“That the Taste of Good and Evil Depends in Large Part on the Opinion that We Have of Them”

Montaigne, Michel

Stanford University, 1965, The Complete Essays of Montaigne, trans. Donald Frame

p. 42

The stoic Montaigne: “O. Maximus buried his son, a consul; M. Cato his, a praetor-elect; and L. Paulus both of his, within a few days, with a calm face that bore no sign of grief.” One guy had three grownup children die violently in one day. “He all but took it as a favor. And I have lost two or three (but while they were still nursing), if not without grief, at least without repining. I try to disdain affliction, to feel indifferent to it. As Cicero said, ‘grief lies not in nature, but in opinion.’” Montaigne is so indifferent to affliction that he can’t remember whether it was two babies he lost or three!