Michel de Montaigne
Translated by John Florio (1603)

Book 2 Chapter 16
Of Glory

There is both name, and the thing: the name, is a voyce which noteth, and signifieth the thing: the name, is neither part of thing nor of substance: it is a stranger-piece joyned to the thing, and from it. God who in and by himselfe is all fulnesse, and the tipe of all perfection, cannot inwardly be augmented or encreased: yet may his name be encreased and augmented, by the blessing and praise, which we give unto his exteriour workes; which praise and blessing since we cannot incorporate into him, forsomuch as no accession of good can be had unto him, we ascribe it unto his name, which is a parte without him, and the neerest unto him. And that is the reason why glory and honour appertaineth to God onely. And there is nothing so repugnant unto reason, as for us to goe about to purchase any for our selves: For, being inwardly needie and defective, and our essence imperfect, and ever wanting amendment, we ought onely labour about that. Wee are all hollow and emptie, and it is not with breath and words we should fill our selves. We have neede of a more solide substance to repaire our selves. An hunger-starved man might be thought most simple, rather to provide himselfe of a faire garment, then of a good meales-meate: We must run to that, which most concerneth us. Gloria in excelsis Deo, & in terra pax hominibus. Glory be to God on high, and peace in earth amongst men; As say our ordinary prayers. We are in great want of beautie, health, wisedome, vertue and such like essentiall partes. Exteriour ornaments may be sought-for when we are once provided, of necessary things. Divinitie doth very amply and pertinently treate of this subject, but I am not very conversant with it. Chrysippus and Diogenes have bin the first, and most constant authors of the contempt of glory. And amongst all sensualities, they said, there was none so dangerous, nor so much to be avoided, as that which commeth unto us by the approbation of others. Verily experience makes us thereby feele, and undergoe many domageable treasons. Nothing so much empoisoneth Princes as flattery: Nor, nothing whereby the wicked-minded gaine so easily credite about them; nor any enticement so fit, nor pandership so ordinary to corupt the chastitie of women, then to feede and entertaine them with their praises. The first enchantment the Syrens employed to deceive Ulisses, is of this nature.

Deça vers nous, deça, o treslouable Ulisse, Et le plus grand honneur dont la Grece fleurisse.

Turne to us, to us turne, Ulisses thrice-renowned. The principall renowne wherewith all Greece is crowned.

Philosophers said, that all the worldes glory deserved not, that a man of wisedome should so much as stretch forth his finger to acquire it.

Gloria quantalibet quid erit, si gloria tantùm est?

Never so glorious name, What ist, be it but fame?

I say for it alone: for, it drawes many commodities after it, by which it may yeeld it selfe desirable: It purchaseth us good will: It makes us lesse exposed to others injuries and offences, and such like things. It was also one of the principall decrees of Epicurus: for, that precept of his Sect, hide thy life, which forbiddeth men to meddle with publike charges and negotiations, doth also necessarily presuppose that a man should despise glory: which is an approbation the world makes of those actions we give evidence of. He that bids us to hide our life, and care but for our selves, and would not have us know of others, would also have us not to be honoured and glorified thereby. So doth he counsell Idomeneas, by no meanes to order his actions, by the vulgar opinion and publike reputation: unlesse it be to avoide other accidentall incommodities, which the contempt of men might bring unto him. Those discourses are (in mine advise) very true and resonable: But, I wot not how, wee are double in our selves, which is the cause, that what wee beleeve, we beleeve it not, and cannot rid our selves of that, which we condemne. Let us consider the last words of Epicurus, and which hee speaketh as hee is dying: They are notable and woorthy such a Philosopher: but yet they have some badge of his names commendations, and of the humour which by his precepts he had disauowed. Behold here a letter, which hee endited a little before hee yeelded up his ghost. Epicurus to Hermachus health and greeting: Whilst I passed the happy, and even the last day of my life I writ this, accompanied neverthelesse with such paine in my bladder and anguish in my entrails, that nothing can be added to the greatnesse of it; yet was it recompenced with the pleasure, which the remembrance of my inventions and discourses brought unto my soule. Now as requireth the affection, which even from thy infancie thou hast borne me and Philosophie, embrace the protection of Metrodorus his children: Loe here his letter. And which makes me interprete, that the pleasure which in his soule he saith to feele of his inventions, doth in some sorte respect the reputation, which after his death he thereby hoped to attaine, is the ordinance of his last will and testament, by which he willeth, that Aminomachus and Timocrates his heires, should for the celebration of his birth-day every month of January supply all such charges as Hermachus should appoint: And also for the expence hee might bee at upon the twentieth of every Moone for the feasting and entertainment of the Philosophers his familiar friendes, who in the honour of his memorie and of Metrodorus should meete together. Carneades hath beene chiefe of the contrary opinion, and hath maintained, that glory was in it selfe to be desired, even as we embrace our posthumes for themselves, having neither knowledge nor jouissance of them. This opinion hath not missed to be more commonly followed, as are ordinarily those, that fit most and come neerest our inclinations. Aristotle amongst externall goods yeeldeth the first ranke unto it: And avoideth, as two extrame vices, the immoderation, either in seeking, or avoiding it. I believe, that had we the bookes which Cicero writ upon this subject, wee should heare strange matters of him: for he was so fond in this passion, as had he dared, he would (as I thinke) have easily falne into the excesse, that others fell in; which is, that even vertue was not to be desired, but for the honour, which ever waited on it:

