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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Heinrich Heine

  • [German poet and author; born at Düsseldorf, 1800; published “The Book of Songs,” 1827; “Pictures of Travel,” 1831; removed to Paris in that year; continued literary composition after the failure of his health in 1848, until his death, February, 1856.]
  • When people talk about a wealthy man of my creed, they call him an Israelite; but if he is poor they call him a Jew.

  • Saying that he knew whether people were talking about rich or poor Hebrews.
  • I am afraid you will find me very stupid. The fact is, Dr. —— called upon me this morning, and we exchanged our minds.

  • Apologizing, just before his death, to Berlioz, for feeling dull after the visit of a tedious German professor.
  • When his physician, who was examining his chest, asked him if he could siffler (which may mean to breathe forcibly or to hiss), “Not even M. Scribe’s plays,” he replied.
  • Thought is the unseen nature, as nature is the unseen thought.

  • This, and the following, are from manuscript papers, containing thoughts noted down as they occurred to him:—
  • We do not comprehend ruins until we are ourselves in ruin.
  • The certificate of baptism is the card of admission to European culture.
  • Junius is the knight-errant of liberty, who fights with closed visor.
  • Luther shook all Germany to its foundations; but Francis Drake pacified it again,—he gave us the potato.
  • Rothschild, too, might build a Valhalla, a Pantheon for all the princes who have raised loans from him.
  • A communist proposes that Rothschild shall share with him his three hundred millions of francs. Rothschild sends him his share, nine sous: “Now, then, let me have peace.”
  • When a king has lost his head, there is no further help for him.
  • Napoleon was not of that wood of which kings are made: he was of that marble of which gods are formed.
  • Atheism is the last word of theism (L’athéisme est le dernier mot du théisme).

  • To some one who said he could understand rationalism, but not atheism.