemne consultation of the Starres; Tot circa unum caput tumultuantes Deos: 'So many Gods keeping a stirre about one mans life.  And so much the more we thinke it, by how much the more we praise ourselves.  What? should so much learning and knowledge be lost with so great dammage, without the Destinies particular care!  A soule so rare and exemplar, costs it no more to be killed than a popular and unprofitable soule?  This life that covereth so many others, of whom so many other lives depend, that for his use possesseth so great a part of the world and filleth so many places, is it displaced as that which holdeth by its owne simple string?  No man of us thinkes it sufficient to be but one.  Thence came those words of Caesar to his pilot, more proudly swolne than the sea that threatned him:
     -----Italiam si, caelo authore, recusas,
Me pete: sola tibi causa haec est iusta timoris,
Vectorem non nosse tuum; perrumpe procellas
Tutem secure mei:/2
If Italie thou do refuse with heaven thy guide,
Turn thee to me: to thee only just cause of feare
Is that thy passenger thou know'st not: stormie tide
Breake through, secure by guard of me, whom thou dost beare.
And these:
     -----credit jam digna pericula Caesar
Fatis esse suis: tantusque evertere (dixi)
Me superis labor est, parvi quem puppe sedentem.
Tam magno petiere mari./3
1 LUCR. 1. ii. 118. 2 LUCAN. 1. iii. 579. 3 Ib. 653.
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Caesar doth now beleeve those dangers worthie are
Of his set fate; and saies, doe Gods take so much pain
Me to undoe, whom they thus to assault prepare
Set in so small a skiffe, in such a surging maine?
     And this common foppery that Phoebus for one whole yeare bare mourning weedes on his forehead for the death of him
Ille etiam extincto miseratus Caesare Romam,
Cum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit./1
The Sunne did pity take of Rome when Caesar dide,
When he his radiant head in obscure rust did hide.
     And a thousand such wherewith the world suffers it selfe to be so easily conicatcht, deeming that our owne interests disturbe heaven, and his infinite is moved at our least actions.  Non tanta caelo societas nobiscum est, ut nostro fato mortalis sit ille quoque siderum fulgar:/2 'There is no such societie betweene heaven and us, that by our destinie the shining of the starres should be mortall as we are.  And to judge a resolution and constancie in him, who though he be in manifest danger, doth not yet beleeve it, it is no reason; and it sufficeth not that he die in that ward, unlesse he have directly and for that purpose put himselfe into it:' it hapneth that most men set a sterne countenance on the matter, looke big, and speake stoutly, thereby to acquire reputation, which, if they chance to live, they hope to enjoy.  Of all I have seene die, fortune' hath disposed their countenances, but not their disseignes. And of those which in ancient times have put themselves to death, the choice is great, whether it were a sodaine death or a death having time and leasure. That cruell Romane Emperor said of his prisoners that he would make them feele death; and if any fortuned to kill himselfe in prison, that fellow had escaped me (would he say).  He would extend and linger death, and cause it be felt by torments.
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1 VIRG.  Georg. i. 466. 2 PLIN.  N.  Hist. ii. 8. 
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Vidimus et toto quamvis in corpore caeso,
Nil anima, lethale datum, moremque nefanda,
Durum saevitiae, pereuntis parcere morti./1
And we have seene, when all the body tortur'd lay,
Yet no stroke deadly giv'n, and that in humane way
Of tyranny, to spare his death that sought to die.
     Verily, it is not so great a matter, being in perfect health and well setled in mind, for one to resolve to kill himselfe: It is an easy thing to show stoutnesse and play the wag before one come to the pinch.  So that Heliogabalus, the most dissolute man of the world, amidst his most riotous sensualities, intended, whensoever occasion should force him to it, to have a daintie death.  Which, that it might not degenerate from the rest of his life, he had purposely caused a stately towre to be built, the nether part and forecourt whereof was floored with boards richly set and enchased with gold and precious stones, from off which he might beadlong throw himselfe downe:  He had also caused cordes to be made of gold and crimson silke, therewith to strangle himselfe; and a rich golden rapier to thrust himselfe through, and kept poison in boxes of Emeraldes and Topases, to poison himselfe with, according to the humor he might have, to chuse which of these deaths should please him.
Impiger et fortis virtute coacta.
A ready minded gallant,
And in forst vallour valiant.
     Notwithstanding, touching this man, the wantonnesse of his preparation makes it more likely that he would have fainted had he beene put to his triall.  But even of those who most undantedly have resolved themselves to the execution, we must consider (I say) whether it were with a life ending stroke, and that tooke away any leasure to feele the effect thereof.  For it is hard to guesse seeing life droope away little by little, the bodies-feeling entermingling it selfe with the
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1 LUCAN. 1. ii. 179. 
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soules, meanes of repentance being offered, whether in so dangerous an intent, constancie or obstancie were found in him.  In Caesars civill warres, Lucius Dominus taken in Prussia, having empoysoned himselfe, did afterwards rue and repent his deede.  It hath hapned in our daies that some having resolved to die, and at first not stricken deepe enough, the smarting of his flesh, thrusting his arme backe, twice or thrice more wounded himself, anew, and yet could never stricke sufficiently deepe.  Whilst the arraignment of Plantius Silvanus was preparing, Vrgulania, his grandfather, sent him a poignard, wherewith, not able to kill himselfe thoroughly, he caused his owne servants to cut his veines.  Albucilla, in Tiberius time, purposing to kill herself, but striking over faintly, gave her enemies leasure to apprehend and imprison her, and appoint her what death they pleased.  So did Captaine Demosthenes after his discomfiture in Sicilie.  And C.  Fimbria having over-feeblie wounded himselfe, became a sutor to his boy to make an end of him.  On the other side, Ostorius, who forsomuch as he could not use his owne arme, disdained to employ his servants in any other thing but to hold his dagger stiffe and strongly; and taking his running, himselfe carried his throate to its point, and so was thrust through.  To say truth, it is a meate a man must swallow without chewing, unlesse his throat be frostshod.  And therefore Adrianus the emperour made his Physitian to marke and take the just compasse of the mortall plac about his pap, that so his aime might not faile him, to whom he had given charge to kill him.  Loe why Caesar being demanded, which was the death he most allowed, answered, 'The least premeditated, and the shortest.  If Caesar said it, it is no faintness in me to beleeve it. 'A short death (saith Plinie) is the chiefe happe of humane life.  It grieveth them to acknowledge it.  No man can be said to be resolved to die that feareth to purchase it, and that cannot abide to looke upon and out-stare it with open eies. {death+} Those which in times of execution are seene to runne to their end, and hasten the execution, do it 


<Mont2-374>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

not with resolution, but because they will take away time to consider the same; it grieves them not to be dead, but to die.

Emori nolo, sed me esse mortuum, nihil aestimo./1
I would not die too soone,
But care not, when'tis done.
It is a degree of constancie+ unto which I have experienced to arive, as those that cast themselves into danger, or into the sea, with closed eies. In mine opinion there is nothing more worthy the noting in Socrates+ life, then to have had thirty whole daies to ruminate his deaths decree, to have digested it all that while, with an assured hope, without dismay or alteration, and with a course of actions and words rather supprest, and loose-hanging, then out-stretched and raised by the weight of such a cogitation.  That Pomponius Atticus, to whom Cicero writeth, being sicke, caused Agrippa, his sonne in lawe, and two or three of his other friends, to be called for, to whom he said, that having assaid how he got nothing in going about to be cured, and what he did to prolong his life did also lenethen and augment his griefe, he was now determined to make an end of one and other; intreating them to allow of his determination, and that by no meanes they would lose their labour to diswade him from it.  And having chosen to end his life by abstinence, his sicknesse was cured by accident.  The remedy he had employed to make himselfe away brought him to health again.  The Physitians and his friends, glad of so happy a successe and rejoycing thereof with him, were in the end greatly deceived; for, with all they could do, they were never able to make him alter his former opinions saying that as he must one day passe that careire, ancl being now so forward, he would remove the care another time to beginne againe.  This man baving with great leasure
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1 CIC.  Tusc.  Qu. 1. i. 
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apprehended death, is not only no whit discouraged when he comes to front it, but resolutely falls upon it for being satisfied of that for which he was entred the combate, in a braverie he thrust himselfe into it, to see the end of it.  It is farre from fearing death to goe about to taste and savour the same.  The historie of Cleanthes, the Philosopher, is much like to this.  His gummes being swolne, his Physitians perswaded him to use great abstinence.  Having fasted two daies, he was so well amended, as they told him he was well, and might returne to his wonted course of life.  He contrarily having already tasted some sweetnes in this Painting, resolveth not to drawe back, but to finish what he had so well begunne, and was so far waded into.  Tullius Marcellinus, a yong Romane gentleman, willing to prevent the houre of his destiny, to ridde himselfe of a disease which tormented him more than he would endure, although Physitians promised certainely to cure him, howbeit not sodainely: called his friends unto him to determine about it: some (saith Seneca) gave him that counsell, which for weaknesse of heart themselves would have taken; others for flatteries that which they imagined would be most pleasing unto him but a certainStoike+ standing by, said thus unto him: 'Toile not thy selfe, Marceliinus, as if thou determinedst some weightie matter: to live is no such great thing, thy base groomes and bruit beasts live also, but it is a matter of consequence to die honestly, wisely and constantly.  Remember how long it is; thou doest one same thing, to eate, to drinke, and sleepe; to drinke, to sleepe, to eate.  Wee are ever uncessantly wheeling in this endlesse circle.  Not only bad and intolerable accidents, but the very satiety to live, brings a desire of death.  Marcellinus had no need of a man to counsell, but of one to helpe him: his servants were afraid to meddle with him; but this Philosopher made them to understand that familiars are suspected onely when the question is, whether the maisters death hath beene voluntary: otherwise it would bee as bad an example to hinder him as to kill him, forasmuch as, 


<Mont2-376>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
Inuitum qui servat, idemfacit occidenti./1
Who saves a man against his will
Doth ev'a as much as he should kill.
     Then he advertised Marcellinus, that it would not be unseemely, as fruit or comfets at our tables, when our bellies be full, are given unto bystanders, so, the life ended, to distribute something to such as have beene the ministers of it.  Marcellinus being of a frank and liberal disposition, caused certaine summes of mony to be divided amongst his servants, and comforted them.  And for the rest there needed neither yron nor blood; he undertooke to departe from this life, not by running from it: not to escape from death, but to taste it.  And to have leisure to conditione or bargaine with death having quit all manner of nourishment, the third day ensuing, after he had caused himselfe to be sprinkled over with luke-warme water, by little and little he consumed away; and (as he said) not without some voluptuousnesse and pleasure.  Verily, such as have had these faintings and sownings of the heart, which proceed from weaknesses say that they feele no paine at all in them, but rather some pleasure, as of a passage to sleepe and rest.  These are premeditated and digested deaths.  But that Cato+ alone, may serve to all examples of vertue, it seemeth his good destiny caused that hand wherewith he gave himselfe the fatall blow to be sicke and sore: that so bee might have leisure to affront death and to embrace it, reenforcing his courage in that danger in lieu of mollifieing the same.  And should I have represented him in his proudest state, it should have beene all bloody- gored, tearing his entraile, and rendiiig his gutts, rather then with a sword in his hand, as did the statuaries of his time. For this second murther was much more furious then the first.
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1 HOR.  Art.  Poet. 467. 

 
 

CHAPTER 2.XIV+  HOW THAT OUR SPIRIT HINDERETH ITSELFE

IT is a pleasant imagination to conceive a spirit iustly ballanced betweene two equall desires.  For, it is not to be doubted, that he shall never be resolved upon any match: forsomuch as the application and choise brings all the inequality of prise:  And who should place us betweene a bottle of wine and a gammon of bacon, with an equall appetite to eat and drinke, doubtlesse there were noe remedy, but to die of thirst and of hunger. To provide against this inconvenient, when the Stoikes were demanded whence the election of two indifferent things commeth into our soule (and which causeth that from out a great number of Crownes or Angells we rather take one then another, when there is no reason to induce us to preferre any one before others) they answer, that this motion of the soule is extraorainarie and irregular comming into us by a strange, accidentall and casuall impulsion. In my opinion, it might rather be said that nothing is presented unto us, wherein there is not some difference, how light so ever it bee:  And that either to the sight, or to the feeling, there is ever some choice, which tempteth and drawes us to it, though imperceptible and not to bee distinguished. In like manner, hee that shall presuppose a twine-thrid equially strong all through, it is impossible by all possibility that it should break, for, where would you have the flaw or breaking to beginne?  And at once to break in all places together is not in nature.  The Geometricall propositions which, by the certainty of their demonstrations, conclude the contained greater then the containing,
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<Mont2-378>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

and the centre as great as his circumference; and that finde two lines uncessantly approaching one unto another, which yet can never meete and joyne together; and the Philosophers stone, and quadrature of the circle, where the reason and the effects are so opposite: might peradventure draw thence some argument to salve and belpe this bold speech of Pliny:  Solum certum, nihil esse certi, et homine nihil miserius aut superbius:/1 'This only is sure, that there is nothing sure; and nothing more miserable, and yet more arrogant then man. '{Yahoo+}
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1 PLIN.  Nat.  Hist. 1. ii. 7. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XV+  THAT OUR DESIRES ARE ENCREASED BY DIFFICULTIE

THERE is no reason but hath another contrary unto it, saith the wisest party of Philosophers.  I did erewhile ruminate upon this notable saying, which an ancient writer alleageth for the contempt of life.  No good can bring us any pleasure, except that against whole losse we are prepared:  In aequo est, dolor amissae rei, et timor amittendae:/1 {fortune+}'Sorrow for a thing lost, and feare of losing it, are on an even ground.' Meaning to gain thereby, that the fruition of life cannot perfectly be pleasing unto us, if we stand in any feare to lose it.  A man might nevertheless say on the contrary part, that we embrace and claspe this good so much the harder, and with more affection, as we perceive it to be less sure, and feare it should be taken from us.  For, it is manifestly found, that as fire is rouzed up by the assistance of cold, even so our will is whetted on by that which doth resist it.

Si nunquam Danaen habuisset ahenea turis,
Non esset Danae de Iove facta parens./2
If Danae had not beene clos'd in brazen
Tower, Jove had not closed with Danae in golden shower,
And that there is nothing so naturally opposite to our taste as satiety, which comes from ease and facility, nor nothing that so much sharpneth it as rarenesse and difficulty.  Omnium rerum voluptas ipso quo debet fugare periculo crescit: 'The delight of all things encreaseth by the danger, whereby it rather should terrify them that affect it.
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1 SEN.  Epist. xcviii. 2 OVID.  Amor. 1. ii.  El. xix. 27,
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<Mont2-380>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
 
Galla nega; satiatur amor, nisi gaudia torquent./1
Good wench, deny, my love is cloied,
Unlesse joyes grieve, before enjoyed.
     To keepe love in breath and longing, Lycurgus ordained that the maried men of Lacedemonia might never converse with their wives but by stealth, and that it should be as great an imputation and shame to finde them laide together, as if they were found living with others. The difficulty of assignations or matches appointed, the danger of being surprised, and the shame of ensuing to-morrow,
      ------ et languor, et silentium,
Et latere petitus imo spiritus./2
And whispering voice, and languishment,
And breath in sighes from deepe sides sent.
are the things that give relish and tartnesse to the sawce.  How many most lasciviously-pleasant sports proceed from modest and shamefast manner of speech, of the daliances and workes of love?  Even voluptuousnesse seekes to provoke and stirre it selfe up by smarting.  It is much sweeter when it itcheth, and endeared when it gauleth.  The curtezan Flora was wont to say that she never lay with Pompey but she made him carry away the markes of her teeth.
Quod petiere premunt arcte, faciuntque dolorem
Corpore, et dentes inlidant saepe labellis:
Et stimuli subsunt, qui instigant laedere id ipsum
Quodcumgue est, rabies unde illi germina surgunt,/3
So goes it every where: rarenesse and difficulty giveth esteeme unto things. Those of Marca d'Ancona, in Italy, make their vowes, and goe on pilgrimage rather unto Iames in Galicia, and those of Galicia rather unto our Lady of Loreto.  In the country of Liege they make more account of the Bathes of Luca; and they of Tuscany esteeme the Baths of Spawe more than their
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1 MART. 1. iv.  Epig. xxxviii. 2 HOR.  Epod. xi. 13. 3 LUCR. 1. iv. 1070. 
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owne.  In Rome the Fence-schooles are ever full of Frenchmen, when few Romans come unto them.  Great Cato, as well as any else, was even cloied and distasted with his wife so long as she was his owne, but when another mans, then wished he for ber, and would faine have lickt his fingers at her.  I have heretofore put forth an old stalion to soile, who before did no sooner see or smell a mare but was so lusty that no man could rule him, nor no ground hold him; ease and facilitie to come to his owne when he list, hath presently quailed his stomacke, and so cloyed him that he is weary of them.  But toward strange mares, and the first that passeth by his pasture, there is no hoe with him, but suddenly he returnes to his old wonted neighings and furious heate.  Our appetite doth contemne and passe over what he hath in his free choice and owne possession, to runne after and pursue what he hath not.

Transuolat in medio posita, et fugientia captat./1
It over flies what open lies,
Pursuing onely that which flies.
     To forbid us anything is the ready way to make us long for it.
     -----nisi tu servare puellam
Incipis, incipiet desinere ese mea,/2

If you begin not your wench to enshrine,
She will begin to leave off to be mine.

     And to leave it altogether to our will is but to breede dislike and contempt in us.  So that to want and to have store breedeth one selfe same inconvenience.
Tibi quod super est, mihi quod desit, dolet./3
You grieve because you have too much
It grieves me that I have none such.
1 HOR.  Ser. 1. i.  Sat. ii. 107. 2 OVID.  Amor. 1. ii.  El. xix. 47. 3 TER. Phor. act i. sc. 3. 
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     Wishing and enjoying trouble us both alike. The rigor of a mistris is yrkesome, but ease and facility (to say true) much more; forasmuch as discontent and vexation proceed of the estimation we have of the thing desired, which sharpen love and set it afire.  Whereas satiety begets distaste: it is a dull, blunt, weary, and drouzy passion.

