Victor Hugo Quotes
You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
You ask me what forces me to speak? a strange thing; my conscience.
Conscience is God present in man.
Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.
He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.
Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.
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.
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.
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, but he who causes the darkness.
A great artist is a great man in a great child.
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Wisdom is a sacred communion.
Stupidity talks, vanity acts.
Genius: the superhuman in man.
Liberation is not deliverance.
Habit is the nursery of errors.
Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.
Toleration is the best religion.
A library implies an act of faith.
Those who live are those who fight.
The ox suffers, the cart complains.
I’m religiously opposed to religion.
Taste is the common sense of genius.
When liberty returns, I will return.
Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.
To contemplate is to look at shadows.
Puns are the droppings of soaring wits.
A war between Europeans is a civil war.
To think of shadows is a serious thing.
Never laugh at those who suffer; suffer sometimes those who laugh.
The flesh is the surface of the unknown.
Prayer is an august avowal of ignorance.
The word is the Verb, and the Verb is God.
The learned man knows that he is ignorant.
I put a Phrygian cap on the old dictionary.
The wise man does not grow old, but ripens.
Men become accustomed to poison by degrees.
People do not lack strength; they lack will.
He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
Idleness is the heaviest of all oppressions.
No one can keep a secret better than a child.
As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.
Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.
Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.
No one ever keeps a secret so well as a child.
Skepticism, that dry caries of the intelligence.
Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.
Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
To love another person is to see the face of God.
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When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.
What a grand thing, to be loved! What a grander thing still, to love!
The first symptom of love in a young man is timidity; in a girl boldness.
I love all men who think, even those who think otherwise than myself.
The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable.
To love beauty is to see light.
My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.
Joy’s smile is much closer to tears than laughter.
It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.
To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.
Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can.
Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.
Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.
There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
It is by suffering that human beings become angels.
Many great actions are committed in small struggles.
Genius is a promontory jutting out into the infinite.
A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.
Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.
The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.
Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.
When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.
The beautiful has but one type, the ugly has a thousand.
Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.
Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.
Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education.
One sees qualities at a distance and defects at close range.
Do not let it be your aim to be something, but to be someone.
Our acts make or mar us, we are the children of our own deeds.
Doing nothing is happiness for children and misery for old men.
Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.
What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.
Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.
Men like me are impossible until the day when they become necessary.
A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing.
But when ill indeed, Even dismissing the doctor don’t always succeed.
Indigestion is charged by God with enforcing morality on the stomach.
Evil. Mistrust those who rejoice at it even more than those who do it.
When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.
The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them.
He who is not capable of enduring poverty is not capable of being free.
Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.
Style is the substance of the subject called unceasingly to the surface.
When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.
It is the end. But of what? The end of France? No. The end of kings? Yes.
Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.
By putting forward the hands of the clock you shall not advance the hour.
Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.
A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant.
It is from books that wise people derive consolation in the troubles of life.
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.
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Almost all our desires, when examined, contain something too shameful to reveal.
Because one doesn’t like the way things are is no reason to be unjust towards God.
To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.
One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.
Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.
Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.
Close by the Rights of Man, at the least set beside them, are the Rights of the Spirit.
To think is of itself to be useful; it is always and in all cases a striving toward God.
Rhyme, that enslaved queen, that supreme charm of our poetry, that creator of our meter.
What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.
The last resort of kings, the cannonball. The last resort of the people, the paving stone.
Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
The animal is ignorant of the fact that he knows. The man is aware of the fact that he is ignorant.
One of the hardest tasks is to extract continually from one’s soul an almost inexhaustible ill will.
To be perfectly happy it does not suffice to possess happiness, it is necessary to have deserved it.
I don’t mind what Congress does, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.
It is most pleasant to commit a just action which is disagreeable to someone whom one does not like.
Nature has made a pebble and a female. The lapidary makes the diamond, and the lover makes the woman.
It is often necessary to know how to obey a woman in order sometimes to have the right to command her.
Reaction – a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on.
There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.
A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.
Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers?
We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.
As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer.
Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful.
The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.
The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.
Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.
Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.
Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather in spite of ourselves.
Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.
Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.
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.
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate.
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.
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 omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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