Paulum sepultæ distat inertiæ Celata uirtus.

There is but little difference betweene, Vertue conceald, unskilfulnesse unseene.

Which is so false an opinion, as I am vexed it could ever enter a mans undestanding that had the honour to beare the name of a Philosopher. If that were true, a man needed not to be vertuous but in publike: and we should never neede to keepe the soules-operations in order and rule, which is the true feate of vertue, but onely so much as they might come to the knowledge of others. Doth then nothing else belong unto it, but craftily to faile, and subtilly to cozen? If thou knowest a Serpent to be hidden in any place (saith Carneades) to which, he by whose death thou hopest to reape commodity, goeth unawares to sit upon, thou committest a wicked act if thou warne him not of it: and so much the more, because thy action should be known but to thy self. If we take not the law of wel-doing from our selves: If impunity be justice in us, to how many kindes of trecheries are we daily to abandon our selves? That which Sp. Peduceus did, faithfully to restore the riches which C. Plotius had committed to his onely trust and secrecie, and as my selfe have done often; I thinke not so commendable, as I would deem it execrable, if we had not done it. And I think it beneficial we should in our dayes be mindefull of Publius Sextilius Rufus his example, whom Cicero accuseth that he had received a great inheritance against his conscience: Not only repugnant, but agreeing with the lawes. And M. Crassus, and Q. Hortensius, who by reason of their authority and might, having for certaine Quidities beene called by a stranger to the succession of a forged will, that so he might make his share good: they were pleased not to be partakers of his forgery, yet refused not to take some profite of it: Very closely had they kept themselves under the countenaunce of the accusations, witnesses and lawes. Meminerint Deum se habere testem, id est (ut Ego arbitror) mentem suam. Let them remember they have God to witnesse, that is, (as I construe it) their owne minde. Vertue is a vaine and frivolous thing, if it draw hir commendation from glorie. In vaine should we attempt to make hir keepe hir rancke apart, and so should we disjoyne it from fortune: for, What is more casuall than reputation? Profectò fortuna in omni re dominatur: Ea res cunctas ex libidine magis quàm ex vero celebrat obscurátque. Fortune governeth in al things, and either advanceth or abaseth them rather by froward disposition, then upright judgement. To make actions to be knowen and seene, is the meere worke of fortune. It is chance that applyeth glory unto us, according to her temeritie. I have often seene it to goe before desert; yea and many times to out-goe merite by very much. He that first bethought himselfe of the resemblance betweene shadow and glory, did better than he desired. They are exceeding vaine things. It also often goeth before hir body, and sometimes exceeds by much in length. Those who teach Nobility to seeke in valour nothing but honor: Quasi non sit honestum quod nobilitatum non sit; As though it were not honest, except it were ennobled. What gaine they by it? But to instruct them never to hazard themselves, unlesse they be seene of others; and to be very heedy, whether such witnesses are by, that may report newes of their valour, whereas a thousand occasions, to doe well are dayly offered, and no man by to marke them? How many notable particular actions, are buried in the throng of a Battell? Whosoever ammuseth himselfe to controule others, in so confused a hurly-burly, is not greatly busied about it: and produceth the testimony which hee giveth of his fellowes proceedings or exploits against himselfe. Vera & sapiens animi magnitudo, honestum illud quod maximè naturam sequitur, in factis positum, non in gloria iudicat. A true and wise magnanimitie esteemeth that honesty, which