Charles Baudelaire

9 Apr 1821 // 31 Aug 1867
Poet / Critic / Translator

Imagination and Virtue

Imagination is the queen of truth, and possibility is one of the regions of truth. She is positively akin to infinity. Without her, all the faculties, sound and acute though they may be, seem nonexistent; whereas the weakness of some secondary faculties is a minor misfortune if stimulated by a vigorous imagination. None of them could do without her, and she is able to compensate for some of the others. Often what they look for, finding it only after a series of attempts by several methods not adapted to the nature of things, she intuits, proudly and simply. Lastly, she plays a role even in morality; for, allow me to go so far as to say, what is virtue without imagination?

Charles Baudelaire, in "Salon de 1859"


On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."