Goethe Quotations


All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is still my own.

A wife is a gift bestowed upon man to reconcile him to the loss of paradise.

Because everyone uses language to talk, everyone thinks he can talk about language.

Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his image.

Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.

Everything which is properly business we must keep carefully separate from life. Business requires earnestness and method; life must have a freer handling.

He alone deserves liberty and life who daily must win them anew.

In all things it is better to hope than to despair.

In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm. In the real world, all rests on perseverance.

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.

It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.

It never occurs to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.

I will not be as those who spend the day in complaining of headache, and the night in drinking the wine that gives it.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Understanding is not enough; we must do. Knowing and understanding in action make for honor. And honor is the heart of wisdom.

Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them they translate into their own language and forthwith it is something entirely different.

Men are so constituted that everybody undertakes what he sees another successful in, whether he has aptitude for it or not.

My friend, all theory is gray and the golden tree of life is green.

One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.

Since Time is not a person we can overtake when he is gone, let us honor him with mirth and cheerfulness of heart while he is passing.

Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded.

The coward threatens when he is safe.

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man almost nothing.

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.

The public wishes itself to be managed like a woman; one must say nothing to it except what it likes to hear.

There would be little left of me if I were to discard all of what I owe to others.

The sum which two married people owe to one another defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through eternity.

The work of art may have a moral effect, but to demand moral purpose from the artist is to make him ruin his work.

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.

We can offer up much in the large, but to make sacrifices in little things is what we are seldom equal to.

We do not learn to know men through their coming to us. To find out what sort of people they are, we must go to them.

We know accurately only when we know little. With knowledge, doubt increases.

What is life without the glow of love?

When ideas fail, words come in very handy.