Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Montaigne: Words of Insight

I’m dipping back in a Montaigne again (much too large a body of work to cross in a single attempt), and because this sage can’t be improved upon by me, I’ll share a bit from his essay “Defense of Seneca and Plutarch” (Frame translation).

“For my part, I consider some men very far above me, especially among the ancients; and although I clearly recognize my inability to follow them with my steps, I do not fail to follow them with my eyes and judge the powers that raise them so high, of which I perceived in some degree the seeds in me, as I do also of the extreme baseness of some minds, which does not astonish me and which I do not disbelieve either. I well see the method which the great souls use to raise themselves, and I wonder at their greatness. And the flights that I find very beautiful, I embrace; and if my powers to no reach them, at last my judgment applies itself to them very gladly.” (Frame, Every Man Library Edition, p. 665-666.)

How magnificent! More to follow later, as I’ve embarked on “Of husbanding your will”.

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