Ives The Essays of Montaigne/Volume 1/Chapter 14

Chapter Introduction by Grace Norton (1834 – 1926)

CHAPTER XIV

THAT THE SAVOUR OF GOODS AND ILLS DEPENDS IN LARGE PART ON THE IDEA THAT WE HAVE OF THEM[1]

This title reminds one of Hamlet’s saying, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

The opening sentence enlarges and defines the meaning of the title, and then Montaigne goes on to question whether this be true: let us see if this can be maintained.

He thinks that one proof that it is true is the difference of the ideas of different men about death: by one it is regarded as the most horrible of things, by another as the sovereign good of nature. As one way of meeting death he instances the many jokes that have been uttered by persons on their way to execution; as another, the women who bury or burn themselves with the dead bodies of their husbands, or the self-destruction of men and women in time of war or political trouble. (Here he tells a striking fact that he had learned from his father.) Then follows an inserted passage about the Jews in Portugal — from whom Montaigne’s mother was descended, which fact perhaps made their history the more interesting to him.

He then tells the story of Pyrrho pointing out in a storm at sea, for the emulation of his companions, the composure of a pig; and Montaigne questions whether we do not ill employ the intelligence that has been given us for our greatest good, in struggling against the universal order of things. L’universel ordre des choses — we have here, as has been remarked,[2] one of the Leit-motives of Montaigne’s thought.

The Essayist now contemplates the other ills of human life. “Very good,”” you will answer; “your precept is well enough for death: but what will you say of poverty? and what of pain?” He answers that with regard to pain, “Here it is not all imagination, … I grant that it is the worst mischance of our being,” and that poverty is to be dreaded — but dreaded only — because it throws us into the arms of pain, by hunger and cold, thirst and heat. He says that to himself the idea of pain is terrible, “there is no man on earth who shuns it as much as I.”

A striking example occurs in just these pages of the self-contradictions not infrequent in the Essays, and which are due to the different passages being written at different periods of Montaigne’s life and then joined together as if they were consecutive in thought as well as in position. He says, “I find by experience that it is chiefly the unendurableness [l’impatience] of the thought of death that makes pain unendurable to us.” In the next paragraph we read: “I have not had, thanks be to God, much familiarity with it [pain].” The first sentence was written after the second one. His sufferings from the stone (what he calls “the colic”) did not begin till 1573, and the greater part of the Essay we are considering was written somewhere about 1572. The sentence regarding his “experience” of pain did not appear till 1595, three years after his death, and during the last twenty years of his life he suffered greatly and frequently.

It is extremely interesting to remember in this connection that the daily records made by his secretary when travelling with him give proof that Montaigne’s endurance of pain was singularly heroic.

If we cannot annihilate pain, we can diminish it by patience. So he thought in 1580; so he proved in later years. Besides, if there were not pain to be defied, how should we give evidence of courage, strength, and resolution? Again, pain can not be at once violent and long.

(This strange assertion is a striking testimony to the increased power that medicine and surgery have acquired to preserve life even in conditions of great suffering. And Montaigne seems quite to forget the result of great natural strength of constitution. His contemporary Brantôme describes himself as stretched on his bed for four years in torture, in consequence of being crushed by his horse falling upon him.)

In a passage added in his last years he reaches the assurance that the soul cannot bring into harmony with herself “the perceptions of the body and all other external things”; and that it behoves us to “arouse her all-powerful springs.”

He combats in an obscure sentence an opinion thus expressed by Plato in the “Phaedo” (Jowett’s translation):

“The soul of the true philosopher abstains from pleasures and desires and pains and fears, as far as she is able; ... because each pleasure and pain is a sort of nail which nails and rivets the soul to the body, and engrosses her and makes her believe that to be true which the body affirms to be true; and from agreeing with the body and having the same delights she is obliged to have the same habits and ways.” Montaigne says, No: in yielding to pain and pleasure we rather disunite the body and the soul — and (as I understand him) remove ourselves from the government of the body by the soul, which makes our greatest comfort. But this view finds a pseudo-contradiction in an opinion expressed just before, to the effect, seemingly, that the soul would do well to let the body entirely alone.

Then in his favorite fashion, he cites examples: the endurance of the pains of child-birth; the constancy of Lacedæmonian children; the feats of Mucius Scævola: the contempt of pain that women show in the pursuit of beauty; the wounds given as pledges of good faith —in which connection he tells of an incident he had witnessed, about which we may wonder whether it had any personal interest for him; and the self-inflicted tortures of pious and fanatic souls — which he himself had seen often. Then comes an inserted passage of instances of composure at death of friends and children, where occurs one of the personal expressions which have been foolishly misjudged. He says that he has borne the loss of two or three of his children, who died when babies, not without regret, but without fascherie; that is, without grief, distress (the meaning of the word in his day).[3] And he adds that while by the greater number and the most healthy-minded among men it is considered that to have many children is a great good fortune, “I and some others consider the lack of them good fortune.” We may well believe that this feeling originated in part from the disastrous condition of public affairs in that age — one of the most tragic in history. Montaigne could meet them himself with equanimity, but he recognised the manifold sufferings of every kind which they caused to countless individuals. Childless parents were to be congratulated.

All this shows that, as Cicero said, “the source of suffering is not in the nature of things but in our opinion of them.”

If our opinion may make us disregard what is commonly counted as evil, so, on the other hand, it may enhance the value of good. And (after a rather incoherent and difficult page added many years later) he proceeds to show this by his own example in relation to the use of his property, through diffuse and wandering pages, concluding finally: “Affluence then and indigence depend on each man’s opinion.”

His last word is that among all the reasons for despising death and enduring pain there must be some which each man can accept. If not, “What can be done for him who has no courage to support either death or life?”

It may be observed that Montaigne borrowed much in this Essay from Seneca, especially from Epistle 78.


AN old Greek proverb says that men are afflicted by their ideas of things, not by the things themselves.[4] There would be a great point gained for the solace of our miserable mortal state if some one could prove this proposition to be always true; for if the ills of life enter into us only through our judgement, it would seem to be in our power to despise them or to turn them to good. If things are surrendered to us, why should we not make use of them, or adapt them to our benefit? If that which we call evil and affliction is neither evil nor affliction in itself, but our imagination alone gives it that character, it is in our power to change it; and having the choice, if nothing compels us, we are strangely unwise to exert ourselves for the side which is most painful for us,[5] and to give to disease, poverty, and contumely a bitter and bad taste if we can give them a good one, and if, fortune simply supplying matter, it is for us to give it shape. Now, that what we call evil is not so in itself, or, at least, whatever it may be, that it depends on us to give it another savour and another aspect, — for it all comes to the same thing, — let us see if this can be maintained.

