Monday, October 29, 2012

À la Toupie, Français!

Je congnois bien par ouyr dire, plusieurs especes de voluptez prudentes, fortes et glorieuses : mais l’opinion ne peut pas assez sur moy pour m’en mettre en appetit. Je ne les veux pas tant magnanimes, magnifiques et fastueuses, comme je les veux doucereuses, faciles et prestes. A natura discedimus : populo nos damus, nullius rei bono auctori.

Ma philosophie est en action, en usage naturel et present : peu en fantasie. Prinssé-je plaisir à jouer aux noisettes et à la toupie !
That is:
I know from hearsay that there are several species of pleasure which are wise, strong and laudable; but rumour has not enough power over me to arouse an appetite for them in me.  I do not so much want noble, magnificent and proud pleasures as sweetish ones, easy and ready to hand.  We are departing from wht is natural, surrendering ourselves to the plebs who aare never a good guide in anything. 
My philosophy lies in action, in natural and present practice, and but little in ratiocination.  Would that I could enjoy tossing hazelnuts and whipping tops!
 So Montaigne, On Some Lines of Virgil, Book III, Essay 5. The italicized quotation is from Seneca, Epist. mora.,CXIX, 17.  The translation is from M. A. Screech, The Essays of Michel de Montaigne at 950 1991).

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