By Georg Ebers

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The Novels Of Georg Ebers

Portrait Of Georg Ebers




Homo Sum--The Recluse

In The Fire Of The Forge


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A noble mind can never swim with the


A first impression is often a final one

A small joy makes us to forget our

heavy griefs

A live dog is better than a dead king

A well-to-do man always gets a higher

price than a poor one

A subdued tone generally provokes an

equally subdued answer

A dirty road serves when it makes for

the goal

A knot can often be untied by daylight

A school where people learned modesty

A word at the right time and place

A mere nothing in one man's life, to

another may be great

A debtor, says the proverb, is half a


A kind word hath far more power than an

angry one

A blustering word often does good


Abandon to the young the things we

ourselves used most to enjoy

Abandoned women (required by law to

help put out the fires)

Absence of suffering is not happiness

Abuse not those who have outwitted thee

Action trod on the heels of resolve

Age is inquisitive

Age when usually even bad liquor tastes

of honey

Aimless life of pleasure

Air of a professional guide

All I did was right in her eyes

All things were alike to me

Always more good things in a poor

family which was once rich

Among fools one must be a fool

An admirer of the lovely color of his

blue bruises

Ancient custom, to have her ears cut


And what is great--and what is small

Apis the progeny of a virgin cow and a


Appreciation of trifles

Ardently they desire that which

transcends sense

Arrogant wave of the hand, and in an

instructive tone

Art ceases when ugliness begins

As every word came straight from her


Asenath, the wife of Joseph, had been

an Egyptian

Ask for what is feasible

Aspect obnoxious to the gaze will pour

water on the fire

Assigned sixty years as the limit of a

happy life

At my age we count it gain not to be


At my age every year must be accepted

as an undeserved gift

Attain a lofty height from which to

look down upon others

Avoid excessive joy as well as

complaining grief

Avoid all useless anxiety

Be not merciful unto him who is a liar

or a rebel

Be happy while it is yet time

Be cautious how they are compassionate

Bearers of ill ride faster than the

messengers of weal

Before you serve me up so bitter a meal

(the truth)

Before learning to obey, he was

permitted to command

Begun to enjoy the sound of his own


Behold, the puny Child of Man

Between two stools a man falls to the


Beware lest Satan find thee idle!

Blessings go as quickly as they come

Blind tenderness which knows no reason

Blossom of the thorny wreath of sorrow

Brief "eternity" of national covenants

Brought imagination to bear on my


But what do you men care for the

suffering you inflict on others

Buy indugence for sins to be committed

in the future

By nature she is not and by

circumstances is compelled to be

Call everything that is beyond your

comprehension a miracle

Called his daughter to wash his feet

Cambyses had been spoiled from his

earliest infancy

Camels, which were rarely seen in Egypt

Can such love be wrong?

Canal to connect the Nile with the Red


Cannot understand how trifles can make

me so happy

Caress or a spank from you--each at the

proper time

Carpe diem

Cast my warning to the winds, pity will

also fly away with it

Cast off their disease as a serpent

casts its skin

Cast off all care; be mindful only of


Catholic, but his stomach desired to be

Protestant (Erasmus)

Caught the infection and had to laugh

whether she would or no

Cautious inquiry saves recantation

Child is naturally egotistical

Child cannot distinguish between what

is amusing and what is sad

Childhood already lies behind me, and

youth will soon follow

Choose between too great or too small a


Christian hypocrites who pretend to

hate life and love death

Christianity had ceased to be the creed

of the poor

Clothes the ugly truth as with a

pleasing garment

Coach moved by electricity

Colored cakes in the shape of beasts

Comparing their own fair lot with the

evil lot of others

Confess I would rather provoke a

lioness than a woman

Confucius's command not to love our

fellow-men but to respect

Contempt had become too deep for hate

Corpse to be torn in pieces by dogs and


Couple seemed to get on so perfectly

well without them

Creed which views life as a short

pilgrimage to the grave

Curiosity is a woman's vice

Death is so long and life so short

Death itself sometimes floats 'twixt

cup and lip'

Debts, but all anxiety concerning them

is left to the creditors

Deceit is deceit

Deem every hour that he was permitted

to breathe as a gift

Deficient are as guilty in their eyes

as the idle

Desert is a wonderful physician for a

sick soul

Deserve the gratitude of my people,

though it should be denied

Desire to seek and find a power outside


Despair and extravagant gayety ruled

her nature by turns

Devoid of occupation, envy easily

becomes hatred

Did the ancients know anything of love

Do not spoil the future for the sake of

the present

Do thoroughly whatever they do at all

Does happiness consist then in


Dread which the ancients had of the

envy of the gods

Dried merry-thought bone of a fowl

Drink of the joys of life thankfully,

and in moderation

Drinking is also an art, and the

Germans are masters of it

Easy to understand what we like to hear

Enjoy the present day

Epicurus, who believed that with death

all things ended

Eros mocks all human efforts to resist

or confine him

Especial gift to listen keenly and

question discreetly

Ever creep in where true love hath

found a nest--(jealousy)

