Amazing Honore de Balzac Quotes that will make you think

Here is the Amazing collection from the 18th Century French Novelist on Love and Relationships, Parenting, Woman and Power.

Love & Relationship

Women are tenacious, and all of them should be tenacious of respect; without esteem they cannot exist; esteem is the first demand that they make of love.

Wisdom is that apprehension of heavenly things to which the spirit rises through love.

When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even our virtues.

Unintelligent persons are like weeds that thrive in good ground; they love to be amused in proportion to the degree in which they weary themselves.

Lovers have a way of using this word, nothing, which implies exactly the opposite.

Many men are deeply moved by the mere semblance of suffering in a woman; they take the look of pain for a sign of constancy or of love.

Love or hatred must constantly increase between two persons who are always together; every moment fresh reasons are found for loving or hating better.

Love may be or it may not, but where it is, it ought to reveal itself in its immensity.

Love is the poetry of the senses.

Love is a game in which one always cheats.

Love has its own instinct, finding the way to the heart, as the feeblest insect finds the way to its flower, with a will which nothing can dismay nor turn aside.

It is easier to be a lover than a husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time.

It is as absurd to say that a man can’t love one woman all the time as it is to say that a violinist needs several violins to play the same piece of music.

First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint the second time.

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.

Between the daylight gambler and the player at night there is the same difference that lies between a careless husband and the lover swooning under his lady’s window.

A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.

A lover always thinks of his mistress first and himself second; with a husband it runs the other way.

True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.

The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.

The more one judges, the less one loves.

The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband.

The fact is that love is of two kinds, one which commands, and one which obeys. The two are quite distinct, and the passion to which the one gives rise is not the passion of the other.

A young bride is like a plucked flower; but a guilty wife is like a flower that had been walked over.

Nobody loves a woman because she is handsome or ugly, stupid or intelligent. We love because we love.

A good husband is never the first to go to sleep at night or the last to awake in the morning.

The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.


The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.

The art of motherhood involves much silent, unobtrusive self-denial, an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute.

Our most bitter enemies are our own kith and kin. Kings have no brothers, no sons, no mother!

It is only in the act of nursing that a woman realizes her motherhood in visible and tangible fashion; it is a joy of every moment.

A mother’s life, you see, is one long succession of dramas, now soft and tender, now terrible. Not an hour but has its joys and fears.

A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.

A mother who is really a mother is never free.

It would be curious to know what leads a man to become a stationer rather than a baker, when he is no longer compelled, as among the Egyptians, to succeed to his father’s craft.


The duration of passion is proportionate with the original resistance of the woman.

No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman.

Old maids, having never bent their temper or their lives to other lives and other tempers, as woman’s destiny requires, have for the most part a mania for making everything about them bend to them.

Children, dear and loving children, can alone console a woman for the loss of her beauty.

At fifteen, beauty and talent do not exist; there can only be promise of the coming woman.

A man is a poor creature compared to a woman.

A husband who submits to his wife’s yoke is justly held an object of ridicule. A woman’s influence ought to be entirely concealed.


There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.

Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.

Power is action; the electoral principle is discussion. No political action is possible when discussion is permanently established.

Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power on earth can ever turn it into a fact.

Short Quotes

What is art? Nature concentrated.

When law becomes despotic, morals are relaxed, and vice versa.

Virtue, perhaps, is nothing more than politeness of soul.

Towns find it as hard as houses of business to rise again from ruin.

To those who have exhausted politics, nothing remains but abstract thought.

Those who spend too fast never grow rich.

There is something great and terrible about suicide.

The habits of life form the soul, and the soul forms the countenance.

Study lends a kind of enchantment to all our surroundings.

Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.

The country is provincial; it becomes ridiculous when it tries to ape Paris.

Modesty is the conscience of the body.

Men die in despair, while spirits die in ecstasy.

Finance, like time, devours its own children.

Excess of joy is harder to bear than any amount of sorrow.

Death unites as well as separates; it silences all paltry feeling.

Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness.

Conscience is our unerring judge until we finally stifle it.

Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God.

Chance, my dear, is the sovereign deity in child-bearing.

Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.

Marriage must incessantly contend with a monster that devours everything: familiarity.

It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.

In diving to the bottom of pleasure we bring up more gravel than pearls.

If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye.

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence.

A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity.

I do not regard a broker as a member of the human race.

Manners are the hypocrisy of a nation.

Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.

One should believe in marriage as in the immortality of the soul.


When Religion and Royalty are swept away, the people will attack the great, and after the great, they will fall upon the rich.

What is a child, monsieur, but the image of two beings, the fruit of two sentiments spontaneously blended?

We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never as bad off or as happy as we say we are.

Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn’t, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence.

To kill a relative of whom you are tired is something. But to inherit his property afterwards, that is genuine pleasure.

Thought is a key to all treasures; the miser’s gains are ours without his cares. Thus I have soared above this world, where my enjoyment have been intellectual joys.

There are some women whose pregnancy would make some sly bachelor smile.

The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition.

The most virtuous women have something within them, something that is never chaste.

The man whose action habitually bears the stamp of his mind is a genius, but the greatest genius is not always equal to himself, or he would cease to be human.

The life of a man who deliberately runs through his fortune often becomes a business speculation; his friends, his pleasures, patrons, and acquaintances are his capital.

Suicide, moreover, was at the time in vogue in Paris: what more suitable key to the mystery of life for a skeptical society?

Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue.

Small natures require despotism to exercise their sinews, as great souls thirst for equality to give play to their heart.

Political liberty, the peace of a nation, and science itself are gifts for which Fate demands a heavy tax in blood!

Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.

Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other.

Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself.

It is the mark of a great man that he puts to flight all ordinary calculations. He is at once sublime and touching, childlike and of the race of giants.

If those who are the enemies of innocent amusements had the direction of the world, they would take away the spring, and youth, the former from the year, the latter from human life.

Ideas devour the ages as men are devoured by their passions. When man is cured, human nature will cure itself perhaps.

For passion, be it observed, brings insight with it; it can give a sort of intelligence to simpletons, fools, and idiots, especially during youth.

But reason always cuts a poor figure beside sentiment; the one being essentially restricted, like everything that is positive, while the other is infinite.

All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.

A grocer is attracted to his business by a magnetic force as great as the repulsion which renders it odious to artists.

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