especially followeth Nature, to consist in good actions, and not in glory, All the glory I pretend in my life, is, that I have lived quietly. Quietly not accord to Metrodorius, Arcesilaus, or Aristippus, but according to my selfe. Since Philosophie could never finde any way for tranquility, that might be generally good, let every man in his particular seeke for it. To whom are Cæsar and Alexander beholding for that infinite greatnes of their renowne, but to fortune? How many men hath she suppressed in the beginning of their progresse, of whom we have no knowledge at all, who bare the same courage that others did, if the il fortune of their chance had not staid them even in the budding of their enterprises? Amongest so many and so extreame dangers (to my remembrance) I never read, that Cæsar received any hurt. A thousand have dyed in lesse danger, than the least of those he escaped. Many worthy exploits and excellent deedes must be lost, before one can come to any good. A man is not alwayes upon the toppe of a breache, nor in the front of an army, in the sight of his Generall, as upon a stage. A man may be surprised betweene a hedge and a ditch. A man is sometimes put to his sodaine shifts, as to try his fortune against a Hens-roost, to ferret out foure seely shotte out of some barne, yea, and sometimes straggle alone from his troupes; and enterprise, according as necessity and occasion offereth it selfe. And if it be well noted (in mine advise) it will be found, and experience doth teach it, that the least blazoned occasions, are the most dangerous; and that in our late home-warres, more good men have perished in slight and little-importing occasions, and in contention about a small cottage, than in worthy atchievements, and honourable places. Who so thinketh his death ill emploied, except it be in some glorious exploite, or famous attempt, in liew of dignifying his death, he happily obscureth his life: Suffering in the meane time many just and honor-affoording oportunties to escape, wherein he might and ought adventure himselfe. And all just occasions are glorious enough; his owne conscience publishing them sufficiently to all men. Gloria nostra est, testimonium conscientiæ nostræ. Our glory is the testimony of our conscience. He that is not an honest man, but by that which other men know by him, and because he shall the better be esteemed, being knowne to be so, that will not do well but upon condition his vertue may come to the knowledge of men; such a one is no man from whom any great service may be drawne, or good expected.

Credo ch’il resto di quel verno, cose Facesse degne di tenerne conto. Ma fur fin’a quel tempo si nascose, Che non è colpa mia s’hor’non le conto, Perche Orlando a far’opre virtuose Piu ch’à narrarle poi sempre era pronto; Ne mai fu alcun’de li suoi fatti espresso, Senon quando hebbe i testimonii appresso.

I guesse, he of that winter all the rest Atchiev’d exploites, whereof to keepe account, But they untill that time were so supprest, As now my fault t’is not, them not to count, Because Orlando ever was more prest To doe, than tell deeds that might all surmount. Nor was there any of his deeds related Unlesse some witnes were associated.

A man must goe to warres for his devoirs sake, and expect this recompence of it, which cannot faile all worthie actions, how secret soever; no not to vertuous thoughts: It is the contenment that a well-disposed conscience receiveth in it selfe, by well doing. A man must be valiant for himselfe, and for the advantage he hath to have his corage placed in a constant and assured seate, to withstand all assaults of fortune.

Uirtus repulsæ nescia sordidæ, Intaminatis fulget honoribus: Nec sumit aut ponit secures Arbitrio popularis auræ.

Vertue unskill’d to take repulse that’s base, In undefiled honors clearely shines, At the dispose of peoples airy grace She signes, of honor tak’s not, nor resignes.

