Tradução ao inglês de Charles Cotton, editor William Carew Hazlitt, 1877.
Texto integral em http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3600/3600-h/3600-h.htm#link2H_PREF
“His Essays, which are at once the most celebrated and the most permanent of his productions, form a magazine out of which such minds as those of Bacon and Shakespeare did not disdain to help themselves; and, indeed, as Hallam observes, the Frenchman’s literary importance largely results from the share which his mind had in influencing other minds, coeval and subsequent.”
“He was, without being aware of it, the leader of a new school in letters and morals. His book was different from all others which were at that date in the world. It diverted the ancient currents of thought into new channels. It told its readers, with unexampled frankness, what its writer’s opinion was about men and things, and threw what must have been a strange kind of new light on many matters but darkly understood. Above all, the essayist uncased himself, and made his intellectual and physical organism public property. He took the world into his confidence on all subjects.” “Of all egotists, Montaigne, if not the greatest, was the most fascinating, because, perhaps, he was the least affected and most truthful.”
“The text of these volumes is taken from the first edition of Cotton’s version, printed in 3 vols. 8vo, 1685-6, and republished in 1693, 1700, 1711, 1738, and 1743, in the same number of volumes and the same size. In the earliest impression the errors of the press are corrected merely as far as page 240 of the 1st volume, and all the editions follow one another. That of 1685-6 was the only one which the translator lived to see. He died in 1687, leaving behind him an interesting and little-known collection of poems, which appeared posthumously, 8vo, 1689.
It was considered imperative to correct Cotton’s translation by a careful collation with the ‘variorum’ edition of the original, Paris, 1854, 4 vols. 8vo or 12mo, and parallel passages from Florin[ou Florio?]’s earlier undertaking have occasionally been inserted at the foot of the page. A Life of the Author and all his recovered Letters, 16 in number, have also been given; but, as regards the correspondence, it can scarcely be doubted that it is in a purely fragmentary state.”
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ALGUNS EXCERTOS DE CARTAS
“they say that a sensible person may take a wife indeed, but that to espouse her is to act like a fool.”
“Let us live, my wife, you and I, in the old French method. Now, you may recollect that the late M. de la Boétie, my brother and inseparable companion, gave me, on his death-bed, all his books and papers, which have remained ever since the most precious part of my effects. I do not wish to keep them niggardly to myself alone, nor do I deserve to have the exclusive use of them; so that I have resolved to communicate them to my friends; and because I have none, I believe, more particularly intimate than you, I send you the Consolatory Letter written by Plutarch to his Wife, translated by him into French”
* * *
(Ao rei Henrique IV, que, como, a parecer, todos os reis do período, se encontrava em contínuas campanhas de conquista…)
“If there is to be severity and punishment, let it be deferred till success has been assured. A great conqueror of past times boasts that he gave his enemies as great an inducement to love him, as his friends. And here we feel already some effect of the favourable impression produced upon our rebellious towns by the contrast between their rude treatment, and that of those which are loyal to you.”
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CHAPTER I——THAT MEN BY VARIOUS WAYS ARRIVE AT THE SAME END.
“The Emperor Conrad III having besieged Guelph, Duke of Bavaria, [In 1140, in Weinsberg, Upper Bavaria.] would not be prevailed (…) to condescend to milder conditions than that the ladies and gentlewomen only who were in the town with the duke might go out without violation of their honour, on foot, and with so much only as they could carry about them. Whereupon they, out of magnanimity of heart, presently contrived to carry out, upon their shoulders, their husbands and children, and the duke himself; a sight at which the emperor was so pleased, that, ravished with the generosity of the action, he wept for joy, and immediately extinguishing in his heart the mortal and capital hatred he had conceived against this duke, he from that time forward treated him and his with all humanity.” Algo parecido com o conto do Barão de Munchhausen!
“And yet pity is reputed a vice amongst the Stoics, who will that we succour the afflicted, but not that we should be so affected with their sufferings as to suffer with them.”
“Man (in good earnest) is a marvellous vain, fickle, and unstable subject, and on whom it is very hard to form any certain and uniform judgment. For Pompey could pardon the whole city of the Mamertines, though furiously incensed against it, upon the single account of the virtue and magnanimity of one citizen, Zeno, who took the fault of the public wholly upon himself; neither entreated other favour, but alone to undergo the punishment for all. And yet Sylla’s host, having in the city of Perugia manifested the same virtue, obtained nothing by it, either for himself or his fellow-citizens.
And, directly contrary to my first examples, the bravest of all men, and who was reputed so gracious to all those he overcame, Alexander, having, after many great difficulties, forced the city of Gaza, and, entering, found Betis, who commanded there, and of whose valour in the time of this siege he had most marvellous manifest proof, alone, forsaken by all his soldiers, his armour hacked and hewed to pieces, covered all over with blood and wounds, and yet still fighting in the crowd of a number of Macedonians, who were laying on him on all sides, he said to him, nettled at so dear-bought a victory (for, in addition to the other damage, Alexander had two wounds newly received in his own person), <Thou shalt not die, Betis, as thou dost intend; be sure thou shall suffer all the torments that can be inflicted on a captive.> To which menace the other returning no other answer, but only a fierce and disdainful look; <What,> says Alexander, observing his haughty and obstinate silence, <is he too stiff to bend a knee! Is he too proud to utter one suppliant word! Truly, I will conquer this silence; and if I cannot force a word from his mouth, I will, at least, extract a groan from his heart.> And thereupon converting his anger into fury, presently commanded his heels to be bored through [atravessados], causing him, alive, to be dragged, mangled, and dismembered at a cart’s tail.—(Quintus Curtius, 4. 6. This act of cruelty has been doubted, notwithstanding the statement of Curtius.)—Was it that the height of courage was so natural and familiar to this conqueror, that because he could not admire, he respected it the less? Or was it that he conceived valour to be a virtue so peculiar to himself, that his pride could not, without envy, endure it in another? Or was it that the natural impetuosity of his fury was incapable of opposition? Certainly, had it been capable of moderation, it is to be believed that in the sack and desolation of Thebes, to see so many valiant men, lost and totally destitute of any further defence, cruelly massacred before his eyes, would have appeased it: where there were above 6,000 put to the sword, of whom not one was seen to fly, or heard to cry out for quarter; but, on the contrary, every one running here and there to seek out and to provoke the victorious enemy to help them to an honourable end. Not one was seen who, however weakened with wounds, did not in his last gasp yet endeavour to revenge himself, and with all the arms of a brave despair, to sweeten his own death in the death of an enemy. Yet did their valour create no pity, and the length of one day was not enough to satiate the thirst of the conqueror’s revenge, but the slaughter continued to the last drop of blood that was capable of being shed, and stopped not till it met with none but unarmed persons, old men, women, and children, of them to carry away to the number of 30,000 slaves.” Discordo dos devaneios morais de Montaigne. Todo essa massacre, toda essa matança, que ele atribui à empáfia alexandrina, poderiam ter sido evitados se esses homens simplesmente se rendessem, o que é nobre, pois que contra o mesmo orgulho invencível que Montaigne tanto ataca no parágrafo.
CHAPTER II——OF SORROW
“The Italians have more fitly baptized by this name—(La tristezza)—malignity; for ‘tis a quality always hurtful, always idle and vain; and as being cowardly, mean, and base, it is by the Stoics expressly and particularly forbidden to their sages.”
Quem mais pranteia no enterro é quem menos sofre.
“Petrified with her misfortunes.—Ovid, Met., vi. 304.” Penso que li isso em algum outro lugar – Virginia Woolf cita, talvez? Agora entendo o contexto: a mãe que, de tanto perder filhos, não podendo expressar externamente sua tristeza, converteu-se súbito em pedra.
“oppressed with accidents greater than we are able to bear.”
“He who can say how he burns with love, has little fire”
—Petrarca, Sonetto 137.
“hence that frigidity which by the force of an immoderate ardour seizes him even in the very lap of fruition”
“Light griefs can speak: deep sorrows are dumb.”
—Seneca, Hippolytus, act ii. scene 3.
“Besides the examples of the Roman lady, who died for joy to see her son safe returned from the defeat of Cannae; and of Sophocles (…) who died [laughing, reportedly]” Suspeito quando se fala do obituário de alguém famoso, mas demos crédito quando a pessoa é anônima!
“And for a more notable testimony of the imbecility of human nature, it is recorded by the ancients—(Pliny)—that Diodorus the dialectician died upon the spot, out of an extreme passion of shame, for not having been able in his own school, and in the presence of a great auditory, to disengage himself from a nice argument that was propounded to him. I, for my part, am very little subject to these violent passions; I am naturally of a stubborn apprehension, which also, by reasoning, I everyday harden and fortify.”
CHAPTER IV——THAT THE SOUL EXPENDS ITS PASSIONS UPON FALSE OBJECTS, WHERE THE TRUE ARE WANTING
“So it seems that the soul, being transported and discomposed, turns its violence upon itself, if not supplied with something to oppose it, and therefore always requires an object at which to aim, and whereon to act. Plutarch says of those who are delighted with little dogs and monkeys, that the amorous part that is in us, for want of a legitimate object, rather than lie idle, does after that manner forge and create one false and frivolous. And we see that the soul, in its passions, inclines rather to deceive itself, by creating a false and fantastical a subject, even contrary to its own belief, than not to have something to work upon. After this manner brute beasts direct their fury to fall upon the stone or weapon that has hurt them”
“And the philosopher Bion said pleasantly of the king, who by handsful pulled his hair off his head for sorrow, <Does this man think that baldness is a remedy for grief?>—(Cicero, Tusc. Quest., iii. 26.)—Who has not seen peevish gamesters chew and swallow the cards, and swallow the dice, in revenge for the loss of their money? Xerxes whipped the sea, and wrote a challenge to Mount Athos; Cyrus employed a whole army several days at work, to revenge himself of the river Gyndas, for the fright it had put him into in passing over it; and Caligula demolished a very beautiful palace for the pleasure his mother had once enjoyed there.”
“I remember there was a story current, when I was a boy, that one of our neighbouring kings—(Probably Alfonso XI. of Castile)—having received a blow from the hand of God, swore he would be revenged, and in order to it, made proclamation that for 10 years to come no one should pray to Him, or so much as mention Him throughout his dominions, or, so far as his authority went, believe in Him; by which they meant to paint not so much the folly as the vainglory of the nation of which this tale was told. They are vices that always go together, but in truth such actions as these have in them still more of presumption than want of wit. Augustus Caesar, having been tossed with a tempest at sea, fell to defying Neptune, and in the pomp of the Circensian games, to be revenged, deposed his statue from the place it had amongst the other deities. Wherein he was still less excusable than the former, and less than he was afterwards when, having lost a battle under Quintilius Varus in Germany, in rage and despair he went running his head against the wall, crying out, <O Varus! give me back my legions!> for these exceed all folly, forasmuch as impiety is joined therewith, invading God Himself, or at least Fortune, as if she had ears that were subject to our batteries; like the Thracians, who when it thunders or lightens, fall to shooting against heaven with Titanian vengeance, as if by flights of arrows they intended to bring God to reason.” Fantástico!
CHAPTER V——WHETHER THE GOVERNOR OF A PLACE BESIEGED OUGHT HIMSELF TO GO OUT TO PARLEY
Astúcia: um longo enredo de Tróia ao leão de Zaratustra.
Orgulho ferido, mas nada amputado.
“In the kingdom of Ternate, amongst those nations which we so broadly call barbarians, they have a custom never to commence war, till it be first proclaimed; adding withal an ample declaration of what means they have to do it with, with what and how many men, what ammunitions, and what, both offensive and defensive, arms; but also, that being done, if their enemies do not yield and come to an agreement, they conceive it lawful to employ without reproach in their wars any means which may help them to conquer.” So?
“The ancient Florentines were so far from seeking to obtain any advantage over their enemies by surprise, that they always gave them a month’s warning before they drew their army into the field, by the continual tolling of a bell they called Martinella.”
“Where the lion’s skin is too short, we must eke it out with a bit from that of a fox”
CHAPTER VII——THAT THE INTENTION IS JUDGE OF OUR ACTIONS
“Death discharges us of all our obligations.”
“Henry VII, King of England, articled with Don Philip, son to Maximilian the emperor, or (to place him more honourably) father to the Emperor Charles V, that the said Philip should deliver up the Duke of Suffolk of the White Rose, his enemy, who was fled into the Low Countries, into his hands; which Philip accordingly did, but upon condition, nevertheless, that Henry should attempt nothing against the life of the said Duke; but coming to die, the king in his last will commanded his son to put him to death immediately after his decease. (…) Unjust judges, who defer judgment to a time wherein they can have no knowledge of the cause!”
CHAPTER IX——OF LIARS
“above all, old men who retain the memory of things past, and forget how often they have told them, are dangerous company”
“It is not without good reason said <that he who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying.> I know very well that the grammarians distinguish betwixt an untruth and a lie, and say that to tell an untruth is to tell a thing that is false, but that we ourselves believe to be true; and that the definition of the word to lie in Latin, from which our French is taken, is to tell a thing which we know in our conscience to be untrue; and it is of this last sort of liars only that I now speak.”
“I see that parents commonly, and with indiscretion enough, correct their children for little innocent faults, and torment them for wanton tricks, that have neither impression nor consequence; whereas, in my opinion, lying only, and, which is of something a lower form, obstinacy, are the faults which are to be severely whipped out of them, both in their infancy and in their progress, otherwise they grow up and increase with them; and after a tongue has once got the knack of lying, ‘tis not to be imagined how impossible it is to reclaim it whence it comes to pass that we see some, who are otherwise very honest men, so subject and enslaved to this vice.”
“a dog we know is better company than a man whose language we do not understand.”
CHAPTER X——OF QUICK OR SLOW SPEECH
“All graces were never yet given to any one man.”
“So we see in the gift of eloquence, wherein some have such a facility and promptness, and that which we call a present wit so easy, that they are ever ready upon all occasions, and never to be surprised; and others more heavy and slow, never venture to utter anything but what they have long premeditated, and taken great care and pains to fit and prepare.”
O PADRE E O ADVOGADO: “If I were worthy to advise, the slow speaker, methinks, should be more proper for the pulpit, and the other for the bar: and that because the employment of the first does naturally allow him all the leisure he can desire to prepare himself, and besides, his career is performed in an even and unintermitted line, without stop or interruption; whereas the pleader’s business and interest compels him to enter the lists upon all occasions, and the unexpected objections and replies of his adverse party jostle him out of his course, and put him, upon the instant, to pump for new and extempore answers and defences.”
