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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)


MY mother told me that, shortly before I was born, she had a great desire for a beautiful apple in a stranger’s garden, but would not take it for fear her child might become a thief. All my life have I had a secret desire after beautiful apples, but always combined with respect for the property of others and a horror of theft.

I am the most peaceable of mortals. My wishes are: A modest dwelling, a thatched roof, but a good bed, good fare, milk and butter (the latter very fresh), flowers at the window, and a few fine trees before my gate. And if the Lord would fill the cup of my happiness, He would let me live to see the day when six or seven of my enemies are hung on the trees. With softened heart I would then forgive them all the evil they have done me. Yes, one must forgive one’s enemies, but not before they are hung.

A. If I were of the race of Christ, I should boast of it, and not be ashamed.

B. So would I, if Christ were the only member of the race. But so many miserable scamps belong to it that one hesitates to acknowledge the relationship.

Gervinus, the literary historian, set himself the following problem: To repeat in a long and witless book what Heinrich Heine said in a short and witty one. He solved the problem.

Servants who have no master are not therefore free men; servility is in the soul.

It seems to be the mission of the Germans who live in Paris to keep me from being homesick.

De mortuis nil nisi bene. One should speak only evil of the living.

Wise men discover new ideas, and fools spread them.