It is not onely for an exterior shew or ostentaion, that our soule must play hir part, but inwardly within our selves, where no eyes shine but ours: There it dooth shroud us from the feare of death, of sorrowes and of shame: There it assureth us, from the losse of our children, friends and fortunes; and when oportunitie is offered it also leades us to the dangers of warre. Non emolumento aliquo, sed ipsius honestatis decore. Not for any advantage, but for the greacefulnes of honestie it selfe. This benefit is much greater, and more worthie to be wished and hoped, then honor and glorie, which is nought but a favorable judgement that is made of us. Wee are often driven to empanell and select a jurie of twelve men out of a whole countrie to determine of an acre of land: And the judgement of our inclinations and actions (the waightiest and hardest matter that is) we referre it to the idle breath of the vaine voice of the common sort and base raskalitie, which is the mother of ignorance, of injustice, and inconstancie. Is it reason to make the life of a wise man depend on the judgement of fooles? An quidquam stultius, quàm quos singulos contemnas, eos aliquid putare esse universos? Is there any thing more foolish, then to thinke that altogether they are oughts whom every one single you would set at noughts? Whosoever aimeth to please them, hath never done: It is a But, that hath neither forme nor holdfast. Nil tam inæstimabile est, quàm animi multitudinis. Nothing is so incomprehensible to be just waied as the mindes of the multitude. Demetrius saide merely of the common peoples voice, that he made no more reckoning of that which issued from out his mouth above, then of that which came from a homely place belowe, and saith moreover: Ego hoc iudico, si quando turpe non sit, tamen non esse non turpe, quum id à multitudine laudetur: Thus I esteeme of it, if of it selfe it be not dishonest, yet can it not but be dishonest, when it is applauded by the menie. No art, no mildenes of spirit might direct our steps to follow so stragling and disordred a guide. In this breathie confusion of bruites, and frothie Chaos of reports, and of vulgar opinions, which still push-us on, no good course can be established. Let us not propose so fleeing and so wavering an end unto our selves. Let us constantly follow reason: And let the vulgar approbation follow us that way. If it please: And as it depends all on fortune, we have no lawe to hope for it, rather by any other way then by that. Should I not follow a straite path for it’s straightnes, yet would I doe it because experience hath taught me, that in the end, it is the happiest and most profitable. Dedit hoc prouidentia hominibus munus, ut honesta magis iuuarent. Mans providence hath given him this gift, that honest things should more delight and availe him. The antient Sailer said thus to Neptune in a great storme, Oh God, thou shalt save me if thou please, if not, thou shalt loose me; yet will I keepe my helme still fast. I have, in my dayes, seene a thousand milde, mungrell and ambiguous men, and whom no man thought to be more worldly-wise than my selfe, loose themselves, where I have saved my selfe.

Risi successu posse carere dolos.

I smilde to see that wilie plots, Might want successe (and leave men sots.)

Paulus Æmilius going to the glorious expedition of Macedon, advertized the people of Rome during his absence, not to speake of his actions: For The licence of Judgements is an especiall lette in great affaires. Forasmuch as all men have not the constancie of Fabius against common, contrarie and detracting voyces: who loved better to have his authoritie dismembred by mens vaine fantasies, then not to performe his charge so well, with favourable and popular applause. There is a kinde of I know not what naturall delight, that man hath to heare himselfe commended, but we yeelde too-too much unto it.

Laudari haud metuam, neque enim mihi cornea fibra est, Sed recti finémque extremúmque esse recuso Euge tuum & bellè

Nor feare I to be prais’d, for my guttes are not horne, But that the utmost end of good should be, I scorne, Thy O well saide, well done, well plaide.