“But he who remains totally silent, for want of leisure to prepare himself to speak well, and he also whom leisure does noways benefit to better speaking, are equally unhappy.”
“I know, experimentally, the disposition of nature so impatient of tedious and elaborate premeditation, that if it do not go frankly and gaily to work, it can perform nothing to purpose.”
“I am always worst in my own possession, and when wholly at my own disposition: accident has more title to anything that comes from me than I; occasion, company, and even the very rising and falling of my own voice, extract more from my fancy than I can find, when I sound and employ it by myself. By which means, the things I say are better than those I write, if either were to be preferred, where neither is worth anything.”
“when I come to speak, I am already so lost that I know not what I was about to say, and in such cases a stranger often finds it out before me.”
CHAPTER XI——OF PROGNOSTICATIONS
“Socrates’ demon might, perhaps, be no other but a certain impulsion of the will, which obtruded itself upon him without the advice or consent of his judgment; and in a soul so enlightened as his was, and so prepared by a continual exercise of wisdom and virtue, ‘tis to be supposed those inclinations of his, though sudden and undigested, were very important and worthy to be followed. Every one finds in himself some image of such agitations, of a prompt, vehement, and fortuitous opinion; and I may well allow them some authority, who attribute so little to our prudence, and who also myself have had some, weak in reason, but violent in persuasion and dissuasion, by which I have suffered myself to be carried away so fortunately, and so much to my own advantage, that they might have been judged to have had something in them of a divine inspiration.”
CHAPTER XII——OF CONSTANCY
“there is no supple [flexível] motion of body, nor any movement in the handling of arms, how irregular or ungraceful soever, that we need condemn, if they serve to protect us from the blow that is made against us.”
“Neither do the Stoics pretend that the soul of their philosopher need be proof against the first visions and fantasies that surprise him; but, as to a natural subjection, consent that he should tremble at the terrible noise of thunder, or the sudden clatter of some falling ruin, and be affrighted even to paleness and convulsion; and so in other passions, provided his judgment remain sound and entire, and that the seat of his reason suffer no concussion nor alteration, and that he yield no consent to his fright and discomposure.”
CHAPTER XIII——THE CEREMONY OF THE INTERVIEW OF PRINCES
“To what end do we avoid the servile attendance of courts, if we bring the same trouble home to our own private houses?”
CHAPTER XV——OF THE PUNISHMENT OF COWARDICE
“But as to cowardice, it is certain that the most usual way of chastising it is by ignominy and it is supposed that this practice brought into use by the legislator Charondas; and that, before his time, the laws of Greece punished those with death who fled from a battle; whereas he ordained only that they be for 3 days exposed in the public dressed in woman’s attire, hoping yet for some service from them, having awakened their courage by this open shame:
Suffundere malis hominis sanguinem, quam effundere. //
Rather bring the blood into a man’s cheek than let it out of his body. (Tertullian in his Apologetics.)” Não sei como isso pode infundir coragem, entretanto…
CHAPTER XVI——A PROCEEDING OF SOME AMBASSADORS [O PERIGO DE QUERER-SER-POLÍMATA-TENDO-APENAS-UM-GRANDE-TALENTO-QUE-EXCEDE-TODOS-OS-OUTROS-DE-DILETANTE – PRINCIPALMENTE NO QUE CONCERNE AO MONARCA, PARA NÃO SE TORNAR MAU GOVERNANTE OU MESMO DÉSPOTA]
“I observe in my travels this custom, ever to learn something from the information of those with whom I confer (which is the best school of all others), and to put my company upon those subjects they are the best able to speak of:—
Basti al nocchiero ragionar de’ venti,
Al bifolco dei tori; et le sue piaghe
Conti’l guerrier; conti’l pastor gli armenti.
Let the sailor content himself with talking of the winds; the cowherd of his oxen; the soldier of his wounds; the shepherd of his flocks.—An Italian translation of Propertius, ii. i, 43
For it often falls out that, on the contrary, every one will rather choose to be prating of another man’s province than his own, thinking it so much new reputation acquired; witness the jeer Archidamus put upon Pertander, <that he had quitted the glory of being an excellent physician to gain the repute of a very bad poet>.—And do but observe how large and ample Caesar is to make us understand his inventions of building bridges and contriving engines of war,—and how succinct and reserved in comparison, where he speaks of the offices of his profession, his own valour, and military conduct. His exploits sufficiently prove him a great captain, and that he knew well enough; but he would be thought an excellent engineer to boot; a quality something different, and not necessary to be expected in him.”
“By this course a man shall never improve himself, nor arrive at any perfection in anything. He must, therefore, make it his business always to put the architect, the painter, the statuary, every mechanic artisan, upon discourse of their own capacities.”
“I have, in my time, known men of command checked for having rather obeyed the express words of the king’s letters, than the necessity of the affairs they had in hand. Men of understanding do yet, to this day, condemn the custom of the kings of Persia to give their lieutenants and agents so little rein, that, upon the least arising difficulties, they must fain have recourse to their further commands; this delay, in so vast an extent of dominion, having often very much prejudiced their affairs; and Crassus, writing to a man whose profession it was best to understand those things, and pre-acquainting him to what use this mast was designed, did he not seem to consult his advice, and in a manner invite him to interpose his better judgment?”
CHAPTER XVII——OF FEAR
“So much does fear dread even the means of safety.”—Quint. Curt., ii. II.
“And the many people who, impatient of the perpetual alarms of fear, have hanged or drowned themselves, or dashed themselves to pieces, give us sufficiently to understand that fear is more importunate and insupportable than death itself.”
CHAPTER XVIII——THAT MEN ARE NOT TO JUDGE OF OUR HAPPINESS TILL AFTER DEATH.
“And, in this sense, this good advice of Solon may reasonably be taken; but he, being a philosopher (with which sort of men the favours and disgraces of Fortune stand for nothing, either to the making a man happy or unhappy, and with whom grandeurs and powers are accidents of a quality almost indifferent) I am apt to think that he had some further aim, and that his meaning was, that the very felicity of life itself, which depends upon the tranquillity and contentment of a well-descended spirit, and the resolution and assurance of a well-ordered soul, ought never to be attributed to any man till he has first been seen to play the last, and, doubtless, the hardest act of his part.”
“To death do I refer the assay of the fruit of all my studies: we shall then see whether my discourses came only from my mouth or from my heart. I have seen many by their death give a good or an ill repute to their whole life.”
“that I may die well—that is, patiently and tranquilly.”
CHAPTER XIX——THAT TO STUDY PHILOSOPY IS TO LEARN TO DIE
“The reason of which is, because study and contemplation do in some sort withdraw from us our soul, and employ it separately from the body, which is a kind of apprenticeship and a resemblance of death; or, else, because all the wisdom and reasoning in the world do in the end conclude in this point, to teach us not to fear to die.”
“All the opinions of the world agree in this, that pleasure is our end, though we make use of divers means to attain it: they would, otherwise, be rejected at the first motion; for who would give ear to him that should propose affliction and misery for his end?”
“Let the philosophers say what they will, the thing at which we all aim, even in virtue is pleasure. (…) This pleasure, for being more gay, more sinewy, more robust and more manly, is only the more seriously voluptuous, and we ought give it the name of pleasure, as that which is more favourable, gentle, and natural, and not that from which we have denominated it.”
“The felicity and beatitude that glitters in Virtue, shines throughout all her appurtenances and avenues, even to the first entry and utmost limits. Now, of all the benefits that virtue confers upon us, the contempt of death is one of the greatest, as the means that accommodates human life with a soft and easy tranquillity, and gives us a pure and pleasant taste of living, without which all other pleasure would be extinct.”
“Xenophilus the musician, who lived 106 years in a perfect and continual health”
“The end of our race is death; ‘tis the necessary object of our aim, which, if it fright us, how is it possible to advance a step without a fit of ague? The remedy the vulgar use is not to think on’t; but from what brutish stupidity can they derive so gross a blindness?”
“They affright people with the very mention of death, and many cross themselves, as it were the name of the devil. And because the making a man’s will is in reference to dying, not a man will be persuaded to take a pen in hand to that purpose, till the physician has passed sentence upon and totally given him over, and then betwixt and terror, God knows in how fit a condition of understanding he is to do it.”
“Young and old die upon the same terms; no one departs out of life otherwise than if he had but just before entered into it; neither is any man so old and decrepit, who, having heard of Methuselah, does not think he has yet 20 good years to come. Fool that thou art! who has assured unto thee the term of life? Thou dependest upon physicians’ tales: rather consult effects and experience.”
“thou wilt find more who have died before than after 35 years of age.” “He ended His life at 33 years. The greatest man, that was no more than a man, Alexander, died also at the same age.”
“Aeschylus, threatened with the fall of a house, was to much purpose circumspect to avoid that danger, seeing that he was knocked on the head by a tortoise falling out of an eagle’s talons in the air.” “Ésquilo, com sua vida ameaçada pelo soterramento de uma casa, foi circunspecto o bastante para se prevenir desse perigo, mas não para deixar de ser atingido na cabeça por uma tartaruga que caiu das garras duma águia – e assim ele morreu.”
“Se, porém, devo completar os casos com um de meu próprio sangue, meu irmão, Capitão St. Martin, muito jovem ainda, 23 anos, que já havia dado provas de seu valor, jogando um duelo de tênis, recebeu uma bolada um pouco acima da orelha direita; sem nada sentir da gravidade da lesão no momento, ele nem sequer achou prudente interromper a partida. Cinco ou seis horas depois ele faleceu de uma apoplexia causada por essa mesma contusão.”
“But ‘tis folly to think of doing anything that way. They go, they come, they gallop and dance, and not a word of death. All this is very fine; but withal, when it comes either to themselves, their wives, their children, or friends, surprising them at unawares and unprepared, then, what torment, what outcries, what madness and despair! Did you ever see anything so subdued, so changed, and so confounded? A man must, therefore, make more early provision for it; and this brutish negligence, could it possibly lodge in the brain of any man of sense (which I think utterly impossible), sells us its merchandise too dear.”
“Let him hide beneath iron or brass in his fear, death will pull his head out of his armour.” Propertius
“let us converse and be familiar with him, and have nothing so frequent in our thoughts as death. Upon all occasions represent him to our imagination in his every shape; at the stumbling of a horse, at the falling of a tile, at the least prick with a pin, let us presently consider, Well, and what if it had been death itself?”
“The Egyptians were wont to do after this manner, who in the height of their feasting and mirth, caused a dried skeleton of a man to be brought into the room to serve for a memento to their guests:
Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum
Grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur, hora.
Think each day when past is thy last; the next day, as unexpected, will be the more welcome.—Hor., Ep., i. 4, 13.”
“he who has learned to die has unlearned to serve. There is nothing evil in life for him who rightly comprehends that the privation of life is no evil: to know how to die delivers us from all subjection and constraint.”
“In truth, in all things, if nature do not help a little, it is very hard for art and industry to perform anything to purpose. I am in my own nature not melancholic, but meditative; and there is nothing I have more continually entertained myself withal than imaginations of death, even in the most wanton time of my age” “In the company of ladies, and at games, some have perhaps thought me possessed with some jealousy, or the uncertainty of some hope, whilst I was entertaining myself with the remembrance of some one, surprised, a few days before, with a burning fever of which he died, returning from an entertainment like this, with his head full of idle fancies of love and jollity, as mine was then, and that, for aught I knew, the same destiny was attending me.” “Every minute, methinks, I am escaping, and it eternally runs in my mind, that what may be done to-morrow, may be done to-day.” “A friend of mine the other day turning over my tablets, found therein a memorandum of something I would have done after my decease, whereupon I told him, as it was really true, that though I was no more than a league’s distance only from my own house, and merry and well, yet when that thing came into my head, I made haste to write it down there, because I was not certain to live till I came home. As a man that am eternally brooding over my own thoughts, and confine them to my own particular concerns, I am at all hours as well prepared as I am ever like to be, and death, whenever he shall come, can bring nothing along with him I did not expect long before. We should always, as near as we can, be booted and spurred, and ready to go, and, above all things, take care, at that time, to have no business with anyone but one’s self” Montaigne era um hipocondríaco.
“Why for so short a life tease ourselves with so many projects?” Hor.
LADRAR O CÃO SABIA: “One man complains, more than of death, that he is thereby prevented of a glorious victory; another, that he must die before he has married his daughter, or educated his children; a third seems only troubled that he must lose the society of his wife; a fourth, the conversation of his son, as the principal comfort and concern of his being. For my part, I am, thanks be to God, at this instant in such a condition, that I am ready to dislodge, whenever it shall please Him, without regret for anything whatsoever. I disengage myself throughout from all worldly relations; my leave is soon taken of all but myself. Never did any one prepare to bid adieu to the world more absolutely and unreservedly, and to shake hands with all manner of interest in it, than I expect to do. The deadest deaths are the best”
“We are to discharge ourselves from these vulgar and hurtful humours. To this purpose it was that men first appointed the places of sepulture adjoining the churches, and in the most frequented places of the city, to accustom, says Lycurgus, the common people, women, and children, that they should not be startled at the sight of a corpse, and to the end, that the continual spectacle of bones, graves, and funeral obsequies should put us in mind of our frail condition”
“It was formerly the custom to enliven banquets with slaughter, and to combine with the repast the dire spectacle of men contending with the sword, the dying in many cases falling upon the cups, and covering the tables with blood.”—Silius Italicus, xi. 51.
“If I were a writer of books, I would compile a register, with a comment, of the various deaths of men: he who should teach men to die would at the same time teach them to live.”
“The vigour wherein I now am, the cheerfulness and delight wherein I now live, make the contrary estate appear in so great a disproportion to my present condition, that, by imagination, I magnify those inconveniences by one-half, and apprehend them to be much more troublesome than I find them really to be, when they lie the most heavy upon me; I hope to find death the same.”
“Caesar, to an old weather-beaten soldier of his guards, who came to ask him leave that he might kill himself, taking notice of his withered body and decrepit motion, pleasantly answered, <Thou fanciest, then, that thou art yet alive.>”
“Should a man fall into this condition on the sudden, I do not think humanity capable of enduring such a change: but nature, leading us by the hand, an easy and, as it were, an insensible pace, step by step conducts us to that miserable state, and by that means makes it familiar to us, so that we are insensible of the stroke when our youth dies in us, though it be really a harder death than the final dissolution of a languishing body, than the death of old age; forasmuch as the fall is not so great from an uneasy being to none at all, as it is from a sprightly and flourishing being to one that is troublesome and painful.” Esse luto eu já atravessei há muito tempo…
“I will keep thee in fetters and chains, in custody of a savage keeper.—A god will when I ask Him, set me free. This god I think is death. Death is the term of all things.” —Hor.
