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fernando pessoa Quotes
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Fernando Pessoa Quotes

Birth Date: 1888-06-13 (Wednesday, June 13th, 1888)
Date of Death: 1935-11-30 (Saturday, November 30th, 1935)



    • The Gods sell when they give. / Glory is paid for with disgrace. / Poor are the happy, for they are / Just what passes.
    • Myth is the nothing that is all.
    • All beginnings are unvoluntary.
    • I fulfilled my duty against destiny. / Uselessly? No, for I fulfilled it.
    • Clear in thinking, and clear in feeling, / and clear in wanting
    • Faithful to the word given and the idea had. / All else is up to God!
    • Without madness what is man / more than the healthy beast, / corpse adjourned that procreates?
    • God wills, man dreams, the work is born.
    • The sea is fulfilled, and the Empire undid itself. / Lord, Portugal remains to be accomplished!
    • The sea with an end can be Greek or Roman: / the endless sea is portuguese.
    • Here lies, in the small extreme beach, the Captain Of The End.
    • Oh salty sea, how much of your salt / is tears from Portugal
    • Everything is worthwhile / if the soul isn't small.
    • Who wants to go beyond the Bojador / Must go beyond pain.
    • God gave the sea the danger and the abyss, / but it was in it that He mirrored the sky.
    • These are Fortunate Islands, / These are lands without a place
    • Oh Portugal, today you are fog...
    • Whether or not they exist, we're slaves to the gods.
    • ... And I, who timidly hate life, fear death with fascination. I fear this nothingness that could be something else, and I fear it as nothing and as something else simultaneously, as if gross horror and non-existence could coincide there, as if my coffin could entrap the eternal breathing of a bodily soul, as if immortality could be tormented by confinement. The idea of hell, which only a satanic soul could have invented seems to me to have derived from this sort of confusion - a mixture of two different fears that contradict and contaminate each other.
    • I think of life as an inn where I have to stay until the abyss coach arrives. I don't know where it will take me, for I know nothing.
    • Every day things happen in the world that cannot be explained by any law of things we know. Every day they're mentioned and forgotten, and the same mystery that brought them takes them away, transforming their secret into oblivion. Such is the law by which things that can't be explained must be forgotten. The visible world goes on as usual in the broad daylight. Otherness watches us from the shadows.
    • Having touched Christ's feet is not an excuse for punctuation mistakes.
    • Strenght without agility is a mere mass.
    • There are those that even God exploits, and they are prophets and saints in the vacuousness of the world.
    • I come closer to my desk as to a bulwark against life.
    • We are two abysses -- a well staring at the sky.
    • A tedium that includes only the anticipation of more tedium; the regret, now, of tomorrow regretting having regretted today.
    • The train slows down, it's the Cais do Sodre. I arrived to Lisbon, but not to a conclusion.
    • We become sphynxes, though fake, up to the point we no longer know who we are.
    • Fraternity has subtleties.
    • I believe that saying a thing is to keep its virtues and take away its terror.
    • I have now so many fundamental thoughts, so many really metaphysical things to say, that I suddenly get tired and decide not to write more, not to think more, but allow the fever of saying to make me sleepy, and fondle, with closed eyes, as if to a cat, all that I could have said.
    • I'm all those things, even though I don't want to, in the confuse depth of my fatal sensibility.
    • I sleep and I unsleep. On the other side of me, beyond where I lie down, the silence of the house touches infinity. I hear time falling, drop by drop, and no falling drop is heard falling.
    • The house clock, place certain there at the bottom of things, strikes the half hour dry and null. All is so much, all is so deep, all is so dark and cold!
    • I pass times, I pass silences, formless worlds pass me by.
    • Everything was asleep as if the universe was a mistake.
    • Not pleasure, not glory, not power: freedom, only freedom.
    • Changing from the ghosts of faith to the spectres of reason is just changing cells.
