Man & Woman

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by Victor Hugo

French flagEn francais

'Amore' paintingMan is the most elevated of creatures,
Woman the most sublime of ideals.
God made for man a throne; for woman an altar.
The throne exalts, the altar sanctifies.
Man is the brain,
Woman, the heart.
The brain creates light, the heart, love.
Light engenders, love resurrects.

Because of reason Man is strong.
Because of tears Woman is invincible.
Reason is convincing, tears, moving.
Man is capable of all heroism,
Woman of all martyrdom.
Heroism ennobles, martyrdom sublimates.
Man has supremacy,
Woman, preference.
Supremacy is strength, preference is the right.
Man is a genius,
Woman, an angel.
Genius is immeasurable, the angel indefinable.
The aspiration of man is supreme glory,
The aspiration of woman is extreme virtue.
Glory creates all that is great; virtue, all that is divine.
Man is a code,
Woman a gospel.
A code corrects; the gospel perfects.
Man thinks, Woman dreams.
To think is to have a worm in the brain, to dream is to have a halo on the brow.
Man is an ocean, Woman a lake.
The ocean has the adorning pearl, the lake, dazzling poetry.
Man is the flying eagle, Woman, the singing nightingale.
To fly is to conquer space. To sing is to conquer the soul.
Man is a temple, Woman a shrine.
Before the temple we discover ourselves, before the shrine we kneel.
In short, man is found where earth finishes, woman where heaven begins.