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Victor Hugo Quotes


“He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.”


“Nothing else in the world... not all the armies... is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”


“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”


“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”


“To love is to act.”


“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.”


“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”


“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”


“To love beauty is to see light.”


“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”


“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.”


“When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.”


“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.”


“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”


“Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.”


“The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.”


“Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.”


“People do not lack strength; they lack will.”


“A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.”


“Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.”


“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”


“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”


“Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.”


“An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”


“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time as come.”


“A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.”


“Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.”


“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”


“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”


“Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.”


“To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.”


“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.”


“An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.”


“Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”


“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.”


“When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide.”


“The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.”


“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.”


“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.”


“When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”


“There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.”


“Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.”


“Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.”


“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”


“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”


“A library implies an act of faith.”


“Death has its revelations: the great sorrows which open the heart open the mind as well; light comes to us with our grief. As for me, I have faith; I believe in a future life. How could I do otherwise? My daughter was a soul; I saw this soul. I touched”


“To think of shadows is a serious thing.”


“Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.”


“One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”


“Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.”


“To love another person is to see the face of God.”


“Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.”


“Liberation is not deliverance.”


“The first symptom of love in a young man is timidity; in a girl boldness.”


“I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, - and the stars through his soul.”


“Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant.”


“Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.”


“The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them.”


“The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.”


“It is by suffering that human beings become angels.”


“What a grand thing, to be loved! What a grander thing still, to love!”


“Joy's smile is much closer to tears than laughter.”


“Those who live are those who fight.”


“One is not idle because one is absorbed. There is both visible and invisible labor. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.”


“A great artist is a great man in a great child.”


“Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.”


“The human soul has still greater need of the ideal than of the real. It is by the real that we exist; it is by the ideal that we live.”


“Habit is the nursery of errors.”


“Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.”


“He who is not capable of enduring poverty is not capable of being free.”


“Society is a republic. When an individual tries to lift themselves above others, they are dragged down by the mass, either by ridicule or slander.”


“Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other.”


“Dear God! how beauty varies in nature and art. In a woman the flesh must be like marble; in a statue the marble must be like flesh.”


“The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable.”


“Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education.”


“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.”


“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather in spite of ourselves.”


“When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.”


“A war between Europeans is a civil war.”


“We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.”


“Our acts make or mar us, we are the children of our own deeds.”


“Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.”


“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”


“Amnesty is as good for those who give it as for those who receive it. It has the admirable quality of bestowing mercy on both sides.”


“Toleration is the best religion.”


“The ox suffers, the cart complains.”


“Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.”


“Conscience is God present in man.”


“It is from books that wise people derive consolation in the troubles of life.”


“A poet who is a bad man is a degraded being, baser and more culpable than a bad man who is not a poet.”


“A society that admits misery, a humanity that admits war, seem to me an inferior society and a debased humanity; it is a higher society and a more elevated humanity at which I am aiming - a society without kings, a humanity without barriers.”


“How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.”


“What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.”


“One sees qualities at a distance and defects at close range.”


“Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.”


“The wise man does not grow old, but ripens.”


“Evil. Mistrust those who rejoice at it even more than those who do it.”


“Men become accustomed to poison by degrees.”


“Blessed be Providence which has given to each his toy: the doll to the child, the child to the woman, the woman to the man, the man to the devil!”


“Stupidity talks, vanity acts.”


“In the French language, there is a great gulf between prose and poetry; in English, there is hardly any difference. It is a splendid privilege of the great literary languages Greek, Latin, and French that they possess a prose. English has not this”


“Idleness is the heaviest of all oppressions.”


“There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.”


“Genius is a promontory jutting out into the infinite.”


“It is often necessary to know how to obey a woman in order sometimes to have the right to command her.”


“A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing.”


“Do not let it be your aim to be something, but to be someone.”


“Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.”


“As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.”


“Prayer is an august avowal of ignorance.”


“I put a Phrygian cap on the old dictionary.”


“We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.”


“Never laugh at those who suffer; suffer sometimes those who laugh.”


“By putting forward the hands of the clock you shall not advance the hour.”


“The learned man knows that he is ignorant.”


“The word is the Verb, and the Verb is God.”


“The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate.”


“To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.”


“No one ever keeps a secret so well as a child.”


“Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.”


“The drama is complete poetry. The ode and the epic contain it only in germ; it contains both of them in a state of high development, and epitomizes both.”


“I don't mind what Congress does, as long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”


“No one can keep a secret better than a child.”


“Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?”


“I'm religiously opposed to religion.”


“Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.”


“Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.”


“My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.”


“The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over we realize this: that the human race has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced.”


“I am a soul. I know well that what I shall render up to the grave is not myself. That which is myself will go elsewhere. Earth, thou art not my abyss!”


“Reaction - a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on.”


“Many great actions are committed in small struggles.”


“Smallness in a great man seems smaller by its disproportion with all the rest.”


“No one knows like a woman how to say things which are at once gentle and deep.”


“I love all men who think, even those who think otherwise than myself.”