    • Thing thrown to a corner, rag fallen on the road, my ignoble being feigns itself in front of life.
    • It was just a moment, and I saw myself. Then I no longer could say what I was.
    • As we wash our body so we should wash destiny, change life as we change clothes.
    • There's a tiredness of abstract inteligence, and it's the most horrible of tirednesses. It doesn't weight on you like the tiredness of the body, nor does it worry you like the tiredness of knowledge and emotion. It's a weightiness of the conscience of the world, an inability of the soul to breathe.
    • Then a overflowing desire comes to me, absurd, of a sort of satanism before Satan, in that one day [...] an escape out of God can be found and the deepest of us stops, I don't know how, to be a part of being or not being.
    • To stagnate in the sun, goldenly, like an obscure lake surrounded by flowers.
    • For I am the size of what I see / not my height's size.
    • In order to understand, I destroyed myself.
    • Solitude desolates me; company oppresses me.
    • Yes, talking to people makes me sleepy.
    • The idea of any social obligation [...] just the idea of it embarasses my thoughts for a day, and sometimes it's since the day before that I worry, and don't sleep well, and the real affair, when it happens, is absolutely insignificant and justifies nothing; and the case repeats itself and I never learn to learn.
    • The beauty of a naked body is felt only by the dressed races.
    • What is a disease is wishing with an equal intensity what is needed and what is desirable, and suffer for not being perfect as you would suffer for not having bread. The romantic error is this wanting the moon as if there was a way to get it.
    • I take with me the conscience of defeat as a victory banner.
    • It is noble to be shy, illustrious not to know how to act, great not to have a gift for living.
    • Blessed are those who never entrust their life to no one.
    • Everyone has his vanity, and each one's vanity is his forgetting that there are others with an equal soul.
    • I reread? I lied! I don't dare to reread. I cannot reread. What's the point, for me, in rereading?
    • Civilization consists in giving something an unfitting name, then dream about the result. And indeed the false name and the real dream create a new reality. The object really becomes another, because we turned it into another one. We manufacture realities.
    • The consciousness of life's unconsciousness is intelligence's oldest tax.
    • A sort of anteneurosis of what I will be when I will not longer be freezes my body and soul. A kind of remembrance of my future death makes me shudder from the inside.
    • What, I believe, produces in me the deep feeling, in which I live, of incongruity with others, is that most think with sensitivity, while I feel with thought.
    • You breathe better when you're rich.
    • I never go to where's a risk. I'm frightened of dangers down to boredom.
    • Some sensations are sleeps that take up all the extent of the mind like a fog, don't let us think, don't let us act, don't let us be clearly.
    • My joy is as painful as my pain.
    • Between me and life is a faint glass. No matter how sharply I see and understand life, I cannot touch it.
    • My dreams are a stupid refuge, like an umbrella against a thunderbolt.
    • My life is as if you've hit me with it.
    • If we knew the truth, we'd see it; all else is system and outskirts.
    • They bring me faith like a closed package in someone else's plate. They want me to accept it so that I don't open it.
    • The superiority of the dreamer is that dreaming is much more practical than living, and that the dreamer extracts from life a much vaster and varied pleasure than the action man. In better and more direct words, the dreamer is the real action man.
    • I never meant to be but a dreamer.
    • There's no regret more painful than the regret of things that never were.
    • I always live in the present. The future I can't know. The past I no longer have.
    • The supreme empire is that of the Emperor who renounces all normal life, that of other men, and in who the care of supremacy doesn't weigh like a load of jewels.
    • I will be what I want. But I will have to want what I'll be. Success is in having success, not conditions for success.
    • To act is to rest.
    • All problemas are unsolvable. The essence of the existence of a problem is that there is no solution. Looking for a fact means there is no fact. To think is not to know how to be.
    • His livid face is a bewildered false green. I notice it, between the chest's hard air, with the fraternity of knowing I will also be so.
    • We never love someone. We just love the idea we have of someone. It's a concept of ours - summing up, ourselves - that we love.
