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michel de montaigne Quotes

Michel de Montaigne Quotes

Birth Date: 1533-02-28 (Tuesday, February 28th, 1533)
Date of Death: 1592-09-13 (Sunday, September 13th, 1592)



    • Que sais-je?
    • Je veux qu'on me voit en ma facon simple, naturelle, et ordinaire, sans etude et artifice; car c'est moi que je peins...Je suis moi-meme la matiere de mon livre.
    • Certes, c'est un subject merveilleusement vain, divers, et ondoyant, que l'homme. Il est malaise d'y fonder jugement constant et uniforme.
    • As for extraordinary things, all the provision in the world would not suffice.
    • In my opinion, every rich man is a miser.
    • Things are not bad in themselves, but our cowardice makes them so.
    • C'est de quoi j'ai le plus de peur que la peur.
    • Je veux que la mort me trouve plantant mes choux.
    • All the opinions in the world point out that pleasure is our aim.
    • He who would teach men to die would teach them to live.
    • The day of your birth leads you to death as well as to life.
    • Live as long as you please, you will strike nothing off the time you will have to spend dead.
    • Wherever your life ends, it is all there. The advantage of living is not measured by length, but by use; some men have lived long, and lived little; attend to it while you are in it. It lies in your will, not in the number of years, for you to have lived enough.
    • All of the days go toward death and the last one arrives there.
    • We must not attach knowledge to the mind, we have to incorporate it there.
    • Every other knowledge is harmful to he who does not have knowledge of goodness.
    • Un peu de chaque chose, et rien du tout, a la francaise.
    • I do not speak the minds of others except to speak my own mind better.
    • Since I would rather make of him an able man than a learned man, I would also urge that care be taken to choose a guide with a well-made rather than a well-filled head.
    • Parce que c'etait lui; parce que c'etait moi.
    • Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.
    • L'homme d'entendement n'a rien perdu, s'il a soimeme.
    • La plus grande chose du monde, c'est de savoir etre a soi.
    • There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.
    • C'est une epineuse entreprise, et plus qu'il ne semble, de suivre une allure si vagabonde que celle de notre esprit; de penetrer les profondeurs opaques de ses replis internes; de choisir et arreter tant de menus de ses agitations.
    • Mon metier et mon art, c'est vivre.
    • The easy, gentle, and sloping not the path of true virtue. It demands a rough and thorny road.
    • When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?
    • The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold...The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbor creates a war betwixt princes.
    • L'homme est bien insense. Il ne saurait forger un ciron, et forge des Dieux a douzaines.
    • Quelle verite que ces montagnes bornent, qui est mensonge qui se tient au dela?
    • Ceux qui ont apparie notre vie a un songe ont eu de la raison...Nous veillons dormants et veillants dormons.
    • How many valiant men we have seen to survive their own reputation!
    • A man may be humble through vainglory.
    • I find that the best goodness I have has some tincture of vice.
    • Saying is one thing and doing is another.
    • There were never in the world two opinions alike, any more than two hairs or two grains. Their most universal quality is diversity.
    • I will follow the good side right to the fire, but not into it if I can help it.
    • I speak the truth, not my fill of it, but as much as I dare speak; and I dare to do so a little more as I grow old.
    • Few men have been admired by their own households.
    • Chaque homme porte la forme, entiere de l'humaine condition.
    • It (marriage) happens as with cages: the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out.
    • Not because Socrates said so, but because it is in truth my own disposition - and perchance to some excess - I look upon all men as my compatriots, and embrace a Pole as a Frenchman, making less account of the national than of the universal and common bond.
    • There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thoughts under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
    • A man must be a little mad if he does not want to be even more stupid.
    • I have seen no more evident monstrosity and miracle in the world than myself.
    • It is more of a job to interpret the interpretations than to interpret the things, and there are more books about books than about any other subject: we do nothing but write glosses about each other.
    • For truth itself does not have the privilege to be employed at any time and in every way; its use, noble as it is, has its circumscriptions and limits.
    • Si, avons nous beau monter sur des echasses, car sur des echasses encore faut-il marcher de nos jambes. Et au plus eleve trone du monde, si ne sommes assis que sur notre cul.
    • Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.
    • A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.
    • A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.
    • Age imprints more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face.
    • Book III, ch. 2
    • Ambition is not a vice of little people.
    • An untempted woman cannot boast of her chastity.
    • Confidence in another man's virtue is no light evidence of a man's own, and God willingly favors such a confidence.
    • Book I, ch. 14
    • Courtesy is a science of the highest importance. It is, like grace and beauty in the body, which charm at first sight, and lead on to further intimacy and friendship, opening a door that we may derive instruction from the example of others, and at the same time enabling us to benefit them by our example, if there be anything in our character worthy of imitation.
    • Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil's alphabet- the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.
    • Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations.
    • Book I, ch. 7
    • Don't discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved.
    • Book III, ch. 8
