Soon this mass of ideas became harmonized, took life, seemed, as it were, to become a living individual and moved in the midst of those domains of fancy, where the soul loves to give full rein to its wild creations."
Genius is answerable only to itself; it is the sole judge of the means, since it alone knows the end; thus genius must consider itself as above the law, for it is the task of genius to remake the law; moreover the man who frees himself from his time and place may take everything, hazard everything, for everything is his by right.
Science is the language of the temporal world; love is that of the spiritual world. Man, indeed, describes more than he explains; while the angelic spirit sees and understands. Science saddens man; love enraptures the angel; science is still seeking; love has found.
Constancy will always be the genius of love, the indication of that strength which constitutes the poet. A man should possess all women in his wife, like those squalid poetasters of the seventeenth century who made fair Irises and dazzling Chloes of their lowly Manons.
Virtue, my pet, is an abstract idea, varying in its manifestations with the surroundings. Virtue in Provence, in Constantinople, in London, and in Paris bears very different fruit, but is none the less virtue.
One day, about the middle of July 1838, one of the carriages, lately introduced to Paris cabstands, and known as Milords, was driving down the Rue de l'Universite, conveying a stout man of middle height in the uniform of a captain of the National Guard.
A girl's coquetry is of the simplest, she thinks that all is said when the veil is laid aside; a woman's coquetry is endless, she shrouds herself in veil after veil, she satisfies every demand of man's vanity, the novice responds but to one.
Creole women take after Europe in their intelligence, after the Tropics in the illogical violence of their passions, and after the Indies in the apathetic indolence with which they commit or suffer good and evil.
A Creole woman is like a child, she wants to possess everything immediately; like a child, she would set fire to a house in order to fry an egg. In her languor, she thinks of nothing; when passionately aroused, she thinks of any act possible or impossible.
Fools gain greater advantages through their weakness than intelligent men through their strength. We watch a great man struggling against fate and we do not lift a finger to help him. But we patronize a grocer who is headed for bankruptcy.
Conviction brings a silent, indefinable beauty into faces made of the commonest human clay; the devout worshiper at any shrine reflects something of its golden glow, even as the glory of a noble love shines like a sort of light from a woman's face.
Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft armchair, you will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this story of great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy. But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true.
When passion is not fed, it changes to need. At this juncture, marriage becomes a fixed idea in the mind of the bourgeois, being the only means whereby he can win a woman and appropriate her to his uses.
What moralist can deny that well-bred and vicious people are much more agreeable than their virtuous counterparts? Having crimes to atone for, they provisionally solicit indulgence by showing leniency toward the defects of their judges. Thus they pass for excellent folk.
The pleasures of love proceed successively from a distich to a quatrain, from a quatrain to a sonnet, from a sonnet to a ballad, from a ballad to an ode, from an ode to a cantata, and from a cantata to a dithyramb. A husband who begins with the dithyramb is a fool.
All human beings go through a previous life... Who knows how many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude of spiritual worlds?
In France everything is a matter for jest. People make quips about the scaffold, about Napoleon's defeat on the banks of The Beresina, and about the barricades of our revolutions. So, at the assizes of the Last Judgment, there will always be a Frenchmen to crack a joke.
The events of human life, whether public or private, are so intimately linked to architecture that most observers can reconstruct nations or individuals in all the truth of their habits from the remains of their monuments or from their domestic relics.
There are no little events with the heart. It magnifies everything; it places in the same scales the fall of an empire of fourteen years and the dropping of a woman's glove, and almost always the glove weighs more than the empire
The viscountess had raised the forefinger of her right hand and made a pretty gesture toward a stool at her feet. There was such intense tyrannical passion in the gesture that the marquis relinquished the doorknob and came back.
Love is the most melodious of all harmonies and the sentiment of love is innate. Woman is a delightful instrument of pleasure, but it is necessary to know its trembling strings, to study the position of them, the timid keyboard, the fingering so changeful and capricious which befits it.
Hortense was a wife; Valerie a mistress.Many men desire to have these two editions of the same work, although it is proof of deep inferiority in a man if he cannot make his wife his mistress. Seeking variety is a sign of impotence.
He hesitated till the last moment, but finally dropped them in the box, saying, "I shall win!"--the cry of a gambler, the cry of the great general, the compulsive cry that has ruined more men than it has ever saved.
No hawk swooping down upon his prey, no stag improvising new detours by which to trick the huntsman, no dog scenting game from afar is comparable in speed to the celerity of a salesman when he gets wind a deal, to his skill in tripping up or forestalling a rival, and to the art with which he sniffs out and discovers a possible sale.
In Paris, when certain people see you ready to set your foot in the stirrup, some pull your coat-tails, others loosen the buckle of the strap that you may fall and crack your skull; one wrenches off your horse's shoes, another steals your whip, and the least treacherous of them all is the man whom you see coming to fire his pistol at you point blank.
Such is life. It is no cleaner than a kitchen; it reeks like a kitchen; and if you mean to cook your dinner, you must expect to soil your hands; the real art is in getting them clean again, and therein lies the whole morality of our epoch.
According to man's environment, society has made as many different types of men as there are varieties in zoology. The differences between a soldier, a workman, a statesman, a tradesman, a sailor, a poet, a pauper and a priest, are more difficult to seize, but quite considerable as the differences between a wolf, a lion, an ass, a crow, a sea-calf, a sheep, and so on.