“why should we fear to lose a thing, which being lost, cannot be lamented?”
“To him that told Socrates, <The 30 tyrants have sentenced thee to death>; <And nature them>, said he.—(CORRECTION: Socrates was not condemned to death by the 30, but by the Athenians. As in Diogenes Laertius, ii.35.)”
“to lament that we shall not be alive 100 years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive 100 years ago. Death is the beginning of another life. So did we weep, and so much it cost us to enter into this, and so did we put off our former veil in entering into it. Nothing can be a grievance that is but once.”
“Long life, and short, are by death made all one; for there is no long, nor short, to things that are no more. Aristotle tells us that there are certain little beasts upon the banks of the river Hypanis, that never live above a day: they which die at 8 of the clock in the morning, die in their youth, and those that die at 5 in the evening, in their decrepitude: which of us would not laugh to see this moment of continuance put into the consideration of weal or woe? The most and the least, of ours, in comparison with eternity, or yet with the duration of mountains, rivers, stars, trees, and even of some animals, is no less ridiculous.”
“Your death is a part of the order of the universe, ‘tis a part of the life of the world.”
“Shall I exchange for you this beautiful contexture of things? ‘Tis the condition of your creation; death is a part of you, and whilst you endeavour to evade it, you evade yourselves. This very being of yours that you now enjoy is equally divided betwixt life and death. The day of your birth is one day’s advance towards the grave”
“The first hour that gave us life took away also an hour.”
“Why not depart from life as a sated guest from a feast?”
But: “If you have not known how to make the best use of it, if it was unprofitable to you, what need you care to lose it, to what end would you desire longer to keep it?”
“Life in itself is neither good nor evil; it is the scene of good or evil as you make it.”
“if you have lived a day, you have seen all”
“There is no other light, no other shade; this very sun, this moon, these very stars, this very order and disposition of things, is the same your ancestors enjoyed, and that shall also entertain your posterity” Eu gostaria de ver o sol alaranjado ou vermelho de meio-dia: o crepúsculo da civilização ocidental!
“Your grandsires saw no other thing; nor will your posterity.”
“And, come the worst that can come, the distribution and variety of all the acts of my comedy are performed in a year. If you have observed the revolution of my 4 seasons, they comprehend the infancy, the youth, the virility, and the old age of the world: the year has played his part, and knows no other art but to begin again; it will always be the same thing”
“We are turning in the same circle, ever therein confined.”
“I am not prepared to create for you any new recreations”
“Give place to others, as others have given place to you. Equality is the soul of equity. Who can complain of being comprehended in the same destiny, wherein all are involved? Besides, live as long as you can, you shall by that nothing shorten the space you are to be dead; ‘tis all to no purpose; you shall be every whit as long in the condition you so much fear, as if you had died at nurse”
“Know you not that, when dead, there can be no other living self to lament you dead, standing on your grave?”
“Death is less to be feared than nothing, if there could be anything less than nothing.”
“Make use of time while it is present with you. It depends upon your will, and not upon the number of days, to have a sufficient length of life. Is it possible you can imagine never to arrive at the place towards which you are continually going?”
“No night has followed day, no day has followed night, in which there has not been heard sobs and sorrowing cries, the companions of death and funerals.”
“To what end should you endeavour to draw back, if there be no possibility to evade it? you have seen examples enough of those who have been well pleased to die, as thereby delivered from heavy miseries; but have you ever found any who have been dissatisfied with dying? It must, therefore, needs be very foolish to condemn a thing you have neither experimented in your own person, nor by that of any other. Why dost thou complain of me and of destiny? Do we do thee any wrong? Is it for thee to govern us, or for us to govern thee? Though, peradventure, thy age may not be accomplished, yet thy life is: a man of low stature is as much a man as a giant; neither men nor their lives are measured by the ell. Chiron refused to be immortal, when he was acquainted with the conditions under which he was to enjoy it, by the god of time itself and its duration, his father Saturn. Do but seriously consider how much more insupportable and painful an immortal life would be to man than what I have already given him. If you had not death, you would eternally curse me for having deprived you of it”
“It was I that taught Thales, the most eminent of your sages, that to live and to die were indifferent; which made him, very wisely, answer him, ‘Why then he did not die?’ ‘Because,’ said he, ‘it is indifferent.’”
“Why dost thou fear thy last day? it contributes no more to thy dissolution, than every one of the rest” “Every day travels towards death; the last only arrives at it.”
* * * “These are the good lessons our mother Nature teaches.” * * *
“I believe, in truth, that it is those terrible ceremonies and preparations wherewith we set it out, that more terrify us than the thing itself (…) our beds environed with physicians and divines; in sum, nothing but ghostliness and horror round about us; we seem dead and buried already.”
“Children are afraid even of those they are best acquainted with, when disguised in a visor; and so ‘tis with us; the visor must be removed as well from things as from persons, that being taken away, we shall find nothing underneath but the very same death that a mean servant or a poor chambermaid died a day or two ago, without any manner of apprehension. Happy is the death that deprives us of leisure for preparing such ceremonials.” Die young!
CHAPTER XX——OF THE FORCE OF IMAGINATION [OU SOBRE HERMAFRODITAS]
A imaginação não precisa de eventos, mas os eventos sempre precisam de imaginação…
“A perpetual cough in another tickles my lungs and throat. (…) Simon Thomas was a great physician of his time: I remember, that happening one day at Toulouse to meet him at a rich old fellow’s house, who was troubled with weak lungs, and discoursing with the patient about the method of his cure, he told him, that one thing which would be very conducive to it, was to give me such occasion to be pleased with his company, that I might come often to see him, by which means, and by fixing his eyes upon the freshness of my complexion, and his imagination upon the sprightliness and vigour that glowed in my youth, and possessing all his senses with the flourishing age wherein I then was, his habit of body might, peradventure, be amended; but he forgot to say that mine, at the same time, might be made worse. Gallus Vibius so much bent his mind to find out the essence and motions of madness, that, in the end, he himself went out of his wits, and to such a degree, that he could never after recover his judgment, and might brag that he was become a fool by too much wisdom.”
“We start, tremble, turn pale, and blush, as we are variously moved by imagination; and, being a-bed, feel our bodies agitated with its power to that degree, as even sometimes to expiring.”
“Although it be no new thing to see horns grown in a night on the forehead of one that had none when he went to bed, notwithstanding, what befell Cippus, King of Italy, is memorable; who having one day been a very delighted spectator of a bullfight, and having all the night dreamed that he had horns on his head, did, by the force of imagination, really cause them to grow there. Passion gave to the son of Croesus the voice which nature had denied him. And Antiochus fell into a fever, inflamed with the beauty of Stratonice, too deeply imprinted in his soul. Pliny pretends to have seen Lucius Cossitius, who from a woman was turned into a man upon her very wedding-day. Pontanus and others report the like metamorphosis to have happened in these latter days in Italy.”
“Myself passing by Vitry le François, saw a man the Bishop of Soissons had, in confirmation, called Germain, whom all the inhabitants of the place had known to be a girl till 22 years of age, called Mary. He was, at the time of my being there, very full of beard, old, and not married. He told us, that by straining himself in a leap his male organs came out; and the girls of that place have, to this day, a song, wherein they advise one another not to take too great strides, for fear of being turned into men, as Mary Germain was.” HAHAHAHAHA!
“to the end it may not so often relapse into the same thought and violence of desire, it were better, once for all, to give these young wenches the things they long for.”
“St. Augustine makes mention of another, who, upon the hearing of any lamentable or doleful cries, would presently fall into a swoon, and be so far out of himself, that it was in vain to call, bawl in his ears, pinch or burn him, till he voluntarily came to himself; and then he would say, that he had heard voices as it were afar off, and did feel when they pinched and burned him; and, to prove that this was no obstinate dissimulation in defiance of his sense of feeling, it was manifest, that all the while he had neither pulse nor breathing.”
“I am not satisfied whether those pleasant ligatures—(Les nouements d’aiguillettes, as they were called, knots tied by some one, at a wedding, on a strip of leather, cotton, or silk, and which, especially when passed through the wedding-ring, were supposed to have the magical effect of preventing a consummation of the marriage until they were untied. See Louandre, La Sorcellerie, 1853, p. 73. The same superstition and appliance existed in England. – NT)—with which this age of ours is so occupied, that there is almost no other talk, are not mere voluntary impressions of apprehension and fear; for I know, by experience, in the case of a particular friend of mine, one for whom I can be as responsible as for myself, and a man that cannot possibly fall under any manner of suspicion of insufficiency, and as little of being enchanted, who having heard a companion of his make a relation of an unusual frigidity that surprised him at a very unseasonable time; being afterwards himself engaged upon the same account, the horror of the former story on a sudden so strangely possessed his imagination, that he ran the same fortune the other had done; and from that time forward, the scurvy remembrance of his disaster running in his mind and tyrannising over him, he was subject to relapse into the same misfortune. He found some remedy, however, for this fancy in another fancy, by himself frankly confessing and declaring beforehand to the party with whom he was to have to do, this subjection of his, by which means, the agitation of his soul was, in some sort, appeased; and knowing that, now, some such misbehaviour was expected from him, the restraint upon his faculties grew less. And afterwards, at such times as he was in no such apprehension, when setting about the act (his thoughts being then disengaged and free, and his body in its true and natural estate) he was at leisure to cause the part to be handled and communicated to the knowledge of the other party, he was totally freed from that vexatious infirmity. After a man has once done a woman right, he is never after in danger of misbehaving himself with that person, unless upon the account of some excusable weakness. Neither is this disaster to be feared, but in adventures, where the soul is overextended with desire or respect, and, especially, where the opportunity is of an unforeseen and pressing nature; in those cases, there is no means for a man to defend himself from such a surprise, as shall put him altogether out of sorts. I have known some, who have secured themselves from this mischance, by coming half-sated elsewhere, purposely to abate the ardour of the fury, and others, who, being grown old, find themselves less impotent by being less able; and one, who found an advantage in being assured by a friend of his, that he had a counter-charm of enchantments that would secure him from this disgrace.” Quanto jogo de esconde para falar de impotência sexual, a.k.a. pinto mole! Será que o termo frígido era unissex, pois?
“Amasis, King of Egypt, having married Laodice, a very beautiful Greek virgin, though noted for his abilities elsewhere, found himself quite another man with his wife, and could by no means enjoy her; at which he was so enraged, that he threatened to kill her, suspecting her to be a witch. As ‘tis usual in things that consist in fancy, she put him upon devotion, and having accordingly made his vows to Venus, he found himself divinely restored the very first night after his oblations and sacrifices. Now women are to blame to entertain us with that disdainful, coy, and angry countenance, which extinguishes our vigour, as it kindles our desire; which made the daughter-in-law of Pythagoras—(Theano, the lady in question was the wife, not the daughter-in-law of Pythagoras.)— say, <That the woman who goes to bed to a man, must put off her modesty with her petticoat, and put it on again with the same.>”
“Married people, having all their time before them, ought never to compel or so much as to offer at the feat, if they do not find themselves quite ready”
8=====D “The indocile liberty of this member is very remarkable, [HAHAHAHA] so importunately unruly in its tumidity and impatience, when we do not require it, and so unseasonably disobedient, when we stand most in need of it: so imperiously contesting in authority with the will, and with so much haughty obstinacy denying all solicitation, both of hand and mind. (…) For let any one consider, whether there is any one part of our bodies that does not often refuse to perform its office at the precept of the will, and that does not often exercise its function in defiance of her command.” “The same cause that animates this member, does also, without our knowledge, animate the lungs, pulse, and heart, the sight of a pleasing object imperceptibly diffusing a flame through all our parts, with a feverish motion. Is there nothing but these veins and muscles that swell and flag without the consent, not only of the will, but even of our knowledge also? We do not command our hairs to stand on end, nor our skin to shiver either with fear or desire; the hands often convey themselves to parts to which we do not direct them; the tongue will be interdict, and the voice congealed, when we know not how to help it. When we have nothing to eat, and would willingly forbid it, the appetite does not, for all that, forbear to stir up the parts that are subject to it, no more nor less than the other appetite we were speaking of, and in like manner, as unseasonably leaves us, when it thinks fit. The vessels that serve to discharge the belly have their own proper dilatations and compressions, without and beyond our concurrence, as well as those which are destined to purge the reins; and that which, to justify the prerogative of the will, St. Augustine urges, of having seen a man who could command his rear to discharge as often together as he pleased, Vives, his commentator, yet further fortifies with another example in his time,—of one that could break wind in tune; but these cases do not suppose anymore pure obedience in that part; for is anything commonly more tumultuary or indiscreet? To which let me add, that I myself knew one so rude and ungoverned, as for 40 years together made his master vent with one continued and unintermitted outbursting, and ‘tis like will do so till he die of it.”
“A woman fancying she had swallowed a pin in a piece of bread, cried and lamented as though she had an intolerable pain in her throat, where she thought she felt it stick; but an ingenious fellow that was brought to her, seeing no outward tumour nor alteration, supposing it to be only a conceit taken at some crust of bread that had hurt her as it went down, caused her to vomit, and, unseen, threw a crooked pin into the basin, which the woman no sooner saw, but believing she had cast it up, she presently found herself eased of her pain.”
“witness dogs, who die of grief for the loss of their masters; and bark and tremble and start in their sleep; so horses will kick and whinny in their sleep.”
“When we look at people with sore eyes, our own eyes become sore.
Many things are hurtful to our bodies by transition.”
“Tortoises and ostriches hatch their eggs with only looking on them, which infers that their eyes have in them some ejaculative virtue. And the eyes of witches are said to be assailant and hurtful”
“There was at my house, a little while ago, a cat seen watching a bird upon the top of a tree: these, for some time, mutually fixing their eyes one upon another, the bird at last let herself fall dead into the cat’s claws, either dazzled by the force of its own imagination, or drawn by some attractive power of the cat.”
“For my part, I think it less hazardous to write of things past, than present, by how much the writer is only to give an account of things every one knows he must of necessity borrow upon trust.” Não foi o que vimos em vários relatos de médicos e de noivos logo acima!
