Famous Victor Hugo Quotes

victor hugo
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Victor Hugo was one of the greatest of all French writers, known as a leader of the Romantic movement and the author of classics like Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and The Contemplations. Victor Hugo was also a social and political leader. He campaigned to abolish capital punishment, criticized the atrocities of the Paris Commune, and late in his life, he strongly supported a Republican government for France. The following inspiring quotes are taken from Hugo's prolific writing.

Quotes About Culture

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

"There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher."

Quotes About Family Life

"A great artist is a great man in a great child."

"A mother's arms are made of tenderness, and children sleep soundly in them."

"Doing nothing is happiness for children and misery for old men."

"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age."

"When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.

Quotes About Hope

"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her. Still, she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings."

"Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise."

"Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man."

"The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal."

Quotes About Ideas and Intelligence

"A study can be made against invasion by an army. No stand can be made against invasion by an idea."

"An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise."

"He who opens a school door closes a prison."

"If you wish to understand what revolution is, call it progress, and if you wish to understand what progress is, call it tomorrow."

"Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other."

"Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come."

"The human soul has still greater need of the ideal than of the real. It is by the real that we exist. It is by the ideal that we love."

"The omnipotence of evil has never resulted in anything but fruitless efforts. Our thoughts always escape from whoever tries to smother them."

"To learn to read is to light a fire. Every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."

"When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right."

Quotes About Life Lessons

"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when whatever be the attitude of the body; the soul is on its knees."

"Emergencies have always been necessary to progress. It was darkness which produced the lamp. It was fog that produced the compass. It was hunger that drove us to exploration. And it took a depression to teach us the real value of a job."

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace."

"He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign."

"Initiative is doing the right thing without being told."

"It is by suffering that human beings become angels."

"It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live."

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."

"Not being heard is no reason for silence."

"Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time."

"The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness."

"There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering—a hell of boredom."

"To put everything in balance is good. To put everything in harmony is better."

"What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain."

Quotes About Love

"The greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves."

"Life is the flower for which love is the honey."

"Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise."

"Our mind is enriched by what we receive, our heart by what we give."

"The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness."

"The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories that it has come to be disbelieved. Few people daresay nowadays that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet that is the way love begins, and only that way."

"To love another person is to see the face of God."

"To love beauty is to see light."

"What is love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes, and the stars through his soul."