Ives The Essays of Montaigne/Volume 1/Chapter 21
OF THE POWER OF THE IMAGINATION
Again the first page is interesting from our interest in Montaigne personally. It was added in 1595. The next following ones may be skipped as simply illustrating the power of credulity in the matter of physical marvels, which Montaigne possessed in common with his contemporaries — which was a part of the ignorance of the age. But when he says, “Some attribute the scars of King Dagobert and of Saint Francis to the power of imagination,” we find here one of those thoughts of an entirely modern character which are frequent with him. The next sentence, “It is said that by it bodies are sometimes lifted from their places,” might have served as a motto a generation ago for the Theosophists. But he is in the truth when he says (“Of Custom,” p. 149 infra), “Miracles exist from our ignorance of Nature, not in Nature herself.”
In this Essay, as sometimes elsewhere, Montaigne carries his habitual frankness of speech to an extreme. He recounts some questionable physiological phenomena caused by the force of the imagination, and does not hesitate to call things by their names. It is to be remembered that refinement of language was not insisted upon in his day, and that, in the minds of his contemporaries, his freedom would excite no surprise or displeasure.
There is a passage of intelligent observation about animals, which are subject, like ourselves, to the power of imagination; but his discourse on beasts goes on to include some marvellous tales, resembling those we shall have to deal with later in the “Apology”; and about these he divests himself of responsibility by closing with a “So they say. For the anecdotes that I borrow, I refer them to the consciences of those from whom I receive them.” He regards his conclusions as founded on reason — as having, as it were, a sort of a priori truth; and if these examples happen to be false, and do not therefore strengthen his arguments, let some one else find others that do; there must be plenty of them, he thinks: “If I do not rightly comment on them, let another comment for me.” The last paragraph of the Essay adds Plutarch’s authority to this theory of the slightness of connection between a text and its illustrations. All the last page was added in 1595.
To return, for a moment, to an earlier page (139): where he now says: “Some one saw lately at my home a cat watching a bird,” he said in 1580, not “some one,” but “My father saw one day” — a pleasant little picture of the elder Montaigne walking in his garden with open eyes. And he says that all this Essay — “this vagary” — has arisen from a tale told him “by an apothecary in the household of my late father.”
Very original and interesting considerations of the historical truth in his own writings conclude the Essay.
FORTIS imaginatio generat casum, say the men of learning. I am one of those persons who feel a very great force in the imagination; (c) every one is aware of the shock, but some are overthrown by it. Its thrust transpierces me, and my art is to elude it, for lack of strength to resist it. I should live in the company only of healthy and joyous persons. The sight of another’s anguish causes me physical anguish, and my own sensations have often usurped the sensations of a third person. A cougher constantly coughing irritates my lungs and my throat; I visit more reluctantly sick people in whom duty interests me, than those who less demand my attention, and whom I think of less. I catch the disease I study and give it to myself. I do not think it strange that it brings fevers and death to those who let it have its way and who encourage it.
Simon Thomas was a great physician in his time. I remember that I met him one day at Toulouse, at the house of a rich old man whose lungs were affected; and that, while discussing with him means of curing him, he told him that one method was to give me reason to enjoy myself in his company, and that, fixing his eyes on the freshness of my complexion, and his mind on the cheerfulness and vigour that flowed from my youth, and filling all his senses with the blooming state in which I then was, his condition might be improved; but he forgot to say that mine might grow worse at the same time. (a) Gallus Vibius bent his mind so strongly to understand the essence and the actions of madness, that he dragged his judgement from its seat, so that he was never able to replace it there, and could boast of having become insane by wisdom. There are some who, from terror, anticipate the hand of the executioner; and he who was unbound that his pardon might be read to him, was found stark dead on the scaffold solely from the stroke of his imagination. We sweat, we tremble, we turn pale, and we blush at the assaults of our imagination, and, sunk in a feather-bed, feel our bodies shaken by their commotion, sometimes even to death. And ebullient youth is so greatly excited while sound asleep, that it satisfies in dreams its amorous desires.
