Honoré de Balzac Quotes

Most popular Honoré de Balzac Quotes

Thinking is seeing.


Love has its instinct.
— Honoré de Balzac
Love is the poetry of the senses.
— Honoré de Balzac


I am a galley slave to pen and ink.
— Honoré de Balzac


Manners are the hypocrisy of a nation.


What is Art ... but Nature concentrated?


Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
— Honoré de Balzac

wealth cynical fortune

A mother who is really a mother is never free.
— Honoré de Balzac

mother parenting

Bureaucracy, a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.


We cannot confront solitude without moral resources.
— Honoré de Balzac


I do not regard a [stock] broker as a member of the human race.
— Honoré de Balzac

financial industry

There is no such thing as a great talent without great willpower.
— Honoré de Balzac
There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.
— Honoré de Balzac


Virtue is, perhaps, no more than a kind of politeness of the soul.


A man should believe in marriage as in the immortality of the soul.
— Honoré de Balzac
Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.


An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man's entire existence.
— Honoré de Balzac


Men are like that—they can resist sound argument and yield to a glance.
In diving to the bottom of pleasures we bring up more gravel than pearls.
— Honoré de Balzac
In music, instruments perform the functions of the colors employed in painting.

musical instruments

Marriage must constantly fight against a monster which devours everything: routine.

marriage routine

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


Emulation admires and strives to imitate great actions; envy is only moved to malice.


A man cannot marry before he has studied anatomy and has dissected at least one woman.


Marriage must incessantly contend with a monster that devours everything: familiarity.
— Honoré de Balzac


Between you and me, I am not deep, but I am very wide, and it takes time to walk round me.
— Honoré de Balzac
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
— Honoré de Balzac


To feel, to love, to suffer, to devote herself will always be the text of the life of a woman.
— Honoré de Balzac
First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint the second time.
— Honoré de Balzac
Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn't, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence.


The more he plumbed the depths of sensual pleasure, the more he emerged with grit rather than pearls.


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

dealing with people be yourself

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

friendship cynical

Music appeals to the heart, whereas writing is addressed to the intellect; it communicates ideas directly, like perfume.


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.


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.

men and women suffering

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.
— Honoré de Balzac

women love

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 have a ready wit the whole day long than to say a good thing occasionally.


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.
— Honoré de Balzac
I tell you, my friend, all happiness depends on courage and work.  I have had many periods of wretchedness, but with energy, and above all with illusions, I pulled through them all.  That is why I still hope, and hope much.


Woman is a delicious instrument of pleasure, but it is necessary to know its quivering strings, study the pose of it, its timid keyboard, the changing and capricious fingering.  How many orangs—men, I mean, marry without knowing what a woman is!


If the artist does not fling himself, without reflecting, into his work...as the soldier flings himself into the enemy's trenches, and if, once in this crater, he does not work like a miner...he is simply looking on at the suicide of his own talent.

talent artists

Coffee falls into the your stomach, and straightaway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the battlefield, and the battle takes place.  Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensign to the wind.


Love is like some fresh spring that leaves its cresses, its gravel bed, and flowers to become first a stream and then a river, changing its aspect and its nature as it flows to plunge itself in some boundless ocean, where restricted natures only find monotony, but where great souls are engulfed in endless contemplation.