The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 2

The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 2

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The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 2

The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Such as make it their business to oversee human actions, do not find themselves in anything so much perplexed as to reconcile them and bring them into the world’s eye with the same lustre and reputation; for they commonly so strangely contradict one another that it seems impossible they should proceed from one and the same person. We find the younger Marius one while a son of Mars, and another a son of Venus. Pope Boniface viii. entered, it is said, into his Papacy like a fox, behaved himself in it like a lion, and died like a dog; and who could believe it to be the same Nero, the perfect image of all cruelty, who, having the sentence of a condemned man brought to him to sign, as was the custom, cried out, “O, that I had never been taught to write!” so much it went to his heart to condemn a man to death. All story is full of such examples, and every man is able to produce so many to himself, or out of his own practice or observation, that I sometimes wonder to see men of understanding give themselves the trouble of sorting these pieces, considering that irresolution appears to me to be the most common and manifest vice of our nature: witness the famous verse of the player Publius,

Seneca, De Clementia, ii. 1.

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