Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg

Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg
1772
1801

German Philosopher, Poet, Metallurgist, Aphorist and Mystic

Author Quotes

To get to know a truth properly, one must polemicize it.

What springs up all at once so sweetly boding in my heart, and stills the soft air of sadness? Dost thou also take a pleasure in us, dark Night? What holdest thou under thy mantle, that with hidden power affects my soul? Precious balm drips from thy hand out of its bundle of poppies. Thou upliftest the heavy-laden wings of the soul. Darkly and inexpressibly are we moved -- joy-startled, I see a grave face that, tender and worshipful, inclines toward me, and, amid manifold entangled locks, reveals the youthful loveliness of the Mother. How poor and childish a thing seems to me now the Light -- how joyous and welcome the departure of the day -- because the Night turns away from thee thy servants, you now strew in the gulfs of space those flashing globes, to proclaim thy omnipotence -- thy return -- in seasons of thy absence. More heavenly than those glittering stars we hold the eternal eyes which the Night hath opened within us. Farther they see than the palest of those countless hosts -- needing no aid from the light, they penetrate the depths of a loving soul -- that fills a loftier region with bliss ineffable. Glory to the queen of the world, to the great prophet of the holier worlds, to the guardian of blissful love -- she sends thee to me -- thou tenderly beloved -- the gracious sun of the Night, -- now am I awake -- for now am I thine and mine -- thou hast made me know the Night -- made of me a man -- consume with spirit-fire my body, that I, turned to finer air, may mingle more closely with thee, and then our bridal night endure forever.

In ancient times, over the widespread families of men an iron Fate ruled with dumb force. A gloomy oppression swathed their heavy souls -- the earth was boundless -- the abode of the gods and their home. From eternal ages stood its mysterious structure. Beyond the red hills of the morning, in the sacred bosom of the sea, dwelt the sun, the all-enkindling, living Light. An aged giant upbore the blissful world. Fast beneath mountains lay the first-born sons of mother Earth. Helpless in their destroying fury against the new, glorious race of gods, and their kindred, glad-hearted men. The ocean's dark green abyss was the lap of a goddess. In crystal grottos reveled a luxuriant folk. Rivers, trees, flowers, and beasts had human wits. Sweeter tasted the wine -- poured out by Youth-abundance -- a god in the grape-clusters -- a loving, motherly goddess upgrew in the full golden sheaves -- love's sacred inebriation was a sweet worship of the fairest of the god-ladies -- Life rustled through the centuries like one spring-time, an ever-variegated festival of heaven-children and earth-dwellers. All races childlike adored the ethereal, thousand-fold flame as the one sublimest thing in the world. There was but one notion, a horrible dream-shape.

Love is the final purpose of world history ? the Amen of the universe. Love works magically... Love causes magic.

No one who has not a complete knowledge of himself will ever have a true understanding of another.

Others do not survive anything like that, but heard the same stories

Spinoza was a God-intoxicated man.

The fresh gaze of a child is richer in significance than the forecasting of the most indubitable seer.

The Pupil. ? Men travel in manifold paths: whoso traces and compares these, will find strange Figures come to light; Figures which seem as if they belonged to that great Cipher-writing which one meets with everywhere, on wings of birds, shells of eggs, in clouds, in the snow, in crystals, in forms of rocks, in freezing waters, in the interior and exterior of mountains, of plants, animals, men, in the lights of the sky, in plates of glass and pitch when touched and struck on, in the filings round the magnet, and the singular conjunctures of Chance. In such Figures one anticipates the key to that wondrous Writing, the grammar of it; but this Anticipation will not fix itself into shape, and appears as if, after all, it would not become such a key for us. An Alcahest seems poured out over the senses of men. Only for a moment will their wishes, their thoughts thicken into form. Thus do their Anticipations arise; but after short whiles, all is again swimming vaguely before them, even as it did.

To philosophize means to make vivid.

When one begins to reflect on philosophy?then philosophy seems to us to be everything, like God, and love. It is a mystical, highly potent, penetrating idea?which ceaselessly drives us inward in all directions. The decision to do philosophy?to seek philosophy is the act of self-liberation?the thrust toward ourselves.

