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Quotes of the day: Honoré de Balzac

Published Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 7:11 AM EDT
May 20 2013

Honoré de Balzac (May 20, 1799 - August 18, 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. (Click for full Wikipedia article).


A husband and wife who have separate bedrooms have either drifted apart or found happiness.

A man is a poor creature compared to a woman.

A man ought not to marry without having studied anatomy, and dissected at least one woman.

A mother, who is really a mother, is never free.

A woman knows the face of the man she loves like a sailor knows the open sea.

A woman who is guided by the head and not by the heart is a social pestilence: she has all the defects of the passionate and affectionate woman, with none of her compensations; she is without pity, without love, without virtue, without sex.

All human power is a compound of time and patience.

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.

Discretion is the best form of calculation.

Equality may be a right, but no power on earth can convert it into fact.

Excess of joy is harder to bear than any amount of sorrow.

Glory is the sun of the dead.

If youth were not ignorant and timid, civilization would be impossible.

It is always assumed by the empty-headed, who chatter about themselves for want of something better, that people who do not discuss their affairs openly must have something to hide.

It is easier to be a lover than a husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time.

Love may be or it may not, but where it is, it ought to reveal itself in its immensity.

Manners are the hypocrisy of nations.

No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman.

Our most cruel enemies are our nearest in blood!... Kings have neither brothers, nor sons, nor mothers.

People exaggerate both happiness and unhappiness; we are never so fortunate nor so unfortunate as people say we are.

Persons without minds are like weeds that delight in good earth; they want to be amused by others, all the more because they are dull within.

Power does not consist in striking with force or with frequency, but in striking true.

The art of motherhood involves much silent, unobtrusive self- denial, an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute.

The fact is that love is of two kinds- one which commands, and one which obeys. The two are quite distinct, and the passion to which the one gives rise is not the passion of the other.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.

The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.

The more one judges, the less one loves.

The most real of all splendors are not in outward things, they are within us.

The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.

The virtue of women is perhaps a question of temperament.

True love is eternal, infinite, always like unto itself; it is equable, pure, without violent demonstration; white hair often covers the head, but the heart that holds it is ever young.

Virtue, my pet, is an abstract idea, varying in its manifestations with the surroundings.

What is Art, monsieur, but Nature concentrated?

When law becomes despotic, morals are relaxed, and vice versa.

When women love, they forgive everything, even our crimes; when they do not love, they cannot forgive anything, not even our virtues.

Categories: Honoré de Balzac, Quotes of the day


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