Thursday, April 06, 2006

In the Mood for Victor Hugo

My friend Tin shared in her blog her fascination with Victor Hugo which she has just "rediscovered." This brought back powerful memories of my high school days when we had a literature teacher who was a hugeVictor Hugo fan. She made us read Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. I had to recite Victor Hugo's classic poem Man and Woman in some contest (and won, *smile*). Just to provide a brief respite from the usual blog topics, here is that poem, which I know will get some feminists worked up; let's just remember this was written ages ago and reflected an entirely different time and setting. Read it and be swept away by the sheer profundity of Victor Hugo's words:

Man and Woman
By Victor Hugo

Man is the most elevated of creatures, Woman the most sublime of ideals.
God made for man a throne; for woman an altar.
The throne exalts, the altar sanctifies.

Man is the brain, Woman, the heart.
The brain creates light, the heart, love.
Light engenders, love resurrects.

Because of reason Man is strong, Because of tears Woman is invincible.
Reason is convincing, tears, moving.

Man is capable of all heroism, Woman of all martyrdom.
Heroism ennobles, martyrdom sublimates.

Man has supremacy, Woman, preference.
Supremacy is strength, preference is the right.

Man is a genius, Woman, an angel.
Genius is immeasurable, the angel indefinable.

The aspiration of man is supreme glory,The aspiration of woman is extreme virtue.
Glory creates all that is great; virtue, all that is divine.

Man is a code, Woman a gospel.
A code corrects; the gospel perfects.

Man thinks, Woman dreams.
To think is to have a worm in the brain, to dream is to have a halo on the brow.

Man is an ocean, Woman a lake.
The ocean has the adorning pearl, the lake, dazzling poetry.

Man is the flying eagle, Woman, the singing nightingale.
To fly is to conquer space. To sing is to conquer the soul.

Man is a temple, Woman a shrine.
Before the temple we discover ourselves, before the shrine we kneel.

In short, man is found where earth finishes, woman where heaven begins.

Below are five Victor Hugo quotes that I like:

1. “The first symptom of love in a young man is shyness; the first symptom in a woman, it’s boldness.”

2. “Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”

3. “People do not lack strength; they lack will.”

4. “To love another person is to see the face of God”

5. “Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murders. The great dangers are within us. Why worry about what threatens our heads or purses? Let us think instead of what threatens our souls.”

2 comments:

tintin said...

Here's another quote from Les Miserables that I like:

In vain we chisel, as best we can, the mysterious book of which our life is made, the black vein of destiny reappears continually.

Hasibur Rahman said...

Supper quotes collection. Personally I like Victor Hugo quotes. I have compiles some quotes from you. Thanks a lot.