In the midst of a catastrophic fire that broke out at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, lament from multiple media outlets, cultural icons, and world leaders has been outpouring as it has been relentless as many around France and the Western World have joined in unison to mourn a monument that has withstood the test of time for nearly 800 years.
A symbol of hope, freedom, and many of the greatest virtues ever prescribe to those among mankind, the marring of Notre Dame de Paris as it is better known by Parisians, and their fellow francophones have also re-ignited talks of another French cultural idol -- Victor Hugo.
Inspiring the French Republic to tend to, and rebuild Notre Dame when it came into near ruin during the 1800s through his novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" published in 1831, Victor Hugo not only left his mark in the realm of literature through his books, but also as a dramatist, poet, and an artist who produced more than 4000 drawings over his lifetime. Propelling himself to the forefront of the literary movement through his timeless magnum opus of works that include "Les Miserables", "Cromwell". and "Hernani" -- the former of which many songs were written for -- Hugo also cemented his legacy in France through politics as a fierce advocate for republicanism. Thus, it should prove neither flattering nor the least shocking that an author -- for whose name has become synonymous with freedom -- has himself, become synonymous to the very Cathedral that has stood for the very freedom he fought for.
Here are five of the greatest lines delivered by one who inspired greatness in not only his country but in many. Many, who even now, continue to hear whispers of the greatness that comes with the name of the man known as Victor Hugo:
1. "Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise."
As evil, and woeful as the times can be, all-time runs its course. For all that brings woe. All that brings evil. Even as the clock begins to tick for the opening of eyes to a time that proves more ideal.
2. "Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only."
For love to be possible, it must not only exist and be harboured, but its harboured existence first be seen. If only for a glimpse. If only for a little.
3. "It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live."
There is nothing for you to die because now you are nothing, and to nothing, you have returned. But in life, there is something to have, to hold, and embrace as your own. So you may own, embrace, hold, and have a life.
4. "Not being heard is no reason for silence."
Your voice my wither, crumble, and become lost in the midst of a shouting crowd, but nevertheless, you must go on shouting. Eventually all shouting ceases, all shouting fades. Until you're all thats left. To shout. To be heard.
5. "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."
For every thought, every feeling that eludes the confines of words, and the letters used to spell them, there still remains a rhythm, a song for which they can resonate, echo louder than if spoken.
Though all crumbles, writers, and fades with time despite how long it may stand against it, the words of Victor Hugo remain or forever last. To remind us that even though we cannot last, there is something we can express, say, write, and sing, that allows us to remain.