Ut quasi transactis sæpe omnibus rebus profundant
Fluminis ingentes fluctus, vestemque cruentent.
And although it may be no new thing to see horns grow in the night on one who had none when he went to bed, nevertheless the case of Cyppus, King of Italy, is noteworthy, who, after he had been present during the day, with great zest, at a bull-fight, and had dreamed all night of horns, produced them on his head by the force of imagination. Passion gave to the son of Crœsus the voice that Nature had denied him. And Antiochus was seized by a fever because of the beauty of Stratonice too vividly imprinted on his soul. Pliny says that he saw Lucius Cossitius changed from a woman to a man on his wedding day. Pontanus and others tell of similar metamorphoses having occurred in Italy in times past; and because of his own and his mother’s vehement desire,
(b) Passing through Vitry le Francoys, I might have seen a man whom the Bishop of Soissons had christened Germain at his confirmation, and whom all the inhabitants of that place had seen and known as a girl, named Marie, up to the age of twenty-two. He was, when I was there, heavily bearded and old and unmarried. He says that, when making a certain effort in leaping, his virile parts appeared; and there is still current among the girls of that place a ballad in which they warn one another not to take long strides for fear of becoming boys, like Marie Germain. It is not very marvellous that this sort of accident happens frequently; for, if the imagination has power in such matters, it is so continually and so strongly turned to this subject that, not to be obliged to fall back so often upon the same thought and keenness of desire, it does better to incorporate this virile part in young women once and for all.
(a) Some attribute the scars of King Dagobert and St. Francis to the power of imagination. It is said that by it bodies are sometimes lifted from their places. And Celsus tells of a priest whose soul was ravished into such an ecstasy that his body remained a long time without breath and without feeling. (c) St. Augustine mentions another, who had only to hear grief-stricken and plaintive outcries when he would suddenly lose consciousness and be so completely carried out of himself that it was of no avail to storm at him, and shout, and pinch him, and scorch him, until he had come to; then he would say that he had heard voices, but as if coming from far away; and he would perceive his burns and bruises. And that it was not a secret wilful persistence in opposition to his real sensations was shown by the fact that he had meanwhile neither pulse nor breath.
(a) It is probable that the belief in miracles, enchantments, and such extraordinary matters, is due chiefly to the power of the imagination, acting principally on the minds of the common people, which are more easily impressed. Their credulity has been so strongly taken possession of, that they think they see what they do not see. I am also of this opinion, that these absurd marriage hindrances, by which our society finds itself so embarrassed that it talks of nothing else, are easily impressions of apprehension and fear. For it is within my own knowledge that a certain man, (b) for whom I can answer as for myself, (a) on whom could fall no suspicion of weakness and as little of sorcery, having heard an acquaintance of his tell the story of an extraordinary loss of manhood, into which he had fallen at a moment when there was least occasion for it, he finding himself in a similar position, the horror of this tale suddenly struck his imagination so vividly that he incurred in consequence a similar misadventure; (c) and thereafter was subject to relapses, the wretched memory of his impediment taunting him and tyrannising over him. Il trouva quelque remede à cette resverie par une autre resverie. C’est qu’advouant luy mesmes et preschant avant la main cette sienne sujetion, la contantion de son ame se soulageoit sur ce, qu’aportant ce mal comme attendu, son obligation en amoindrissoit et luy en poisoit moins. Quand il a eu loi, à son chois (sa pensée desbrouillée et desbandée, son corps se trouvant en son deu), de le faire lors premierement tenter, sesir et surprendre à la connoissance d’autruy, il s’est gueri tout net à l’endroit de ce subjet. A qui on a esté une fois capable, on n’est plus incapable, sinon par juste foiblesse.