I care not so muh what I am with others, as I respect what I am in my selfe. I will bee rich by my selfe, and not by borrowing. Strangers see but externall apparances and events: every man can set a good face upon the matter, when within he is full of care, griefe and infirmities. They see not my heart, when they looke upon my outward countenance. There is great reason the hypocrisie that is found in warre should be discovered: For, what is more easie in a man of practise, then to flinch in dangers and to counterfeit a gallant and a boaster, when his heart is full of faintnes, and ready to droope for feare? There are so many wayes to shunne occasions for a man to hazard himselfe in particular, that wee shall have deceived the worlde a thousand times, before wee neede engage our selves into any perillous attempt; and even when wee finde our selves entangled in it, wee shall not want skil how to cloake our sporte with a good face, stearne countenaunce, and bolde speeches; although our heart doe quake within us. And hee that hadde the use of the Platonicall Ring, whose vertue was to make him invisible that wore it upon his finger, if it were turned toward the flat of the hand; many would hide themselves, when they should most make shewe of their worth, and would be sorie to be placed in so honorable a place, where necessitie may be their warrant of safetie.

Falsus honor inuat, & mendax infamia terret Quem nisi mendosum & mendacem?

False honour tickles; false diffame affright’s, Whom, but the faultie, and falcified sprights?

See how all those judgements, that men make of outward apparances, are wonderfully uncertaine and doubtfull, and there is no man so sure a testimonie, as every man is to himselfe: How many horse-boyes have we in them as partners and companions of our glorie? He that keepes his stand in an open trench, what doth he more, but divers poore pioners doe as much before him, who open the way for him, and with their bodies shelter him, for poore sixe pence a day, and happily for lesse?

non quicquid turbida Roma Eleuet, accedas, examénque improbum in illa Castiges trutina, nec te quasiueris extrà.

If troublous Rome set ought at naught, make you not one, Nor chastise you unjust examination In balance of their lode: Nor seeke your selfe abrode.

We call that a magnifying of our name, to extend and disperse the same in many mouthes, we will have it to be received in good part, and that it’s encrease redound to his benefit: This is all that is most excusable in it’s desseigne: But the infirmitie of it’s excesse proceedes so farre, that many labor to have the world speake of them, howsoever it be. Trogus Pompeius saith of Herostratus, and Titus Livius of Manlius Capitolinus, that they were more desirous of great, then good reputation. It is an ordinarie fault; we endevor more that men should speake of us, then how and what they speake, and it sufficeth us, that our name run in mens mouthes, in what manner soever. It seemeth that to be knowne, is in some sort, to have life and continuance in other mens keeping. As for me, I hold that I am but in my selfe; and of this other life of mine, which consisteth in the knowledge of my friends, being simply and barely considered in my selfe, wel I wot, I neither feele fruite or jouissance of it, but by the vanitie of fantasticall opinion. And when I shall be dead, I shall much lesse have a feeling of it: And shall absolutely loose the use of true utilities, which sometimes accidentally follow it: I shall have no more fastnes to take hold on reputation, nor whereby it may either concerne or come unto me. For, to expect my name should receive it: First I have no name that is sufficiently mine: Of two I have, the one is common to all my race, yea and also to others. There is a family at Paris, and another at Montpellier, called Montaigne, another in Brittanie, and one in Xaintogne, surnamed dela-Montaigne. The remooving of one onely sillable may so confound our webbe, as I shall have a share in their glorie, and they perhappes a parte of my shame. And my Ancestors have heeretofore beene surnamed Higham, or Eyquem, a surname which also belongs to a house well knowne in England. As for my other name, it is any bodies that shall have a minde to it. So shall I happily honour a Porter in my steade. And suppose I had a particular marke or badge for my selfe, what can it marke when I am no more extant? May it desseigne or favour inanitie?

nunc leuior cippus non imprimit ossa? Laudat posteritas, nunc non è manibus illis, Nunc non è tumulo fortunatáque fauilla Nascuntur uiolæ?

Doth not the stockes1 upon such bones sit light? Posterity applaudes: from such a spright, From such a tombe, from ashes blessed so, Shall there nor violets (in cart lodes) growe?

