Marguerite Yourcenar Quotes

The written word has taught me to listen to the human voice much as the great unchanging statues have taught me to appreciate bodily motions.

In the evenings the art of building gave way to that of music which is architecture too though invisible.

The memory of most men is an abandoned cemetery where lie unsung and unhonored the dead whom they have ceased to cherish. Any lasting grief is reproof to their neglect.

One reads thousands of books of poets modern and ancient as one meets thousands of people. What remains of it all is hard to tell.

Laws change more slowly than custom and though dangerous when they fall behind the times are more dangerous still when they presume to anticipate custom.

Any truth creates a scandal.

Any happiness is a masterpiece.

Men who care passionately for women attach themselves at least as much to the temple and to the accessories of the cult as to their goddess herself.

There are books which one should not attempt before having passed the age of forty.

Books are not life only its ashes.

I believe that friendship like love of which it is a particular kind requires nearly as much art as a successful choreography.

age means nothing. If anything I feel that I'm still a child: eternity and childhood are my ages.

It is not difficult to nourish admirable thoughts when the stars are present.

Love is a punishment. We are punished for not having been strong enough to remain alone.

La amistad es ante todo certidumbre y eso es lo que la diferencia del amor

Morals are a matter of private agreement; decency is of public concern.

The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon oneself; my first homelands have been books and to a lesser degree schools.

Our true birthplace is that in which we cast for the first time an intelligent eye on ourselves. My first homelands were my books.

nothing is slower than the true birth of a man

The world is big "¦ May it please the One who perchance is to expand the human heart to life's full measure.

But happiness is brittle and if men and circumstances don't destroy it it is threatened by ghosts.

This city belongs to ghosts to murderers to sleepwalkers. Where are you in what bed in what dream?

A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer on the other hand sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.

I have come to think that great men are characterized precisely by the extreme position which they take and that their heroism consists in holding to that extremity throughout their lives.

Leaving behind books is even more beautiful "? there are far too many children.

Everything is too far away in the past or mysteriously too close.

To stay in one place and watch the seasons come and go is tanatmount to constant travel: One is traveling with the earth.

On the whole however it is only out of pride or gross ignorance or cowardice that we refuse to see in the present the lineaments of times to come.

A touch of madness is I think almost always necessary for constructing a destiny.

The founding of libraries was like constructing more public granaries amassing reserves against a spiritual winter which by certain signs in spite of myself I see ahead"¦

For me a poet is someone who is 'in contact.' Someone through whom a current is passing.

Cruelty is the luxury of those who have nothing to do like drugs or racing stables.

Our great mistake is to try to exact from each person virtues which he does not possess and to neglect the cultivation of those which he has.

Every hour has its immediate duty its special injunction which dominates all others ...

I am not sure that the discovery of love is necessarily more exquisite than the discovery of poetry.

the press is too often a distorting mirror which deforms the people and events it represents making them seem bigger or smaller than they really are.

If you love life you also love the past because it is the present as it has survived in memory." Translation by David Downie

I think still that someone wiser than I might well have remained happy till his death.

A being afire with life cannot foresee death; in fact by each of his deeds he denies that death exists.

I have never seasoned a truth with the sauce of a lie in order to digest it more easily

No one understands eternity. One simply recognizes its existence.

Every invalid is a prisoner.

All happiness is a form of innocence.

The mask given time comes to be the face itself

We say: mad with joy. We should say: wise with grief.

Of all our games love's play is the only one which threatens to unsettle the soul...

All happiness is a work of art: the smallest error falsifies it the slightest hesitation alters it the least heaviness spoils it the slightest stupidity brutalizes it.

I knew that good like bad becomes a routine that the temporary tends to endure that what is external permeates to the inside and that the mask given time comes to be the face itself.

[On travel:] Who would be so besotted as to die without having made at least the round of this his prison?

Everything turns out to be valuable that one does for one's self without thought of profit.

Je sais que je ne sais pas ce que je ne sais pas.

Translating is writing.

La verdad tiene secretos para introducirse en un alma que ya no se atrinchera contra ella