The Great Self-Examiner
Can anyone reconcile us with death?
Michel de Montaigne, one of the great sages of the Renaissance, tried his best; and he was trying to reconcile himself as much as any readers he might have. ‘We must always be booted and ready to go,’ he writes in an early essay. To be ready we need to familiarize our- selves with this final destination. ‘So,’ he tells us, ‘I have formed the habit of having death continually present, not merely in my imagination, but in my mouth . . . He who would teach men to die would teach them to live.’