Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Gotthold Ephraim

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

Author Quotes

It is medicine, not poison, I offer you.

O with that fruit go cautiously to work. Too much of it is hurtful, sours the humor, makes the blood melancholy.

The denial of an individual, had it even been a Solomon, did not arrest the progress of the general reason, and was even in itself a proof that the nation had now come a great step nearer the truth. For individuals only deny what the many are bringing into consideration; and to bring into consideration that, concerning which no one troubled himself at all before, is half way to knowledge.

To look forward to pleasure is also a pleasure.

Yet gratitude, the patriarch thinks, is not a debt before the eye of God or man, unless for our own sakes the benefit had been conferred.

Did the Almighty, holding in his right hand truth, and in his left hand search after truth, deign to proffer me the one I might prefer, in all humility, but without hesitation, I should request search after truth.

It is not children only that one feeds with fairy tales.

One can drink too much, but one never drinks enough

The eye of Paul Pry often finds more than he wished to find.

To whom his God (I think I still retain thy own expression used concerning him) to whom, of all the good things of this world, his God in full abundance has bestowed the greatest and the least.

Yet I am extremely dissatisfied with this portrait, and nevertheless I am satisfied with being dissatisfied with myself. Alas! that we cannot paint directly with our eyes! On the long journey from the eye through the arm to the pencil, how much is lost!

Education gives to Man nothing which he might not educe out of himself; it gives him that which he might educe out of himself, only quicker and more easily.

It is not possession of the Truth, but rather the pursuit of Truth by which he extends his powers and in which his ever-growing perfectibility is to be found. Possession makes one passive, indolent, and proud.

One incautious step often leads to mischief.

The gift of prayer is not always at our command.

Trust no friend without faults, and love a maiden, but no angel.

A man who does not lose his reason over certain things has none to lose.

Even if the first man were furnished at once with a conception of the One God; yet it was not possible that this conception, imparted, and not gained by thought, should subsist long in its clearness.

It is the mark of great people to treat trifles as trifles and important matters as important.

One's own most bearable.

The greatest of all is this that true and real wonders should happen so perpetually, so daily. Without this universal miracle a thinking man had scarcely called those such, which only children, Recha, ought to name so, who love to gape and stare at the unusual and hunt for novelty.

We moderns do not believe in demigods, but our smallest hero we expect to feel and act as a demigod.

A Primer for children may fairly pass over in silence this or that important piece of knowledge or art which it expounds, respecting which the Teacher judged, that it is not yet fitted for the capacities of the children for whom he was writing. But it must contain absolutely nothing which blocks up the way towards the knowledge which is held back, or misleads the children from it.

For God rewards good deeds done here below--rewards them here.

It is the province of art to paint as plastic nature--if there is such a thing--intended her original design, without the defects which the unmanageable materials render inevitable, and free from the ravages which result from a conflict with time.

Author Picture
First Name
Gotthold Ephraim
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

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