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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.

Jean Paul

A circumnavigator of the globe is less influenced by all the nations he has seen than by his nurse.

A flute lay side by side with Frederick the Great’s baton of command.

A small sorrow distracts us, a great one makes us collected.

All strength lies within, not without.

Among nations the head has always preceded the heart by centuries.

Animals can enjoy, but only men can be cheerful.

Art is not the bread indeed, but it is the wine of life.

Blessedness is a whole eternity older than damnation.

Brevity is the body and soul of wit.

Cares are often more difficult to throw off than sorrows; the latter die with time, the former grow with it.

Charms which, like flowers, lie on the surface and always glitter, easily produce vanity; whereas other excellences, which lie deep like gold and are discovered with difficulty, leave their possessors modest and proud.

Cheerfulness is the heaven under which everything but poison thrives.

Cheerfulness opens, like spring, all the blossoms of the inward man.

Children have scarcely any other fear than that produced by strangeness.

Clouds are the veil behind which the face of day coquettishly hides itself, to enhance its beauty.

Courage consists not in blindly overlooking danger, but in meeting it with the eyes open.

Creation lies before us like a glorious rainbow; but the sun that made it lies behind us, hidden from us.

Criticism often takes from the tree caterpillars and blossoms together.

Das grosse unzerstörbare Wunder ist der Menschenglaube an Wunder—The great indestructible miracle is man’s faith in miracle.

Das Ideal in der Kunst, Grösse in Ruhe darzustellen, sei das Ideal auf dem Throne—Let the ideal in art, the representation of majesty in repose, be the ideal on the throne.

Death gives us sleep, eternal youth, and immortality.

Deliriums are dreams not rounded with a sleep.

Der Hauptfehler des Menschen bleibt, dass er so viele kleine hat—Man’s chief fault is ever that he has so many small ones.

Der Krieg ist die stärkende Eisenkur der Menschheit—War is the strengthening iron cure of humanity.

Despair is the only genuine atheism.

Despise anxiety and wishing, the past and the future.

Die Erinnerung ist das einzige / Paradies, aus dem wir nicht vertrieben werden kann—Remembrance is the only paradise from which we cannot be driven.

Die Mütter geben uns von Geiste Wärme, und die Väter Licht—Our mothers give to our spirit heat, our fathers light.

Die Weiber lieben die Stärke ohne sie nachzuahmen; die Männer die Zartheit, ohne sie zu erwiedern—Women admire strength without affecting it; men delicacy without returning it.

Die Weiber meiden nichts so sehr als das Wörtchen Ja; wenigstens sagen sie es erst nach dem Nein—Women are shy of nothing so much as the little word “Yes;” at least they say it only after they have said “No.”

Each departed friend is a magnet that attracts us to the next world, and the old man lives among graves.

Education begins its work with the first breath of the child.

Ein langes Hoffen ist süsser, als ein kurzes Ueberraschen—A long hope is sweeter than a short surprise.

Empfindliche Ohren sind, bei Mädchen so gut als bei Pferden, gute Gesundheitszeichen—In maidens as well as in horses, sensitive ears are signs of good health.

Enjoyment soon wearies both itself and us; effort, never.

Ernste Thätigkeit söhnt zuletzt immer mit dem Leben aus—Earnest activity always reconciles us with life in the end.

Every age regards the dawning of new light as the destroying fire of morality; while that very age itself, with heart uninjured, finds itself raised one degree of light above the preceding.

Every being is a moving temple of the Infinite.

Every brave life out of the past does not appear to us so brave as it really was, for the forms of terror with which it wrestled are now overthrown.

Every friend is to the other a sun and a sunflower also; he attracts and follows.

Every genius has most power in his own language, and every heart in its own religion.

Every man deems that he has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest to bear; but they are so because they are the very ones he needs.

Every unpleasant feeling is a sign that I have become untrue to my resolutions.

Everything holy is before what is unholy; guilt presupposes innocence, not the reverse; angels, but not fallen ones, were created.

Expect injuries; for men are weak, and thou thyself doest such too often.

Fancy rules over two-thirds of the universe, the past and the future, while reality is confined to the present.

Feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and farewell; like the glaciers, which are transparent and rose-hued only at sunrise and sunset, but throughout the day grey and cold.

