The soul that loves and suffers is in the sublime state.
I was confided to your loyalty and accepted by your treason; you offer my death to those to whom you had promised my life. Do you know who it is you are destroying here? It is yourself.
When a person opens a book, he can never be in prison.
God secludes Himself; but the thinker listens at the door.
If you wish to understand what Revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress is, call it Tomorrow.
Vulgarity is an old Narcissus who adores himself and applauds the common vulgarity.
The devotion of one man had given strength and courage to all.
Knowledge is a weight added to conscience.
The terrible shock of his sentence had in some way broken that wall which separates us from the mystery of things beyond and which we call life.
Civil war.... What did the words mean? Was there any such thing as foreign war? Was not all warfare between men warfare between brothers?
Waterloo is a battle of the first rank won by a captain of the second.
The future has many names: For the weak, it means the unattainable. For the fearful, it means the unknown. For the courageous, it means opportunity.
Of all the things that God has made, the human heart is the one which sheds the most light, alas! and the most darkness.
Dry happiness is like dry bread. We eat, but we do not dine. I wish for the superfluous, for the useless, for the extravagant, for the too much, for that which is not good for anything.
Does not beauty confer a benefit upon us, even by the simple fact of being beautiful?
A poet who is a bad man is a degraded being, baser and more culpable than a bad man who is not a poet.
Every bird which flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw.
Every bird which flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow's bill breaking the egg, and it leads forward the birth of an earth-worm and the advent of Socrates.
Don't educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, not the price.
Years place at last a venerable crown upon a head.
Earnestness is the salt of eloquence.
These are true felicities. No joy beyond these joys. Love is the only ecstasy, everything else weeps.
The man who fights against his own country is never a hero.
At the approach of a certain dark hour, the light of Heaven fills those who are quitting the light of Earth.
I repeat, whether we be Italians or Frenchmen, misery concerns us all.
Heaven, on occasion, half opens its arms to us; and that is the great moment.
So a voice in the mountain is enough to let loose an avalanche. A word too much may be followed by a caving in. If the word had not been spoken, it would not have happened.
Who then understands the reciprocal flux and reflux of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abysses of being, and the avalanches of creation?
My day's work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley.
Genius is rare because the means of becoming one have not been available.
Night and the day, when united, Bring forth the beautiful light.
Everything speaks: the flowing airstream and the sailing halycon, the blade of grass, the flower, the bud, the element; did you imagine the universe to be otherwise?
One only needs to see a smile in a white crape bonnet in order to enter the palace of dreams.
A day will come when a cannon will be exhibited in museums, just as instruments of torture are now, and the people will be astonished that such a thing could have been.
Without seeking to comprehend the incomprehensible, he gazed upon it. He did not study God; he was dazzled by Him.
There is a secret drawer in every woman's heart.
Everything bows to success, even grammar.
Nothing can be sadder or more profound than to see a thousand things for the first and last time.
Nothing can be sadder or more profound than to see a thousand things for the first and last time. To journey is to be born and die each minute...All the elements of life are in constant flight from us, with darkness and clarity intermingled, the vision and the eclipse; we look and hasten, reaching out our hands to clutch; every happening is a bend in the road...and suddenly we have grown old. We have a sense of shock and gathering darkness; ahead is a black doorway; the life that bore us is a flagging horse, and a veiled stranger is waiting in the shadows to unharness us.
The miserable's name is Man; he is agonizing in all climes, and he is groaning in all languages.
As for the bishop, the sight of the guillotine was a great shock to him, from which he recovered only slowly.
The guillotine is the ultimate expression of Law, and its name is vengeance; it is not neutral, nor does it allow us to remain neutral.
The guillotine is the ultimate embodiment of the Law; its name is Retribution. It is not neutral and doesn't allow you to remain neutral, either. Whoever sees it quakes in their boots with the most mysterious of terrors. Every social issue hooks its question mark around this chopper. The scaffold is not the framework, the scaffold is not a machine, the scaffold is not some inert mechanism made of wood, iron, and rope.
The heart becomes heroic through passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests upon anything but what is elevated and great.
All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.
Hypocrisy is nothing, in fact, but a horrible hopefulness.
I refuse the oration of all churches. I ask a prayer of all souls. I believe in God.
Because things are not agreeable, said Jean Valjean, that is no reason for being unjust towards God.
Argot is both a literary and a social phenomenon. What is argot, properly speaking? Argot is the language of misery.
What is admirable in the clash of young minds is that no one can foresee the spark that sets off an explosion or predict what kind of explosion it will be.
He sleeps. Although his fate was very strange, he lived. He died when he had no longer his angel. The thing came to pass simply, of itself, as the night comes when day is gone.
He did not study God; he was dazzled by him.
To be wicked does not insure prosperity -- for the inn did not succeed well.
We do not comprehend everything, but we insult nothing.
On this point, the priest and the philosopher agree: We must die.
When we are at the end of life, to die means to go away; when we are at the beginning, to go away means to die.
There are many tongues to talk, and but few heads to think.
What is said about men often has as much influence upon their lives, and especially upon their destinies, as what they do.
Great grief is a divine and terrible radiance which transfigures the wretched.
For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life.
Work is the law of life, and to reject it as boredom is to submit to it as torment.
Philosophy is the microscope of thought.
Philosophy is the microscope of thought. Everything desires to flee from it, but nothing escapes it.
Where the telescope ends the microscope begins, and which has the wider vision?
He loved books, those undemanding but faithful friends.
Love each other dearly always. There is scarcely anything else in the world but that: to love one another.
Social prosperity means man happy, the citizen free, the nation great.
A tempest ceases, a cyclone passes over, a wind dies down, a broken mast can be replaced, a leak can be stopped, a fire extinguished, but what will become of this enormous brute of bronze?
Marius was of the temperament that sinks into grief and remains there; Cosette was of the sort that plunges in and comes out again.
One of the hardest labours of the just man is to expunge from his soul a malevolence which it is difficult to efface.
A bit of mould is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an ant-hill of stars.
To rove about, musing, that is to say loitering, is, for a philosopher, a good way of spending time.
To rove about, musing, that is to say loitering, is, for a philosopher, a good way of spending time, especially in that kind of mock rurality, ugly but odd, and partaking of two natures, which surrounds certain large cities, particularly Paris.
Dear God! how beauty varies in nature and art.
It is only barbarous nations who have a sudden growth after a victory.
Press on! A better fate awaits thee.
But listen, there will be more joy in heaven over the tears of a repentant sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men.
From Lordship to Eminence is but a step, and between Eminence and Holiness there is only the wisp of smoke from a burnt voting-slip.
Thus, during those nineteen years of torture and slavery, did this soul rise and fall at the same time. Light entered on the one side, and darkness on the other.
Quotes by Victor Hugo are featured in:
Common Sense Quotes