If the primal nature of these things that we dread had power to lodge in us of its own authority, it would have the same power in all; for men are all of one species, and, save as regards the more and the less, they are supplied with the same tools and instruments for conceiving and judging. But the diversity of our opinions concerning these things shows clearly that they enter into us only as we accept them:[6] one man, it may be, holds them in himself in their true character, but a thousand others give them in their minds a new and different character. We regard death, poverty, and pain as our chief enemies. Now this death, which some call the most horrible of horrible things — who does not know that others call it the only haven from the tempests of this life, the sovereign benefaction of nature, the sole stay of our liberty, and the universal and speedy remedy for all ills.[7] And as some await it in fear and trembling, others endure it more easily than life. (b) This man laments its easy attainment; —

Mors utinam pavidos vita subducere nolles,
Sed virtus te sola daret.[8]

(c) Now let us have done with this vainglorious valour. Theodorus replied to Lysimachus who threatened to kill him: “You will perform a great feat to attain the strength of a fly.”[9] Most philosophers are found either to have purposely anticipated, or to have hastened and aided, their deaths. (a) How often we see common people, when led forth to death, — and not to a simple death, but to one accompanied by disgrace and sometimes by grievous suffering, — face it with such confidence, some from stubbornness and some from natural shallowness, that we can detect no change from their ordinary frame of mind: arranging their domestic affairs, commending themselves to their friends, singing, haranguing, and talking with the populace, nay, sometimes even cracking jokes, and drinking to their acquaintances, as if they were Socrates.[10] One man, who was being taken to the scaffold, told them not to go through a certain street, for there was danger that a tradesman would lay hands on him because of an old debt. Another told the hangman not to touch his throat, for fear of making him squirm with laughter, he was so ticklish. Another replied to his confessor, who promised him that he would sup that day with our Lord, “Go thither yourself; for my part, I am fasting.” Another, having asked for a drink, and the hangman having drunk first, declared that he would not drink after him for fear of catching small-pox. Every one has heard the story of the Picard, to whom, when he was on the very steps of the scaffold, a wench was offered, whom if he chose to marry, they would spare his life (as our laws permit on occasion). Having looked at her for a moment, and perceived that she was lame, “Tie me up! tie me up!” he cried; “she limps!” And they say, likewise, that in Denmark a man who was sentenced to have his head cut off, being actually on the scaffold, when a similar alternative was given him, declined it because the girl they offered him had hanging cheeks and too sharp a nose.[11] A man-servant who was charged with heresy at Toulouse referred, for the ground of his belief, to that of his master, a young student who was a prisoner with him; and preferred to die rather than (c) allow himself to be convinced that his master was in error.[12] (a) We read of the citizens of Arras, when King Louis XI took the city, that there were a goodly number of them who submitted to be hanged rather than say, ”Vive le roi!”[13] And of such narrow-minded clowns there have been some who would not abandon their pleasantries even in death. One whom the hangman was just turning off cried: “Let go, in God’s name!”[14] which was his customary refrain. And that other who, at the point of death, had been laid on a mattress by the hearth, and being asked by the doctor where he felt pain, replied: “Between the bench and the fire”; and when the priest, in order to give him extreme unction, was feeling for his feet, which were drawn up and stiffened by pain, “You’ll find them,” he said, “at the end of my legs.” He asked the man who exhorted him to commend himself to God, “Who is going thither?” and on the other’s replying, “It will be you yourself very soon, if it is his pleasure,” he rejoined: “Shall I surely be there to-morrow evening?” — “Just commend yourself to him,” continued the other; “you ’ll be there very soon.” — “It is better then,” he retorted, “for me to carry Him my recommendations myself.”[15]

(c) In the kingdom of Narsinga,[16] to this day, the wives of the priests are buried alive with their deceased husbands. All other wives are burned at the obsequies of their husbands, not with fortitude simply, but gaily. And when the body of their deceased king is burned, all his wives and concubines, his favourites, and every sort of official and public servant, forming a great multitude, rush so light-heartedly to the fire, to throw themselves into it with the master, that they seem to regard it as a great honour to be his companions in death.[17] (a) During our last wars in Milan, with so many captures and recaptures, the people, being made impatient by such perpetual alternations of fortune, so deliberately chose death, that I have heard my father say that he heard of as many as five-and-twenty heads of families who had made way with themselves in one week; an incident resembling that of the Xantians, who, besieged by Brutus, were seized pell-mell — men, women, and children — with so fierce a craving for death, that there is nothing done to escape death which they did not do to escape life; so that Brutus scarcely could save a very small number.[18]

(c) Every belief is strong enough to cause men to espouse it at the cost of life. The first article of that fine oath that Greece took and kept to in the Median war was that every man should exchange life for death rather than their laws for those of the Persians.[19] In the war between the Greeks and the Turks, what numbers of them are seen accepting violent death rather than renounce their faith and be baptised! A test of which no form of religion is incapable.

The kings of Castile having banished the Jews from their realm, King Jan of Portugal[20] sold them, at eight crowns a head, refuge among his people, on condition that they should depart on a certain day; and he promised to supply them with vessels to take them across to Africa. The day came, of which he had said that, when it had passed, those who had not obeyed would remain as slaves. The vessels were scantily supplied to them, and those who embarked were roughly and villainously treated by the sailors, who, in addition to many other indignities, kept them wearily sailing about, sometimes going ahead, sometimes going back, until they had consumed all their own provisions and were compelled to buy food from them at such high prices, and for so long a time, that they were not set ashore till they had nothing left. News of this inhuman treatment being carried back to those still on land, the greater number made up their minds to servitude; some pretended to change their religion. Emmanuel,[21] having come to the throne, first set them at liberty, and then, changing his mind, gave them time to leave his dominions, assigning three ports for their embarkation. He hoped, says Bishop Osorio, the best Latin historian of our time, that, the grace of freedom which he had bestowed on them having failed to convert them to Christianity, their reluctance to expose themselves, like their companions, to the thievery of the seamen, to leave a country where they had lived in great prosperity and to cast their lot in an unknown and foreign land, would bring about this result. But finding his hope disappointed, and that they were all determined to depart, he cut off two of the ports he had promised them, in order that the length and discomfort of the passage might cause some to reconsider, or in order to pile them all up together in one place for greater facility of execution of what he purposed, which was this. He ordered that all the children under fourteen should be taken from the hands of their fathers and mothers and transported out of their sight and intercourse, to a place where they would be instructed in our religion. It is said that this action led to a horrible spectacle — the natural affection between the parents and their children and, moreover, their zeal for their ancient beliefs, contending against this violent decree. It was a common sight to see mothers and fathers taking their own lives, and — an even stronger testimony — for very love and pity throwing their young children into wells to evade the law. Finally, the time that had been fixed having expired, they returned, for lack of means, into slavery. Some became Christians — on whose faith or that of their race, even to-day, a hundred years after, few Portuguese rely, although habit and lapse of time are much stronger counsellors than all other pressure.

