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Alfred de Vigny

  • French poet
  • Born March 27, 1797
  • Died September 17, 1863

Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny (27 March 1797 – 17 September 1863) was a French poet and early leader of French Romanticism. He also produced novels, plays, and translations of Shakespeare.


On the day when man told the story of his life to man, history was born.




Do you know that charming part of our country which has been called the garden of France - that spot where, amid verdant plains watered by wide streams, one inhales the purest air of heaven?




Of what use were the arts if they were only the reproduction and the imitation of life?




We shall find in our troubled hearts, where discord reigns, two needs which seem at variance, but which merge, as I think, in a common source - the love of the true, and the love of the fabulous.




One might almost reckon mathematically that, having undergone the double composition of public opinion and of the author, their history reaches us at third hand and is thus separated by two stages from the original fact.




We live in an age of universal investigation, and of exploration of the sources of all movements.




Of what use is the memory of facts, if not to serve as an example of good or of evil?




The human mind, I believe, cares for the True only in the general character of an epoch.




I think, then, that man, after having satisfied his first longing for facts, wanted something fuller - some grouping, some adaptation to his capacity and experience, of the links of this vast chain of events which his sight could not take in.




But it is the province of religion, of philosophy, of pure poetry only, to go beyond life, beyond time, into eternity.




What is the use of theorizing as to wherein lies the charm that moves us?




Do you not see with your own eyes the chrysalis fact assume by degrees the wings of fiction?




France, for example, loves at the same time history and the drama, because the one explores the vast destinies of humanity, and the other the individual lot of man.




The study of social progress is today not less needed in literature than is the analysis of the human heart.




The acts of the human race on the world's stage have doubtless a coherent unity, but the meaning of the vast tragedy enacted will be visible only to the eye of God, until the end, which will reveal it perhaps to the last man.




Of late years (perhaps as a result of our political changes) art has borrowed from history more than ever.




No writer, no matter how gifted, immortalizes himself unless he has crystallized into expressive and original phrase the eternal sentiments and yearnings of the human heart.




What it values most of all is the sum total of events and the advance of civilization, which carries individuals along with it; but, indifferent to details, it cares less to have them real than noble or, rather, grand and complete.




Just as we descend into our consciences to judge of actions which our minds can not weigh, can we not also search in ourselves for the feeling which gives birth to forms of thought, always vague and cloudy?




Art ought never to be considered except in its relations with its ideal beauty.




From this, without doubt, sprang the fable. Man created it thus, because it was not given him to see more than himself and nature, which surrounds him; but he created it true with a truth all its own.



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