Michel de Montaigne Quotes

This is a compilation of my favorite Michel de Montaigne quotes.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, also referred to as the Lord of Montaigne, was a philosopher who is famous for laying the foundation that helped to popularize the essay as a literary genre. His writings and books definitely helped to shape modern day civilization and also inspired many people to become the best of themselves. Some great philosophers who were influenced by Montaigne’s work are Descartes and Pascal.

Some of the popular books and writings of Montaigne are Essays, An Apology for Raymond Sebond, On Solitude, On Friendship, How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing and many others.

Here are some famous Michel de Montaigne quotes about love, death, happiness, solitude, education, friendship, fear, writing and many other interesting topics of life:

Famous Michel de Montaigne Quotes

Famous Michel de Montaigne Quotes

1. The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. -Michel de Montaigne

2. Obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness. -Michel de Montaigne

3. To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it. -Michel de Montaigne

4. I quote others only in order the better to express myself. -Michel de Montaigne

5. Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know. -Michel de Montaigne

6. Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do. -Michel de Montaigne

7. On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom. -Michel de Montaigne

8. Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. -Michel de Montaigne

9. How many things served us yesterday for articles of faith, which today are fables for us? -Michel de Montaigne

10. No wind favors him who has no destined port.

Michel de Montaigne

11. Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. -Michel de Montaigne

12. The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar. -Michel de Montaigne

13. The greatest and glorious masterpiece of a man is how to live with a purpose. -Michel de Montaigne

14. There were many terrible things in my life and most of them never happened. -Michel de Montaigne

15. If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways. -Michel de Montaigne

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

17. I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more as I grow older. -Michel de Montaigne

18. When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind. -Michel de Montaigne

19. I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding. We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind. -Michel de Montaigne

20. To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes About Love

Michel de Montaigne Quotes About Love

21. Poetry reproduces an indefinable mood that is more amorous than love itself. Venus is not so beautiful all naked, alive, and panting, as she is here in Virgil. -Michel de Montaigne

22. Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.” -If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than it was because he was he and I was I. -Michel de Montaigne

23. If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.

Michel de Montaigne

24. Marriage has, for its share, usefulness, justice, honor, and constancy; a stale but more durable pleasure. Love is grounded on pleasure alone, and it is indeed more gratifying to the senses, keener and more acute; a pleasure stirred and kept alive by difficulties. There must be a sting and a smart in it. It ceases to be love if it has no shafts and no fire. -Michel de Montaigne

25. I love those historians that are either very simple or most excellent. Such as are between both (which is the most common fashion), it is they that spoil all; they will needs chew our meat for us and take upon them a law to judge, and by consequence to square and incline the story according to their fantasy. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Death

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Death

26. Death pays all debts. -Michel de Montaigne

27. Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations. -Michel de Montaigne

28. To philosophize is nothing else than to prepare oneself for death. -Michel de Montaigne

29. The perpetual work of your life is but to lay the foundation of death. -Michel de Montaigne

30. We trouble our life by thoughts about death, and our death by thoughts about life. -Michel de Montaigne

31. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. -Michel de Montaigne

32. If I were a maker of books I should compile a register, with comments, of different deaths. He who should teach people to die, would teach them to live. -Michel de Montaigne

33. To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death… We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere.

Michel de Montaigne

34. It is not death, it is dying that alarms me. -Michel de Montaigne

35. The ceaseless labor of your life is to build the house of death. -Michel de Montaigne

36. We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. -Michel de Montaigne

37. If I can, I shall keep my death from saying anything that my life has not already said. -Michel de Montaigne

38. No man dies before his hour. The time you leave behind was no more yours, than that which was before your birth, and concerneth you no more. -Michel de Montaigne

39. God is favorable to those whom he makes to die by degrees; ’tis the only benefit of old age. The last death will be so much the less painful: it will kill but a quarter of a man or but half a one at most. -Michel de Montaigne

40. We hold death, poverty, and grief for our principal enemies; but this death, which some repute the most dreadful of all dreadful things, who does not know that others call it the only secure harbor from the storm and tempests of life, the sovereign good of nature, the sole support of liberty, and the common and sudden remedy of all evils? -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Happiness

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Happiness

41. The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. -Michel de Montaigne

42. It is the mind that maketh good or ill, That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor. -Michel de Montaigne

43. Happiness is a singular incentive to mediocrity.

Michel de Montaigne

44. Happiness involves working toward meaningful goals. -Michel de Montaigne

45. In my opinion it is the happy living, and not, as Antisthenes said, the happy lying, in which human happiness consists. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Solitude

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Solitude

46. A wise man never loses anything, if he has himself. -Michel de Montaigne

47. The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself. -Michel de Montaigne

48. I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself. -Michel de Montaigne

49. Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.