In the city of Castelnau-Darry, fifty Albigensian heretics suffered all at one time, courageously resolute to be burned alive in one fire rather than renounce their beliefs.[22] Quoties non modo ductores nostri, says Cicero, sed universi etiam exercitus, ad non dubiam mortem concurrerunt![23] (b) I have seen one of my intimate friends give hot chase to death, with a true longing rooted in his heart from various points of view,[24] which I could not diminish in him; and at the first shape of it that presented itself crowned with a halo of honour, he hastened to meet it, beyond all likelihood, with a sharp and eager hunger.

(a) We have many examples in our own days of persons, even children, who, from dread of some slight disaster, have killed themselves. And in this connection, an ancient writer says: “What shall we not fear, if we fear what cowardice itself has chosen as a refuge?” Were I to enter here on a long list of those of all sexes and conditions and of all sects who, in happier ages, have either awaited death with steadiness or sought it voluntarily, and sought it, not only in order to fly from the ills of this life, but in some cases simply to fly from satiety of living, and in others in the hope of a better state elsewhere — I should never have done; and the number is so infinite that, in truth, it would be a better bargain for me to count up those who have feared it. This only will I note: Pyrrho the philosopher, being one day in a tempest at sea, pointed out to those about him whom he saw to be most frightened, a pig on board in no wise disturbed by this storm, and encouraged them by this example.[25]

Shall we venture then to say that this privilege of the power of reasoning, about which we so flatter ourselves, and because of which we regard ourselves as the masters and monarchs of the rest of creation, was given us for our torment? What profits the knowledge of things,[26] if we lose the tranquillity and repose in which we should be without it, and if it puts us in worse case than Pyrrho’s pig? The intelligence that has been given us for our greater welfare — shall we employ it for our destruction, combatting the purpose of Nature and the universal order of things, which ordains that every one use his tools and resources for his own pleasure?[27]

“Very good,” you will answer me, “your precept is well enough for death; but what will you say of poverty which (c) Aristippus, Hieronymus, and (a) most wise men considered the worst of evils?”[28] And they who denied it in words confessed it by their acts. Posidonius being in great suffering from a sharp and painful malady, Pompey went to see him and apologised for having come at so inopportune a time to hear him discourse on philosophy. “God forbid,” said Posidonius, “that pain should so prevail over me as to prevent me from discoursing and talking of that!” and he threw himself into this very subject of contempt of pain. But meanwhile pain played its part and tormented him incessantly, whereupon he exclaimed: “Do what you will, pain: I still will not say that you are an evil thing!”[29] This tale that they make so much of — what meaning has it with respect to contempt of pain? It is only a quibble about the words; and meanwhile, if those twinges do not affect him, why does he interrupt his talk? Why does he think that he does such a great thing in not calling it an evil?

Here it is not all imagination. We argue about other matters, here it is absolute knowledge that comes into play; our very senses are judges of it;

Qui nisi sunt veri, ratio quoque falsa sit omnis.[30]

Shall we persuade our skin that the blows of a stirrup-leather tickle it, and our palate that aloes is Bordeaux wine? Pyrrho’s pig is of our company here: he is unterrified by death, but if he is beaten, he squeals and squirms. Shall we run counter to the universal law of Nature, — which is seen in every living thing under the sky, — of trembling under pain? The very trees seem to groan at the injuries we inflict on them. Death is felt only through the reason, as it is the action of an instant.

Aut fuit, aut veniet, nihil est presentis in illa,[31]
Morsque minus pœenæ quam mora mortis habet.[32]

A thousand beasts, a thousand men are dead unthreatened. And, in truth, we confess that what we chiefly dread in death is pain, its customary forerunner,

(c) None the less, if we are to believe a holy father, malam mortem non facit, nisi quod sequitur mortem.[33] And I will say even more plausibly that neither what precedes nor what follows death is an appurtenance of death. We excuse ourselves falsely; and I find by experience that it is chiefly the unendurableness of the thought of death that makes pain unendurable to us, and that we feel it as doubly grievous because it threatens us with death. But since reason accuses us of cowardice in dreading a thing so sudden, so inevitable, so imperceptible, we seize this other more defensible pretext. All those maladies which threaten no other danger than that of the malady itself we say are without danger. Toothache, or gout, however painful they may be, still, as they do not kill, who counts them as sicknesses? Now let us assume that in death we consider chiefly the pain. (a) In like manner, poverty has nothing to fear but this — that it will throw us into the arms of pain through the thirst, the hunger, the cold, the heat, the vigils, which it makes us suffer.

Thus we have to do with pain alone. I grant that it is the worst mischance of our being, and I grant this readily, for there is no man on earth who regards it with such disfavour or who shuns it so much as I, because hitherto, thanks to God, I have not had much familiarity with it; but it is in our power, if not to annihilate it, at least to diminish it by patience; and even when the body is perturbed by it, to maintain none the less the soul and the reason in good condition. And if it were not so, what would have brought courage and valour and strength and greatness of soul and resolution into good repute? How should they play their part if there were no pain to defy? Avida est periculi virtus.[34] If we have not to lie on the hard ground, to endure in complete armour the noon-day heat, to eat horse-flesh or that of an ass, to be hacked in pieces, to extract a bullet from among our bones, to be sewn up and cauterised and probed, whence shall we acquire the advantage that we desire to have over the common crowd? What the sages say, that of actions equally meritorious the one is most desirable to perform in which there is most difficulty, is a long way from avoiding evil and pain. (c) Non enim hilaritate, nec lascivia, nec risu aut joco, comite levitatis, sed sæpe etiam tristes firmitate et constantia sunt beati.[35] (a) And for this reason it was impossible to persuade our fathers that conquests made by the strong hand, at the hazard of war, were not more beneficial than those effected in all security by plots and stratagems.

Lætius est, quoties magno, sibi constat honestum.[36]

Moreover, this ought to console us, that, in the nature of things, if pain is violent, it is short; if it lasts long, it is slight; (c) si gravis [dolor], brevis; si longus, levis.[37] (a) You will hardly feel it long if you feel it too much; it will put an end to itself or to you; the one or the other comes to the same thing.[38] (c) If you do not bear it well, it will bear you off. Memineris maximos morte finiri; parvos multa habere intervalla requietis; mediocrium nos esse dominos: ut si tolerabiles sint feramus, sin minus, e vita, quum ea non placet, tamquam e theatro exeamus.[39]

(a) What makes us suffer pain so intolerantly is the not being accustomed to take our chief satisfaction in the soul,[40] (c) the not relying enough on her[41] who is the one sovereign mistress of our being and our behaviour. The body has for the most part but one mode of action and one kind of life; the soul changes into every variety of guise and brings into relation with herself and her condition, whatever that may be, the perceptions of the body and all other external things.[42] Therefore we must study her and question her and arouse her all-powerful springs. There is no argument, no tradition, no force, which is of any avail against her inclination and her choice. Of the many thousand twists and turns she has at her command, let us make her take one conducive to our repose and preservation; then we are not only shielded from all harm, but even pleased and flattered, if it seems well to her, by hurts and ills. She turns every thing to her advantage, no matter what it is: error, dreams, are useful to her as legitimate material for making us secure and content.

