Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
Madame de Staël
  Comprendre c’est pardonner—To understand is to pardon.  1
  Courage of soul is necessary for the triumphs of genius.  2
  Enthusiasm gives life to what is invisible, and interest to what has no immediate action on our comfort in this world.  3
  Faith is generally strongest in those whose character may be called weakest.  4
  Gaiety pleases more when we are assured that it does not cover carelessness.  5
  Good taste cannot supply the place of genius in literature, for the best proof of taste, when there is no genius, would be not to write at all.  6
  If it were not for respect to human opinions, I would not open my window to see the Bay of Naples for the first time, whilst I would go five hundred leagues to talk with a man of genius whom I had not seen.  7
  La musique seule est d’une noble inutilité, et c’est pour cela qu’elle nous émeut si profondément; plus elle est loin de tout but, plus elle se rapproche de cette source intime de nos pensées que l’application à un objet quelconque reserve dans son cours—Music alone is nobly non-utilitarian, and that is why it moves us so profoundly; the further it is removed from serving any purpose, the nearer it approaches that inner spring of our thoughts which the application to any object whatever hampers in its course.  8
  Love, which is only an episode in the life of a man, is the entire history of a woman’s life.  9
  Men err from selfishness, women because they are weak.  10
  Nothing in love can be premeditated; it is as a power divine, that thinks and feels within us, unswathed by our control.  11
  Providence has given to the French the empire of the land; to the English, that of the sea; to the Germans, that of—the air.  12
  Purity of mind and conduct is the first glory of a woman.  13
  Religion is nothing if it is not everything; if existence is not filled with it.  14
  Robespierre à pied et à cheval—Robespierre on foot and on horseback, i.e., Robespierre and Napoleon.  15
  Society develops wit, but contemplation alone forms genius.  16
  Superstition is related to this life, religion to the next; superstition allies itself to fatality, religion to virtue; it is by the vitality of earthly desires we become superstitious, and by the sacrifice of these desires that we become religious.  17
  The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.  18
  We must not judge of despots by the temporary successes which the possession of power enabled them to achieve, but by the state in which they leave their country at their death or at their fall.  19
  Whatever is natural admits of variety.  20
  When a noble life has prepared old age, it is not the decline that it recalls, but the first days of immortality.  21
  When we destroy an old prejudice, we have need of a new virtue.  22

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