To fit the meter to the thought is a very difficult art and one the neglect of which is in large part responsible for the ludicrousness of verse. Meter and thought are related to each other as, in ordinary life, life-style is to office.

With our fashionable poets it is easy to see how the word has produced the thought; with Milton and Shakespeare the thought always begets the word.

As soon as one begins to see all in everything what one says usually becomes obscure. One begins to speak with the tongues of angels...

A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is unlikely to look out.

With the band that should have tied their hearts together they have strangled their tranquillity.

All impartiality is artificial. Man is always partial and is quite right to be. Even impartiality is partial. He was of the party of the impartial.

The detection of small errors has always been the property of minds elevated little or not at all above the mediocre; notably elevated minds remain silent or say something only in criticism of the whole, while the great spirits refrain from censuring and only create.

I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too.

What can be the reason I sometimes fret about a thing at nine o'clock, cease to do so at ten, and perhaps do so again at eleven? I am not aware of any ebb and flow of grounds of solace during this time, yet such there must be.

When something bites us in the dark we can usually locate the spot with the point of a needle: how exact a plan of its body the soul must have.

You believe I run after the strange because I do not know the beautiful; no, it is because you do not know the beautiful that I seek the strange.

A woman's eyes are to me so essential a part of her, I often gaze at them and have so many thoughts, that if I were merely a head girls could for my part be nothing but eyes.

There are faces in the world one absolutely cannot call Du.

There exists a condition which with me at least is not all that rare in which the presence or absence of a beloved person are equally hard to endure; or at least in which the pleasure derived from their presence is not that which, to judge from the intolerableness of their absence, one would have expected it to be.

Popular presentation is today all too often that which puts the mob in a position to talk of something without understanding it.

There is a great difference between believing something and being unable to believe its opposite. I can very often believe something without being able to prove it, just as I do not believe something without being able to refute it. The stance I adopt will be determined not by strict proof but by preponderance of evidence.

The nightingales sing and have no idea of the fuss poets and lovers create over their song, or that there exists a whole society of higher beings who entertain themselves solely with Philomela and her complaints. Perhaps a higher race of spirits regards our poets as we do canaries and nightingales: they enjoy their song precisely because they find no rational sense in it.

[Trans R. J. Hollingdale]

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