One of the first pieces of classic literature that I was able to get my hands on was Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. The novel is a huge undertaking for anyone, let alone a fifteen-year-old kid, but I was a huge fan of the Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil musical of the same name, so I just had to read the book! Today, February 16, 2018, is the 185th anniversary of the story’s two main lovers: Marius and Cosette, so what better way to celebrate such a terrific feat of domestic bliss than with an article recounting their love transcending time?
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I tried to think of the proper way to do their anniversary of love justice, but could think of nothing better than this single chapter of Hugo’s novel entitled “A Heart Beneath a Stone,” which is essentially a single love letter written from Marius to Cosette left under a stone near her garden. It’s been over a decade since I read the book, but I will never forget the beautiful language and prose that Marius uses in the letter. I don’t think my words are enough to do such a pure love justice, so even though Valentine’s Day might be over, here are some of the most beautiful lines about love my eyes have ever had the pleasure to soak up.
1. The reduction of the universe to a single being, the expansion of a single being even to God, that is love.
2. Love is the salutation of the angels to the stars.
3. Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the attitude of the body may be, the soul is on its knees.
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4. The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.
5. Oh Love! Adorations! voluptuousness of two minds which understand each other, of two hearts which exchange with each other, of two glances which penetrate each other!
6. You look at a star for two reasons, because it is luminous, and because it is impenetrable. You have beside you a sweeter radiance and a greater mystery, woman.
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7. When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.
8. If you are a stone, be adamant; if you are a plant, be the sensitive plant; if you are a man, be love.
9. I encountered in the street, a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat was worn, his elbows were in holes; water trickled through his shoes, and the stars through his soul.
10. If there did not exist some one who loved, the sun would become extinct.
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Can you imagine being loved by someone so intensely for 185 years? Because though they would most certainly have passed through their lives and into whatever great beyond waits for them, their love is in fact preserved through the ink and pages that continue to circulate the world over. Happiest of wedding anniversaries, Marius and Cosette Pontmercy, may your souls be entwined and in love forevermore.
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