Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Gotthold Ephraim

German Dramatist and Playwright, Court Librarian, known as the "Fatehr of German Criticism"

Author Quotes

An example of what I mean by "previous exercising" for the doctrine of immortality, is the Divine threatenings of punishing the misdeeds of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

He who doesn't lose his wits over certain things has no wits to lose.

Let the devil catch you but by a single hair, and you are his forever.

Struggle against it as thou wilt, yet Heaven's ways are Heaven's ways.

The real beggar is indeed the true and only king.

When the Child by dint of blows and caresses had grown and was now come to years of understanding, the Father sent it at once into foreign countries: and here it recognized at once the Good which in its Father's house it had possessed, and had not been conscious of.

And the doctrine of Original Sin. How, if at last everything were to convince us that man standing on the first and lowest step of his humanity, is not so entirely master of his actions as to be able to obey moral laws?

How can such deep-imprinted images sleep in us at times, till a word, a sound, awake them?

Let us be lazy in everything, except in loving and drinking, except in being lazy.

Suspicion follows close on mistrust.

The search for truth is more precious than its possession.

When the heart dares to speak, it needs no preparation.

Art is starving, Prince... That must not--shall not be, within the limits of my small dominions. But the artist must be willing to work.

I have always said it--Nature meant woman to be her masterpiece.

Man — who is he? Too bad to be the work of God: Too good for the work of chance!

Terror still vibrates in her every nerve. Her fancy mingles fire with all she thinks of. Asleep, her soul seems busy; but awake, absent: now less than brute, now more than angel.

The searcher's eye not seldom finds more than he wished to find.

While Fell was reposing himself in the hay, a reptile concealed bit his leg as he lay; but, all venom himself, of the wound he made light, and got well, while the scorpion died of the bite.

At once attracted and repelled—the combat between her head and heart must yet endure, regret, Resentment, in unusual struggle. Neither, perhaps, obtains the upper hand, and busy fancy, meddling in the fray, weaves wild enthusiasms to her dazzled spirit, now clothing Passion in the garb of Reason, and Reason now in Passion's—do I err?

I shall be silent; but what of sinful in the eye of heaven springs out of it—not I, not I could help; it falls upon thy head.

Mocking laughter from Hell.

That all a beggar's wants are only known to a beggar: such alone can tell how to relieve them usefully and wisely.

The true vagrant is the only king above all comparison.

Who cannot resolve upon a moment's notice to live his own life, he forever lives A slave to others.

Better counsel comes overnight.

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Gotthold Ephraim
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German Dramatist and Playwright, Court Librarian, known as the "Fatehr of German Criticism"