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JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
German poet
(1749 - 1832)
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People are always talking about originality; but what do they mean? As soon as we are born, the world begins to work upon us; and this goes on to the end. And after all, what can we call our own, except energy, strength, and will? If I could give an account of all that I owe to great predecessors and contemporaries, there would be but a small balance in my favor.
      - [Originality]

People may live as much retired from the world as they please; but sooner or later, before they are aware, they will find themselves debtor or creditor to somebody.
      - [Dependence]

Piety is not an end, but a means of attaining the highest degree of culture by perfect peace of mind. Hence it is to be observed that those who make piety an end and aim in itself for the most part become hypocrites.
      - [Piety]

Plunge boldly into the thick of life! each lives it; not to many is it known; and seize, it where you will, it is interesting.
      - [Life]

Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.
      - [Progress]

Properly speaking, we learn from those books only that we cannot judge. The author of a book that I am competent to criticise would have to learn from me.
      - [Books]

Prudent and active men, who know their strength and use it with limit and circumspection, alone go far in the affairs of the world.
      - [Prudence]

Rash combat oft immortalizes man; if he should fall, he is renowned in song; but after-ages reckon not the ceaseless tears which the forsaken woman sheds. Poets tell us not of the many nights consumed in weeping, or of the dreary days wherein her anguished soul vainly yearns to call her loved one back.
      - [Fame : Sorrow]

Rash, inexperienced youth holds itself a chosen instrument, and allows itself unbounded license.
      - [Youth]

Reality surpasses imagination; and we see, breathing, brightening, and moving before our eyes sights dearer to our hearts than any we ever beheld in the land of sleep.
      - [Reality]

Reasonable men are the best dictionaries of conversation.
      - [Conversation]

Religion is not in want of art; it rests on its own majesty.
      - [Religion]

Riches amassed in haste will diminish; but those collected by hand and little by little will multiply.
      - [Riches]

Sceptics are yet the most credulous.
      - [Skepticism]

Self-love exaggerates our faults as well as our virtues.
      - [Self-love]

Shakespeare is a great psychologist, and whatever can be known of the heart of man may be found in his plays.
      - [Shakespeare]

Shakespeare is dangerous to young poets; they cannot but reproduce him, while they fancy that they produce themselves.
      - [Shakespeare]

Sin writes histories, goodness is silent.
  [Ger., Das Uebel macht eine Geschichte und das Gute keine.]
      - [History : Sin]

Smoothly and lightly the golden seed by the furrow is covered.
      - [Agriculture]

So then the year is repeating its old story again. We are come once more, thank God! to its most charming chapter. The violets and the Mayflowers are as its inscriptions or vignettes. It always makes a pleasant impression on us, when we open again at these pages of the book of life.
      - [Spring]

Some of our weaknesses are born in us, others are the result of education; it is a question which of the two gives us most trouble.
      - [Weakness]

Sound and sufficient reason falls, after all, to the share of but few men, and those few men exert their influence in silence.
      - [Reason]

Superstition is part of the poetry of life.
      - [Superstition]

Superstition is the poesy of practical life; hence, a poet is none the worse for being superstitious.
      - [Superstition]

Superstition is the poetry of life. It is inherent in man's nature; and when we think it is wholly eradicated, it takes refuge in the strangest holes and corners, whence it peeps out all at once, as soon as it can do it with safety.
      - [Superstition]


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