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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes


Goethe Quotes 1 2


Each ten years of a man's life has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires.
Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.
win for yourself that which your fathers have won
A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss.   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
The society of women is the element of good manners.
It is a mistake for a taciturn, serious-minded woman to marry a jovial man, but not for a serious-minded man to marry a lighthearted woman.
Eternal rigorous law encircle our existance 
He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home
To rule is easy, to govern difficult.
We know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.
The effects of good music are not just because it's new; on the contrary music strikes us more the more familiar we are with it.
All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Our friends show us what we can do; our enemies teach us what we must do.
I can tell you, honest friend, what to believe: believe life; it teaches better than book or orator.
Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.
People are so constituted that everybody would rather undertake what they see others do, whether they have an aptitude for it or not.
The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.
The really unhappy person is the one who leaves undone what they can do, and starts doing what they don't understand; no wonder they come to grief.
The people who are absent are the ideal; those who are present seem to be quite commonplace.
He who is plenteously provided for from within, needs but little from without.
For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.
Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters. This is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting.
Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.
How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then you shall know what is in thee.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
The deed is everything, the glory is naught.
Then indecision brings its own delays, And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days. Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.
When all is said the greatest action is to limit and isolate one's self.
There is no crime of which I do not deem myself capable.
It is said, that no one is a hero to their butler. The reason is, that it requires a hero to recognize a hero. The butler, however, will probably know well how to estimate his equals.
The hero draws inspiration from the virtue of his ancestors.
Character develops itself in the stream of life.
Character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.
Character, in great and little things, means carrying through what you feel able to do.
Men show their character in nothing more clearly than what they think laughable.
Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.
The formation of one's character ought to be everyone's chief aim.
Enjoy what thou has inherited from thy sires if thou wouldn't really possess it. What we employ and use is never an oppressive burden; what the moment brings forth, that only can it profit by.
He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.
If you modestly enjoy your fame you are not unworthy to rank with the holy.
What life half gives a man, posterity gives entirely.
Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it; and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.
The greatest difficulties lie where we are not looking for them.
They teach in academies far too many things, and far too much that is useless.
Age does not make us childish, as some say; it finds us true children.
It is only necessary to grow old to become more charitable and even indulgent. I see no fault committed by others that I have not committed myself.
Rejoice that you have still have a long time to live, before the thought comes to you that there is nothing more in the world to see.
The older we get the more we must limit ourselves if we wish to be active.
We must not take the faults of our youth with us into old age, for age brings along its own defects.
All that is noble is in itself of a quiet nature, and appears to sleep until it is aroused and summoned forth by contrast.
Art is long, life short, judgment difficult, opportunity transient.
Personality is everything in art and poetry.
The biggest problem with every art is by the use of appearance to create a loftier reality.
The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality.
Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever.
Beauty is a primeval phenomenon, which itself never makes its appearance, but the reflection of which is visible in a thousand different utterances of the creative mind, and is as various as nature herself.
Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.
Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image
He is dead in this world who has no belief in another.
If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.
We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things; and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavor to erase them.
For this reason the Bible is a book of eternal and effective power; because, as long as the world lasts, no one will say: I comprehend it in the whole and understand it in the particular. Rather we must modestly say it on the whole it is venerable, and in the particular practical.
Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths.
The heights charm us, but the steps do not; with the mountain in our view we love to walk the plains.
Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
Human beings, by change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.
Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.
What I possess I would gladly retain. Change amuses the mind, yet scarcely profits.
Those are dead even for this life who hope for no other.
Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.
If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.
We cannot fashion our children after our desires, we must have them and love them as God has given them to us.
The Christian religion, though scattered and abroad will in the end gather itself together at the foot of the cross.
Master and Doctor are my titles; for ten years now, without repose, I held my erudite recitals and led my pupils by the nose.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
Common sense is the genius of humanity.
Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to their own advantage in all that happens to them.
No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others.
No wise combatant underestimates their antagonist.
I will not be as those who spend the day in complaining of headache, and the night in drinking the wine that gives it.
You accuse a woman of wavering affections, but don't blame her; she is just looking for a consistent man.
Where there is much light, the shadow is deep.
Courage and modesty are the most unequivocal of virtues, for they are of a kind that hypocrisy cannot imitate; they too have this quality in common, that they are expressed by the same color.
Rest not. Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time.
Wealth lost is something lost, honor lost is something lost: Courage lost all is lost.
The man who is born with a talent which he was meant to use finds his greatest happiness in using it.
The most happy man is he who knows how to bring into relation the end and beginning of his life.
What makes people happy is activity; changing evil itself into good by power, working in a God like manner.
Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.
There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From its springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.
The coward threatens when he is safe.
A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.
To create something you must be something.
Strike the dog dead, it's but a critic!
The person of analytic or critical intellect finds something ridiculous in everything. The person of synthetic or constructive intellect, in almost nothing.
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
A useless life is an early death.
Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time.
Unlike grown ups, children have little need to deceive themselves.
We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.
The person who in shaky times also wavers only increases the evil, but the person of firm decision fashions the universe.
Ambition and love are the wings to great deeds.
Deny yourself! You must deny yourself! That is the song that never ends.
While man's desires and aspirations stir he cannot choose but err.
Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.
The destiny of any nation at any given time depends on the opinion of its young people, those under twenty-five.
I know nothing more mocking than a devil that despairs.
It is only in misery that we recognize the hand of God leading good men to good.
Doubt can only be removed by action.
I will listen to anyone's convictions, but pray keep your doubts to yourself.
We know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.
Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.
How can we know ourselves? Never by reflection, but only through action. Begin at once to do your duty and immediately you will know what is inside you.
Love can do much, but duty more.
People of uncommon abilities generally fall into eccentricities when their sphere of life is not adequate to their abilities.
He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.
Mastery passes often for egotism.
All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower.
No prudent antagonist thinks light of his adversaries.
Men are so constituted that every one undertakes what he sees another successful in, whether he has aptitude for it or not.
Every situation, every moment -- is of infinite worth; for it is the representative of a whole eternity.
Excellence is rarely found, more rarely valued.
Only learn to seize good fortune, for good fortune's always here.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
We eagerly get hold of a law that serves as a weapon to our passions.
A clever man commits no minor blunders.
The best fortune that can fall to a man is that which corrects his defects and makes up for his failings.
More light!
Sowing is not as difficult as reaping.
Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality.
It is the strange fate of man, that even in the greatest of evils the fear of the worst continues to haunt him.
Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.
Look closely at those who patronize you. Half are unfeeling, half untaught.
Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.
Don't dissipate your powers; strive to concentrate them. Genius thinks it can do whatever it sees others doing, but it will surely repent of every ill-judged outlay.
It seems to never occur to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.
If a good person does you wrong, act as though you had not noticed it. They will make note of this and not remain in your debt long.
Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and, by our very acknowledgment, prove that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it
Only law can give us freedom.
Yes! To this thought I hold with firm persistence; The last result of wisdom stamps it true; He only earns his freedom and existence Who daily conquers them anew.
In comradeship is danger countered best.
Giving is the business of the rich.
The first and last thing required of genius is, love of the truth.
The greatest genius will never be worth much if he pretends to draw exclusively from his own resources.
A distracted existence leads us to no goal.


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