Marguerite Yourcenar

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

    Marguerite Yourcenar
  • Leaving behind books is even more beautiful — there are far too many children

    Marguerite Yourcenar
  • Ce matin, l'idée m'est venue pour la première fois que mon corps, ce fidèle compagnon, cet ami plus sûr, mieux connu de moi que mon âme, n'est qu'un monstre sournois qui finira par dévorer son maître

    Marguerite Yourcenar
  • But other hordes would come, and other false prophets. Our feeble efforts to ameliorate man’s lot would be but vaguely continued by our successors; the seeds of error and of ruin contained even in what is good would, on the contrary, increase to monstrous proportions in the course of centuries. A world wearied of us would seek other masters; what had seemed to us wise would be pointless for them, what we had found beautiful they would abominate. Like the initiate to Mithraism the human race has need, perhaps, of a periodical bloodbath and descent into the grave. I could see the return of barbaric codes, of implacable gods, of unquestioned despotism of savage chieftains, a world broken up into enemy states and eternally prey to insecurity. Other sentinels menaced by arrows would patrol the walls of future cities; the stupid, cruel, and obscene game would go on, and the human species in growing older would doubtless add new refinements of horror. Our epoch, the faults and limitations of which I knew better than anyone else would perhaps be considered one day, by contrast, as one of the golden ages of man

    Marguerite Yourcenar
  • It is not by blood, anyhow, that man's true continuity is established: Alexander's direct heir is Caesar, and not the frail infant born of a Persian princess in an Asiatic citadel; Epaminondas, dying without issue, was right to boast that he had Victories for daughters

    Marguerite Yourcenar
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