Victor Hugo Quotes (displaying: 31 - 60 of 919 quotes)
The life of the cenobite is a human problem. When we speak of convents, those seats of error but innocence, of mistaken views but good intentions, of ignorance but devotion, of torment but martyrdom, we must nearly always say yes or no...The monastery is a renunciation. Self-sacrifice, even when misdirected, is still self-sacrifice. To assume as duty a strict error has its peculiar grandeur.
What was he doing during the trip? What was he thinking about? As he had during the morning, he watched the trees go by, the thatched roofs, the cultivated fields, and the dissolving views of the countryside that change at every turn of the road. Scenes like that are sometimes enough for the soul, and almost eliminate the need for thought. To see a thousand objects for the first and last time, what could be more profoundly melancholy? Traveling is a constant birth and death. It may be that in the murkiest part of his mind, he was drawing a comparison between these changing horizons and human existence. All aspects of life are in perpetual flight before us. Darkness and light alternate: after a flash, an eclipse; we look, we hurry, we stretch out our hands to seize what is passing; every event is a turn in the road; and suddenly we are old. We feel a slight shock, everything is black, we can make out a dark door, the gloomy horse of life that was carrying us stops, and we see a veiled and unknown form that turns him out into the darkness. (pg. 248)
Go on philosophers--teach, enlighten, kindle, think aloud, speak up, run joyfully toward broad daylight, fraternize in the public squares, announce the glad tidings, lavish your alphabets, proclaim human rights, sing your Marseillaises, sow enthusiasms, tear off green branches from the oak trees. Make thought a whirlwind. This multitude can be sublimated. Let us learn to avail ourselves of this vast conflagration of principles and virtues, which occasionally sparkles, bursts, and shudders. These bare feet, these naked arms, these rags, these shades of ignorance, depths of despair, the gloom can be used for the conquest of the ideal. Look through the medium of the people, and you will discern the truth. This lowly sand that you trample underfoot, if you throw it into a furnace and let it melt and seethe, will become sparkling crystal; and thanks to such as this a Galileo and a Newton will discover the stars.
This light of history is pitiless; it has a strange and divine quality that, luminous as it is, and precisely because it is luminous, often casts a shadow just where we saw a radiance; out of the same man it makes two different phantoms, and the one attacks and punishes the other, the darkness of the despot struggles with the splendor of the captain. Hence a truer measure in the final judgment of the nations. Babylon violated diminishes Alexander; Rome enslaved diminishes Caesar; massacred Jerusalem diminishes Titus. Tyranny follows the tyrant. Woe to the man who leaves behind a shadow that bears his form.
He had but one consolation, that she had loved him, that her eyes had told him so, that although she did not know his name she knew his heart, and that perhaps, wherever she now was, in whatever undiscoverable place, she loved him still. Perhaps she even thought of him constantly as he did of her. Sometimes, in those unaccountable moments known to every lover, when the heart feels a strange stirring of delight although there is not cause for anything but grief, he reflected: 'It is her own thoughts that are reaching me!... And perhaps my thoughts are reaching her!'Fancies such as these, which an instant later he brushed aside, nevertheless sufficed to kindle a glow in him which was something near to hope.