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date: 06 February 2023

Montaigne 1533–92
French moralist and essayist 

  1. The thing I fear most is fear.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 18; see Roosevelt
  2. One should always have one's boots on, and be ready to leave.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 20; see la Fontaine
  3. I want death to find me planting my cabbages, but caring little for it, and even less about the imperfections of my garden.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 20
  4. The value of life lies not in the length of days but in the use you make of them; he has lived for a long time who has little lived. Whether you have lived enough depends not on the number of your years but on your will.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 20
  5. It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 23
  6. I quote others only in order the better to express myself.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 25
  7. If I am pressed to say why I loved him, I feel it can only be explained by replying: ‘Because it was he; because it was me.’
    of his friend Étienne de la Boétie
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 28
  8. There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 31
  9. Everyone calls barbarism what is not customary to him.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 31
  10. Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 32
  11. There is scarcely any less bother in the running of a family than in that of an entire state. And domestic business is no less importunate for being less important.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 39
  12. A man should keep for himself a little back shop, all his own, quite unadulterated, in which he establishes his true freedom and chief place of seclusion and solitude.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 39
  13. The greatest thing in the world is to know how to be oneself.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 39
  14. Mon métier et mon art c'est vivre.
    Living is my job and my art.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 2, ch. 6
  15. When I play with my cat, who knows whether she isn't amusing herself with me more than I am with her?
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 2, ch. 12
  16. Que sais-je?
    What do I know?
    on the position of the sceptic
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 2, ch. 12
  17. Man is quite insane. He wouldn't know how to create a maggot, and he creates gods by the dozen.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 2, ch. 12
  18. Pleasure chews and grinds us.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 2, ch. 20
  19. There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 2, ch. 37
  20. Every man carries the entire form of human condition.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 3, ch. 2
  21. Every man's ordure well to his own sense doth smell.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 3, ch. 8, Florio's translation of 1603, quoting the Latin of Erasmus (1469–1536)
  22. There is no man, good as he may be, who, if all his thoughts and actions were submitted to the scrutiny of the laws, would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 3, ch. 9
  23. It could be said of me that in this book I have only made up a bunch of other men's flowers, providing of my own only the string that ties them together.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 3, ch. 12
  24. There is more business in interpreting interpretations than in interpreting things, and more books on books than on any other subject: all we do is gloss each other. All is a-swarm with commentaries: of authors there is a dearth.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 3, ch. 13
  25. A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
    Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 3, ch. 13
  26. On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.
    Essays (1580) bk. 3, ch. 13