Friedrich Schiller quotes

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Friedrich Schiller

Birthdate: 10. November 1759
Date of death: 9. May 1805
Other names: Иоганн Кристоф Фридрих фон Шиллер, Friedrich de Schiller

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller developed a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.

Works

Wallenstein
Friedrich Schiller
Ode to Joy
Friedrich Schiller
William Tell
William Tell
Friedrich Schiller
Don Carlos
Friedrich Schiller
Mary Stuart
Mary Stuart
Friedrich Schiller
The Bride of Messina
The Bride of Messina
Friedrich Schiller
The Maid of Orleans
The Maid of Orleans
Friedrich Schiller
Die Worte des Glaubens
Friedrich Schiller
Intrigue and Love
Intrigue and Love
Friedrich Schiller
The Robbers
Friedrich Schiller
Fiesco
Friedrich Schiller

„World history is the world's court.“

—  Friedrich Schiller

Resignation (1786)
Context: Translation: World history is the world's court.

„Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, The Maid of Orleans

Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans) (1801), Act III, sc. vi (as translated by Anna Swanwick)
Variants of the most commonly quoted portion:
Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.
Against stupidity the gods themselves labor in vain.
Against stupidity the gods themselves fight unvictorious
Against stupidity even the gods contend in vain.
Against stupidity gods themselves contend in vain.
With stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.
With stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.
Context: Folly, thou conquerest, and I must yield!
Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain. Exalted reason,
Resplendent daughter of the head divine,
Wise foundress of the system of the world,
Guide of the stars, who art thou then if thou,
Bound to the tail of folly's uncurbed steed,
Must, vainly shrieking with the drunken crowd,
Eyes open, plunge down headlong in the abyss.
Accursed, who striveth after noble ends,
And with deliberate wisdom forms his plans!
To the fool-king belongs the world.

„Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But men, as man, thy brothers call;
And scatter, like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all.“

—  Friedrich Schiller

Hope, Faith, and Love (c. 1786); also known as "The Words of Strength", as translated in The Common School Journal Vol. IX (1847) edited by Horace Mann, p. 386
Context: There are three lessons I would write, —
Three words — as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light
Upon the hearts of men. Have Hope. Though clouds environ now,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow, —
No night but hath its morn. Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven, —
The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth, —
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The habitants of earth. Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But men, as man, thy brothers call;
And scatter, like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all. Thus grave these lessons on thy soul, —
Hope, Faith, and Love, — and thou shalt find
Strength when life's surges rudest roll,
Light when thou else wert blind.

„The universe is a thought of God.“

—  Friedrich Schiller

Letter 4: Theosophy of Julius, Variant portion: "The universe is one of God's thoughts".
The Philosophical Letters
Context: The universe is a thought of God. After this ideal thought-fabric passed out into reality, and the new-born world fulfilled the plan of its Creator—permit me to use this human simile—the first duty of all thinking beings has been to retrace the original design in this great reality; to find the principle in the mechanism, the unity in the compound, the law in the phenomenon, and to pass back from the structure to its primitive foundation. Accordingly to me there is only one appearance in nature—the thinking being. The great compound called the world is only remarkable to me because it is present to shadow forth symbolically the manifold expressions of that being. All in me and out of me is only the hieroglyph of a power which is like to me. The laws of nature are the cyphers which the thinking mind adds on to make itself understandable to intelligence—the alphabet by means of which all spirits communicate with the most perfect Spirit and with one another. Harmony, truth, order, beauty, excellence, give me joy, because they transport me into the active state of their author, of their possessor, because they betray the presence of a rational and feeling Being, and let me perceive my relationship with that Being.

„On the mountains there is freedom!“

—  Friedrich Schiller, The Bride of Messina

Die Braut von Messina (The Bride of Messina), Act IV, sc. vii (1803)
Context: On the mountains there is freedom!
The world is perfect everywhere,
Save where man comes with his torment.

„Sense of wrongs forget to treasure—
Brethren, live in perfect love!“

—  Friedrich Schiller, Ode to Joy

Chorus 6
An die Freude (Ode to Joy; or Hymn to Joy) (1785)
Context: Sense of wrongs forget to treasure—
Brethren, live in perfect love!
In the starry realms above,
God will mete as we may measure.

„It would be necessary that they should be already sages to love wisdom: a truth that was felt at once by him to whom philosophy owes its name.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, book On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Letter 8; Variant: They would need to be already wise, in order to love wisdom.
On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794)
Context: They have founded the whole structure of their happiness on these very illusions, which ought to be combated and dissipated by the light of knowledge, and they would think they were paying too dearly for a truth which begins by robbing them of all that has value in their sight. It would be necessary that they should be already sages to love wisdom: a truth that was felt at once by him to whom philosophy owes its name.

„The greater part of humanity is too much harassed and fatigued by the struggle with want, to rally itself for a new and sterner struggle with error.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, book On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Letter 8; Variant: The greater part of men are much too exhausted and enervated by their struggle with want to be able to engage in a new and severe contest with error. Satisfied if they themselves can escape from the hard labour of thought, they willingly abandon to others the guardianship of their thoughts.
On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794)
Context: Dare to be wise! Energy and spirit is needed to overcome the obstacles which indolence of nature as well as cowardice of heart oppose to our instruction. It is not without significance that the old myth makes the goddess of Wisdom emerge fully armed from the head of Jupiter; for her very first function is warlike. Even in her birth she has to maintain a hard struggle with the senses, which do not want to be dragged from their sweet repose. The greater part of humanity is too much harassed and fatigued by the struggle with want, to rally itself for a new and sterner struggle with error. Content if they themselves escape the hard labor of thought, men gladly resign to others the guardianship of their ideas, and if it happens that higher needs are stirred in them, they embrace with a eager faith the formulas which State and priesthood hold in readiness for such an occasion.

