Alphonse de Lamartine

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To love for the sake of being loved is human, but to love for the sake of loving is angelic.

Alphonse Marie Louise Prat de Lamartine (Alphonse-Marie-Louis de Prat de Lamartine) (October 21, 1790February 28, 1869) was a French writer, poet, and politician.


  • ‎If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls. Philosopher, Orator, Apostle, Legislator, Conqueror of Ideas, Restorer of Rational beliefs... The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire — that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?
    • Histoire de la Turquie (1854).
  • Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.
    • "L'Isolement", Méditations Poétiques (1820).
  • O time, arrest your flight! and you, propitious hours, arrest your course! Let us savor the fleeting delights of our most beautiful days!
    • The Lake, st. 6 (1820).
  • I say to this night: "Pass more slowly"; and the dawn will come to dispel the night.
    • The Lake, st. 8 (1820).
  • Let us love the passing hour, let us hurry up and enjoy our time.
    • The Lake, st. 9 (1820).
  • Love alone was left, as a great image of a dream that was erased.
    • The Valley, st. 9 (1820).
  • Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires, man is a fallen god who remembers the heavens.
    • Méditations Poétiques, Sermon 2 (1820).
  • What is our life but a succession of preludes to that unknown song whose first solemn note is sounded by death?
    • Méditations Poétiques, Second series, Sermon 15 (1820).
  • Experience is the only prophesy of wise men.
    • Speech at Mâcon (1847).
  • To love for the sake of being loved is human, but to love for the sake of loving is angelic.
    • Graziella, Pt. IV, ch. 5 (1849).
  • The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs.
    • From Count d'Orsay's Letter to John Forster (1850).
  • Utopias are often just premature truths.
    • Histoire des Girondins, in Œuvres Completes (Paris: Chez l'auteur [self published], 1861), 11:32; as reported in Daniel Sipe Text, Image, and the Problem with Perfection in Nineteenth-Century France (Ashgate Publishing, 2013).

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