Famous Quotes & Sayings

Fernando Pessoa Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Fernando Pessoa.

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Fernando Pessoa Quotes 701405

Decadence is the total loss of unconsciousness, which is the very basis of life. Could it think, the heart would stop beating. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1634768

Between me and life is a faint glass. No matter how sharply I see and understand life, I cannot touch it. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1017618

Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1188783

The sea with an end can be Greek or Roman:
the endless sea is Portuguese — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 265622

Stones in the road? I save every single one, and one day I'll build a castle. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 979642

Life, said Tarde, is the search for the impossible by way of the useless. Let us always search for the impossible, since that is our destiny, and let us search for it by way of the useless, since no path goes by any other way, but let us rise to the consciousness that nothing we search for can be found, and that nothing along the way deserves a fond kiss or memory.

We weary of everything, said the scholiast, except understanding. Let us understand, let us keep understanding, and let us make ghostly flowers out of this understanding, shrewdly entwining them into wreaths and garlands which are also doomed to wilt. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 314517

Action disconcerts us, partly because of our physical incompetence, but mainly because it offends our moral sensibility. We consider it immoral to act. It seems to us that every thought is debased when expressed in words, which transform the thought into the property of others, making it understandable to anyone who can understand it. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 754715

There's a thin sheet of glass between me and life. However clearly I see and understand life, I can't touch it. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2179864

Life is full of paradoxes, as roses are of thorns. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2197047

I placidly wait for what I don't know-
My future and the future of everything.
In the end there will only be silence except
Where the waves of the sea bathe nothing. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1653630

Life is good, but Wine is better. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1206179

I'm liberated and lost.
I feel. I shiver with fever. I'm I. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 532818

The rustic, the reader of novels, the pure ascetic: these three are truly happy men — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 825241

The abstract intelligence produces a fatigue that's the worst of all fatigues. It doesn't weigh on us like bodily fatigue, nor disconcert like the fatigue of emotional experience. It's the weight of our consciousness of the world, a shortness of breath in our soul. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1174089

One or another man, liberated or cursed, suddenly sees-but even this man sees rarely-that all we are is what we aren't, that we fool ourselves about what's true and are wrong about what we conclude is right. And this man, who in a flash sees the universe naked, creates a philosophy or dreams up a religion; and the philosophy spreads and the religion propagates, and those who believe in the philosophy begin to wear it as a suit they don't see, and those who believe in the religion put it on as a mask they soon forget. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1432247

Normality is like a home to us and everyday life a mother. After a long incursion into great poetry, into the mountains of sublime aspiration, the cliffs of the transcendent and the occult, it is the sweetest thing, savouring of all that is warm in life, to return to the inn where the happy fools laugh and joke, to join with them in their drinking, as foolish as they are, just as God made us, content with the universe that was given us, and to leave the rest to those who climb mountains and do nothing when they reach the top. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1316028

Does the peace I feel when I see you belong to you or to me? — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 474241

Let's act like sphinxes, however falsely, until we reach the point of no longer knowing who we are. For we are, in fact, false sphinxes, with no idea of what we are in reality. The only way to be in agreement with life is to disagree with ourselves. Absurdity is divine. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1895551

Dusk shrouds the long and useless day.
Even the hope it denied us crumbles
To nothing ... Life is a drunken beggar
Holding out his hand to his own shadow. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 959031

I'm sick of everything, and of the everythingness of everything. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 747164

Action men are the unvoluntary slaves of wise men. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1741175

Some people have big dreams in life which they never fulfill. Others don't have any dreams in life, and they don't fulfill those either. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1346722

The fundamental error of Romanticism is to confuse what we need with what we desire. We all need certain basic things for life's preservation and continuance; we all desire a more perfect life, complete happiness, the fulfilment of our dreams and ... ..

