“You say the soul is nothing but simply the result of bodily powers that begin to ail. In my heart, Winter gives way to eternal Spring. I breathe the fragrance of lilacs, violets, and roses. The nearer I approach to my eternal home, the plainer I hear around me the crescendo of a universe of endless symphonies.
“Yet, the marvelous simplicity of ensemble washes over me like a warm summer shower. I feel like the charming prince in a children’s fairy tale. For half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose, verse, history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, song. I have tried all. But I feel that I have not said the thousandth part of what is in me.
“When I go down to the grave I can say, like so many others, ‘I have finished my day’s work,’ but I cannot say, ‘I have finished my life.’ My day’s work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes in the twilight to open with the dawn.
“I improve every hour, because I love this world as my fatherland, because the truth compels me, as it compelled Voltaire, that human divinity. My work is only a beginning. My monument is hardly above its foundation. I would be glad to see it mounting and mounting forever. The thirst for the infinite proves infinity.”
Original Source: Sacramento Daily Union, March 16, 1882 (twenty years after publication of Les Miserables and three years before the great man’s death)