Victor Hugo


French Author, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, one of the best-known French Romantic Writers

Author Quotes

The sixth of January, 1482, is not, however, a day of which history has preserved the memory. There was nothing notable in the event which thus set the bells and the bourgeois of Paris in a ferment from early morning. It was neither an assault by the Picards nor the Burgundians, nor a hunt led along in procession, nor a revolt of scholars in the town of Laas, nor an entry of our much dread lord, monsieur the king, nor even a pretty hanging of male and female thieves by the courts of Paris. Neither was it the arrival, so frequent in the fifteenth century, of some plumed and bedizened embassy. It was barely two days since the last cavalcade of that nature, that of the Flemish ambassadors charged with concluding the marriage between the dauphin and Marguerite of Flanders, had made its entry into Paris, to the great annoyance of M. lé Cardinal de Bourbon, who, for the sake of pleasing the king, had been obliged to assume an amiable mien towards this whole rustic rabble of Flemish burgomasters, and to regale them at his Hôtel de Bourbon, with a very pretty morality, allegorical satire, and farce, while a driving rain drenched the magnificent tapestries at his door.

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

There are only two or three things really worth having in life, and friendship is one of them.

There is no judge so searching as conscience conducting its own trial.

They are illustrious because they think.

The book will kill the building!

The eye was in the tomb and stared at Cain.

The hatred of luxury is not a sensible hatred. It implies a hatred of the arts.

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 people cannot be free until the tyrant is dead.

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

The wise man does not grow old, but ripens.

There are people who observe the rules of honor as we observe the stars: from a distance.

There is no more sovereign eloquence than the truth in indignation.

The bourgeois in their Sunday clothes, who passed by the elephant of the Bastille, often said, eyeing it scornfully with their bulging eyes, What's the use of that? Its use was to save from the cold, the frost, the hail, the rain, to protect from the wintry wind, to spare from sleeping in the mud, which breeds fever and from sleeping in the snow, which breeds death, a little being with no father or mother, with no bread, no clothing, no sanctuary. Its use was to receive the innocent whom society repelled....This idea of Napoleon's, disdained by men, had been taken up by God. What had been merely illustrious had become august...The emperor had a dream of genius; in this titanic elephant, armed, prodigious, brandishing his trunk, bearing his tower and making the joyous and vivifying waters gush out on all sides around him, he wanted to incarnate the people. God had done a grander thing with it, he sheltered a child.

The first of temples is the heart.

The heap of oyster shells they call a library disgusts me to think of. What a lot of paper! What a lot of ink! What a lot of scribbling! Somebody has written all of that! What idiot was it who said that man is a featherless biped?

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

The philosophers say, 'Be moderate in your pleasures,' but I say enjoy them to the full... Moderate your pleasures — what nonsense it is! Down with the philosophers! Rapture is the true wisdom.

The stars were glittering in the heaven's dusk meadows, Far west, among those flowers of the shadows, The thin, clear crescent lustrous over her, Made Ruth raise question, looking through the bars Of heaven, with eyes half-oped, what God, what comer Unto the harvest of the eternal summer, Had flung his golden hook down on the field of stars.

The word Gothic, in the sense in which it is generally employed, is wholly unsuitable, but wholly consecrated. Hence we accept it and we adopt it, like all the rest of the world, to characterize the architecture of the second half of the Middle Ages, where the ogive is the principle which succeeds the architecture of the first period, of which the semi-circle is the father.

There are plenty who regard a wall behind which something is happening as a very curious thing.

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.

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 flesh is the surface of the unknown.

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French Author, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, one of the best-known French Romantic Writers