Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE AUTHOR TO THE READER - Essays of Montaigne, Vol. 1
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THE AUTHOR TO THE READER - Michel de Montaigne, Essays of Montaigne, Vol. 1 
Essays of Montaigne, vol. 1, trans. Charles Cotton, revised by William Carew Hazlett (New York: Edwin C. Hill, 1910).
Part of: Essays of Montaigne, in 10 vols.
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THE AUTHOR TO THE READER
READER, here is a book of good faith; it doth at the outset forewarn thee that in it I have proposed to myself no other than a domestic and private end: I have had no consideration either to thy service or to my glory. My strength is not capable of such a design. I have dedicated it to the private commodity of my kinsfolk and friends, so that, having lost me (which they have to do shortly), they may therein recover some traits of my conditions and humors, and by that means preserve more whole and more vivid the knowledge they had of me. Had my intention been to seek the world’s favor, I should surely have adorned myself with borrowed beauties: I desire herein to be viewed, as you see me, in mine own simple, natural, and ordinary manner, without study and artifice: for it is myself I paint. My defects are herein to be read to the life: my imperfections and my natural form, so far as public respect permitted me. If I had lived among those nations which (they say) yet dwell under the sweet liberty of primitive laws of nature, I assure thee I would most willingly have painted myself quite fully and quite naked. Thus, reader, myself am the matter of my book: there’s no reason thou shouldst employ thy leisure on so frivolous and vain a subject. Adieu, then!