Si qua volet regnare diu, contemnat amantem,/1
If any list long to beare sway,
Scorne she her ]over, ere she play.
     -----contemnite amantes,
Sic hodie veniet, si qua negavit heri,/2
Lovers your lovers scorne, contemne, delude, deride
So will shee come to-day, that yesterday denied.
     Why did Poppea devise to maske the beauties of her face, but to endear them to her lovers?  Why are those beauties vailed downe to the heeles, which all desire to shew, which all wish to see?  Why doe they cover with so many lets, one over another, those parts where chiefly consisteth our pleasure and theirs?  And to what purpose serve those baricadoes and verdugalles wherewith our women arme their flankes, but to allure our appetite, and enveagle us to them by putting us off?
Et fugit ad salices, et se cupit ante videri./3
She to the willows runs to hide,
Yet gladly would she first be spide,
Interdum tunica duxit operta moram./4
She cover'd with her cote in play,
Did sometime make a short delay.
Whereto serves this mayden-like bashfulnesse, this willfull quaintnesse, this severe countenance, this seeming ignorance of those things which they know better than our selves, that goe about to instruct them, but to increase a desire and endeare a longing in us to vanquish,
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1 OVID.  Amor. 1. ii.  El. xix. 33. 2 PROPERT. 1. ii.  El. xiv. 19. 3 VIRG.  Buco.  Ecl. iii. 65. 4 PROPERT. 1. ii.  Eleg. xv. 6.
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to gourmandize, and at our pleasure to dispose all this squeamish ceremonie, and all these peevish obstacles?  For, it is not only a delight but a glory to besot and debauch this dainty and nice sweetnesse, and this infantine bashfullnesse, and to subject a marble and sterne gravity to the mercy of our flame.  It is a glory (say they) to triumph over modesty, chastity and temperance: and who disswadeth ladies from these parts, betraieth both them and himselfe.  It is to be supposed that their heart yerneth for feare, that the sound of our wordes woundeth the purity of their eares, for which they hate us, and with a forced constraint agree to withstand our importunitie. Beauty with all her might hath not wherewith to give a taste of her selfe without these interpositions.  See in Italie, where most, and of the finest beauty is to be sold, how it is forced to seek other strange meanes, and suttle devices, arts and tricks, to yeeld her selfe pleasing and acceptable: and yet in good sooth, doe what it can, being venal and common, it remaineth feeble, and even languishing.  Even as in vertue of two equall effects, we hold that the fairest and worthiest, wherein are proposed more lets, and which affordeth greater hazards.  It is an effect of Gods providence, to suffer his holy Church to be vexed and turmoyled as we see with so many troubles and stormes, to rouze and awaken by this opposition and strife the godly and religious soules, and raise them from out a lethall security and stupified slumber, wherein so long tranquility had plunged them.  If we shall counterpoize the losse we have had by the number of those that have strayed out of the right way, and the profit that acrueth unto us, by having taken hart of grace, and by reason of combate raised our zeale and forces; I wot not whether the profit doth surmount the losse.  We thought to tie the bond of our marriages the faster by removing all meanes to dissolve them, but by how much faster that of constraint hath bin tried, so much more hath that of our will and affection bin slacked and loosed:  Whereas, on the contrary side, that which so long time held mariages in honour and safety in 


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Rome, was the liberty to break them who list.  They kept their wives the better, forsomuch as they might leave them; and when divorces might freely be had, there past five hundred years and more before any would ever make use of them.

Quod licet, ingratum est, quod non licet, acrius urit./1
What we may doe, doth little please:
It woormes us more, that hath lesse ease.
     To this purpose might the opinion of an ancient writer be adjoyned, that torments do rather encourage vices than suppress them; that they beget not a care of well-doing, which is the worke of reason and discipline, but only a care not to be surprised in doing evil
Latius excisae pestis contagia serpunt.
Th' infection of the plague nigh spent
And rooted out, yet further went.
     I wot not whether it be true, but this I know by experience that policie was never found to be reformed that way.  The order and regiment of maners dependeth of some ther meane.  The Greeke stories make mention of the Agrippians neighbouring upon Scithia, who live without any rod or staffe of offence, where not onely no man undertakes to buckle with any other man but whosoever can but save himselfe, there (by reason of their vertue and sanctity of life) is as it were in a Sanctuary:  And no man dares so much as to touch him.  Many have recourse to them, to attone and take up quarrels and differences, which arise amongst men else where. There is a nation where the enclosure of gardens and fields they intend keepe severall, are made with a seely twine of cotton, which amongst them is found to be more safe and fast than are our ditches and hedges.  Furem signata sollicitant, Aperta ffractarius praeterit:/2 'Things sealed up solicite a thief to break them open: 'Whereas a common burglayer will passe by quietly things that lie open.  Amongst other
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1 OVID.  Amor. 1. ii.  El. xix. 3. 2 SEN.  Epist. lxix. 
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meanes, ease and facility doth haply cover and fence my house from the violence of civill wares:  Inclos-urer and fencing drawe on the enterprise, and distrust, the offence.  I have abated and weakened the souldiers designe by taking hazard and all means of military glory from their exploite, which is wont to serve them, for a title, and stead them for an excuse.  What is performed courageously, at what time justice lieth dead, and law hath not her due course, is ever done honourably.  I yeeld them the conquest of my house dastardly and treacherous.  It is never shut to any that knocketh. It hath no other guardian or Provision but a porter, as an ancient custome, and used ceremony, who serveth not so much to defend my gate as to offer it more decently and courteously to all comers.  I have nor watch nor sentinell but what the starres keepe for mee.  That gentleman is much to blame who makes a shew to stand upon his guards, except he be very strong indeed. Who so is open on one side is so every where.  Our fore-fathers never dreamed on building of frontire townes and castles.  The meanes to assaile (I meane without battery and troopes of armed men) and to surprise our houses, encrease daily beyond the meanes of garding or defending.  Mens wits are generally exasperated and whetted on that way.  An invasion concerneth all, the defence none but the rich.  Mine was sufficiently strong, according to the times when it was made.  I have since added nothing unto it that way; and I would feare the strength of it should turne against my selfe.  Seeing a peaceable time will require we shall unfortifie them.  It is dangerous not to be able to recover them againe, and it is hard for one to be assured of them.  For concerning intestine broils, your owne servant may be of that faction you stand in feare of.  And where religion serveth for a pretence, even alliances and consanguinitie become mistrustful under colour of justice.  Common rents cannot entertaine our private garrisons.  They should all be consumed.  We have not wherewith, nor are wee able to doe it without our 


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apparent ruine, or more incommodiously and therewithall injuriously without the common peoples destruction.  The state of my losse should not be much worse.  And if you chance to be a looser, your owne friends are readier to accuse your improvidence and unhedinesse than to moane you, and excuse your ignorance and carelesenesse concerning the offices belonging to your profession.  That so many strongly-garded houses have been lost, whereass mine continueth still, makes me suspect they were overthrowne onely because they were so diligently garded.  It is that which affoordeth a desire and ministreth a pretence to the assailant.  All gards beare a shew of warre, which if God be so pleased may light upon me.  But so it is, I will never call for it.  It is my sanctuary or retreate to rest my selfe from warres.  I endeavour to free this corner from the publike storme, as I doe another corner in my soule.  Our warre may change forme and multiply and diversifie how and as long as it list, but for my selfe I never stirre. Amongst so many barricaded and armed houses, none but my selfe (as farre as I know) of my qualitie hath merely trusted the protection of his unto the heavens: {Antonio+} for I never removed neither plate, nor hangings, nor my evidences.  I will neither feare nor save my selfe by halfes.  If a full acknowledgement purchaseth the; favour of God, it shall last me for ever unto the end: if not, I have continued long enough to make my continuance remarkeable and worthy the registring.  What, is not thirtie yeares a goodly time? {unilateral_disarmament+



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XVI+  OF GLORY+

THERE is both name, and the thing: the name is a voice which noteth and signifieth the thing: the name is neither part of thing nor of substance: it is a stranger-piece joyned to the thing and from it.  God who in and by himselfe is all fulnesse, and the type of all perfection, cannot inwardly be augmented or encreased: yet may his name be encreased and augmented by the blessing and praise which we give unto his exteriour workes; which praise and blessing, since we cannot incorporate into him, forsomuch as no accession of good can be had unto him, we ascribe it unto his name, which is a part without him, and the neerest unto him.  And that is the reason why glory and honour appertaineth to God only. {Antonio+} And there is nothing so repugnant unto reason as for us to goe about to purchase any for our selves: for being inwardly needy and defective, and our essence imperfect and ever wanting amendment, we ought only labour about that. We are all hollow and empty, and it is not with breath and words we should fil our selves.  We have need of a more solide substance to repaire our selves.  An hunger starved man might be thought most simple rather to provide himselfe of a faire garment then of a good meales-meat: we must runne to that which most concerneth us.  Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus./1

'Glory be to God on high, and peace on earth amongst men,' as say our ordinary prayers.  We are in great want of beautie, health, wisdome, vertue, and such like essentiall parts.  Exteriour ornaments
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1 Luke ii. xiv.
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may be sought for when we are once provided of necessary things.  Divinitie doth very amply and pertinently treate of this subject, but I am not very conversant with it.  Chrysippus and Diogenes have beene the first and most constant authors of the contempt of glory+. And amongst all sensualities, they said, there was as none so dangerous nor so much to be avoided as that which commeth unto us by the approbation of others. {Hotspur+} Verily experience makes us thereby feele and undergoe many damageable treasons. Nothing so much empoisoneth princes as flattery+. Nor nothing whereby the wicked minded gaine so easie credit about them; nor any enticement so fit, nor pandership so ordinary to corrupt the chastity of women, then to feed and entertaine them with their praises.  The first enchantment the Syrens employed to deceive Ulisses is of this nature.

Deca vers nous, deca, o treslouable Ulisse,
Et le plus grand honneur dont la Grece fleurisse.
Turne to us, to us turne, Ulisses thrice-renowned,
The principall renowne wherewith all Greece is crowned.
Philosophers said that all the worlds glory deserved not that a man of wisdome should so much as stretch forth his finger to acquire it.
Gloria quantalibet quid erit, si gloria tantum est?/1
Never so gIorious name,
What ist, be it but fame?
     I say for it alone: for it drawes many commodities after it, by which it may yeeld it selfe desirable: it purchaseth us good will: it makes us lesse exposed to others injuries and offences and such like things.  It was also one of the principall degrees of Epicurus: for that precept of his sect, HIDE THY LIFE, which forbideth men to meddle with public charges and negotiations, doth also necessarily presuppose that a man should despise despise glory, which is an approbation the world makes of those actions we give evidence of.  He that bids us
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1 JUVEN.  Sat. vii. 8. 
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to hide our life and care but for our selves, and would not have us know of others, would also have us not to be honoured and glorified thereby. So doth he counsel Idomeneus by no meanes to order his actions by the vulgar opinion and publike reputation: unlesse it be to avoide other accidentall in-commodities which the contempt of men might bring unto him.  Those discourses (are in mine advise) very true and reasonable: but I wot not how we are double in our selves, which is the cause that what we beleeve we beleeve it not, and cannot rid our selves of that which we condemne.  Let us consider the last words of Epicurus, and which he speaketh as he is dying: they are notable and worthy such a Philosopher: but yet they have some badge of his names commendations, and of the humour which by his precepts he had disavowed.  Behold here a letter which he edited a little before he yeelded up the ghost. 'Epicurus to Hermachus health and greeting.  Whilst I passe the happy, and even the last day of my life, I write this, accompanied neverthelesse with such paine in my bladder and anguish in my entrails, that nothing can be added unto the greatnesse of it; yet was it recompensed with the pleasure which the remembrance of my inventions and discourses brought unto my soule.  Now as requireth the affection which even from the infancy thou bast borne me and Philosophy, embrace the protection of Metrodorus his children.  Loe here his letter.  And which makes me interpret that the pleasure which in his soule he saith to feele of his inventions, doth in some sort respect the reputation which after his death he thereby hoped to attaine, is the ordinance of his last will and testament, by which he willeth that Aminomachus and Timocrates his heires should for the celebration of his birth- day every month of January supply all such charges as Hermachus should appoint: and also for the expence he might be at on the twentieth of every moon for the feasting and entertainment of the Philosophers his familiar friends, who in the honour of his memorie and of Metrodorus should meete together.  Carneades 


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hath been chiefe of the contrary opinion and hath maintained that glory was in it selfe to bee desired, even as we embrace our posthumes for themselves, having neither knowledge nor jovissanee of them.  This opinion hath not missed to be more commonly followed as are ordinarily those that fit most and come nearest our inclidations.  Aristotle amongst externall goods yeeldeth the first ranke unto it: and avoideth as two extreme vices the immoderation either in seeking or avoiding it.  I beleeve that had we the bookes which Cicero writ upon this subject, we should heare strange matters of him: for he was so fond in this passion as had he dared he would (as I thinke) have easily falne into the excesse that others fell in; which is that even vertue was not to be desired but for the honour which ever waited on it

Paulum sepultae distat inertiae
Celata virtus./1
There is but little difference betweene
Vertue conccal'd, unskilfulnesse unseene.
     Which is so false an opinion, as I am vexed it could ever enter a mans understanding that had the honour to beare the name of a philosopher.  If that were true a man needed not to be vertuous but in publike: and we should never need to keepe the soules operations in order and rule, which is the true seate of vertue+, but only so much as they might come to the knowledge of others.  Doth then nothing else belong unto it, but craftily to faile, and subtilly to cozen?  If thou knowest a serpent to be hidden in any place (saith Carneades) to which he by whose death thou hopest to reape commodity goeth unawares to sit upon, thou commitiest a wicked act if thou warne him not of it: and so much the more because thy action should be knowne but to thy selfe. {integrity+} If we take not the law of weldoing from our selves: if impunity be justice in us: to how many kindes of treacherie are we daily to abandon our selves?  That which Sp.  Peduceus did, faithfully to restore the
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1 HOR.  Car. 1. iv.  Od. ix. 29.
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riches which C.  Plotius had committed to his only trust and secrecie, and as my selfe have done often, I thinke not so commendable, as I would deeme it execrable, if we had not done it.  And I thinke it beneficiall we should in our daies be mindfull of Publius Sextilius Rufus his example, whom Cicero accuseth that he had received a great inheritance against his conscience: not only not repugnant, but agreeing with the lawes.  And M. Crassus and Q.  Hortensius, who by reason of their authority and might, having for certaine Quidities been called by a stranger to the succession of a forged will, that so he might make his share good: they were pleased not to be partakers of his forgery, yet refused not to take some profit of it: very closely had they kept themselves under the countenance of the accusations, witnesses, and lawes.  Meminerint Deum se habere testem, id est (ut ego arbitror) mentem suam: 'Let them remember they have God to witnesse, that is (as I construe it) their owne minde.  Vertue is a vaine and frivolous thing if it draw her commendation from glory.  In vaine should we attempt to make her keepe her rancke apart, and so should we disjoyne it from fortune: for what is more casuall then reputation+? Profecto, fortuna in omni re dominator:  Ea res cuizetas ex libidine magis quam ex vero celebrat obscuratque: '~Fortune+ governeth in all things, and either advaileth or abaseth them rather by froward disposition then upright judgement.  To make actions to be knowne and seene, is the meere work of fortune.  It is chance that applieth glory unto us, according to her temeritie.  I have often seene it to goe before desert; yea, and many times to outgoe merit by very much. He that first bethought himselfe of the resemblance betweene shadow and glory, did better than he thought of.  They are exceeding vaine things. It also often goeth before her body, and sometimes exceeds by much in length. Those who teach nobilitie to seeke in valour nothing but honour:  Quasi non sit honestum quod nobilitatum non sit: 'As though it were not honest except it were ennobled:' what gaine they by it?  But to instruct 


<Mont2-392>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYS them never to hazard themselves unlesse they be seene of others; and to be very heedy whether such witnesses are by that may report newes of their valour, whereas a thousand occasions to doe well are daily offered, and no man by to marke them?  How many notable, particular actions are buried in the throng of a battel.  Whosoever ammuseth himselfe to controle others, in so confused a burly-burly, is not greatly busied about it: and produceth the testimony which he giveth of his fellowes proceedings or exploits against himselfe.  Vera et sapiens animi magnitude, honestum illud quod maxime naturam sequitur, in factis positum, non in gloria indicat: 'A true and wise magnanimitie+ seemeth that honesty+ which especially followeth Nature, to consist in good actions and not in glory.  All the glory I pretend in my life is, that I have lived quietly.  Quietly not according to Metrodorus, Arcesilas, or Aristippus, but according to my selfe.  Since philosophy could never find any way for tranquillity that might be generally good, let every man in his particular seeke for it.  To whom are Caesar and Alexander beholding for that infinite greatnes of their renowne, but to fortune?  How many men hath she suppressed in the beginning of their progresse, of whom we have no knowledge at all, who bare the same courage that others did, if the ill fortune of their chance had not staid them even in the building of their enterprises?  Amongst so many and so extreame dangers (to my remembrance) I never read that Caesar received any hurt.  A thousand have dyed in lesse danger than the least of those he escaped.  Many worthy exploits and excellent deedes must be lost before one can come to any good.  A man is not alwaies upon the top of the breach, nor in the front of an army, in the sight of his generall, as upon a stage.  A man may be surprised betweene a hedge and a ditch.  A man is sometimes put to his sodaine shifts, as to try his fortune against a hens-roost, to ferret out foure seely shotte out of some barne, yea and sometimes straggle alone from his troupes; and 
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enterprise according as necessity and occasion offereth it selfe.  And if it be well noted (in mine advice) it will be found, and experience doth teach it, that the least blazoned occasions are the most dangerous, and that in our late home-warres, more good men have perished in slight and little importing occasions, and in contention about a small cottage, than in worthy atchievements and honourable places.  Whoso thinketh his death ill emploied, except it be in some glorious exploit or famous attempt, in lieu of dignifying his death, he happily obscureth his life: suffring in the meane time many just and honor-affoording opportunities to escape, wherein he might and ought adventure himselfe.  And all just occasions are glorious enough; his owne conscience publishing them sufficiently to all men.  Gloria nostra et testimonium conscientiae nostra:/1 'Our glory is the testimony of our conscience.' He that is not an honest man but by that which other men know by him, and because he shall the better be esteemed; being knowne to be so, that will not do well but upon condition his vertue may come to the knowledge of men; such a one is no man from whom any great service may be drawne, or good expected.

Credo ch'il resto di quel verno, cose
Facesse deqne di tenerne conto,
Ma fur fin' a quel tempo si nascose,
Che non e colpa mia s'hor' non le conto,
Perche Orlando a far' opre virtuose
Piu ch' a narrle poi sempre era pronto
Ne mai fu alcun' de li suoi fatti espresso,
Senon quando hebbe testimonii appresso./2
I guesse, he of that winter all the rest
Atchiev'd exploits, whereof to keepe account,
But they untill that time were so supprest,
As now my fault 'tis not, them not to count,
Because Orlando ever was more prest
To doe+, than tell deeds that might all surmount.
Nor was there any of his deeds related
Unlesse some witnesse were associated.
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1 2 COR. i. 12; AUG.  Hom. xxxv. 2 ARIOSTO, Orl. cant. xi. stan. 81.
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     A man must me to warres for his devoirs sake, and expect this recompence of it, which cannot faile all worthy actions, how secret soever; no not to vertuous thoughts: it is the contentment that a well disposed conscience receiveth in it selfe by well doing. {virtue_own_reward+} A man must be valiant for himselfe and for the advantage he hath to have his courage placed in a constant and assured seate, to withstand all assaults of fortune.