(a) Ce malheur n’est à craindre qu’aux entreprinses, où nostre ame se trouve outre mesure tendue de desir et de respect, et notamment si les commoditez se rencontrent improveues et pressantes. On n’a pas moien de se ravoir de ce trouble. J’en scay, à qui il a servy d’y apporter le corps mesme, commencé à ressasier d’ailleurs, (c) pour endormir l’ardeur de cette fureur, et qui par l’aage se trouve moins impuissant de ce qu’il est moins puissant.
I know another to whom it was of service to be assured by a friend that he was supplied with a counter-battery of enchantments certain to shield him. It is worth while for me to tell how this came about. A count, highly esteemed, with whom I was very intimate, was marrying a fair lady who had been sought in marriage by one who was present at the nuptial feast; this caused great anxiety to his friends, and especially to an old lady, his kinswoman, who presided over the festivities and gave them at her house, and who was fearful of these enchantments — as she gave me to understand. I begged her to rely on me. I had by good luck, in my boxes, a certain small flat piece of gold on which were engraved some celestial signs, as a charm against sunstroke, and as a remedy for headache by placing it just on the suture of the skull; and, to keep it in place, it was sewn to a ribbon intended to be tied under the chin; an effect of the imagination akin to that of which we are talking. Jacques Pelletier, when staying at my house, had given me this odd present. I bethought myself now to make some use of it, and I told the count that he might have bad luck, like others, there being men in the company who would desire to give him trouble; but that he might go boldly to bed; that I would do him a friendly turn, and in his need would not withhold a miracle which was in my power, provided that he would promise on his honour to keep it absolutely secret; but when they came in the night to bring him refreshment, if things had gone ill with him, he should make me a certain signal. He had had his mind and his ears so belaboured that he found himself shackled by the disturbance of his imagination, and he gave me the signal at the appointed time. I whispered to him then to get up, on the pretext of turning us out, and to take, as if in sport, the night-robe that I wore (we were nearly of the same size), and to put it on whilst he followed my instructions: which were that, when we had gone out, he should withdraw to make water; should say certain prayers and go through certain motions thrice; that at each of the three times he should tie round his waist the ribbon which I put in his hand, and should very carefully place on his kidneys the medal that was attached to it, with the figure in a certain position; that, when this was done, and he had finally drawn the ribbon so tight that it could not be untied or moved from its place, he should return to his business, and not forget to throw my robe on his bed in such a way as to cover them both. Such idle tricks are the chief cause of the effect, the mind not being able to free itself from the idea that methods so strange are due to some abstruse knowledge; their inanity gives them weight and honour. In short, my figures certainly proved more Venerian than Solar, more powerful for action than for prevention. It was a sudden and odd impulse that led me to such a proceeding, far removed from my nature. I am a foe to subtle and deceptive acts, and I hate cunning, for myself, not only in amusements, but when profitable; if the act be not vicious, the road to it is. Amasis, King of Egypt, married Laodice, a very beautiful Greek girl; and he, who showed himself a well-behaved gallant elsewhere, found himself unable to enjoy her, and threatened to kill her, believing this to be some sorcery. As in things which exist only in the fancy, she urged him toward devotion; and having made his vows and promises to Venus, he found himself divinely restored the very first night after his oblations and sacrifices.
Now they do wrong to greet us with such coy, disagreeable, shrinking looks, which put out our fire while kindling it. The daughter-in-law of Pythagoras said that the woman who lay with a man should put aside her modesty with her clothes and put it on again with her clothes. L’ame de l’assaillant, troublée de plusieurs diverses alarmes, se perd aisement: et à qui l’imagination a faict une fois souffrir cette honte (et elle ne le fait souffrir qu’aux premieres accointances, d’autant qu’elles sont plus bouillantes et aspres, et aussi qu’en cette premiere connoissance, on craint beaucoup plus de faillir), ayant mal commencé, il entre en fievre et despit de cet accident qui luy dure aus occasions suivantes. (c) Les mariez, le temps estant tout leur, ne doivent ny presser, ny taster leur entreprinse, s’ils ne sont pretz; et vaut mieus faillir indecemmant à estrener la couche nuptiale, pleine d’agitation et de fievre, attendant une et une autre commodité plus privée et moins alarmée, que de tumber en une perpetuelle misere, pour s’estre etonné et desesperé du premier refus. Avant la possession prise le patient se doit, a saillies et divers temps, legierement essaier et offrir, sans se piquer et opiniastrer à se convaincre definitivement soy mesme. Ceus qui scavent leurs membres de nature docile, qu’ils se soignent seulement de contrepiper leur fantasie.
