To Give Them Courage

“L’avaricieux le prie pour la conservation vaine et superflue de ses thresors; l’ambitieux, pour ses victoires et conduite de sa passion; le voleur l’employe à son ayde pour franchir le hazart et les difficultez qui s’opposent à l’execution de ses meschantes entreprinses, ou le remercie de l’aisance qu’il a trouvé à desgosiller un passant. Au pied de la maison qu’ils vont escheller ou petarder, ils font leurs prieres, l’intention et l’esperance pleine de cruauté, de luxure, d’avarice.” (Montaigne, Des Prières)

“The covetous man sueth and praieth unto him for the vaine increase and superfluous preservation of his wrong-gotten treasure. The ambitious he importuneth God for the conduct of his fortune, and that he may have the victorie of all his desseignes. The theefe, the pirate, the murtherer, yea and the traitor, all call upon him, all implore his aid, and all solicite him, to give them courage in their attempts, constancie in their resolutions to remove all lets and difficulties, that in any sort may withstand their wicked executions and impious actions, or give him thanks if they have had good successe; the one if he have met with a good bootie, the other if he returne home rich, the third if no man has seene him kill his enemie, and the last though he have caused an execrable mischiefe. The souldier, if he but goe to besiege a cottage, to scale a castle, to rob a church, to pettard a gate, to force a religious house, or any villanous act, before he attempt it praieth to God for his assistance, though his intents and hopes be full-fraught with crueltie, murther, covetise, luxurie, sacrilege, and all iniquitie.” (John Florio Translation)

“The miser prays to him for the vain and superfluous conservation of his treasures; the ambitious man, for his victories and the guidance of this passion; the thief uses his help to pass through the risks and difficulties that oppose the execution of his wicked enterprises, or thanks him for having found it easy to cut a passer-by’s throat. Standing beside the house they are going to scale or blow up, they say their prayers, with their intentions and hopes full of cruelty, lust, and avarice.” (Donald Frame Translation)