Virtus repulsae nescia sordidae,
Intaminatis fulget honoribus:
Nec sumit aut ponit secures
Arbitrio popularis aurae./1
Vertue unskill'd to take repulse that's base,
In undefiled honors earely shines,
At the dispose of peoples airy grace
She signes of honor tak's not, nor resignes.
     It is not only for an exterior shew or ostentation that our soule must play her part, but inwardly within our selves, where no eyes shine but ours: there it doth shroud us from the feare of death, of sorrowes and of shame: there it assureth us from the losse of our children, friend, and fortunes; and when opportunitie is offerd, it also leades us to the dangers of warre.  Non emoluntento aliquo, sedi psius honestatis decore:/2 'Not for any advantage, but for the gracefulnes+ of honestie+ it selfe.' Thls benefit is much greater, and more worthie to be wished and hoped than honor and glory, which is nought but a favorable judgment that is made of us.  We are often driven to empanell and select a jury of twelve men out of a whole countrie to determine of an acre of land:  And the judgement of our inclinations and actions (the weightiest and hardest matter that is) we referre it to the idle breath of the vaine voice of the common_sort+ and base raskalitie, which is the mother of ignorance, of injustice and inconstancie.  Is it reason to make the life of a wise man depend on the judgement of fooles? An quidquam stultius, quam quos singulos contemnas, eos aliquid putare
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1 HOR.  Car. 1. iii.  Od. ii. 17. 2 CIC.  Fin. 1. i.
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esse universos?/1  'Is there anything more foolish then to thinke that al together they are oughts, whom every one single you would set at noughts.  Whosoever aimeth to please them hath never done.  It is a Butt, that hath neither forme nor holdfast.' Nil tam inaestimabile est, quam aninti multitudinis: 'Nothing is so incomprehensible to be just waied, as the minds of the multitude.' Demetrius said merrily of the common peoples voice, that he made no more reckoning of that which issued from out his mouth above, then of that which came from a homely place below; and saith moreover:  Ego hoc judico, si quando turpe non sit, tamen non esse non turpe, quum id a multitudine laudetur:/2 'Thus I esteem of it, if of it selfe it be not dishonest, yet can it not but be dishonest, when it is applauded by the many.'  No art, no mildnesse of spirit might direct our steps to follow so stragling and disordered a guide.  In this breathie confusion of bruites and frothy Chaos of reports and of vulgar opinions, which still push us on, no good course can be established.  Let us not propose so fleeing and so wavering an end unto our selves.  Let us constantly follow reason:  And let the vulgar approbation follow us that way.  If it please:  And as it depends all on fortune, we have no law to hope for it, rather by any other way then by that.  Should I not follow a strait path for its straightnesse, yet would I do it because experience hath taught me that in the end it is the happiest and most profitable.{virtue_own_reward+} Dedit hoc providentia hominibus munus at honesta magis juvarent: ' Mans providence hath given him this gift, that honest things should more delight and availe him.  The ancient Sailer said thus to Neptune in a great storme, 'Oh God, thou shalt save me if thou please, if not, thou shalt lose me; yet will I keep my helme still fast,' I have in my daies seene a thousand middle, mungrell and ambiguous men, and whom no man doubted to be more worldly-wise than my selfe, lose themselves, where I have saved my selfe.
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1 AELIAN.  Var.  Hist. 1. ii. c. 1. 1 CIC.  Fin.  Ben. 1. ii. 



<2flor-396>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES
Risi successu posse carere dolos/1
I smild to see that wily plots
Might want successe (and leave men sots).
     Paulus Emilius going to the glorious expedition of Macedon, advertised the people of Rome during his absence not to speake of his actions: for the licence of judgements is an especiall let in great affaires.  Forasmuch as all men have not the constancy of Fabius against common, contrary and detracting voices: who loved better to have his authority dismembred by mens vaine fantasies, then not to performe his charge so well, with favourable and popular applause.  There is a kind of I know not what naturall delight that man hath to heare himselfe commended, but wee yeeld too-too much unto it.
Laudari haud metuam, neque enim mihi cornea fibra est,
Sed recti finemque extremumque esse recuso
Euge tuum et belle./2

{Coriolanus+} Nor feare I to be prais'd, for my guttes are not home,
But that the utmost end of good should be, I scorne,
Thy O well said, well done, well plaid.

     I care not so much what I am with others, as I respect what I am in my selfe.  I will bee rich by my selfe and not by borrowing. Strangers see but external apparances and events: every man can set a good face upon the matter, when within he is full of care, griefe and infirmities. They see not my heart when they looke upon my outward countenance.  There is great reason the hypocrisie that is found in war should be discovered: for, what is more easie in a man of practise then to flinch in dangers and to counterfeit a gallant and a boaster+ when his heart is full of faintnesse and ready to droope for feare?  There are so many waies to shunne occasions for a man to hazard himselfe in particular, that we shall have deceived the world a thousand times before we need engage our selves into any perillous attempt; and even when wee find our
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1 OVID.  Epist.  Penel. v. 18. 2 PERS.  Sat. i. 47.
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selves entangled in it, wee shall not want skill how to cloake our sport with a good face, searne countenance, and bold speeches; although our heart doe quake within us. 'And hee that had the use of the Platonicall Ring,{Gyges+} whose vertue was to make him invisible that wore it upon his finger, if it were turned toward the flat of the hand; many would hide themselves when they should most make shewe of their worth, and would be sorie to be placed in so honourable a place where necessity may be their warrant of safetie.

Falsus honor iuvat, et mendax infamia terra
Quem, nisi mendosum et mendacem/1
False honour tickles; false defame affrights,
Whom, but the faulty, and false-fierd sprights?
     See how all those judgements that men make of outward apparences are wonderfully uncertaine and doubtfull, and there is no man so sure a testimony, as every man is to himselfe:  How many horse-boye's have we in them as parteners and companions of our glory?  He that keepes his stand in an open trench, what doth he more, but divers poore pioners doe as much before him, who open the way for him, and with their bodies shelter him for poore sixpence a day, and happily for lesse? {peasant_stand_up+}
     ----- non quicguid turbida Roma
Elevet, accedas, examenque improbum in illa
Castiges trutina, nec te quaesiveris extra./2
If troublous Rome set ought at nought, make you not one,
Nor chastise you unjust examination
In balance of their lode:
Nor seeke your selfe abrode.
We call that a magnifying of our name, to extend and diperse the same in many mouthes; we will have it to be received in good part, and that its increase redound to his benefit: this is al that is most excusable in its desseigne.  But the infirmity of its excesse proceeds so farre that many labour to have the world speake of them, howsoever it be.  Trogus Pompeius
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1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. xvi. 89. 2 PERS.  Sat. i. 5. 
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saith of Herostratus, and Titus Livius of Manlius Capitolinus, that they were more desirous of great then good reputation+. It is an ordinary fault; we endevour more that men should speake of us, then how and what they speake, and it sufficeth us that our name run in mens mouthes, in what manner soever.  It seemeth that to be knowen is in some sort to have life and continuance in other mens keeping.  As for me I hold that I am but in my selfe; and of this other life of mine which consisteth in the knowledge of my friends, being simply and barely considered in my self well I wot, I neither feele fruite or jovissance of it, but by the vanitie of fantasticall opinion.  And when I shall be dead, I shall much lesse have a feeling of it:  And shall absolutely lose the use of true utilities which sometimes accidentally follow it:  I shall have no more fastnesse to take hold on reputation, nor whereby it may either concerne or come unto mee. For, to expect my name should receive it, First, I have no name that is sufficiently mine: of two I have, the one is common to all my race, yea and also to others.  There is a family at Paris and another at Montpellier called Montaigne, another in Britany, and one in Xaintonge, surnamed de la Montaigne.  The removing of one onely syllable may so confound our webbe, as I shall have a share in their glory, and they perhaps a part of my shame. And my Ancestors have heretofore beene surnamed Higham or Eyquem, a surname which also belongs to a house well knowen in England.  As for my other name, it is any bodies that shall have a minde to it.  So shall I happily honour a Porter in my stead.  And suppose I had a particular marke or badge for my selfe, what can it marke when I am no more extant?  May it desseigne or favour inanity?

      ------nunc levior cippus non imprimit ossa?
Laudat posteritas; nunc non e manibus illis,
Nunc non e tumulo fortunataque favilla
Nascuntur violae?/1
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1 PERS.  Sat. i. 37. 
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Doth not the grave-stone on such bones sit light?
Posterity applaudes: from such a spright,
From such a tombe, from ashes blessed so,
Shall there not Violets (in cart-lodes) grow?
     But of this I have spoken elsewhere.  As for the rest, in a whole battell, where ten thousand are either maymed or slaine, there are not peradventure fifteene that shall be much spoken off.  It must be some eminent greatness or important consequence that fortune hath joyned unto it to make a private action prevaile, not of a meane shot alone, but of a chieftaine: for to kill a man or two or tenne; for one to present himselfe undantedly to death, is indeed something to every one of us in particular: for a mans free-hold goes on it:  But in regarde of the world they are such ordinary things, so many are daily seene, and so sundry alike must concurre together to produce a notable effect, that wee can looke for no particular commendation by them. {warre+}
---- casus multis hic cognitus, ac iam
Tritus, et e medio fortuno ductus acervo./1
 

This case is knowne of many, worne with nothing,
Drawne from the midle heape of fortunes doting.

     Of so many thousands of worthie-valiant men, which fifteene hundred yeares since have died in France with their weapons in hand, not one hundred have come to our knowledge:  The memory not onely of the Generals and Leaders, but also of the battels and victories lieth now low-buried in oblivion.  The fortunes of more than halfe the world, for want of a register, stirre not from their place, and vanish away without continuance.  Had I all the unknowne events in my possession, I am perswaded I might easily supplant those that are knowne in all kindes of examples. What, of the Romanes themselves and of the Graecians, amongst so many writers and testimonies, and so infinit rare exploites and matchles examples, how are so few of them come to our notice?
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1 JUVEN.  Sat. xiii. 9. 
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Ad nos vix tenuis famae perlabitur aura,/1
Scarcely to us doth passe
Fames thin breath, how it was.
     It shall be much, if a hundred yeares hence the civill warres which lately we have had in France, be but remembred in grosse. The Lacedemonians, as they were going to their battles, were wont to sacrifice unto the Muses to the end their deedes might be well written and worthily registred; deeming it a divine favor and unusuall grace, that noble actions might finde testimonies able to give them life and memory.  Thinke we that at every shot that hits us or at every dangerous attempt we runne into to have a clarke present to enrole it: and besides, it may be that an hundred clarkes shall write them, whose commentaries shall not continue three daies and shall never come to anybodys sight.  We have but a thousandth part of ancient writings:  It is Fortune, which according to her favor gives them either shorter or longer life; and what we have, we may lawfully doubt of, whether it be the worse, since we never saw the rest.  Histories are not written upon every small trifle:  It is requisite that a man have beene conqueror of an Empire or of a Kingdome; a man must have obtained two and fiftie set battles, and ever with a lesser number of men, as Caesar did. Tenne thousand good-fellowes, and many great captaines have died most valiantly and coragiously in pursuite of her, whose names have continued no longer then their wives and children lived:
      ------ quos fama obscura recondit./2

Whom fame obscure before
Layes up in unknowne store.

     Even of those whom we see to doe excellently well, if they have but once continued so three months, or so many yeares, there is no more speech of them then if they had never bin.  Whosoever shall in due
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1 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vii. 646. 2 Ib. 1. v. 292. 
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measure proportion and impartially consider, of what kinde of people, and of what deedes the glory is kept in the memory of bookes, he shall finde there are few actions and very few persons that may justly pretend any right in them.  How many vertuous men have we seene to survive their owne reputation, who even in their presence have seen the honor and glorie which in their young daies they had right-justly purchased, to be cleane extinguished?  And doe we for three yeares of this fantasticall and imaginarie life lose and foregoe our right and essentiall life, and engage our selves in a perpetuall death?  The wiser sort propose a right-fairer and much more just end unto themselves, to so urgent and weighty an enterprise. Recte facti, fecisse merces est:  Officii fructi, ipsum officium est:/1{Major+} 'The reward of well-doing is the doing, and the fruit of our duty is our duty.'  It might peradventure be excusable in a Painter or other artificer, or also in a Rhetorician or Gramarian, by his labours to endevor to purchase a name:  But the actions of vertue are themselves too-too noble to seeke any other reward then by their own worth and merit, and especially to seeke it in the vanity of mans judgement.  If this false-fond opinion doe notwithstanding serve and stead a common wealth to hold men to their dutie: if the people be thereby stirred up to vertue: if Princes be any way touched to see the world blesse and commend the memorie of Trajan, and detest the remembrance of Nero: if that doth moove them to see the name of that arch-villanie, heretofore so dreadfull and so much redoubted of all, so boldly cursed and so freely outraged by the first scholer that undertakes him:  Let it hardly be increased, and let us (as much as in us lieth) still foster the same amongst ourselves.  And Platoe employing all meanes to make his Citizens vertuous, doth also perswade them not to contemne the peoples good estimation. And saith that through some divine inspiration it commeth to passe that even the wicked know often, as well by word as by opinion, how to distinguish justly
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1 SEN.  Epist. lxxxi. 


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the good from the bad.  This man, together with his master, are wonderfull and bold workmen to joyne divine operations and revelations wheresoever humane force faileth.  And therefore did perventure Timon (deeming thereby to wrong him) surname him the great forger of miracles. Vt tragici poetae confugiunt ad Deum, cum explicare argumenti exitum non possunt./1
'As Poets that write Tragedies have recourse to some God when they cannot unfold the end of their argument.' Since men by reason of their insufliciencie cannot well pay themselves with good lawfull coine, let them also employ false money.  This meane hath beene practised by all the law-givers:  And there is no common wealth where there is not some mixture either of ceremonious vanity or of false opinion, which as a restraint serveth to keepe the people in awe and dutie.  It is therefore that most of them have such fabulous grounds and trifling beginnings, and enriched with supernaturall mysteries.  It is that which hath given credit unto adulterate and unlawfull religions, and hath induced men of understanding to favour and countenance them.  And therefore did Noma and Sertorius, to make their men have a better beliefe, feed them with this foppery: the one, that the Nimph Egeria, the other that his white Hinde, brought him all the councels he tooke from the Gods.  And the same authority which Numa gave his lawes under the title of this Goddesses patronage, Zoroaster, Law-giver to the Bactrians and Persians, gave it to his, under the name of the God Oromazis. Trismegistus, of the AFgyptians, of Mercury:  Zamolzie, of the Scithians, of Vesta:  Charondas, of the Chalcedonians, of Saturne:  Minos, of the Candiots, of Jupiter:  Lycurgus, of the Lacedemonians, of Apollo:  Dracon and Solon, of the Athenians, of Minerva.  And every common wealth hath a God to her chiefe: al others falsly, but that truly which Moses instituted for the people of Jewry descended from Aegypt.  The Bedoins religion (as saith the Lord of Jouinvile) held among other things that his soule which among them all died
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1 CIC.  Nat.  Deor. 1. i. 


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for his Prince went directly into another more happy body much fairer and stronger than the first: by means whereof they much more willingly hazarded their lives for his sake.

In ferrum mens prona viris animaeque capaces
Mortis: et ignavum est rediturae parcere vitae./1
Those men sword minded, can death entertaine,
Thinke base to spare the life that turnes againe.
     Loe here, although very vaine, a most needfull doctrine and profitable beliefe.  Everie Nation hath store of such examples in it selfe.  But this subject would require a severall discourse.  Yet to say a word more concerning my former purpose:  I do not counsell Ladies any longer to call their duty honour: vt enim consuetudo loquitur, id solum dicitur honestum, quod est populari fama gloriosum:/2 'For as custome speakes, that only is called honest which is glorious by popular report.' Their duty is the marke; their honour but the barke of it.  Nor doe I perswade them to give us this excuse of their refusall in payment; for I suppose their intentions, their desire, and their will, which are parts wherein honour can see nothing, forasmuch as nothing appeareth outwardly, there are yet more ordered then the effects.
Quae, quia non liceat, non facit, illa facit./3
She doth it, though she do it not
Because she may not doe't (Got wot).
     The offence both toward God and in conscience would be as great to desire it as to effect the same.  Besides, they are in themselves actions secret and hid; it might easily be, they would steale some one from others knowledge, whence honour dependeth, had they no other respect to their duty and affection which they beare unto chastity, in regard of it selfe.  Each honorable person chuseth rather to lose his honour than to forgoe his conscience.
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1 LUCAN. 1. i. 461. 2 CIC.  Fin. 1. ii. 3 OVID.  Amor. 1. iii.  El. iv. 4. 

 
 

CHAPTER 2.XVII+  OF PRESUMPTION

THERE is another kind of glory, which is an over-good opinion we conceive of our worth.  It is an inconsiderate affection, wherewith wee cherish our selves, which presents us unto our selves other then we are.  As an amorous passion addeth beauties and lendeth graces to the subject it embraceth, and maketh such as are therewith possessed, with a troubled conceit and distracted judgmement, to deeme what they love, and finde what they affect, to bee other, and seeme more perfect, then in trueth it is.  Yet would I not have a man, for feare of offending in that point, to misacknowledge himselfe, nor thinke to bee lesse then hee is:  A true judgement should wholly and in every respect mainetaine his right.  It is reason, that as in other things, so in this subject he see what truth presenteth unto him. If he be Caesar, let him boldly deeme himselfe the greatest Captaine of the world.  We are nought but ceremonie: ceremonie doth transport us, and wee leave the substance of things; we hold-fast by the boughs, and leave the trunke or body.  Wee have taught ladies to blush, onely by hearing that named which they nothing feare to doe.  Wee dare not call our members by their proper names, and feare not to employ them in all kind of dissolutenese. Ceremonie forbids us by words to expresse lawfull and naturall things; and we beleeve it.  Reason willeth us to doe no bad or unlawfull things, and no man giveth credit unto it.  Here I find my selfe entangled in the lawes of Ceremonie, for it neither allowes a man to speake ill or good of himselfe. {PlainDealer+} Therefore will wee leave her at this time. Those whom
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fortune (whether we shall name her good or bad) hath made to passe their life in some eminent or conspicuous degree, may by their publike actions witnesse what they are; but those whom she never emploied but in base things, and of whom no man shall ever speake, except themselves doe it, they are excusable if they dare speake of themselves to such as have interest in their acquaintance, after the example of Lucillus

Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim
Credebat libris: neque si male cesserat, usquam
Decurrens alio, neque si bene: quo fit, ut omnis Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella
Vita senis./1
o his booke, as to his trusty friend
His secrets, nor did he to other refuge bend,
How ever well, or ill, with him his fortune went.
Hence is it, all the life is seene the old man spent,
As it were in a Table noted,.
Which were unto some God devoted.
     This man committed his actions and imaginations to his paper, and as he felt, so he pourtraied himselfe.  Nec id Rutilio et Scauro citra fidem, aut obtrectationi fuit:/2 'Nor was that without credit, or any imputation to Rutilius or Scaurus.' I remember then, that even from my tenderest infancy, some noted in me a kind of I know not what fashion in carrying of my body and gestures, witnessing a certaine vaine and foolish fiercenesse.  This I will first say of it, that it is not inconvenient to have conditions so peculiar, and propensions so incorporated in us, that we have no meane to feele, or way to know them.  And of such naturall inclinations, unknowne to us, and without our consent, the body doth easily retaine some signe or impression.  It was an affectation witting of his beauty, which made Alexander to bend his head a little on one side, and Alcibiades, his speech somewhat effeminate and lisping:  Julius Caesar was wont to scratch his head with one finger, which is the countenance of a man surcharged
-----
1 HOR.  Ser. 1. ii.  Sat. i. 30. 2 CORN.  TACIT.  Vit.  Jul.  Agric. 
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with painefull imaginations: and Cicero (as I remember) had gotten a custome to wryth his nose, which signifieth a naturall scoffer.  Such motions may unawares and imperceptibly possesse us.  Others there be which are artificiall, whereof I will not speake.  As salutations, reverences, or conges, by which some doe often purchase the honour (but wrongfully) to be humble, lowly, and courteous: a man may be humble through glory.  I am very prodigall of cappings, namely in Summer, and I never receive any from what quality of men soever, but I give them as good and as many as they bring, except be be some servant of mine.  I wish that some Princes whom I know would be more sparing and in partiall dispencers of them, for, being so indiscreetly employed, they have no force at all:  If they be without regard, then are they without effect.  Amongst disordered countenances, let us not forget the sterne looke of Constantius the Emperour, who in publike held ever his head bolt-upright, without turning or bending the same on any side, no not so much as to looke on them that saluted him sideling, holding his body so fixt and unmoveable, that let his coche shake never so much, he kept still up-right: he durst never spit nor wipe his nose nor drie his face before. the people.  I wot not whether those gestures which were noted in me were of this first condition, and whether in truth I had any secret propension to this fault, as it may well be: and I cannot answer for the motions of my body.  But concerning those of the soule, I will here ingenuously confesse what I thinke of them.  There are two parts in this glory: which is to say, for a man to esteeme himselfe overmuch, the other, not sufficiently to esteeme of others.  For the one, first me thinks these considerations ought somewhat to be accompted of.  I feele my selfe surcharged with one errour of the mind, which both as bad, and much more as importunate, I utterly dislike.  I endevour to correct it; but I cannot displace it.  It is, because I abate the just value of those things which I possesse; and enhance the worth of things by how much they are more 


