The Thing I Fear Most

“Those who have been well drubbed in some battle, and who are still all wounded and bloody — you can perfectly well bring them back to the charge the next day. But those who have conceived a healthy fear of the enemy — you would never get them to look him in the face. Those who are in pressing fear of losing their property, of being exiled, of being subjugated, live in constant anguish, losing even the capacity to drink, eat, and rest; whereas the poor, the exiles, and the slaves often live as joyfully as other men. And so many people who, unable to endure the pangs of fear, have hanged themselves, drowned themselves, or leaped to their death, have taught us well that fear is even more unwelcome and unbearable than death itself.” (Montaigne, I:18, 53, Frame)