Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Victor Hugo

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

"As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled."

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

"For man's greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes - obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes."

"For prying into any human affairs, none are equal to those whom it does not concern."

"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."

"He who every morning plans the transactions of the day and follows out the plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of life which darts itself through all his occupations. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incident, chaos will soon reign."

"Inspiration and genius - one and the same."

"It is nothing to die; it is frightful not to live."

"Loving is half of believing."

"Man lives by affirmation even more than he does by bread."

"People do not lack strength; they lack will."

"Revolution is the larva of civilization."

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

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

"There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher."

"The misery of a child is interesting to a mother, the misery of a young man is interesting to a young woman, the misery of an old man is interesting to nobody."

"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."

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

"To live a life which is a perpetual falsehood is to suffer unknown tortures."

"To meditate is to labor; to think is to act."

"Toleration is the best religion."

"Wisdom and eloquences are not always united."

"Wisdom is the health of the soul."

"A creditor is worse than a master; for a master owns only your person, a creditor owns your dignity and can belabour that."

"A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour."

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

"Art needs no spur beyond itself."

"Caution is the eldest child of wisdom."

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

"Cheerfulness is like money well expended in charity; the more we dispense of it, the greater our possession."

"Enthusiasm is the fever of reason."

"Every idea must have a visible enfolding."

"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age."

"Happiness is a thing of gravity. It seeks for hearts of bronze, and carves itself there slowly; pleasure startles it away by tossing flowers to it. Joy's smile is much more close to tears than it is to laughter."

"I like the laughter that opens the lips and the heart, that shows at the same time pearls and the soul."

"Labor is life; thought is light."

"Let us fear the worst, but work with faith; the best will always take care of itself."

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

"Nature is the face of God. He appears to us through it, and we can read his thoughts in it."

"No one ever keeps a secret so well as a child."

"Nothing awakens a reminiscence like an odour."

"Revery, which is thought in its nebulous state, borders closely upon the land of sleep, by which it is bounded as by a natural frontier."

"The first symptom of true love in a young man is timidity, in a girl it is boldness. The two sexes have a tendency to approach, and each assumes the qualities of the other."

"The production of souls is the secret of unfathomable depth."

"The reduction of the universe to a single being, the dilation of a single being as far as God, such is love."

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or, more correctly, being loved in spite of yourself."

"The thirst for the infinite proves infinity."

"The word which God has written on the brow of every man is Hope."

"The world of sleep has an existence of its own."

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