Heinrich Heine citations

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Heinrich Heine

Date de naissance: 13. décembre 1797
Date de décès: 17. février 1856

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Christian Johann Heinrich Heine, né le 13 décembre 1797 à Düsseldorf, Duché de Berg, sous le nom de Harry Heine et mort le 17 février 1856 à Paris sous le nom de Henri Heine, fut l'un des plus grands écrivains allemands du XIXe siècle.

Heine est considéré comme le « dernier poète du romantisme » et, tout à la fois, comme celui qui en vint à bout. Il éleva le langage courant au rang de langage poétique, la rubrique culturelle et le récit de voyage au rang de genre artistique et conféra à la littérature allemande une élégante légèreté jusqu'alors inconnue. Peu d'œuvres de poètes de langue allemande ont été aussi souvent traduites et mises en musique que les siennes. Journaliste critique et politiquement engagé, essayiste, satiriste et polémiste, Heine fut aussi admiré que redouté. Ses origines juives ainsi que son positionnement politique lui valurent hostilité et ostracisme. Ce rôle de marginal marqua sa vie, ses écrits et l'histoire mouvementée de la réception de son œuvre.

Citations Heinrich Heine

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„When words leave off, music begins.“

— Heinrich Heine
As quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 343

„Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.“

— Heinrich Heine
Almansor: A Tragedy (1823), as translated in True Religion (2003) by Graham Ward, p. 142 Variant translations: Wherever books are burned, men in the end will also burn. Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people. Where they burn books, they will also burn people. It is there, where they burn books, that eventually they burn people. Where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn human beings. Where they burn books, they also burn people. Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men.

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„Oh what lies there are in kisses!“

— Heinrich Heine
Context: Oh what lies there are in kisses! And their guile so well prepared! Sweet the snaring is; but this is Sweeter still, to be ensnared. The Home-coming, Poem 74; also in Poems of Heinrich Heine: Three Hundred and Twenty-five Poems (1917) Selected and translated by Louis Untermeyer, p. 134

„The duration of religions has always been dependent on human need for them. Christianity has been a blessing for suffering humanity during eighteen centuries ; it has been providential, divine, holy. All that it has done in the interest of civilisation, curbing the strong and strengthening the weak, binding together the nations through a common sympathy and a common tongue, and all else that its apologists have urged in its praise all this is as nothing compared with that great consolation it has bestowed on man. Eternal praise is due to the symbol of that suffering God, the Saviour with the crown of thorns, the crucified Christ, whose blood was as a healing balm that flowed into the wounds of humanity. The poet especially must acknowledge with reverence the terrible sublimity of this symbol.“

— Heinrich Heine
Context: I believe in progress; I believe that happiness is the goal of humanity, and I cherish a higher idea of the Divine Being than those pious folk who suppose that man was created only to suffer. Even here on earth I would strive, through the blessings of free political and industrial institutions, to bring about that reign of felicity which, in the opinion of the pious, is to be postponed till heaven is reached after the day of Judgment. The one expectation is perhaps as vain as the other; there may be no resurrection of humanity either in a political or in a religious sense. Mankind, it may be, is doomed to eternal misery; the nations are perhaps under a perpetual curse, condemned to be trodden under foot by despots, to be made the instruments of their accomplices and the laughing-stocks of their menials. Yet, though all this be the case, it will be the duty even of those who regard Christianity as an error still to uphold it; and men must journey barefoot through Europe, wearing monks' cowls, preaching the doctrine of renunciation and the vanity of all earthly possessions, holding up before the gaze of a scourged and despised humanity the consoling Cross, and promising, after death, all the glories of heaven. The duration of religions has always been dependent on human need for them. Christianity has been a blessing for suffering humanity during eighteen centuries; it has been providential, divine, holy. All that it has done in the interest of civilisation, curbing the strong and strengthening the weak, binding together the nations through a common sympathy and a common tongue, and all else that its apologists have urged in its praise all this is as nothing compared with that great consolation it has bestowed on man. Eternal praise is due to the symbol of that suffering God, the Saviour with the crown of thorns, the crucified Christ, whose blood was as a healing balm that flowed into the wounds of humanity. The poet especially must acknowledge with reverence the terrible sublimity of this symbol. [https://archive.org/stream/religionandphilo011616mbp#page/n5/mode/2up Religion and Philosophy in Germany, A fragment]. p. 25

„I owe my conversion simply to the reading of a book.“

— Heinrich Heine
Context: In my latest book, "Komancero," I have explained the transformation that took place within me regarding sacred things. Since its publication many inquiries have been made, with zealous importunity, as to the manner in which the true light dawned upon me. Pious souls, thirsting after a miracle, have desired to know whether, like Saul on the way to Damascus, I had seen a light from heaven; or whether, like Balaam, the son of Beor, I was riding on a restive ass, that suddenly opened its mouth and began to speak as a man? No; ye credulous believers, I never journeyed to Damascus, nor do I know anything about it, save that lately the Jews there were accused of devouring aged monks of St. Francis; and I might never have known even the name of the city had I not read the Song of Solomon, wherein the wise king compares the nose of his beloved to a tower that looketh towards Damascus. Nor have I ever seen an ass, at least any four-footed one, that spake as a man, though I have often enough met men who, whenever they opened their mouths, spake as asses. In truth, it was neither a vision, nor a seraphic revelation, nor a voice from heaven, nor any strange dream or other mystery that brought me into the way of salvation; and I owe my conversion simply to the reading of a book. A book? Yes, and it is an old, homely-looking book, modest as nature and natural as it; a book that has a work-a-day and unassuming look, like the sun that warms us, like the bread that nourishes us; a book that seems to us as familiar and as full of kindly blessing as the old grandmother who reads daily in it with dear, trembling lips, and with spectacles on her nose. And this book is called quite shortly the Book, the Bible. Rightly do men also call it the Holy Scripture; for he that has lost his God can find Him again in this Book, and towards him that has never known God it sends forth the breath of the Divine Word. The Jews, who appreciate the value of precious things, knew right well what they did when, at the burning of the second temple, they left to their fate the gold and silver implements of sacrifice, the candlesticks and lamps, even the breastplate of the High Priest adorned with great jewels, but saved the Bible. This was the real treasure of the Temple, and, thanks be to God! [https://archive.org/stream/religionandphilo011616mbp#page/n5/mode/2up Religion and Philosophy in Germany, A fragment], p. 14-15

