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Quotes of the day: Heinrich Heine

Published Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 5:01 PM EST
Feb 16 2015

Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (December 13, 1797 - February 17, 1856) was a German poet, journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder (art songs) by composers such as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. Heine's later verse and prose are distinguished by their satirical wit and irony. His radical political views led to many of his works being banned by German authorities. Heine spent the last 25 years of his life as an expatriate in Paris. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


At first I was almost about to despair, I thought I never could bear it- but I did I bear it. The question remains: how?

Great genius takes shape by contact with another great genius, but less by assimilation than by friction.

He only profits from praise who values criticism.

If one has no heart, one cannot write for the masses.

If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world.

Mark this well, you proud men of action: You are nothing but the unwitting agents of the men of thought who often, in quiet self- effacement, mark out most exactly all your doings in advance.

Of course God will forgive me; that's his business.

One must, it is true, forgive one's enemies- but not before they have been hanged.

One should forgive one's enemies, but not before they are hanged.

Ordinarily he is insane, but he has lucid moments when he is only stupid.

People in those old times had convictions; we moderns only have opinions. And it needs more than a mere opinion to erect a Gothic cathedral.

The arrow belongs not to the archer when it has once left the bow; the word no longer belongs to the speaker when it has once passed his lips, especially when it has been multiplied by the press.

The duration of religions has always been dependent on human need for them.

The fundamental evil of the world arose from the fact that the good Lord has not created money enough.

There are more fools in the world than there are people.

Whatever tears one may shed, in the end one always blows one's nose.

When words leave off, music begins.

Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.

Wild, dark times are rumbling toward us, and the prophet who wishes to write a new apocalypse will have to invent entirely new beasts, and beasts so terrible that the ancient animal symbols of St. John will seem like cooing doves and cupids in comparison.


(February 17 is also the birthday of Barry Humphries.)

Categories: Heinrich Heine, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic


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