Quotations From MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE


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  • Who does not see that I have taken a road along which I shall go, without stopping and without effort, as long as there is ink and paper in the world? I cannot keep a record of my life by my actions; fortune places them too low. I keep it by my thoughts.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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  • In truth, knowledge is a great and very useful quality; those who despise it give evidence enough of their stupidity. Yet I do not set its value at that extreme measure that some attribute to it.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raymond Sebond," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 12, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).

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  • Lay a beam between these two towers of such width as we need to walk on: there is no philosophical wisdom of such great firmness that it can give us courage to walk on it as we should if it were on the ground.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology For Raymond Sebond," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 12, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux (1580).

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  • It makes me hate accepting things that are probable when they are held up before me as infallibly true. I prefer these words which tone down and modify the hastiness of our propositions: "Perhaps, In some sort, Some, They say, I think," and the like.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Husbanding Your Will," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 10, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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  • To die is not to play a part in society; it is the act of a single person. Let us live and laugh among our friends; let us die and sulk among strangers.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).
  • People of our time are so formed for agitation and ostentation that goodness, moderation, equability, constancy, and such quiet and obscure qualities are no longer felt.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Husbanding Your Will," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 10, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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  • The most useful and honorable science and occupation for a woman is the science of housekeeping. I know some that are miserly, very few that are good managers.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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  • The ceaseless labor of your life is to build the house of death.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. Essays, bk. 1, ch. 20 (1595).

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  • By some might be said of me that here I have but gathered a nosegay of strange flowers, and have put nothing of mine unto it but the thread to bind them.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Physiognomy," bk. 3, ch. 12, Essays, trans. by John Florio (1588). Montaigne's essays are full of classical quotations.
  • Truly, it is not want, but rather abundance, that breeds avarice.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "That the taste of good and evil depends, for a good part, on the idea we have of them," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 14, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).
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