I collect quotes. I've been doing so for many years. So far, I've collected almost 13,000 of them. I keep them in a plain text file. I wrote a script that attaches a random quote to some of my several .sig files every minute. My email client then appends a .sig file to messages I send out from my email client.
Today I ran into the following quote:
We endeavor more that men should speak of us, than how and what they speak, and it sufficeth us that our name run in men's mouths, in what manner soever. It stemma that to be known is in some sort to have life and continuance in other men's keeping. — Michel Eyquem de MontaigneI spent a few minutes trying to figure out what stemma might mean in this context, with no success.
Then I Googled the full quote, in quotes. Twenty-six results. But whoops! only the first 32 words are searched for.
So then I Googled for "that to be known is in some sort to have life and continuance in other men's keeping." Thirty-two results. Four of them had seemeth rather than stemma, which makes a lot more sense to me.
The first of these was a Google book result for The Essayes of Michael Lord of Montaigne and included what I can only presume is the correct, original quote—as translated into English, by John Florio as it happens, and published in 1886—"It is an ordinary fault: we endeavor more that men shall speak of us than how and what they speak, and it sufficeth us that our name run in men's mouths, in what manner soever. It seemeth that to be known is in some sort to have life and continuance in other men's keeping." In other words, a variant on the proverbial "Bad publicity is better than no publicity at all."
The point is that there are a lot of incorrect quotes out there on the Internet and some of them seem to get rather widely duplicated. In this case 28 of the last 32 results I got not only had the quote incorrect, but substituted a nonsensical word for the correct word!