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strange, absent and not mine owne.  This humor extends it selfe very farre, as doth the prerogative of the authority, wherewith husbands looke upon their owne wives with a vicious disdaine, and many fathers upon their children: so doe I, and betweene two like workes would I ever weigh against mine.  Not so much that the jealousie of my preferment, and amendment troubleth my judgement, and hindereth me from pleasing my selfe, as that mastery her self begets a contempt of that which a man possesseth and oweth.  Policies, far customes and tongues flatter me; and I perceive the Latine ton gue by the favour of her dignity to deceive me, beyond what belongs unto her, as children and the vulgar sort.  My neighbours economie; his house, and his horse, though but of equall value, is more worth then mine by how much more it is not mine owne.  Besides, because I am most ignorant in mine owne matters, I admire the assurance, and wonder at the promise that every man hath of himselfe: whereas there is almost nothing that I wot I know, nor that I dare warrant my selfe to be able to doe.  I have not my faculties in proposition or by estate, and am not instructed in them but after the effect; as doubtfull of mine owne strength, as uncertaine of anothers force. Whence it followeth, if commendably I chance upon any one piece of worke, I rather impute it to my fortune+, then ascribe it to mine industry; forasmucb as I designe them all to hazard and in feare.  Likewise I have this in generall, that of all the opinions which Antiquity hath had of men in gross, those which I most willingly embrace, and whereon I take most hold, are such as most vilifie, condemne, and annihilate us. {Yahoo+} Me thinks Philosophy hath never better cardes to shew then when she checketh our presumption, and crosseth our vanity; when in good sooth she acknowledgeth her irresolution, her weaknesse and her ignorance.  Me seemeth the over good conceit and selfe-weening opinion man hath of himselfe, is the nurse-mother of the falsest opinions, both publike and particular.  Those which a cocke-horse will pearch 


<Mont2-408>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

themselves upon the Epicicle of Mercury and see so farre into heaven, they even pull out my teeth.  For in the study which I professe, the subject whereof is Man, {proper_study+} finding so extreme a inextricable a labyrinth of difficulties, one upon the necke of another, so great diversitie, and so much uncertaintie, yea even in the school of wisedome it selfe: you may imagine since those men could never be resolved of the knowledge of themselves and of their owne condition, which is continually before their eyes, which is ever within them; since they know not how that moveth which themselves cause to move, nor how to set forth the springs, and decipher the wards, which themselves hold and handle, how should I thinke of the true cause of the flux and reflux of the river Nilus?  The curiosity to know things hath beene given to men (as saith the holy Scripture for a scourge.  But to come to my particular, it is very hard (mee seemeth) that some other regardeth him selfe lesse, yea and some other esteemeth me lesse than I esteeme my selfe.  I accompt my selfe of the common+ sort, except in that I deeme myselfe guiltie of the basest, and culpable most popular defects: but not disavowed nor excused. {low_esteem+} And I only prise my selfe wherein I know my worth.  If any glory be in me, it is but superficially infused into me; by the treason of my complexion: and hath no solide body appearing to the sight of my judgement.  I am but sprinckled over, but not throughly dyed.  For in truth, touching the effects of the spirit in what manner soever, there never came any thing from me that contented me.  And others approbation is no currant payment for me.  My judgement is tender and hard, especially in mine owne behalf.  I feele my self to waver and bend through weaknesse:  I have nothing of mine owne to satisfie my judgement. My sight is indifferently cleare and regular; but if I take any serious worke in hand, it is troubled and dimmed: as I perceive most evidently in poesie:  I love it exceedingly:  I have some insight or knowledge in other mens labours, but in truth I play the novice when I 


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set my hand unto it: then can I not abide my selfe.  A man may play the foole every where else, but not in poesie:

     -----mediocribus esse poetis
Non dii, non homines, non concessere, columnae,/1
Nor Gods, nor men, nor pillers gave the graunt,
That Poets in a meane, should meanely chaunt.
I would to God this sentence were found in the front of our printers or stationers shops, to hinder the entrance of so many bald-rimers.
     -----verum
Nil securius est malo Poeta./2
Nothing securer may he had,
Then is a Poet bold and bad.
     Why have we no such people?  Dionysius the father esteemed nothing in himselfe so much as his poesie.  In the times of the Olimpike games, with chariots exceeding all other in magnificence, he also sent poets and musitians to present his verses, with tents and pavillions gilt and most suinptuously tapistried.  When they first beganne to rehearse them, the favour and excellencie of the pronunciation did greatly allure the peoples attention: but when they beganne to consider the fondnesse of the composition, they fell as soone to contemne them: and being more and more exasperated, fell furiously into an uproare; and headlong ranne in most spitefull manner to teare and cast downe all his pavillions.  And forasmuch as his rich chariots did no good at all in their course, and the ship which carried his men, returning homeward, missed the shore of Sicilie, and was by violent stormes driven and spilt upon the coast of Tarentum, they certainely beleeved the wrath of the Gods to have beene the cause of it, as being greatly offended both against him and his vile and wicked poeme: yea and the mariners themselves that escaped the shipwracke did much second the peoples opinion: to which the oracle that foretold his
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1 HOR.  Art.  Poet. 372. 2 MART. 1. xii.  Epig. lxiv. 
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death seemed in some sort to subscribe: which implied that Dionysius should be neare his end, at what time he had vanquished those that should be of more worth than himselfe; which he interpreted to be the Carthaginians, who exceeded him in might.  And having at any time an occasion to fight with them, that that he might not incur the meaning of his prediction, he would often temper and avoide the victorie.  But he mis-understood the matter, for God observed the the time of advantage, when as through partiall fatvour and injustice he obtained the victory over the tragicall poets of Athens, who were much better than he was, where he caused, in contention of them, his tragedie, entitled the Leneiens, to be publikely acted.  After which usurped victorie, be presently deceased: and partly through the excessive joy he thereby conceived.  What I finde excusable in mine is not of it selfe and according to truth: but in comparison of other compositions, worse then mine, to which I see some credit given.  I envie the good the happe of those which can applaude and gratifie themselves by their owne labours; for it is an easie matter for one to please himselfe, since he drawes his pleasure from himselfe: especially if one be somewhat constant in his owne wilfulnesse.  I know a poetaster, gainst whom both weake and strong, in company and at home, both heaven and earth, affirme and say he hath no skill or judgement in poesie, who for all that is nothing dismaied, nor will not abate one jote of that measure whereunto he hath fitted himselfe; but is ever beginning againe, ever consulting anew, and alwaies persisting; by so much the more fixed in his opinion by how much the more it concerneth him alone, and he only is to maintaine it.  My compositions are so farre from applauding me, that as many times as I looke them over, so often am I vexed at them.

Cum relego, scripsisse pudet, quia plurima cerno,
Me quoque qui feci judice, digna lini./1
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1 OVID.  Pont. 1. i. c. vi. 15. 
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When I re-read, I shame I write; for much I see,
My selfe, who made them, being judge, blotted to be.
     I have ever an idea in my mind which presents me with a better forme then that I have alreadie framed; but I can neither lay hold on it nor effect it.  Yet is that idea but of the meaner stamp. I thereby conclude that the productions of those rich and great mindes of former ages are farre beyond the extreame extention of my wish and imagination. Their compositions doe not only satisfie and fill me, but they astonish and wrap me into admiration.  I judge of their beauty, I see it, if not to the end, at least so farre as it is impossible for me to aspire unto it.  Whatsoever I undertake (as Plutarke saith of one) I owe a sacrifice to the Graces, hoping thereby to gaine their favour.
     ----- si quid enim placet,
Si quid dulce hominum, sensibus influit.
Debentur lepidis omnia gratus.
If ought do please, if any sweet
The sense of men with pleasures greet,
To thank the Graces it is meet.
     They altogether forsake me: what I doe, it is but bunglingly, and wants both polishing and beauty.  I can rate them at no higher value then they are worth.  My workmanship addeth no grace unto the matter.  And that's the reason I must have it strong, with good holdfast, and shining of it selfe, If I chance to seize on any popular or more gay, it is to follow me, who love not a ceremonious prudence and gloomy wisedome, as doth the world; and to glad my selfe, not my stile, who would rather have it grave and severe; if at least I may call that a stile which is formelesse and abrupt speech; a popular gibrish, and a proceeding without definition, without partition, and sans conclusion, troubled as that of Amasanius and Rabirius.  I am neither pleased, nor glad, nor tickled.  The best tale in the world comming into my hands becomes withered and tarnished.{Kent+{PlainDealer+} I cannot speake but in good earnest, and am altogether barren of that facility which I see 
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in many of my companions, to entertaine commers, to keep a whole troupe in talk, to ammuse a princes eares with all manner of discourses and never to be weary, and never to want matter, by reason of the graces they have in applying their first approches, and fitting them to the humour and capacity of those they have to doe withall.  Princes love not greatly serious and long discourses, nor I to tell tales.  The first and easiest reasons (which are commonly the best taken I can neither employ nor make use of them. I am an ill orator to the common sort.  I speake the utmost I know of all matters. {Kent+} Cicero thinks, in discourses of philosophy, the exordium to be the hardest part: if it be so, I wisely lay hold on the conclusion. Yet should a man know how to turne his strings to all aires: and the sharpest comes ever last in play..  There is at last as much perfection in raising up an empty as to uphold a weighty thing: a man must sometimes handle matters but superficially, and at other times dive into them.  I wot well that most men keep themselves on this low stage because they conceive not of things but by the outward shew. {Kent+} I also know that the greatest clarkes, yea Xenophon and Plato, are often seene to yeeld to this low and popular fashion, in speaking of matters, upholding it with those graces which they never want.  As for the rest, my language hath neither facility nor fluency in it, but is harsh and sharpe, having free and unsinnowy dispositions.{PlainDealer+} And so it liketh me, if not by my judgement, yet by my inclination. But yet I perceive that sometimes I wade too farre into it, and that forcing my selfe to avoide art and affectation, I fall into it another way. {PlainDealer+}

     ----- brevis esse labore:
Obscurus fio./1
To be short labour I?
I darker grow thereby.
Plato saith, that either long or short are not properties that either diminish or give price unto speech.  If I should undertake to follow this other smoothe, even and regular stile, I should never attains unto it.  And
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1 HOR.  Art.  Poet. 25. 
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although the cadences and breakings of Salust doe best agree with my humour, yet do I finds Caesar both greater and lesse easie to be represented. And if my inclination doth rather carrie mee to the imitation of Senecaes stile, I omit not to esteeme Plutarke much more.  As well in silence as in speech, I am simply my naturall forme, whence happily ensueth that I am more in speaking than in writing.  The motions and actions of the body give life unto words, namely, in them that move roundly and without affectation, as I doe, and that will be earnest. {PlainDealer+} Behaviour, the face, the voice, the gowne, and the place, may somewhat endeare those things which in themselves are but meane, as pratling.  Messala complaineth in Tacitus of certaine strait garments used in his time, and discommendeth the fashion of the benches whereon the Orators were to speak, saying they weakened their eloquence.  My French tongue is corrupted both in the pronunciation and elsewhere by the barbarisme of my country.  I never saw men of these hither-countries that did not evidently taste of his home-speech, and who often did not wound those caree that are purely French.  Yet it is not because I am so cunning in my Perigordin: for I have no more use of it than of the Dutch, nor doe I greatly care.  It is a language (as are many others round about me) like to that of Poitou, Xaintonge, Angoulesme, Limosin, and Auvergne, squattering, dragling, and filthie.  There is about us, towards the mountaines, a Gascoine tongue, which I much commend and like, sinnowie, pithie, short, significant, and in truth man-like and military; {PlainDealer+} more than any other I understand.  As compendious, powerfull, and pertinent as the French is gracious, delicate, and copious.  As for the Latine, which was given me for my mother-tongue, by reason of discontinuance, I have so lost the promptitude, of it, as I cannot well make use of it in speech, and scarcely in writing, in which I have heretofore beene so ready, that I was called a master in it.  Loe heere my little sufficiencie in that behalfe. Beauty is a part of great commendation in the 


<Mont2-414>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

commerce and societie of men.  It is the chiefe meane of reconciliation betweene one and other.  Nor is there any man so barbarous and so hard-hearted, that in some sort feeleth not himselfe strucken with her sweetnes.  The body hath a great part in our being, and therein keepes a speciall rancke. For his structure and composition are worthy due consideration.  Such as goe about to sunder our two principall parts, are much to blame; they ought rather to be coupled and joyned fast together.  The soule must be enjoyned not to retire to her selfe her quarter, nor to entertaine her selfe apart, nor to despise and leave the body (which she cannot well doe, except it be by some counterfeited, apish tricke) but ought so combine and cling fast unto him, to embrace, to cherish, assist, correct, perswade, and advise him, and if hee chance to sway or stray, then to leade and direct him: In fine, she should wed and serve him instead of a husband, that so their effects may not seeme contrary and divers, but agreeing and uniforme.  Christians have a particular instruction concerning this bond, for they know that Gods justice alloweth this society, and embraceth this conjunction of the body and soule, yea so farre as to make the body capable of everlasting rewards.  And that God beholds the whole man to worke, and will have him entirely to receive either the punishment or the recompence, according to his demerits.  The Peripatetike Sect (of all Sects the most sociable) attributeth this onely care unto wisdome, in common to procure and provide the good of these two associated parts: and declareth other sects to have partialized overmuch, because they had given themselves to the full consideration of this commixture; this one for the body, this other for the soule, with one like error and oversight, and had mistaken their subject, which is man; {proper_study+} and their guide, which in generall they avouched to be Nature.  The first distinction that hath beene amongst men, and the first consideration that gave preheminences to some over others, it is very likely it was the advantage of beauty. 


THE SECOND BOOKE          <Mont2-415>
 
     ----- agros divisere atque dedere
Pro facie cuiusque et viribus ingenioque:
Nam facies multum valuit virisque vigebant./1
They lands divided, and to each man shared
As was his face, his strength, his wit compared,
For face and strength were then
Much priz'd amongst men.
     I am of a stature somewhat under the meane.  This default hath not only uncomlinesse in it, but also incommoditie:  Yea even in those which have charge and commandement over others; for the authoritie which a faire presence and corporall majestic endoweth a man withal is wanting.  Caius Marius did not willingly admit any Souldiers in his bands that were not six foot high.  The Courtier hath reason to require all ordinary stature in the gentleman he frameth, rather than any other: and to avoid all strangenesse that may make him to be pointed at.  But if he misse of this mediocritie, to chuse that he rather offend in lownes than in tallnes. I would not doe it in a militarie man.  Little men, saith Aristotle, are indeed pretty, but not beauteous, nor goodly; and in greatnes is a great soule knowne as is beauty in a great and high body.  The Ethiopians and Indians, saith he, in chusing of their Kings and Magistrates, had an especiall regard to the beautie and tallnes of the persons.  They had reason, for it breedeth an awfull respect in those that follow him, and a kinde of feare in his enemies, to see a goodly, tall, and handsome man march as chiefe and generall in the head of any armie, or front of a troupe:
Ipse inter primos praestanti corpore Turnus
Vertitur, arma tenens, et toto vertice suprit est./2
Turnus, a goodly man, mongst them that led,
Stood arm'd, then all they higher by the head.
     Our great, divine, and heavenly King, all whose circumstances ought with much care, religion, and reverence, to be noted and observed, hath not refused the bodies commendation. Speciosus forma prae filiis
-----
1 LUCR. 1. v. 11, 20. 2 VIRG.  AEn. 1. vii. 725
<Mont2-416>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

hominum:/1  'In favor beautiful above the sonnes of men. And Plato wisheth beautie to be joyned unto temperance and fortitude in the preservers of his Commonwealth.' Is it not a great spite, if being amongst your owne servants, a stranger commeth to yourselfe to ask you where your Lord or Master is?  And that you have nothing but the remainder of a capping, which is as well put off to your Barber, or to your Secretarie? As it happened to poore Philopoemen, who having left his company behind, and comming alone into a house where he was expresly looked for, his hostess, who knew him not, and saw him to be so il-favored a fellow, employed him to help her maides draw water, and to mend the fire for the service of Philopoemen.  The gentlemen of his traine being come and finding him so busily at work (for he failed not to fulfil his hostesses commandement, enquired of him what he did, who answered,' I pay the penaltie of my unhandsomnesse. Other beauties are for women.  The beautie of a handsome comely tallnesse is the only beautie of men.  Where lownesse and littlenesse is, neither the largenesse nor roundnesse of a forehead, nor the whitenesse nor lovelinesse of the eyes, nor the pretty fashion of a nose, nor the slendernes of the eare, littlenesse of the mouth, order and whitenesse of teeth, smooth thicknesse of a beard, browne like a chesse-nut, well-curled and upstanding haire, just proportion of the head, freshnes of colour, the cheereful aspect of a pleasing face, the sweet-smelling of a body, nor the well decorated composition of all limmes, can make a handsome beauteous man.  As for me, I am of a strong and well compacted stature, my face is not fat but full, my complexion betweene joviall and melancholy, indifferently sanguine and hot.

Vnde rigent setis mihi crura, et sector villis:/2
Whereby my legs and brest,
With rough haire are opprest.
-----
1 Ps. xlv. 3. 2 MART. 1. vi.  Epig. lvi. 1.
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My health is blith and lustie, though well-stroken in age, seldome troubled with diseases:  Such I was, for I am now engaged in the approaches of age, having long since past over forty yeares. {usthem+}

      ------minutatim vires et robur adultum
Frangit, et in partem pejorem liquitur aetas./1
By little and a little age breakes strength,
To worse and worse declining melts at length.
     What hereafter I shall be will be but half a being. I shall be no more my selfe.  I daily escape, and still steale my selfe from my selfe:
Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes./2
Yeares as they passe away,
Of all our things make prey.
     Of addressing, dexteritie, and disposition, I never had any, yet am I the son of a well disposed father, and of so blithe and merry a disposition, that it continued with him even to his extreamest age.  He seldome found any man of his condition, and that could match him in all exercises of the body; as I have found few that have not out-gone me, except it were in running, wherein I was of the middle sort.  As for musicke, were it either in voice, which I have most harsh, and very unapt, or in instruments, I could never be taught any part of it.  As for dancing, playing at tennis, or wrestling, I could never attaine to any indifferent sufficiencie, but none at all in swimming, in fencing, in vaulting, or in leaping.  My hands are so stiffe and nummie, that I can hardly write for my selfe, so that what I have once scribled, I had rather frame it anew than take the paines to correct it; and I reade but little better. I perceive how the auditorie censureth me; otherwise I am no bad clarke. I cannot very wel close up a letter, nor could I ever make a pen.  I was never good carver at the table. {diffidence+} I could never make readie nor arme a
-----
1 LUCR. 1. ii. 1140. 2 HOR. 1. ii.  Epist. ii. 55. 
<Mont2-418>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

horse; nor handsomely array a hawke on my fist, nor cast her off, or let her flie, nor could never speake to dogges, to birds, or to horses. The conditions of my body are, in fine, very well agreeing with those of my minde, wherein is nothing lively, but onely a compleate and constant vigor.  I endure labour and paine, yet not very well, unlesse I carry myselfe unto it, and no longer than my desire leadeth and directeth me.

