A sublime soul can rise to all kinds 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.
The present age has witnessed an extraordinary increase of a thinking public, by the facilities afforded to the diffusion of reading; the former happy resignation to ignorance begins to make way for a state of half-enlightenment, and few persons are willing to remain in the condition in which their birth has placed then.
Joy, thou spark from Heav'n immortal, Daughter of Elysium! Drunk with fire, toward Heaven advancing Goddess, to thy shrine we come. Thy sweet magic brings together What stern Custom spreads afar; All men become brothers Where thy happy wing-beats are.
There are evil spirits who suddenly fix their abode in man's unguarded breast, causing us to commit devilish deeds, and then, hurrying back to their native hell, leave behind the stings of remorse in the poisoned bosom.
If yon 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.
While the womanly god demands our veneration, the godlike woman kindles our love; but while we allow ourselves to melt in the celestial loveliness, the celestial self-sufficiency holds us back in awe.
When the measured dance of the hours brings back the happy smile of spring, the buried dead is born again in the life-glance of the sun. The germs which perished to the eye within the cold breast of the earth spring up with joy in the bright realm of day.
History, insofar as it accustoms human beings to comprehend the whole of the past and to hasten forward with its conclusions into the far future, conceals the boundaries of birth and death, which enclose the life of the human being so narrowly and oppressively, and with a kind of optical illusion, expands his short existence into endless space, leading the individual imperceptibly over into humanity.
It is at the approach of extreme danger when a hollow puppet can accomplish nothing, that power falls into the mighty hands of nature, of the spirit giant-born, who listens only to himself, and knows nothing of compacts.
When the mechanic has to mend a watch he lets the wheels run out; but the living watchworks of the state have to be repaired while they act, and a wheel has to be exchanged for another during its revolutions.