It is easy to see that what gives an edge to pain and pleasure within us is our state of mind. The animals, who are unaffected by this,[43] feel in their bodies their unconstrained natural sensations, which consequently are almost invariable in each species, as we see by the conformity of their actions. If we did not disturb in our members their jurisdiction in this matter, it may be believed that we should be the better off, and nature has given them a just and moderate mingling of pleasure and of pain which cannot fail to be just, being equal and alike to all. But since we have cut loose from her rules, to abandon ourselves to the vagabond license of our imaginations, let us at least help to turn them in the most agreeable direction. Plato is displeased by our immitigable union with pain and pleasure, because it binds the soul to the body and attaches it too closely; I, on the contrary, am displeased by it, inasmuch as it detaches and separates them.[44] (a) Just as the enemy becomes fiercer when we fly, so pain grows proud to see us tremble before it.[45] It will surrender on much better terms to the man who shows it a bold front; we must resist it and brace ourselves against it. By being cornered and falling back, we invite and attract the destruction that threatens us. (c) As the body is steadier against the onset by stiffening its muscles, so is the soul.[46]

(a) But let us come to examples, which are proper game for the weak-loined like me: here we shall find that it is with pain as with stones, which take on a brighter or darker hue according to the foil on which we place them, and that it fills only so much room in us as we make for it. Tantum doluerunt, says St. Augustine, quantum doloribus se inseruerunt.[47] We feel a cut from the surgeon’s knife more than ten sword-cuts in the heat of battle. The pains of child-birth, which are considered severe by the doctors and by God himself,[48] and which we carry through with so many observances — there are whole nations which make nothing at all of them. I say nothing of the Lacedæmonian women; but the Swiss women with our infantry — what change do you find in them, except that, trotting after their husbands, you see them to-day carrying in their arms the child that yesterday they carried in their womb? And these make-believe Egyptian women among us go themselves to wash their new-born babes, and take their own bath, in the nearest stream. (c) Besides the multitude of wenches who every day conceal their children as well at their birth as at their conception, the virtuous wife of Sabinus, a Roman patrician, endured the birth of twins alone and unaided, without a word or a groan.[49] (a) A simple lad of Lacedæmon, having stolen a fox, and having hidden it under his cloak, (c) (for they dreaded the disgrace of their lack of skill in thieving even more than we dread the punishment),[50] (a) endured having his bowels gnawed by it rather than betray himself.[51] And another, while offering incense at a sacrifice, allowed himself to be burned to the bone by a coal that dropped into his sleeve.[52] And a great many boys have been known who, at the age of seven, merely for a test of their courage, in accordance with their education, have endured being whipped to death without change of countenance.[53] (c) And Cicero saw them fight in companies, with fists and feet and teeth, till they fainted, before admitting that they were beaten.[54] Nunquam naturam mos vinceret, est enim ea semper invicta; sed nos umbris, deliciis, otio, languore, desidia animum infecimus; opinionibus maloque more delinitum mollivimus.[55]

(a) Every one knows the history of Sceevola,[56] who, having slipped into the enemy’s camp to kill their leader, and having failed of his purpose, in order to gain his end by a more extraordinary scheme, and to set his country free, not only confessed his design to Porsenna, who was the king he sought to kill, but added that in the king’s camp there were a great number of such Romans as himself, who were accomplices in his undertaking; and, to show what manner of man he was, having caused a brazier to be brought, he saw and suffered his arm to be broiled and roasted until his very enemy, horror-struck, ordered the brazier removed. What can we say of him who did not condescend to interrupt his reading while he was under the surgeon’s knife?[57] And of him who persisted in laughing at himself and gaily vying with the sufferings inflicted on him, so that the excited cruelty of the executioners who had him in their keeping, with all the contrivances of torture piled one upon another, confessed themselves to be powerless? But he was a philosopher. And what of Cesar’s gladiator, who endured having his wounds probed and cut open, laughing all the while?[58] (c) Quis mediocris gladiator ingemuit? Quis vultum mutavit unquam? Quis non modo stetit, verum etiam decubuit turpiter? Quis cum decubuisset ferrum recipere jussus, collum contraxit?[59] (a) Now let us consider the women. Who has not heard in Paris of her who caused herself to be flayed, solely to acquire the fresher colouring of a new skin?[60][1] There are those who have had sound, living teeth pulled out, in order to make their pronunciation more flexible or more lisping, or to arrange the teeth more regularly. How many examples we have of this sort of contempt of pain! What can they not do? What do they fear, if in the doing there is any hope of enhancement of their beauty?

(b) Vellere queis cura est albos a stirpe capillos,
Et faciem dempta pelle referre novam.[61]

(a) I have seen them swallow sand and ashes, and labour deliberately to destroy their stomachs, in order to acquire a pale complexion. To give themselves a Spanish slenderness,[62] what discomfort do they not endure, bound and girt, with great slashes on their sides, even to the quick — yes, and sometimes till these are fatal!

(c) It is a common custom with many nations of our day to wound themselves purposely, to give credit to their word; and our king[63] relates noteworthy instances of what he saw of this in Poland, and in relation to himself. But besides what I have heard of as having been done, of this sort, by some persons in France, I myself saw a girl,[64] to testify to the ardour of her promises and also her firmness, give herself, with the bodkin she wore in her hair, four or five sharp blows on the arm, which tore the skin and brought blood in good earnest. The Turks make for themselves great scars in honour of their mistresses; and, that the mark may remain, they instantly apply fire to the wound and hold it there an incredible time, to stop the bleeding and form the cicatrix.[65] Men who have seen it have written of this and have sworn to the truth of it to me. But any day there may be found those among them who, for ten aspers,[66] will give themselves a very deep slash on the arm or the thigh.