Molliter austerum studio fallente laborem./1
While earnestnesse for sport or gaine,
Sweetly deceives the sowrest paine,
     Otherwise, if by any pleasure I be not allured, and if I have other direction than my genuine and free will, I am nothing worth, and I can never fadge well: for I am at such a stay, that except for health and life, there is nothing I will take the paines to fret my selfe about, or will purchase at so high a rate as to trouble my wits for it, or be constrained thereunto.
     ----- Tanti mihi non sit opaci
Omnis arena
Tagi, quodgue in mare volvitur aurum:/2

So much I weigh not shadow Tagus sande,
Nor gold that roules into the Sea from land,

     I am extreamelie lazie and idle, and exceedingly free, both by nature and art.  I would as willingly lend my blood as my care. {amateur+} I have a minde free and altogether her owne; accustomed to follow her ownw humor.  And to this day never had, nor commanding, nor forced master.  I have gon as farre, and kept what pace pleased me best: which hath enfeebled and made me unprofitable to serve others, and made me fit and apt, but onely for my selfe.  And as for me, no man ever needed to force this heavie, lither, and idle nature of mine; for, having even from my birth found my selfe in such a degree of fortune, have found occasion to stay there (an occasion notwitlistanding, that a thousand others of mine acquaintance -----1 SEN. 1. ii.  Sat. ii. 12. 2 JUVEN.  Sat. iii. 54. 
THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-419>

would have taken as a plancke to passe over to search, to agitation, and to unquietness.  And as I have sought for nothing, so I have taken nothing.

Non agimur tumidis venus Aquilone secundo,
Non tamen adversis aetatem ducimus austi is:
Viribus, ingenio, specte, virtute, loco, re,
Extremi primorum, extremis usque priores./1
With full sailes prosp'rous winde, we do not drive,
Nor yet with winde full in our teeth doe live.
In strength, in wit, in vertue, shape, goods, place,
Last of the first, before the last we pace.
     I have had no need but of sufficiencie to content my selfe, which being well taken is ever a regiment for the mind, equally difficult in all sorts of conditions; and which by use we see more easily found in want than in plenty; peradventure, because that according to the course of our other passions, the greedinesse of riches is more sharpened by their uses than by their need: and the vertue of moderation more rare than that of patience.  And I have had no need but to enjoy those goods quietly, which God of his bounty had bestowed upon me.  I have tasted no kinde of tedious trouble.  I have seldome mannaged other than mine owne businesse: or if I have, it hath beene on condition I might do it at my leisure, and according to my will, committed unto me, by such as trusted me and knew me well, and would not importune me.  For the skilfull rider will reape some service of a restie and wind-broken jade.  My very childe-hood. hath beene directed by a soft, milde, gentle and free fashion, and ever exempted from rigorous subjection.  Al which hath endowed me with a delicate kinde of complexion, and made me incapable of any care:  So that I love men should conceale my losses from me and the disorders which concerne me.  I n the chapter of my charges and expences, I have set down, that mynegligence+ or carelessnesse+{sprezzatura+} costs me, both to feed and entertaine my selfe.
-----
1 HOR. 1. ii.  Epist. ii. 101. 
<Mont2-420>           MONTATGNE'S ESSAYES
 
     ----- haec nempe super sunt,
Quae dominum fallant, quae prosint furibus./1
This remnant of accompts I have,
Which may deceive Lords, help a Knave.
     I love not to know an accompt of what I have, that I may lesse exactly feele my losses:  I desire those that live with me, where they want affection or good effects, to cozen and pay me with good apparances.  For want of sufficient constancy to endure the importunity of contrary or crosse accidents, whereunto we are subject; and because I cannot alwaies keepe my selfe prepared to governe and order my affaires as much as I am able, I foster this opinion in me, relying wholly uponfortune+, and ready to take everything at the worst, and resolve to beare that worst mildly and patiently.  About that only doe I busie my selfe, and to that end do I direct all my discourses.  In any dangerous matter I care not so much how I may avoide it, and how little it importeth whether I avoid it or no; and what were it if would continue in it?  Being unable to direct events I governe my selfe; and if they apply not themselves to me, I apply my selfe to them: {Epictetus+} I have no great art to shunne fortune, and how to scape or force it, and with wisedome to addresse matters to my liking:  I have also lesse sufferance to endure the sharpe and painefull care which belongeth to that.  And the most toilsome state for me is to be doubtful in matters of weight, and agitated between feare and hope. To deliberate, be it but in slight matters, doth importune me.  And I feel my spirit more perplexed to suffer the motions of doubt and shakings of consultation, than to be settled and resolved about any accident whatsoever after the chance is once cast.  Fewe passions have troubled my sleepe but of deliberations the least doth trouble it.  Even as of high-waies, I willingly seeke to avoid the downe-hanging and slippery, and take the beaten-path, though myrie and deepe, so I may go no lower, and there seeke I safetiee. So love I pure mishapes, and which
-----
1 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. vi. 45. 
THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-421>

exercise and turmoile me no more, after the uncertaintie of their mending: and which even at the first cast, drive me directly into sufferance.

      ------ dubiae plus torquent mala./1
Evils yet in suspence,
Doe give us more offence.
     In events, I carry my selfe man-like; in the conduct childishly.  The horror of a fall doth more hurt me than the blow.  The play is not worth the candle.  The covetous man hath a worse reckoning of his passion than the poore; and the jealous man than the cuckold.  And it is often lesse harme for one to loose his farme, than pleade and wrangle for it: the slowest march is the safest. {carelessness+} It is the seate ofconstancie+. Therein you have no need but of yourselfe.  There she takes her footing and wholly resteth upon her selfe.  This example of a gentleman+, whom many have knowne, hath it not some Philosophicall shew?  This man having passed all his youth like a good fellow, a jollie companion, a great talker, and a merry ladd, being now well in yeares, would needs be married.  Remeinbring himselfe how much the subject of cuckoldry had given him cause to speake and scoff at others; to put himselfe under covert-baron, he tooke him a wife from out that place where all men may have them for money, and with her made his alliance: good morrow whoore, good morrow cuckold.  And there is nothing wherewith he oftener and more openly entertained such as came unto him, than with this tale: whereby he bridled the secret pratlings of mockers, and blunted the point of their reproch.  Concerning ambitious which is next neighbor, or rather daughter, to presumption, it had beene needfull (to advance me) that fortune had come to take me by the hand: for to put in my selfe into any care for an uncertaine hope, and to submit my selfe to all difficulties, waiting on such as seeke to thrust themselfe 1 SEN.  Agam. yt iii. sc. 1, 29. 
<Mont2-422>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

into credite and reputation, in the beginning of their progresse I could never have done it.

      ------ Spem pretio non emo,/1
Expence of present pay
For hope, I do not lay.
I fasten myself on that which I see and hold, and go not far from the shore:
Alter remus aquas, alter tibi radat arenas./2
Keeps water with one oare,
With th' other grate the shore.
     Besides a man seldome comes to these preferments but in hazarding first his owne: and I am of opinion if that which a man hath sufficeth to maintaine the condition wherein he was borne and brought up, it is folly to let it goe upon the uncertainety of encreasing the same. He to whom fortune refuseth meanes to settle his estate and establish a quiet and reposed being is excusable if he cast what he hath at hazards since thus as well as thus necessitie sends him to shift and search out.
Capienda rebus in malis preceps via est./3
A headlong course is best,
When mischiefes are addrest.
     And I rather excuse a younger brother to make sale of his inheritance than him who hath the honor of his house in charge, who cannot fall into wants but through his default.  I have by the counsell of my good friends of former times found the way shorter and easier to rid my selfe of this desire and keepe my selfe husht:
Cui sit conditio dulcis, sine pulvere palmae./4
Who like it well to beare the prise,
But take no toile in any wise.
Judging also rightly of my forces that they were not capable of great matters: and remembering the saying 1 TER.  Adel. act ii. sc. 2. 2 PROP. 1. iii. Eleg. ii. 23. 3 SEN.  Agam. act ii. sc. 1, 47. 3 HOR. 1. i.  Epist. i. 51. 
THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-423>

of Lord Oliver, whilome Chancellor of France, who said that Frenchmen might be compared to apes, who, climbing up a tree, never cease skipping from bough to bough, till they come to the highest, where they shew their bare tailes.

Turpe est quod nequeat capiti committere pondus,
Et pressum inflexo mox dare terga genu./1
'Tis shame, more than it can well beare, on head to packe,
And thereby soone oppress't with bended knee flie backe.
     Such qualities as are now in me void of reproach, in that age I deemed unprofitable.  The facilitie of my maners had been named faintnesse and weakness, faith and conscience would have been thought scrupulous and so superstitious: liberty and freedome, importunate, inconsiderate, and rash.  Misfortune serveth to some purpose.  It is not amiss to be born in a much depraved age for in comparison of others, you are judged vertuous, very cheape.  In our dayes he that is but a parricide, or a sacrilegious person, is a man of honesty and honor.
Nunc si depositum non inficiatur amicus,
Si reddat veterem cum tota aeruigine follem,
Prodigiosa fides, et Thuscis digna libellis,
Quaeque coronatad lustrari debeat agna./2
If now a friend deny not what was laid in trust,
If wholly he restore th'old bellowes with their rust:
A wondrous trust, to be in chronicles related,
And should with sacrifice, as strange, be expiated.
     And never was there time or place wherein more assured and great reward was proposed unto Princes for goodnesse and justice. The first that shall be advised by these meanes to thrust himselfe into favour and credit, I am much deceived if in part of paiment he get not the start of his fellowes.  Force and violence can do very much, but, never all.  Wee see merchants, country justices, and artificers to march cheeke by jowl with our nobilitie in valour and militarie discipline. {peasant+}
-----
1 PROP. 1. iii.  Eleg. viii. 5. 2 JUVEN.  Sat. xiii. 60. 
<Mont2-424> MONTIAIGNE'S ESSAYES

They performe honourable combates, both publike and private.  They batter and defend townes and cities in our present warres.  A Prince smothereth his cornmendation amid this throng.  Let him shine over others with humanities, with truth, loyalties temperance, and above all with justice, markes now adaies rare, unknowne, and exiled.  It is only the peoples will wherewith he may effect what he pleaseth: and no other qualities can allure their will so much as they as being the profitablest for them:  Nihil est tam populare quam bonitas. 'Nothing is so popular as goodnesse+ is.  By this proposition I had been a rare areat man as by that of certaine ages past I am now a pigyney and popular man; in which it was common.  If stronger qualities did not concurre with all, to see a man temperate in his revenges, milde in revenging of offences, religious in keeping of his word, neither double nor over tractable, nor applying his faith to others will, or to every occasion. {list_of_virtues+} I would rather let all affaires go to wracke than breake my word for their availe.  For touching this new-found vertue of faining and dissimulation, which now is so much in credit, I hate it to the death: and of all vices I finde none that so much witnesseth demissenesse and basenesse of heart. {PlainDealer+!} It is a coward and servile humour for a man to disguise and bide himselfe under a maske, and not dare to shew himselfe as he is.  Thereby our men address themselves to trecherie: being trained to utter false words, they make no conscience to breake them.  A generous minde ought not to belie his thoughts, but, make shew of his inmost parts: there all is good, or at least all is humane. Aristotle thinkes it an office of magnanimitie to hate and love openly, to judge and speake with all libertie, and never (though prise of truth goe on it) to make esteeme either of the approbation or reprobation of others.  Appolonius said it was for servants to lie, and for free-men to speake truth.  It is the chiefe and fundamentall part of vertue. {PlainDealer!+!} Shee must be loved for her owne sake.  He that speaketh truth because he is bound to doe so, and for that he 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-425>

serveth, and that feares not to tell a lie when it little importeth another man, is not sufficiently true.  My mind of her own complexion detesteth falsehood and hateth to think on it.  I feele an inward bashfulnes and a stinging remorse if at any time it scape me, as sometimes it doth if unpremeditated occasions surprise me.  A man must not alwaies say all he knowes, {Kent+} for that were follie: but what a man speakes ought to be agreeing to his thoughts, otherwise it is impiety.  I know not what benefit they expect that ever faine, and so uncessantly dissemble: except it be not to be beleeved, even when they speake truly.  That may deceive men once or twice, but to make a profession to cary it away smoothly, and as some of our Princes have done, to boast that if their shirt were privie to their secret and true cogitanons, they would burne it: which was the saying of ancient Metellus Macedonicus and that he who cannot dissemble cannot reign, serves but only to warne those who have to deale with them, that what they say is but untruth and dissimulation:  Quo quis versutior et callidior est hoe invisior et suspectior, detracta opinione probitatis:/1 'The finer-headed and more subtle-brained a man is, the more is he hated and suspected if once the opinion of honesty be taken from him.' It were great simplicity for a man to suffer himselfe to be mis-led either by the lookes or wordes of him that outwardly professeth what he is not inwardly, as did Tiberius. And I know not what share such people may challenge in the commerce of men, never producing any thing that may be taken for good paiment.  He who is disloyall to truth is likewise false against lying.  Such as in our daies; in the establishing of a Princes dutie, have only considered the good and felicitie of his affaires, and preferred the same before the respect of his faith and conscience, would say something to a Prince whose affaires fortune hath so disposed that with once breaking and falsifying of his word he might for ever confirme and establish them.  But it goeth otherwise. A man may more than once come 1 CIC.  Off. 1. i. 


<Mont2-426>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

to such a bargaine.  A man during his life concludeth more than one peace or treatie.  The commodity or profit that inviteth them to the first disloyalty (and daily some offer themselves, as to all other trecheries), sacrileges, murders, rebellions, treasons, are undertaken for some kinde of profit. But this first gaine brings ever infinite losses and dangers with it: casting this Prince from-out all commerce and meanes of negotiation by the example of this infidelitie.  Soliman of the Ottomans race (a race little regarding the keeping of promises or performance of covenants), at what time he caused his armie to land at Otranto (I being then but a childe), having knowne that Mercurin of Gratinara, and the inhabitants of Castro, were detained prisoners after the towne was yeelded, contrary to that which by his captaines had beene capitulated with them, he sent word they should be released, and that having otherweighty enterprises in hand in that country, such disloyalty, although it had apparance of great and present benefit, yet in time to come it would bring a distrust and reproch of infinite prejudice. As for me, I had rather be importunate and indiscreet than a flatterer+ and a dissembler.  I allow a man may entermingle some point of fiercenesse and wilfulnesse to keepe himselfe so entire and open as I am, without consideration of others.  And mee seemeth I become a little more free where I should be lesse, and that by the opposition of respect I grow earnest.  It may also be that for want of art I follow mine owne nature.  Presenting to the greater sort the very same licence of speech and boldnes of countenance that I bring from my house:  I perceive how much it inclineth towards indiscretion and incivilitie+. But although I be so fashioned, my spirit is not sufficiently yeelding to avoid a sudden question, or to scape it by some winding, nor to dissemble a truth, nor have I memory able to continue it so fained, nor assurance sufficient to maintaine it; and I play the braggard+ through feeblenesse.  And therefore I apply my selfe to ingenuitie, {simplicitie+} and ever to speake truth and what I think; both by complexion 


THE SECOND BOOKE           <Mont2-427>

and by intention; leaving the successe thereof unto fortune.  Aristippus said that the chiefest commoditie he reaped by philosophy was, that he spake freely and sincerely to all men.  Memory is an instrument of great service, and without which, judgement wil hardly discharge his duty, wherof I have great want.  What a man will propose unto me, he must doe it by peecemeales: for, to answer to a discourse that hath many heads, lieth not in my power. I cannot receive a charge, except I have my writing tables about me: and if I must remember a discourse of any consequence, be it of any length, I am driven to this vile and miserable necessitie, to learne every word I must speake by rote; otherwise I should never do it wel or assuredly, for feare my memory should in my greatest need faile me; which is very hard unto me, for I must have three houres to learne three verses.  Moreover, in any long discourse, the libertie or authoritie to remoove the order, to change a word, uncessantly altering the matter, makes it more difficult to be confirmed in the authors memory.  And the more I distrust it, the more it troubleth me.  It serveth me better by chance, and I must carelesly sollicite her, for if I urge her, she is astonished; and if it once beginne to waver, the more I sound her, the more entangled and intricate she proveth. She wil wait upon me when she list, not when I please.  And what I feele in my memories I feele in many other parts of mine.  I eschew cornmandement, duty, and compulsion.  What I doe easily and naturally, if I resolve to doe it by expresse and prescribed appointment, I can then doe it no more. Even in my body, those parts that have some liberty, and more particular jurisdiction, doe sometimes refuse to obey me if at any time I appoint and enjoine them to doe me some necessarie services.  This forced and tyrannicall preordinance doth reject them, and they either for spight or feare shrinke and are quailed.  Being once in a place where it is reputed a barbarous discourtesie not to pledge those that drinke to you, where although I were used with al libertie, in favor


<Mont2-428>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

of certaine ladies that were in company, according to the fashion of the country, I would needs play the good fellow.  But it made us all mery; for the threats and preparation, that I should force my selfe beyond my naturall custome, did in such sort stop and stuffe my throat, that I was not able to swallow one drop, and was barr'd of drinking all the repast. I found my selfe glutted and ful of drink by the overmuch swilling that my imagination had fore-conceived.  This effect is more apparant in those whose imagination is more vehement and strong: yet it is naturall: and there is no man but shall sometimes have a feeling of it.  An excellent archer being condemned to death, was offered to have his life saved if he would but shew any notable triall of his profession, refused to make proofe of it; fearing lest the contention of his will should make him to misse-direct his hand, and that in lieu of saving his life, he might also lose the reputation+ he had gotte in shooting in a bow.  A man whose thoughts are busie about other matters, shall very neere within an inch keepe and alwaies hit one selfe same number and measure of paces, in a place where he walketh; but if heedily he endevour to measure and count them, he shall finde that what he did by nature and chance, he cannot doe it so exactly by desseign. {sprezzatura+} My library (which, for a countrey library, may passe for a very faire one) is seated in a corner of my house: if any thing come into my minde, that either I must goe seeke or write in it, for feare I should forget it in crossing of my court, I must desire some other body to remember the same for me.  If speaking, I embolden my selfe never so little to digresse from my discourse, I do ever lose it; which makes me to keepe my selfe in my speech, forced, neere and close.  Those that serve me, I must ever call them either by their office or countrey: for I finde it very hard to remember names.  Well may I say it hath three syllables, that its sound is harsh, or that it beginneth or endeth with such a letter.  And should I live long, I doubt not but I might forget mine own name, as some others 


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have done heretofore.  Messala Corvinus lived two yeeres without any memory at all, which is also reported of George Trapezoncius.  And for mine owne interest, I doe often ruminate what manner of life theirs was, and whether wanting that part, I shall have sufficient to maintaine my selfe in any good sort: which looking neere unto I feare that this defect, if it be perfect, shall lose all the functions of my soule.