“there is nothing so contrary to my style as a continued narrative; I so often interrupt and cut myself short in my writing for want of breath; I have neither composition nor explanation worth anything, and am ignorant, beyond a child, of the phrases and even the very words proper to express the most common things; and for that reason it is, that I have undertaken to say only what I can say, and have accommodated my subject to my strength.” “Plutarch would say of what he has delivered to us, that it is the work of others: that his examples are all and everywhere exactly true: that they are useful to posterity, and are presented with a lustre that will light us the way to virtue, is his own work. It is not of so dangerous consequence, as in a medicinal drug, whether an old story be so or so.”
CHAPTER XXI——THAT THE PROFIT OF ONE MAN IS THE DAMAGE OF ANOTHER
“Demades the Athenian—(Seneca, De Beneficiis, 6:38, whence nearly the whole of this chapter is taken.)—condemned one of his city, whose trade it was to sell the necessaries for funeral ceremonies, upon pretence that he demanded unreasonable profit, and that that profit could not accrue to him, but by the death of a great number of people. A judgment that appears to be ill grounded, forasmuch as no profit whatever can possibly be made but at the expense of another, and that by the same rule he should condemn all gain of what kind soever. The merchant only thrives by the debauchery of youth, the husband man by the dearness of grain, the architect by the ruin of buildings, lawyers and officers of justice by the suits and contentions of men: nay, even the honour and office of divines are derived from our death and vices. A physician takes no pleasure in the health even of his friends, says the ancient Greek comic writer, nor a soldier in the peace of his country, and so of the rest. And, which is yet worse, let every one but dive into his own bosom, and he will find his private wishes spring and his secret hopes grow up at another’s expense. Upon which consideration it comes into my head, that nature does not in this swerve from her general polity; for physicians hold, that the birth, nourishment, and increase of everything is the dissolution and corruption of another”
CHAPTER XXII——OF CUSTOM, AND THAT WE SHOULD NOT EASILY CHANGE A LAW RECEIVED
“He seems to me to have had a right and true apprehension of the power of custom, who first invented the story of a country-woman who, having accustomed herself to play with and carry a young calf in her arms, and daily continuing to do so as it grew up, obtained this by custom, that, when grown to be a great ox, she was still able to bear it. For, in truth, custom is a violent and treacherous schoolmistress. She, by little and little, slily and unperceived, slips in the foot of her authority, but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and tyrannic countenance, against which we have no more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes. We see her, at every turn, forcing and violating the rules of nature”
“I refer to her Plato’s cave in his Republic, and the physicians, who so often submit the reasons of their art to her authority; as the story of that king, who by custom brought his stomach to that pass, as to live by poison, and the maid that Albertus reports to have lived upon spiders. In that new world of the Indies, there were found great nations, and in very differing climates, who were of the same diet, made provision of them, and fed them for their tables; as also, they did grasshoppers, mice, lizards, and bats; and in a time of scarcity of such delicacies, a toad was sold for 6 crowns, all which they cook, and dish up with several sauces. There were also others found, to whom our diet, and the flesh we eat, were venomous and mortal”
“The power of custom is very great: huntsmen will lie out all night in the snow, or suffer themselves to be burned up by the sun on the mountains; boxers, hurt by the caestus [a luva romana, de ferro e couro], never utter a groan.”—Cicero
NOISE – ACQUIRED TASTE: “what philosophers believe of the music of the spheres, that the bodies of those circles being solid and smooth, and coming to touch and rub upon one another, cannot fail of creating a marvellous harmony, the changes and cadences of which cause the revolutions and dances of the stars; but that the hearing sense of all creatures here below, being universally, like that of the Egyptians, deafened, and stupefied with the continual noise, cannot, how great soever, perceive it—(This passage is taken from Cicero, Dream of Scipio; see his De Republica, 6:2. The Egyptians were said to be stunned by the noise of the Cataracts.)— Smiths, millers, pewterers, forgemen, and armourers could never be able to live in the perpetual noise of their own trades, did it strike their ears with the same violence that it does ours.” Schopenhauer e Goethe discordam.
“I myself lie at home in a tower, where every morning and evening a very great bell rings out the Ave Maria: the noise shakes my very tower, and at first seemed insupportable to me; but I am so used to it, that I hear it without any manner of offence, and often without awaking at it.”
“Mothers are mightily pleased to see a child writhe off the neck of a chicken, or to please itself with hurting a dog or a cat; and such wise fathers there are in the world, who look upon it as a notable mark of a martial spirit, when they hear a son miscall, or see him domineer over a poor peasant, or a lackey, that dares not reply, nor turn again; and a great sign of wit, when they see him cheat and overreach his playfellow by some malicious treachery and deceit. Yet these are the true seeds and roots of cruelty, tyranny, and treason; they bud and put out there, and afterwards shoot up vigorously, and grow to prodigious bulk, cultivated by custom. And it is a very dangerous mistake to excuse these vile inclinations upon the tenderness of their age, and the triviality of the subject: first, it is nature that speaks, whose declaration is then more sincere, and inward thoughts more undisguised, as it is more weak and young; secondly, the deformity of cozenage does not consist nor depend upon the difference betwixt crowns and pins; but I rather hold it more just to conclude thus: why should he not cozen in crowns since he does it in pins, than as they do, who say they only play for pins, they would not do it if it were for money?”
“I know very well, for what concerns myself, that from having been brought up in my childhood to a plain and straightforward way of dealing, and from having had an aversion to all manner of juggling and foul play in my childish sports and recreations (and, indeed, it is to be noted, that the plays of children are not performed in play, but are to be judged in them as their most serious actions), there is no game so small wherein from my own bosom naturally, and without study or endeavour, I have not an extreme aversion from deceit.”
“I saw the other day, at my own house, a little fellow, a native of Nantes, born without arms, who has so well taught his feet to perform the services his hands should have done him, that truly these have half forgotten their natural office; and, indeed, the fellow calls them his hands; with them he cuts anything, charges and discharges a pistol, threads a needle, sews, writes, puts off his hat, combs his head, plays at cards and dice, and all this with as much dexterity as any other could do who had more, and more proper limbs to assist him. The money I gave him—for he gains his living by showing these feats—he took in his foot, as we do in our hand. I have seen another who, being yet a boy, flourished a 2-handed sword, and, if I may so say, handled a halberd with the mere motions of his neck and shoulders for want of hands; tossed them into the air, and caught them again, darted a dagger, and cracked a whip as well as any coachman in France.”
“Is it not a shame for a natural philosopher, that is, for an observer and hunter of nature, to seek testimony of the truth from minds prepossessed by custom?”
“A French gentleman was always wont to blow his nose with his fingers (a thing very much against our fashion), and he justifying himself for so doing, and he was a man famous for pleasant repartees, he asked me, what privilege this filthy excrement had, that we must carry about us a fine handkerchief to receive it, and, which was more, afterwards to lap it carefully up, and carry it all day about in our pockets, which, he said, could not but be much more nauseous and offensive, than to see it thrown away, as we did all other evacuations. I found that what he said was not altogether without reason, and by being frequently in his company, that slovenly action of his was at last grown familiar to me; which nevertheless we make a face at, when we hear it reported of another country.”
“There are peoples, where, his wife and children excepted, no one speaks to the king but through a tube. In one and the same nation, the virgins discover those parts that modesty should persuade them to hide, and the married women carefully cover and conceal them. To which, this custom, in another place, has some relation, where chastity, but in marriage, is of no esteem, for unmarried women may prostitute themselves to as many as they please, and being got with child, may lawfully take physic, in the sight of every one, to destroy their fruit. And, in another place, if a tradesman marry, all of the same condition, who are invited to the wedding, lie with the bride before him; and the greater number of them there is, the greater is her honour, and the opinion of her ability and strength: if an officer marry, ‘tis the same, the same with a labourer, or one of mean condition; but then it belongs to the lord of the place to perform that office; and yet a severe loyalty during marriage is afterward strictly enjoined. There are places where brothels of young men are kept for the pleasure of women; where the wives go to war as well as the husbands, and not only share in the dangers of battle, but, moreover, in the honours of command. Others, where they wear rings not only through their noses, lips, cheeks, and on their toes, but also weighty gimmals of gold thrust through their paps and buttocks; where, in eating, they wipe their fingers upon their thighs, genitories, and the soles of their feet: where children are excluded, and brothers and nephews only inherit; and elsewhere, nephews only, saving in the succession of the prince: where, for the regulation of community in goods and estates, observed in the country, certain sovereign magistrates have committed to them the universal charge and overseeing of the agriculture, and distribution of the fruits, according to the necessity of everyone where they lament the death of children, and feast at the decease of old men: where they lie 10 or 12 in a bed, men and their wives together: where women, whose husbands come to violent ends, may marry again, and others not: where the condition of women is looked upon with such contempt, that they kill all the native females, and buy wives of their neighbours to supply their use; where husbands may repudiate their wives, without showing any cause, but wives cannot part from their husbands, for what cause soever; where husbands may sell their wives in case of sterility; where they boil the bodies of their dead, and afterward pound them to a pulp, which they mix with their wine, and drink it; where the most coveted sepulture is to be eaten by dogs, and elsewhere by birds; where they believe the souls of the blessed live in all manner of liberty, in delightful fields, furnished with all sorts of delicacies, and that it is these souls, repeating the words we utter, which we call Echo; where they fight in the water, and shoot their arrows with the most mortal aim, swimming; where, for a sign of subjection, they lift up their shoulders, and hang down their heads; where they put off their shoes when they enter the king’s palace; where the eunuchs, who take charge of the sacred women, have, moreover, their lips and noses cut off, that they may not be loved; where the priests put out their own eyes, to be better acquainted with their demons, and the better to receive their oracles; where every one makes to himself a deity of what he likes best; the hunter of a lion or a fox, the fisher of some fish; idols of every human action or passion; in which place, the sun, the moon, and the earth are the principal deities, and the form of taking an oath is, to touch the earth, looking up to heaven; where both flesh and fish is eaten raw; where the greatest oath they take is, to swear by the name of some dead person of reputation, laying their hand upon his tomb; where the new-year’s gift the king sends every year to the princes, his vassals, is fire, which being brought, all the old fire is put out, and the neighbouring people are bound to fetch of the new, every one for themselves, upon pain of high treason; where, when the king, to betake himself wholly to devotion, retires from his administration (which often falls out), his next successor is obliged to do the same, and the right of the kingdom devolves to the 3rd in succession: where they vary the form of government, according to the seeming necessity of affairs: depose the king when they think good, substituting certain elders to govern in his stead, and sometimes transferring it into the hands of the commonality: where men and women are both circumcised and also baptized: where the soldier, who in one or several engagements, has been so fortunate as to present 7 of the enemies’ heads to the king, is made noble: where they live in that rare and unsociable opinion of the mortality of the soul: where the women are delivered without pain or fear: where the women wear copper leggings upon both legs, and if a louse [piolho] bite them, are bound in magnanimity to bite them again, and dare not marry, till first they have made their king a tender of their virginity, if he please to accept it: where the ordinary way of salutation is by putting a finger down to the earth, and then pointing it up toward heaven: where men carry burdens upon their heads, and women on their shoulders; where the women make water standing, and the men squatting: where they send their blood in token of friendship, and offer incense to the men they would honour, like gods: where, not only to the 4th, but in any other remote degree, kindred are not permitted to marry: where the children are 4 years at nurse, and often 12; in which place, also, it is accounted mortal to give the child suck the 1st day after it is born: where the correction of the male children is peculiarly designed to the fathers, and to the mothers of the girls; the punishment being to hang them by the heels in the smoke: where they circumcise the women: (DV) where they eat all sorts of herbs, without other scruple than of the badness of the smell: where all things are open the finest houses, furnished in the richest manner, without doors, windows, trunks, or chests to lock, a thief being there punished double what they are in other places: where they crack lice with their teeth like monkeys, and abhor to see them killed with one’s nails: where in all their lives they neither cut their hair nor pare their nails; and, in another place, pare those of the right hand only, letting the left grow for ornament and bravery: where they suffer the hair on the right side to grow as long as it will, and shave the other; and in the neighbouring provinces, some let their hair grow long before, and some behind, shaving close the rest: where parents let out their children, and husbands their wives, to their guests to hire: where a man may get his own mother with child, and fathers make use of their own daughters or sons, without scandal: [fake news] where, at their solemn feasts, they interchangeably lend their children to one another, without any consideration of nearness of blood. In one place, men feed upon human flesh; in another, ‘tis reputed a pious office for a man to kill his father at a certain age; elsewhere, the fathers dispose of their children, whilst yet in their mothers’ wombs, some to be preserved and carefully brought up, and others to be abandoned or made away. Elsewhere the old husbands lend their wives to young men; and in another place they are in common without offence; in one place particularly, the women take it for a mark of honour to have as many gay fringed tassels at the bottom of their garment, as they have lain with several men. Moreover, has not custom made a republic of women separately by themselves? has it not put arms into their hands, and made them raise armies and fight battles? And does she not, by her own precept, instruct the most ignorant vulgar, and make them perfect in things which all the philosophy in the world could never beat into the heads of the wisest men? For we know entire nations, where death was not only despised, but entertained with the greatest triumph; where children of 7 years old suffered themselves to be whipped to death, without changing countenance; where riches were in such contempt, that the meanest citizen would not have deigned to stoop to take up a purse of crowns. And we know regions, very fruitful in all manner of provisions, where, notwithstanding, the most ordinary diet, and that they are most pleased with, is only bread, cresses, [agrião] and water. Did not custom, moreover, work that miracle in Chios that, in 700 years, it was never known that ever maid or wife committed any act to the prejudice of her honour?”
“Darius asking certain Greeks what they would take to assume the custom of the Indians, of eating the dead bodies of their fathers (for that was their use, believing they could not give them a better nor more noble sepulture than to bury them in their own bodies), they made answer, that nothing in the world should hire them to do it; but having also tried to persuade the Indians to leave their custom, and, after the Greek manner, to burn the bodies of their fathers, they conceived a still greater horror at the motion. (Herodotus, 3:38)”
“testemunhai Crísipo (Sextus Empiricus, Pyyrhon. Hypotyp., 1:14), quem, em tantos de seus escritos, espargiu sua soberana indiferença frente a conjunções incestuosas, não importa quão próximo fosse o grau de parentesco entre os partícipes.”