On a raison de remarquer l’indocile liberté de ce membre, s'ingerant si importunement, lors que nous n’en avons que faire, et deffaillant si importunement, lors que nous en avons le plus affaire, et contestant de l’authorité si imperieusement avec nostre volonté, refusant avec tant de fierté et d’obstination nos sollicitations et mentales et manuelles. Si toutesfois en ce qu’on gourmande sa rebellion, et qu’on en tire preuve de sa condemnation, il m’avoit payé pour plaider sa cause: à l’avanture mettrois-je en soupçon nos autres membres, ses compaignons, de luy estre allé dresser, par belle envie de l’importance et douceur de son usage, cette querelle apostée, et avoir par complot arme le monde à l’encontre de luy: le chargeant malignement seul de leur faute commune. For I ask you to consider whether there is one of the parts of our body that does not often refuse to work at our will, and does not often exert itself contrary to our will. They all have passions of their own, which awaken them and put them to sleep without our permission. How often do the involuntary movements of our features testify to the thoughts that we hold secret, and betray us to those about us! The same cause that animates the male member animates also, without our choice, the heart, the lungs, and the pulse, the sight of a charming object imperceptibly diffusing within us the flame of a feverish emotion. Is it those muscles and those veins alone that rise and subside, without the consent, not only of our will, but even of our thought? We do not command our hair to stand on end and our skin to quiver with desire or with fear; the hand often goes where we do not send it; the tongue becomes tied and the voice choked at their own time; the appetite for food and drink, even when, having nothing to cook, we would gladly forbid it, does not fail to stir up those parts that are subject to it, neither more nor less than this other appetite, and it abandons us as unseasonably, whenever it pleases. The organs that serve to discharge the bowels have their own dilatations and compressions, outside of and contrary to our wishes, as those have that serve to discharge our kidneys. And although, to establish the supreme power of our will, St. Augustine declares that he had seen a man who obliged his hinder parts to break wind as often as he chose, — which fact Vivès, his commentator, caps with another case in his own day, of systematised explosions, following the measure of verses which were pronounced, — this does not imply complete obedience in that organ; for is there one which is commonly more indiscreet and unruly? Moreover, I know one so turbulent and untractable that for forty years it has compelled its master to break wind at every breath, and with a constant and unremitting constraint, and so brings him near to death. And would to God that I knew only by hearsay how often our belly, by a single refusal to break wind, carries us even to the gates of a very agonizing death; and would that the emperor who gave us leave to break wind everywhere, had given us the power.