Michel de Montaigne

50. Not being able to govern events, I govern myself. -Michel de Montaigne

51. I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing. -Michel de Montaigne

52. I find I am much prouder of the victory I obtain over myself, when, in the very ardor of dispute, I make myself submit to my adversary’s force of reason, than I am pleased with the victory I obtain over him through his weakness. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Education

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Education

53. I do not teach. I relate. -Michel de Montaigne

54. Off I go, rummaging about in books for sayings which please me. -Michel de Montaigne

55. Learned we may be with another man’s learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own. -Michel de Montaigne

56. I seek in books only to give myself pleasure by honest amusement; or if I study, I seek only the learning that treats of the knowledge of myself and instructs me in how to die well and live well. -Michel de Montaigne

57. I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.

Michel de Montaigne

58. I study myself more than any other subject. That is my metaphysics, that is my physics. -Michel de Montaigne

59. In my youth I studied for ostentation; later, a little to gain wisdom; now, for recreation; never for gain. -Michel de Montaigne

60. I say that male and female are cast in the same mold; except for education and habits, the difference is not great. -Michel de Montaigne

61. There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent. -Michel de Montaigne

62. Whatever I may be, I want to be elsewhere than on paper. My art and my industry have been employed in making myself good for something; my studies, in teaching me to do, not to write. I have put all my efforts into forming my life. That is my trade and my work. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Friendship

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Friendship

63. Friendship is the highest degree of perfection in society. -Michel de Montaigne

64. Friendship that possesses the whole soul, and there rules and sways with an absolute sovereignty, can admit of no rival. -Michel de Montaigne

65. In true friendship, in which I am expert, I give myself to my friend more than I draw him to me. I not only like doing him good better than having him do me good, but also would rather have him do good to himself than to me; he does me most good when he does himself good.

Michel de Montaigne

66. I love a friendship that flatters itself in the sharpness and vigor of its communications. -Michel de Montaigne

67. Oh, a friend! How true is that old saying, that the enjoyment of one is sweeter and more necessary than that of the elements of water and fire! -Michel de Montaigne

68. Judgement holds in me a magisterial seat, at least it carefully tries to. It lets my feelings go their way, both hatred and friendship, even the friendship I bear myself, without being changed and corrupted by them. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Fear

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Fear

69. The thing I fear most is fear. -Michel de Montaigne

70. The thing in the world I am most afraid of is fear. -Michel de Montaigne

71. What fear has once made me will, I am bound still to will when without fear. -Michel de Montaigne

72. He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.

Michel de Montaigne

73. There is no passion so contagious as that of fear. -Michel de Montaigne

74. Fear sometimes adds wings to the heels, and sometimes nails them to the ground, and fetters them from moving. -Michel de Montaigne

75. The thing in the world I am most afraid of is fear, and with good reason; that passion alone, in the trouble of it, exceeding all other accidents. -Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Writing

Michel de Montaigne Quotes On Writing

76. My art and profession is to live. -Michel de Montaigne

77. It is not my deeds that I write down, it is myself, my essence. -Michel de Montaigne

78. There is perhaps no more obvious vanity than to write of it so vainly. -Michel de Montaigne

79. The only good histories are those that have been written by the persons themselves who commanded in the affairs whereof they write. -Michel de Montaigne

80. Writing does not cause misery. It is born of misery.

Michel de Montaigne

81. I would have every man write what he knows and no more. -Michel de Montaigne

82. An able reader often discovers in other people’s writings perfections beyond those that the author put in or perceived, and lends them richer meanings and aspects. -Michel de Montaigne

83. Seneca‘s virtue shows forth so live and vigorous in his writings, and the defense is so clear there against some of these imputations, as that of his wealth and excessive spending, that I would not believe any testimony to the contrary. -Michel de Montaigne

84. Great authors, when they write about causes, adduce not only those they think are true but also those they do not believe in, provided they have some originality and beauty. They speak truly and usefully enough if they speak ingeniously. -Michel de Montaigne

85. We have more poets than judges and interpreters of poetry. It is easier to write an indifferent poem than to understand a good one. There is, indeed, a certain low and moderate sort of poetry, that a man may well enough judge by certain rules of art; but the true, supreme, and divine poesy is equally above all rules and reason. And whoever discerns the beauty of it with the most assured and most steady sight sees no more than the quick reflection of a flash of lightning. -Michel de Montaigne