Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Guiseppe Mazzini

Italian Patriot, Writer, Politician, Journalist, Activist for the Unification of Italy

"Constancy is the complement of all the other human virtues."

"Great revolutions are the work rather of principles than of bayonets, and are achieved first in the moral, and afterwards in the material sphere."

"Liberty and equality - lovely and sacred words!"

"Poetry is enthusiasm with wings of fire; it is the angel of high thoughts, that inspires us with the power of sacrifice."

"Pardon is the virtue of victory."

"The moral law of the universe is progress."

"The obscurest sayings of the truly great are often those which contain the germ of the profoundest and must useful truths."

"Sorrow is not evil, since it stimulates and purifies."

"Life is a mission. Every other definition is false, and leads all who accept it astray. Religion, science, philosophy, though still at variance upon many points, all agree in this, that every existence is an aim."

"Art does not imitate, but interpret."

"Music is the harmonious voice of creation, an echo of the invisible world, one note of the divine concord which the entire universe is destined one day to sound."

"The religion of humanity is love."

"Truth is the daughter of Time."

"To be mistaken is a misfortune to be pitied; but to know the truth and not to conform one's actions to it is a crime which Heaven and Earth condemn."

"A Country is not a mere territory; the particular territory is only its foundation. The Country is the idea which rises upon that foundation; it is the sentiment of love, the sense of fellowship which binds together all the sons of that territory. "

"God has given you your country as cradle, and humanity as mother; you cannot rightly love your brethren of the cradle if you love not the common mother. "

"Slumber not in the tents of your fathers. The world is advancing."

"The theory of rights enables us to rise and overthrow obstacles, but not to found a strong and lasting accord between all the elements which compose the nation. "

"So long as you are ready to die for humanity, the life of your country is immortal. "

"And, young men, love and reverence the Ideal; that is the country of the spirit, the city of the soul, in which all are brethren who believe in the inviolability of thought, and in the dignity of our immortal natures. From that high sphere spring the principles which alone can redeem peoples. Love enthusiasm?the pure dreams of the virgin soul, and the lofty visions of early youth; for they are the perfume of Paradise, which the soul preserves in issuing from the hands of its Creator. Respect, above all things, your conscience; have upon your lips the truth that God has placed in your hearts; and, while working together in harmony in all that tends to the emancipation of our soil, even with those who differ from you, yet ever bear erect your own banner, and boldly promulgate your faith."

"By the law of God, given by him to humanity, all men are free, are brothers, and are equals."

"Every Age has its own peculiar faith. Any attempt to translate into facts the mission of one Age with the machinery of another, can only end in an indefinite series of abortive efforts. Defeated by the utter want of proportion between the means and the end, such attempts might produce martyrs, but never lead to victory."

"God holds with the strong."

"Good counsel has no price."

"Hope nothing from foreign governments. They will never be really willing to aid you until you have shown that you are strong enough to conquer without them."

"Human judgment, like Luther's drunken peasant, when saved from falling on one side, topples over on the other."

"I know no more beautiful symbol of the future destiny and mission of art than the death of Byron in Greece. The holy alliance of poetry with the cause of the peoples; the union?still so rare?of thought and action?which alone completes the human Word, and is destined to emancipate the world; the grand solidarity of all nations in the conquest of the rights ordained by God for all his children, and in the accomplishment of that mission for which alone such rights exist?all that is now the religion and the hope of the party of progress throughout Europe, is gloriously typified in this image, which we, barbarians that we are, have already forgotten."

"In ourselves, rather than in material nature, lie the true source and life of the beautiful. The human soul is the sun which diffuses light on every side, investing creation with its lovely hues, and calling forth the poetic element that lies hidden in every existing thing."

"Gifted with a liberty they know not how to use; with a power and energy they know not how to apply; with a life whose purpose and aim they comprehend not; they drag through their useless and convulsed existence. Byron destroys them one after the other, as if he were the executioner of a sentence decreed in heaven. They fall unwept, like a withered leaf into the stream of time."

"Every mission constitutes a pledge of duty. Every man is bound to consecrate his every faculty to its fulfillment. He will derive his rule of action from the profound conviction of that duty."

