Citations de Michel de Montaigne

Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, 1533-1592

Quotations from Montaigne's Essays
selected and translated by Anthony Weir
with glosses and comments.

Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne
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Puis que ce n'est par conscience, au moins par ambition refusons l'ambition.

If not because of conscience, at least because of ambition we should decline ambition.


  1. 'Conscience' more often means consciousness or awareness in French, but here it could mean both.

    It is in such sentences that we see the appeal of Montaigne for Shakespeare, who adapted several of his reflections for use in his plays.

    In this gnomic statement he sets worldly ambition (vainglory) against the much less harmful and dangerous ambition for truth and truthful (not rueful) wise serenity.

  2. see: