"Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue.Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear."
"A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself; and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man's heart. The season, the scene, the air, were all favourable to tenderness and sentiment."
"Although Samuel had a depraved imagination--perhaps even because of this--love, for him, was less a matter of the senses than of the intellect. It was, above all, admiration and appetite for beauty; he considered reproduction a flaw of love, and pregnancy a form of insanity. He wrote on one occasion: "Angels are hermaphrodite and sterile."
"An artist is an artist only because of his exquisite sense of beauty, a sense which shows him intoxicating pleasures, but which atthe same time implies and contains an equally exquisite sense of all deformities and all disproportions."
"All forms of beauty, like all possible phenomena, contain an element of the eternal and an element of the transitory--of the absolute and of the particular. Absolute and eternal beauty does not exist, or rather it is only an abstraction creamed from the general surface of different beauties. The particular element in each manifestation comes from the emotions: and just as we have our own particular emotions, so we have our own beauty."
"Beauty consists of an eternal, invariable element, whose quantity is excessively difficult to determine, and of a relative, circumstantial element, which will be, if you like, by turns or all together, the era, its fashion, its morals, its passions."
"The past is interesting not only for the beauty which the artists for whom it was the present were able to extract from it, but also as past, for its historical value. The same goes for the present. The pleasure which we derive from the representation of the present is due not only to the beauty in which it may be clothed, but also from its essential quality of being present."
"The idea which man forms of beauty imprints itself throughout his attire, rumples or stiffens his garments, rounds off or aligns his gestures, and, finally, even subtly penetrates the features of his face."
"All beauties contain, like all possible phenomena, something eternal and something transitory,--something absolute and something particular. Absolute and eternal beauty does not exist, or rather it is only an abstraction skimmed from the common surface of different sorts of beauty. The particular element of each beauty comes from the emotions, and as we each have our own particular emotions, so we have our beauty."