Montaigne: Death and Count Egmond Essay

Submitted By Yannabree
Words: 622
Pages: 3

HE common saying is, that 'Death acquits us of all our bonds.' I know some that have taken it in another sence. Henry the seventh, King of England, made a composition with Philip, son to Maximilian the Emperour or (to give him a more honorable title) father to the Emperour Charles the fifth, that the said Philip should (deliver into his hands the Duke of Suffolke, his mortall enemie, who was fled out of England, and saved himself in the Low countries, always provided the king should attempt nothing against the Dukes life; which promise notwithstanding, being neere his end, he expresly by will and testament commanded his succeeding-sonne, that immediately after his decease, he should cause him to be put to death. In the late tragedie, which the Duke of Alva presented us withall at Brussels, on the Earles of Horne and Egmond were many remarkable things and worthy to be noted: and amongst others, that the said Count Egmond upon whose faithfull word and assurance, the Earle of Horne was come in and yeelded himselfe to the Duke of Alva, required very instantly to be first put to death, to the end his death might acquit and free him of the word and bond, which he ought and was engaged for, to the said Earle of Horne. It seemeth that death hath no whit discharged the former of his word given, and that the second, without dying was quit of it. We cannot be tied beyond our strength and meanes. The reason is, because the effects and executions are not any way in our power,and except our will, nothing is truly in our power: on it onely are all the rules of man's dutie grounded and established by necessitie. And therefore Count Egmond, deeming his minde and will indebted to his promise, how beit the power to effect it, lay not in his hands; was no doubt cleerely absolved of his debt and dutie, although be had survived the Count Horne. But the King of England failing of his word by his intention, cannot be excused, though hee delaide the execution of his disloyaltie untill after his death. No more than Herodotus his Mason who during his natural life, having faithfully kept the secret of his Master the King of Ægypts treasure, when he died discovered the same unto his children. I have in my dayes