“I shall ask him, what can be more strange than to see a people obliged to obey laws they never understood; bound in all their domestic affairs, as marriages, donations, wills, sales, and purchases, to rules they cannot possibly know, being neither written nor published in their own language, and of which they are of necessity to purchase both the interpretation and the use? Not according to the ingenious opinion of Isocrates,—(Discourse to Nicocles)—who counselled his king to make the traffics and negotiations of his subjects, free, frank, and of profit to them, and their quarrels and disputes burdensome, and laden with heavy impositions and penalties; but, by a prodigious opinion, to make sale of reason itself, and to give to laws a course of merchandise. I think myself obliged to fortune that, as our historians report, it was a Gascon gentleman, a countryman of mine, who first opposed Charlemagne, when he attempted to impose upon us Latin and imperial laws.”
“there are double laws, those of honour and those of justice, in many things altogether opposite one to another; the nobles as rigorously condemning a lie taken, as the other do a lie revenged: by the law of arms, he shall be degraded from all nobility and honour who puts up with an affront; and by the civil law, he who vindicates his reputation by revenge incurs a capital punishment: he who applies himself to the law for reparation of an offence done to his honour, disgraces himself; and he who does not, is censured and punished by the law. Yet of these 2 so different things, both of them referring to one head, the one has the charge of peace, the other of war; those have the profit, these the honour; those the wisdom, these the virtue; those the word, these the action; those justice, these valour; those reason, these force; those the long robe, these the short;—divided betwixt them.”
“for the most fantastic, in my opinion, that can be imagined, I will instance amongst others, our flat caps, that long tail of velvet that hangs down from our women’s heads, with its party-coloured trappings; and that vain and futile model of a member we cannot in modesty so much as name, which, nevertheless, we make show and parade of in public.” Curiosamente análogo ao trecho narrado por Dolgoruki em O Adolescente
“The Ephoros who so rudely cut the 2 strings that Phrynis had added to music never stood to examine whether that addition made better harmony, or that by its means the instrument was more full and complete; it was enough for him to condemn the invention, that it was a novelty, and an alteration of the old fashion. Which also is the meaning of the old rusty sword carried before the magistracy of Marseilles.” Não entendeu o mundo grego.
O QUE AGUARDA JAIR BOLSONARO: “Alas! The wounds were made by my own weapons.
—Ovid, Ep. Phyll. Demophoonti, vers. 48.
They who give the first shock to a state, are almost naturally the first overwhelmed in its ruin; the fruits of public commotion are seldom enjoyed by him who was the first motor; he beats and disturbs the water for another’s net.”
CHAPTER XXIII——VARIOUS EVENTS FROM THE SAME COUNSEL
“What then, is it possible that I am to live in perpetual anxiety and alarm, and suffer my would-be assassin, meantime, to walk abroad at liberty? Shall he go unpunished, after having conspired against my life, a life that I have hitherto defended in so many civil wars, in so many battles by land and by sea? And after having settled the universal peace of the whole world, shall this man be pardoned, who has conspired not only to murder, but to sacrifice me?” Júlio (ou Augusto?) César
“<Why livest thou, if it be for the good of so many that thou shouldst die? must there be no end of thy revenges and cruelties? Is thy life of so great value, that so many mischiefs must be done to preserve it?> His wife Livia, seeing him in this perplexity: <Will you take a woman’s counsel?> said she. <Do as the physicians do, who, when the ordinary recipes will do no good, make trial of the contrary. By severity you have hitherto prevailed nothing; Lepidus has followed Salvidienus; Murena, Lepidus; Caepio, Murena; Egnatius, Caepio. Begin now, and try how sweetness and clemency will succeed. Cinna is convict; forgive him, he will never henceforth have the heart to hurt thee, and it will be an act to thy glory.> Augustus was well pleased that he had met with an advocate of his own humour; wherefore, having thanked his wife, and, in the morning, countermanded his friends he had before summoned to council, he commanded Cinna all alone to be brought to him; who being accordingly come, and a chair by his appointment set him, having ordered all the rest out of the room, he spake to him after this manner: <In the first place, Cinna, I demand of thee patient audience; do not interrupt me in what I am about to say, and I will afterwards give thee time and leisure to answer. Thou knowest, Cinna, that having taken thee prisoner in the enemy’s camp, and thou an enemy, not only so become, but born so, I gave thee thy life, restored to thee all thy goods, and, finally, put thee in so good a posture, by my bounty, of living well and at thy ease, that the victorious envied the conquered. The sacerdotal office which thou madest suit to me for, I conferred upon thee, after having denied it to others, whose fathers have ever borne arms in my service. After so many obligations, thou hast undertaken to kill me.” At which Cinna crying out that he was very far from entertaining any so wicked a thought: <Thou dost not keep thy promise, Cinna, that thou wouldst not interrupt me. Yes, thou hast undertaken to murder me in such a place, on such a day, in such and such company, and in such a manner.> At which words, seeing Cinna astounded and silent, not upon the account of his promise so to be, but interdict with the weight of his conscience: <Why, to what end wouldst thou do it? Is it to be emperor? Believe me, the Republic is in very ill condition, if I am the only man betwixt thee and the empire. Thou art not able so much as to defend thy own house, and but t’other day was baffled in a suit, by the opposed interest of a mere manumitted slave. What, hast thou neither means nor power in any other thing, but only to undertake Caesar? I quit the throne, if there be no other than I to obstruct thy hopes. Canst thou believe that Paulus, that Fabius, that the Cossii and the Servilii, and so many noble Romans, not only so in title, but who by their virtue, honour and their nobility, would suffer or endure thee?> After this, and a great deal more that he said to him (for he was 2 long hours in speaking), <Now go, Cinna, go thy way: I give thee that life as traitor and parricide, which I before gave thee in the quality of an enemy. Let friendship from this time forward begin betwixt us, and let us show whether I have given, or thou hast received thy life with the better faith>; and so departed from him. Some time after, he preferred him to the consular dignity, complaining that he had not the confidence to demand it; had him everafter for his very great friend, and was, at last, made by him sole heir to all his estate. Now, from the time of this accident which befell Augustus in the 40th year of his age, he never had any conspiracy or attempt against him, and so reaped the due reward of this his so generous clemency. But—so vain and futile a thing is human prudence; throughout all our projects, counsels and precautions, Fortune will still be mistress of events. “
“The poetic raptures, the flights of fancy, that ravish and transport the author out of himself, why should we not attribute them to his good fortune, since he himself confesses that they exceed his sufficiency and force, and acknowledges them to proceed from something else than himself, and that he has them no more in his power than the orators say they have those extraordinary motions and agitations that sometimes push them beyond their design? It is the same in painting, where touches shall sometimes slip from the hand of the painter, so surpassing both his conception and his art, as to beget his own admiration and astonishment. But Fortune does yet more evidently manifest the share she has in all things of this kind, by the graces and elegances we find in them, not only beyond the intention, but even without the knowledge of the workman: a competent reader often discovers in other men’s writings other perfections than the author himself either intended or perceived, a richer sense and more quaint expression.”
“all that our wisdom can do alone is no great matter; the more piercing, quick, and apprehensive it is, the weaker it finds itself, and is by so much more apt to mistrust itself. I am of Sylla’s opinion (<Who freed his great deeds from envy by ever attributing them to his good fortune, and finally by surnaming himself Faustus, the Lucky.>—Plutarch, How far a Man may praise Himself, IX); and when I closely examine the most glorious exploits of war, I perceive, methinks, that those who carry them on make use of counsel and debate only for custom’s sake, and leave the best part of the enterprise to Fortune, and relying upon her aid, transgress, at every turn, the bounds of military conduct and the rules of war.”
“You will read in history, of many who have been in such apprehension, that the most part have taken the course to meet and anticipate conspiracies against them by punishment and revenge; but I find very few who have reaped any advantage by this proceeding; witness so many Roman emperors. Whoever finds himself in this danger, ought not to expect much either from his vigilance or power; for how hard a thing is it for a man to secure himself from an enemy, who lies concealed under the countenance of the most assiduous friend we have, and to discover and know the wills and inward thoughts of those who are in our personal service.”
“whosoever despises his own life, is always master of that of another man.” Sêneca
“And moreover, this continual suspicion, that makes a prince jealous of all the world, must of necessity be a strange torment to him. Therefore it was, that Dion, being advertised that Callippus watched all opportunities to take away his life, had never the heart to inquire more particularly into it, saying, that he had rather die than live in that misery, that he must continually stand upon his guard, not only against his enemies, but his friends also”
“Those who preach to princes so circumspect and vigilant a jealousy and distrust, under colour of security, preach to them ruin and dishonour: nothing noble can be performed without danger. Those who preach to princes so circumspect and vigilant a jealousy and distrust, under colour of security, preach to them ruin and dishonour: nothing noble can be performed without danger.”
“Courage, the reputation and glory of which men seek with so greedy an appetite, presents itself, when need requires, as magnificently in cuerpo, as in full armour; in a closet, as in a camp; with arms pendant, as with arms raised.” E tudo aquilo foi como se não fôra nada… Quando olhei para trás, em retrospecto, já havia sido corajoso!
Confiança obriga à fidelidade. O que é uma verdade tanto para o senhor quanto para o súdito.
“The most mistrustful of our kings—Louis XI—established his affairs principally by voluntarily committing his life and liberty into his enemies’ hands, by that action manifesting that he had absolute confidence in them, to the end they might repose as great an assurance in him.”
Só merece ser temido quem escolhe não temer.
“to represent a pretended resolution with a pale and doubtful countenance and trembling limbs, for the service of an important reconciliation, will effect nothing to purpose.”
“There is nothing so little to be expected or hoped for from this many-headed monster, in its fury, as humanity and good nature”
“I look upon Julius Caesar’s way of winning men to him as the best and finest that can be put in practice. First, he tried by clemency to make himself beloved even by his very enemies, contenting himself, in detected conspiracies, only publicly to declare, that he was pre-acquainted with them; which being done, he took a noble resolution to await without solicitude or fear, whatever might be the event, wholly resigning himself to the protection of the gods and fortune: for, questionless, in this state he was at the time when he was killed.”
“A stranger having publicly said, that he could teach Dionysius, the tyrant of Syracuse, an infallible way to find out and discover all the conspiracies his subjects could contrive against him, if he would give him a good sum of money for his pains, Dionysius hearing of it, caused the man to be brought to him, that he might learn an art so necessary to his preservation. The man made answer, that all the art he knew was that he should give him a talent, and afterwards boast that he had obtained a singular secret from him. Dionysius liked the invention, and accordingly caused 600 crowns to be counted out to him. It was not likely he should give so great a sum to a person unknown, but upon the account of some extraordinary discovery, and the belief of this served to keep his enemies in awe. Princes, however, do wisely to publish the informations they receive of all the practices against their lives, to possess men with an opinion they have so good intelligence that nothing can be plotted against them, but they have present notice of it.”
“To invite a man’s enemies to come and cut his throat, seems a resolution a little extravagant and odd; and yet I think he did better to take that course, than to live in continual feverish fear of an accident for which there was no cure. But seeing all the remedies a man can apply to such a disease are full of unquietness and uncertainty, ‘tis better with a manly courage to prepare one’s self for the worst that can happen, and to extract some consolation from this, that we are not certain the thing we fear will ever come to pass.”
CHAPTER XXIV——OF PEDANTRY
“as plants are suffocated and drowned with too much nourishment, and lamps with too much oil, so with too much study and matter is the active part of the understanding which, being embarrassed, and confounded with a great diversity of things, loses the force and power to disengage itself, and by the pressure of this weight, is bowed, subjected, and doubled up.”
“the philosopher is so ignorant of what his neighbour does, that he scarce knows whether he is a man, or some other animal” Plato – Montaigne pensa que isso é uma crítica, mas é um elogio ao filósofo.
“For what concerns the philosophers, as I have said, if they were in science, they were yet much greater in action. And, as it is said of the geometrician of Syracuse (Archimedes), who having been disturbed from his contemplation, to put some of his skill in practice for the defence of his country, that he suddenly set on foot dreadful and prodigious engines, that wrought effects beyond all human expectation; himself, notwithstanding, disdaining all his handiwork, and thinking in this he had played the mere mechanic, and violated the dignity of his art, of which these performances of his he accounted but trivial experiments and playthings so they, whenever they have been put upon the proof of action, have been seen to fly to so high a pitch, as made it very well appear, their souls were marvellously elevated, and enriched by the knowledge of things.”
“In plain truth, the cares and expense our parents are at in our education point at nothing but to furnish our heads with knowledge; but not a word of judgment and virtue.”
“so our pedants go picking knowledge here and there, out of books, and hold it at the tongue’s end, only to spit it out and distribute it abroad. (…) do I not the same thing throughout almost this whole composition? I go here and there, culling out of several books the sentences that best please me, not to keep them (for I have no memory to retain them in), but to transplant them into this; where, to say the truth, they are no more mine than in their first places. (…) We can say, Cicero says thus; these were the manners of Plato; these are the very words of Aristotle: but what do we say ourselves? What do we judge? A parrot would say as much as that.”
“I know one, who, when I question him what he knows, he presently calls for a book to show me, and dares not venture to tell me so much, as that he has piles in his posteriors, till first he has consulted his dictionary, what piles and what posteriors are.”
“We are in this very like him who, having need of fire, went to a neighbour’s house to fetch it, and finding a very good one there, sat down to warm himself without remembering to carry any with him home.” Plutarch, How a Man should Listen
“What good does it do us to have the stomach full of meat, if it do not digest, if it be not incorporated with us, if it does not nourish and support us?” Cicero
“Would I fortify myself against the fear of death, it must be at the expense of Seneca: would I extract consolation for myself or my friend, I borrow it from Cicero. I might have found it in myself, had I been trained to make use of my own reason.”
“Diogenes the cynic laughed at the grammarians, who set themselves to inquire into the miseries of Ulysses, and were ignorant of their own; at musicians, who were so exact in tuning their instruments, and never tuned their manners; at orators, who made it a study to declare what is justice, but never took care to do it. If the mind be not better disposed, if the judgment be no better settled, I had much rather my scholar had spent his time at tennis, for, at least, his body would by that means be in better exercise and breath. Do but observe him when he comes back from school, after 15 or 16 years that he has been there; there is nothing so unfit for employment; all you shall find he has got is that his Latin and Greek have only made him a greater coxcomb [dândi] than when he went from home.”
“These pedants of ours, as Plato says of the Sophists, their cousin-germans, are, of all men, they who most pretend to be useful to mankind, and who not only do not better and improve that which is committed to them, as a carpenter or a mason would do, but make them much worse, and make us pay them for making them worse, to boot.”
“you see the husbandman and the cobbler go simply and fairly about their business, speaking only of what they know and understand; whereas these fellows, to make parade and to get opinion, mustering this ridiculous knowledge of theirs, that floats on the superficies of the brain, are perpetually perplexing, and entangling themselves in their own nonsense.”