Plenus rimarum sum, hac atque illac perfluo./1
I am so full of holes, I cannot hold,
I runne out ev'ry way, when tales are told.
     It hath often befallen me to forget the word which but three houres before I had either given or received of another, and to forget where I had laid my purse; let Cicero say what he list.  I helpe my selfe to loose what I particularly locke up.  Memoria certe non modo philosophiam, sed omnis vitae usum, omnesque artes una maxime continet: 'Assuredly memorie alone, of all other things, compriseth not onely philosophy, but the use of our whole life, and all the sciences.  Memorie is the receptacle and the case of knowledge.  Mine being so weake, I have no great cause to complaine if I know but little.  I know the names of Arts in generall, and what they treate of, but nothing further, I turne and tosse over bookes, but do not studie them; what of them remaines in me is a thing which I no longer acknowledge to be any bodies else.  Onely by that hath my judgement profited: and the discourses and imaginations wherewith it is instructed and trained up.  The authours, the place, the words; and other circumstances, I sodainly forget: and am so excellent in forgetting, that as much as any thing else I forget mine owne writings and compositions.  Yea, mine owne savings are every hand-while alleadged against my selfe, when God wot I perceive it not.  He that would know of me, whence or from whom the verses or examples which here I have hudled up are taken,
-----
1 TER.  Eun. act. i. sc. 2. 
<Mont2-430>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

should greatly put me to my shifts, and I could hardly tell it him. Yet have I not begged them, but at famous and very wel knowen gates, which though they were rich in themselves, did never please me, unlesse they also came from rich and honourable hands, and that authority concurre with reason.  It is no great marvell if my booke follow the fortune of other bookes, and my memory forgo or forget as wel what I write as what I reade: and what I give as well as what I receive.  Besides the defect of memory, I have others, which much further my ignorance.  My wit is dull and slow, the least cloud dimmeth it, so that (for example sake) I never proposed riddle unto it (were it never so easie) that it was able to expound.  There is no subtilitie so vaine but confounds me.  In games wherein wit may beare a part, as of chesse, of card, of tables, and others, I could never conceive but the common and plainest draughts.  My apprehension is very sluggish and gloomy; but what it once holdeth the same it keepeth fast: and for the time it keepes it, the same it embraceth generally, strictly, and deepely. My sight is quicke, sound, perfect, and farre-seeing, but easily wearied if much charged or emploied.  By which occasion I can have no great commerce with books but by others service which reade unto me.  Plinie the younger can instruct those that have tried it, how much this fore-slowing importeth those that give themselves to this occupation.  There is no spirit so wretched or so brutish wherein some particular facultie is not seene to shine; and none so low buried, but at one hole or other it will sally out sometimes. And how it commeth to passe that a minde blinde and slumbering in all other things, is in some particular effects, lively, cleare, and excellent, a man must inquire of cunning masters.  But those are the faire spirits which are universall, open and readie to all, if not instructed, at least to be instructed.  Which I alleage to accuse mine: for, be it either through weakenesse, or retchlessenesse (and to be carelesse of that which lieth at our feet, which wee have in our hands, which 


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neerest concerneth the use of life, is a thing farre from my dogma or doctrine) there is none so simple or so ignorant as mine, in divers such common matters, and of which, without imputation or shame, a man should never be ignorant; whereof I must needs tell some examples.  I was borne and brought up in the countrie, and amidst husbandry:  I have since my predecessours quit me the place and possession of the goods I enjoy, both businesse and husbandry in hand, I cannot yet cast account either with penne or counters. There are divers of our French coines I know not: nor can I distinguish of one graine from another, be it in the field or in the barne, unlesse it be very apparant: nor do I scarcely know the difference betweene the cabige or letuce in my garden.  I understand not the names of the most usuall tooles about husbandrie, nor of the meanest principles of tillage, which most children know.  I was never skilfull in mechanicall arts, nor in traffike or knowledge of merchandise, nor in the diversitie and nature of fruits, wines, or cates, nor can I make a hawke, physike a horse, or teach a dogge. And since I must make ful shew of my shame or ignorance, it is not yet a moneth since that I was found to be ignorant wherto leven served to make bread withal; or what it was to cunne wine. {amateur+} The Athenians were anciently wont to thinke him very apt for the mathematikes, that could cunningly order or take up a faggot of brushe wood?  Verily a man might drawe a much contrarie conclusion from me: for let me have all that may belong to a kitchin, yet shall I be ready to starve for hunger.  By these parts of my confession one may imagine divers others to my cost and detriment. But howsoever I make myselfe knowne, alwaies provided it be as I am, indeed I have my purpose.  And I excuse not my selfe that I dare set downe in writing so base and frivolous matters as these.  The basenesse of the subject forceth me thereunto.  Let who so list accuse my project, but not my progresse. So it is that without being warned of others I see very well how little this weigheth or is worth, and I perceive the fonduesse of my purpose. 


<Mont2-432>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

It is sufficient that my judgement is not dismayed or distracted, whereof these be the Essaies.

Nasutus sis usque licet, sis denique nasus
Quantum noluerit ferre rogatus Atlas:
Et possis ipsum tu deridere Latinum,
Non potes, in nugas dicere plura meas,
Ipse ego quam dixi; quid dentem dente juvabit
Rodere? carne opus est, si satur esse velis.
Ne perdas operam, qui se mirantur, in illos
Virus habe, nos haec novimus esse nihil./1
Suppose you were long-nos'd, suppose such nose you weare
As Atlas, if you should intreat him, would not beare,
That you in flouting old Latinus can be fine.
Yet can you say no more about these toyes of mine,
Then I have said; what boote tooth with a tooth to whet?
You must have fleshe, if you to glut your selfe be set.
Loose not your paines; 'gainst them who on themselves are doting
Keepe you your sting: we know these things of ours are nothing.
     I am not bound to utter no follies so I be not deceived to know them: and wittingly to erre is so ordinarie in me that I erre not much otherwise; and seldome erre casually.  It is a small matter to yeeld the fond actions unto the rashnesse of my humors since I cannot warrant my selfe ordinarily to yeeld them the vicious.  Being at Barleduc I saw for the commendation of Renate the King of Sicilies memory a picture which with his owne hands he had made of himselfe, presented unto our King Francis the second: why is it not as lawfull for every man else to pourtray himself with his pen, as it was for him to do it with a pensell?  I wil not then forget this blemish, unfit to be seene of all.  That is irresolution, a most incommodious defect in the negotiation of worldly affaires:  I cannot resolve in matters admitting doubtfulnesse:
Ne si, ne no, nel cuor mi suona intiero./2
Nor yea, nor nay, sounds clearely in my heart.
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1 MART. 1. xiii.  Epig. ii. 1. 2 PETR.  Pa. i.  Sen. cxxxviii. 8. 
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     I can maintaine an opinion, but not make choiee of it: for in Humane things what side soever a man leaneth on, many apparences prevent themselves unto us, which confirm us in them: and Chrysippus the Philosopher was wont to say that he would learne nothing else of his maisters, Zeno and Cleanthes, but their doctrines simply: for proofes and reasons he would finde enough of himselfe.  Let me turne to what side I will, I ever finde sufficient matter and liklyhood to keepe my selfe unto it.  Thus keepe I doubt and liberty to my selfe, to chuse, untill occasion urge me, and then (to confesse the truth), as the common saying is, I cast my feather to the wind, and yeeld to fortunes mercie.  A verie light inclination and a slender circumstance carries me away.

Dum in dubio est animus paulo momento huc atque illuc impellitur./1
While mind is in suspence, with small ado,
'Tis hither, thither, driven fro and to.
     The uncertainty of my judgement is in many occurrences so equally balanced as I would willingly compromise it to the deciding of chance and of the dice.  And I note with great consideration of our humane imbecilities the examples which the history of God it selfe hath left us of this use, to remit the determination of elections in doubtfull matters unto fortune and hazard.  Sors cecidit super Matthiam:/2 'The lot fell upon Matthias.' Humane reason is a two-edged dangerous sword; even in Socrates his hand, her most inward and familiar friend, marke what a many-ended staffe it is.  So am I only fit to follow, and am easily carried away by the throng.  I doe not greatly trust mine owne strength, to undertake to command or to lead.  I rejoyce to see my steps traced by others.  If I must run the hazard of an uncertaine choice, I would rather have it be under such a one who is more assured of his opinions, and more wedded to them, then I am of
-----
1 TER.  And. act i. sc. 3. 2 ACTS, ch. i. v. 25. 
<Mont2-434>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

mine; the foundation and platforme of which I flnd to be very slippery; yet am I not very easie to change, forsomuch as I perceive a like weaknesse in contrary opinions.  Ipsa consuetudo assentiendi periculosa esse videtur, et lubrica:/1
'The very custome of assenting seemeth hazardous and slippery:'  Namely in politik affaires, wherein is a large field open to all motions, and to contestation:

Iusta pari premitur veluti cum pondere libra,
Prona nec hac plus parte sedet, nec surgit ab illa./2
As when an even skale with equall weight is peized,
Nor falles it downe this way, or is it that way raised.
     As for example, Machiavels+ discourses were very solid for the subject: yet hath it been very easie to impugne them, and those that have done have left no lesse facilitie to impugne theirs.  A man might ever find answeres enough to such an argument, both rejoynders, double, treble, quadruple, with this infinite contexture of debates, that our pettie-foggers have wrye-drawne and wrested as much as ever they could in favour of their pleas and processes:
Caedimur, et totidem plagis consumimus hostem./3
Wee by our foes are beaten, if not slain,
Wee with as many strokes waste them againe;
     Reasons having no other good ground than experience, and the diversity of humane events presenting us with infinite examples of all manner of formes.  A wise man of our times saith that where our Almanakes say warme should a man say cold, and in lieu of drie, moyst; and ever set downe the contrarie of what they foretell; were he to lay a wager of one or others successes he would not care what side he tooke, except in such things as admit no uncertaintie; as to promise extreame heat at Christmas, and exceeding cold at Midsomer.  The like I thinke of these politike discourses. What part soever you are put unto, you have as good a
-----
1 CIC.  Acad.  Qu. 1. iv. 2 TIBUL. 1. iv.  Hero. v. 41. 3 HOR. 1. ii. Epist. ii. 97. 
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game as your fellow: provided you affront not the apparant and plain principles.  And therefore (according to my humour) in publike affaires there is no course so bad (so age and constancie be joyned unto it) that is not better then change and alteration. {rightist+} Our manners are exceedingly corrupted, and with a marvellous inclination bend towards worse and worse. Of our lawes and customes many are barbarous, and divers monstrous; notwithstanding, by reason of the difficultie to reduce us to better estate, and of the danger of this subversion, if I could fixe a pegge into our wheel+ and stay it where it now is, I would willingly doe it.

      ------nunquam adeo foedis adeoque pudendis
Ultimur exemplis, ut non peiora suiper sint./1
Examples of so filthy shamefull kinde
We never use, but worse remaines behind.
Instabilitie+ is the worst I find in our state, and that our lawes, no more than our garments, can take no setled forme.  It is an easie matter to accuse a state of imperfection, since all mortall things are full of it.  As easie is it to beget in a people a contempt of his ancient observances: No man ever undertooke it, but came to an end:  But to establish a better state in place of that which is condemned and raced out, divers who have attempted it have shronk under the burthen.  Touching my conduct, my wisdome hath small share therein.  I am very easily to be directed by the worlds publike order.  Oh happy people that doth what is commanded, better then they which command, without vexing themselves about causes; which suffer themselves gently to be rowled on, according to the heavens rowling.  Obedience is never pure and quiet in him who talketh, pIeadeth, and contendeth.  In some (to returne to my selfe) the only matter for which I make some accompt of my selfe is that wherein never man did thinke himselfe defective.  My commendation is vulgar, common, and popular; for who ever thought he wanted wit?  It were a proposition which in it selfe would imply
-----
1 JUV.  Sat. viii. 183. 
<Mont2-436>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

contradiction.  It is an infirmity that is never where it is seene, it is very strong and fast-holding, but yet pierced and dissipated by the first beame of the patients sight, as doth the sunnes raies scatter and disperse a gloomie mist.  For a man to accuse himselfe were to excuse himselfe of that subject; and to condemne himselfe, an absolving of himselfe.  There was never so base a porter, nor so silly a woman, but thought he had sufficient wit for his provision.  We easily know in others the advantage of courage, of bodily strength, of experience of disposition, and of beauties but we never yeeld the advantage of judgement to any body: and the reasons which part from the simple'naturall discourse in others, wee thinke that had we but looked that way, wee had surely found them.  The skill, the knowledge, the stile, and such like parts which we see in strange workes, we easily perceive whether they exceede ours; but the meere productions of wit and understanding every man deemeth it lyeth in him to meete with the very like, and doth hardly perceive the weight and difficultie of it, except (and that very scarcelv) in an extreame and incomparable distance.  And he that should clearely see the height of a strangers judgement, would come and bring his unto it.  Thus is it a kinde of exercising whereof a man may hope but for meane commendation and small praise, and a manner of composition of little or no harme at all.  And then for whom do you write? The wiser sort, unto whom belongeth bookish jurisdiction, know no other price but of doctrine, and avow no other proceeding in our wits but that of erudition and art.  If you have mistaken one Scipio for an other, what of any worth have you left to speake-of?  He that is ignorant of Aristotle (according to them) he is therewithall ignorant of himselfe.  Popular and shallow-beaded mindes cannot perceive the grace or comelinesse, nor judge of a smooth and quaint discourse.  Now these two kindes possess the world. The third, unto whose share you fall, of regular wits, and that are strong of themselves, is so rare that justly it hath neither name 


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or ranke amongst us; he loseth halfe his time that doth aspire or endeavour to please it.  It is commonly said that the justest portion nature hath given us of the graces is that of sense and understanding: for there is no man but is contented with the share she hath allotted him.  Is it not reason?  He who should see beyond that, should see further then his sight. I perswade my selfe to have good and sound opinions: but who is not so perswaded of his owne:  One of the best trials I have of it is the small esteeme I make of myselfe: for had they not been well assured they would easily have suffered themselves to be deceived by the affection I beare unto my selfe, singular, as he who bring it almost all unto my selfe, and that spill but a little besides.  All that which others distribute thereof unto an infinite number of acquaintances, to their glorie and greatnesse, I referre to the repose of my spirit and to myselfe.  What else-where escapes of it is not properly by the appointment of my discourse:

      ------ mihi nempe valere et vivere doctus./1
Well learn'd in what concerneth me,
To live, and how in health to be.
     As for my opinions, I finde them infinitely bold and constant to condemne mine insufficiencies. {diffidence+} And to say truth, it is a subject whereabout I exercise my judgement as much as about any other.  The world lookes ever for right, I turne my sight inward, there I fix it, there I ammuse it.  Every man lookes before himselfe, I looke within my selfe:  I have no busines but with my selfe.  I uncessantly consider, controle and taste my selfe: other men goe ever else-where if they thinke well on it: they go ever foreward.
      ------ nemo in sese tentat descendere./2
No man attempteth this Essay,
Into himselfe to finde the way.
as for me, I roule me unto my selfe.  This capacitie of sifting out the truth, what and howsoever it be in me,
-----
1 PERS.  Sat. iv. 23. 2 CIC.  Off. 1.  X. 
<Mont2-438>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

and this free humour I have, not very easily to subject my beliefe, I owe especially unto my selfe, for the most constant and generall imaginations I have are those which (as one would say) were borne with me: they are naturall unto me, and wholy mine.  I produced them raw and simple, of a hardy and strong production, but somewhat troubled and imperfect: which I have since established and fortified by the authoritie of others, and by the sound examples of ancients+, with whom I have found my selfe conformable in judgement: those have assured me of my hold-fast of them, and have given me both the enjoying and possession thereof more absolute and more cleare. The commendation which every man seekes after for a vivacitie and promptitude of wit, I chalenge the same by the order of a notable and farre-sounding action, or of some particular sufficiencie; I pretend it by the order, correspondencie, and tranquillitie of opinions and customes.  Omnino si quidquam est decorum, nihil est profecto magis quam aequabilitas universae vitae, tum singularum actionum: quam conservare non possis, sit aliorum nat uram imitans, omittas tuam: 'Clearely if any thing bee decent for a man, nothing is more than an even carriage and equability of his whole life, and every action therein: which you cannot uphold if following the nature of others you let passe your owne.  Behold here then how far forth I finde my selfe guilty of that first part I said to be in the vice of presumption.  Concerning the second, which consisteth in not esteeming sufficiently of others, I wot not whether I can so well excuse my selfe; for whatsoever it cost me, I intend to speake what is of it.  It may be the continuall commerce I have with ancient humours, and the idea of those rich mindes of former ages doth bring me out of liking and distaste both of others and of my selfe, or that in truth we live in an age which produceth things but meane and indifferent.  So it is that I know nothing worthy any great admiration. {ancients+} Also I know not many men so familiarly as I should to be able to judge of them: and those with whom the quality of my condition 


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doth ordinarily make me conversant are for the most part such as have little care for the manuring of the soule, and to whom nothing is proposed for chiefe felicitie but honour+, and for absolute perfection but valour+. Whatsoever I see or beauteous or worthy in any other man, I willingly commend and regard; yea, and I often endeare my selfe with what I thinke of it, and allow my selfe to lie so farre forth: for I cannot invent a false subject. I willingly witness with my friends what I finde praise-worthy in them. And of an inch of valour, I willingly make an inch and a halfe; but to lend them qualities they have not, I cannot; and openly to defend their imperfections, I may not: yea, bee they mine enemies, I shall sincerely give them their due in witnessing their worth or honour.  My affection may change; my judgement never.  And I confound not my quarrell with other circumstances that are impertinent and belong not unto it.  And I am so jealous of the liberty of my judgement, that for what passion soever I can hardly quit it.  I wrong my selfe more in lying+ than him of whom I lie.  This commendable and generous custome of the Persian nation is much noted; they speake very honourably and justly of their mortall enemies, and with those with whom they were at deadly fude and warre, so farre forth as the, merit of their vertue deserved.  I know divers men who have sundry noble and worthy parts; some wit, some courage, some dexteritie, some conscience, some a readinesse in speech, some one science, and some another: but of a great man in generall, and that hath so many excellent parts together, or but one in such a degree of excellencie as hee may thereby be admired, or but compared to those of former ages whom we honour, my fortune hath not permitted me to see one.  And the greatest I ever knew living (I meane of naturall parts of the minde, and the best borne) was Estienne de la Boetie.  Verily it was a compleat minde, and who set a good face and shewed a faire countenance upon all matters; a minde after the old stampe, and which had fortune therewith beene pleased, would no doubt have brought forth wondrous effects, 


<Mont2-440>          MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

having by skill and study added very much to his rich naturall gifts. But I know not how it comes to passe, and surely it doth so, there is, as much vanitie and weakenesse of understanding found in those that professe to have most sufficicncie, that will entermeddle with learned vocations, and with the charges that depend of books, as in any sort of people; whether it be because there is more required and expected at their hands, and common faults cannot be excused in them, or that the selfe- opinion of knowledge emboldeneth them the more to produce and discover themselves over-forward, whereby they lose and betray themselves.  As an artificer doeth more manifest his sottishnesse in a rich piece of worke which he hath in hand, if foolishly and against the rules of his trade he seeke to apply it and entermeddle, than in a vile and base one; and men are more offended at a fault or oversight in a statue of gold than in one of clay.  These doe as much when they set foorth things which in themselves and in their place would be good; for they employ them without discretion, honouring their memory at the cost and charge of their understanding: and doing honour to Cicero, to Galen, to Ulpian, and to Saint Jerome to make themselves ridiculous.  I willingly returne to this discourse of the fondnesse of our institution: whose aime hath beene to make us not good and wittie, but wise and learned.  She hath attained her purpose. lt hath not taught us to follow vertue and embrace wisdome: but made an impression in us of its Etymologie and derivation.{PlainDealer+} We can decline vertue, yet can we not love it.  If wee know not what wisdome is by effect and experience, wee know it by prattling and by rote.  We are not satisfied to know the race, the alliances, and the pedigrees of our neighbours, but we wil have them to be our friends and contract both conversation and intelligence with them:  It hath taught us the definitions, the divisions and distinctions of vertue, as of the surnames and branches of a genealogie, without having other care to contract practise of familiaritie or private acquaintance betweene us and it.  She hath appointed 


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us for our learning, not bookes that have sounder and truer opinions, but volumes that speake the best Greeke or Latine; and amongst her choice words hath made the vainest humours of antiquitie to glide into our conceits. A good institution changeth judgement and manners, as it hapned to Polemon. This dissolute young Graecian going one day by chance to heare a lecture of Xenocrates, where he not onely marked the eloquence and sufficiencie of the reader, and brought not home the knowledge of some notable thing, but a more apparant and solide fruit, which was the sodaine change and amendment of his former life.  Who ever heard such an effect of our discipline?

