Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

(1729-1781 / Germany)

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Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (22 January 1729 – 15 February 1781) was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature. He is widely considered by theatre historians to be the first dramaturg.

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  • ''A single thankful thought towards heaven is the most perfect of all prayers.''
    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1881), German dramatist, critic. Fräulein, in Minna von Barnhelm, act 2, sc. 7 (1767).
  • ''The most deadly fruit is borne by the hatred which one grafts on an extinguished friendship.''
    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1881), German dramatist, critic. Philotas, in Philotas, act 3 (1759).
  • What education is to the individual man, revelation is to the human race. Education is revelation coming to the individual man, and revelation is education that has come, and is still coming to the hu...
    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), German playwright, philosopher. The Education of the Human Race, sec. 1-2, 18th Century Philosophy, p. 225, ed. ...
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Best Poem of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing


Der Weise sprach zu Alexandern.
'Dort, wo die lichten Welten wandern,
Ist manches Volk, ist manche Stadt.'
Was tut der Mann von tausend Siegen?
Die Memme weint, dass dort zu kriegen,
Der Himmel keine Bruecken hat.

Ists wahr, was ihn der Weise lehret,
Und finden, was zur Welt gehoeret,
Daselbst auch Wein und Maedchen statt:
So lasset, Brueder, Traenen fliessen,
Dass dort zu trinken und zu kuessen,
Der Himmel keine Bruecken hat.

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