The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

Montaigne 1.37

Cato’s friends not watching him pull his guts out

Death of Cato’ by Pietro Testa (1648)

Loe, here are wonders, we have more Poets than judges and interpreters of poesie. It is an easier matter to frame it than to know it: Being base and humble, it may be judged by the precepts and art of it: But the good and loftie, the supreme and divine, is beyond rules and above reason. Whosoever discerneth her beautie, with a constant, quicke-seeing, and setled looke, he can no more see and comprehend the same than the splendor of a lightning flash. It hath no communitie with our judgement; but ransacketh and ravisheth the same. The furie which prickes and moves him that can penetrate her, doth also stricke and wound a third man, if he heare it either handled or recited, as the adamant stone drawes not only a needle, but infuseth some of her facultie in the same to draw others…

—Montaigne (‘On Cato the Younger’, trans. Florio)


(last revised: 26 January 2023)

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