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ever promise may be made to him, whatever advantage he may see therein.” (c) I know another who has forwarded his fortunes beyond all hope by having taken directly contrary advice. The courage of which they seek the glory so eagerly displays itself, when there is need, as nobly in a doublet as in armour; in the study as in camp; with the hand at the side as with hand upraised.[1]

(b) Prudence, so sensitive and so circumspect, is the mortal enemy of lofty actions. (c) Scipio, to discover the intentions of Syphax, ventured to leave his army, abandoning Spain, still insecure after his recent conquest, and crossed over to Africa in two small barks, trusting himself on hostile territory, to the power of a barbarian king, to an unknown faith, without any pledge, without hostage, under the sole security of the mightiness of his own courage, of his good fortune, and of the promise of his lofty hopes.[2] Habita fides ipsam plerumque fidem obligat.[3] (b) On the other hand, an ambitious and distinguished life must give way little to suspicions, and must hold a tight rein on them;[4] fear and distrust attract crime and invite it. The most suspicious of our kings[5] assured his transactions chiefly through having voluntarily abandoned and entrusted his life and liberty to the hands of his enemies, showing that he had entire confidence in them, to the end that they might have the same in him. To his legions when they had mutinied and risen in arms against him, Cæsar opposed only the authority of his countenance and the haughtiness of his speech, and counted so fully on himself and his fortune that he did not fear to give himself up and entrust himself to a seditious and rebellious army.

  1. This addition on the margin of the Bordeaux copy is in the handwriting of Mlle. de Gournay; but certain words were stricken out in Montaigne’s manner and probably by his hand.
  2. See Livy, XXVIII, 17.
  3. Faith in another often makes reciprocal faith obligatory. — Livy, XXII, 22. It is impossible to reproduce exactly the play upon words permitted in Latin by the two-fold meaning of fides: trust (confidence), and good faith.
  4. A une vie ambitieuse et fameuse il faut, au rebours, prester peu, et porter la bride courte aux soubçons.
  5. Louis XI.