As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.
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.
I consider it useless and tedious to represent what exists, because nothing that exists satisfies me. Nature is ugly, and I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial.
Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.
This life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed with a desire to change his bed.
Always be a poet, even in prose.
France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.
What is art? Prostitution.
One must astonish the bourgeois.
Angel of health, did ever you know pain?
We are all born marked for evil.
The priest is an immense being because he makes the crowd believe astonishing things.
A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else.
All fashions are charming, or rather relatively charming, each one being a new striving, more or less well conceived, after beauty, an approximate statement of an ideal, the desire for which constantly teases the unsatisfied human mind.
I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.
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.
Any healthy man can go without food for two days - but not without poetry.
Music fathoms the sky.
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.
The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, and which life reveals, is the most living proof of our immortality.
In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man among men.
For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.
What have you for me this morning?
Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.
Genius is childhood recalled at will.
I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.
Inspiration comes of working every day.
Who would dare assign to art the sterile function of imitating nature?
As the end of the century approaches, all our culture is like flies at the beginning of winter. Having lost their agility, dreamy and demented, they turn slowly about the window in the first icy mists of morning, . . . then they fall down the curtains.
The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself and others, as he wishes.
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William Wordsworth - William Butler Yeats - Robert Frost - Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Robert Burns - Ovid - Edward Young - Edmund Spenser - Aristophanes - Allan Cunningham