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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XVI. The Essay and the Beginning of Modern English Prose

§ 17. Influence of Montaigne

Like Cowley, Temple came under the spell of Montaigne. In the essay Of Gardening, he borrows from him the story of Heraclitus playing with the boys in the porch of the Temple, and he refers to him in two later essays, Upon Popular Discontents and Upon Health and Long Life. Moreover, two essays, heads for which were found among his papers, Upon the different conditions of life and fortune and Upon Conversation, suggest, not only in the titles, but in the subjects themselves, frequent intercourse with the father of the essay. There were other Englishmen of letters, too, who kept the same excellent company. Dryden quotes from “Honest Montaigne” in the preface to All for Love, while, according to Pope, Montaigne and La Rochefoucauld were among the livres de chevet with which Wycherley was wont to “read himself to sleep.” In 1685, Montaigne was popular enough in England to warrant the publication of a new translation of his essays from the pen of Charles Cotton. Cotton sometimes misses his author’s meaning, but he does not write sheer nonsense, as Florio sometimes does. On the other hand, his style lacks the glamour and quaint individuality of the Elizabethan translation, and, though sound on the whole, is somewhat unequal. His work is dedicated to George Savile, marquis of Halifax, who, in acknowledging the dedication, says that “it is the book in the world I am best entertained with.”