Nothing so starts and prolongs the thrill felt by the thinker as those mysterious exfoliations of abstraction into reality in the double region ( the one positive, the other infinite) of human thought, – a region double, and nevertheless one: the infinite is an exactitude. The profound word “number” is at the base of man`s thought; it is, to our intelligence, elemental; it signifies harmony as well as mathematics. Number reveals itself to Art by rhythm, which is the beating of the heart of the Infinite. In rhythm, the law of order, God if felt. A verse is numerous, like a crowd; its feet march with the cadenced step of a legion. Without number, no science; without number, no poetry. The strophe, the epic, the drama, the riotous palpitation of man, the bursting forth of love, the irradiation of the imagination, the lightning-cloud of passion, all are lorded over by this mysterious word “number,” even as are geometry and arithmetic.
William Shakespeare by Victor Hugo