(a) I am very glad that there are witnesses nearer to us, where we are more concerned; for Christendom supplies us with them more than sufficiently. After the example of our blessed exemplar, there have been many who, from devotion, have chosen to suffer greatly.[67] We learn from a witness most worthy of belief,[68] that the King Saint Louis wore a hair-shirt until, in his old age, his confessor dispensed him from it; and that every Friday he had his priest scourge his back with five small iron chains, which, for that purpose, were always carried in a box with the other things that he used at night. Guillaume, our last Duke of Guyenne, father of that Alienor[69] who transmitted this duchy to the royal houses of France and of England, constantly wore, by way of penance, a corselet under the frock of a monk.[70] Fulke, Count of Anjou, went all the way to Jerusalem, to be scourged there by two of his servants, with a rope round his neck, in front of our Lord’s sepulchre.[71] But do we not still see, on every Good Friday, in various places, a great number of men and women scourge themselves even to the tearing of their flesh and wounding to the bone?[72] This I have often seen, and without delusion; and it is said (for they go masked) that there are among them those who, for money, undertake thereby to warrant another’s religion by a contempt of pain so much the greater as the spurs of piety are more potent than those of avarice. (c) Quintus Maximus buried his son, of consular rank, Marcus Cato his, pretor elect, and Lucius Paulus his two within a few days of each other, with serene countenance and giving no sign of grief.[73] I once said of some one,[74] in jest, that he had cheated divine justice; for the deaths by violence of three noble sons having been sent in one day, by way, as may be believed, of a severe chastisement, it lacked little that he received it as a blessing.[75] I have lost, but in infancy, two or three children, if not without regret, at least without distress; nevertheless there are few misfortunes which touch men so to the quick. I see a good many other common occasions for sorrow which I should scarcely feel, should they come to me; and I have scorned, when they have come, some of those to which the world ascribes so baleful an aspect that I could not dare to boast publicly of this without blushing. Ex quo intelligitur non in natura, sed in opinione esse ægritudinem.[76]

(b) Opinion is a powerful auxiliary, confident and not to be measured. Who ever sought safety and repose with such longing as Alexander and Cæsar had for disquietude and difficulties? Teres, father of Sitalces, was wont to say that, when he was not making war, it seemed to him that there was no difference between him and his groom.[77] (c) Cato, when consul, in order to make sure of certain cities in Spain, having merely forbidden their inhabitants to bear arms, a great number killed themselves: ferox gens nullam vitam rati sine armis esse.[78] (b) How many men we know who have fled from the enjoyment of a quiet life in their own house, among their acquaintance, to seek the frightfulness of uninhabitable deserts, and who have cast themselves into abjection and degradation and the world’s contempt, and have delighted therein, even in preference to all else. Cardinal Borromeo,[79] who died recently at Milan, maintained, in the midst of debauchery, to which his noble birth and his great wealth and the air of Italy and his youth all invited him, a mode of life so vigorous that he wore the same coat in winter as in summer, had nothing but straw for his bed, and passed what hours remained to him after discharging the duties of his office in constant study, resting on his knees, with a little bread and water beside his book, which was all that he had to eat and all the time that he gave to eating. I know some men who have derived both profit and advancement from cuckoldry, of which the mere name frightens so many persons. If sight be not the most necessary of our senses, it is certainly the most agreeable; but the most agreeable and useful of our members seem to be those which serve the purpose of generation; and yet many persons have held them in mortal hatred solely for the reason that they were too delightful, and have rejected them because of their value. So opined of his eyes the man who put them out.[80]

(c) The greater number and most healthy-minded among men[81] consider it great good fortune to have an abundance of children; I and some others consider the lack of them equally good fortune. And when some one asks Thales why he does not marry, he replies that he does not desire to leave any descendants of himself.[82] That our opinion gives their value to things is seen by those, many in number, which we do not regard solely by themselves in estimating them, but with regard to ourselves. And we consider neither their qualities, nor their usefulness, but only what it costs us to obtain them, as if the cost were a part of their being; and we call value in them, not what they bring, but what we bring to them. In this respect I think we are very thrifty in our outlay; according to its weight it is of use, to the extent that it has weight. Our opinion never lets it pass with false freightage.[83] The purchase gives value to the diamond, as resistance does to virtue, grief to devotion, and bitterness to medicine.

(b) A certain man,[84] in order to attain poverty, threw his money into that same ocean which so many search in all parts, seeking to fish up wealth. Epicurus says that to be rich is not an alleviation, but simply a change of trouble.[85] In truth, it is not want, but rather abundance, which gives birth to avarice. I will tell my experience in regard to this matter. I have lived in three different kinds of conditions since I left childhood behind. The first period, which lasted nearly twenty years, I passed with no other than haphazard resources, depending on the arrangements and support of others, with no established profession and without regulations. I spent my money the more easily and carelessly because it all lay in the turn of fortune. I was never better off. It never happened to me to find my friends’ purses closed, for I had impressed upon myself the necessity, beyond every other necessity, of never being in default at the end of the term in which I had agreed to pay my debt, which term they a thousand times prolonged, seeing the effort that I made to satisfy them; so that I gained by my thrifty and somewhat deceptive loyalty.[86] My nature is to feel some pleasure in paying, as if I relieved my shoulders of an annoying burden and of that semblance of servitude; as I feel a pleasure that flatters me in doing a good action and pleasing another. I except those payments about which one must needs haggle and calculate; for if there is no one to whom I can give charge of them, I shamefully and unjustly postpone them as long as I can, in dread of this altercation with which both my disposition and my manner of talking are completely incompatible. There is nothing that I hate so much as haggling; it is a mere interchange of cheating and impudence. After an hour of wrangling and chaffering, one and the other side sacrifices his word and his oaths for a charge of five sous. Nevertheless I was at a disadvantage in borrowing; for, not having the courage to ask by word of mouth, I used to commit the chance to paper, which produces little effect, and which makes it very easy to refuse. I entrusted the conduct of my needs to the stars more gaily and more freely than I have since done to my own providence and my good sense. Good managers think it horrible to be in such uncertainty, and do not consider, in the first place, that most of the world lives so. How many worthy men have thrown overboard all their assured well-being, and do it every day, to seek the wind of the favour of kings and of Fortune! Cæsar, to become Cæsar, incurred debts to the amount of a million in gold, besides using all he was worth;[87] and how many merchants begin their commerce by the sale of their farms, which they send to the Indies,

Tot per impotentia freta?[88]

In so great a drying-up of piety we have thousands and thousands of colleges[89] which go on easily, awaiting every day, from the liberality of Heaven, what they must have to dine. In the second place, they do not consider that this certainty on which they rely is scarcely less uncertain and matter of chance than chance itself. I see poverty as near, outside of[90] two thousand crowns a year, as if it were close at hand. For besides the fact that fate has the power to open a hundred breaches for want to enter in through our riches, — (c) there being often no mean between the highest and the lowest fortune, —

Fortuna vitrea est; tunc, cum splendet frangitur;[91]

(b) and to turn topsy-turvy all our dikes and defences, I think that, from divers causes, indigence is as commonly seen to be domiciled with those who have wealth as with those who have none; and that perhaps it is somewhat less troublesome when it is alone than when it is in the company of riches, (c) which come rather from good management than from income: Faber est suæ quisque fortunæ.[92] (b) And an uneasy, timid rich man, full of affairs, seems to me more miserable than the man who is simply poor. (c) Im divitiis inopes, quod genus egestatis gravissimum est.[93] The greatest and wealthiest princes are, by poverty and dearth, commonly driven to extreme need. For is there any more extreme than to become consequently tyrants and unjust usurpers of the property of their subjects?