But our will, in behalf of whose claims we bring forward this reproach — with how much more semblance of truth can we charge her with rebellion and sedition, from her disorderliness and disobedience! Does she always desire what we would like her to desire? Does she not often desire, and to our evident injury, what we forbid her to desire? Does she allow herself to be guided by the conclusions of our judgement? Enfin, je dirois pour monsieur ma partie, que plaise a considerer qu’en ce faict, sa cause estant inseparablement conjointe a un consort, et indistinctement on ne s’adresse pourtant qu’a luy, et par des argumens et charges telles, veu la condition des parties, qu’elles ne peuvent aucunement appartenir ny concerner son dict consort. Car l’effect d’iceluy est bien de convier inopportunement par fois, mais refuser, jamais; et de convier encore tacitement et quietement. Partant se voit l’animosité et l’illegalité manifeste des accusateurs. However that may be, Nature, making it clear that lawyers and judges idly wrangle and pass sentence, will meanwhile go her way, who would have done no more than right had she endowed the male member with some peculiar privilege, the author of the sole immortal work of mortals. For this reason, procreation is a divine act according to Socrates; and love, desire of immortality, and itself an immortal spirit. (a) Perchance one man, by this effect of imagination, leaves here the king’s evil that another carries back to Spain. We see, therefore, that in such matters we are wont to require an expectant mind. Why do physicians make use beforehand of the credulity of their patients by so many false promises of recovery, if not that the action of imagination may come to the aid of the imposture of their decoctions? They know that one of the masters of their profession left them in writing the statement that there have been men with whom the mere sight of a medicine did its work; and I have been led to take in hand this vagary by a tale told me by an apothecary in the household of my late father, a simple-minded man, a Swiss, — a nation not unintelligent and little given to lying, — of having known for a long time a tradesman at Toulouse, a sickly man, and subject to the stone, who was often in need of injections, and had them differently prepared by physicians according to the phases of his disease. When they were brought, none of the usual forms was omitted: often he felt of them, to judge if they were too hot; and then he was to be seen on his stomach, every thing in readiness, but no injection was administered. The apothecary having withdrawn after this ceremony, the patient being arranged as if he had actually taken the injection, the same effect was produced as on those who take them. And if the physician found the operation insufficient, he would give him two or three more in the same way. My witness swears that, to save the expense (for he paid for them as if he had taken them), the sick man’s wife having tried sometimes to do with only warm water, the result betrayed the imposture, and that sort being found to be useless, it was necessary to return to the first method.
A woman, thinking that she had swallowed a pin with her bread, cried out and bewailed herself as if she had an intolerable pain in her gullet where she thought she felt that it had lodged; but because there was neither swelling nor un-
usual appearance outside, a clever man, having concluded that it was only fancy, an idea suggested by a piece of crust that had pricked her as it went down, made her vomit, and stealthily tossed a bent pin into what she threw up. Believing that she had thrown it up, the woman immediately felt relieved of her pain. I know that a gentleman who had entertained a large company at his house bragged three or four days afterward — by way of jest, for there was no truth in it — that he had made them eat a cat in a pasty; at which a young lady of the party was so horror-struck that she fell into such great weakness of the stomach and fever, that it was impossible to save her.
The very beasts are seen to be subject, like ourselves, to the power of the imagination: witness the dogs who die of grief for the loss of their masters; we see that they, too, bark and tremble when dreaming, and that horses whinny and struggle.
But all this may be attributed to the close connection between the mind and the body, interchanging their conditions. It is another matter that the imagination may sometimes act, not only against its own body, but against the body of another; and just as one body passes a disease on to its neighbour as is seen in the plague, in small-pox, and sore eyes, which are communicated from one to another,—
Dum spectant oculi læsos, læduntur et ipsi,
Multaque corporibus transitione nocent, —
so the imagination, being violently roused, launches shafts which may hit a distant object. In ancient times it was believed that certain women in Scythia, being aroused and angered against some one, killed him with a single look. Tortoises and ostriches hatch their eggs by only looking at them — a proof that they possess some ejaculatory power. And as for magicians, they are said to have baleful and malignant eyes: —
But to my mind magicians are poor sureties. However, we know by experience that women transmit to the bodies of children in their womb the marks of their fantasies — witness her who gave birth to the Moor. And there was brought to Charles, King of Bohemia and Emperor, a girl from near Pisa, all hairy and rough, whom her mother declared to have been so conceived because of an image of St. John the Baptist that hung by her bed. With animals it is the same; witness Jacob’s sheep, and the partridges and hares turned white by the snow on the mountains. Some one saw lately at my home a cat watching a bird at the top of a tree; and after they had gazed fixedly at each other for some time, the bird let itself drop as if dead into the cat’s paws, either bewildered by its own imagination, or drawn by some power of attraction in the cat. Those who like hawking have heard the story of the falconer who, fixing his eyes persistently on a kite in the air, wagered that he would bring it down simply by the power of his eyes, and did it, so they say.