„He who will establish himself on a certain height must yield according to circumstances, like the weather-cock on a church-spire, which, though it be made of iron, would soon be broken by the storm-wind if it remained obstinately immovable, and did not understand the noble art of turning to every wind.“

— Heinrich Heine
Context: He who will establish himself on a certain height must yield according to circumstances, like the weather-cock on a church-spire, which, though it be made of iron, would soon be broken by the storm-wind if it remained obstinately immovable, and did not understand the noble art of turning to every wind. But a great man will never so far contradict his own feelings as to see, or, it may be, increase, with cold-blooded indifference, the misfortunes of his fellow country-men. English Fragments (1828), Ch. 11 : The Emancipation Variant: The weather-cock on the church spire, though made of iron, would soon be broken by the storm-wind if it did not understand the noble art of turning to every wind.

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„Nor have I ever seen an ass, at least any four-footed one, that spake as a man, though I have often enough met men who, whenever they opened their mouths, spake as asses.“

— Heinrich Heine
Context: In my latest book, "Komancero," I have explained the transformation that took place within me regarding sacred things. Since its publication many inquiries have been made, with zealous importunity, as to the manner in which the true light dawned upon me. Pious souls, thirsting after a miracle, have desired to know whether, like Saul on the way to Damascus, I had seen a light from heaven; or whether, like Balaam, the son of Beor, I was riding on a restive ass, that suddenly opened its mouth and began to speak as a man? No; ye credulous believers, I never journeyed to Damascus, nor do I know anything about it, save that lately the Jews there were accused of devouring aged monks of St. Francis; and I might never have known even the name of the city had I not read the Song of Solomon, wherein the wise king compares the nose of his beloved to a tower that looketh towards Damascus. Nor have I ever seen an ass, at least any four-footed one, that spake as a man, though I have often enough met men who, whenever they opened their mouths, spake as asses. In truth, it was neither a vision, nor a seraphic revelation, nor a voice from heaven, nor any strange dream or other mystery that brought me into the way of salvation; and I owe my conversion simply to the reading of a book. A book? Yes, and it is an old, homely-looking book, modest as nature and natural as it; a book that has a work-a-day and unassuming look, like the sun that warms us, like the bread that nourishes us; a book that seems to us as familiar and as full of kindly blessing as the old grandmother who reads daily in it with dear, trembling lips, and with spectacles on her nose. And this book is called quite shortly the Book, the Bible. Rightly do men also call it the Holy Scripture; for he that has lost his God can find Him again in this Book, and towards him that has never known God it sends forth the breath of the Divine Word. The Jews, who appreciate the value of precious things, knew right well what they did when, at the burning of the second temple, they left to their fate the gold and silver implements of sacrifice, the candlesticks and lamps, even the breastplate of the High Priest adorned with great jewels, but saved the Bible. This was the real treasure of the Temple, and, thanks be to God! [https://archive.org/stream/religionandphilo011616mbp#page/n5/mode/2up Religion and Philosophy in Germany, A fragment], p. 14-15

„I believe in progress; I believe that happiness is the goal of humanity, and I cherish a higher idea of the Divine Being than those pious folk who suppose that man was created only to suffer.“

— Heinrich Heine
Context: I believe in progress; I believe that happiness is the goal of humanity, and I cherish a higher idea of the Divine Being than those pious folk who suppose that man was created only to suffer. Even here on earth I would strive, through the blessings of free political and industrial institutions, to bring about that reign of felicity which, in the opinion of the pious, is to be postponed till heaven is reached after the day of Judgment. The one expectation is perhaps as vain as the other; there may be no resurrection of humanity either in a political or in a religious sense. Mankind, it may be, is doomed to eternal misery; the nations are perhaps under a perpetual curse, condemned to be trodden under foot by despots, to be made the instruments of their accomplices and the laughing-stocks of their menials. Yet, though all this be the case, it will be the duty even of those who regard Christianity as an error still to uphold it; and men must journey barefoot through Europe, wearing monks' cowls, preaching the doctrine of renunciation and the vanity of all earthly possessions, holding up before the gaze of a scourged and despised humanity the consoling Cross, and promising, after death, all the glories of heaven. The duration of religions has always been dependent on human need for them. Christianity has been a blessing for suffering humanity during eighteen centuries; it has been providential, divine, holy. All that it has done in the interest of civilisation, curbing the strong and strengthening the weak, binding together the nations through a common sympathy and a common tongue, and all else that its apologists have urged in its praise all this is as nothing compared with that great consolation it has bestowed on man. Eternal praise is due to the symbol of that suffering God, the Saviour with the crown of thorns, the crucified Christ, whose blood was as a healing balm that flowed into the wounds of humanity. The poet especially must acknowledge with reverence the terrible sublimity of this symbol. [https://archive.org/stream/religionandphilo011616mbp#page/n5/mode/2up Religion and Philosophy in Germany, A fragment]. p. 25

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