Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

  • ''Normally, people believe that, if they hear just words, that these words must lead to some thought.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Mephistopheles, in Faust I, Witch's Kitchen scene (1808).
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  • ''Music is either sacred or secular. The sacred agrees with its dignity, and here has its greatest effect on life, an effect that remains the same through all ages and epochs. Secular music should be cheerful throughout.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, Reflections in the Spirit of the Travellers (1829).
  • ''Love, whose power youth feels, is not suitable for the elderly, just as little as anything that presupposes productivity. It is rare that productivity lasts through the years.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, VI, 1 (1827).
  • ''It would not be worth your while to reach the age of seventy if all the wisdom of the world were to be foolishness before God.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, from Makarie's Archive (1829).
  • ''The miller believes that all the wheat grows so that his mill keeps running.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, III (1821).
  • ''The most damaging prejudice consists of banning any kind of investigation of nature.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister's Travels, from Makarie's Archive (1829).
  • ''Certain books seem to have been written not for the purpose that we learn something from them but that we know that the author was a knowledgeable person.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, III, 1 (1821).
  • ''One criticizes the English for carrying their teapots wherever they go, even lugging them up Mount Etna. But doesn't every nation have its teapot, in which, even when traveling, it brews the dried bundles of herbs brought from home?''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Winckelmann, sect. "Strangers," (1805).
  • ''No wonder that all of us feel at home with mediocrity since it leaves us in peace; it gives us the comforting feeling as if one were in the company of one's equals.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, V, 3 (1826).
  • ''If we take people only as they are, then we make them worse; if we treat them as if they were what they should be, then we bring them to where they can be brought.''
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Natalie, in Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, bk. VIII, ch. 4 (1795-1796).

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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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