Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Michel de
Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
1533
1592

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

Author Quotes

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.

We do not aim to correct the man we hang; we correct and warn others by him.

We easily enough confess in others an advantage of courage, strength, experience, activity, and beauty; but an advantage in judgment we yield to none.

We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticizes us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.

What more wretched than the man who is the slave of his own imaginings?

When I want to judge someone, I ask him how satisfied he is with himself, to what extent he is pleased with his words or his work.

It is an absolute perfection to know how to get the very most out of one's individuality.

Obstinacy and heat in argument are surest proofs of folly. Is there anything so stubborn, obstinate, disdainful, contemplative, grave, or serious, as an ass?

The things are most dear to us which have cost us most.

To forbid anything is the way to make us [have a mind] long for it.

It is easier to sacrifice great than little things.

Old age puts more wrinkles in our minds than on our faces; and we never, or rarely, see a soul that in growing old does not come to smell sour and musty. Man grows and dwindles in his entirety.

The truth is that it is contrary to the nature of love if it is not violent, and contrary to the nature of violence if it is constant.

True freedom is to have power over oneself for everything.

It is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others.

One must learn to endure what can't be escaped.

The truth of these days is not that which really is, but what ever man persuades another man to believe.

Truth is the first and fundamental part of virtue. We must love it for itself.

Knowledge is an excellent drug; but no drug has virtue enough to preserve itself from corruption and decay, if the vessel be tainted and impure wherein it is put to keep.

Other passions have objects to flatter the, and seem to content and satisfy them for a while; there is power in ambition, pleasure in luxury, and pelf in covetousness; but envy can gain nothing but vexation.

The virtue of the soul does not consist in flying high, but walking orderly; its grandeur does not exercise itself in grandeur, but in mediocrity.

Valor has its limits like the other virtues, and these limits once transgressed, we find ourselves on the path of vice; so that we may pass through valor to temerity, obstinacy, and madness, unless we know its limits well - and they are truly hard to discern near the borderlines.

Knowledge is the mother of all virtue; all vice proceeds from ignorance.

Petty vexations may at times be petty, but still they are vexations. The smallest and most inconsiderable annoyances are the most piercing. As small letters weary the eye most, so also the smallest affairs disturb us most.

Author Picture
First Name
Michel de
Last Name
Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Birth Date
1533
Death Date
1592
Bio

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