Feelings come and go like light troops following the victory of the present; but principles, like troops of the line, are undisturbed, and stand fast.

Feelings, like flowers and butterflies, last longer the later they are delayed.

Fern von Menschen wachsen Grundsätze; unter ihnen Handlungen—Principles develop themselves far from men; conduct develops among them.

Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm.

For virtue’s sake I am here; but if a man, for his task, forgets and sacrifices all, why shouldst not thou?

God is at once the great original I and Thou.

God is the light which, never seen itself, makes all things visible, and clothes itself in colours. Thine eye feels not its ray, but thine heart feels its warmth.

Good women grudge each other nothing, save only clothes, husbands, and flax.

Gott ist ein unaussprechlicher Seufzer, in Grunde der Seele gelegen—God is an unutterable sigh planted in the depth of the soul.

Gott müsst ihr im Herzen suchen und finden—Ye must seek and find God in the heart.

Gray hairs seem to my fancy like the light of a soft moon, silvering over the evening of life.

Great souls attract sorrows as mountains do storms. But the thunder-clouds break upon them, and they thus form a shelter for the plains around.

He who finds a God in the physical world will also find one in the moral, which is History.

He who gives up the smallest part of a secret has the rest no longer in his power.

He who mistrusts humanity is quite as often deceived as he who trusts men.

Hearts are flowers; they remain open to the softly falling dew, but shut up in the violent downpour of rain.

Hedgerows and Hercules-pillars, however perfect, are to be reprobated as soon as they diminish the free world of a future man.

Helpless mortal! Thine arm can destroy thousands at once, but cannot enclose even two of thy fellow-creatures at once in the embrace of love and sympathy.

Hope is the ruddy morning ray of joy, recollection is its golden tinge; but the latter is wont to sink amid the dews and dusky shades of twilight, and the bright blue day which the former promises breaks indeed, but in another world and with another sun.

How beautiful is death, seeing that we die in a world of life and of creation without end!

How is each of us so lonely in the wide bosom of the All?

How narrow our souls become when absorbed in any present good or ill! It is only the thought of the future that makes them great.

Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another.

I had rather dwell in the dim fog of superstition than in air ratified to nothing by the air-pump of unbelief.

I know only one thing sweeter than making a book, and that is to project one.

I love God and little children.

I would not for much that I had been born richer.

Idleness is many gathered miseries in one name.

If life, like the olive, is a bitter fruit, then grasp both with the press and they will yield the sweetest oil.

In fashionable circles general satire, which attacks the fault rather than the person, is unwelcome; while that which attacks the person and spares the fault is always acceptable.

In science the new is an advance; but in morals, as contradicting our inner ideals and historic idols, it is ever a retrogression.

In the childhood of nations speaking was singing; let this be repeated in the childhood of the individual.

In the spiritual world there is properly no in and no out.

In youth, one has tears without grief; in age, grief without tears.

Individuality is everywhere to be spared and respected, as the root of everything good.

It is easier to worship than to obey.

It is only reason that teaches silence. The heart teaches us to speak.

Joy descends gently upon us like the evening dew, and does not patter down like a hailstorm.

Joys are our wings, sorrows are our spurs.

Labour is the Lethe of both past and present.

Laughing cheerfulness throws the light of day on all the paths of life; sorrow is more confusing and distracting than so-called giddiness.

Let a woman once give you a task, and you are hers, heart and soul; all your care and trouble lend new charms to her for whose sake they are taken.

Let every minute be a full life to thee.

Letters that are warmly sealed are often coldly opened.

Liars act like the salt-miners; they undermine the truth, but leave just so much standing as is necessary to support the edifice.

Life is kindled only by life.

Life, like the water of the seas, freshens only when it ascends towards heaven.

Like a morning dream, life becomes more and more bright the longer we live, and the reason of everything appears more clear.

Little joys refresh us constantly, like house-bread, and never bring disgust; and great ones, like sugar-bread, briefly, and then with satiety.

Living religion grows not by the doctrines, but by the narratives of the Bible.

Long talking begets short hearing, for people go away.

Look upon every day, O youth, as the whole of life, not merely as a section, and enjoy the present without wishing, through haste, to spring on to another.

