Michel de Montaigne, The Essayes , 1603 - p. 558, Of Coaches..

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Date:1603

Description:Shakespeare's French contemporary writes on transport.

Montaigne's essays range widely over subjects, but in 'Of Coaches' the author describes his dislike of any boat, or vehicle transport, whether a litter, or a coach. In Shakespeare's play Hamlet Ophelia, in her madness, requests a coach as she leaves the king 'Come, my coach! Good night ladies' (4,5, line 70).

Transcription:

The Sixth Chapter. Of Coaches.

It is easy to verify that excellent authors, writing of causes, do not only make use of those which they imagine true, but eftsoons [often] of such as themselves believe not: always provided they have some invention and beauty. They speak sufficiently truly and profitably if the speak ingeniously. We cannot assume ourselves of the chief cause: we huddle up many together to see whether by chance it shall be found in that number

       [Latin] Namque unam dicere causam,
       Non satis est, verum plures unde una tamen sit.
       Enough is not one cause to devise
       But more whereof that one may advise.


...[On the next page the text continues:]

Nature... having disarmed me of strength she that armed me with insensibility and a regular or soft apprehension I cannot long endure (and could do even less in my youth) to ride either in a coach, or litter, or to go in a boat, and both in the city and country I hate all manner of riding, except on horseback. I can less endure a litter, than a coach, and by the same reason, more easily a rough agitation upon the water, when commonly preceded by fear than the soft feeling a man shall feel in calm water, by the same easy gentle motion which the oars give, conveying the boat under us, I wot not how I feel both my head intoxicated and my stomach distempered...

Full title: Michel de Montaigne, (1533-1592)The Essayes of Lo: Michaell de Montaigne now done into English by John Florio, London, Val. Sims for Edward Blount, 1603.


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1570s
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1590s
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Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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