How many kings are governed by their ministers, how many ministers by their secretaries? Who, in such cases, is really the chief?
No one is willing to believe that adults too, like children, wander about this earth in a daze and, like children, do not know where they come from or where they are going, act as rarely as they do according to genuine motives, and are as thoroughly governed as they are by biscuits and cake and the rod.
All theory is gray, my friend. But forever green is the tree of life.
How often do I lull my seething blood to rest, for you have never seen anything so unsteady, so uncertain, as this heart.
So the restless traveler long at last for his native soil, finds his cottage in the arms of his wife, in the affection of his children, labor necessary for their support, all the happiness which he sought in vain the wild world
Did we force ourselves on you, or you on us?
I am amazed to see how deliberately I have entangled myself step by step. To have seen my position so clearly, and yet to have acted so like a child!
Sometimes I don't understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her!
Everything transitory is but an image.
I am contented, happy, and consequently a bad historian.
The affairs of the world are no more than so much trickery, and a man who toils for money or honour or whatever else in deference to the wishes of others, rather than because his own desire or needs lead him to do so, will always be a fool.
God help us -- for art is long, and life so short.
I examine my own being, and find there a world, but a world rather of imagination and dim desires, than of distinctness and living power. Then everything swims before my senses, and I smile and dream while pursuing my way through the world.
The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.
I am not omniscient, but I know a lot.
I treat my heart like a sick child and gratify its every fancy
The suffering may be moral or physical; and in my opinion it is just as absurd to call a man a coward who destroys himself, as to call a man a coward who dies of a malignant fever.
I nothing had, and yet enough for youth--Joy in Illusion, ardent thirst for Truth. Give unrestrained, the old emotion, The bliss that touched the verge of pain, The strength of Hate, Love's deep devotion,--O, give me back my youth again!
We often feel that we lack something, and seem to see that very quality in someone else, promptly attributing all our own qualities to him too, and a kind of ideal contentment as well. And so the happy mortal is a model of complete perfection--which we have ourselves created.
There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few priveledged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.
I was oppressed with the sensations I then felt; I sunk under the weight of them.
Weary of liberty, he suffered himself to be saddled and bridled, and was ridden to death for his pains.
What I possess, seems far away to me, and what is gone becomes reality.
In happy ignorance, I sighed for a world I did not know, where I hoped to find every pleasure and enjoyment which my heart could desire; and now, on my return from that wide world... how many disappointed hopes and unsuccessful plans have I brought back!
What a torment it is to see so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, and yet not dare to lay hold of it!
What matters creative endless toil, When, at a snatch, oblivion ends the coil?
In this world one is seldom reduced to make a selection between two alternatives. There are as many varieties of conduct and opinion as there are turns of feature between an aquiline nose and a flat one.
What is the destiny of man, but to fill up the measure of his sufferings, and to drink his allotted cup of bitterness?
When scholars study a thing, they strive to kill it first, if it's alive; then they have the parts and the'be lost the whole, for the link that's missing was the living soul.
More Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotations (Based on Topics)
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More Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Sorrows of Young Werther
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - William Somerville - Sophocles - Ovid - Hesiod - Euripides - Elizabeth Bishop - Edward Young - Amy Lowell - A. E. Housman