Nikolai Gogol Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 57 quotes)
What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.
Like all of us sinners, General Betrishchev was endowed with many virtues and many defects. Both the one and the other were scattered through him in a sort of picturesque disorder. Self-sacrifice, magnanimity in decisive moments, courage, intelligence--and with all that, a generous mixture of self-love, ambition, vanity, petty personal ticklishness, and a good many of those things which a man simply cannot do without.
Well, so that's the prosecutor! He lived and lived, and then died! And they will say in the papers that he died to the regret of his staff and all mankind, a respected citizen, a rare father, a model husband, and they will write a lot more stuff and nonsense about him; they will add, maybe, that he was mourned by widows and orphans; but if one were to investigate the matter thoroughly, it will emerge that he had nothing to him except his bushy eyebrows.
Manilov was pleased by these final words, but he still couldn't make sense of the deal itself, and for want of an answer, he began sucking his clay pipe so hard that it started to wheeze like a bassoon. He seemed to be trying to extract from it an opinion about this unprecedented business; but the clay pipe only wheezed and said nothing.
He who has talent in him must be purer in soul than anyone else. Another will be forgiven much, but to him it will not be forgiven. A man who leaves the house in bright, festive clothes needs only one drop of mud splashed from under a wheel, and people all surround him, point their fingers at him, and talk about his slovenliness, while the same people ignore many spots on other passers-by who are wearing everyday clothes. For on everyday clothes the spots do not show.
His life had already touched upon the age when everything that breathes of impulse shrinks in a man, when a powerful bow has a fainter effect on his soul and no longer twines piercing music around his heart, when the touch of beauty no longer transforms virginal powers into fire and flame, but all the burnt-out feelings become more accessible to the sound of gold, listen more attentively to its alluring music, and little by little allow it imperceptibly to lull them completely. Fame cannot give pleasure to one who did not merit it but stole it; it produces a constant tremor only in one who is worthy of it. And therefore all his feelings and longings turn toward gold.
The current generation now sees everything clearly, it marvels at the errors, it laughs at the folly of its ancestors, not seeing that this chronicle is all overscored by divine fire, that every letter of it cries out, that from everywhere the piercing finger is pointed at it, at this current generation; but the current generation laughs and presumptuously, proudly begins a series of new errors, at which their descendants will also laugh afterwards.
At the end of the table, the secretary was reading the decision in some case, but in such a mournful and monotonous voice, that the condemned man himself would have fallen asleep while listening to it. The judge, no doubt, would have been the first of all to do so, had he not entered into an engrossing conversation while it was going on.
Nevsky Avenue"Here you come across moustaches so wonderful that neither pen nor brush can do justice to them, moustaches to which the best years of a lifetime have been devoted-the object of long hours of vigil by day and by night; moustaches upon which all the perfumes of Arabia have been lavished, the most exquisite scents and essences, and which have been anointed with the rarest and most precious pomades; moustaches which are wrapped up for the night in the most delicate vellum; moustaches for which their possessors show a most touching affection and which are the envy of all those who behold them.
And long afterwards, in moments of the greatest merriment, there would rise before him the figure of the little clerk with the balding brow, uttering his penetrating words: "Let me be. Why do you offend me?" --and in these penetrating words rang other words: "I am your brother." And the poor young man would bury his face in his hands, and many a time in his life he shuddered to see how much inhumanity there is in man, how much savege coarseness is concealed in refined, cultivated manners, and God! even in a man the world regards as noble and honorable.