"Well, we are all condamnés, as Victor Hugo says [in Le dernier jour d'un condamné]:... we have an interval, and then our place knows us no more. Some spend this interval in listlessness, some in high passions, the wisest in art and song. For our one chance is in expanding that interval, in getting as many pulsations as possible into the given time. High passions give one this quickened sense of life, ecstasy and sorrow of love, political or religious enthusiasm, or the "enthusiasm of humanity" [in Auguste Comte's Le système de politique positive]. Only, be sure it is passion, that it does yield you this fruit of a quickened, multiplied consciousness."
"It is a mighty error to suppose that none but violent and strong passions, such as love and ambition, are able to vanquish the rest. Even idleness, as feeble and languishing as it is, sometimes reigns over them; it usurps the throne and sits paramount over all the designs and actions of our lives, and imperceptibly wastes and destroys all our passions and all our virtues."
"Men are often so foolish as to boast and value themselves upon their passions, even those that are most vicious. But envy is a passion so full of cowardice and shame that no one every ever had the confidence to own it."
"Nature seems to have treasured up the depth of our mind talents and abilities that we are not aware of; it is the privilege of the passions alone to bring them to light, and to direct us sometimes to surer and more excellent aims than conscious effort could."
"The passions are the only orators that are always successful in persuading. They are a kind of art in nature, that proceeds upon infallible rules; and the plainest man, with the help of passion, shall prevail more than the most eloquent man without it."