(b) My second condition was to have money, to which I so clung that I soon laid by a notable hoard, considering my position, deeming that a man has only so much as he possesses beyond his expenses and his ordinary outgo; and that he cannot rely upon the money which he is still only in hopes of receiving, however well-founded his hopes may be. For, I said to myself, what if I should be taken unaware by such or such an accident? And as the result of these futile and fallacious imaginings, I exerted my ingenuity to provide by these superfluous savings for all emergencies; and I could still reply to him who declared that the number of emergencies was too infinite, that, if it would not suffice for all, it would for some, aye, for many. This did not go on without painful solicitude. (c) I kept it secret; and I, who dare to talk so much about myself, spoke of my money only with untruths, as others do who, when rich, have the air of being poor, and, when poor, of being rich, and dispense their consciences from ever testifying honestly to what they have: an absurd and shameful sort of prudence. (b) Was I going on a journey — it never seemed to me that I was sufficiently provided; and the more I was laden with coin, the more also was I laden with fear, sometimes as to the safety of the roads, sometimes as to the fidelity of those who carried my luggage, about which, like others I know, I was never sufficiently sure unless I had it under my eyes. Did I leave my strong-box at home — what a multitude of suspicions, and thorny thoughts, and, what is worse, incommunicable ones! My mind was always turned in that direction. (c) Considering every thing, it is more trouble to at money than to get it. (b) If I did not conduct myself exactly as I say, at least it was difficult to prevent myself from doing so. I derived from this state little or no ease: (c) with more money to spend, expenditure weighed no less on me; (b) for, as Bion said, “A man with hair is as much displeased as a bald man, to have his hair pulled out.”[94] And when you are accustomed to a certain pile [of money] and have set your mind upon it, it is no longer at your service; (c) you would not dare to encroach upon it. (b) It is a structure which, so it seems to you, will crumble if you touch it; necessity must take you by the throat for it to be broken into. And I would have first pawned my clothes, and sold a horse, with much less reluctance and less repining than I would then have made a breach in that favored purse which I kept apart. But the danger lay in this, that with difficulty can one establish definite limits to this craving (c) (they are hard to find in respect to things which one thinks good) (b) and fix the moment to stop saving. One goes on ever and ever enlarging the heap, and raising it from one figure to another, to the point of churlishly depriving oneself of the enjoyment of one’s own property, and of putting it all under lock and key and making no use of it. (c) With this kind of use of money, the richest men in the world are those who guard the gates and walls of an important city. Every man who himself possesses money is avaricious, to my thinking. Plato marshals thus the goods belonging to the body or to external conditions: health, beauty, strength, wealth; and wealth, he says, is not blind, but very clear-sighted when it is enlightened by wisdom.[95] (b) Dionysius the younger showed an excellent graciousness in this matter.[96] He was told that one of his Syracusan subjects had hidden a treasure in the earth; he ordered him to bring it to him, which he did, secretly keeping back a part of it with which he went to another city, where, having lost his appetite for hoarding, he began to live more liberally. Learning of this, Dionysius ordered the rest of his hoard returned to him, saying that since he had learned how to use it, he gladly gave it back.

I remained several years in this stage.[97] I know not what good spirit most beneficially drove me out of it, like the Syracusan, and sent all that habit of saving to the winds, the pleasure of a certain very expensive journey having trampled underfoot that foolish fancy. Whence I have fallen into a third sort of existence (I say what I feel about it), certainly much more agreeable and better regulated — which is, that I make my outgo run evenly with my income: sometimes one is in advance, sometimes the other, but they are never far apart. I live from day to day, and content myself with having the wherewithal to supply my present and ordinary needs; as for the extraordinary ones, all the providing in the world would not suffice for them. (c) And it is madness to expect that Fortune herself ever arms us sufficiently against herself. It is with our own weapons that we must fight her. Haphazard weapons will betray us at the height of need. (b) If I now save, it is only with the expectation of some speedy outlay; and not to buy lands, (c) for which I have no use, (b) but to buy pleasure. (c) Non esse cupidum pecunia est, non esse emacem vectigal est.[98] (b) I have little fear that my means will give out, nor any desire that they shall increase. (c) Divitiarum fructus est in copia, copiam declarat satietas.[99] (b) And I am especially pleased that this change for the better came to me at an age that is naturally predisposed to avarice, and that I find myself quit of that malady so common to the old, and the most absurd of all human foibles.

(c) Feraulez, who had known both sorts of fortune, and had found that increase of possessions was not increase of appetite for drinking, eating, sleeping, and embracing his wife, and who, on the other hand, felt the urgency of household cares as a burden on his shoulders, as it is on mine, took it into his head to gratify a poor young man, his faithful friend, who was longing for wealth, and made him a present of all his riches, exceedingly great, and also of all that he was in the way of accumulating every day through the liberality of Cyrus, his kind master, and through war: on condition that this young man should undertake to maintain and support him honourably, as his guest and his friend. They thus lived from that time very happily, and both equally glad of the change in their condition.[100] That is a course which I should very heartily imitate. And I praise highly the fortune of an elderly prelate whom I know to have resigned his purse so completely, as to both receipts and expenditures, sometimes to one chosen servant, sometimes to another, that he has glided through many years in as great ignorance of his household affairs of that nature as any stranger. Confidence in another’s goodness is no slight testimony of one’s own goodness, therefore God freely favours it. And respecting him,[101] I know of no household more worthily or more consistently managed than his. Happy is he who has regulated his needs so accurately that his means can supply them without his being anxious or kept busied about them, whilst the spending or collecting of them does not interrupt other occupations that he follows, more suitable, more tranquil, and more after his own heart.

(b) Affluence, then, and indigence, depend on each man’s opinion; and renown and health, no less than wealth, have just so much charm and pleasure-giving as he who possesses them attributes to them. (c) Every one is in good or bad case according as he thinks himself to be so. Not he whom others believe to be well off, but he who believes it himself, is happy, and in that matter the belief alone creates essential truth. Fortune does us neither good nor harm; she simply offers us their material and seed, which our soul, more powerful than she,[102] turns and applies as it pleases, being the sole cause and controller of her own happy or unhappy state.[103] (b) External circumstances[104] take savour and colour from the internal constitution, just as our garments warm us, not with their warmth, but with our own, which they are adapted to keep in and nourish;[105] who should cover with them a cold body would obtain from them the same service for its coldness: thus snow and ice are preserved.

