174+ Best Victor Hugo Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Profoundly inspirational Victor Hugo quotes will brighten up your day and make you feel ready to take on anything.

Famous Victor Hugo Quotes

People do not lack strength; they lack will. – Victor Hugo

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words. – Victor Hugo

Life is the flower for which love is the honey. – Victor Hugo

No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo

The memory of an absent person shines in the deepest recesses of the heart, shining the more brightly the more wholly its object has vanished: a light on the horizon of the despairing, darkened spirit; a star gleaming in our inward night. – Victor Hugo

A translation in verse… seems to me something absurd, impossible. – Victor Hugo

God has set his intentions in the flowers, in the dawn, in the spring, it is his will that we should love. – Victor Hugo

Perseverance, secret of all triumphs. – Victor Hugo

Humanity is our common lot. All men are made of the same clay. There is no difference, at least here on Earth, in the fate assigned to us. We come of the same void, inhabit the same flesh, are dissolved in the same ashes. But ignorance infecting the human substance turns it black, and that incurable blackness, gaining possession of the soul, becomes Evil. – Victor Hugo

England has two books, the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England. – Victor Hugo

Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God. – Victor Hugo

A house is built of logs and stone, of tiles and posts and piers; a home is built of loving deeds that stand a thousand years. – Victor Hugo

He who opens a school door, closes a prison. – Victor Hugo

I don’t mind what Congress does, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses. – Victor Hugo

I had a dream my life would be different from this hell I am living, so different from what it seemed. Now life has killed the dream I dreamed. – Victor Hugo

I am not in the world to care for my life, but for souls. – Victor Hugo

Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life. – Victor Hugo

Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness. – Victor Hugo

Being good is easy, what is difficult is being just. – Victor Hugo

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots. – Victor Hugo

Go out in the world and work like money doesn’t matter, sing as if no one is listening, love as if you have never been hurt, and dance as if no one is watching. – Victor Hugo

If you wish to understand what Revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress is, call it Tomorrow. – Victor Hugo

As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled. – Victor Hugo

All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise. – Victor Hugo

One can resist the invasion of an army but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas. – Victor Hugo

There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher. – Victor Hugo

Men hate those to whom they have to lie. – Victor Hugo

Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection. – Victor Hugo

Puns are the droppings of soaring wits. – Victor Hugo

Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant. – Victor Hugo

He who is not master of his own thoughts is not accountable for his own deeds. – Victor Hugo

Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars. – Victor Hugo

Wisdom is a sacred communion. – Victor Hugo

Not seeing people allows you to think of them as perfect in all kinds of ways. – Victor Hugo

Caution is the eldest child of wisdom. – Victor Hugo

A bird sings, a child prattles, but it is the same hymn; hymn indistinct, inarticulate, but full of profound meaning. – Victor Hugo

The smaller it is the heart, more hatred houses. – Victor Hugo

I have been loving you a little more every minute since this morning. – Victor Hugo

Knowledge is a weight added to conscience. – Victor Hugo

Almost all our desires, when examined, contain something too shameful to reveal. – Victor Hugo

Superstition, bigotry and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life; they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed. – Victor Hugo

Happiness wishes everybody happy. – Victor Hugo

I represent a party which does not yet exist: the party Revolution-Civilization. This party will make the twentieth century. There will issue from it first the United States of Europe, then the United States of the World. – Victor Hugo

The cruel of heart have their own black happiness. – Victor Hugo

Where there is no more hope, song remains. – Victor Hugo

Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, not the price. – Victor Hugo

A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. – Victor Hugo

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

Woe, alas, to those who have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will rob them of everything. Try to love souls, you will find them again. – Victor Hugo

Go to sleep in peace. God is awake. – Victor Hugo

Morality is truth in full bloom. – Victor Hugo

The flesh is the upper surface of the unknown. – Victor Hugo

Conscience is God present in man. – Victor Hugo

Let us sacrifice one day to gain perhaps a whole life. – Victor Hugo

Man’s greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes – obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes. – Victor Hugo

To know, to think, to dream. That is everything. – Victor Hugo

God created the flirt as soon as he made the fool. – Victor Hugo

Monastic incarceration is castration. – Victor Hugo

Doing nothing is happiness for children and misery for old men. – Victor Hugo

When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes. – Victor Hugo

Ecclesiastes names thee Almighty, the Maccabees name thee Creator, the Epistle to the Ephesians names thee Liberty, Baruch names thee Immensity, the Psalms name thee Wisdom and Truth, John names thee Light, the Book of Kings names thee Lord, Exodus names thee Providence, Leviticus Sanctity, Esdras Justice, creation names thee God, man names thee Father; but Solomon names thee Compassion, which is the most beautiful of all thy names. – Victor Hugo

Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls. – Victor Hugo

Joy’s smile is much closer to tears than laughter. – Victor Hugo

A writer is a world trapped in a person. – Victor Hugo

Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved. – Victor Hugo

He loved books; books are cold but safe friends. – Victor Hugo

Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education. – Victor Hugo

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. – Victor Hugo

If you are leaving that sorrowful place with hate and anger against men, you are worthy of compassion; if you leave it with good will, gentleness and peace, you are better than any of us. – Victor Hugo

Art moves. Hence its civilizing power. – Victor Hugo

I would rather be the head of a fly than the tail of a lion. – Victor Hugo

Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves. – Victor Hugo

In joined hands there is still some token of hope, in the clenched fist none. – Victor Hugo

My day’s work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley. – Victor Hugo

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. – Victor Hugo

As with stomachs, we should pity minds that do not eat. – Victor Hugo

The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring. – Victor Hugo

Crime is redeemed by remorse, but not by a blow of the axe or slipknot. Blood has to be washed by tears but not by blood. – Victor Hugo

For dogs we kings should have lions, and for cats, tigers. The great benefits a crown. – Victor Hugo

I didn’t believe it could be so monstrous. It’s wrong to be so absorbed in divine law as not to perceive human law. Death belongs to God alone. By what right do men tough that unknown thing? – Victor Hugo

I have examined the death penalty under each of its two aspects: as a direct action, and as an indirect one. What does it come down to? Nothing but something horrible and useless, nothing but a way of shedding blood that is called a crime when an individual commits it, but is sadly called justice when society brings it about. Make no mistake, you lawmakers and judges, in the eyes of God as in those of conscience, what is a crime when individuals do it is no less an offense when society commits the deed. – Victor Hugo

It is not so easy to keep silent when the silence is a lie. – Victor Hugo

I dislike wealth and prosperity, especially that of other men. – Victor Hugo

To love another person is to see the face of God. – Victor Hugo

Look not at the face, young girl, look at the heart. The heart of a handsome young man is often deformed. There are hearts in which love does not keep. Young girl, the pine is not beautiful; it is not beautiful like the poplar, but it keeps its foliage in winter. – Victor Hugo

Nature has made a pebble and a female. The lapidary makes the diamond, and the lover makes the woman. – Victor Hugo

The most beautiful of altars, he said, is the soul of an unhappy creature consoled and thankfing God. – Victor Hugo

Often the losing of a battle leads to the winning of progress. Less glory but greater liberty: the drum is silent and the voices of reason can be heard. – Victor Hugo

It is not enough to be happy, one must be content. – Victor Hugo

A criminal remains a criminal whether he uses a convict’s suit or a monarch’s crown. – Victor Hugo

Idleness is a mother. She has a son, robbery, and a daughter, hunger. – Victor Hugo

Diamonds are to be found only in the darkness of the earth, and truth in the darkness of the mind. – Victor Hugo

Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings. – Victor Hugo

It is by suffering that human beings become angels. – Victor Hugo

If you don’t build castles in the air you won’t build anything on the ground. – Victor Hugo

Do not let it be your aim to be something, but to be someone. – Victor Hugo

The aim of art is almost divine: to bring to life again if it is writing history, to create if it is writing poetry. – Victor Hugo

Stupidity talks, vanity acts. – Victor Hugo

A great artist is a great man in a great child. – Victor Hugo

They say love is blindness of heart; I say not to love is blindness. – Victor Hugo

Inspiration and genius -one and the same. – Victor Hugo

The soul has greater need of the ideal than of the real – Victor Hugo

Our mind is enriched by what we receive, our heart by what we give. – Victor Hugo

To think is of itself to be useful; it is always and in all cases a striving toward God. – Victor Hugo

The left-handed are precious; they take places which are inconvenient for the rest. – Victor Hugo

Every body drags its shadow, and every mind its doubt. – Victor Hugo

A sewer is a cynic. It tells All. – Victor Hugo

When the heart is dry the eye is dry. – Victor Hugo

First problem. To produce wealth. Second problem. To distribute it. – Victor Hugo

A man without a woman is like a pistol without a trigger; it is the woman who makes the man go off. – Victor Hugo

There is nothing like a dream to create the future. – Victor Hugo

Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket. – Victor Hugo

To love beauty is to see light. – Victor Hugo

The owl goes not into the nest of the lark. – Victor Hugo

I think, therefore I doubt. – Victor Hugo

If I were Jesus Christ, I would save Judas. – Victor Hugo

In the animal world no creature born to be a dove turns into a scavenger. This happens only among men. – Victor Hugo

What’s our baggage? Only vows, Happiness, and all our care, And the flower that sweetly shows Nestling lightly in your hair. – Victor Hugo

When you get an idea into your head you find it in everything. – Victor Hugo

Initiative is doing the right thing without being told. – Victor Hugo

If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned! – Victor Hugo

No one knows like a woman how to say things which are at once gentle and deep. – Victor Hugo

One can no more keep the mind from returning to an idea than the sea from returning to a shore. For a sailor, this is called the tide; in the case of the guilty it is called remorse. God stirs up the soul as well as the ocean. – Victor Hugo