It's human to want what we need, and it's human to desire what we don't need but find desirable. Sickness occurs when we desire what we need and what's desirable with equal intensity, suffering our lack of perfection as if we were suffering for lack of bread. The Romantic malady is to want the moon as if it could actually be obtained. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1458092

To think is to destroy. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2241235

If the heart could think it would stop beating. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 721998

My soul is a black maelstrom, a great madness spinning about a vacuum, the swirling of a vast ocean around a hole in the void, and in the waters, more like whirlwinds than waters, float images of all I ever saw or heard in the world: houses, faces, books, boxes, snatches of music and fragments of voices, all caught up in a sinister, bottomless whirlpool. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1597974

Attention to detail and a perfectionist instinct, far from stimulating action, are character qualities that lead to renunciation. Better to dream than to be. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 672933

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. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1976844

In the very corner of my soul there is an altar to a different god. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1860256

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. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 176212

I have cultivated several personalities within myself. I constantly cultivate personalities. Each of my dreams, immediately after I dream it, is incarnated into another person, who then goes on to dream it, and I stop.
To create, I destroyed myself; I made myself external to such a degree within myself that within myself I do not exist except in an external fashion. I am the living setting in which several actors make entrances, putting on several different plays. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1780697

Life hurls us like a stone, and we sail through the air saying, look at me move. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 405808

There are moments, such as the one that oppresses me now, when I feel my own self far more than I feel external things, and everything transforms into a night of rain and mud where, lost in the solitude of an out-of-the-way station, I wait interminably for the next third-class train. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1797326

No, we don't feel anything. We consciously pass through the door we have to enter, and the fact we have to enter it is enough to put us to sleep. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 98736

To reduce sensation to a science, to make psychological analysis into a microscopically precise method - that's the goal that occupies, like a steady thirst, the hub of my life's will. — Fernando Pessoa

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The universe isn't mine: it's me. 139 — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 107201

On the road halfway between faith and criticism stands the inn of reason. reason is faith in what can be understood without faith, but it's still a faith, since to understand presupposes that there's something understandable. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 161742

Better and happier those who, recognizing that everything is fictitious, write the novel before someone writes it for them and, like Machiavelli, don courtly garments to write in secret. — Fernando Pessoa

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My curiosity sister of larks. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 202752

The nocturnal glory of being great without being
anything! The sombre majesty of splendours no one
knows ... And I suddenly experience the sublime feeling
of a monk in the wilderness or of a hermit in his retreat,
acquainted with the substance of Christ in the sands and
in the caves of withdrawal from the world. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 251483

Peacefully ensconced in a small house on the outskirts of somewhere or other, enjoying a tranquillity in which I won't write the works I don't write now, and to keep on not writing them I'll come up with even better excuses than the ones I use today to elude myself. — Fernando Pessoa

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Sometimes I muse about how wonderful it would be if I could string all my dreams together into one continuous life, a life consisting of entire days full of imaginary companions and created people. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 270663

In modern life the world belongs to the stupid, the insensitive and the disturbed. The right to live and triumph is today earned with the same qualifications one requires to be interned in a madhouse: amorality, hypomania and an incapacity for thought. — Fernando Pessoa

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The end is low, like all quantitative ends, personal or not, and it can be attained and verified. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 345209

I never go to where's a risk. I'm frightened of dangers down to boredom. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 383951

Happy the creators of pessimistic systems! Besides taking refuge in the fact of having made something, they can exult in their explanation of universal suffering, and include themselves in it.
I don't complain about the world. I don't protest in the name of the universe. I'm not a pessimist. I suffer and complain, but I don't know if suffering is the norm, nor do I know if it's human to suffer. Why should I care to know?
I suffer, without knowing if I deserve to. (A hunted doe.)
I'm not a pessimist. I'm sad. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 423342

But thank God there's imperfection in the World, Since imperfection is a thing, And the existence of mistaken People is original, And the existence of sick People makes the world interesting. If there were no imperfection, there would be one less thing, And there should be many Things, So that we will have a lot to see and hear For as long as Our eys and ears remain open ... — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 446584

I am nothing.
I will never be anything.
I cannot wish to be anything.
Bar that, I have in me all the dreams of the world. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 476372

