Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

A clever man commits no minor blunders.

A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss.

A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.

A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.

A noble person attracts noble people, and knows how to hold on to them.

A person hears only what they understand.

A person places themselves on a level with the ones they praise.

A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.

A useless life is an early death.

Age merely shows what children we remain.

All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again.

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

All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

All things are only transitory.

An unused life is an early death.

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.

Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it.

Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent.

Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever.

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.

Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.

Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality.

Character develops itself in the stream of life.

Character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.

Character, in great and little things, means carrying through what you feel able to do.

Common sense is the genius of humanity.

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.

Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time.

Deeply earnest and thoughtful people stand on shaky footing with the public.

Destiny grants us our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us something beyond our wishes.

Devote each day to the object then in time and every evening will find something done.

Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.

Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.

Doubt grows with knowledge.

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.

Error is acceptable as long as we are young; but one must not drag it along into old age.

Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.

Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.

Every person above the ordinary has a certain mission that they are called to fulfill.

Every spoken word arouses our self-will.

Every step of life shows much caution is required.

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.

Everything in the world may be endured except continual prosperity.

Few people have the imagination for reality.

First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.

For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.

For just when ideas fail, a word comes in to save the situation.

Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.

Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be.

Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home.

Great thoughts and a pure heart, that is what we should ask from God.

Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.

Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate.

Hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.

He is dead in this world who has no belief in another.

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.

He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm.

He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.

He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.

He who has a task to perform must know how to take sides, or he is quite unworthy of it.

He who possesses art and science has religion; he who does not possess them, needs religion.

I call architecture frozen music.

I can tell you, honest friend, what to believe: believe life; it teaches better that book or orator.

I do not know myself, and God forbid that I should.

I love those who yearn for the impossible.

I never knew a more presumptuous person than myself. The fact that I say that shows that what I say is true.

I think that I am better than the people who are trying to reform me.

I will listen to anyone’s convictions, but pray keep your doubts to yourself.

If a man or woman is born ten years sooner or later, their whole aspect and performance shall be different.

If a man writes a book, let him set down only what he knows. I have guesses enough of my own.

If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.

If I love you, what business is it of yours?

If you modestly enjoy your fame you are not unworthy to rank with the holy.

If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.

If you start to think of your physical and moral condition, you usually find that you are sick.

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.

If your treat an individual… as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.

Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.

In art the best is good enough.

In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.

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

It is after all the greatest art to limit and isolate oneself.

It is better to be deceived by one’s friends than to deceive them.

It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself.

It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.

It is the strange fate of man, that even in the greatest of evils the fear of the worst continues to haunt him.

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

Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

Know thyself? If I knew myself I would run away.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.

Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.

Life is the childhood of our immortality.

Live dangerously and you live right.

Love and desire are the spirit’s wings to great deeds.

Love can do much, but duty more.

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.

Mastery passes often for egotism.

Men show their character in nothing more clearly than what they think laughable.

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.

Mysteries are not necessarily miracles.

Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.

No one has ever learned fully to know themselves.

No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Nothing is more fearful than imagination without taste.

Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.

Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day.

Nothing is worth more than this day.

Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.

Objects in pictures should so be arranged as by their very position to tell their own story.

On all the peaks lies peace.

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.

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

One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best.

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.

Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.

Passions are vices or virtues to their highest powers.

Personality is everything in art and poetry.

Piety is not a goal but a means to attain through the purest peace of mind the highest culture.

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.

Precaution is better than cure.

Science arose from poetry… when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.

Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men.

Sowing is not as difficult as reaping.

Superstition is the poetry of life.

Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.

Talk well of the absent whenever you have the opportunity.

The artist alone sees spirits. But after he has told of their appearing to him, everybody sees them.

The best government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves.

The biggest problem with every art is by the use of appearance to create a loftier reality.

The Christian religion, though scattered and abroad will in the end gather itself together at the foot of the cross.

The coward only threatens when he is safe.

The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals and never to the age.

The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.

The deed is everything, the glory is naught.

The formation of one’s character ought to be everyone’s chief aim.

The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.

The human mind will not be confined to any limits.

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.

The little man is still a man.

The man who occupies the first place seldom plays the principal part.

The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.

The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art.

The most happy man is he who knows how to bring into relation the end and beginning of his life.

The people who are absent are the ideal; those who are present seem to be quite commonplace.

The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.

The right man is the one who seizes the moment.

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.

The unnatural, that too is natural.

The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.

The world remains ever the same.

There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From its springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.

There is nothing in the world more shameful than establishing one’s self on lies and fables.

There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at.

There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on the point of view.

There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.

This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew.

Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this.

To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us.

To create something you must be something.

To hard necessity ones will and fancy must conform.

To rule is easy, to govern difficult.

To the person with a firm purpose all men and things are servants.

To witness two lovers is a spectacle for the gods.

Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

Unlike grown ups, children have little need to deceive themselves.

Upon the creatures we have made, we are, ourselves, at last, dependent.

We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright.

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.

We are never further from what we wish than when we believe that we have what we wished for.

We can’t form our children on our own concepts; we must take them and love them as God gives them to us.

We cannot fashion our children after our desires, we must have them and love them as God has given them to us.

We don’t get to know people when they come to us; we must go to them to find out what they are like.

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

We usually lose today, because there has been a yesterday, and tomorrow is coming.

We will burn that bridge when we come to it.

What by a straight path cannot be reached by crooked ways is never won.

What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.

What is my life if I am no longer useful to others.

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.

What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.

What life half gives a man, posterity gives entirely.

Whatever you cannot understand, you cannot possess.

When ideas fail, words come in very handy.

Where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is?

Which government is the best? The one that teaches us to govern ourselves.

Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to their own advantage in all that happens to them.

Who is the wisest man? He who neither knows or wishes for anything else than what happens.

Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one.

Wisdom is found only in truth.

Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it; and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.

Published by

Quote Authors

The smart quote finder.