From Georges Poulet’s Studies in Human Time. Poulet’s analysis tends towards paraphrase, but he digs up amazing quotes.
The soul is afraid…in seeing that each moment snatches from her the enjoyment of her good, and that what is most dear to her glides away at every moment….
It is a horrible thing to feel all one’s possessions flowing away.
Let not anyone tell me that all the feelings which I attribute to men…are not felt as I describe them; for it is only in the occasion itself that it seems as if one has them or not; and not even then does anyone discover that he has them; it is just that one’s actions make us suppose necessarily that one has them.
Molière, Lettre sur la comédie de l’Imposteur
Woe to the man who, in the first moments of a love affair does not believe that this liaison will be eternal! Woe to him who, in the arms of the mistress he has just won, preserves a deadly prescience, and foresees that he will be able to detach himself from her.
Benjamin Constant, A Mme de Krudner
I have always had such a dread of the present and of the real in my life that I have never represented in art a painful or delightful emotion while I was experiencing it, but have attempted instead to flee to the sky of poetry from that land whose brambles have, at every step, lacerated feet too fragile and perhaps too ready to bleed….
Thus I always carried within me the memory of times that I had not seen, and the discontented experience of old age entered into my child’s mind and filled it with mistrust and a precocious misanthropy.
Alfred de Vigny, Journal