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

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.

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.

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

I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.

Nothing is so firmly believed as that which [we least know]a man knoweth least.

The premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty; he who has learnt to die has forgot to serve.

There is no existence that is constant, either of our being or of that of objects. And we, and our judgment, and all mortal things go on flowing and rolling unceasingly. Thus nothing certain can be established about one thing by another, both the judging and the judged being in continual change and motion.

I quote others [in order to better express my own self] only the better to express myself.

Nothing so deeply imprints anything in our memory as the desire to forget it.

The recognition of virtue is not less valuable from the lips of the man who hates it, since truth forces him to acknowledge it; and though he may be unwilling to take it into his inmost soul, he at least decks himself out in its trappings.

There is no passion that so much transports men from their right judgments as anger. No one would demur upon punishing a judge with death who should condemn a criminal upon the account of his own choler; why then should fathers and pedants be any more allowed to whip and chastise children in their anger? It is then no longer correction but revenge. Chastisement is instead of physic to children; an should we suffer a physician who should be animated against and enraged at his patient?

Idleness, the mother of corruption.

Obstinacy and contention are common qualities, most appearing in, and best becoming a mean and illiterate soul.

The soul [that] has no established aim loses itself.

There is still more intelligence needed to teach others than to be taught.

In truth, knowledge is a great and very useful quality; those who despise it give evidence enough of their stupidity. But yet I do not set its value at that extreme measure that some attribute to it, like Herillus the philosopher, who placed in it the sovereign good, and held that it was in its power to make us wise and content. That I do not believe, nor what others have said, that knowledge is the mother of all virtue, and all vice is produced by ignorance. If that is true, it is subject to a long interpretation.

Obstinacy and dogmatism are the surest signs of stupidity. Is there anything more confident, resolute, disdainful, grave and serious than an ass?

The thing [of which I have most fear] I fear most is fear.

To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and province, but order and tranquillity in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, to rule, to lay up treasure, to build, are at most but little appendices and props.

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?

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