Love lessens the woman’s refinement and strengthens the man’s.

Love one human being with warmth and purity, and thou wilt love the world. The heart, in that celestial sphere of love, is like the sun in its course. From the drop on the rose to the ocean, all is for him a mirror, which he fills and brightens.

Love requires not so much proofs as expressions of love.

Love, like men, dies oftener of excess than hunger.

Luther’s words are half battles.

Man can only learn to rise from the consideration of that which he cannot surmount.

Man has two and a half minutes here below—one to smile, one to sigh, and half a one to love; for in the midst of this minute he dies.

Man, behind his everlasting blind, which he only colours differently, and makes no thinner, carries his pride with him from one step to another, and on the higher step blames only the pride of the lower.

Man’s grand fault is, and remains, that he has so many small ones.

Many flowers open to the sun, but only one follows him constantly. Heart, be thou the sunflower, not only open to receive God’s blessing, but constant in looking to Him.

Mehr Leute beten die aufgehende, als die untergehende Sonne an—More people pay homage to the rising than to the setting sun.

Memory (Erinnerung) is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven.

Men and cucumbers are worth nothing as soon as they are ripe.

Men are readier to forgive calumny than admonition (Ermahnung).

Men find it more easy to flatter than to praise.

Men love things best; women love persons best.

Men, elevated above all states, are now the educators of states—dead men, for instance, like Plato.

Men, like bullets, go farthest when they are smoothest.

Music is an invisible dance, as dancing is a silent music.

Music is the only one of the fine arts in which not only man, but all other animals, have a common property.

Nations and men are only the best when they are the gladdest, and deserve heaven when they enjoy it.

Nature forces on our heart a Creator; history, a Providence.

Nature has directly formed woman to be a mother, only indirectly to be a wife; man, on the contrary, is rather made to be a husband than a father.

Nature sent women into the world that they might be mothers and love children, to whom sacrifices must ever be offered, and from whom none can be obtained.

Night! that great shadow and profile of the day.

No author can be as moral as his works, as no preacher is as pious as his sermons.

No golden age ever called itself golden, but only expected one.

No heroine can create a hero through love of one, but she may give birth to one.

No man needs money so much as he who despises it.

No one can teach religion who has it not.

No one is more profoundly sad than he who laughs too much.

No one would respect thee in a beggar’s coat. What is the respect paid to woollen cloth, not to thee?

No rest is worth anything except the rest that is earned.

Nothing makes love sweeter and tenderer than a little previous scolding and freezing, just as the grape-clusters acquire by a frost before vintage thinner skins and better flavour.

O banish the tears of children! Continual rains upon the blossoms are hurtful.

O das Leben ist ein langer, langer Seufzer vor dem Ausgehen des Athmens—Oh, life is a long, long sigh before emitting the breath.

O the wound of conscience is no scar, and Time cools it not with his wing, but merely keeps it open with his scythe.

O thou who hast still a father and a mother, thank God for it in the day when thy soul is full of joyful tears, and needs a bosom wherein to shed them.

Ohne eine Gottheit gibt’s für den Menschen weder Zweck, noch Ziel, noch Hoffnung, nur eine zitternde Zukunft, ein ewiges Bangen vor jeder Dunkelheit—Without a deity there is for man neither aim, nor goal, nor hope; only an ever-wavering future, and eternal anxiety in every moment of darkness.

Old age is sad (trübe), not because our joys, but because our hopes are cut short.

Old men’s lives are lengthened shadows; their evening sun falls coldly on the earth, but the shadows all point to the morning.

One learns taciturnity best among those people who have none, and loquacity among the taciturn.

One religion after another fades away; but the religious sense, which created them all, can never become dead to humanity.

One scream of fear from a mother may resound through the whole life of her daughter.

Only action gives life strength; only moderation gives it a charm.

Other exercises develop single powers and muscles, but dancing, like a corporeal poesy, embellishes, exercises, and equalises all the muscles at once.

Our feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell; like the glaciers, which are transparent and rosy-hued only at sunrise and sunset.

Our heavenward progress is something like that of the Jerusalem pilgrims of old, who for three steps forward took one backward.

Our present time is indeed a criticising and a critical time, hovering between the wish and the inability to believe.