    • To write is to forget. Literature is the pleasantest way of ignoring life.
    • Being pleased with what they give you is proper of slaves. Asking for more is proper of children. Conquering more is proper of fools.
    • To be understood is to prostitute yourself.
    • I search and can't find myself. I belong in chrysanthemum time, sharp in calla lily elongations. God made my soul into an ornamental thing.
    • 'Any road', said Carlyle, 'even this road to Entepfuhl, will take you to the end of the world'. But the Entepfuhl road, if taken in its entirety, and to the end, goes back to Entepfuhl; so Entepfuhl, where we already were, is that very end of the world we were seeking.
    • It's been a long time since I've been me.
    • Inside the henhouse from where he will be taken to be killed, the cock sings hymns to liberty because he was given two perches.
    • What's most worthless about dreams is that everybody has them.
    • The end is low, like all quantitative ends, personal or not, and it can be attained and verified.
    • The perfect man of pagans was the perfection of the man there is; the perfect man of christians, the perfection of the man there isn't; the buddhists' perfect man, the perfection of not existing a man.
    • Nature is the difference between the soul and God.
    • There is no safe standard to tell man from animals.
    • Irony is the first hint that consciousness became conscious.
    • Who am I to myself? Just a feeling of mine.
    • I will necessarily say what it seems to me, given that I'm me.
    • Direct experience is the evasion, or hiding place of those devoid of imagination.
    • Action men are the unvoluntary slaves of wise men.
    • To narrate is to create, for living is just being lived.
    • I never cared about whatever tragic event happened in China. It's faraway decoration, even if in blood and plague.
    • The slope takes you to the windmill, but effort takes you nowhere.
    • Destiny gave me only two things: a few accounting books and the gift of dreaming.
    • In today's life, the world belongs only to the stupid, the insensitive and the agitated. The right to live and triumph is now conquered almost by the same means by which you conquer internment in an asylum: the inability to think, amorality and hiperexcitation.
    • What is art but the denial of life?
    • Common man, no matter how hard life is to him, at least has the fortune of not thinking it.
    • To think is to destroy. The very process of thought indicates it for the same thought, as thinking is decomposing.
    • I sometimes think, with a sad delight, that if one day, in a future I no longer belong to, these sentences, that I write, last with praise, I will at last have the people who understand me, those mine, the true family to be born in and be loved. [...] I will only be understood in effigy, when affection no longer repays the dead the unaffection that was, when living.
    • Enthusiasm is rude.
    • My God, my God, who am I attending to? How many am I? Who is me? What is this interval between me and me?
    • Being a retired major looks like an ideal thing to me. What a pity you couldn't eternally have been just a retired major.
    • My curiosity sister of larks.
    • If a man can only write well when drunk, I'll tell him: get drunk. And if he tells me that his liver suffers with it, I'll answer: what's your liver? It's a dead thing that lives as long as you live, and the poems you'll write will live without a as long as.
    • My homeland is the portuguese language.
    • Art consists in making others feel what we feel.
    • Art lies because it's social.
    • Tedium is the lack of a mithology. To whom has no beliefs, even doubt is impossible, even skepticism has no strength to suspect.
    • Smell is a strange sight. It evokes sentimental landscapes through a sudden sketching of the subconscious.
    • Deceiving himself well is the first quality of the statesman.
    • It's certain that, when hearing from any of those people the story of their sexual marathons, a vague suspicion pervades us, at about the seventh deflowering.
    • Liberty is the possibility of isolation.
    • If you cannot live alone, you were born a slave.
    • And let our despite go to those who work and fight and our hate to those who hope and trust.
    • We adore perfection because we can't have it; it would disgust us if we had it. Perfect is inhuman, because human is imperfect.
    • If I had written King Lear, I would regret it all my life afterwards. Because that work is so big, that its defects show as huge, its monstrous defects, things even minimal in between some scenes and their possible perfection. It's not the sun with spots; it's a broken greek statue.
