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Montaigne: War’s fury


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Montaigne: Selections on war


Michel de Montaigne
Translated by Charles Cotton

From Of Diversion

Whoever shall ask a man, “What interest have you in this siege?” – “The interest of example,” he will say, “and of the common obedience to my prince: I pretend to no profit by it; and for glory, I know how small a part can affect a private man such as I: I have here neither passion nor quarrel.” And yet you shall see him the next day quite another man, chafing and red with fury, ranged in battle for the assault; ’tis the glittering of so much steel, the fire and noise of our cannon and drums, that have infused this new rigidity and fury into his veins. A frivolous cause, you will say. How a cause? There needs none to agitate the mind; a mere whimsy without body and without subject will rule and agitate it.


From Upon Some Verses of Virgil

Every one avoids seeing a man born, every one runs to see him die; to destroy him a spacious field is sought out in the face of the sun, but, to make him, we creep into as dark and private a corner as we can: ’tis a man’s duty to withdraw himself bashfully from the light to create; but ’tis glory and the fountain of many virtues to know how to destroy what we have made: the one is injury, the other favour: for Aristotle says that to do any one a kindness, in a certain phrase of his country, is to kill him.

[I]s it not seen that in places where faults are crimes, crimes are but faults…?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 15, 2016 at 1:31 am

    As Turkey steps up the aggression and invasion of Syria by state founded and maintained Turkish militias, falsely called rebels by the disingenuous Western press, voices against the insanity of war are becoming even more important. Turkey wages war against Syria, and Syria cannot respond adequately because Turkey is shielded by NATO, a crime syndicate which enable the members to break international law and commit warcrimes with impunity.

    Your voice would be needed again to denounce the war criminals Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Jens Stoltenberg, David Cameron, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, and company.

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