ESSAYS OF MONTAIGNE
see every day without note and without displeasure. The elder Dionysius was a very great commander in war, as befitted his position; but he laboured to obtain commendation chiefly for his poetry; which indeed he knew little about.
(c) By such procedure you never attain any thing worth while. (a) Thus the architect, the painter, the shoemaker should always be thrown back, each on his own interests. And in this connection, when reading history, which is everybody’s subject, I am wont to consider who the writers of it are: if they are persons who practise no other profession than letters, I attend mainly to their style and language; if they are physicians, I believe them more readily in what they tell us of the temperature, of the health and constitution of princes, of wounds and diseases; and, if jurists, there must be studied in them the controversies about rights, the laws, the foundations of governments, and such matters; if theologians, affairs of the church, ecclesiastical censures, dispensations, and marriages; if courtiers, manners and ceremonial; if military men, such things as pertain to their profession, and, chiefly, accounts of the exploits in which they have personally taken part; if ambassadors, diplomatic practices, private information, usages, and the ways to carry them on. For this reason, that which I should have passed over in another without pausing, I have noted and weighed in the history of the Seigneur de Langey, who was very well informed in such matters. It is what follows his report of those fine reasonings of the Emperor Charles the Fifth before the consistory at Rome, in the presence of the Bishop of Maçon and the Seigneur de Velly, our ambassadors, wherein he had introduced many insulting remarks about us, and among other things had said that, if his
- See Diodorus Siculus, XV, 6. Montaigne speaks of this more at length in the essay “Of Presumption,” Book II, chap. 17.
- The slow ox desires saddle and bridle; the horse desires to plough. — Horace, Epistles, I, 14.43.
- Les menees, intelligences, et pratiques.
- Guillaume du Bellay.
- See du Bellay, V.