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cepts;[1] and let him boldly forget, if he will, whence he gets them, but let him learn to appropriate them to himself.[2] Every man may lay claim to truth and reason; they are no more his property who first uttered them than his who utters them later. (c) It is no more according to Plato than according to me, since he and I understand it and see it alike. (a) The bees pilfer from the flowers here and there,[3] but later of their booty they make honey, which is all their own; it is no longer thyme or marjoram. So with the parts borrowed from others: he will transform and blend them, to make from them a work all his own, namely, his judgement; his education, his labour, and study have no other aim than to fashion that.

(c) Let him conceal all that by which he has been helped, and show forth only what he has made of it.[4] Plunderers and borrowers exhibit their buildings and their purchases, not what they derive from others. You do not see the fees of a parliament man, you see the alliances he has gained, and honours for his children. No one makes a public accounting of his receipts, every one of his profits. The profit of our study is to have become better and wiser thereby. (a) It is the understanding which sees and hears, said Epicharmus; it is the understanding which turns every thing to profit, which makes use of every thing, which acts, which commands, and which reigns; all things else are blind and deaf and soulless.[5] Unquestionably we make it servile and cowardly when we do not leave it free to do aught of itself. Who ever asked his pupil what he thought (b) of the rhetoric and the grammar (a) of this or that sentence of Cicero? They fasten them tight to our memory,[6] like oracles, in which the letters and syllables are of the substance of the thing. (c) To know by heart is not to know: it is to possess what has been given into the keeping of one’s memory. What we rightly know, we make use of without looking at the pat-

  1. See Seneca, Epistle 84.
  2. See Idem, Epistle 12.
  3. See Idem, Epistle 84; Plutarch, On Hearing.
  4. See Seneca, Epistle 84.
  5. See Plutarch, Which animals are the more crafty, etc.
  6. On nous les placque en la memoire toutes empennées.