The following are quotes from Montaigne’s essay “Of Cato the Younger.” I will refrain from analyzing them.
“Though I find myself engaged to one certain form, I do not oblige others to it, as many do; but believe and apprehend a thousand ways of living; and, contrary to most men, more easily admit of difference than uniformity amongst us.”
“Crawling upon the slime of the earth, I do not for all that cease to observe up in the clouds the inimitable height of some heroic souls.”
“This age wherein we live, in our part of the world at least, is grown so stupid, that not only the exercise, but the very imagination of virtue is defective, and seems to be no other but college jargon.”
“Our judgments are yet sick, and obey the humour of our depraved manners. I observe most of the wits of these times pretend to ingenuity, by endeavouring to blemish and darken the glory of the bravest and most generous actions of former ages, putting one vile interpretation or another upon them, and forging and supposing vain causes and motives for the noble things they did: a mighty subtlety indeed!.”
“The same pains and licence that others take to blemish and bespatter these illustrious names, I would willingly undergo to lend them a shoulder to raise them higher.”
“And here is a wonder: we have far more poets than judges and interpreters of poetry; it is easier to write it than to understand it.”