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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE QUOTES


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

German author, painter, scientist, philosopher, and statesman

Night is the other half of life, and the better half.

GOETHE, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

Let's plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will -- it's only action that can make a man.

GOETHE, Faust

There would be far less suffering amongst mankind, if men -- and God knows why they are so fashioned -- did not employ their imaginations so assiduously in recalling the memory of past sorrow, instead of bearing their present lot with equanimity.

GOETHE, The Sorrows of Young Werther

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.

GOETHE, Faust

The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the corn is ripe.

GOETHE, Torquato Tasso

Fortune rarely accompanies anyone to the door.

GOETHE, Torquato Tasso

Everyone believes in his youth that the world really began with him, and that all merely exist for his sake.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, Great Quotes for Great Educators

One never goes so far as when one doesn't know where one is going.

GOETHE, 365 Celebrity Crypto-Quotes

I call architecture frozen music.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, letter to Johann Peter Eckermann, Mar. 23, 1829

Whoever gives himself up to solitude, Ah! he is soon alone.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, Wilhelm Meister

Nature goes her own way, and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.

GOETHE, Conversations with Goethe

The man who masters himself is delivered from the force that binds all creatures.

GOETHE, Die Geheimnisse

You are certainly wrong to compare suicide ... with great accomplishments, since it cannot be considered as anything but a weakness. After all, it is easier to die than to endure a harrowing life with fortitude.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Sorrows of Young Werther

All extraordinary men, who have accomplished great and astonishing actions, have ever been decried by the world as drunken or insane.

GOETHE, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness.

GOETHE, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Words are mere sound and smoke, dimming the heavenly light.

GOETHE, Faust

Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, Conversations with Goethe

Life seems so vulgar, so easily content with the commonplace things of every day, and yet it always nurses and cherishes certain higher claims in secret, and looks about for the means of satisfying them.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

There is nothing worth thinking but it has been thought before; we must only try to think it again.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Superstition is a part of the very being of humanity; and when we fancy that we are banishing it altogether, it takes refuge in the strangest nooks and corners, and then suddenly comes forth again, as soon as it believes itself at all safe.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Truth is a torch, but a huge one, and so it is only with blinking eyes what we all of us try to get past it, in actual terror of being burnt.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

We all live on the past, and through the past are destroyed.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then criticism will gradually yield to him.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Beauty can never really understand itself.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It is not always needful for truth to take a definite shape; it is enough if it hovers about us like a spirit and produces harmony; if it is wafted through the air like the sound of a bell, grave and kindly.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

The world of reason is to be regarded as a great and immortal being, who ceaselessly works out what is necessary, and so makes himself lord also over what is accidental.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Character calls forth character.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

History-writing is a way of getting rid of the past.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It is as certain as it is strange that truth and error come from one and the same source. Thus it is that we are often not at liberty to do violence to error, because at the same time we do violence to truth.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

The longer I live, the more it grieves me to see man, who occupies his supreme place for the very purpose of imposing his will upon nature, and freeing himself and his from an outrageous necessity--to see him taken up with some false notion, and doing just the opposite of what he wants to do; and then, because the whole bent of his mind is spoilt, bungling miserably over everything.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

What a man does not understand, he does not possess.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It is much easier to recognize error than to find truth; for error lies on the surface and may be overcome; but truth lies in the depths, and to search for it is not given to everyone.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Piety is not an end, but a means: a means of attaining the highest culture by the purest tranquility of soul. Hence it may be observed that those who set up piety as an end and object are mostly hypocrites.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

When intelligent and sensible people despise knowledge in their old age, it is only because they have asked too much of it and of themselves.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Faith is private capital, kept in one's own house. There are public savings-banks and loan-offices, which supply individuals in their day of need; but here the creditor quietly takes his interest for himself.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Painting and tattooing the body is a return to animalism.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

If you lay duties upon people and give them no rights, you must pay them well.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Word and picture are correlatives which are continually in quest of each other, as is sufficiently evident in the case of metaphors and similes. So from all time what was said or sung inwardly to the ear had to be presented equally to the eye. And so in childish days we see word and picture in continual balance; in the book of the law and in the way of salvation, in the Bible and in the spelling-book. When something was spoken which could not be pictured, and something pictured which could not be spoken, all went well; but mistakes were often made, and a word was used instead of a picture; and thence arose those monsters of symbolical mysticism, which are doubly an evil.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Man would not be the finest creature in the world if he were not too fine for it.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Hatred is active displeasure, envy passive. We need not wonder that envy turns to soon to hatred.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

The history of knowledge is a great fugue in which the voices of the nations one after the other emerge.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Ingratitude is always a kind of weakness. I have never known men of ability to be ungrateful.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It used to happen, and still happens, to me to take no pleasure in a work of art at the first sight of it, because it is too much for me; but if I suspect any merit in it, I try to get at it; and then I never fail to make the most gratifying discoveries--to find new qualities in the work itself and new faculties in myself.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It is a very hard and troublesome thing to dispose of whole, half, and quarter-mistakes; to sift them and assign the portion of truth to its proper place.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

The most foolish of all errors is for clever young men to believe that they forfeit their originality in recognizing a truth which has already been recognized by others.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Whoso shrinks from ideas ends by having nothing but sensations.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Whoso is content with pure experience and acts upon it has enough of truth.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Generosity wins favour for every one, especially when it is accompanied by modesty.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

He is the happiest man who can set the end of his life in connection with the beginning.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Love of truth shows itself in this, that a man knows how to find and value the good in everything.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

To venture an opinion is like moving a piece at chess: it may be taken, but it forms the beginning of a game that is won.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

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Goethe; or, The Writer - a lecture by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - a biography.

Goethe Monologues - a collection of monologues from his plays.

Goethe Poems - a collection of his poetry.

Faust - a synopsis of Goethe's most famous play.


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