    • Even from their infancy we frame them to the sports of love: their instruction, behavior, attire, grace, learning and all their words azimuth only at love, respects only affection. Their nurses and their keepers imprint no other thing in them.
    • Experience teaches that a strong memory is generally joined to a weak judgment.
    • Book I, ch. 9
    • Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.
    • Book I, ch. 39
    • Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.
    • Fortune, seeing that she could not make fools wise, has made them lucky.
    • Hath God obliged himself not to exceed the bounds of our knowledge?
    • He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.
    • He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
    • He who is not sure of his memory, should not undertake the trade of lying.
    • How many things we held yesterday as articles of faith which today we tell as fables.
    • I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing.
    • Book II, ch. 16
    • I do myself a greater injury in lying than I do him of whom I tell a lie.
    • Book II, ch. 17
    • I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.
    • Book III, ch. 9
    • I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
    • If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it.
    • In plain truth, lying is an accursed vice. We are not men, nor have any other tie upon another, but by our word.
    • In true education, anything that comes to our hand is as good as a book: the prank of a page-boy, the blunder of a servant, a bit of table talk- they are all part of the curriculum.
    • It is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others.
    • Book I, ch. 26
    • It is not death, it is dying that alarms me.
    • Book II, ch. 13
    • It is the mind that maketh good or ill, That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.
    • It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.
    • Book I, ch. 23
    • Labour not after riches first, and think thou afterwards wilt enjoy them. He who neglecteth the present moment, throweth away all that he hath. As the arrow passeth through the heart, while the warrior knew not that it was coming; so shall his life be taken away before he knoweth that he hath it.
    • Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.
    • Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.
    • Book III, ch. 5
    • Love to his soul gave eyes; he knew things are not as they seem. The dream is his real life; the world around him is the dream.
    • Make your educational laws strict and your criminal ones can be gentle; but if you leave youth its liberty you will have to dig dungeons for ages.
    • Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out.
    • Book III, ch. 5
    • Marriage, a market which has nothing free but the entrance.
    • My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.
    • No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.
    • No wind serves him who addresses his voyage to no certain port.
    • Book II, ch. 1
    • Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.
    • Book II, ch. 17
    • Nothing prints more lively in our minds than something we wish to forget.
    • Book II, ch. 12
    • Of all our infirmities, the most savage is to despise our being.
    • Book III, ch. 13
    • Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.
    • Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.
    • So it is with minds. Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination. ..And there is no mad or idle fancy that they do no bring forth in the agitation.
    • Book I, ch. 8
    • The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure.
    • The ceaseless labour of your life is to build the house of death.
    • Book I, ch. 20
    • The entire lower world was created in the likeness of the higher world. All that exists in the higher world appears like an image in this lower world; yet all this is but One.
    • The most manifest sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness; her state is like that in the regions above the moon, always clear and serene.
    • Book I, ch. 26
    • The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it.
    • The strangest, most generous, and proudest of all virtues is true courage.
    • The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them... Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will.
    • Book I, ch. 20
    • The way of the world is to make laws, but follow custom.
    • The world is all a carcass and vanity, The shadow of a shadow, a play And in one word, just nothing.
    • The world is but a perpetual see-saw.
    • The worst of my actions or conditions seem not so ugly unto me as I find it both ugly and base not to dare to avouch for them.
    • There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
    • There is a plague on Man, the opinion that he knows something.
    • There is a sort of gratification in doing good which makes us rejoice in ourselves.
    • book III, ch. 2
    • There is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom.
    • Book I, ch. 39
    • There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.
    • There is no passion so contagious as that of fear.
    • There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.
    • There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.
    • Book III, ch. 13
    • Those that will combat use and custom by the strict rules of grammar do but jest.
    • 'Tis the sharpness of our mind that gives the edge to our pains and pleasures.
    • Book I, ch. 14
    • Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.
    • We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.
    • Book I, ch. 25
    • We only labor to stuff the memory, and leave the conscience and the understanding unfurnished and void.
    • Book I, ch. 25
    • When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.
    • Who does not in some sort live to others, does not live much to himself.
    • Book III, ch. 10
    • Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, research is the means of all learning, and ignorance is the end.
    • Writing does not cause misery. It is born of misery.
    • michel de montaigne

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