The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

Montaigne 1.13

Pope Clement VII meets with Emperor Charles V
An engraving by Matthäus Merian the Elder (1710)

For my part, I often neglect both of these empty formalities, since I curtail all ceremony in my own house. If any take offence, what shall I do? Better to offend him once than myself every day; that would be a perpetual slavery. […] Not only every country, but every city and every profession has its particular form of civility. I was rather carefully drilled in this in my boyhood, and have lived in sufficiently good company not to be ignorant of the rules of our French courtesy, and could keep a school in it. I like to follow these rules, but no so timorously as to but restraint upon my whole life. Some of them are so irksome that to neglect them, provided it be done out of discretion and not from ignorance, is no less graceful an act. I have often seen men become uncivil by dint of too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy.

—Montaigne (Essays, ‘Ceremony at the meeting of Kings’)


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