Heinrich Heine


German Poet, Satirist, Journalist and Literary Critic

Author Quotes

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.

Strange men, and stranger customs.

The German is like the slave who, without chains, obeys his masters merest word, his very glance. The condition of servitude is inherent in him, in his very soul and worse than the physical is the spiritual slavery. The Germans must be set free from wit.

The slender water-lily peeps dreamingly out of the lake; the moon, oppress'd with love's sorrow, looks tenderly down for her sake.

Twelve dancers are dancing, and taking no rest, and closely their hands together are press'd; and soon as a dance has come to a close, another begins, and each merrily goes.

Whenever books are burned men also in the end are burned.

Our death is in the cool of night, our life is in the pool of day. The darkness glows, I?m drowning, the day has tired me with light. Over my head in leaves grown deep, sings the young nightingale. It only sings of love there, I hear it in my sleep.

Sweet May hath come to love us, flowers, trees, their blossoms don; and through the blue heavens above us the very clouds move on.

The history of Immanuel Kant's life is difficult to portray, for he had neither life nor history. He led a mechanical, regular, almost abstract bachelor existence in a little retired street of K”nigsberg, an old town on the north-eastern frontier of Germany. I do not believe that the great clock of the cathedral performed in a more passionless and methodical manner its daily routine than did its townsman, Immanuel Kant. Rising in the morning, coffee-drinking, writing, reading lectures, dining, walking, everything had its appointed time, and the neighbors knew that it was exactly half-past three o'clock when Kant stepped forth from his house in his grey, tight-fitting coat, with his Spanish cane in his hand, and betook himself to the little linden avenue called after him to this day the Philosopher's Walk. Summer and winter he walked up and down it eight times, and when the weather was dull or heavy clouds prognosticated rain, the townspeople beheld his servant, the old Lampe, trudging anxiously behind Kant with a big umbrella under his arm, like an image of Providence. What a strange contrast did this man's outward life present to his destructive, world-annihilating thoughts! In sooth, had the citizens of K”nigsberg had the least presentiment of the full significance of his ideas, they would have felt far more awful dread at the presence of this man than at the sight of an executioner, who can but kill the body. But the worthy folk saw in him nothing more than a Professor of Philosophy, and as he passed at his customary hour, they greeted him in a friendly manner and set their watches by him. ? Heinrich Heine

The spring's already at the gate With looks my care beguiling; The country round appeareth straight A flower-garden smiling.

'Twixt joy and sorrow's strife?

Where words leave off, music begins.

Out of my own great woe I make my little songs.

Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.

The latest light of evening upon the waters shone, and still we sat in the lonely hut, in silence and alone. The sea-fog grew, the screaming mew rose on the water's swell, and silently in her gentle eye gathered the tears and fell. I saw them stand on the lily hand, upon my knee I sank, and, kneeling there, from her fingers fair the precious dew I drank. And sense and power, since that sad hour, in longing waste away; ah me! I fear, in each witching tear some subtile poison lay.

The stones here speak to me, and I know their mute language. Also, they seem deeply to feel what I think. So a broken column of the old Roman times, an old tower of Lombardy, a weather-beaten Gothic piece of a pillar understands me well. But I am a ruin myself, wandering among ruins.

We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.

Whose balm perfumes the breeze?

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.

Tell me who first did kisses suggest? It was a mouth all glowing and blest; It kissed and it thought of nothing beside. The fair month of May was then in its pride, The flowers were all from the earth fast springing, The sun was laughing, the birds were singing.

The lights in the lighthouse window?

The swan in the pool is singing, and up and down doth he steer, and, singing gently ever, dips under the water clear.

We spake of storm and shipwreck?

Why, of course, he will forgive me; that's his business.

Perfumes are the feelings of flowers, and as the human heart, imagining itself alone and unwatched, feels most deeply in the night-time, so seems it as if the flowers, in musing modesty, await the mantling eventide ere they give themselves up wholly to feeling, and breathe forth their sweetest odors. Flow forth, ye perfumes of my heart, and seek beyond these mountains the dear one of my dreams!

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German Poet, Satirist, Journalist and Literary Critic