BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


All the essays of Michael seigneur de Montaigne

by Michel de Montaigne

Excerpt:

Difficulty gives all things their estimation. Those of the Marque of Ancona, most chearfully make their vows to St. James, and those of Galicia to our Lady of Loretta, they make wonderful boasts at Liege of the baths of Luques, and in Tuscany of those of Aspa: there are a few Romans seen in the fencing-schools of Rome, which is full of French. Our appetite contemns, and passes by what it has in possession, to run after that it has not.

To forbid us any thing, is to make us have a mind to't. To give it wholly up to us, is to beget in us contempt: want, and abundance fall into the same inconvenience.

Tibi quod superest, mihi quod desit, dolet.—Terence.

Thy superfluities do trouble thee,

And what I want, and pant for, troubles me.

In vertue it self, of two like effects, we notwithstanding look upon that as the best and most worthy, wherein the most trouble and hazard is propos'd. 'Tis an effect of the divine providence to suffer the holy church to be afflicted, as we see it, with so many storms and troubles, by this opposition to rouze pious souls, and to awake them from that drowsie lethargy whereinto, by so long tranquility, they had been immerg'd. If we should lay the loss we have sustain'd in the number

520 EXECUTIONS RATHER WHET THAN DULL THE EDGE OF VICES.

of those who have gone astray, in the balance against the benefit we have had by being again put in breath, and by having our zeal and forces exercis'd by reason of this opposition; I know not whether the utility would not surmount the damage. The knot of the will and affection is so much the more slackened and made loose, by how much that of constraint is drawn closer together.

We might here introduce the opinion of an ancient upon this occasion, that executions rather whet than dull the edge of vices: that they do not beget the care of doing well, that being the work of reason and discipline; but only a care not to be taken in doing ill.

Latius excisae pestis contagia serpunt.—Rutilius in Ititierario.

The plague-sore being launc'd, th' infection spreads.

I do not know that this is true; but I experimentally know, that never civil government was by that means reform'd. The order and regiment of manners depend upon some other expedient. The Greek histories make mention of the Agrippians, neighbours to Scythia, who live without either rod or stick to offend; that not only no one attempts to attack them, but whoever can fly thither is safe, by reason of their vertue and sanctity of life, and no one is so bold as there to lay hands upon them; and they have applications made to them to determine the controversies that arise betwixt men of other countries. There is a certain nation, where the inclosures of gardens and fields they would preserve, is made only of a string of cotton-yarn; and so fenc'd, is more firm and secure than our hedges and ditches. "Furem signata solicitant. Aperta effractarius praeterit."—Senec. Ep. 68. "Things seal'd up invite a thief. House-breakers pass by open doors." Peradventure the facility of entring my house, amongst other things, has been a means to preserve it from the violence of our civil wars. Defence allures attempt, and defiance provokes an enemy. I enervated the soldiers design, by depriving the exploit of danger, and all matter of military glory, which is wont to serve them for pretence and excuse. Whatever is bravely, is ever honourably done, at a time when justice is dead. I render them the conquest of my house cowardly and base; it is never shut to any one that knocks. My gate has no other guard than a porter, and that of ancient custom and ceremony ; who does not so much serve to defend it, as to offer it with more decency, and the better grace. I have no other guard nor centinel than the stars. A gentleman would play the fool to make a shew of defence, if he be not really in a condition to defend himself. He that lies open on one side, is every where so. Our ancestors did not think of building frontier garrisons. The means of assaulting, I mean without battery, or army, and of surprising our houses, increase every day above all the means to guard them. Mens wits are generally bent that way. Invasion every'


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