For the anecdotes that I borrow, I refer them to the consciences of those from whom I receive them; (b) the inferences are my own, and are derived from the evidence of common sense, not of experience; every one can add his own examples, and let him who has none not fail to believe that there are plenty of them, because of the number and variety of the chances. (c) If I do not rightly comment on them, let another comment for me. In the study that I enter upon of our manners and acts, fabulous testimonies, provided that they are possible, serve as well as true ones. Whether it really happened or not, at Rome or at Paris, to Peter or to John, it is always an illustration of what is contained in men’s minds, of which I am advantageously informed by the tale. I see it and profit by it, whether it be a shadow or a solid body. And of the different forms that histories often contain, I make use of that which is most unusual and memorable. There are authors whose object it is to narrate real events. Mine, if I should be able to attain it, would be to tell of what is possible to happen. The schools are rightly permitted to imagine examples when they have none. I do not do so, however, and in that respect I surpass in scrupulous conscientiousness all the fidelity of historians. In the examples which I here derive from what I have heard, done, or said, I have forbidden myself to venture to change even the most trivial and unimportant details. Consciously I do not falsify one iota; unconsciously, I can not say.
It sometimes comes into my mind about this matter, how it can be that it well befits a theologian, a philosopher, and such-like persons of delicate and accurate conscience and prudence, to write history. How can they rest their faith on a popular faith? how be responsible for the thoughts of unknown persons, and put forth their conjectures as of value? About actions with divers phases which take place in their presence, they would refuse to give evidence sworn to before a magistrate, and they know no man so intimately that they would be ready to answer fully regarding his intentions. I hold it less hazardous to write of past than of present matters, inasmuch as the writer then has only to produce a borrowed assertion. Some people urge me to write of the affairs of my own time, judging that I view them with eyes less impaired by passion than other men, and at closer quarters, because of the access which fortune has given me to the chiefs of different parties. But they do not recognise that I would not, for the fame of Sallust, take the trouble to do this, being a sworn foe to obligation, to assiduity, to perseverance; that there is nothing so contrary to my style as a long narrative, I am stopped short so often by lack of breath; I have no skill in composition or exposition; I am more ignorant than a child of the words and phrases used for the commonest things. Therefore I have undertaken to say what I know how to say, accommodating the matter to my powers; if I should take a subject to be followed up, my measure might fall short of my topic; and were my liberty so free, I might publish opinions which, even according to my own judgement and to reason, are unlawful and punishable. Plutarch would readily acknowledge, concerning what he wrote, that it is due to others if his examples are wholly and always true; if they are profitable to posterity and presented with a brilliancy that lights our way to virtue, that is due to him. It is not of importance in an ancient tale, as it is in a medicinal drug, that it should be thus or thus.
- A strong imagination begets the event. — Source unknown.
- Chacun en est heurté, mais aucuns en sont renversez. In 1580-1588, the sentence read: Chacun en est feru, mais aucuns en sont transformez.
- That is, the imagination.
- Later, in chapter 12 of Book II, Montaigne exclaims: Combien en a rendu malades la seule force de l’imagination!
- These two words were added in 1594, which fact would seem to indicate that one, or both, of the editors of 1595 had heard the story from Montaigne’s lips and knew who the “rich old man” was.
- That is, the old man.
- See Seneca (Rhetor), Controversia, IX.
- S’eschauffe si avant en son harnois.
- Lucretius, IV, 1035.
- There are tales and references, more or less full, in Valerius Maximus, Pliny, and Ovid, of or to some Cyppus who suddenly found himself behorned; but none of these mentions the combat des taureaux, or speaks of it as an effect of imagination. Montaigne seems to have taken the story from the Diverses Leçons of Pierre Messie (1552).