In cheerful souls there is no evil; wit shows a disturbance of the equipoise.

Man has ever expressed some symbolical Philosophy of his Being in his Works and Conduct; he announces himself and his Gospel of Nature; he is the Messiah of Nature.

Nostalgia philosophy to home, and a tendency to be all over the place, as if at home.

Our body is a molded river

Still wakest thou, cheerful Light, that weary man to his labor -- and into me pourest joyous life -- but thou wilest me not away from Memory's moss-grown monument. Gladly will I stir busy hands, everywhere behold where thou hast need of me -- praise the lustre of thy splendor -- pursue unwearied the lovely harmonies of thy skilled handicraft -- gladly contemplate the clever pace of thy mighty, luminous clock -- explore the balance of the forces and the laws of the wondrous play of countless worlds and their seasons. But true to the Night remains my secret heart, and to creative Love, her daughter. Canst thou show me a heart eternally true? has thy sun friendly eyes that know me? do thy stars lay hold of my longing hand? and return me the tender pressure and the caressing word? was it thou did adorn them with colors and a flickering outline -- or was it she who gave to thy jewels a higher, a dearer weight? What delight, what pleasure offers thy life, to outweigh the transports of Death? Wears not everything that inspires us the color of the Night? She sustains thee mother-like, and to her thou owest all thy glory. Thou wouldst vanish into thyself -- in boundless space thou wouldst dissolve, if she did not hold thee fast, if she swaddled thee not, so that thou grewest warm, and flaming, begot the universe. Truly I was, before thou wast -- the mother sent me with my brothers and sisters to inhabit thy world, to hallow it with love that it might be an ever-present memorial -- to plant it with flowers unfading. As yet they have not ripened, these thoughts divine -- as yet is there small trace of our coming revelation -- One day thy clock will point to the end of time, and then thou shalt be as one of us, and shalt, full of ardent longing, be extinguished and die. I feel in me the close of thy activity -- heavenly freedom, and blessed return. With wild pangs I recognize thy distance from our home, thy resistance against the ancient, glorious heaven. Thy rage and thy raving are in vain. Unscorchable stands the cross -- victory-banner of our breed.

The highest life is mathematics.

The pure mathematics is religion.

To what extent can one have a sense for something if he doesn't have its embryo inside him? Whatever I come to understand must itself develop organically in myself, and what I seem to learn is only nourishment and cultivation of that inner organism.

When we speak of the aim and Art observable in Shakespeare's works, we must not forget that Art belongs to Nature; that it is, so to speak, self-viewing, self-imitating, self-fashioning Nature. The Art of a well-developed genius is far different from the Artfulness of the Understanding, of the merely reasoning mind. Shakespeare was no calculator, no learned thinker; he was a mighty, many-gifted soul, whose feelings and works, like products of Nature, bear the stamp of the same spirit; and in which the last and deepest of observers will still find new harmonies with the infinite structure of the Universe; concurrences with later ideas, affinities with the higher powers and senses of man. They are emblematic, have many meanings, are simple and inexhaustible, like products of Nature; and nothing more unsuitable could be said of them than that they are works of Art, in that narrow mechanical acceptation of the word.

In most religious systems we are regarded as parts of the godhead which, if they do not obey the impulses of the whole, and even if they do not intentionally act against the laws of the whole, but only go their own way and do not want to be parts of it, are medically treated by the godhead?and either endure a painful cure or even are cut off.

Man has his being in truth--if he sacrifices truth he sacrifices himself. Whoever betrays truth betrays himself. It is not a question of lying--but of acting against one's conviction.

Not only England, but every Englishman is an island.

Our life is no Dream, but it may and will perhaps become one.

Surely this voice meant our Teacher; for it is he that can collect the indications which lie scattered on all sides. A singular light kindles in his looks, when at length the high Rune lies before us, and he watches in our eyes whether the star has yet risen upon us, which is to make the Figure visible and intelligible.

Author Picture
First Name
Novalis, pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg
Birth Date
1772
Death Date
1801
Bio

German Philosopher, Poet, Metallurgist, Aphorist and Mystic