But of this I have spoken elsewhere. As for the rest, in a whole battle, where ten thousand are either maymed or slaine, there are not peradventure fifteene that shall be much spoken-off. It must be some eminent greatnes, or important consequence, that fortune hath joyned unto it, to make a private action prevaile, not of a meane shot alone, but of a chieftaine: For, to kill a man, or two, or tenne; for one to present himselfe undantedly to death, is indeed something to every one of us in particular; for, a mans free-hold goes on it: But in regarde of the world, they are such ordinarie things, so many are daily seene, and so sundrie alike must concurre together to produce a notable effect, that we can looke for no particular commendation by them.

casus multis hic cognitus, ac iam Tritus, & è medio fortunæ ductus acervo.

This case is knowne of many, worne with noting, Drawne from the midle heape of fortunes doting.

Of so many thousands of worthie-valiant men, which fifteene hundred yeares since have died in France, with their weapons in hand, not one hundred have come to our knowledge: The memorie not onely of the Generalles and Leaders, but also of the battels and victories lieth now low-buried in oblivion. The fortunes of more then halfe of the world, for want of a register, stirre not from their place, and vanish away without continuance. Had I all the unknowne events in my possession, I am perswaded I might easily supplant those that are knowne in all kindes of examples. What? Of the Romanes themselves, and of the Grecians, amongst so many writers and testimonies, and so infinit rare exploites and matchles examples: How are so few of them come to our notice?

Ad nos uix tenuis famæ perlabitur aura.

Scarsely to us doth passe Fames thin breath, how it was.

It shall be much, if a hundred yeares hence, the civill warres which lately we have had in France, be but remembred in grose. The Lacedemonians as they were going to their battles, were wont to sacrifice unto the Muses, to the end their deedes might be well written, and worthily registred; deeming it a divine favor, and unusuall grace, that noble actions might finde testimonies able to give them life and memorie. Thinke we that at every shot that hits us, or at every dangerous attempt we runne into, to have a Clarke present to enrole it? And besides, it may be, that a hundred Clarkes shall write them, whose Commentaries shall not continue three daies, and shall never come to any bodies sight. We have but the thousanth part of ancient writings: It is Fortune, which according to hir favor gives them either shorter or longer life; and what we have, we may lawfully doubt-of, whether it be the worse, since we never saw the rest. Histories are not writen upon every small trifle: It is requisite that a man have beene conqueror of an Empire, or of a Kingdome; a man must have obtained two and fiftie set battles, and ever with a lesser number, as Cæsar was and did. Tenne thousand good-fellowes, and many great Captaines have died most valiantly and couragiously in pursute of hir, whose names have continued no longer then their wives and children lived:

quos fama obscura recondit.

Whom fame obscure before Layes up in unknowne store.

