Quotations From MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE


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  • Princes give me sufficiently if they take nothing from me, and do me much good if they do me no hurt; it is all I require of them.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," bk. 3, ch. 9, Essays (1588, trans. by John Florio).

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  • The thing I fear most is fear.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Fear," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 18, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).

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  • "O human creature, ... you are the investigator without knowledge, the magistrate without jurisdiction, and all in all, the fool of the farce."
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier (1588).
  • Now there cannot be first principles for men, unless the Divinity has revealed them; all the rest—beginning, middle, and end—is nothing but dreams and smoke.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raimund Sebond," p. 542, The Essays of Montaigne, vol. I, trans. by E.J. Trechmann, Oxford University Press, New York and London (n.d.). Source of all principles of knowledge.
  • I have a vocabulary all my own. I "pass the time" when it is wet and disagreeable. When it is fine I do not wish to pass it; I ruminate it and hold on to it. We should hasten over the bad, and settle upon the good.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Experience," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 13, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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  • When I play with my cat, who knows but that she regards me more as a plaything that I do her?
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raimund Sebond," p. 444, The Essays of Montaigne, vol. I, trans. by E.J. Trechmann, Oxford University Press, New York and London (n.d.). Relative position of man and animals.

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  • Speech belongs half to the speaker, half to the listener. The latter must prepare to receive it according to the motion it takes.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Experience," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 13, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).
  • Have you been able to think out and manage your own life? You have done the greatest task of all.... All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Experience," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 13, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).

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  • In my youth I studied for ostentation; later, a little to gain wisdom; now, for recreation; never for gain.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Three Kinds of Association," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 3, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).
  • If others surpass you in knowledge, in charm, in strength, in fortune, you have other causes to blame for it; but if you yield to them in stoutness of heart you have only yourself to blame.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Experience," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 13, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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