Once we're able to see this world as an illusion and a phantasm, then we can see everything that happens to us as a dream, as something that pretended to exist while we were sleeping. And we will become subtly and profoundly indifferent towards all of life's setbacks and calamities. Those who die turned a corner, which is why we've stopped seeing them; those who suffer pass before us like a nightmare, if we feel, or like an unpleasant daydream, if we think. And even our own suffering won't be more than this nothingness. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 495793

It's not demons (who at least have a human face) but Hell itself that seems to be laughing inside me, it's the croaking madness of the dead universe, the spinning cadaver of physical space, the end of all worlds blowing blackly in the wind, formless and timeless, without a God who created it, without even its own self, impossibly whirling in the absolute darkness as the one and only reality, everything. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 588732

I'm so cold, so weary in my abandonment. Go and find my Mother, O Wind. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 595804

I've dreamed a lot. I'm tired now from dreaming but not tired of dreaming. No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake. In dreams I have achieved everything. — Fernando Pessoa

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Ah, what a morning this is, awakening me to life's stupidity. [98 - Zenith trans.] — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 715880

The end of lower art is to please, the end of average art is to raise the top, the end of superior art is to free. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 722640

But our superiority is not the kind that many dreamers have imagined we have. The dreamer isn't superior to the active man because dreaming is superior to reality. The dreamer's superiority is due to the fact that dreaming is much more practical than living, and the dreamer gets far greater and more varied pleasure out of life than the man of action. In other and plainer words, the dreamer is the true man of action. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 755997

My happiest hours are those in which I think nothing, want nothing, when I do not even dream, but lose myself in some spurious vegetable torpor, moss growing on the surface of life. Without a trace of bitterness I savour my absurd awareness of being nothing, a mere foretaste of death and extinction. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 787922

I created myself, echo and abyss, by thinking. I multiplied myself by going deeply into myself ... — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 796991

If we knew the truth, we'd see it; all else is system and outskirts. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 803890

Everyone has his vanity, and each one's vanity is his forgetting that there are others with an equal soul. — Fernando Pessoa

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My joy is as painful as my pain. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 931413

Given that we cannot know all the elements in a problem, we never can solve it. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 973750

And as well as I dream, I reason if I want, for that's just another kind of dream. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 992494

All that I've lived I've forgotten, as if I'd vaguely heard it. All that I'll be reminds me of nothing, as if I'd lived and forgotten it. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1009720

What happens to us either happens to everyone or only to us: in the first instance it's banal; in the second it's incomprehensible. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1051521

There's something vile (and all the more vile because ridiculous) in the tendency of feeble men to make universal tragedies out of the sad comedies of their private woes. — Fernando Pessoa

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I am tired of myself in every way. All things, deep down to the secret of their roots, are stained by the color of my weariness. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1119906

I sometimes think that I enjoy suffering. But the truth is I would prefer something else. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1147618

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. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1178710

But if we remember that to say is to renew, we will have no trouble defining a spiral: it's a circle that rises without ever closing. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1229962

I can breathe easier now that the appointments are behind me.
I missed them all, through deliberate negligence,
Having waited for the urge to go, which I knew wouldn't come.
I'm free, and against organized, clothed society.
I'm naked and plunge into the water of my imagination. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1250702

Your poems are of interest to mankind; your liver isn't. Drink till you write well and feel sick. Bless your poems and be damned to you. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1265034

I'd woken up early, and I took a long time getting ready to exist. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1305414

That's why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: "Was that me?"
God knows, because he wrote it. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1310929

His voice was hesitant and colourless, as in those who hope for nothing because it's perfectly useless to hope. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1315742

I have to choose what I detest - either dreaming which my intelligence hates, or action, which my sensibility loathes; either action, for which I wasn't born, or dreaming, for which no one was born.
Detesting both, I choose neither; but since I must on occasion either dream or act, I mix the two things together. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1361810

Pessoa invented The Book of Disquiet, which never existed, strictly speaking, and can never exist. What we have here isn't a book but its subversion and negation: the ingredients for a book whose recipe is to keep sifting, the mutant germ of a book and its weirdly lush ramifications, the rooms and windows to build a book but no floor plan and no floor, a compendium of many potential books and many others already in ruins. What we have in these pages is an anti-literature, a kind of primitive, verbal CAT scan of one man's anguished soul. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1402709

