Reference > Quotations > S.A. Bent, comp. > Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men
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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.]
  1
 
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.
  2
 
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.
  3
 
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.
  4
 
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.
  5
 
 
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