“They are wonderfully well acquainted with Galen, but not at all with the disease of the patient; they have already deafened you with a long ribble-row of laws, but understand nothing of the case in hand; they have the theory of all things, let who will put it in practice.”
“O you, of patrician blood, to whom it is permitted to live without eyes in the back of your head, beware of grimaces at you from behind.”
“Whosoever shall narrowly pry into and thoroughly sift this sort of people, wherewith the world is so pestered, will, as I have done, find, that for the most part, they neither understand others, nor themselves; and that their memories are full enough, but the judgment totally void and empty; some excepted, whose own nature has of itself formed them into better fashion. As I have observed, for example, in Adrian Turnebus, who having never made other profession than that of mere learning only, and in that, in my opinion, he was the greatest man that has been these thousand years, had nothing at all in him of the pedant, but the wearing of his gown, and a little exterior fashion, that could not be civilised to courtier ways, which in themselves are nothing. I hate our people, who can worse endure an ill-contrived robe than an ill-contrived mind, and take their measure by the leg a man makes, by his behaviour, and so much as the very fashion of his boots, what kind of man he is.”
“For it is not for knowledge to enlighten a soul that is dark of itself, nor to make a blind man see. Her business is not to find a man’s eyes, but to guide, govern, and direct them, provided he have sound feet and straight legs to go upon. Knowledge is an excellent drug, but no drug has virtue enough to preserve itself from corruption and decay, if the vessel be tainted and impure wherein it is put to keep.”
“Plato’s principal institution in his Republic is to fit his citizens with employments suitable to their nature. Nature can do all, and does all. Cripples are very unfit for exercises of the body, and lame souls for exercises of the mind. Degenerate and vulgar souls are unworthy of philosophy. If we see a shoemaker with his shoes out at the toes, we say, ‘tis no wonder; for, commonly, none go worse shod than they. In like manner, experience often presents us a physician worse physicked, a divine less reformed, and (constantly) a scholar of less sufficiency, than other people.”
“Old Aristo of Chios had reason to say that philosophers did their auditors harm, forasmuch as most of the souls of those that heard them were not capable of deriving benefit from instruction, which, if not applied to good, would certainly be applied to ill”
“They proceeded effeminate debauchees from the school of Aristippus, cynics from that of Zeno.”
—Cicero, De Natura Deor., iii., 31.
“It is a thing worthy of very great consideration, that in that excellent and, in truth, for its perfection, prodigious form of civil regimen set down by Lycurgus, though so solicitous of the education of children, as a thing of the greatest concern, and even in the very seat of the Muses, he should make so little mention of learning; as if that generous youth, disdaining all other subjection but that of virtue, ought to be supplied, instead of tutors to read to them arts and sciences, with such masters as should only instruct them in valour, prudence, and justice; an example that Plato has followed in his laws.”
“A great boy in our school, having a little short cassock, by force took a longer from another that was not so tall as he, and gave him his own in exchange: whereupon I, being appointed judge of the controversy, gave judgment, that I thought it best each should keep the coat he had, for that they both of them were better fitted with that of one another than with their own: upon which my master told me I had done ill, in that I had only considered the fitness of the garments, whereas I ought to have considered the justice of the thing, which required that no one should have anything forcibly taken from him that is his own.” Ciro, o rei persa
“it is nothing strange if, when Antipater demanded of the spartans 50 children for hostages, they made answer, quite contrary to what we should do, that they would rather give him twice as many full-grown men, so much did they value the loss of their country’s education.”
“The most potent empire that at this day appears to be in the whole world is that of the Turks, a people equally inured to the estimation of arms and the contempt of letters. I find Rome was more valiant before she grew so learned. The most warlike nations at this time in being are the most rude and ignorant: the Scythians, the Parthians, Tamerlane, serve for sufficient proof of this. When the Goths overran Greece, the only thing that preserved all the libraries from the fire was that some one possessed them with an opinion that they were to leave this kind of furniture entire to the enemy, as being most proper to divert them from the exercise of arms, and to fix them to a lazy and sedentary life. When our King Charles VIII, almost without striking a blow, saw himself possessed of the kingdom of Naples and a considerable part of Tuscany, the nobles about him attributed this unexpected facility of conquest to this, that the princes and nobles of Italy more studied to render themselves ingenious and learned than vigorous and warlike.”
CHAPTER XXV——OF THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN
“I never seriously settled myself to the reading any book of solid learning but Plutarch and Seneca; and there, like the Danaides, I eternally fill, and it as constantly runs out; something of which drops upon this paper, but little or nothing stays with me.” Quem acompanha o blog há algum tempo sabe que Plutarco é um mentiroso patológico, mero criptomitólogo!
“many words so dull, so insipid, so void of all wit or common sense, that indeed they were only French words!”
“the greatest and most important difficulty of human science is the education of children.” “The symptoms of their inclinations in that tender age are so obscure, and the promises so uncertain and fallacious, that it is very hard to establish any solid judgment or conjecture upon them.” “we often take very great pains, and consume a good part of our time in training up children to things, for which, by their natural constitution, they are totally unfit.”
“‘Tis the custom of pedagogues to be eternally thundering in their pupil’s ears, as they were pouring into a funnel, whilst the business of the pupil is only to repeat what the others have said” “Socrates, and since him Arcesilaus, made first their scholars speak, and then they spoke to them”
“Such as, according to our common way of teaching, undertake, with one and the same lesson, and the same measure of direction, to instruct several boys of differing and unequal capacities, are infinitely mistaken; and ‘tis no wonder, if in a whole multitude of scholars, there are not found above two or three who bring away any good account of their time and discipline. Let the master not only examine him about the grammatical construction of the bare words of his lesson, but about the sense and let him judge of the profit he has made, not by the testimony of his memory, but by that of his life.”
“I was privately carried at Pisa to see a very honest man, but so great an Aristotelian, that his most usual thesis was: <That the touchstone and square of all solid imagination, and of all truth, was an absolute conformity to Aristotle’s doctrine; and that all besides was nothing but inanity and chimera; for that he had seen all, and said all.>” “Who follows another, follows nothing, finds nothing, nay, is inquisitive after nothing.”
“and no matter if he forget where he had his learning, provided he know how to apply it to his own use.”
“Men that live upon pillage and borrowing expose their purchases and buildings to everyone’s view: but do not proclaim how they came by the money.”
“I would that a boy should be sent abroad very young, and first, so as to kill two birds with one stone, into those neighbouring nations whose language is most differing from our own, and to which, if it be not formed betimes, the tongue will grow too stiff to bend.”
“when wrestlers counterfeit the philosophers in patience, ‘tis rather strength of nerves than stoutness of heart.”
O trabalho enobrece ou termina de estragar.™
“When the vines of my village are nipped with the frost, my parish priest presently concludes, that the indignation of God has gone out against all the human race, and that the cannibals have already got the pip. Who is it that, seeing the havoc of these civil wars of ours, does not cry out, that the machine of the world is near dissolution, and that the day of judgment is at hand; without considering, that many worse things have been seen, and that in the meantime, people are very merry in a thousand other parts of the earth for all this? For my part, considering the licence and impunity that always attend such commotions, I wonder they are so moderate, and that there is no more mischief done. To him who feels the hailstones patter about his ears, the whole hemisphere appears to be in storm and tempest; like the ridiculous Savoyard, who said very gravely, that if that simple king of France could have managed his fortune as he should have done, he might in time have come to have been steward of the household to the duke his master: the fellow could not, in his shallow imagination, conceive that there could be anything greater than a Duke of Savoy. And, in truth, we are all of us, insensibly, in this error, an error of a very great weight and very pernicious consequence. But whoever shall represent to his fancy, as in a picture, that great image of our mother nature, in her full majesty and lustre, whoever in her face shall read so general and so constant a variety, whoever shall observe himself in that figure, and not himself but a whole kingdom, no bigger than the least touch or prick of a pencil in comparison of the whole, that man alone is able to value things according to their true estimate and grandeur.”
“So many humours, so many sects, so many judgments, opinions, laws, and customs, teach us to judge aright of our own, and inform our understanding to discover its imperfection and natural infirmity, which is no trivial speculation. So many mutations of states and kingdoms, and so many turns and revolutions of public fortune will make us wise enough to make no great wonder of our own. So many great names, so many famous victories and conquests drowned and swallowed in oblivion, render our hopes ridiculous of eternising our names by the taking of half-a-score of light horse, or a henroost, [galinheiro] which only derives its memory from its ruin.”
“‘Tis a great foolery to teach our children what influence Pisces have, or the sign of angry Leo, or Capricorn, washed by the Hesperian wave.”—Propertius
“To what purpose should I trouble myself in searching out the secrets of the stars, having death or slavery continually before my eyes?” Anaximenes to Pythagoras
“‘Tis for such as are puzzled about inquiring whether the future tense of the verb ——— is spelt with a double A, or that hunt after the derivation of the comparatives ——- and ——-, and the superlatives —— and ———, to knit their brows whilst discoursing of their science: but as to philosophical discourses, they always divert and cheer up those that entertain them, and never deject them or make them sad.” Heracleon the Megarean
“‘Tis Baroco and Baralipton—(Two terms of the ancient scholastic logic.)—that render their disciples so dirty and ill-favoured, and not philosophy; they do not so much as know her but by hearsay. What! It is she that calms and appeases the storms and tempests of the soul, and who teaches famine and fevers to laugh and sing; and that, not by certain imaginary epicycles, but by natural and manifest reasons.”
“If this pupil shall happen to be of so contrary a disposition, that he had rather hear a tale of a tub than the true narrative of some noble expedition or some wise and learned discourse; who at the beat of drum, that excites the youthful ardour of his companions, leaves that to follow another that calls to a morris [baile campesino] or the bears; who would not wish, and find it more delightful and more excellent, to return all dust and sweat victorious from a battle than from tennis or from a ball, with the prize of those exercises; I see no other remedy, but that he be bound prentice in some good town to learn to make minced pies, though he were the son of a duke; according to Plato’s precept, that children are to be placed out and disposed of, not according to the wealth, qualities, or condition of the father, but according to the faculties and the capacity of their own souls.”
“They begin to teach us to live when we have almost done living.”
“And how many have I seen in my time totally brutified by an immoderate thirst after knowledge? Carneades was so besotted with it, that he would not find time so much as to comb his head or to pare his nails.”
(*) “Hobbes said that if he had been at college as long as other people he should have been as great a blockhead as they. And Bacon, before Hobbes’ time had discussed the futility of university teaching.” (nota do editor, séc. XIX.)
“To our little monsieur, a closet, a garden, the table, his bed, solitude, and company, morning and evening, all hours shall be the same, and all places to him a study. Philosophy, who, as the formatrix of judgment and manners, shall be his principal lesson, has that privilege to have a hand in everything.”
“As to the rest, this method of education ought to be carried on with a severe sweetness, quite contrary to the practice of our pedants, who, instead of tempting and alluring children to letters by apt and gentle ways, do in truth present nothing before them but rods and ferules, horror and cruelty.” “‘Tis a real house of correction of imprisoned youth. They are made debauched by being punished before they are so. Do but come in when they are about their lesson, and you shall hear nothing but the outcries of boys under execution, with the thundering noise of their pedagogues drunk with fury. A very pretty way this, to tempt these tender and timorous souls to love their book, with a furious countenance, and a rod in hand!”
“‘Tis marvellous to see how solicitous Plato is in his Laws concerning the gaiety and diversion of the youth of his city, and how much and often he enlarges upon the races, sports, songs, leaps, and dances: of which, he says, that antiquity has given the ordering and patronage particularly to the gods themselves, to Apollo, Minerva, and the Muses. He insists long upon, and is very particular in, giving innumerable precepts for exercises; but as to the lettered sciences, says very little, and only seems particularly to recommend poetry upon the account of music.” Misconception on poetry! E eu devo ter perdido essa parte tão ‘despojada’ d’As Leis! No máximo, a ênfase na ‘liberdade do exercício’ deve ser uma concessão à unilateralidade oposta (e também excessiva) d’A República…
“All singularity in our manners and conditions is to be avoided, as inconsistent with civil society.”
“There is a vast difference betwixt forbearing to sin, and not knowing how to sin.”—Seneca
Uma coisa é verdade: deve-se comer pimenta entre os mexicanos, e não se deve ser um grande devasso no Tibete!
“A Westfalia ham makes a man drink; drink quenches thirst: ergo a Westfalia ham quenches thirst. Why [what will our boy do?], let him laugh at it; it will be more discretion to do so, than to go about to answer it”
“Most of those I converse with, speak the same language I here write; but whether they think the same thoughts I cannot say.”
“Not that fine speaking is not a very good and commendable quality; but not so excellent and so necessary as some would make it; and I am scandalised that our whole life should be spent in nothing else. I would first understand my own language, and that of my neighbours, with whom most of my business and conversation lies.”
SOPA CONTRADITÓRIA DE IDÉIAS: “No doubt but Greek and Latin are very great ornaments, and of very great use, but we buy them too dear. (…) I was above 6 years of age before I understood either French or Perigordin, any more than Arabic; and without art, book, grammar, or precept, whipping, or the expense of a tear, I had, by that time, learned to speak as pure Latin as my master himself, for I had no means of mixing it up with any other. If, for example, they were to give me a theme after the college fashion, they gave it to others in French; but to me they were to give it in bad Latin, to turn it into that which was good.”
CHAPTER XXVI——THAT IT IS FOLLY TO MEASURE TRUTH AND ERROR BY OUR OWN CAPACITY
“If we give the names of monster and miracle to everything our reason cannot comprehend, how many are continually presented before our eyes?”
CHAPTER XXVII——OF FRIENDSHIP
La Boétie escreveu sua Servidão voluntária antes dos 18 anos.
“But he has left nothing behind him, save this treatise only (and that too by chance, for I believe he never saw it after it first went out of his hands), and some observations upon that edict of January (1562, which granted to the Huguenots the public exercise of their religion.) made famous by our civil wars, which also shall elsewhere, peradventure, find a place. These were all I could recover of his remains, I to whom with so affectionate a remembrance, upon his death-bed, he by his last will bequeathed his library and papers, the little book of his works only excepted, which I committed to the press. And this particular obligation I have to this treatise of his, that it was the occasion of my first coming acquainted with him; for it was showed to me long before I had the good fortune to know him; and the first knowledge of his name, proving the first cause and foundation of a friendship, which we afterwards improved and maintained, so long as God was pleased to continue us together, so perfect, inviolate, and entire, that certainly the like is hardly to be found in story, and amongst the men of this age, there is no sign nor trace of any such thing in use”
“The father and the son may be of quite contrary humours, and so of brothers: he is my son, he is my brother; but he is passionate, ill-natured, or a fool.”
