Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

Nature spurts forth her creatures out of nothing, and tells them not whence they come and whither they go. They have only to go their way: she knows the path.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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 (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
If one has not read the newspapers for some months and then reads them all together, one sees, as one never saw before, how much time is wasted with this kind of literature.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Alas, I have studied philosophy, the law as well as medicine, and to my sorrow, theology; studied them well with ardent zeal, yet here I am, a wretched fool, no wiser than I was before.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust)
Me, surrender! At mercy! Whom do you speak with? Am I a robber! Tell your captain that for His Imperial Majesty, I have, as always, due respect. But he, tell him that, he can lick me in the arse!
Variant: He can lick my ass.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Goetz von Berlichingen, 1773)
All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts 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.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
We look back upon our life only as on a thing of broken pieces, because our misses and failures are always the first to strike us, and outweigh in our imagination what we have done and attained.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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 (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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, 1774)
All poetry is supposed to be instructive but in an unnoticeable manner; it is supposed to make us aware of what it would be valuable to instruct ourselves in; we must deduce the lesson on our own, just as with life.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Letter to Carl Friedrich Zelter, 1825)
To live in a great idea means to treat the impossible as though it were possible. It is just the same with a strong character; and when an idea and a character meet, things arise which fill the world with wonder for thousands of years.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
Fill your heart to overflowing, and when you feel profoundest bliss, then call it what you will: Good fortune! Heart! Love! or God! I have no name for it! Feeling is all; the name is sound and smoke, beclouding Heaven's glow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust)
The assault of our enemies is not part of our life; it is only part of our experience; we throw it off and guard ourselves against it as against frost, storm, rain, hail, or any other of the external evils which may be expected to happen.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774)
Know you the land where the lemon-trees bloom? In the dark foliage the gold oranges glow; a soft wind hovers from the sky, the myrtle is still and the laurel stands tall do you know it well? There, there, I would go, O my beloved, with thee!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 1795 - 1796)
Nature! We are surrounded by her and locked in her clasp: powerless to leave her, and powerless to come closer to her. Unasked and unwarned she takes us up into the whirl of her dance, and hurries on with us till we are weary and fall from her arms.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
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 (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
Everything perfect in its kind has to transcend its own kind, it must become something different and incomparable. In some notes the nightingale is still a bird; then it rises above its class and seems to suggest to every winged creature what singing is truly like.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Elective Affinities, 1809)
Nature is all things. She rewards herself and punishes herself; and in herself rejoices and is distressed. She is rough and gentle, loving and terrible, powerless and almighty. In her everything is always present. Past or Future she knows not. The Present is her Eternity.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
My heart's so heavy,
My heart's so sore,
How can ever my heart
Be at peace any more?
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust - Part I, 1808)
Is it so big a mystery
what god and man and world are?
No! but nobody knows how to solve it
so the mystery hangs on.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Venetian Epigrams, 1790)
Why go further and further,
Look, happiness is right here.
Learn how to grab hold of luck,
For luck is always there.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Remembrance, 1798)
Rest not! Life is sweeping by;
Go and dare before you die.
Something mighty and sublime
Leave behind to conquer time!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Haste Not, Rest Not)
He who possesses science and art,
Possesses religion as well;
He who possesses neither of these,
Had better have religion.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Gedichte)
Who never ate his bread in sorrow,
Who never spent the darksome hours
Weeping and watching for the morrow
He knows ye not, ye heavenly powers.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 1795 - 1796)
Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He holds the boy in the crook of his arm
He holds him safe, he keeps him warm.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Der Erlkönig, 1782)
The arrows of Love are various: some scratch us,
And our hearts suffer for years from their slow poison.
But others strong-feathered with freshly sharpened points
Pierce to the marrow, and quickly inflame the blood.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Roman Elegies, 1789)
Nature's crown is Love. Only through Love can we come near her. She puts gulfs between all things, and all things strive to be interfused. She isolates everything, that she may draw everything together. With a few draughts from the cup of Love she repays for a life full of trouble.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)
For thousands the world is a freak show, the images flicker past and disappear, the impressions remain flat and disconnected in the soul. Thus, they are easily led by the opinions of others, are willing to let their impressions be reordered, rearranged, and reevaluated.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Science helps us before all things in this, that it somewhat lightens the feeling of wonder with which Nature fills us; then, however, as life becomes more and more complex, it creates new facilities for the avoidance of what would do us harm and the promotion of what will do us good.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections, 1819)

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.

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)


Picture Quotes

Rest noy! Life is sweeping... Quote by Goethe
The whole are of living... Quote by Goethe Nature has neither kernel nor shell.. Quote by Goethe Love does not dominate.. Quote by Goethe

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