- This story is told by Herodotus (I, 85); but Montaigne did not read Herodotus till a later date than that at which this Essay was written, and consequently did not derive it from him.
- See Lucian, On the Goddess of Syria; Plutarch, Life of Demetrius.
- See his Natural History, VII, 4.
- As a boy Iphis paid the vows that as a girl he had made. — Ovid, Metamorphoses, IX, 794. The first word, in the original, is Dona.
- Montaigne tells the same story in his Journal de Voyage.
- See De Civ. Dei, XIV, 24.
- A qui il ne falloit que faire ouir.
- Ces plaisantes liaisons des mariages.
- This impuissant — puissant is a typical example of a characteristic peculiarity of Montaigne’s style.
- Jacques Pelletier of Mans (1517-1582), whom Sainte-Beuve speaks of as mathematicien, physicien, médécin, grammairien, et avec tout cela versificateur habile.
- Luy porter le resveillon.
- Se demesler.
- Gentil compaignon par tout ailleurs.
- See Herodotus, II, 181. Montaigne gives a twist of his own to this story, to make it an illustration of the force of imagination. It was Laodice, not Amasis, who made væux et promesses à Venus.
- That is, the women.
- It was Theano, his wife. See Diogenes Laertius, Life of Pythagoras.
- M. Pierre Villey points out that Montaigne was here inspired by a chapter of St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, XIV, 24), and replies to it. In M. Villey’s words: La thèse est que c’est par suite du péché original que la volonté n’est plus obéié de ce membre comme des autres.
- See St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei, XIV, 24, and the commentary of Vivès thereon.
- Qu’il tient son maistre a peter d'une haleine.
- See Suetonius, Life of Claudius. This last sentence does not appear in the Édition Municipale.
- This last sentence does not appear in the Édition Municipale.
- This passage is as incoherent in the original as in translation. Montaigne, it would seem, had in mind Socrates’s conversation with Diotima, reported in the Symposium. His words recall Diotima’s saying: Viri sane mulierisque congressu fœtus partusque proverit. Est autem opus hoc divinum, et in animali ipso mortali immortale hoc est conceptio scilicet et generatio. This is the Latin translation of Ficino, which Montaigne habitually used.
- Guillaume de Maris. See Messie, Diverses Leçons, II, 7.
- See Lucretius, III, 493, and passim. Cf. Book II, chap. 12, infra: car un cheval accustumé aux trompettes, aux harquebusades, et aux combats, que nous voyons tremousser et fremir en dormant, estendu sur sa litiere, comme s’il estoit en la meslée, il est certain qu’il conçoit en son ame un son de tambourin sans bruict, une armée sans armes et sans corps.
- When eyes behold eyes in pain, they become painful themselves; and many things harm our bodies by contagion. — Ovid, Remedium Amoris, 615.
- See Pliny, Natural History, VII, 2.
- De la seule veue. See Pliny, Natural History, IX, 12.
- See Pierre Messie, Diverses Leçons, II, 7.
- I know not whose evil eye bewitches my tender lambs. — Virgil, Eclogues, III, 103.
- This refers to an anecdote told by St. Jerome, and repeated in all the sixteenth-century dissertations on the force of the imagination, almost always accompanied by the two facts that follow it in Montaigne, the “girl from near Pisa” and “Jacob’s sheep.”
- See Genesis, XXX, 38 ff.
- See Ambroise Paré, Des Monstres.
- In 1580: Mon père vit un jour.
- The Essay ended here in the editions previous to 1588.
- Si je ne comme bien, qu’un autre comme pour moy. In the first part of this addition the Édition Municipale shows the various forms in which Montaigne tentatively expressed his thought before making a final decision. At this point he added, then deleted: Ce n’est pas mal parler que mal comer.
- Un tour de l’humaine capacité.