The being who, for most men, is the source of the most lively, and even, be it said, to the shame of philosophical delights, the most lasting joys; the being towards or for whom all their efforts tend for whom and by whom fortunes are made and lost; for whom, but especially by whom, artists and poets compose their most delicate jewels; from whom flow the most enervating pleasures and the most enriching sufferings—woman, in a word, is not, for the artist in general… only the female of the human species. She is rather a divinity, a star.
The whole visible universe is but a storehouse of images and signs to which the imagination will give a relative place and value; it is a sort of pasture which the imagination must digest and transform.
Every idea is endowed of itself with immortal life, like a human being. All created form, even that which is created by man, is immortal. For form is independent of matter: molecules do not constitute form.
For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.
The world only goes round by misunderstanding.
Today I felt pass over me
A breath of wind from the wings of madness.
The son will run away from the family not at eighteen but at twelve, emancipated by his gluttonous precocity; he will fly not to seek heroic adventures, not to deliver a beautiful prisoner from a tower, not to immortalize a garret with sublime thoughts, but to found a business, to enrich himself and to compete with his infamous papa.
Who among us has not, in moments of ambition, dreamt of the miracle of a form of poetic prose, musical but without rhythm and rhyme, both supple and staccato enough to adapt itself to the lyrical movements of our souls, the undulating movements of our reveries, and the convulsive movements of our consciences? This obsessive ideal springs above all from frequent contact with enormous cities, from the junction of their innumerable connections.
Topics: Poetry, Poets
I have to confess that I had gambled on my soul and lost it with heroic insouciance and lightness of touch. The soul is so impalpable, so often useless, and sometimes such a nuisance, that I felt no more emotion on losing it than if, on a stroll, I had mislaid my visiting card.
Topics: Gambling, Soul
We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.
Topics: Time Management, Time
It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.
Alas, human vices, however horrible one might imagine them to be, contain the proof (were it only in their infinite expansion) of man’s longing for the infinite; but it is a longing that often takes the wrong route. It is my belief that the reason behind all culpable excesses lies in this depravation of the sense of the infinite.
Topics: Virtue, Vice
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.
Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.
Inspiration comes of working every day.
The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep.
We all have the republican spirit in our veins, like syphilis in our bones. We are democratized and venerealized.
Both ardent lovers and austere scholars, when once they come to the years of discretion, love cats, so strong and gentle, the pride of the household, who like them are sensitive to the cold, and sedentary.
Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.
Topics: Poets, Poetry, Art
The cannon thunders… limbs fly in all directions… one can hear the groans of victims and the howling of those performing the sacrifice… it’s Humanity in search of happiness.
If a certain assemblage of trees, of mountains, of waters, and of houses that we call a landscape is beautiful, it is not because of itself, but through me, through my own indulgence, through the thought or the sentiment that I attach to it
The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.
Topics: City Life, Cities
True Civilization does not lie in gas, nor in steam, nor in turn-tables. It lies in the reduction of the traces of original sin.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Arthur Rimbaud French Poet
- Remy de Gourmont French Poet, Writer
- Guillaume Apollinaire Italian-born French Poet
- Jean Cocteau French Poet, Artist
- Victor Hugo French Novelist
- Jean-Paul Sartre French Philosopher
- Octave Mirbeau French Author
- Alphonse de Lamartine French Poet, Politician, Historian
- Jean de La Fontaine French Poet
- Voltaire French Philosopher, Author