Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

That is the true season of love, when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will love in the same way after us.

So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else.

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.

When ideas fail, words come in very handy.

The phrases that men hear or repeat continually, end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence.

He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing. Let him not be troubled by what seems absurd, but concentrate his energies to the creation of what is good. He must not demolish, but build. He must raise temples where mankind may come and partake of the purest pleasure.

When an idea is wanting, a word can always be found to take its place.

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.

Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.

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

Only learn to seize good fortune, for good fortune is always here.

There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.

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

Everything in the world may be endured, except continual prosperity.

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

Man is not born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out what he has to do; and to restrain himself within the limits of his comprehension.

Anecdotes and maxims are rich treasures to the man of the world, for he knows how to introduce the former at fit place in conversation.

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

To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state.

Live dangerously and you live right.

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.

What is not fully understood is not possessed.

If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain as he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought and could be.

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

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

How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking, always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to.

Viewed from the summit of reason, all life looks like a malignant disease and the world like a madhouse.

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities, but to know that there is someone who, though distant, thinks and feels with us -- this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.

Talents are best nurtured in solitude; but character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.

When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.

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 more frightful than ignorance in action.

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.

I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.

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

If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Whenever I hear people talking about "liberal ideas," I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions.

Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.

Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.

Beware of dissipating your powers; strive constantly to concentrate them. Genius thinks it can do whatever it sees others doing, but is sure to repent of every ill-judged outlay.

The society of women is the element of good manners.

I love the deep quiet in which I live and grow against the world and harvest what they cannot take from me by fire or sword.

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.

Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.

Age does not make us childish, as some say; it finds us true children.

A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.

I do not know everything; still many things I understand.

Nothing is worse than active ignorance.

Noble be man,Helpful and good!For that aloneSets him apartFrom every other creatureOn earth.

When you take a man as he is, you make him worse. When you take a man as he can be, you make him better.

The true, prescriptive artist strives after artistic truth; the lawless artist, following blind instinct, after an appearance of naturalness. The one leads to the highest peaks of art, the other to its lowest depths.

Reason can never be popular. Passions and feelings may become popular, but reason will always remain the sole property of a few eminent individuals.

You will always find [hatred] strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.

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

We only see what we know.

Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.

There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.

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

The best is the deep quiet in which I live and grow against the world, and harvest what they cannot take from me by fire and sword.

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.

What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Nothing is worth more than this day.

Whatever you can do or dream, begin it.

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth.

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

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