“As the hunter pursues the hare, in cold and heat, to the mountain, to the shore, nor cares for it farther when he sees it taken, and only delights in chasing that which flees from him.”—Aristo of Cuios, x. 7.
“O my friends, there is no friend” Aristotle
“If two at the same time should call to you for succour, to which of them would you run? Should they require of you contrary offices, how could you serve them both? Should one commit a thing to your silence that it were of importance to the other to know, how would you disengage yourself? A unique and particular friendship dissolves all other obligations whatsoever: the secret I have sworn not to reveal to any other, I may without perjury communicate to him who is not another, but myself. ‘Tis miracle enough certainly, for a man to double himself, and those that talk of tripling, talk they know not of what.”
CHAPTER XXIX——OF MODERATION
“Those who say there is never any excess in virtue, forasmuch as it is not virtue when it once becomes excess, only play upon words”
“An immoderate zeal, even to that which is good, even though it does not offend, astonishes me, and puts me to study what name to give it.”
“The archer that shoots over, misses as much as he that falls short, and ‘tis equally troublesome to my sight, to look up at a great light, and to look down into a dark abyss.”
“Marriage is a solemn and religious tie, and therefore the pleasure we extract from it should be a sober and serious delight, and mixed with a certain kind of gravity; it should be a sort of discreet and conscientious pleasure.” “Aelius Verus, the emperor, answered his wife, who reproached him with his love to other women, that he did it upon a conscientious account, forasmuch as marriage was a name of honour and dignity, not of wanton and lascivious desire”
CHAPTER XXX——OF CANNIBALS
“I am sorry that Lycurgus and Plato had no knowledge of them; for to my apprehension, what we now see in those nations does not only surpass all the pictures with which the poets have adorned the golden age, and all their inventions in feigning a happy state of man, but, moreover, the fancy and even the wish and desire of philosophy itself; so native and so pure a simplicity, as we by experience see to be in them, could never enter into their imagination, nor could they ever believe that human society could have been maintained with so little artifice and human patchwork. I should tell Plato that it is a nation wherein there is no manner of traffic, no knowledge of letters, no science of numbers, no name of magistrate or political superiority; no use of service, riches or poverty, no contracts, no successions, no dividends, no properties, no employments, but those of leisure, no respect of kindred, but common, no clothing, no agriculture, no metal, no use of corn or wine; the very words that signify lying, treachery, dissimulation, avarice, envy, detraction, pardon, never heard of.
—(This is the famous passage which Shakespeare, through Florio’s version, 1603, or ed. 1613, p. 102, has employed in the Tempest, ii. 1.]” PLAGIÁRIO!
“As to the rest, they live in a country very pleasant and temperate, so that, as my witnesses inform me, ‘tis rare to hear of a sick person, and they moreover assure me that they never saw any of the natives, either paralytic, bleareyed, toothless, or crooked with age. The situation of their country is along the sea-shore, enclosed on the other side towards the land, with great and high mountains, having about 100 leagues in breadth between. They have great store of fish and flesh, that have no resemblance to those of ours: which they eat without any other cookery, than plain boiling, roasting, and broiling. The first that rode a horse thither, though in several other voyages he had contracted an acquaintance and familiarity with them, put them into so terrible a fright, with his centaur appearance, that they killed him with their arrows before they could come to discover who he was. [HAHAHA] Their buildings are very long, and of capacity to hold 200 or 300 people, made of the barks of tall trees, reared with one end upon the ground, and leaning to and supporting one another at the top, like some of our barns, of which the covering hangs down to the very ground, and serves for the side walls. They have wood so hard, that they cut with it, and make their swords of it, and their grills of it to broil their meat. Their beds are of cotton, hung swinging from the roof, like our seamen’s hammocks, every man his own, for the wives lie apart from their husbands. They rise with the sun, and so soon as they are up, eat for all day, for they have no more meals but that; they do not then drink, as Suidas reports of some other people of the East that never drank at their meals; but drink very often all day after, and sometimes to a rousing pitch. Their drink is made of a certain root, and is of the colour of our claret, and they never drink it but lukewarm. It will not keep above 2 or 3 days; it has a somewhat sharp, brisk taste, is nothing heady, but very comfortable to the stomach; laxative to strangers, but a very pleasant beverage to such as are accustomed to it. They make use, instead of bread, of a certain white compound, like coriander seeds; I have tasted of it; the taste is sweet and a little flat. The whole day is spent in dancing. Their young men go a-hunting after wild beasts with bows and arrows; one part of their women are employed in preparing their drink the while, which is their chief employment. One of their old men, in the morning before they fall to eating, preaches to the whole family, walking from the one end of the house to the other, and several times repeating the same sentence, till he has finished the round, for their houses are at least 100 yards long. Valour towards their enemies and love towards their wives, are the two heads of his discourse, never failing in the close, to put them in mind, that ‘tis their wives who provide them their drink warm and well seasoned. The fashion of their beds, ropes, swords, and of the wooden bracelets they tie about their wrists, when they go to fight, and of the great canes, bored hollow at one end, by the sound of which they keep the cadence of their dances, are to be seen in several places, and amongst others, at my house. They shave all over, and much more neatly than we, without other razor than one of wood or stone. They believe in the immortality of the soul, and that those who have merited well of the gods are lodged in that part of heaven where the sun rises, and the accursed in the west.
They have I know not what kind of priests and prophets, who very rarely present themselves to the people, having their abode in the mountains. At their arrival, there is a great feast, and solemn assembly of many villages: each house, as I have described, makes a village, and they are about a French league distant from one another. This prophet declaims to them in public, exhorting them to virtue and their duty: but all their ethics are comprised in these 2 articles, resolution in war, and affection to their wives. He also prophesies to them events to come, and the issues they are to expect from their enterprises, and prompts them to or diverts them from war: but let him look to’t; for if he fail in his divination, and anything happens otherwise than he has foretold, he is cut into a thousand pieces, if he be caught, and condemned for a false prophet: [HAHAHA] for that reason, if any of them has been mistaken, he is no more heard of.”
“They have continual war with the nations that live further within the mainland, beyond their mountains, to which they go naked, and without other arms than their bows and wooden swords, fashioned at one end like the head of our javelins. The obstinacy of their battles is wonderful, and they never end without great effusion of blood: for as to running away, they know not what it is. Every one for a trophy brings home the head of an enemy he has killed, which he fixes over the door of his house. After having a long time treated their prisoners very well, and given them all the regales they can think of, he to whom the prisoner belongs, invites a great assembly of his friends. They being come, he ties a rope to one of the arms of the prisoner, of which, at a distance, out of his reach, he holds the one end himself, and gives to the friend he loves best the other arm to hold after the same manner; which being done, they 2, in the presence of all the assembly, despatch him with their swords. After that, they roast him, eat him amongst them, and send some chops to their absent friends. They do not do this, as some think, for nourishment, as the Scythians anciently did, but as a representation of an extreme revenge; as will appear by this: that having observed the Portuguese, who were in league with their enemies, to inflict another sort of death upon any of them they took prisoners, which was to set them up to the girdle in the earth, to shoot at the remaining part till it was stuck full of arrows, and then to hang them, they thought those people of the other world (as being men who had sown the knowledge of a great many vices amongst their neighbours, and who were much greater masters in all sorts of mischief than they) did not exercise this sort of revenge without a meaning, and that it must needs be more painful than theirs, they began to leave their old way, and to follow this. [Querer imputar o costume da antropofagia aos portugueses é ir longe demais!] I am not sorry that we should here take notice of the barbarous horror of so cruel an action, but that, seeing so clearly into their faults, we should be so blind to our own. I conceive there is more barbarity in eating a man alive, than when he is dead; in tearing a body limb from limb by racks and torments, that is yet in perfect sense; in roasting it by degrees; in causing it to be bitten and worried by dogs and swine (as we have not only read, but lately seen, not amongst inveterate and mortal enemies, but among neighbours and fellow-citizens, and, which is worse, under colour of piety and religion), than to roast and eat him after he is dead.” Surpreendente apologia do canibalismo das Américas. Não esperava essa “mente aberta” do cristão e pudico Montaigne!
“Chrysippus and Zeno, the 2 heads of the Stoic sect, were of opinion that there was no hurt in making use of our dead carcasses, in what way soever for our necessity, and in feeding upon them too; as our own ancestors, who being besieged by Caesar in the city Alexia, resolved to sustain the famine of the siege with the bodies of their old men, women, and other persons who were incapable of bearing arms.”
“We may then call these people barbarous, in respect to the rules of reason: but not in respect to ourselves, who in all sorts of barbarity exceed them. Their wars are throughout noble and generous, and carry as much excuse and fair pretence, as that human malady is capable of; having with them no other foundation than the sole jealousy of valour. Their disputes are not for the conquest of new lands, for these they already possess are so fruitful by nature, as to supply them without labour or concern, with all things necessary, in such abundance that they have no need to enlarge their borders. And they are, moreover, happy in this, that they only covet so much as their natural necessities require: all beyond that is superfluous to them: men of the same age call one another generally brothers, those who are younger, children; and the old men are fathers to all. These leave to their heirs in common the full possession of goods, without any manner of division, or other title than what nature bestows upon her creatures, in bringing them into the world. If their neighbours pass over the mountains to assault them, and obtain a victory, all the victors gain by it is glory only, and the advantage of having proved themselves the better in valour and virtue: for they never meddle with the goods of the conquered, but presently return into their own country, where they have no want of anything necessary, nor of this greatest of all goods, to know happily how to enjoy their condition and to be content. And those in turn do the same; they demand of their prisoners no other ransom, than acknowledgment that they are overcome: but there is not one found in an age, who will not rather choose to die than make such a confession, or either by word or look recede from the entire grandeur of an invincible courage. There is not a man amongst them who had not rather be killed and eaten, than so much as to open his mouth to entreat he may not. They use them with all liberality and freedom, to the end their lives may be so much the dearer to them; but frequently entertain them with menaces of their approaching death, of the torments they are to suffer, of the preparations making in order to it, of the mangling their limbs, and of the feast that is to be made, where their carcass is to be the only dish. All which they do, to no other end, but only to extort some gentle or submissive word from them, or to frighten them so as to make them run away, to obtain this advantage that they were terrified, and that their constancy was shaken; and indeed, if rightly taken, it is in this point only that a true victory consists”
“The Hungarians, a very warlike people, never pretend further than to reduce the enemy to their discretion; for having forced this confession from them, they let them go without injury or ransom, excepting, at the most, to make them engage their word never to bear arms against them again. We have sufficient advantages over our enemies that are borrowed and not truly our own; it is the quality of a porter, and no effect of virtue, to have stronger arms and legs; it is a dead and corporeal quality to set in array; ‘tis a turn of fortune to make our enemy stumble, or to dazzle him with the light of the sun; ‘tis a trick of science and art, and that may happen in a mean base fellow, to be a good fencer. The estimate and value of a man consist in the heart and in the will: there his true honour lies. Valour is stability, not of legs and arms, but of the courage and the soul; it does not lie in the goodness of our horse or our arms but in our own.”
“The part that true conquering is to play lies in the encounter, not in the coming off; and the honour of valour consists in fighting, not in subduing.”
“Those that paint these people dying after this manner, represent the prisoner spitting in the faces of his executioners and making wry mouths at them. And ‘tis most certain, that to the very last gasp, they never cease to brave and defy them both in word and gesture. In plain truth, these men are very savage in comparison of us; of necessity, they must either be absolutely so or else we are savages; for there is a vast difference betwixt their manners and ours.”
“the same jealousy our wives have to hinder and divert us from the friendship and familiarity of other women, those employ to promote their husbands’ desires, and to procure them many spouses; for being above all things solicitous of their husbands’ honour, ‘tis their chiefest care to seek out, and to bring in the most companions they can, forasmuch as it is a testimony of the husband’s virtue. [Só na vontade da poligamia, né, pervertido!] Most of our ladies will cry out, that ‘tis monstrous; whereas in truth it is not so, but a truly matrimonial virtue, and of the highest form. In the Bible, Sarah, with Leah and Rachel, the 2 wives of Jacob, gave the most beautiful of their handmaids to their husbands” Mais um motivo para achar tal postura condenável.
“To which it may be added, that their language is soft, of a pleasing accent, and something bordering upon the Greek termination.”
CHAPTER XXXI——THAT A MAN IS SOBERLY TO JUDGE OF THE DIVINE ORDINANCES
“In a nation of the Indies, there is this commendable custom, that when anything befalls them amiss in any encounter or battle, they publicly ask pardon of the sun, who is their god, as having committed an unjust action, always imputing their good or evil fortune to the divine justice, and to that submitting their own judgment and reason.”
CHAPTER XXXIII——THAT FORTUNE IS OFTEN-TIMES OBSERVED TO ACT BY THE RULE OF REASON
(*) “The term Fortune, so often employed by Montaigne, and in passages where he might have used Providence, was censured by the doctors who examined his Essays when he was at Rome in 1581. See his Travels”
“The Duc de Valentinois,—(Caesar Borgia)—having resolved to poison Adrian, Cardinal of Corneto, with whom Pope Alexander VI his father and himself were to sup in the Vatican, he sent before a bottle of poisoned wine, and withal, strict order to the butler to keep it very safe. The Pope being come before his son, and calling for drink, the butler supposing this wine had not been so strictly recommended to his care but only upon the account of its excellency, presented it forthwith to the Pope, and the duke himself coming in presently after, and being confident they had not meddled with his bottle, took also his cup; so that the father died immediately upon the spot,(*) and the son, after having been long tormented with sickness, was reserved to another and a worse fortune.”
(*) “Other historians assign the Pope several days of misery prior to death.”
“Constantine, son of Helen, founded the empire of Constantinople, and so many ages after, Constantine, the son of Helen, put an end to it.”
CHAPTER XXXV——OF THE CUSTOM OF WEARING CLOTHES
“I was disputing with myself in this shivering season, whether the fashion of going naked in those nations lately discovered is imposed upon them by the hot temperature of the air, as we say of the Indians and Moors, or whether it be the original fashion of mankind. Men of understanding, forasmuch as all things under the sun, as the Holy Writ declares, are subject to the same laws, were wont in such considerations as these, where we are to distinguish the natural laws from those which have been imposed by man’s invention, to have recourse to the general polity of the world, where there can be nothing counterfeit. Now, all other creatures being sufficiently furnished with all things necessary for the support of their being it is not to be imagined that we only are brought into the world in a defective and indigent condition, and in such a state as cannot subsist without external aid.”
