Wisdom Lives in Words

Memorable Quotes by Victor Hugo

Doing nothing is happiness for children and misery for old men.
Victor Hugo
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The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable.
Victor Hugo
Love that is not jealous is neither true nor pure.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.
Victor Hugo
Every diminution of the liberty of the press is followed by a diminution of civilization. Wherever we see the freedom of the press interfered with, there we see the nutrition of the human family interrupted.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Love is jealous, and ingenious in self-torture in proportion as it is pure and intense.
Victor Hugo
Never laugh at those who suffer; suffer sometimes those who laugh.
Victor Hugo
No one knows like a woman how to say things which are at once gentle and deep.
Victor Hugo
Death has its revelations: the great sorrows which open the heart open the mind as well; light comes to us with our grief. As for me, I have faith; I believe in a future life. How could I do otherwise? My daughter was a soul; I saw this soul. I touched it, so to speak.
Victor Hugo
Because one doesn't like the way things are is no reason to be unjust towards God.
Victor Hugo
The word is the Verb, and the Verb is God.
Victor Hugo
Joy's smile is much closer to tears than laughter.
Victor Hugo
It is most pleasant to commit a just action which is disagreeable to someone whom one does not like.
Victor Hugo
A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.
Victor Hugo
Despotism is a long crime.
Victor Hugo
It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Prayer is an august avowal of ignorance.
Victor Hugo
Well, for us, in history where goodness is a rare pearl, he who was good almost takes precedence over he who was great.
Victor Hugo
To love another person is to see the face of God.
Victor Hugo
My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.
Victor Hugo
Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.
Victor Hugo
A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Reaction - a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on.
Victor Hugo
A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.
Victor Hugo
Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo
As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer.
Victor Hugo
The ox suffers, the cart complains.
Victor Hugo
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
To think of shadows is a serious thing.
Victor Hugo
Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.
Victor Hugo
A society that admits misery, a humanity that admits war, seem to me an inferior society and a debased humanity; it is a higher society and a more elevated humanity at which I am aiming - a society without kings, a humanity without barriers.
Victor Hugo
Men become accustomed to poison by degrees.
Victor Hugo
The learned man knows that he is ignorant.
Victor Hugo
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.'
Victor Hugo
Rhyme, that enslaved queen, that supreme charm of our poetry, that creator of our meter.
Victor Hugo
There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
Victor Hugo
A war between Europeans is a civil war.
Victor Hugo
It is by suffering that human beings become angels.
Victor Hugo
Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Men like me are impossible until the day when they become necessary.
Victor Hugo
A noble soul and real poetic talent are almost always inseparable.
Victor Hugo
I put a Phrygian cap on the old dictionary.
Victor Hugo
No one ever keeps a secret so well as a child.
Victor Hugo
What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.
Victor Hugo
Our acts make or mar us, we are the children of our own deeds.
Victor Hugo
Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Taste is the common sense of genius.
Victor Hugo
It is the end. But of what? The end of France? No. The end of kings? Yes.
Victor Hugo
Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant.
Victor Hugo
Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can.
Victor Hugo
When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.
Victor Hugo
Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.
Victor Hugo
When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide.
Victor Hugo
Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.
Victor Hugo
The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.
Victor Hugo
To love beauty is to see light.
Victor Hugo
It is often necessary to know how to obey a woman in order sometimes to have the right to command her.
Victor Hugo
Nothing else in the world... not all the armies... is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo
The last resort of kings, the cannonball. The last resort of the people, the paving stone.
Victor Hugo
Almost all our desires, when examined, contain something too shameful to reveal.
Victor Hugo
To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.
Victor Hugo
Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.
Victor Hugo
When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.
Victor Hugo
By putting forward the hands of the clock you shall not advance the hour.
Victor Hugo
The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Genius: the superhuman in man.
Victor Hugo
An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
Victor Hugo
I would have liked to be - indeed, I should have been - a second Rembrandt.
Victor Hugo
Verse in itself does not constitute poetry. Verse is only an elegant vestment for a beautiful form. Poetry can express itself in prose, but it does so more perfectly under the grace and majesty of verse. It is poetry of soul that inspires noble sentiments and noble actions as well as noble writings.
Victor Hugo
Genius is a promontory jutting out into the infinite.
Victor Hugo
My childhood began, as everybody's childhood begins, with prejudices. Man finds prejudices beside his cradle, puts them from him a little in the course of his career, and often, alas! takes to them again in his old age.
Victor Hugo
Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.
Victor Hugo
One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
There are no rules, no models; rather, there are no rules other than the general laws of Nature.
Victor Hugo
To contemplate is to look at shadows.
