BOOK I, CHAPTER XXVI
(c) nunquam tutelæ suæ fiunt. (b) I saw familiarly at Pisa an excellent man, but such an Aristotelian that his strongest opinion is that the touchstone and canon of all truth is conformity to the teachings of Aristotle; that outside of these there are nothing but chimeras and inanities; that he saw every thing and said every thing. This position of his, because it was interpreted a little too broadly and maliciously, placed him in old times, and kept him for a long while, in great danger from the Inquisition at Rome.
(a) Let him make him sift every thing, and lodge nothing in his brain on authority merely and on trust; let not Aristotle’s principles be his principles, any more than those of the Stoics or Epicureans; let this diversity of opinions be put before him: he will choose if he can; if not, he will remain in doubt. (c) None but a fool is sure and determined.
For if he embraces the opinions of Xenophon and of Plato by his own judgement, they will no longer be their opinions, they will be his. (c) He who follows another, follows nothing, finds nothing, nay, seeks nothing. Non sumus sub rege; sibi quisque se vindicet. Let him at least know what he knows. (a) He must imbibe their ideas, not learn their pre-
- They never become their own masters. — Seneca, Epistle 33.
- Un honneste homme.
- Dogme. This word was introduced into the French language by Montaigne.
- Inanité also was first used by Montaigne.
- Accessoire = malencontre. Cf. Molière, École des Femmes, IV, 6:
Et tout ce qu’elle a pu, dans un tel accessoire,
C’est de me renfermer dans une grande armoire.
“Ce dernier sens,” says Littré, “tombé en désuétude, est ancien.”
- Tout passer par l’estamine.
- This last clause, inserted on the Bordeaux copy, then stricken out, then restored, was omitted in the edition of 1595.
- For doubt, not less than knowledge, pleases me. — Dante, Inferno, XI, 93. Taken by Montaigne from Guazzo’s Civil Conversation. This verse first appeared in the second edition of the Essays (1582).
- See Seneca, Epistle 33.
- We are not subject to a king; let each man claim his rights. — Ibid.