THOSE which still accuse men for ever gaping after future things, and go about to teach us, to take hold of present fortunes, and settle ourselves upon them, as having no hold of that which is to come; yea much lesse than we have of that which is already past, touch and are ever harping upon the commonest humane error, if they dare call that an error, to which Nature her selfe, for the service of the continuation of her worke, doth address us, imprinting (as it doth many others) this false imagination in us, as more jealous of our actions, than of our knowledge.Florio, 1603
They who accuse Mankind of the Folly of gaping always after Futurity, and advise us to lay hold of the Good which is present, and to set up our rest thereupon, as having too short reach to seize that which is to come, a Thing even more impossible for us than to recover what is past, have hit upon the most universal of human Errors, if it may be called an Error, whereto Nature itself has disposed us, which, for the better Continuation of her own Work, has, among several others, impressed us with this deluding Imagination, as being more jealous of what we do than what we know.Cotton, Halifax edition, 1759
SUCH AS ACCUSE mankind of the folly of gaping after future things, and advise us to make our benefit of those which are present, and to set up our rest upon them, as having no grasp upon that which is to come, even less than that which we have upon what is past, have hit upon the most universal of human errors, if that may be called an error to which nature herself has disposed us, in order to the continuation of her own work, prepossessing us, amongst several others, with this deceiving imagination, as being more jealous of our action than afraid of our knowledge.Cotton, Hazlitt edition, 1877
The besetting sin of both Montaigne’s translators seems to have been a propensity for reducing his language and phraseology to the language and phraseology of the age and country to which they belonged, and, moreover, inserting paragraphs and words, not here and there only, but constantly and habitually, from an evident desire and view to elucidate or strengthen their author’s meaning. The result has generally been unfortunate; and I have, in the case of all these interpolations on Cotton’s part, felt bound, where I did not cancel them, to throw them down into the notes, not thinking it right that Montaigne should be allowed any longer to stand sponsor for what he never wrote; and reluctant, on the other hand, to suppress the intruding matter entirely, where it appeared to possess a value of its own.Nor is redundancy or paraphrase the only form of transgression in Cotton, for there are places in his author which he thought proper to omit, and it is hardly necessary to say that the restoration of all such matter to the text was considered essential to its integrity and completeness.
Such as accuse Mankind of the folly of gaping and panting after future things, and advise us to make our Benefits of those which are present, and to set up our rest upon them, as having too short a reach to lay hold upon that which is to come, and it being more impossible for us, than to retrieve what is past, have hit upon the most universal of Humane Errours, if that may be call’d an Errour to which Nature it self has dispos’d us, who in order to the subsistence, and continuation of her own Work, has, amongst several others, prepossess’d us with this deceiving Imagination, as being more jealous of our Action, than afraid of our knowledge.Cotton, Halifax edition, 1711
Ceux qui accusent les hommes d’aller tousjours béant apres les choses futures, et nous aprennent à nous saisir des biens presens, et nous rassoir en ceux-là, comme n’ayant aucune prise sur ce qui est à venir, voire assez moins que nous n’avons sur ce qui est passé, touchent la plus commune des humaines erreurs, s’ils osent appeler erreur chose à quoy nature mesme nous achemine, pour le service de la continuation de son ouvrage, nous imprimant, comme assez d’autres, cette imagination fausse, plus jalouse de nostre action que de nostre science.