The Essays of Michael de Montaigne PDF

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The Life Of Montaine

[This is translated freely from that prefixed to the ‘variorum’ Paris edition, 1854, 4 vols. 8vo.

This biography is the more desirable that it contains all really interesting and important matters in the journal of the Tour in Germany and Italy.

Which, as it was merely written under Montaigne’s dictation, is in the third person, is a scarcely worth publication, as a whole, in an English dress.]

The author of the Essays was born, as he informs us himself, between eleven and twelve o’clock in the day, the last of February 1533, at the chateau of St. Michel de Montaigne.

His father, Pierre Eyquem, esquire, was successively first Jurat of the town of Bordeaux (1530), Under-Mayor 1536, Jurat for the second time in 1540, Procureur in 1546, and at length Mayor from 1553 to 1556.

He was a man of austere probity, who had “a particular regard for honor and for propriety in his person and attire . . . a mighty good faith in his speech, and a conscience and a religious feeling inclining to superstition, rather than to the other extreme.”

[Essays, ii. 2.] Pierre Eyquem bestowed great care on the education of his children, especially on the practical side of it.

To associate closely his son Michel with the people, and attach him to those who stand in need of assistance, he caused him to be held at the font by persons of meanest position; subsequently.

He put him out to nurse with a poor villager, and then, at a later period, made him accustom himself to the most common sort of living, taking care, nevertheless.

To cultivate his mind, and superintend its development without the exercise of undue rigor or constraint.

Michel, who gives us the minutest account of his earliest years, charmingly narrates how they used to awake him by the sound of some agreeable music.

And how he learned Latin, without suffering the rod or shedding a tear, before beginning French, thanks to the German teacher whom his father had placed near him.

And who never addressed him except in the language of Virgil and Cicero. The study of Greek took precedence.

AuthorMichael de Montaigne
Language English
No. of Pages573
PDF Size26 MB

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