“of those nations who have no manner of knowledge of clothing, some are situated under the same temperature that we are, and some in much colder climates. And besides, our most tender parts are always exposed to the air, as the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears; and our country labourers, like our ancestors in former times, go with their breasts and bellies open. Had we been born with a necessity upon us of wearing petticoats and breeches, there is no doubt but nature would have fortified those parts she intended should be exposed to the fury of the seasons with a thicker skin, as she has done the finger-ends and the soles of the feet. And why should this seem hard to believe? I observe much greater distance betwixt my habit and that of one of our country boors, than betwixt his and that of a man who has no other covering but his skin. How many men, especially in Turkey, go naked upon the account of devotion? Someone asked a beggar, whom he saw in his shirt in the depth of winter, as brisk and frolic as he who goes muffled up to the ears in furs, how he was able to endure to go so? ‘Why, sir,’ he answered, ‘you go with your face bare: I am all face.’”
“Herodotus tells us, that in the battles fought betwixt the Egyptians and the Persians, it was observed both by himself and by others, that of those who were left dead upon the field, the heads of the Egyptians were without comparison harder than those of the Persians, by reason that the last had gone with their heads always covered from their infancy, first with biggins, and then with turbans, and the others always shaved and bare. King Agesilaus continued to a decrepit age to wear always the same clothes in winter that he did in summer. Caesar, says Suetonius, marched always at the head of his army, for the most part on foot, with his head bare, whether it was rain or sunshine, and as much is said of Hannibal”
“and Plato very earnestly advises for the health of the whole body, to give the head and the feet no other clothing than what nature has bestowed. He whom the Poles have elected for their king,—Stephen Bathory—since ours came thence, who is, indeed, one of the greatest princes of this age, never wears any gloves, and in winter or whatever weather can come, never wears other cap abroad than that he wears at home. Whereas I cannot endure to go unbuttoned or untied; my neighbouring labourers would think themselves in chains, if they were so braced.”
“Varro is of opinion, that when it was ordained we should be bare in the presence of the gods and before the magistrate, it was so ordered rather upon the score of health, and to inure us to the injuries of weather, than upon the account of reverence”
“At the mouth of Lake Maeotis the frosts are so very sharp, that in the very same place where Mithridates’ lieutenant had fought the enemy dryfoot and given them a notable defeat, the summer following he obtained over them a naval victory. The Romans fought at a very great disadvantage, in the engagement they had with the Carthaginians near Piacenza, by reason that they went to the charge with their blood congealed and their limbs numbed with cold, whereas Hannibal had caused great fires to be dispersed quite through his camp to warm his soldiers, and oil to be distributed amongst them, to the end that anointing themselves, they might render their nerves more supple and active, and fortify the pores against the violence of the air and freezing wind, which raged in that season.” Gostaria de confirmar estes relatos futuramente. Bom, pelo menos não vêm de Plutarco, o que já é bom sinal!
“But, so far as clothes go, the King of Mexico changed 4 times a day his apparel, and never put it on again, employing that he left off in his continual liberalities and rewards; and neither pot, dish, nor other utensil of his kitchen or table was ever served twice.”
CHAPTER XXXVI——OF CATO THE YOUNGER
“These rare forms, that are culled out by the consent of the wisest men of all ages, for the world’s example, I should not stick to augment in honour, as far as my invention would permit, in all the circumstances of favourable interpretation; and we may well believe that the force of our invention is infinitely short of their merit.”
“as Plutarch [ihhh…] complains that in his time some attributed the cause of the younger Cato’s death to his fear of Caesar, at which he seems very angry, and with good reason; and by this a man may guess how much more he would have been offended with those who have attributed it to ambition. Senseless people! He would rather have performed a noble, just, and generous action, and to have had ignominy for his reward, than for glory. That man was in truth a pattern that nature chose out to show to what height human virtue and constancy could arrive.”
“we have far more poets than judges and interpreters of poetry”
But who is Cato (general romano//Merivale)? Pois é. Parece que até onde cheguei na História Romana do autor, só li sobre Cato the Old.
CHAPTER XXXVII——THAT WE LAUGH AND CRY FOR THE SAME THING
“When Pompey’s head was presented to Caesar, the histories tell us that he turned away his face, as from a sad and unpleasing object.”
“Who for seeing me onewhile cold and presently very fond towards my wife, believes the one or the other to be counterfeited, is an ass.”
“‘Tis said, that the light of the sun is not one continuous thing, but that he darts new rays so thick one upon another that we cannot perceive the intermission”
“We have resolutely pursued the revenge of an injury received, and been sensible of a singular contentment for the victory; but we shall weep notwithstanding. ‘Tis not for the victory, though, that we shall weep: there is nothing altered in that but the soul looks upon things with another eye and represents them to itself with another kind of face; for everything has many faces and several aspects.”
“When Timoleon laments the murder he had committed upon so mature and generous deliberation, he does not lament the liberty restored to his country, he does not lament the tyrant; but he laments his brother: one part of his duty is performed; let us give him leave to perform the other.”
CHAPTER XXXVIII——OF SOLITUDE
“Let us tell ambition that it is she herself who gives us a taste of solitude; for what does she so much avoid as society? What does she so much seek as elbowroom?”
“‘Tis not that a wise man may not live everywhere content, and be alone in the very crowd of a palace; but if it be left to his own choice, the schoolman will tell you that he should fly the very sight of the crowd”
“There is nothing so unsociable and sociable as man, the one by his vice, the other by his nature.”
“there is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom.”
“One telling Socrates that such a one was nothing improved by his travels, he answered: I very well believe it, for he took himself along with him”
“If a man do not first discharge both himself and his mind of the burden with which he finds himself oppressed, motion will but make it press the harder and sit the heavier, as the lading of a ship is of less encumbrance when fast and bestowed in a settled posture. You do a sick man more harm than good in removing him from place to place; you fix and establish the disease by motion, as stakes sink deeper and more firmly into the earth by being moved up and down in the place where they are designed to stand.”
“Wives, children, and goods must be had, and especially health, by him that can get it; but we are not so to set our hearts upon them that our happiness must have its dependence upon them; we must reserve a backshop, wholly our own and entirely free, wherein to settle our true liberty, our principal solitude and retreat.” “as if without wife, children, goods, train, or attendance, to the end that when it shall so fall out that we must lose any or all of these, it may be no new thing to be without them.”
“In our ordinary actions there is not one of a thousand that concerns ourselves. (…) our own affairs do not afford us anxiety enough; let us undertake those of our neighbours and friends, still more to break our brains and torment us” “We have lived enough for others; let us at least live out the small remnant of life for ourselves; let us now call in our thoughts and intentions to ourselves, and to our own ease and repose. ‘Tis no light thing to make a sure retreat; it will be enough for us to do without mixing other enterprises. Since God gives us leisure to order our removal, let us make ready, truss our baggage, take leave betimes of the company, and disentangle ourselves from those violent importunities that engage us elsewhere and separate us from ourselves.” Fala como um tonto que não entende a si mesmo. Não existe essa falsa oposição. Para quem eu escrevo senão para os outros?
CHAPTER XXXIX——A CONSIDERATION UPON CICERO
“they both [Cicero and Pliny the younger], in the sight of all the world, solicit the historians of their time not to forget them in their memoirs; and fortune, as if in spite, has made the vanity of those requests live upon record down to this age of ours, while she has long since consigned the histories themselves to oblivion.”
“as if a man should commend a king for being a good painter, a good architect, a good marksman, or a good runner at the ring: commendations that add no honour, unless mentioned altogether and in the train of those that are properly applicable to him, namely, justice and the science of governing and conducting his people both in peace and war.” Isso fica muito mal para “Cícero, o Orador”!
“Demosthenes’ companions in the embassy to Philip, extolling that prince as handsome, eloquent, and a stout drinker, Demosthenes said that those were commendations more proper for a woman, an advocate, or a sponge, than for a king” Sobre essa embaixada, que buscava salvar Atenas quando ela – e a Grécia inteira – já estavam condenadas, ver o relato do principal oponente de Demóstenes, Ésquines.
“Plutarch says, moreover, that to appear so excellent in these less necessary qualities is to produce witness against a man’s self, that he has spent his time and applied his study ill, which ought to have been employed in the acquisition of more necessary and more useful things. So that Philip, king of Macedon, having heard that great Alexander his son sung once at a feast to the wonder of the best musicians there: ‘Art thou not ashamed, said he to him, to sing so well?’ And to the same Philip a musician, with whom he was disputing about some things concerning his art: ‘Heaven forbid, sir, said he, that so great a misfortune should ever befall you as to understand these things better than I.’ A king should be able to answer as Iphicrates did the orator, who pressed upon him in his invective after this manner: ‘And what art thou that thou bravest it at this rate? art thou a man at arms, art thou an archer, art thou a pikeman?’—‘I am none of all this; but I know how to command all these.’”
“And how many stories have I scattered up and down in this book that I only touch upon, which, should anyone more curiously search into, they would find matter enough to produce infinite essays.” Indeed. Not a good thing, though!
“But returning to the speaking virtue: I find no great choice betwixt not knowing to speak anything but ill, and not knowing to speak anything but well.”
“There is something like this in these 2 other philosophers, for they also promise eternity to the letters they write to their friends; but ‘tis after another manner, and by accommodating themselves, for a good end, to the vanity of another; for they write to them that if the concern of making themselves known to future ages, and the thirst of glory, do yet detain them in the management of public affairs, and make them fear the solitude and retirement to which they would persuade them, let them never trouble themselves more about it, forasmuch as they shall have credit enough with posterity to ensure them that were there nothing else but the letters thus written to them, those letters will render their names as known and famous as their own public actions could do.” Se isso é um elogio, eu não queria ser elogiado…
“For to traffic with the wind, as some others have done, and to forge vain names to direct my letters to, in a serious subject, I could never do it but in a dream, being a sworn enemy to all manner of falsification. I should have been more diligent and more confident had I had a judicious and indulgent friend whom to address, than thus to expose myself to the various judgments of a whole people, and I am deceived if I had not succeeded better. I have naturally a humorous and familiar style; but it is a style of my own, not proper for public business, but, like the language I speak, too compact, irregular, abrupt, and singular; and as to letters of ceremony that have no other substance than a fine contexture of courteous words, I am wholly to seek. I have neither faculty nor relish for those tedious tenders of service and affection; I believe little in them from others, and I should not forgive myself should I say to others more than I myself believe.” Freud ganharia tendo-o lido, M.!
“The Italians are great printers of letters; I do believe I have at least 100 several volumes of them; of all which those of Annibale Caro seem to me to be the best. If all the paper I have scribbled to the ladies at the time when my hand was really prompted by my passion were now in being, there might, peradventure, be found a page worthy to be communicated to our young inamoratos, that are besotted with that fury.”
CHAPTER XL——THAT THE RELISH FOR GOOD AND EVIL DEPENDS IN GREAT MEASURE UPON THE OPINION WE HAVE OF THEM
“And amongst that mean-souled race of men, the buffoons, there have been some who would not leave their fooling at the very moment of death.”
“What a world of people do we see in the wars betwixt the Turks and the Greeks rather embrace a cruel death than uncircumcise themselves to admit of baptism? An example of which no sort of religion is incapable.”
“Should I here produce a long catalogue of those, of all sexes and conditions and sects, even in the most happy ages, who have either with great constancy looked death in the face, or voluntarily sought it, and sought it not only to avoid the evils of this life, but some purely to avoid the satiety of living, and others for the hope of a better condition elsewhere, I should never have done. Nay, the number is so infinite that in truth I should have a better bargain on’t to reckon up those who have feared it. This one therefore shall serve for all: Pyrrho the philosopher being one day in a boat in a very great tempest, showed to those he saw the most affrighted about him, and encouraged them, by the example of a hog that was there, nothing at all concerned at the storm. Shall we then dare to say that this advantage of reason, of which we so much boast, and upon the account of which we think ourselves masters and emperors over the rest of all creation, was given us for a torment? To what end serves the knowledge of things if it renders us more unmanly? if we thereby lose the tranquillity and repose we should enjoy without it? and if it put us into a worse condition than Pyrrho’s hog? Shall we employ the understanding that was conferred upon us for our greatest good to our own ruin; setting ourselves against the design of nature and the universal order of things, which intend that everyone should make use of the faculties, members, and means he has to his own best advantage?”
“Posidonius being extremely tormented with a sharp and painful disease, Pompeius came to visit him, excusing himself that he had taken so unseasonable a time to come to hear him discourse of philosophy. ‘The gods forbid,’ said Posidonius to him, ‘that pain should ever have the power to hinder me from talking,’ and thereupon fell immediately upon a discourse of the contempt of pain: but, in the meantime, his own infirmity was playing his part, and plagued him to purpose; to which he cried out, ‘Thou mayest work thy will, pain, and torment me with all the power thou hast, but thou shalt never make me say that thou art an evil.’”
“Death has been, or will come: there is nothing of the present in it.”
—Étienne de la Boétie, Satires
“The delay of death is more painful than death itself.”
—Ovid, Ep. Ariadne to Theseus, v. 42.
“All ills that carry no other danger along with them but simply the evils themselves, we treat as things of no danger: the toothache or the gout, painful as they are, yet being not reputed mortal, who reckons them in the catalogue of diseases?”
“Courage is greedy of danger.”
—Seneca, De Providentia, c. 4
“As an enemy is made more fierce by our flight, so pain grows proud to see us truckle under her. She will surrender upon much better terms to them who make head against her: a man must oppose and stoutly set himself against her. In retiring and giving ground, we invite and pull upon ourselves the ruin that threatens us.”
“We are more sensible of one little touch of a surgeon’s lancet than of 20 wounds with a sword in the heat of fight. The pains of childbearing, said by the physicians and by God himself to be great, and which we pass through with so many ceremonies—there are whole nations that make nothing of them. I set aside the Lacedaemonian women, but what else do you find in the Swiss among our foot-soldiers, if not that, as they trot after their husbands, you see them today carry the child at their necks that they carried yesterday in their bellies?”
CHAPTER XLI——NOT TO COMMUNICATE A MAN’S HONOUR
“we lend our goods and stake our lives for the necessity and service of our friends; but to communicate a man’s honour, and to robe another with a man’s own glory, is very rarely seen.”
. . .