     ----- faciasne quod olim
Nutatus Polemon, ponas insignia morbi
Fasciolas, cubital, focalia?  Potus ut ille
Dicitur ex collo furtim carpsisse coronas,
Postquam est impransi correptus voce magistri?/1
Can you doe as did Polemon reformed,
Cast-off your sicknes signes, which you deformed,
Your bolsters, mufflers, swathes?  As he drinklinde,
His drunken garland covertly declinde,
By speech of fasting reader disciplinde?
     The least disdainefull condition of men, me thinkes, is that which through simplicitie+ holds the last ranke, and offereth us more regular commerce. {common+} The customes and discourses of countrie-clownish-men, I finde them commonly to be more conformable and better disposed, according to the true prescription of Philosophie, then are those of our Philosophers.{PlainDealer+} Plus sapit vulqus, quia tantum, quantum opus cut, sapit: 'The vulgar is the wiser, because it is but as wise as it must needes. The worthiest men I have judged by eternall apparances (for, to judge them after my fashion, they should be sifted nearer) concerning war+ and military sufficiencie have been, the Duke of Guise, that died before Orleans, and the whilom Marshal strozzi:  For men extraordinarily sufficient and endowed with no vulgar vertue, Oliver and L'Hospitall, both great Cbancelors. -----1 HOR.  Ser. 1. ii.  Sat. iii. 253. 
<Mont2-442>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

of France.  Poesie hath likewise in mine opinion had hir vogue and credit in our age.  We have store of cunning and able men in that profession:  Aurate, Beza, Buchanan, L'Hospital, Mont-dore, and Turnebus.  As for French-men, I thinke they have attained the highest degree of perfection that can or ever shall be, and in those parts wherein Ronsart and excellent Bellay have written, I thinke they are not farre short of the ancient perfection. Adrianus Turnebus knew more, and better what he knew, than any man in his age or of many ages past.  The lives of the late Duke of Alva and our Constable+ Mommorencie have beene very noble, and have had sundrie rare resemblancies of fortune.  But the worthily-faire and glorious death of the last in the full sight of Paris and of his King, for their service against his nearest friends and alliance in the front of an armie, victorious through his conduct of it, and with an handstroke in that old age of his, deserveth in mine opinion to be placed and registred amongst the most renouned and famous accidents of my times.  As also the constant goodness the mildnes in behaviour, and conscionable fecility of Monsieur de la Noue in such an injustice of armed factions (a very schoole of treason, of inhumanitie and brigandage) wherein he was ever brought up, a worthie and famous man of warre+ and most experienced in his profession.  I have greatly pleased my selfe in publishing in sundrie places the good hope I have of Marie de Gournay le Lars, my daughter in alliance, and truely of me beloved with more then a fatherly love, and as one of the best parts of my being enfeofed in my home and solitariness.  There is nothing in the world I esteem more then hir.  If childe-hoode may presage any future successes hir minde shal one day be capable of many notable things, and amongst others, of the perfection of this thrice-sacred amitie+ whereunto we read not, hir sex could yet attaine; the sinceritie and soliditie of her demeanors are therein already sufficient; hir kind affection towards me is more than superabounding and such indeede as nothing more can be wished unto it, so 


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that the apprehension which she hath of my aproching end, by reason of the fiftie five years {usthem+} wherein her lisp hath beene to know me, would somewhat lesse cruelly trouble hir.  The judgement she made of my first Essayes, being a woman of this age so yong, alone where shee dwelleth, and the exceeding vehemencie wherewith she loved me and long time by the onely esteem which before ever she saw me, she had by them conceived of me she desired me, is an accident most worthy consideration.  Other vertues have had little or no currantnesse at all in this age: but valour is become popular by reason of our civill warres, and in this part there are minds found amongst us very constant, even to perfection and in great number, so that the choice is impossible to be made.  Loe heere what hitherto I have knowen of any extraordinary and not common greatnesse. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XVIII+  OF GIVING THE LIE

YEA but, will some tell me, this desseigne in a man to make himselfe a subject to write of might be excused in rare and famous men, and who by their reputation had bred some desire in others of their acquaintance. It is true, I confesse it, and I know that a handicraftsman will scarcely looke off his worke to gaze upon an ordinary man: whereas to so a notable great person come into a towne, he will leave both worke and shop.  It ill- beseemeth any man to make himselfe knowen, onely he excepted that hath somewhat in him worthy imitation, and whose life and opinions may stand as a pattern to all.  Caesar and Xenophon have had wherewithall to ground and establish their narration in the greatnesse of their deedes as on a just and solid groundworke.  So are the jornall bookes of Alexander the great, the Commentaries which Augustus, Cato, Brutus, Sylla, and divers others had left of their gests, greatly to be desired.  Such mens images are both beloved and studied, be they either in brasse or stone.  This admonition is most true, but it concerneth me very little.

Non recito cuiquam: nisi amicis, idque rogatus,      Non ubivis, coramve quibuslibet.  In medio qui
Scripta foro recitant sunt multi, quique lavantes./1
My writings I reade not, but to my friends, to any,
Nor each-where, nor to all, nor but desir'd, yet many
In market-place read theirs,
In bathes, in barbers-chaires.
-----
1 HOR.  Ser. 1. i.  Sat. iv. 73.
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     I erect not here a statue to be set up in the marketplace of a towne, or in a church, or in any other publike place:

Non equidem hoc studeo bullatis ut mihi nugis
Pagina turgescat:/1
I studle not, my written leaves should grow
Big-swolne with bubled toyes, which vaine breath's blow.
Secreti loquimur./2
We speake alone,
Or one to one.
     It is for the corner of a library, or to ammuse a neighbour, a kinsman, or a friend of mine withall, who by this image may happily take pleasure to renew acquaintance and to reconverse with me.  Others have beene emboldned to speake of themselves because they have found worthy add rich subject in themselves. 1, contrariwise, because I have found mine so barren and so shallow, that it cannot admit suspition of ostentation.  I willingly judge other mens actions; of mine by reason of their nullity, I give small cause to judge.  I finde not so much good in my self, but I may speake of it without blushing.  Oh what contentment were were it unto me to hear somebody that would relate the custome, the visage, the countenance, the most usuall words, and the fortunes of my ancestors.  Oh, how attentively would I listen unto it.  Verily it were an argument of a bad nature, to seeme to despise the very pictures of our friends and predecessors, the fashion of their garments and armes.  I keepe the writing, the manuall seale, and a peculiar sword: and I reserve still in my cabinet certaine long switches or wands which my father was wont to carry in his hand.  Paterna vestis et annulus, tanto charior est posteris, quanto erga parentes maior affectus: 'The fathers garment and his ring is so much more esteemed of his successors, as their affection is greater towards their progenitors.  Notwithstanding if my posteritie be of another minde, I shall have wherewith to be avenged,
-----
1 PERS.  Sat. v. 19. 2 Ib. 21. 
<Mont2-446>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

for they cannot make so little accompt of me, as then I shal doe of them.  All the commerce I have in this with the world is that I borrow the instruments of their writing, as more speedy and more easie; in requitall whereof I may peradventure hinder the melting of some piece of butter in the market or a grocer from selling an ounce of pepper.

Ne toga cordyllis,ne penula desit olivis,/1
Lest fish-fry should a fit gowne want,
Lest cloakes should be for olives scant.
Et laxas scombris saepe dabo tunicas./2
To long-tail'd mackrels often I,
Will side-wide (paper) cotes apply.
     And if it happen no man read me, have I lost my time to have entertained my selfe so many idle houres about so pleasing and profitable thoughts?  In framing this pourtraite by my selfe, I have so often beene faine to frizle and trimme me, that so I might the better extract my selfe that the patterne is thereby confirmed, and in some sort formed.  Drawing my selfe for others, I have drawne my selfe with purer and better colours than were my first.  I have no more made my booke then my booke hath made me.  A booke consubstantiall to his author: a peculiar and fit occupation.  A member of my life.  Not of an occupation and end strange and forraine, as all other bookes.  Have I mis-spent my time to have taken an account of my selfe so continually and so curiously?  For those who onely run themselves over by fantasie, and by speech for some houres, examine not themselves so primely and exactly, nor enter they into themselves, as he doth who makes his studie his work, and occupation of it; who with all his might, and with all his credit, engageth himselfe to a register of continuance.  The most delicious pleasures, though inwardly digested, shun to leave any trace of themselves, and avoide the sight not onely of the people, but of any
-----
1 MART. 1. xiii.  Epig. i. 1. 2 CATUL.  Epig.  Elog. xxvii. 8.
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other.  How often hath this busines diverted me from tedious and yrksome cogitations? (and all frivolous ones must bee deemed tedious and yrksome). Nature hath endowed us with a large faculty to entertaine our selves apart, and often calleth us unto it: to teach us that partly we owe our selves unto society+, but in the better part unto our selves.  To the end I may in some order and project marshall my fantasie even to dote and keepe it from loosing and straggling in the aire, there is nothing so good as to give it a body and register so many idle imaginations as present themselves unto it.  I listen to my humours and hearken to my conceits, because I must enroule them.  How often, being grieved at some action, which civility and reason forbad me to withstand openly, have I disgorged my selfe upon them here, not-without an intent of publike instruction?  And yet these poeticall rods,

Zon dessus l'oeil, zon sur le groin,
Zon sur le dos du Sagoin,
are also better imprinted upon paper than upon the quicke flesh; what if I lend mine ears somewhat more attentively unto bookes, sith I but watch if I can filch something from them wherewith to enammell and uphold mine? I never studie to make a booke, yet have I somewhat studied, because I had already made it (if to nibble or pinch, by the head or feet, now one Authour, and then another be in any sort to study), but nothing at all to forme my opinions.  Yea, being long since formed to assist, to second, and to serve them.  But whom shall we believe, speaking of himselfe in this corrupted age? since there are few or none who may beleeve speaking of others, where there is lesse interest to lie.  The first part of customes corruption is the banishment of truth: for, as Pindarus said, to be sincerely true is the beginning of a great vertue; {PlainDealer+} and the first article Plato requireth in the Governor of his Commonwealth.  Now adaies, that is not the truth which is true, but that which is perswaded to others.  As we call money not onely that 
<Mont2-448>           MONTAIGNES ESSAYES

which is true and good, but also the false; so it be currant.  Our nation is long since taxed with this vice.  For Salvianus Massiliensis, who lived in the time of Valentinian the Emperour, saith that amongst French-men to lie and forsweare is no vice, but a manner of speach.  He that would endeare this testimonie might say, it is now rather deemed a vertue among them.  Men frame and fashion themselves unto it as to an exercise of honour; for dissimulation is one of the notablest qualities of this age.  Thus have I often considered whence this custome might arise, which we observe so religiously, that we are more sharpely offended with the reproach of this vice, so ordinary in us, than with any other; and that it is the extremest injury may be done us in words, to upbraid and repoach us with a lie.  Therein I find that it is naturall for a man to defend himselfe most from such defects as we are most tainted with.  It seemeth that if we but shew a motion of revenge, or are but moved at the accusation, we in some sort discharge ourselves of the blame of imputation; if we have it in effect, at least we condemne it in apparance.  May it not also be that this reproch seemes to enfold cowardice and faintnesse of hart?  Is there any more manifest than for a man to eate and deny his owne word?  What, to deny his word wittingly. To lie+ is a horrible filthy vice; and which an ancient writer setteth forth very shamefully, when he saith that whosoever lieth witnesseth that he contemneth God and therewithall feareth men.  It is impossible more richly to represent the horrour, the vilenesse and the disorder of it: for, what can be imagined so vile and base as to be a coward towards men and a boaster towards God?  Our intelligence being onely conducted by the way of the word: whoso falsifieth the same betraieth publike society.  It is the only instrument by meanes whereof our wils and thoughts are communicated: it is the interpretour of our soules:  If that faile us, we hold our selves no more, we enter-know one another no longer.  If it deceive us, it breaketh al our 


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commerce, and dissolveth al bonds of our policies.  Certaine Nations of the new Indiaes (whose names we need not declare, because they are no more, for the desolation of this conquest hath extended it selfe to the absolute abolishing of names and ancient knowledge of places, with a marvellous and never the like heard example) {colonialism+} offered humane blood unto their Gods, but no other than that which was drawne from their tongues and eares for an expiation of the sinne of lying as well heard as pronounced. That good fellow Graecian said children were dandled with toies, but men with words.  Concerning the sundry fashions of our giving the lie, and the lawes of our honour in that and the changes they have received, I wil refer to another time to speake what I thinke and know of it, and if I can I will in the meane time learne at what time this custome tooke his beginning, so exactly to weigh and precisely to measure words, and tie our honour to them: for it is easie to judge that it was not anciently amongst the Romans and Graecians.  And I have often thought it strange to see them wrong and give one another the lie, and yet never enter into quarrell.  The lawes of their duty tooke some other course than ours.  Caesar is often called a thiefe, and sometimes a drunkard to his face.  We see the liberty of their invectives, which they write one against another:  I meane the greatest Chieftaines and Generals in war, of one and other nation, where words are onely retorted and revenged with words, and never wrested to further consequence. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XIX+  OF THE LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE

IT is ordinarily seene how good intentions, being managed without moderation, thrust men into most vicious effects.  In this controversie, by which France is at this instant molested with eivill warres, the best and safest side is no doubt that which maintained both the ancient religion and policy of the country.  Neverthelesse amongst the honest men that follow it (for my meaning is not to speake of those who use them as a colour, either to exercise their particular revenges, or to supply their greedy avarice, or to follow the favour of Princes: but of such as do it with a true zeale towards their religion, and an unfained holy affection, to maintaine the peace and uphold the state of their country), of those I say divers are seene, whome passion thrusts out of the bounds of reason, and often forceth them to take and follow unjust, violent and rash counsels.  Certaine it is, that when first our religion began to gaine authority with the lawes, its zeale armed many against all sorts of Pagane bookes, whereof the learned sort have a great losse.  My opinion is that this disorder hath done more hurt to learning than all the Barbarian flames.  Cornelius Tacitus is a sufficient testimonie of it, for, howbeit the Emperor Tacitus his kinsman had by expresse appointment stored all the libraries in the world with it, notwithstanding one onely entire copy could not escape the curious search of those who sought to abolish it, by reason of five or sixe vaine clauses contrary to our beleefe.  They have also had this easily to affoord false commendations to all the Emperours, that made
<Mont2-450> 


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for us, and universally to condemne al the actions of those which were our adversaries, as may plainly be seene in Julian the Emperor, surnamed the Apostate; who in truth was a notable- rare-man, as he whose mind was lively endowed with the discourses of Philosophy, unto which he professed to conforme all his actions; and truely there is no kinde of vertue whereof he hath not left most notable examples.  In chastity (whereof the whole course of his life giveth a parant testimony) a like example unto that of Alexander and Scipio is read of him, which is, that of many wonderfull faire captive ladies brought before him, being even in the very prime of his age (for he was slain by the Parthians about the age of one and thirty yeares) he would not see one of them.  Touching justice, himselfe would take the paines to heare all parties: and although for curiosity sake, he would enquire of such as came before him what religion they were of, nevertables the enmitie he bare to ours did no whit weigh downe the ballance. Himselfe made sundrie good lawes, and revoked diverse subsidies and impositions, his predecessours before him had receaved.  We have two good historians as eye witnesses of his actions.  One of which (who is Marcellinus) in sundry places of his historie bitterly reprooveth this ordinance of his, by which he forbade schooles and interdicted all Christian rhetoricians and grammarians to teacb, saying he wished this his action might be buried under silence. It is very likely, if he had done anything else more sharpe or severe against us, he would not have forgot it, as he that was well affected to our side. Hee was indeede very severe against us, yet not a cruell enemy.  For, our people themselves report this historie of him that walking one day about the city of Calcedon Maris, Bishop thereof, durst call him wicked and traitor to Christ, to whom be did no other thing but answered thus: 'Goe, wretched man, weepe and deplore the losse of thine eyes;' to whom the Bishop replied: 'I thank Jesus Christ that be hath deprived me of my sight, that so I might not view thy impudent face;' 


<Mont2-452>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSKYES

affecting therby (as they say) a kind of Philosophicall patience.  So it is this part cannot be referred to the cruelties which he is said to have exercised against us.  He was (saith Eutropius, my other testimony) an enemy unto Christianity, but without shedding of bloud.  But to returne to his justice, he can be accused of nothing but of the rigors he used in the beginning of his Empire, against such as had followed the faction of Constantius, his predecessour.  Concerning sobriety, he never lived a souldiers kinde of life, and in time of peace would feed no otherwise than the one who prepared and enured himselfe to the austeritie of war.  Such was his vigilancie that he divided the night into three or foure parts, the least of which he allotted unto sleepe; the rest he employed in visiting the state of his army and his guards, or in study, for, amongst other his rare qualities, he was most excellent in al sorts of learning.  It is reported of Alexander the Great, that being laid downe to rest, fearing lest sleep should divert him from his thoughts and studies, he caused a bason to be set neere his bed side, and holding one of his hands out, with a brazen ball in it, that, if sleep should surprise him, loosing his fingers ends, the ball falling into the bason, might with the noyse rouse him from out his sleep.  This man had a mind so bent to what he undertook, and by reason of his singular abstinence so little troubled with vapours, that he might well have past this devise.  Touching military sufficiencie he was admirable in all parts belonging to a great Captaine.  So was he almost al his life time in continual exercise of war, and the greater part with us in France against the Almains and Franconians.  Wee have no great memory of any man that either hath seen more dangers, nor that more often hath made triall of his person.  His death hath some affinitie with that of Epaminondas, for being strucken with an arrow, and attempting to pull it out, he had surely done it, but that being sharpe-cutting, it hurt and weakened his hand.  In that plight he earnestly requested to be carryed forth in the middest of his army, that so 