Our sorrows are like thunder-clouds, which seem black in the distance, but grow lighter as they approach.

Our whole existence is passed into words, and words, by means of tongue and ears, pass so easily into the soul.

Paradise is always where love dwells.

Passion drives the man, passions the woman; him a stream, her the winds.

Passion makes the best observations and the sorriest conclusions.

Peevishness covers with its dark fog even the most distant horizon.

Place moral heroes in the field, and heroines will follow them as brides.

Play, that is, activity, not pleasures, will keep children cheerful.

Pleasure soon exhausts us, and itself also but endeavour never does.

Poetry incorporates those spirits which, like angels, can never assume the body of an outward act; and sheds the perfume of those flowers which spring up but never bear any seed.

Poverty is but as the pain of piercing the ears of a maiden, and you hang jewels in the wound.

Poverty is the only load which is the heavier the more loved ones there are to assist in supporting it.

Power cannot have too gentle an expression.

Prayer purifies; it is a self-preached sermon.

Pure love cannot merely do all, but is all.

Reason teaches us to be silent; the heart teaches us to speak.

Remembrance (Erinnerung) is the only Paradise from which we cannot be driven.

Ripening love is the stillest; the shady flowers in this spring, as in the other, shun sunlight.

Say not, We will suffer, for that ye must: say rather, We will act, for that ye must not—(i.e., we are compelled to do the one, but not the other).

Sensitive ears are good signs of health in girls as in horses.

Since the invention of printing no state can now any longer be formed purely, slowly, and by degrees from itself.

Sleep, the antechamber of the grave.

Sorrow of spirit (like Night among the Greeks) is the mother of gods.

Sorrow seems sent for our instruction, as we darken the cages of birds when we would teach them to sing.

Sorrows are like thunder-clouds,—in the distance they look black, over our heads hardly gray.

Strong characters are brought out by change of situation, gentle ones by permanence.

Tears of joy are the dew in which the sun of righteousness is mirrored.

That which produces and maintains cheerfulness is nothing but activity.

That woman is despicable who, having children, ever feels ennui.

The ancient Spartan custom of killing weak-bodied children is not much crueller than that of propagating weak-minded ones.

The animal is capable of enjoyment, only man is capable of serenity of mind and gladness of heart.

The burst of new light, by its suddenness, always appears inimical to the unprepared heart.

The canary-bird sings the sweeter the longer it has been trained in a darkened cage.

The cancer of jealousy on the breast can never wholly be cut out, if I am to believe great masters of the healing art.

The child is not to be educated for the present, but for the remote future, and often in opposition to the immediate future.

The echo of the nest-life, the voice of our modest, fairer, holier soul, is audible only in a sorrow-darkened bosom, as the nightingales warble when one veils their cage.

The end we aim at must be known before the way.

The feelings, like flowers and butterflies, last longer the later they are delayed.

The greatest hatred, like the greatest virtue and the worst dogs, is quiet.

The greatest of heroic deeds are those which are performed within four walls and in domestic privacy.

The heart needs not for its heaven much space, nor many stars therein, if only the star of love has arisen.

The intolerant man is the real pedant.

The last, best fruit which comes to late perfection, even in the kindliest soul, is tenderness toward the hard, forbearance toward the unforbearing, warmth of heart toward the cold, philanthropy toward the misanthropic.

The limbs of my buried ones touched cold on my soul and drove away its blots, as dead hands heal eruptions of the skin.

The loftiest mortal loves and seeks the same sort of things with the meanest, only from higher grounds and by higher paths.

The look of a king is itself a deed.

The man comes before the citizen, and our future is greater than both.

The man whom grown-up people love, children love still more.

The morality of girls is custom, not principle.

The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.

The more weakness, the more falsehood; strength goes straight; every cannon-ball that has in it hollows and holes goes crooked. Weaklings must lie.

The most enthusiastic mystics were women.

The most important moment in man’s life is certainly not the last.

The only medicine which does women more good than harm is dress.

The past and future are veiled; but the past wears the widow’s veil, the future the virgin’s.

The prisoner’s allowance is bread and water, but I had only the latter.In his days of poverty.

The purer the golden vessel the more readily is it bent; the higher worth of women is sooner lost than that of men.

