Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832 / Frankfurt am Main)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

  • ''If we could do away with death, we wouldn't object; to do away with capital punishment will be more difficult. Were that to happen, we would reinstate it from time to time.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, from Makarie's Archive (1829).
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  • ''As soon as you are in a social setting, you better take away the key to the lock of your heart and pocket it; those who leave the key in the lock are fools.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Letter, June 26, 1774, to Johann Kaspar Lavatar.
  • ''Thus one can observe that those who proclaim piety as their goal and purpose usually turn into hypocrites.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, Reflections in the Spirit of the Travellers (1829).
  • ''Error is acceptable as long as we are young; but one must not drag it along into old age.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, III, 1 (1821).
  • ''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 (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Letter, March 6, 1780, to Johann Kaspar Lavatar.
  • ''Whatever liberates our spirit, without also giving us mastery over ourselves, is destructive.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, Reflections in the Spirit of the Travellers (1829).
  • ''One doesn't look at a rainbow any longer that lasts a quarter of an hour.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, III, 1 (1821).
  • ''True works of art contain their own theory and give us the measurement according to which we should judge them.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Letter, November 14, 1808, to Johann Friedrich Cotta.
  • ''What is part of you, you cannot get rid of, even if you were to throw it away.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, from Makarie's Archive (1829).
  • ''The older I get the more I trust in the law according to which the rose and the lily bloom.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Letter, November 9, 1829, to Karl Friedrich Zelter.

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Best Poem of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Erl-King

1.
WHO rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."

"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My ...

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MY mistress, where sits she?

What is it that charms?
The absent she's rocking,

Held fast in her arms.

In pretty cage prison'd

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