“Without vanity, without coquetry, without curiosity, in a word, without the fall, woman would not be woman. Much of her grace is in her frailty.”


“Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful.”


“When liberty returns, I will return.”


“There have been in this century only one great man and one great thing: Napoleon and liberty. For want of the great man, let us have the great thing.”


“Style is the substance of the subject called unceasingly to the surface.”


“The last resort of kings, the cannonball. The last resort of the people, the paving stone.”


“Religions do a useful thing: they narrow God to the limits of man. Philosophy replies by doing a necessary thing: it elevates man to the plane of God.”


“The three great problems of this century; the degradation of man in the proletariat, the subjection of women through hunger, the atrophy of the child by darkness.”


“The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.”


“Every diminution of the liberty of the press is followed by a diminution of civilization. Wherever we see the freedom of the press interfered with, there we see the nutrition of the human family interrupted.”


“The omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them.”


“Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.”


“When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door.”


“Despotism is a long crime.”


“There is no such thing as a little country. The greatness of a people is no more determined by their numbers than the greatness of a man is by his height.”


“Wisdom is a sacred communion.”


“Close by the Rights of Man, at the least set beside them, are the Rights of the Spirit.”


“The flesh is the surface of the unknown.”


“Puns are the droppings of soaring wits.”


“Hell is an outrage on humanity. When you tell me that your deity made you in his image, I reply that he must have been very ugly.”


“Love, in the eyes of the world, is either a carnal appetite or a vague fancy, which possession extinguishes or absence destroys. That is why it is commonly said, with a strange abuse of words, that passion does not endure.”


“The little people must be sacred to the big ones, and it is from the rights of the weak that the duty of the strong is comprised.”


“The animal is ignorant of the fact that he knows. The man is aware of the fact that he is ignorant.”


“Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can.”


“The beautiful has but one type, the ugly has a thousand.”


“To contemplate is to look at shadows.”


“Love that is not jealous is neither true nor pure.”


“Genius: the superhuman in man.”


“Taste is the common sense of genius.”


“Rhyme, that enslaved queen, that supreme charm of our poetry, that creator of our meter.”


“Almost all our desires, when examined, contain something too shameful to reveal.”


“Nature has made a pebble and a female. The lapidary makes the diamond, and the lover makes the woman.”


“Love is jealous, and ingenious in self-torture in proportion as it is pure and intense.”


“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”


“Strange to say, the luminous world is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night.”


“One of the hardest tasks is to extract continually from one's soul an almost inexhaustible ill will.”


“A creditor is worse than a slave-owner; for the master owns only your person, but a creditor owns your dignity, and can command it.”


“But when ill indeed, Even dismissing the doctor don't always succeed.”


“As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer.”


“Indigestion is charged by God with enforcing morality on the stomach.”


“It is the end. But of what? The end of France? No. The end of kings? Yes.”


“Doing nothing is happiness for children and misery for old men.”


“Thought is more than a right - it is the very breath of man. Whoever fetters thought attacks man himself. To speak, to write, to publish, are things, so far as the right is concerned, absolutely identical. They are the ever-enlarging circles of”


“There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling.”


“One believes others will do what he will do to himself.”


“Men like me are impossible until the day when they become necessary.”


“A noble soul and real poetic talent are almost always inseparable.”


“To be perfectly happy it does not suffice to possess happiness, it is necessary to have deserved it.”


“Because one doesn't like the way things are is no reason to be unjust towards God.”


“There are no rules, no models; rather, there are no rules other than the general laws of Nature.”


“To think is of itself to be useful; it is always and in all cases a striving toward God.”


“My childhood began, as everybody's childhood begins, with prejudices. Man finds prejudices beside his cradle, puts them from him a little in the course of his career, and often, alas! takes to them again in his old age.”


“Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.”


“One sometimes says: 'He killed himself because he was bored with life.' One ought rather to say: 'He killed himself because he was bored by lack of life.'”


“What Shakespeare was able to do in English he would certainly not have done in French.”


“It is most pleasant to commit a just action which is disagreeable to someone whom one does not like.”


“Verse in itself does not constitute poetry. Verse is only an elegant vestment for a beautiful form. Poetry can express itself in prose, but it does so more perfectly under the grace and majesty of verse. It is poetry of soul that inspires noble sentiments”


“I would have liked to be - indeed, I should have been - a second Rembrandt.”


“I am an intelligent river which has reflected successively all the banks before which it has flowed by meditating only on the images offered by those changing shores.”


“Scepticism, that dry caries of the intelligence.”


“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”


“He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.”


“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”


“What Is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.”


“To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.”


“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in”


“Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely”


“Not being heard is no reason for silence.”


“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”


“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved -- loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”


“Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face.”


“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.”


“Those who do not weep, do not see.”


“Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection.”


“You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.”


“Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin,”


“You ask me what forces me to speak? a strange thing; my conscience.”


“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”


“People do not lack strength, they lack will.”


“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.”


“Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket.”

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