The Man and the Woman

by Victor Hugo

Who said that woman is inferior to man? I maintain that man and woman are equal.

Man is the highest of all creations. Woman is the most sublime of all ideals. God made for man a throne, for a woman an altar; the throne exalts, the altar sanctifies.

Man is the cerebrum, woman is the heart; the cerebrum fabricates light, the heart produces love. Light illuminates, love resuscitates.

Man is the code, woman is the gospel; the code corrects, the gospel perfects.

Man is a genius, woman is an angel; genius is undefinable, angel is unmeasurable.

Man is strong in reasons, woman is invincible in her tears: reason convinces the most stubborn, tears soften the hardest mortals.

Man is the temple, woman is the sanctuary; before a temple we revere, before a sanctuary we kneel.

Man is the eagle that soars, woman is the nightingale that sings; to fly is to dominate space, to sing is to conquer the soul.

Man is capable of heroism, woman of martyrdom; heroism ennobles, martyrdom sanctifies.

Man is the ocean, woman is the lake; the ocean has its pearl that adorns, the lake has its poem that dazzles.

Man is a lighthouse, his conscience; woman has a star, her hope; the lighthouse guides, the hope saves.

At last the man is placed where the earth ends, and the woman where the heavens begin. Who said, therefore, that woman is inferior to man?

It takes a hundred men to make an encampment, but a woman alone can build a home. I not only admire the woman as the most beautiful object ever created, but I revere her as the redeeming glory of humanity, the pledge of all human virtues, the sanctuary of the perfect quality of head and heart.

She is one thing in this world that remains constant, the one peak that is always above the clouds, the one window where light always burn. The only star that darkness cannot quench is a woman's love. It excuses the most cruel injury. It grows in all climates. Neither coldness nor cruelty can extinguish it.

A woman's love is the perfume of the heart. It is the one love that is forever constant, the one love that has wrought all miracles of art, the love that conquers the world, the love that has given music from the cradle, the song to the end of the closing symphony that brings away our souls on the wings of fire.

It is greater than might, sweeter than life, and stronger than death. Without this love, the world would be a curse.

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