The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 3

The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 3

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The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 3

The Essays of Michel de Montaigne - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Essays of montaigne.
book the third.
chapter I
of profit and honesty.

No man is free from speaking foolish things; but the worst on’t is, when a man studies to play the fool.

“Næ iste magno conatu magnas nugas dixerit.”

This does not concern me; mine slip from me with as little care as they are of little value, and ’tis the better for them. I would presently part with them for what they are worth, and neither buy nor sell them, but as they weigh. I speak on paper as I do to the first person I meet; and that this is true, observe what follows.

To whom ought not treachery to be hateful when Tiberius refused it in a thing of so great importance to him? He had word sent him from Germany that if he thought fit, they would rid him of Arminius by poison: this was the most potent enemy the Romans had, who had defeated them so ignominiously under Varus, and who alone prevented their aggrandisement in those parts. He returned answer, “that the people of Rome were wont to revenge themselves of their enemies by open ways, and with their swords in their hands, and not clandestinely and by fraud:” wherein he quitted the profitable for the honest. You

“Truly he, with a great effort, will say some mighty trifle.”— terence, Heaut., act iii. s. 4. the text is “Ne ista hercle magno jam conatu magnas nugas dixerit.”

Tacitus, Annal., ii. 88.

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