Wednesday 1 January 2020

Montaigne on life and death

I am rereading Montaigne, who bored me to death in the Penguin translation when I was fourteen. I am doing so partly because a friend told me I reminded him of Montaigne and partly because I bought an Edwardian edition that fits into my jacket pocket and helps me escape the Internet. Here are some quotations.

He still rather bores me but I like Florio's prose.

Life in itself is neither good nor evil: it is the place of good or evil, according as you prepare it for them. And if you have lived one day, you have seen all: one day is equal to all other days: There is no other light, there is no other night. This Sun, this Moon, these Stars, and this disposition is the very same that your forefathers enjoyed, and which shall also entertain your posterity.

An unattempted lady could not vaunt of her chastity.

I am much afraid that we shall have very greatly hastened the decline and ruin of the New World by our contagion, and that we will have sold it our opinions and our arts very dear.

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.

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