Sunday, June 23, 2013

As Often As I Review Them, They Disgust Me

Michel de Montaigne, Of Presumption, (tr. Charles Cotton)
I envy the happiness of those who can please and hug themselves in what they do; for 'tis an easy thing to be so pleased, because a man extracts that pleasure from himself, especially if he be constant in his self-conceit.
My works are so far from pleasing me that as often as I review them, they disgust me:
When I re-peruse, I blush at what I have written;
I ever see one passage after another that I, the author,
Being the judge, consider should be erased.
I have always  an idea in my soul, and a sort of disturbed image which presents me as in a dream with a better form than that I have made use of; but I cannot catch it nor fit it to my purpose; and even that idea is but of the meaner sort.

Michel de Montaigne, Of Books, (tr. Charles Cotton)
I make no doubt but that I often happen to speak of things that are much better and more truly handled by those who are masters of the trade.  You have here purely an essay of my natural parts, and not of those acquired: and whoever shall catch me tripping in ignorance, will not in any sort get the better of me; for I should be very unwilling to become responsible to another for my writings, who am not so to myself, nor satisfied with them.