[106](a) Certainly just as study is torment to an indolent man and abstinence from wine to a drunkard, as frugality is abhorrent to the luxurious and exercise is distressful to an effeminate and slothful man, so it is with the rest. Things are neither so grievous nor so difficult in themselves, but our weakness and cowardice make them so. To judge of great and high things, one must have a mind of the same quality; otherwise we attribute to them the defect which is ours. A straight oar always looks crooked in the water. It does not matter that the thing simply is seen, but how it is seen.[107]

Now, amongst so many arguments which in divers ways urge men to despise death and to bear pain, do we not find one to serve us? And amongst all these varieties of ideas which have persuaded others, may not each man apply to himself the one most in accord with his nature? If he can not digest the cleansing purgative powerful to eradicate the evil, let him at least take a sedative to relieve it. (c) Opinio est quedam effeminata ac levis, nec in dolore magis quam eadem in voluptate: qua quum liquescimus fluimusque mollitia, apis aculeum sine clamore ferre non possumus. Totum in eo est ut tibi imperes.[108] (a) Moreover, we do not elude philosophy by exaggerating beyond measure the sharpness of sufferings and human weakness. For we coerce it to fall back upon these unanswerable retorts: if it be unfortunate to live in need, at least there is no need to live in need.[109] (c) No man is long in evil case save by his own fault.[110] He who has not the courage to support either death or life, who will neither resist nor fly — what shall be done with him?


