Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Heinrich Heine

German Poet, Satirist, Journalist and Literary Critic

"The night is so still, the streets are at rest, this is the house that my love graced, this is the town she?s long since left, but the house is here in the selfsame place. A man?s there too, who stands and stares, and wrings his hands, in violent pain: when I see his look it makes me scared ? The moonlight shows my face again. You doppel-g„nger! You pallid creature! Why do you act that torment through, Love, torturing me on this very corner, for so many nights, those years I knew."

"The nightingale appear'd the first, and as her melody she sang, the apple into blossom burst, to life the grass and violets sprang."

"The oaks with solemnity shook their heads; the twigs of the birch-trees, in token of warning, nodded,--and I exclaim'd: "Dear Monarch, forgive what I've spoken!""

"The old dream comes again to me: with may-night stars above, we two sat under the linden-tree and swore eternal love. Again and again we plighted troth, we chattered, and laughed, and kissed; to make me well remember my oath you gave me a bite on the wrist. O darling with the eyes serene, and with the teeth so white! The vows were proper to the scene, superfluous was the bite."

"The pearly treasures of the sea, the lights that spatter heaven above, more precious than these wonders are my heart-of-hearts filled with your love. The ocean's power, the heavenly sights cannot outweigh a love filled heart. And sparkling stars or glowing pearls pale as love flashes, beams and darts. So, little, youthful maiden come into my ample, feverish heart for heaven and earth and sea and sky do melt as love has melt my heart."

"The Romans would never have found time to conquer the world if they had been obliged first to learn Latin."

"The same fact that Boccaccio offers in support of religion might be adduced in behalf of a republic: "It exists in spite of its ministers.""

"The sea appears all golden beneath the sun-lit sky."

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

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

"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."

"The swan, like the soul of the poet, by the dull world is ill understood."

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

"The violets prattle and titter, and gaze on the stars high above."

"The weather cock on the church spire, though made of iron, would soon be broken by the storm wind if it did not understand the noble art of turning to every wind."

"The Wedding March always reminds me of the music played when soldiers go into battle."

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

"There is only one writer in whom I find something that reminds me of the directness of style which is found in the Bible. It is Shakespeare."

"There, where one burns books, one in the end burns men."

"They loved each other beyond belief - She was a strumpet, he was a thief."

"This was but a prelude; where books are burnt human-beings will be burnt in the end"

"This, too, is why our life in childhood is so full of infinite significance. Then, all is of equal importance to us; we hear all, we see all, all impressions affect us equally; while, when more advanced in years, we act with more definite ends, busy ourselves more exclusively with details, and laboriously exchange the pure gold of intuition for the paper-money of book definitions, and our lives gain in breadth what they lose in depth and intensity. Now we are grown-up and people of consequence, we are always getting into new houses.... Even our clothes are strange to us, we hardly know how many buttons has the very coat on our back."

"Those blue violets, her eyes."

"Thy letter sent to prove me, inflicts no sense of wrong; no longer wilt thou love me,-- thy letter, though is long."

"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."

"'Twixt joy and sorrow's strife?"

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

"We spake of storm and shipwreck?"

"We spoke of coasts far distant?"

"We spoke of south and north?"

"What Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred."

"What lies lurk in kisses."

"What! Think you that my flashes show me only in lightnings to excel? Believe me, friends, you do not know me, for I can thunder quite as well."

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

"When books are burned in the end people will be burned too."

"When I lately stood with a friend before [the cathedral of] Amiens... he asked me how it happens that we can no longer build such piles? I replied: "Dear Alphonse, men in those days had convictions (Ueberzeugungen), we moderns have opinions (Meinungen) and it requires something more than an opinion to build a Gothic cathedral."

"When the heroes go off the stage, the clowns come on."

"When the leeches have sucked enough blood, one simply has to sprinkle some salt on their backs and they fall off ? But you, my friend, how can I get rid of you?"

"When words leave off, music begins."

"When'er into thine eyes I see, all pain and sorrow fly from me."

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

"Where words leave off, music begins."

"Whose balm perfumes the breeze?"

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

"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."

"With his nightcaps and the tatters of his dressing-gown he patches up the gaps in the structure of the universe."

"With the rose the butterfly's deep in love, A thousand times hovering round; But round himself, all tender like gold, The sun's sweet ray is hovering found."

"Woman is at once apple and serpent."

"Yes, we ought to forgive our enemies, but not until they are hanged."

"Yonder, on the mountain summit, lies the castle wrapped in night; in the valley gleam the sparkles struck from clashing swords in fight. Brothers they who thus in fury fierce encounter hand to hand; say, what cause could make a brother 'gainst a brother turn his brand? Countess Laura's beaming glances did the fatal feud inflame, kindling both with equal passion for the fair and noble dame. Which hath gained the fair one's favor? Which shall win her for his bride? ? Vain to scan her heart's inclining; draw the sword, let that decide. Wild and desperate grows the combat, clashing strokes like thunder fly; all! Beware, ye savage warriors! Evil powers by night are nigh. Woe for von, ye bloody brothers! Woe for thee, thou bloody vale! By each other's swords expiring, sink the brothers, stark and pale. Many a century has departed, many a race has found a tomb, yet from yonder rocky summits frown those moss-grown towers of gloom; and within the dreary valley fearful sights are seen by night; there, us midnight strikes, the brothers still renew their ghastly fight."