Top 50+Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes


Who is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, an eminent German writer and statesman, was born on the 28th August 1749 and died on the 22nd March 1832. His was a prolific writer, publishing works including novels, poetry, memoirs, social commentary and treatises on botany and anatomy. Not satisfied with this, he is known to have written over 10,000 letters and thousands of drawings, many of which survived to this day and that is why he is viewed by many as one of the greatest literary figures in modern Germany.

He was a popular writer by his mid-20s, due to his first novel being a big success. He became part of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar close circle, overseeing many administrative tasks including gardens and architecture of the palace. It is through this that his passion for botany developed.

During the 1790s and 1800s, Goethe published a second novel called Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, a poem called Hermann and Dorothea, as well as the first piece of his most celebrated work, Faust. Away from the creative arts, he published his first scientific piece in 1788 called the Metamorphosis of Plants.

Subsequent philosophers and writers all refer to Goethe as an icon of the literary world and his letters and work with a variety of contemporaries show just how well thought of he was, both in his own time and subsequent years.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

1. “It is only necessary to grow old to become more charitable and even indulgent. I see no fault committed by others that I have not committed myself.”
2. “Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to their own advantage in all that happens to them.”
3. “The greatest difficulties lie where we are not looking for them.”
4. “How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then you shall know what is in thee.”
5. “Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.”
6. “We will burn that bridge when we come to it.”
7. “Then indecision brings its own delays, And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days. Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.”
8. “The deed is everything, the glory is naught.”
9. “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
10. “Talk well of the absent whenever you have the opportunity.”
11. “The people who are absent are the ideal; those who are present seem to be quite commonplace.”
12. “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
13. “What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.”
14. “The older we get the more we must limit ourselves if we wish to be active.”
15. “Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
16. “How can we know ourselves? Never by reflection, but only through action. Begin at once to do your duty and immediately you will know what is inside you.”
17. “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”
18. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
19. “When all is said the greatest action is to limit and isolate one’s self.”
20. “Man’s greatest achievement is astonishment.”
21. “For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.”
22. “Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.”
23. “Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.”
24. “Wisdom is found only in truth.”
25. “People are so constituted that everybody would rather undertake what they see others do, whether they have an aptitude for it or not.”
26. “The really unhappy person is the one who leaves undone what they can do, and starts doing what they don’t understand; no wonder they come to grief.”
27. “Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters. This is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting.”
28. “Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.”
29. “One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.”
30. “To rule is easy, to govern difficult.”
31. “The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.”
32. “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”
33. “The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art.”
34. “Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever.”
35. “Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.”
36. “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”
37. “Love and desire are the spirit’s wings to great deeds.”
38. “All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again.”
39. “Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”
40. “In art the best is good enough.”
41. “Personality is everything in art and poetry.”
42. “Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.”
43. “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.”
44. “We must not take the faults of our youth with us into old age, for age brings along its own defects.”
45. “Rejoice that you have still have a long time to live, before the thought comes to you that there is nothing more in the world to see.”
46. “They teach in academies far too many things, and far too much that is useless.”
47. “Enjoy what you can, endure what you must”
48. “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
49. “Then indecision brings its own delays,And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
50. “Doubt grows with knowledge.”
51. “Doubt can only be removed by action.”
52. “Love can do much, but duty more.”
53. “If each one does their duty as an individual and if each one works in their own proper vocation, it will be right with the whole.”
54. “It is only in misery that we recognize the hand of God leading good men to good.”
55. “Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.”
56. “Every offense is avenged on earth.”
57. “What is hardest of all? That which seems most simple: to see with your eyes what is before your eyes”
58. “What makes people happy is activity; changing evil itself into good by power, working in a God like manner.”
59. “Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.”
60. “A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.”


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