Even of those, whom we see to doe excellently well, if they have but once continued so three months, or so many yeares, there is no more speech of them, then if they had never bin. Whosoever shall in due measure proportion, and impartially consider, of what kinde of people, and of what deedes the glory is kept in the memorie of bookes, he shall finde, there are few actions, and very few persons, that may justly pretend any right in them. How many vertuous men have we seene to follow their owne reputation, who even in their presence have seene the honor and glorie, which in their yong daies, they had right-justly purchased, to be cleane extinguished? And doe we for three yeares of this fantasticall and imaginarie life, loose and foregoe our right and essentiall life, and engage our selves in a perpetuall death? The wiser sorte propose aright-fairer, and much more just end unto themselves, to so urgent and weightie an enterprise. Rectè facti, fecisse merces est: Officii fructus, ipsum officium est. The reward of wel doing, is the doing, & the fruit of our duty, is our dutie. It might peradventure be excusable in a Painter, or other artificer, or also in a Rethoritian, or Gramarian, by his labors to endevor to purchase a name: But the actions of vertue are of themselves too-too-noble, to seeke any other reward, then by their owne worth and merit, and especially to seeke it in the vanitie of mans judgement. If this false-fond opinion doe notwithstanding serve and stead a common-wealth to holde men in their dutie: If the people be thereby stirred up to vertue: If Princes be any way touched, to see the world blesse and commend the memorie of Traian, and detest the remembrance of Nero: If that doth moove them, to see the name of that arch-villaine, heretofore so dreadfull and so much redoubted of all, so boldly cursed, and so freely outraged, by the first scholer that undertakes him. Let it hardly be encreased, and let us (as much as in us lieth) still foster the same amongst our selves. And Plato employing all meanes to make his Citizens vertuous, doth also perswade them, not to contemne the peoples good estimation. And saith, that through some divine inspiration it commeth to passe, that even the wicked know often, as well by word, as by opinion, how to distinguish justly the good from the bad. This man, together with his maister, are woonderfull and bolde workemen, to joyne divine operations and revelations, wheresoever humane force faileth. And therefore did peradventure Timon (deeming thereby to wrong him) surname him the great forger of miracles. Ut tragici poetæ confugiunt ad Deum, cùm explicare argumenti exitum non possunt. As Poets that write Tragedies have recourse to some God, when they cannot unfold the end of their argument. Since men by reason of their insufficiencie cannot well pay themselves with good lawfull coyne, let them also employ false mony. This meane hath bin practised by all the lawe-givers: And there is no common-wealth where there is not some mixture either of ceremonious vanitie, or of false opinion, which as a restraint serveth to keepe the people in awe and dutie. It is therefore, that most of them have such fabulous grounds and trifling beginnings, and enriched with supernaturall mysteries, It is that which hath given credite unto adulterate and unlawful religions, and hath induced men of understanding to favour and countenance them. And therefore did Numa and Sertorius, to make their men have a beter beliefe, feede them with this foppery; the one, that the Nimph Egeria, the other, that his white Hinde, brought him all the counsels she tooke from the Gods. And the same authoritie, which Numa gave his Lawes under the title of this Goddesses patronage, Zoroastres Law-giver to the Bactrians and Persians, gave it to his, under the name of the God Oromazis: Trismegistus of the Ægyptians, of Mercurie: Zamolxis of the Scithians, of Vesta: Charondes of the Chalcides, of Saturne: Minos of the Candiots, of Jupiter: Lycurgus of the Lacedemonians, of Apollo: Dracon and Solon of the Athenians, of Minerva. And every common-wealth hath a God to her chiefe: all others falsly, but that truly, which Moses instituted for the people of Jewry desceded from Ægipt. The Bedoins religion (as saith the Lord of Iovinuille) held among other things, that his soule which among them all died for his Prince, went directly into another more happy body, much fairer and stronger than the first: by means wherof, they much more willingly hazarded their live for his sake.

In ferrum mens prona uirsi, animáque capaces Mortis: & ignauum est rediturae parcere uitæ.

Those men sword-minded, can death entertaine, Thinke base to spare the life that turnes againe.

Loe-heere, although very vaine, a most needefull doctrine, and profitable beliefe. Everie Nation hath store of such examples in it selfe. But this subject would require a severall discourse. Yet to say a word more concerning my former purpose: I do not counsell Ladies any longer to call their duty, honour: ut enim consuetudo loquitur, id solum dicitur honestum, quod est populari fama gloriosum: For as custome speakes, that onely is called honest which is glorious by popular report. Their duty is the marke; their honour but the superficies of it. Nor doe I perswade them to give us this excuse of their refusall, in payment; for I suppose, their intentions, their desire, and their will, which are parts wherein honor can see nothing, forasmuch as nothing appeareth outwardly thereof are yet more ordred then the effects,

Quæ, quia non liceat, non facit, illa facit.

She doth it, though she doe it not, Because she may not doe’t (God wot.)

The offence both toward God, and in conscience, would be as great to desire it, as to effect the same. Besides, they are in themselves actions secret and hid; it might easily be, they would steale some one from others knowledge, whence honor dependeth, had they no other respect to their dutie, and affection, which they beare unto chastitie, in regard of it selfe. Each honorable person chuseth rather to loose his honor, then to forgoe his conscience.


  1. 1Later editions have grave-stone.

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  • ModifiedFebruary 14, 2022
  • TranslationJohn Florio
  • LicensePublic domain
  • Source Montaigne, Michel de. Essayes of Morall, Politike, and Millitarie Discourses. Translated by John Florio. London: Edward Blount, 1603.

How to cite this page

  • Montaigne, Michel de. “Of Glory.” Translated by John Florio. Last modified February 14, 2022.