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. – Victor Hugo

Revolutions spring not from accident, but from necessity. A revolution is a return from the factitious to the real. It takes place because it must. – Victor Hugo

The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. – Victor Hugo

Men like me are impossible until the day when they become necessary. – Victor Hugo

The delight we inspire in others has this enchanting peculiarity that, far from being diminished like every other reflection, it returns to us more radiant than ever. – Victor Hugo

The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them. – Victor Hugo

Reaction – a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on. – Victor Hugo

A war between Europeans is a civil war. – Victor Hugo

Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery. – Victor Hugo

When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide. – Victor Hugo

The wise man does not grow old, but ripens. – Victor Hugo

Prayer is an august avowal of ignorance. – Victor Hugo

Separated lovers cheat absence by a thousand fancies which have their own reality. They are prevented from seeing one another and they cannot write; nevertheless they find countless mysterious ways of corresponding, by sending each other the song of birds, the scent of flowers, the laughter of children. – Victor Hugo

Wisdom and eloquence are not always united. – Victor Hugo

So your desire is to do nothing? Well, you shall not have a week, a day, an hour, free from oppression. You shall not be able to lift anything without agony. Every passing minute will make your muscles crack. What is feather to others will be a rock to you. The simplest things will become difficult. Life will become monstrous about you. To come, to go, to breathe, will be so many terrible tasks for you. Your lungs will feel like a hundred-pound weight. – Victor Hugo

He does not weep who does not see. – Victor Hugo

I like the laughter that opens the lips and the heart, shows at the same time the pearls and the soul. – Victor Hugo

The thirst for the Infinite proves infinity. – Victor Hugo

A fixed idea ends in madness or heroism. – Victor Hugo

What makes night within us may leave stars. – Victor Hugo

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. – Victor Hugo

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me… For half a century I have been writing thoughts in prose, verse, history, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and song. I have tried them all, but I feel I have not said a thousandth part of that which is within me. When I go down to the grave, I can say I have finished my day’s work, but I cannot say I have finished my life’s work. – Victor Hugo

A language does not become fixed. The human intellect is always on the march, or, if you prefer, in movement, and languages with it. – Victor Hugo

Those who live are those who fight. – Victor Hugo

Not being heard is no reason for silence. – Victor Hugo

Nihilism has no substance. There is no such thing as nothingness, and zero does not exist. Everything is something. Nothing is nothing. – Victor Hugo

Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions – Victor Hugo

If you are stone, be magnetic; if a plant, be sensitive; but if you are human be love. – Victor Hugo

It is from books that wise men derive consolation in the troubles of life. – Victor Hugo

There is a secret drawer in every woman’s heart. – Victor Hugo

To sum up all, let it be known that science and religion are two identical words. The learned do not suspect this, no more do the religious. These two words express the two sides of the same fact, which is the infinite. Religion-Science, this is the future of the human mind. – Victor Hugo

What was more needed by this old man who divided the leisure hours of his life, where he had so little leisure, between gardening in the daytime, and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background, enough to enable him to adore God in his most beautiful as well as in his most sublime works? Indeed, is not that all, and what more can be desired? A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect upon. At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon: a few flowers on the earth, and all the stars in the sky. – Victor Hugo

Freedom begins where it ends ignorance. – Victor Hugo

When liberty returns, I will return. – Victor Hugo

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

The first symptom of true love in a man is timidity, in a young woman, boldness. This is surprising, and yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending to approach each other and assuming each the other’s qualities. – Victor Hugo

To crush out fanaticism and revere the infinite, such is the law. Let us not confine ourselves to falling prostrate beneath the tree of creation and contemplating its vast ramifications full of stars. We have a duty to perform, to cultivate the human soul, to defend mystery against miracle, to adore the incomprehensible and to reject the absurd; to admit nothing that is inexplicable excepting what is necessary, to purify faith and obliterate superstition from the face of religion, to remove the vermin from the garden of God. – Victor Hugo

The greatest blunders, like the thickest ropes, are often compounded of a multitude of strands. Take the rope apart, separate it into the small threads that compose it, and you can break them one by one. You think, That is all there was! But twist them all together and you have something tremendous. – Victor Hugo

The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate. – Victor Hugo

A library implies an act of faith which generations, still in darkness hid, sign in their night in witness of the dawn. – Victor Hugo

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. – Victor Hugo

Wherever the Turkish hoof trods, no grass grows. – Victor Hugo

Profound hearts, wise minds, take life as God makes it; it is a long trial, and unintelligible preparation for the unknown destiny. – Victor Hugo

You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it. – Victor Hugo

What a gloomy thing, not to know the address of one’s soul. – Victor Hugo

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

Indigestion is charged by God with enforcing morality on the stomach. – Victor Hugo

No matter who you are, the thought of so much suffering and degradation must cause you to shudder at the sight of a veil or cassock, those two shrouds of human invention. – Victor Hugo

No one can keep a secret better than a child. – Victor Hugo

The clouds, – the only birds that never sleep. – Victor Hugo

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