„Dare to be wise! Energy and spirit is needed to overcome the obstacles which indolence of nature as well as cowardice of heart oppose to our instruction.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, book On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Letter 8; Variant: The greater part of men are much too exhausted and enervated by their struggle with want to be able to engage in a new and severe contest with error. Satisfied if they themselves can escape from the hard labour of thought, they willingly abandon to others the guardianship of their thoughts.
On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794)
Context: Dare to be wise! Energy and spirit is needed to overcome the obstacles which indolence of nature as well as cowardice of heart oppose to our instruction. It is not without significance that the old myth makes the goddess of Wisdom emerge fully armed from the head of Jupiter; for her very first function is warlike. Even in her birth she has to maintain a hard struggle with the senses, which do not want to be dragged from their sweet repose. The greater part of humanity is too much harassed and fatigued by the struggle with want, to rally itself for a new and sterner struggle with error. Content if they themselves escape the hard labor of thought, men gladly resign to others the guardianship of their ideas, and if it happens that higher needs are stirred in them, they embrace with a eager faith the formulas which State and priesthood hold in readiness for such an occasion.

„God rules the hosts of heaven,
The habitants of earth.“

—  Friedrich Schiller

Hope, Faith, and Love (c. 1786); also known as "The Words of Strength", as translated in The Common School Journal Vol. IX (1847) edited by Horace Mann, p. 386
Context: There are three lessons I would write, —
Three words — as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light
Upon the hearts of men. Have Hope. Though clouds environ now,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow, —
No night but hath its morn. Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven, —
The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth, —
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The habitants of earth. Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But men, as man, thy brothers call;
And scatter, like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all. Thus grave these lessons on thy soul, —
Hope, Faith, and Love, — and thou shalt find
Strength when life's surges rudest roll,
Light when thou else wert blind.

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„Where danger is, there must Johanna be“

—  Friedrich Schiller, The Maid of Orleans

Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans) http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6792 (1801), Act II, Scene 4 (as translated by Anna Swanwick)
Context: Who dares impede my progress? Who presume
The spirit to control which guideth me?
Still must the arrow wing its destined flight!
Where danger is, there must Johanna be;
Nor now, nor here, am I foredoomed to fall;
Our monarch's royal brow I first must see
Invested with the round of sovereignty.
No hostile power can rob me of my life,
Till I've accomplished the commands of God.

„There are three lessons I would write, —
Three words — as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light
Upon the hearts of men.“

—  Friedrich Schiller

Hope, Faith, and Love (c. 1786); also known as "The Words of Strength", as translated in The Common School Journal Vol. IX (1847) edited by Horace Mann, p. 386
Context: There are three lessons I would write, —
Three words — as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light
Upon the hearts of men. Have Hope. Though clouds environ now,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow, —
No night but hath its morn. Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven, —
The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth, —
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The habitants of earth. Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But men, as man, thy brothers call;
And scatter, like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all. Thus grave these lessons on thy soul, —
Hope, Faith, and Love, — and thou shalt find
Strength when life's surges rudest roll,
Light when thou else wert blind.

„Utility is the great idol of the time, to which all powers do homage and all subjects are subservient.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, book On the Aesthetic Education of Man

Letter 2 Variant translation of a passage: Utility is the great idol of the age, to which all powers must do service and all talents swear allegiance.
On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794)
Context: The voice of our age seems by no means favorable to art, at all events to that kind of art to which my inquiry is directed. The course of events has given a direction to the genius of the time that threatens to remove it continually further from the ideal of art. For art has to leave reality, it has to raise itself bodily above necessity and neediness; for art is the daughter of freedom, and it requires its prescriptions and rules to be furnished by the necessity of spirits and not by that of matter. But in our day it is necessity, neediness, that prevails, and bends a degraded humanity under its iron yoke. Utility is the great idol of the time, to which all powers do homage and all subjects are subservient. In this great balance of utility, the spiritual service of art has no weight, and, deprived of all encouragement, it vanishes from the noisy Vanity Fair of our time. The very spirit of philosophical inquiry itself robs the imagination of one promise after another, and the frontiers of art are narrowed, in proportion as the limits of science are enlarged.

„The reason passes, like the heart, through certain epochs and transitions, but its development is not so often portrayed.“

—  Friedrich Schiller

Prefatory Remarks
The Philosophical Letters
Context: The reason passes, like the heart, through certain epochs and transitions, but its development is not so often portrayed. Men seem to have been satisfied with unfolding the passions in their extremes, their aberration, and their results, without considering how closely they are bound up with the intellectual constitution of the individual.

„I feel an army in my fist.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, The Robbers

Die Räuber (The Robbers), Act II (1781)

„I have only an office here, and no opinion.“

—  Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein

Act I, sc. v
Wallenstein (1798), Part II - Wallensteins Tod (The Death of Wallenstein)

„What are hopes, what are plans?“

—  Friedrich Schiller, The Bride of Messina

Die Braut von Messina (The Bride of Messina), Act III, sc. v (1803)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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