Michel de Montaigne Quotes

Most popular Michel de Montaigne Quotes

I quote others only to better express myself.
— Michel de Montaigne

quotations

Habit is second nature.
— Michel de Montaigne
Pleasure chews and grinds us.
— Michel de Montaigne

unhappiness

One may be humble out of pride.
— Michel de Montaigne
Cowardice is the mother of cruelty.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

cowardice cruelty

The world is but a school of inquiry.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

the world

Ambition is not a vice of little people.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

ambition

No noble thing can be done without risk.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

risk-taking

Saying is one thing, and doing is another.
— Michel de Montaigne
Poetry is the original language of the gods.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

poetry

Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

fame

No wind favors them who have no destined port.
— Michel de Montaigne
There is no reply so sharp as silent contempt.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

silence

There is no reply so sharp as silence contempt.
— Michel de Montaigne
The beauty of stature is the only beauty of men.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

beauty men

There are defeats more triumphant than victories.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

defeat victory & defeat

A wise man never loses anything if he has himself.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

losing

The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

purpose of life

Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.
— Michel de Montaigne

beliefs

Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

beliefs

What do I know? I do not understand; I pause; I examine.
— Michel de Montaigne
Soldiers ought to fear their general more than the enemy.
— Michel de Montaigne

military

The way of the world is to make laws, but follow customs.
— Michel de Montaigne
Friendship is the highest degree of perfection in society.
— Michel de Montaigne
The most manifest sign of wisdom is continued cheerfulness.
— Michel de Montaigne

wisdom

I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself.
— Michel de Montaigne

egotism

Silence, along with modesty, is a great aid to conversation.
— Michel de Montaigne

conversation modesty silence

We should spread joy, but, as far as we can, repress sorrow.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

joy suffering

The most manifest sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness.
— Michel de Montaigne
Poverty of goods is easily cured; poverty of soul, impossible.
— Michel de Montaigne

education

The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it.
— Michel de Montaigne
It is good to rub and polish our brains against that of others.
— Michel de Montaigne Essais

Brain

Age imprints more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

age

Speech belongs half to him who speaks and half to him who hears.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

speech

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.
— Michel de Montaigne

marriage

To philosophize is nothing else than to prepare oneself for death.
— Michel de Montaigne
A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
— Michel de Montaigne Essais

suffering

How many worthy men have we known to survive their own reputation!
— Michel de Montaigne
Wisdom hath her excesses, and no less need of moderation than folly.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

moderation wisdom

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
— Michel de Montaigne
All the fame you should look for in life is to have lived it quietly.
— Michel de Montaigne
Poverty of goods is easily cured; poverty of the mind is irreparable.
— Michel de Montaigne

poverty

A man's accusations of himself are always believed, his praises never.
— Michel de Montaigne
The perpetual work of your life is but to lay the foundation of death.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

death

We should not ask who is the most learned, but who is the best learned.
— Michel de Montaigne
I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.
— Michel de Montaigne
All other knowledge is hurtful to him who has not the science of goodness.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

Goodness

The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to know how to live to purpose.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

masterpiece purpose of life

Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity.
— Michel de Montaigne

flexible thinking

The poverty of goods is easily cured; the poverty of the soul is irreparable.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

poverty

I will follow the right side even to the fire, but excluding the fire if I can.
— Michel de Montaigne
Men are not agreed about any one thing, not even that heaven is over our heads.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

disagreement mankind

We are not sensible of the most perfect health as we are of the least sickness.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

illness

Men are all alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds that they differ.
— Michel de Montaigne
There is a little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

family

There is a sort of gratification in doing good which makes us rejoice in ourselves.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

helping others

He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.
— Michel de Montaigne

arguments reason

Since we cannot attain to greatness, let us revenge ourselves by railing against it.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

greatness

Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, inquiry the progress, ignorance the end.
— Michel de Montaigne
The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom.
— Michel de Montaigne
There is another sort of glory, which is the having too good an opinion of our own worth.
— Michel de Montaigne
Shame on all eloquence which leaves us with a taste for itself and not for its substance.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

eloquence

When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me?
— Michel de Montaigne
When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not more of a pastime to her than she is to me?
— Michel de Montaigne

cats

Wit is a dangerous weapon, even to the possessor, if he knows not how to use it discreetly.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

wit

Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.
— Michel de Montaigne

religion

The dispersing and scattering of our names into many mouths, we call this making us greater?
— Michel de Montaigne
Wisdom is a solid and entire building, of which every piece keeps its place and bears its mark.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

wisdom

Man is quite insane.  He wouldn't know how to create a maggot, and he created gods by the dozen.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

gods

Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we.
— Michel de Montaigne

nature

We can be Knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.
— Michel de Montaigne

knowledge and wisdom wisdom

The births of all things are weak and tender, and therefore we should have our eyes intent on beginnings.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

beginnings

There is no course of life so weak and scottish as that which is managed by orders, method, and discipline.
— Michel de Montaigne
I speak the truth, not quite my fill of it, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.
— Michel de Montaigne
Dreams are the true interpreters of our inclinations; but there is art required to sort and understand them.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

dreams (during sleep)

Marriage may be compared to a cage: the birds outside frantic to get in and those inside frantic to get out.
— Michel de Montaigne

marriage

The honor we receive from those that fear us is not honor; those respects are paid to royalty and not to me.
— Michel de Montaigne
I speak truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little the more, as I grow older.
— Michel de Montaigne

age

Confidence in the goodness of others is no slight testimony to one's own goodness; and so God gladly favors it.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

Goodness

I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little the more, as I grow older.
— Michel de Montaigne
When the soul is without a definite aim, she gets lost; for, as they say, if you are everywhere you are nowhere.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

purpose of life

Some, either from being glued to vice by a natural attachment, or from long habit, no longer recognize its ugliness.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

vice

I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.  I want to be rich my myself, not by borrowing.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

self-acceptance

A learned man is not learned in everything; but the capable man is capable in everything, even in what he is ignorant of.
— Michel de Montaigne
When I the most strictly and religiously confess myself, I find that the best virtue I have has in it some tincture of vice.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

vice & virtue

There never was in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains. The most universal quality is diversity.
— Michel de Montaigne
Virtue requires a rough and stormy passage; she will have either outward difficulties to wrestle with, or internal difficulties.
— Michel de Montaigne
In the education of children there is nothing like alluring the interest and affection; otherwise you only make so many asses laden with books.
— Michel de Montaigne
The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mould ... The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbour causes a war betwixt princes.
— Michel de Montaigne

equality

Women are not entirely wrong when they reject the rules of life prescribed for the world, for they were established by men only, without their consent.
— Michel de Montaigne

women

A father is very miserable who has no other hold on his children's affection than the need they have of his assistance, if that can be called affection.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

father

There is . . . a certain respect, and a general duty of humanity, that ties us, not only to beasts that have life and sense, but even to trees and plants.
— Michel de Montaigne
There is no pleasure to me without communication; there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind but I grieve that I have no one to tell it to.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

communication

We cannot do without it, and yet we disgrace and vilify the same. It may be compared to a cage, the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair to get out.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

marriage

The corruption of the age is made up by the particular contribution of every individual; some contribute treachery, others injustice, irreligious, tyranny, avarice, cruelty, according to their power.
— Michel de Montaigne
To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct.  Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

masterpiece

Zeuzidamus, to one who asked him why the Lacedemonians did not commit their constitutions of chivalry to writing, and deliver them to their young people to read, made answer that it was because they would inure them to action and not to words.
— Michel de Montaigne
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 criticize 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.
— Michel de Montaigne Essays

criticism friendship