  1. In the edition of 1595, this chapter became Chapter 40, and the numbers of all the intervening chapters were changed accordingly. Not until Chapter 41 is the numbering the same in all editions.
  2. M. F. Strowski, Montaigne (1906), p. 31.
  3. An illustration of such use may be quoted from a contemporary writer, Pierre de Changy: “Homere recite d’Hector qui previt la cité de Troye devoir estre enflammée et destruicte, n’avoir eu telle anxieté et fasherie de pere, mere, freres, parens et pays, qu’il eut de sa femme.” (Translation of a Latin work of Vivès, 1442.)
    M. Strowski, writing of the neo-stoicisme of the sixteenth century, remarks: “Ce mot de facherie, tant reproché à Montaigne, a un sens strict dans la langue de ce neo-stoicisme; Du Vair fait de la facherie une des passions de l’âme.”
  4. Epictetus, Enchiridion, 10. Montaigne probably took it from Stobæus, Sermon 117. This proverb — Ταράσσει τοὺς άνθρώπους οὐ τὰ πράγματα, άλλὰ τὰ περὶ τῶν πραγμάτων δόγματα — was inscribed in Greek on one of the beams of Montaigne’s library.
  5. De nous bander pour le party qui nous est le plus ennuyeux.
  6. Elles n’entrent en nous que par composition.
  7. Montaigne repeats the same thought in almost the same words in the Essay, “A Custom of the Isle of Cea,” Book II, chap. 3: Et ce n'est pas la recepte à une seule maladie: la mort est la recepte à tous maux.
  8. O death, would that thou wert not willing to take life from the craven, and that valour alone could obtain thee! — Lucan, IV, 580.
  9. See Cicero, Tusc. Disp., V, 40.
  10. This whole passage follows closely Seneca’s thought in Epistle 70.
  11. All these instances are taken from the Apologie d’Hérodote of H. Estienne (XV, 20).
  12. In 1588: que se departir de ses opinions, quelles qu’elles fussent.
  13. See Jean Bouchet, Annales d’ Aquitaine (1477). In the Édition Municipale the passage relating to the practice of suttee in the kingdom of Narsinga is inserted at this point; but in the edition of 1595 it is more appropriately placed a little further on. See page 67.
  14. Vogue la gailée!
  15. See Bonaventure Des Periers, Les Nouvelles Recreations.
  16. This name was often given by the Portuguese and others to Vijayanagar. The Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar included for 200 years, from the middle of the fourteenth to the middle of the sixteenth century, the whole of Southern India below the 15th degree of latitude.
  17. See Goulard’s translation of Bishop Osorio’s Histoire du roi Emmanuel de Portugal (1581).
  18. See Plutarch, Life of Brutus.
  19. See Diodorus Siculus, V, 29, and many other sources.
  20. John II reigned from 1481 to 1495. This whole narrative is sum- marised from Osorio’s Emmanuel of Portugal, of which Montaigne sometimes, as here, made use of the Latin text, and sometimes of Goulard’s translation.
  21. Reigned from 1495 to 1521.
  22. See Du Haillant, Histoire de France (1576). This sentence, which first appeared in 1595, is not found in the Édition Municipale.
  23. How often have not only our generals but whole armies dashed forward to meet certain death! — Cicero, Tusc. Disp., I, 37.
  24. Enracinee en son cueur par divers visages de discours.
  25. See Diogenes Laertius, Life of Pyrrho.
  26. Si nous en devenons plus lasches. This phrase, added in 1595, does not appear in the Édition Municipale.
  27. In 1588: pour sa commodité et avantage? In a letter written to M. de Mesmes (1570) Montaigne said: Tous ce qui est sous le ciel employe les moyens et les outils que nature luy a mis en main … pour l’agencement et commodité de son estre.
  28. See Cicero, Tusc. Disp., II, 6.
  29. See Idid., 25.
  30. Unless the senses be true, reason itself must be wholly deceived. — Lucretius, IV, 485.
  31. [Death] either has come or is yet to come; there is nothing in it of the present. — Étienne La Boëtie, Satire addressed to Montaigne.
  32. And death itself is easier to endure than the awaiting death. — Ovid, Heroïdes, X, 82 (Epistle of Ariadne to Theseus).
  33. Death is made an evil only by what follows death. — St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei, I, 11.
  34. Courage is eager for danger. — Seneca, De Providentia, IV.
  35. It is not from gaiety or sportiveness or laughter or jesting, companions of frivolity, that happiness is won; even austere men often achieve it by steadfastness and fortitude. — Cicero, De Fin., II, 20.
  36. The nobler the virtue, the more it costs us. — Lucan, IX, 404.
  37. Cicero, De Fin., II, 29. Translated by Montaigne before quoting. Cf. Seneca, Epistles 34 and 78.
  38. See Seneca, Epistle 78.
  39. Remember that the greatest sufferings are ended by death; that the little ones have many intermittences; that of those that are moderate we are the masters; that, if they are tolerable, we can bear them, but if not, when life is not agreeable to us, we can make our exit from it as from a theatre. — Cicero, De Fin., I, 15.
  40. In the early editions, including 1588, there followed here the clause, c'est d’avoir en trop de commerce avec le corps — a thought borrowed from Seneca, Epistle 78: Illud autem est quod imperitos in vexatione corporis male habet; non assueverent animo esse intensi; multum illis cum corpore fuit. On the Bordeaux copy of 1588 (Édition Municipale), Montaigne first substituted for this clause: Et de nous armer d’elle contre la mollesse du corps; this he afterwards struck out, and added the long passage that follows in the text, in which, however, he made many changes.
  41. That is, the soul.
  42. Tous autres accidens.
  43. Qui le tiennent sous boucle.
  44. Plato craint nostre engagement aspre a la dolur et a la volupte, d’autant qu'il oblige et atache par trop l’ame au corps. Moi plustost, au rebours, d’autant qu’il l’en desprent et descloue. See Plato, Phædo.
  45. See Seneca, Epistle 78.
  46. See Cicero, Tusc. Disp., II, 23.
  47. They suffered the more, the more they gave themselves up to suffering. — De Civ. Dei, I, 10.
  48. See Genesis, III, 16: In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.
  49. See Plutarch, Of Love, XXXIV.
  50. In 1580-1588: (car le larrecin y estoit action de vertu, mais par tel si qu'il estoit plus vilain qu’entre nous d’y estre surpris).
  51. See Plutarch, Lycurgus. Montaigne refers again to this and the following story, and comments on them, in Book II, chap. 32.
  52. The editions of 1580-1588 add: pour ne troubler le mystère. See Valerius Maximus, III, 3, ext. 1.
  53. Montaigne repeats this statement in Book I, chap. 23, Book II, chaps. 12 and 32.
  54. See Tusc. Disp., V, 27.
  55. Custom could never overcome nature, for she is invincible. But we have spoiled our minds with illusory pleasures and with the languor of idleness; we have weakened them with the charm of false belief in bad habits. — Ibid.
  56. See Livy, II, 12.
  57. See Seneca, Epistle 78, for this and the next anecdote.
  58. See Aulus Gellius, XII, 5.
  59. What ordinary gladiator ever uttered a groan? Which of them ever changed countenance? Which of them in fighting, or even in falling, showed cowardice? Which, when he had fallen, and was to receive his death-stroke, turned away his head? — Cicero, Tusc. Desp., II, 17.
  60. 1580: et l’en surnommoit on Madame l’Escorchée.
  61. They who are careful to pluck out by the roots their white hairs, and to make a new face by peeling off the skin. — Tibullus, I, 8.45. The true reading is Tollere tunc cura, etc.
  62. Pour faire un corps bien espaignolé. This word is used only by Montaigne, and by him only here. It is a French form of a Gascon word signifying habitude, facon d’être des Espagnols.
  63. Henri III. See de Thou (an. 1574).
  64. In 1595, this passage was so changed as to read: Quand je viens de ces fameux Estats de Blois, j’avois veu peu auparavant une fille en Picardie.
  65. See Guillaume Postel, Des Histoires Orientales (1540).
  66. A small Turkish silver coin.
  67. Porter la croix.
  68. The “witness” whom Montaigne refers to, he believed to be Joinville; but unfortunately the edition of his Chronicles which Montaigne read was extremely inaccurate, and this statement about King Louis is not found in modern editions.
  69. Eleanor. She married, first, Louis XI; then, Henry II of England.
  70. See Jean Bouchet, Annales d’Aquitaine.
  71. This was Fulke III, who died in 1040. Montaigne found this account in a French translation of the De Rebus Gestis Francorum, of Paulus Æmilius of Verona, published in 1539.
  72. Montaigne describes in the Journal of his travels a similar scene that he witnessed (some time after this passage was written) in Rome, on Good Friday, 1581.
  73. See Cicero, Tusc. Disp., III, 28.
  74. This “some one”’ was Gaston de Foix, comte de Gurson and de Fleix, marquis de Trans. One of his sons was the husband of the Diane de Foix to whom the essay, “De I’Institution des Enfans” (Book I, chap. 26) was dedicated. Montaigne wrote in his Ephemerides: Julius 29, 1587, le côte de Gurson, le côte de Fleix, & le chevalier, trois freres mes bôs Srs & amis, furent tués à Môcrabeau en Agenois en un côbat fort aspre pour la service du roi de Navarre.
  75. In 1595 this passage was made to read: qu’il ne la prinst à faveur et gratification singuliere du Ciel. Je n’ensuis ces humeurs monstreuses.
  76. So it is evident that the scourge of discomfort is not in nature, but in the mind. — Cicero, Tusc. Disp., III, 28.
  77. See Plutarch, Apothegms of Kings, etc.
  78. A fierce people who could not conceive of a life of peace. — Livy, XXXIV, 17. This sentence, beginning “Cato, when,” was manifestly inserted in the wrong place.
  79. St. Carlo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, 1538-1584.
  80. The philosopher Democritus. See Aulus Gellius, X, 17.
  81. La plus commune et la plus saine part des hommes.
  82. See Diogenes Laertius, Life of Thales.
  83. Sur quoi je m’advise que nous sommes grands mesnagiers de nostre mise. Selon qu’elle poise, elle sert de ce mesme qu’elle poise. Nostre opinion ne la laisse jamais courir a faus fret.
  84. Aristippus. Montaigne refers to this again in Book II, chap. 11. Among other sources, this statement is found in Diogenes Laertius (Life of Aristippus) and in Horace, Satires, II, 3. 100.
  85. See Seneca, Epistle 17
  86. En maniere que j’en rendoy une loyauté mesnagere et aucunement piperesse.
  87. See Plutarch, Life of Cæsar.
  88. Across so many raging straits. — Catullus, IV, 19.
  89. That is, associations of religion or of instruction.
  90. Au delà de.
  91. Fortune is as glass: when it is brilliant, it is fragile. — This sentence is from Publius Syrus; but Montaigne found it in the Politiques of Justus Lipsius, V, 18.
  92. Each man is the forger of his own fortune. — Sallust, De Republica Ordinanda, I, 1.
  93. Poor amid riches, which is the hardest kind of poverty. — Seneca, Epistle 74.
  94. Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi, VIII, 3.
  95. See the Laws, I, not far from the beginning, where Plato says not exactly this, but something like it.
  96. Montaigne is in error here: it was Dionysius the elder. See Plutarch, Apothegms of Kings, etc.
  97. That is, in the “second condition.” See page 83.
  98. Not to be covetous, is wealth; not to be spendthrift, is revenue. — Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum, VI, 3.
  99. The fruit of riches is abundance; contentment indicates abundance. — Cicero, Paradoxa, VI, 2.
  100. See Xenophon, Cyropædeia, VIII, 3.35—50.
  101. That is, the “elderly prelate.”
  102. Fortune.
  103. See Seneca, Epistle 98.
  104. Accessions: probably a misprint for accessoires.
  105. See Plutarch, Of Vice and Virtue.
  106. At this point we return to the text of the first edition (1580); beginning with the story of Quintus Maximus on page 79, all the intervening matter was added in 1588 or later.
  107. This whole passage is taken from Seneca, Epistle 71.
  108. There is a certain effeminate and frivolous humour, common both to pleasure and to pain, which so softens and melts us that we can not bear the sting of a bee without crying out. ... The whole matter turns on command of one’s self. — Cicero, Tusc. Disp., I, 22.
  109. See Seneca, Epistle 12: Malum est in necessitate vivere; sed in necessitate vivere necesstitatis nulla est.
  110. On the Bordeaux copy of 1588, Montaigne first wrote the source of this sentence: Nemo nisi sua culpa diu dolet; then erased it, and substituted this translation.