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he might encourage his souldiers, who without him courageously maintained the battel, until such time as darke night severed the armies he was beholding to philosophie for a singular contempt, both of himselfe and of all humane things.  He assuredly believed the eternitie of soules.  In matters of religion, he was vicious everywhere.  He was surnamed Apostata, because he had forsaken ours; notwithstanding, this opinion seemes to mee more likely, that he never took it to heart, but that for the obedience which he bare to the law he dissembled til he had gotten the empire into his hands.  He was so superstitious in his, that even such as lived in his time, and were of his owne religion, mocked him for it; and it was said that if he had gained the victory of the Parthians, he would have consumed the race or breede of oxen to satisfie his sacrifices.  He was also besotted with the art of soothsaying, and gave authority to all manner of prognostikes.  Amongst other things he spake at his death, he said he was much beholding to the Gods, and greatly thanked them that they had not suffered him to be slain sodainly or by surprize as having long before warned him both of the place and houre of his end; nor to die of a base and easie death, more beseeming idle and effeminate persons, nor of a lingering, languishing, and dolorous death; and that they had deemed him worthy to end his life so nobly in the course of his victories and in the flower of his glory.  There had before appeared a vision unto him, like unto that of Marcus Brutus, which first threatened him in Gaule, and afterward even at the point of his death presented it selfe to him in Persia.  The speach he is made to speak when he felt himselfe hurt, 'Thou hast vanquished, O Nazarean,' or; as some will have it, 'Content thy selfe, O Nazarean,' would scarce have beene forgotten, had it beene believed of my testimonies, who being present in the army, have noted even the least motions and words at his death, no more than certaine other wonders which they annex unto it.  But to return to my theame, he had long before (as saith Marcellinus) 


<Mont2-454>           MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYES

hatched Paganisme in his hart, but forsomuch as he saw al those of his armie to be Christians, he durst not discover himselfe.  In the end, when he found himselfe to be sufficiently strong, and durst publish his minde, he caused the Temples of his Gods to be opened, and by all meanes endeavoured to advance idolatrie.  And to attaine his purpose, having found in Constantinople the people very loose, and at ods with the Prelates of the Christian Church, and caused them to appeare before him in his pallace, he instantly admonished them to appease all their civill dissentions, and every one withotu hindrance or feare apply themselves to follow and serve religion.  Which he very carefully solicited, hoping this licence might encrease the factions and controversies of the division, and hinder the people from growing to any unity, and by consequence from fortifying themselves against him by reason of their concord and in one mind-agreeing intelligence: having by the cruelty of some Christians found that 'there is no beast in the world so much of man to be feared as man,' {Yahoo+} loe, here his very words, or very neare: wherewith this is worthy consideration, that the Emperor Julian useth the same receipt of libertie of conscience, to enkindle the trouble of civill dissention, which our Kings employ to extinguish.  It may be said on one side that, to give faction the bridle to entertaine their opinion is to scatter contention and sow division, and as it were to lend it a hand to augment and encrease the same: there being no barre or obstacle of lawes to bridle or hinder his course.  But on the other side it might also be urged that to give factions the bridle to uphold their opinion, is by that facilitie and ease the readie way to mollifie and release them, and to blunt the edge which is sharpned by rareness, novelties and difficultie.  And if for the honour of our Kings devotion, I believe better it is that since they could not doe as they would, they have fained to will what they could not. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XX+  WE TASTE NOTHING PURELY

THE weaknes of our condition causeth that things in their naturall simplicitie and puritie cannot fall into our use.  The elements we enjoy are altered: metals likewise, yea gold, must be empaired with some other stuffe to make it fit for our service.  Nor vertue so simple which Ariston, Pyrrho, and Stoikes made the end of their life, hath been able to doe no good without composition: nor the Cirenaike sensualitie or Aristipian voluptuousness. 'Of the pleasures and goods we have, there is none exempted from some mixture of evill and incommoditie.

     ----- medio de fonte leporum
Surgit amari aliquid, quod in ipsis floribus angat./1
From middle spring of sweetes some bitter springs,
Which in the very flower smartly stings.
Our exceeding voluptuousnesse hath some aire of groning and wailing. Would you not say it dieth of anguish?  Yea, when we forge its image in hir excellencie, we deck it with epithets of sickish and dolorous qualities: languor, effeminacy, weaknesse, fainting and morbidezza, a great testimony of their consanguinity and consubtantiality.  Excessive joy hath more severity then jolity: extreme and full content more settlednes then cheerfulnesse.  Ipsa faelicitas, so nisi temperat, premit:/2  XXXXFelicitie it selfe, unlesse it temper it selfe, distempers us.'  Ease consumeth us.  It is that which an old Greek verse saith of such a sense: 'The Gods sell us all the goods they give us:' that is to say they give us not one pure and perfect, and which we buy
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1 LUCR. 1. iv. 12, 24. 2 SENT.  Quaere, &c.
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not with the price of some evill.  Travail and pleasure, most unlike in nature, are notwithstanding followed together by a kind of I wot not what natural conjunction.  Socrates saith that some God attempted to huddle together and confound sorrow and voluptuousnesse: but being unable to effect it, he bethought himselfe to couple them together, at least by the taile. Metrodorus said that in sadnesse there is some aloy of pleasure. {wdswth+} I knowe not whether he meant any thing else, but I imagine that for one to enure himselfe to melancholy, there is some kinde of purpose of consent and muttull delight:  I meane besides ambition, which may also be joyned unto it.  There is some shadow of delicacy and quaintnesse which smileth and fawneth upon us even in the lap of melancholy.  Are there not some complexions that of it make their nourishment?

      ------ est quaedam flere voluptas./1
It is some pleasure yet
With teares our cheekes to wet.
And one Attalus in Seneca saith the remembrance of our last friends is as pleasing to us as bitternesse in wine that is over old.
Minister veteris puer falerni
Ingere mi calices amariores:/2
Sir boy, my servitor of good old wine,
Bring me my cup thereof, bitter, but fine.
And as of sweetly-sower apples, nature discovereth this confusion unto us: painters are of opinion that the motions and wrinkles in the face which serve to weepe serve also to laugh.  Verily before one or other be determined to expresse which, behold the pictures success, you are in doubt toward which one enclineth.  And the extreamity of laughing entermingles it selfe with teares.  Nullum sine auctoramento malum est:/3 'There is no evill without some obligation.'  When I
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1 OVID.  Trist. 1. iv.  Eleg. iii. 37. 2 CAT.  Lyr.  Eleg. xxiv. 1. 3 SEN. Epig. lxix. 
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imagine man fraught with all the commodities may be wished, let us suppose all his severall members were for ever possessed with a pleasure like unto that of generation, even in the highest point that may be:  I finde him to sinke under the burden of his ease, and perceive him altogether unable to beare so pure, so constant, and so universall a sensuality.  Truely he flies when he is even upon the nicke, and naturally hasteneth to escape it, as from a step whereon he cannot stay or containe himselfe, and feareth to sinke into it.  When I religiously confesse my selfe unto my selfe, I finde the best good I have hath some vicious taint.  And I feare that Plato in his purest vertue (I that am as sincere and loyall an esteemer thereof, and of the vertues of such a stampe, as any other can possibly be) if he had neerely listened unto it (and sure he listened very neere) he would therein have heard some harsh tune of humane mixture, but an obscure tune, and onely sensible unto himselfe.  Man all in all is but a botching and party coloured worke.  The very lawes of Justice can not subsist without some commixture of injustice.  And Plato saith they undertake to cut off Hidraes heads that pretend to remove all incommodities and inconveniences from the lawes .  Omne magnum exemplum habet aliquid ex iniquo, quod contra singulos utilitate publica rependitur:/1 'Every great example hath some touch of injustice which is requited by the common good against particulars,' saith Tacitus.  It is likewise true that for the use of life and service of publike society there may be excesse in the purity and perspicuity of our spirits.  This piercing brightnes hath overmuch subtility and curiositie. They should be made heavy and dull io make them the more obedient to example and practice, and they must be thickned and obscured to proportion them to this shady and terrestriall life.  Therefore are vulgar and lesse wire drawne wits found to be more fit and happy in the conduct of affaires. And the exquisite and high-raised opinions of Philosophy unapt and unfit to
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1 TACIT.  Ann. 1. xiv.  Cassi. 


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exercise.  This Sharpe vivacity of the spirit, and this supple and restlesse volubility troubleth our negotiations.  Humane enterprises should be managed more grosely and superficially, and have a good and great part of them left for the rights of fortune.  Affaires need not be sifted so nicely and so profoundly.  A man looseth himselfe about the considerations of so many contrary lustres and diverse formes.  Volutantibus res inter se pugnantes, obtorpuerant animi:/1  'Their mindes were astonished while they revolved things so different.' It is that which our elders report of Simonides; because his imagination concerning the question Hieron the King had made unto him (which the better to answer he had diverse dayes allowed him to thinke of it) presented sundry subtil and sharpe considerations unto him; doubting which might be the likeliest; he altogether dispaireth of the truth.  Whosoever searcheth all the circumstances and embraceth all the consequences thereof hindereth his election.  A meane engine doth equally conduct and sufficeth for the executions of great and little weights.  It is commonly seene that the best husbands and the thriftiest are those who cannot tell how they are so: and that these cunning arithmeticians doe seldome thrivebyit.  I know a notable pratler and an excellent blasoner of all sorts of husbandry and thrift who hath most pitteously let ten thousand pound sterling a yeare passe from him.  I know another who saith he consulteth better than any man of his counsell, and there cannot be a properer man to see unto or of more sufficiencie; notwithstanding, when be commeth to any execution, his owne servants finde he is far otherwise: this I say without mentioning or accounting his ill lucke.
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1 LIV.  Dec. iv. 1. ii. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XXI+  AGAINST IDLENESSE, OR DOING NOTHING

THE Emperour Vespasian, lying sicke of the disease whereof he died, omitted not to endeavour to understand the state of the empire; and lying in his bed, uncessantly dispatched many affaires of great consequence; and his physicians chiding him, as of a thing hurtfull of his health, he answered that an Emperour should die standing upright. {Lear+} Loe heere a notable saying, fitting my humour, and worthy a great prince.  Adrian the Emperour used the same afterward to like purpose.  And Kings ought often to be put in minde of it, to make them feele that this great charge which is given them of the commandement over so many men is no idle charge: and that there is nothing may so justly distaste a subject from putting himselfe in paine and danger for the service of his Prince then therewhilst to see him given to lazinesse, to base and vaine occupations, and to have care of his conservation, seeing him so carelesse of ours. {Lear+} If any shall go about to maintaine that it is better for a Prince to manage his wars by others then by himself.  Fortune will store him with sufficient examples of those whose lieutenants have achieved great enterprises, and also of some whose presence would have been more hurtfull then profitable.  But no vertuous and coragious Prince will endure to be entertained with so shame-full instructions.  Under colour of preserving his head (as the statue of a Saint) for the good fortune of his estate, they degrade him of his office, which is altogether in military+ actions, and declare him uncapable of it.  I know one would rather choose to be beaten then sleepe
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whilst others fight for him; and who without jealousie never saw his men performe any notable act in his absence.  And Selim the first had reason to say that he thought victories gotten in the masters absence not to be complete.  So much more willingly would he have said that such a master ought to blush for shame, who onely by his name should pretend any share in it, having thereunto employed nothing but his thought and verbal direction. Nor that since in such a busines the advices and commandements which bring honour are only those given in the field and even in the action.  No Pilot exerciseth his office standing still.  The Princes of Otomans race (the chiefest race in the world in warlike fortune) have earnestly embraced this opinion.  And Baiazeth the second, with his sonne, who, ammusing themselves about sciences and other private home matters, neglected the same, gave diverse prejudiciall blowes unto their Empire.  And Amurath the third of that name, who now raigneth, following their example, beginneth very wel to feele their fortunes.  Was it not the King of England, Edward the third, who spake these words of our King Charles the fifth: 'There was never King that lesse armed himselfe; and yet Was never King that gave me so much so doe, and put me to so many plunges.  He had reason to thinke it strange, as an effect of fortune, rather than of reason.  And let such as will number the Kings of Castile and Portugall amongst the warlike and magnanimous conquerors, seeke for some other adherent then my selfe, forsomuch as twelve hundred leagues from their idle residence they have made themselves masters of both Indias, onely by the conduct and direction of their factors, of whom it would be knowne whether they durst but goe and enjoy them il person. The Emperour lulian said moreover that a Philosopher and gallant minded man ought not so much as breathe; that is to say, not to give corporall necessities, but what may not be refused them; ever holding both minde and bodie busied about notable, great and vertuous matters.  He was ashamed any man 


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should see him spitte or sweate before people (which is also said of the Lacedemonian youths, and Xenophon reporteth it of the Persian) forsomuch as he thought that continuall travell, exercise, and sobriety should have concocted and dried up all such superfluities.  What Seneca saith shall not impertinently be alleadged here; that the ancient Romans kept their youth upright, and taught their children nothing that was to be learned sitting.  It is a generous desire to endevor to die both profitable and manlike: but the effect consisteth not so much in our good resolution, as in our good fortune.  A thousand have resolved to vanquish or to die fighting, which have missed both the one and other:  Hurts or imprisonment crossing their desseigne and yeelding them a forced kinde of life.  There are diseases which vanquish our desires and knowledge.  Fortune should not have seconded the vanitie of the Romane Legions, who by oath bound themselves either to die or conquer.  Victor, Marce Fabi, revertur ex acie:  Si fallo, Iovem patrem Gradinumque Martem aliosque iratos invoco Deos:/1  'I will, O Marcus Fabius, returne conqueror from the armie.  If in this I deceive you, I wish both great Iupiter and Mars, and t he other Gods offended with me.' The Portugalles report that in certain places of their Indian conquests they found some souldiers who with horrible execrations had damned themselves never to enter into any composition, but either they would be killed or remaine victorious; and in signe of their vowe wore their heads and beards shaven.  We may hazard and obstinate our selves long enough.  It seemeth that blowes shunne them who over-joyfully present themselves unto them; and unwillingly reach those that overwillingly goe to meet them and corrupt their end.  Some unable to lose his life by his adversaries force, having assaid all possible meanes, hath been enforced to accomplish his resolution, either to beare away the honour, or not to carry away his life, and even in the fury of the fight to put himselfe to death.  There are sundrie examples of it,
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1 Liv.  Doc. i. 1. ii. 


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but note this one.  Philistus, chiefe Generall of yong Dionysius his navie against the Siracusans, presented them the battle, which was very sharply withstood, their forces being alike; wherein by reason of his prowesse he had the better in the beginning.  But the Siracusans flocking thicke and threefold about his gally to grapple_and board him, having performed many worthy exployts with his owne person to ridde himselfe from them, dispairing of all escape, with his owne hand deprived himselfe of that life which so lavishly and in vaine he had abandoned to his enemies hands. Moly Moluch, King of Fez, who not long since obtained that famous victory against Sebastian, King of Portugall, a notable victorie by reason of the death of three Kings, and transmission of so great a Kingdome to the crowne of Castile, chanced to be grievously sicke at what time the Portugales with armed hand entred his dominions, and afterwards, though he foresaw it approaching nearer unto death, empaired worse and worse.  Never did man more stoutly or more vigorously make use of an undanted courage than he. He found himselfe very weake to endure the ceremonious pompe which the Kings of that country, at their entrance into the camp are presented withall, which according to their fashion is full of all magnificence and state, and charged with all manner of action; and therefore he resigned that honour to his brother, yet resigned he nothing but the office of the chiefe Captaine. Himselfe most gloriously executed and most exactly perfourmed all other necessary duties and profitable offices: holding his body laid along his cowch, but his minde upright and courage constant, even to his last gasp and in some sort after. {Lear+} He might have undermined his enemies, who were fond-hardily advanced in his dominions, and was exceedingly grieved that for want of a little longer life and a substitute to manage the warre and affaires of so troubled a State, he was enforced to seeke a bloody and hazardous battel, having another pure and undoubted victory in hand. He notwithstanding managed the continuance of his 


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sicknesse so miraculously that he consumed his enemy, diverted him from his sea-fleete and maritime places he held along the coast of Affricke, even untill the last day of his life, which by designe he reserved and employed for so great and renowned a fight.  He ranged his battel in a round, on every side besieging the Portugals army, which bending round and coming close, did not onely hinder them in the conflict of (which through the valour of that yong assailant King was very furious), since they were were to turnee their faces on all sides, but also hindred them from running away after the rowte.  And finding all issues seized, and all passages closed, they were constrained to turne upon themselves:  Coacervantur que non solum cede, sed etiam fuga: 'They fall on heapes not only by slaughter but by flight:' And so pel mell to heape on one anothers necke, preparing a most murtherous and compleate victory for the conquerors.  When he was even dying he caused himselfe to be carryed and haled where-ever neede called for him; and passing along the files he exhorted the captaines and animated the souldiers one after another.  And seeing one wing of the light to have the worst, and in some danger, no man could hold him, but he would needs, with his naked sword in hand, get on hors- backe striving by all possible meanes to enter the throng, his men holding him some by the bridle, some by the gowne, and some by the stirrops.  This toyle and straining of himselfe made an end of that Iittle remainder of his life; then was he laid on his bed: but comming to himselfe again, starting up as out of a swown, each other faculty failing him, he gave them warning to conceale his death (which was the necessariest commandement he could give his servants, lest the souldiers, bearing of his death, might fall into despaire) and so yeelded the Ghost, holding his fore-fingers upon his mouth, an ordinary signall to impose silence.  What man ever lived so long and so neere death?  Who ever died so upright and undaunted?  The extreamest degree, and most naturall, courageously to manage death+, is to see or front the 


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same, not onely without amazement, but without care; the course of life continuing free even in death.  As Cato, who ammused himselfe to studie and sleepe, having a violent and bloudy death present in his heart, and as it were holding it in his hand. 



 
 

CHAPTER 2.XXII+  OF RUNNING POSTS, OR COURIERS

I HAVE been none of the weakest in this exercise, which is proper unto men of my stature, well-trussed, short and tough, but now I have given it over: it toyles us over-much to hold out long.  I was even now reading how King Cyrus, that he might more speedily receave news from al parts of his Empire (which was of exceeding great length), would needs have it tried how far a horse could in a day goe outright without baiting, at which distance he caused stations to be set up, and men to have fresh horses ready for al such as came to him.  And some report this swift kind of running answereth the flight of cranes.      Caesar saith that Lucius Vibullis Rufus, making hast to bring Pompey an advertisement, rode day and night, and to make more speed shifted many horses.  And himselfe (as Suetonius writeth) would upon an hyred coache runne a hundred miles a day.  And sure he was a rancke-runner: for where any river hindred his way he swam it over, and never went out of his way to seek for a bridge or foard.  Tiberius Nero going to visite his brother Drusus who lay sick in Germanie, having three coaches in his company, ranne two hundred miles in foure and twenty houres.  In the Romane warres against King Antiochus, Titus Sempronius Gracchus (saith Titus Livius) per dispositos equos prope incredibili celeritate ab Anmphisa tertio die Pellam pervenit:/1 'By horse laid poste, with incredible speede within three dayes he past from Amphisa to Pella.'  And viewing the place, it seemeth they were set stations for postes, and not newly
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1 LIVUS.
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appointed for that race.  The invention of Cecina in sending newes to those of his house had much more speede; he carried certaine swallowes with him, and having occasion to send newes home, he let them flie toward their nests, first marking them with some colour proper to signifie what he meant, as before he had agreed upon with his friends.  In the theaters of Rome the household masters carried pigeons in their bosomes, under whose wings they fastened letters, when they would send any word home, which were also taught to bring back an answer.  D.  Brutus used some, being besieged in Mutina, and others elsewhere.  In Peru they went poste upon mens backes, who tooke theire masters upon their shoulders, sitting upon cerfaine beares or chaires with such agilitie that, in full running speede, the first porters, without any stay, cast their load upon other who upon the way waited for them, and so they to others.  I understand that the Valachians, which are messengers unto the great Turk, use extreame diligence in their businesses forasmuch as they have authoritie to dismount the first passengers they meet upon the high-way, and give him their tyred horse.  And because they shal not be weary, they are wont to swaithe themselves hard about the bodie with a broad swathe or seare-cloth, as diverse others do