But the horror that's destroying me today is less noble and more corrosive. It's a longing to be free of wanting to have thoughts, a desire to never have been anything, a conscious despair in every cell of my soul's body. It's the sudden feeling of being imprisoned in an infinite cell. Where can one think of fleeing, if the cell is everything? — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1497768

That is how I experience life, as apocalypse and cataclysm. Each day brings an increasing inability in myself to make the smallest gesture, even to imagine myself confronting clear, real situations.
The presence of others - always such an unexpected event for the soul - grows daily more painful and distressing. Talking to others makes me shudder. If they show any interest in me, I flee. If they look at me, I tremble.
I am constantly on the defensive. Life and other people bruise me. I can't look reality in the eye. The sun itself leaves me feeling discouraged and desolate. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1551202

Giving importance to what we think because we thought it, taking our own selves not only (to quote the Greek philosopher) as the measure of all things but as their norm or standard, we create in ourselves, if not an interpretation, at least a criticism of the universe, which we don't even know and therefore cannot criticize. The giddiest, most weak-minded of us then promote that criticism to an interpretation that's superimposed, like a hallucination; induced rather than deduced. It's a hallucination in the strict sense, being an illusion based on something only dimly seen. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1553048

The truly wise man is the one who can keep external events from changing him in any way. To do this, he covers himself with an armour of realities closer to him than the world's facts and through which the facts, modified accordingly, reach him. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1571247

I'm older than Time and Space, because I'm conscious. Things derive from me; the whole of Nature is the offspring of my sensations.

I seek and I don't find. I want and can't have.

Without me the sun rises and expires; without me the rain falls and the wind howls. It's not because of me that there are seasons, the twelve months, time's passage.

Lord of the world in me which, like earthly lands, I can't take with me (...) — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1619380

We should be content with the incomprehensibility of the universe; the desire to understand makes us less than human, for to be human is to know that one does not understand. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1683860

With slight misconceptions of reality we fabricate our hopes and beliefs, and we live off crusts that we call cakes, like poor children who make-believe they're happy. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1705651

Having touched Christ's feet is not an excuse for punctuation mistakes. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1713541

Isn't joyful or painful this pain in which I rejoice — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1767087

In these random impressions, and with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my fact-less autobiography, my lifeless history. These are my Confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it's because I have nothing to say. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1778785

Metaphysics has always struck me as a prolonged form of latent insanity. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1795861

Have you ever considered, beloved other, how invisible we are to each other? We look at each other without seeing. We listen to each other and hear only a voice inside out self.
The words of others are mistakes of our hearing, shipwrecks of our understanding. How confidently we believe OUR meanings of other people's words. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1800049

Every man who deserves to be famous knows it is not worth the trouble. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1882565

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. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1892192

I'll disappear in the fog as a foreigner to all life, as a human island detached from the dream of the sea, as a uselessly existing ship that floats on the surface of everything. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1900917

The slope takes you to the windmill, but effort takes you nowhere. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1923428

Who delights in the mind can delight in no destiny Better than to know himself. To know he is nothing Is better than not knowing: Nothing inside of nothing. If I don't have within me the power to master The three Fates and the shapes of the future, May the gods at least give me The power of knowing it. And since in myself I cannot create beauty, May I enjoy it as it's given on the outside, Repeated in my passive eyes, Ponds which death will dry. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 1944395

What's most worthless about dreams is that everybody has them. — Fernando Pessoa

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I was more of a genius in dreams than in life. That is my tragedy. — Fernando Pessoa

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And in each corner of my soul there's an altar to a different god. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2088373

I never cared about whatever tragic event happened in China. It's faraway decoration, even if in blood and plague. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2193427

What does a river know about this and what does a tree know?
And I, who am no more than those, what do I know?
Every time I look at things and think about what men think about them,
I laugh like how a brook sounds cool on a stone. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2197514

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. — Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa Quotes 2262351

In me all affections take place on the surface, but sincerely. I've always been an actor, and in earnest. Whenever I've loved, I've pretended to love, pretending it even to myself. — Fernando Pessoa