"Farewell, a long farewell to the past! The dawn of the future is announced to such as can read its signs, and we owe ourselves wholly to it. But because, in our own day, we are beginning, though vaguely, to foresee this new social poetry, which will soothe the suffering soul by teaching it to rise towards God through humanity; because we now stand on the threshold of a new epoch, which, but for them, we should not have reached; shall we decry those who were unable to do more for us than cast their giant forms into the gulf that held us all doubting and dismayed on the other side? From the earliest times has genius been made the scapegoat of the generations. Society has never lacked men who have contented themselves with reproaching the Chattertons of their day with not being patterns of self-devotion, instead of physical or moral suicides; without ever asking themselves whether they had, during their lifetime, endeavored to place aught within the reach of such but doubt and destitution. I feel the necessity of protesting earnestly against the reaction set on foot by certain thinkers against the mighty-souled, which serves as a cloak for the cavilling spirit of mediocrity. There is something hard, repulsive, and ungrateful in the destructive instinct which so often forgets what has been done by the great men who preceded us, to demand of them merely an account of what more might have been done. Is the pillow of skepticism so soft to genius as to justify the conclusion that it is from egotism only that at times it rests its fevered brow thereon? Are we so free from the evil reflected in their verse as to have a right to condemn their memory? That evil was not introduced into the world by them. They saw it, felt it, respired it; it was around, about, on every side of them, and they were its greatest victims. How could they avoid reproducing it in their works? It is not by deposing Goethe or Byron that we shall destroy either skeptical or anarchical indifference amongst us. It is by becoming believers and organizers ourselves. If we are such, we need fear nothing. As is the public, so will be the poet. If we revere enthusiasm, the fatherland, and humanity; if our hearts are pure, and our souls steadfast and patient, the genius inspired to interpret our aspirations, and bear to heaven our ideas and our sufferings, will not be wanting. Let these statues stand. The noble monuments of feudal times create no desire to return to the days of serfdom."

"Insurrection by means of guerrilla bands is the true method of warfare for all nations desirous of emancipating themselves from a foreign yoke. It is invincible, indestructible."

"Insurrection: Insurrection as soon as circumstances allow: insurrection, strenuous, ubiquitous: the insurrection of the masses: the holy war of the oppressed: the republic to make republicans: the people in action to initiate progress. Let the insurrection announce with its awful voice the decrees of God: let it clear and level the ground on which its own immortal structure shall be raised. Let it, like the Nile, flood all the country that it is destined to make fertile."

"Labor is the divine law of our existence; repose is desertion and suicide."

"Love and respect a woman. Look to her not only for comfort, but for strength and inspiration and the doubling of your intellectual and moral powers. Blot out from your mind any idea of superiority; you have none."

"Love is the flight of the soul toward God: toward the great, the sublime, and the beautiful, which are the shadows of God upon earth. Love your family; the partner of your life; those around you, ready to share your joys and sorrows; the dead who were dear to you, and to whom you were dear. Love your country. It is your name, your glory, your sign among the peoples. Give to it your thought, your counsel, your blood. You are twenty-four millions of men, endowed with active and splendid faculties; with a tradition of glory which is the envy of the nations of Europe. An immense future is before you. Your eyes are raised to the loveliest heaven, and around you smiles the loveliest land in Europe. You are encircled by the Alps and the sea, boundaries marked out by the finger of God for a people of giants."

"Love your country. Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him."

"Men of great genius and large heart sow the seeds of a new degree of progress in the world, but they bear fruit only after many years."

"Nations, like individuals, live and die; but civilization cannot die."

"O my Brothers! love your Country. Our Country is our home, the home which God has given us, placing therein a numerous family which we love and are loved by, and with which we have a more intimate and quicker communion of feeling and thought than with others; a family which by its concentration upon a given spot, and by the homogeneous nature of its elements, is destined for a special kind of activity."

"One sole God; One sole ruler,?his Law; One sole interpreter of that law?Humanity."

"Preach in the name of God. The learned will smile; ask the learned what they have done for their country. The priests will excommunicate you; say to the priests that you know God better than all of them together do, and that between God and His law you have no need of any intermediary. The people will understand you, and repeat with you: We believe in God the Father, who is Intelligence and Love, Creator and Teacher of Humanity. And in this saying you and the People will conquer."

"Shakespeare's personages live and move as if they had just come from the hand of God, with a life that, though manifold, is one, and, though complex, is harmonious."

"The angel of the Family is Woman. Mother, wife, or sister, Woman is the caress of life, the soothing sweetness of affection shed over its toils, a reflection for the individual of the loving providence which watches over Humanity. In her there is treasure enough of consoling tenderness to allay every pain. Moreover for every one of us she is the initiator of the future. The mother's first kiss teaches the child love; the first holy kiss of the woman he loves teaches man hope and faith in life; and love and faith create a desire for perfection and the power of reaching towards it step by step; create the future, in short, of which the living symbol is the child, link between us and the generations to come. Through her the Family, with its divine mystery of reproduction, points to Eternity."

"The cradle of transformation."

"The epoch of individuality is concluded, and it is the duty of reformers to initiate the epoch of association. Collective man is omnipotent upon the earth he treads."

"The Family is the Country of the heart. There is an angel in the Family who, by the mysterious influence of grace, of sweetness, and of love, renders the fulfillment of duties less wearisome, sorrows less bitter. The only pure joys unmixed with sadness which it is given to man to taste upon earth are, thanks to this angel, the joys of the Family."

"The great men of the earth are but the marking-stones on the road of humanity; they are the priests of its religion."

"The mother's first kiss teaches the child love; the first holy kiss of the woman he loves teaches man hope and faith in life."

"The republic, as I at least understand it, means association, of which liberty is only an element, a necessary antecedent. It means association, a new philosophy of life, a divine Ideal that shall move the world, the only means of regeneration vouchsafed to the human race."