Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Michel de
Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

French Renaissance Writer, Moralist, Essayist, Father of Modern Skepticism

Author Quotes

I see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether the things are so.

The beautiful souls are they that are universal, open, and ready for all things.

In all things except those that are simply bad, change is to be feared: change of seasons, winds, food, and humors. And no laws are held in their true honor except those to which God has given some ancient duration, so that no one knows their origin or that they were ever different.

The great and glorious masterpiece of humanity is to know how to live [to] with a purpose.

It is harder to keep money than to get it.

The greatest thing in the world, is for a man to know how to be [oneself] his own [self-sufficient].

It is not the last step that causes weariness: it only declares it.

The highest wisdom [most manifest sign of wisdom] is continual cheerfulness; such a state, like the region above the moon, is always clear and serene.

It is uncertain where death awaits us; let us await it everywhere. Premeditation of death is premeditation of freedom. He who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. Knowing how to die frees us from all subjection and constraint. There is nothing evil in life for the man who has thoroughly grasped the fact that to be deprived of life is not an evil.

The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom... It may be said with some plausibility that there is an abecedarian (meaning alphabetically or rudimentary) ignorance that comes before knowledge, and another doctoral ignorance that comes after knowledge; ignorance that knowledge creates and engenders, just as it undoes and destroys the first.

It takes a lot of self-love and presumption to have such esteem for one’s own opinions that to establish them one must overthrow the public peace and introduce so many inevitable evils, and such a horrible corruption of morals, as civil wars and political changes bring with them in a matter of such weight - and introduce them into one’s own country.

A father is very miserable who has no other hold on his children's affection than the need they have of his assistance, if that can be called affection.

Leave a little to nature: she understands her business better than we do.

A tutor should not be continually thundering instruction into the ears of his pupil, as if he were pouring it though a funnel, but induce him to think, to distinguish, and to find out things for himself; sometimes opening the way, at other times leaving it for him to open; and so accommodate his precepts to the capacity of his pupil.

Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.

A victory is no victory unless it put an end to the war.

Man is the sole animal whose nudities offend his own companions, and the only one who, in his natural actions, withdraws and hides himself from his own kind.

A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.

Many things seem greater by imagination than be effect.

All the opinions in the world point out that pleasure is our aim.

My trade and art is to live.

All philosophy is divided into these three types. Its purpose is to seek out truth, knowledge and certainty.

Not in theory, but in truth, the best and most excellent government for each nation is the one under which it has preserved its existence. Its form and essential fitness depend on habit. We are prone to be discontented with the present state of things. But I maintain, nevertheless, that to wish for the government of a few in a democratic state, or another type of government in a monarchy, is foolish and wrong.

All the wisdom and discourse of the world turns in the end upon this point, to teach us not to fear to die.

Philosophy is doubt.

Author Picture
First Name
Michel de
Last Name
Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Birth Date
Death Date

French Renaissance Writer, Moralist, Essayist, Father of Modern Skepticism