Victor Hugo
Nature has made a pebble and a female. The lapidary makes the diamond, and the lover makes the woman.
Victor Hugo
Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.
Victor Hugo
When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
In the French language, there is a great gulf between prose and poetry; in English, there is hardly any difference. It is a splendid privilege of the great literary languages Greek, Latin, and French that they possess a prose. English has not this privilege. There is no prose in English.
Victor Hugo
Stupidity talks, vanity acts.
Victor Hugo
Love, in the eyes of the world, is either a carnal appetite or a vague fancy, which possession extinguishes or absence destroys. That is why it is commonly said, with a strange abuse of words, that passion does not endure.
Victor Hugo
Idleness is the heaviest of all oppressions.
Victor Hugo
Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.
Victor Hugo
The animal is ignorant of the fact that he knows. The man is aware of the fact that he is ignorant.
Victor Hugo
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Conscience is God present in man.
Victor Hugo
Indigestion is charged by God with enforcing morality on the stomach.
Victor Hugo
Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.
Victor Hugo
Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Habit is the nursery of errors.
Victor Hugo
Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.
Victor Hugo
A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Thought is more than a right - it is the very breath of man. Whoever fetters thought attacks man himself. To speak, to write, to publish, are things, so far as the right is concerned, absolutely identical. They are the ever-enlarging circles of intelligence in action; they are the sonorous waves of thought.
Victor Hugo
To love is to act.
Victor Hugo
Evil. Mistrust those who rejoice at it even more than those who do it.
Victor Hugo
The omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.
Victor Hugo
A great artist is a great man in a great child.
Victor Hugo
There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.
Victor Hugo
The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.
Victor Hugo
When liberty returns, I will return.
Victor Hugo
People do not lack strength; they lack will.
Victor Hugo
Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.
Victor Hugo
Close by the Rights of Man, at the least set beside them, are the Rights of the Spirit.
Victor Hugo
Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.
Victor Hugo
Do not let it be your aim to be something, but to be someone.
Victor Hugo
One believes others will do what he will do to himself.
Victor Hugo
Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.
Victor Hugo
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!
Victor Hugo
There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time as come.
Victor Hugo
The flesh is the surface of the unknown.
Victor Hugo
A poet who is a bad man is a degraded being, baser and more culpable than a bad man who is not a poet.
Victor Hugo
To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
Victor Hugo
Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.
Victor Hugo
One sees qualities at a distance and defects at close range.
Victor Hugo
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo
The first symptom of love in a young man is timidity; in a girl boldness.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them.
Victor Hugo
One of the hardest tasks is to extract continually from one's soul an almost inexhaustible ill will.
Victor Hugo
To be perfectly happy it does not suffice to possess happiness, it is necessary to have deserved it.
Victor Hugo
He who is not capable of enduring poverty is not capable of being free.
Victor Hugo
Those who live are those who fight.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.
Victor Hugo
Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, - and the stars through his soul.
Victor Hugo
Style is the substance of the subject called unceasingly to the surface.
Victor Hugo
It is from books that wise people derive consolation in the troubles of life.
Victor Hugo
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
Victor Hugo
No one can keep a secret better than a child.
Victor Hugo
Puns are the droppings of soaring wits.
Victor Hugo
The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.
Victor Hugo
I don't mind what Congress does, as long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses.
Victor Hugo
The wise man does not grow old, but ripens.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
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!
Victor Hugo
A library implies an act of faith.
Victor Hugo
Smallness in a great man seems smaller by its disproportion with all the rest.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Scepticism, that dry caries of the intelligence.
Victor Hugo
To think is of itself to be useful; it is always and in all cases a striving toward God.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.
Victor Hugo
Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.
Victor Hugo
What Shakespeare was able to do in English he would certainly not have done in French.
Victor Hugo
Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.
Victor Hugo
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.
Victor Hugo
Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?
Victor Hugo
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather in spite of ourselves.
Victor Hugo
I'm religiously opposed to religion.
Victor Hugo
But when ill indeed, Even dismissing the doctor don't always succeed.
Victor Hugo
We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.
Victor Hugo
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo
Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful.
Victor Hugo
Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education.
Victor Hugo
He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
Victor Hugo
What a grand thing, to be loved! What a grander thing still, to love!
Victor Hugo
Wisdom is a sacred communion.
Victor Hugo
Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
Victor Hugo
I love all men who think, even those who think otherwise than myself.
Victor Hugo
Many great actions are committed in small struggles.
Victor Hugo
Liberation is not deliverance.
Victor Hugo
What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.
Victor Hugo
The beautiful has but one type, the ugly has a thousand.
Victor Hugo
Toleration is the best religion.
Victor Hugo