    • For valuing your own suffering sets on it the gold of a sun of pride. Suffering a lot can originate the illusion of being the Chosen of Pain.
    • All is absurd.
    • The world belongs to who doesn't feel. The primary condition to be a practical man is the absence of sensitivity.
    • What would happen to the world if we were human?
    • Who doesn't feel commands. He who only thinks what is required in order to win, wins.
    • Sailing is necessary, living is not necessary.
    • All pleasure is a vice, for seeking pleasure is what everybody does in life, and the only dark vice is doing what everybody does.
    • I'm upset by the happiness of all these men who don't know they're unhappy. [...] Because of that, though, I love them all. Dear vegetables!
    • For the moment being, given that we live in society, the only duty of superior men is to reduce to a minimum their participation in the tribe's life. Not to read newspapers, or read them only to know about whatever unimportant and curious is going on. / [...] The supreme honorable state for a superior man is in not knowing who is the Head of State of his country, or if he lives under a monarchy or a republic. / All his attitude must be setting his soul so that the passing of things, of events doesn't bother him. If he doesn't do it he will have to take an interest in others in order to take care of himself.
    • Wasting time has an esthetics to it.
    • I never was but an isolated bon vivant, which is absurd; or a mystic bon vivant, which is an impossible thing.
    • It's in an inland sea that the river of my life ended.
    • Every gesture is a revolutionary act.
    • Knowing not to have illusions is absolutely necessary in order to have dreams.
    • Why is art beautiful? Because it's useless. Why is life ugly? Because it's all ends and purposes and intentions.
    • And the supreme glory of all this, my love, is to think that maybe this isn't true, neither may I believe it true. // And when lying starts giving us pleasure, let's speak the truth so that we lie to it.
    • My head and the universe ache me.
    • Yet I have no stylistic nobility. My head aches because my head aches. The universe aches me because my head aches.
    • Given that we cannot know all the elements in a problem, we never can solve it.
    • I don't believe in the landscape.
    • I say it because I don't believe.
    • When I write, I solemnly visit myself.
    • Life is a thread that someone entangled.
    • They were two and beautiful and wanted to be something else; love delayed itself to them in the tedium of the future, and regret of what would happen to be was already being the daughter of the love they hadn't had.
    • Only sterility is noble and dignified. Only killing what never was is elevated and perverse and absurd.
    • I exempt you of being present in my idea of you.
    • That's not my love; that's just your life.
    • And as well as I dream, I reason if I want, for that's just another kind of dream.
    • There is no happiness without knowledge. But knowledge of happiness is unhappy; for knowing ourselves happy is knowing ourselves passing through happiness, and having to, immediatly at once, leave it behind. To know is to kill, in happiness as in everything. Not to know, though, is not to exist.
    • I don't write in Portuguese. I write myself.
    • To travel? In order to travel it's enough to be. [...] Why travel? In Madrid, in Berlin, in Persia, in China, at the Poles both, where would I be but in myself, and in the sort and kind of my sensations? // Life is what we make of it. Travels are travellers. What we see is not what we see but what we are.
    • I'd like to be in the country so that I'd could like being in the city.
    • Man shouldn't be able to see his own face. That's what's most terrible. Nature gave him the possibility of not seeing it, as well as the incapacity of not seeing his own eyes.
    • In any spirit that isn't deformed there is the belief in God. In any spirit that is not deformed there isn't the belief in a particular God.
    • I'm a man for whom the outside world is an inner reality.
    • Humanitarianim is rude.
    • Property isn't theft: it's nothing.
    • To have defined and sure opinions, fixed and known instincts, passions and character -- all that is the horror of turning our soul into a fact, materialize it and make it external.
    • De sonhar ninguem se cansa, porque sonhar e esquecer, e esquecer nao pesa e e um sono sem sonhos em que estamos despertos.
    • Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se.
    • fernando pessoa

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