Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

I love those who yearn for the impossible.
If I love you, what business is it of yours
That is the true season of love, when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will love in the same way after us.
God could cause us considerable embarrassment by revealing all the secrets of nature to us we should not know what to do for sheer apathy and boredom.
He who seizes the right moment is the right man.
The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before.
Talent develops in tranquillity, character in the full current of human life.
All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
The unnatural, that too is natural.
To live as one likes is plebian the noble man aspires to order and law.
He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing. Let him not be troubled by what seems absurd, but concentrate his energies to the creation of what is good. He must not demolish, but build. He must raise temples where mankind may come and partake of the purest pleasure.
The man who acts never has any conscience no one has any conscience but the man who thinks.
Anecdotes and maxims are rich treasures to the man of the world, for he knows how to introduce the former at fit place in conversation.
Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.
Love grants in a moment what toil can hardly achieve in an age.
Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action.
A man who does not know foreign language is ignorant of his own.
The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.
Whenever I hear people talking about 'liberal ideas,' I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions.
A man's errors are what make him amiable.
I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.
Death is Nature's expert advice to get plenty of Life.
I call architecture frozen music.
The ground that a good man treads is hallowed.
Man supposes that he directs his life and governs his actions, when his existence is irretrievably under the control of destiny.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Whoever, in middle age, attempts to realize the wishes and hopes of his early youth, invariably deceives himself. Each ten years of a man's life has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires.
To be loved for what one is, is the greatest exception. The great majority love in others only what they lend him, their own selves, their version of him.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.
Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
Character develops itself in the stream of life.
The phrases that men hear or repeat continually, end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence.
If your treat an individual ... as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
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.
First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.
Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at.
Viewed from the summit of reason, all life looks like a malignant disease and the world like a madhouse.
The society of women is the element of good manners.
What is not fully understood is not possessed.
The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth.
Man is not born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out what he has to do and to restrain himself within the limits of his comprehension.
We know accurately only when we know little with knowledge doubt increases.
The artist alone sees spirits. But after he has told of their appearing to him, everybody sees them.
Age does not make us childish, as some say it only finds us true children still.
Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.
Difficulties increase the nearer we approach our goal.
I never believed in trying to do anything. Whatever I set out to do I found I had already accomplished.
The highest happiness of man ... is to have probed what is knowable and quietly to revere what is unknowable.
I find the great thing in this world is, not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
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.
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.
One never goes so far as when one doesn't know where one is going.
What government is the best That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss.
Love and desire are the spirit's wings to great deeds.
Rest not Life is sweeping by go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time.
I can tell you, honest friend, what to believe believe life it teaches better than book or orator.
The beginning of faith is the beginning of fruitfulness but the beginning of unbelief, however glittering, is empty.
Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.
Life is the childhood of our immortality.
Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.
When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
One man's word is no man's word we should quietly hear both sides.
Everybody wants to be somebody nobody wants to grow.
The man of understanding finds everything laughable.
Character, in great and little things, means carrying through what you feel able to do.
We are never deceived we deceive ourselves.
If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.
The best fortune that can fall to a man is that which corrects his defects and makes up for his failings.
Mathematicians are like Frenchmen whatever you say to them they translate into their own language and forthwith it is something entirely different.
He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
My poor head is in such a whirl, my mind is all in bits.
Art is long, life short judgment difficult, opportunity transient.
It is not enough to have knowledge, one must also apply it. It is not enough to have wishes, one must also accomplish.
If a man writes a book, let him set down only what he knows. I have guesses enough of my own.
Know'st thou the land where the lemon-trees bloom, Where the gold orange glows in the deep thicket's gloom, Where a wind ever soft from the blue heaven blows, And the groves are of laurel and myrtle and rose
One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.
Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
Nature understands no jesting. She is always true, always serious, always severe. She is always right, and the errors are always those of man.
Life is not anything, but an opportunity for something.
Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.
Everything a human being wants can be divided into four components love, adventure, power and fame.
There is a courtesy of the heart it is allied to love. From it springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.
Who never ate his bread in sorrow, Who never spent the darksome hours Weeping, and watching for the morrow,-- He knows ye not, ye gloomy Powers.
Plunge boldly into the thick of life
To know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts expressed
Nothing is as terrible to see as ignorance in action.
A life without love, without the presence of the beloved, is nothing but a mere magic-latern show. We draw out slide after slide, swiftly tiring of each, and pushing it back to make haste for the next.
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
Talents are best nurtured in solitude character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.
A noble person attracts noble people, and knows how to hold on to them.
A clever man commits no minor blunders.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.
Knowing is not enough we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do.
Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.
Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error.
We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves otherwise we harden.
No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he misunderstood others.
Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
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.
Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.
Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.
How can you come to know yourself Never by thinking, always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to.
Beware of dissipating your powers strive constantly to concentrate them. Genius thinks it can do whatever it sees others doing, but is sure to repent of every ill-judged outlay.
Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.
Men show their characters in nothing more clearly than in what they think laughable.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.
If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state.
There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.
There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.
So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else.
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