Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

German Playwright, Poet, Historian

"Every individual character is in the right that is in strict consistence with itself. Self-contradiction is the only wrong."

"Every man stamps his value on himself. The price we challenge for ourselves is given us by others. Man is made great or little by his own will."

"Great souls suffer in silence."

"It is rascally to steal a purse, daring to steal a million, and proof of greatness to steal a crown. The blame diminishes as the guilt increases."

"Keep true to the dreams of thy youth."

"Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily."

"Opposition inflames the enthusiast, never converts him."

"The aim that comedy has in view is the same as that of the highest destiny of man, and this consists in liberating himself from the influence of violent passions, and taking a calm and lucid survey of all that surrounds him, and also of his own being, and of seeing everywhere occurrence rather than fate or hazard, and ultimately rather smiling at the absurdities than shedding tears and feeling anger at sight of the wickedness of man."

"The will of a man is his happiness."

"The world is moved by self-interest alone."

"What the inner voice says will not disappoint the hoping soul."

"Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing."

"A childlike mind, in its simplicity, practices that science of good to which the wise may be blind."

"Egotism erects its center in itself: love places it out of itself in the axis of the universal whole. Love aims at unity, egotism at solitude. Love is the citizen ruler of a flourishing public, egotism is a despot in a devastated creation. Egotism sows for gratitude, love for the ungrateful. Love gives, egotism lends; and love does this before the throne of judicial truth, indifferent if for the enjoyment of the following moment, or with the view of a martyr’s crown - indifferent whether the reward is tin this life or in the next."

"Emulation is a noble and just passion, full of appreciation."

"Eternity gives nothing back of what one leaves out of minutes."

"Even in a righteous cause force is a fearful thing; God only helps when men can help no more."

"I have enjoyed the happiness of the world; I have lived and loved."

"If you wish to be like the gods on earth, to be free in the realms of the dead, pluck not the fruit from the garden! In appearance it may glisten to the eye; but the perishable pleasure of possession quickly avenges the curse of curiosity."

"A merely fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished."

"A sublime soul can rise to all kind of greatness, but by an effort; it can tear itself from all bondage, to all that limits and constrains it, but only by strength of will. Consequently the sublime soul is only free by broken efforts."

"Brief is sorrow, and endless is joy."

"As long as man dwells in a state of pure nature (I mean pure and not coarse nature), all his being acts at once like a simple sensuous unity, like a harmonious whole. The senses and reason, the receptive faculty and the spontaneously active faculty, have not been as yet separated in their respective functions; a priori they are not yet in contradiction to each other. Then the feelings of man are not the formless play of chance; nor are his thoughts an empty play of imagination, without any value. His feelings proceed from the law of necessity, his thoughts from reality. But when man enters the state of civilization, and art has fashioned him, this sensuous harmony which was in him disappears, and henceforth he can only manifest himself as a moral unity, that is, as aspiring to unity. The harmony that existed as a fact in the former state, the harmony of feeling and thought, only exists in an ideal state. It is no longer in him, but out of him; it is a conception of thought which he must begin by realizing in himself; it is no longer a fact, a reality of his life."

"In the ardor of pursuit men soon forget the goal from which they start."

"It is criminal to steal a purse, daring to steal a fortune, a mark of greatness to steal a crown. The blame diminishes as the guilt increases."

"It is only through the morning gate of the beautiful that you can penetrate into the realm of knowledge. That which we feel here as beauty we shall one day know as truth."

"Jealousy is the great exaggerator."

"Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays."

"Nature is for us nothing but existence in all its freedom; it is the constitution of things taken in themselves; it is existence itself according to its proper and immutable laws."

"Our safety is not in blindness, but in facing our dangers."

"Peace is rarely denied to the peaceful."

"Still thou knowest that in the ardor of pursuit men lose sight of the goal from which they start."

"The greatest happiness in life, I find, after all, to consist in the regular discharge of some mechanical duty."

"The universe is one of God's thoughts."

"The voice of the majority is no proof of justice."

"There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny."

"Time consecrates; and what is gray with age becomes religion."

"Time is a blooming field: nature is ever teeming with life; and all is seed, and all is fruit."

"Time is man's angel."

"Truth lives on in the midst of deception."

"Utility is the great idol of the age, to which all powers must do service and all talents swear allegiance."

"Whatever lives, lives to die in sorrow. We engage our hearts, and grasp after the things of this world, only to undergo the pang of losing them."

"Yet have I ever heard it said that spies and tale-bearers have done more mischief in this world than poisoned bowl or the assassin’s dagger."

"With stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain. "

"A noble heart will always capitulate to reason."

"Appearance rules the world. "

"Be noble minded! Our own heart, and not other men's opinions of us, forms our true honor."

"Dare to err and to dream. Deep meaning often lies in childish plays."

"It does not prove a thing to be right because the majority say it is so."

"Honesty prospers in every condition of life. "