The sublime is the temple-step of religion, as the stars are of immeasurable space. When what is mighty appears in nature—a storm, thunder, the starry firmament, death—then utter the word “God” before the child. A great misfortune, a great blessing, a great crime, a noble action, are building-sites for a child’s church.

The tear of joy is a pearl of the first water; the mourning tear, only of the second.

The timid are in fear before danger, the cowardly in danger, and the courageous after danger.

The true ladder of heaven has no steps.

The whole world of truth and conscience is nothing without I.

The wise man expects everything from himself; the fool looks to others.

The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity.

The youth of the soul is everlasting, and eternity is youth.

There are in man, in the beginning / And at the end, two blank book-binder’s leaves—childhood and age.

There are souls which fall from heaven like flowers; but ere the pure and fresh buds can open, they are trodden in the dust of the earth, and lie soiled and crushed under the foul tread of some brutal hoof.

There is a certain noble pride through which merits shine brighter than through modesty.

There is a long and wearisome step between admiration and imitation.

There must first be seducing men before seduced women.

Time is a continual over-dropping of moments, which fall down one upon the other and evaporate.

Time is the chrysalis of eternity.

Time, which deadens hatred, secretly strengthens love; and in the hour of threatened separation its growth is manifested at once in radiant brightness.

To die for truth is not to die for one’s country but to die for the world.

To elevate above the spirit of the age must be regarded as the end of education.

To love all mankind, from the greatest to the lowest, a cheerful state of being is required; but in order to see into mankind, into life, and still more into ourselves, suffering is requisite.

To love early and marry late is to hear a lark singing at dawn, and at night to eat it roasted for supper.

To prove, as to doubt, the existence of God, is to prove or doubt the existence of existence.

To rescue, to avenge, to instruct, or protect a woman is all the same as to love her.

Unhappy is the man for whom his own mother has not made all mothers venerable.

Universal love is a glove without fingers, which fits all hands alike, and none closely; but true affection is like a glove with fingers, which fits one hand only, and sits close to that one.

Variety of mere nothings gives more pleasure than uniformity of somethings.

We could not endure solitude, were it not for the powerful companionship of hope, or of some unseen one.

We darken the cages of birds when we would teach them to sing.

We find God twice—once within, once without us; within us as an eye, without us as a light.

Weighty things are done in solitude, that is, without society. The means of improvement consist not in projects, or in any violent designs, for these cool, and cool very soon, but in patient practising for whole long days, by which I make the thing clear to my highest reason.

What boots the hero-arm without a hero-eye?

What makes old age so sad is, not that our joys, but that our hopes then cease.

When a man is treated with solemnity, he looks upon himself as a higher being, and goes through his solemn feasts devoutly.

When the heart of a man is sincere and tranquil, he is fain to enjoy nothing but himself; every movement, even corporeal movement, shakes the brimming nectar cup too rudely.

When, in your last hour (think of this), all faculty in the broken spirit shall fade away and sink into inanity—imagination, thought, effort, enjoyment—then will the flower of belief, which blossoms even in the night, remain to refresh you with its fragrance in the last darkness.

Whoever can turn his weeping eyes to heaven has lost nothing, for there above is everything he can wish for here below. He only is a loser who persists in looking down on the narrow plains of the present time.

Why is it that Love must so often sigh in vain for an object, and Hate never?

Without a God there is for man neither purpose, nor goal, nor hope, only a wavering future, an eternal dread of every darkness.

Without wonder there is no faith.

Woman, in accordance with her unbroken, clear-seeing nature, loses herself, and what she has of heart and happiness, in the object she loves.

Woman’s virtue is the music of stringed instruments, which sound best in a room; but man’s that of wind instruments, which sound best in the open air.

Women always show more taste in adorning others than themselves; and the reason is, that their persons are like their hearts—they read another’s better than they can their own.

Women and men of retiring timidity are cowardly only in dangers which affect themselves, but the first to rescue when others are endangered.

Women, though they have the warmest hearts, are no citizens of the world, scarcely citizens of a town or a village, but only of their own home.

You must seek and find God in the heart.

You wish, O woman, to be ardently loved, and for ever, even until death, be thou the mother of your children.