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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

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When young, one is confident to be able to build palaces for mankind, but when the time comes one has one's hands full just to be able to remove their trash.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Letter to Johann Kaspar Lavatar, 1780)
None but the lonely heart
Knows what I suffer!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 1795 - 1796)
What wise or stupid thing can man conceive
That was not thought of in ages long ago?
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust - Part II, 1832)
If any one asks me for good advice, I say I will give it, but only on condition that you promise me not to take it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There is nothing worth thinking but it has been thought before; we must only try to think it again.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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 (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
Someone criticized an elderly man for wooing young women. He replied that that was the only way to rejuvenation, which was, after all, everybody's wish.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Elective Affinities, 1809)
There are people who make no mistakes because they never wish to do anything worth doing.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
In politics people throw themselves, as on a sickbed, from one side to the other in the belief they will lie more comfortably.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Conversation with Friedrich von Müller, 1825)
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.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
We don't get to know people when they come to us; we have to go to them so as to learn what they are like.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Elective Affinities, 1809)
The history of knowledge is a great fugue in which the voices of the nations one after the other emerge.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
Certain faults are necessary for the existence of the individual. We would resent it if old friends were to get rid of certain peculiarities.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Elective Affinities, 1809)
It is difficult to know how to treat the errors of the age. If a man oppose them, he stands alone; if he surrender to them, they bring him neither joy nor credit.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
That we understand something perfectly, that we accomplish something better than anyone else around us, that is what matters.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
So as to comprehend that the sky is blue everywhere one doesn't need to travel around the world.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, 1829)
Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others,
And in their pleasure takes joy, even as though it were his own.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 1795 - 1796)
Very few people love others for what they are; rather, they love what they lend them, their own selves, their own idea of them.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Conversation with Friedrich Wilhelm Rieder)
Man is born, not to solve the problems of the universe, but to find out where the problem applies, and then to restrain himself within the limits of the comprehensible. 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Our passions are, in truth, like the phoenix. When the old one burns away, the new one rises out of its ashes at once.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
Ingratitude is always a kind of weakness. I have never known men of ability to be ungrateful.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
Of freedom and of life he only is deserving
Who every day must conquer them anew.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust - Part II, 1832)
How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, 1829)
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There is no surer way of evading the world than by Art; and no surer way of uniting with it than by Art.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
I come more and more to the conclusion that one must take the side of the minority which is always the more intelligent one.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Conversation with Friedrich von Müller, 1828)
Error is related to truth as sleep to waking. I have observed that on awakening from error a man turns again to truth as with new vigour.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
All extraordinary men, who have accomplished great and astonishing actions, have ever been decried by the world as drunken or insane.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774)
We are fond of looking to the future, because our secret wishes make us apt to turn in our favour the uncertainties which move about in it hither and thither.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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Goethe Biography

Born: August 28, 1749
Died: March 22, 1832

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German polymath. He was successful as an writer, dramatist, novelist, poet and scientist. He has had an great influence throughout Europe.

Top 10 Quotes
Notable Works
Goetz von Berlichingen (1773)
The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)
Iphigenia in Tauris (1779)
Egmont (1788)
Metamorphosis of Plants (1790)
Faust: Part I (1808)
Elective Affinities (1809)
Maxims and Reflections (1819)
Faust: Part II (1832)
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