Every misfortune brings its fellow with


Everything that exists moves onward to

destruction  and decay

Evolution and annihilation

Exceptional people are destined to be

unhappy in this world

Exhibit one's happiness in the streets,

and conceal one's misery

Eyes kind and frank, without tricks of


Eyes are much more eloquent than all

the tongues in the world

Facts are differently reflected in

different minds

Fairest dreams of childhood were


Faith and knowledge are things apart

False praise, he says, weighs more

heavily than disgrace

Flattery is a key to the heart

Flee from hate as the soul's worst foe

Folly to fret over what cannot be


For fear of the toothache, had his

sound teeth drawn

For the sake of those eyes you forgot

all else

For the errors of the wise the remedy

is reparation, not regret

For what will not custom excuse and


Forbidden the folly of spoiling the

present by remorse

Force which had compelled every one to

do as his neighbors

Forty or fifty, when most women only

begin to be wicked

From Epicurus to Aristippus, is but a

short step

Fruits and pies and sweetmeats for the

little ones at home

Full as an egg

Galenus--What I like is bad for me,

what I loathe is wholesome

Gave them a claim on your person and

also on your sorrows

Germans are ever proud of a man who is

able to drink deep

Go down into the grave before us (Our


Golden chariot drawn by tamed lions

Good advice is more frequently unheeded

than followed

Great happiness, and mingled therefor

with bitter sorrow

Greeks have not the same reverence for


Grief is grief, and this new sorrow

does not change the old one

Had laid aside what we call nerves

Half-comprehended catchwords serve as a


Hanging the last king with the guts of

the last priest

Happiness has nothing to do with our

outward circumstances

Happiness is only the threshold to


Happiness should be found in making

others happy

Harder it is to win a thing the higher

its value becomes

Hast thou a wounded heart? touch it


Hat is the sign of liberty, and the

free man keeps his hat on

Hate, though never sated, can yet be


Hatred and love are the opposite ends

of the same rod

Hatred for all that hinders the growth

of light

Hatred between man and man

Have not yet learned not to be


Have never been fain to set my heart on

one only maid

Have lived to feel such profound

contempt for the world

He may talk about the soul--what he is

after is the girl

He who kills a cat is punished (for


He who looks for faith must give faith

He is clever and knows everything, but

how silly he looks now

He was steadfast in everything, even


He only longed to be hopeful once more,

to enjoy the present

He who is to govern well must begin by

learning to obey

He was made to be plundered

He is the best host, who allows his

guests the most freedom

He has the gift of being easily


He who wholly abjures folly is a fool

He out of the battle can easily boast

of being unconquered

He spoke with pompous exaggeration

Held in too slight esteem to be able to

offer an affront

Her white cat was playing at her feet

Her eyes were like open windows

Here the new custom of tobacco-smoking

was practised

His sole effort had seemed to be to

interfere with no one

Hold pleasure to be the highest good

Hollow of the hand, Diogenes's


Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto

Honest anger affords a certain degree

of enjoyment

Hopeful soul clings to delay as the

harbinger of deliverance

How easy it is to give wounds, and how

hard it is to heal

How could they find so much pleasure in

such folly

How tender is thy severity

How effective a consolation man

possesses in gratitude

Human sacrifices, which had been

introduced into Egypt by the


Human beings hate the man who shows

kindness to their enemies

I am human, nothing that is human can I

regard as alien to me

I approve of such foolhardiness

I plead with voice and pen in behalf of

fairy tales

I must either rest or begin upon

something new

I cannot .  .  .  Say rather: I will


I know that I am of use

I have never deviated from the exact

truth even in jest

I was not swift to anger, nor a liar,

nor a violent ruler

I do not like to enquire about our fate

beyond the grave

Idleness had long since grown to be the

occupation of his life

If you want to catch mice you must

waste bacon

If one only knew who it is all for

If it were right we should not want to

hide ourselves

If speech be silver, silence then is


Ill-judgment to pronounce a thing


Impartial looker-on sees clearer than

the player

In order to find himself for once in

good company--(Solitude)

In whom some good quality or other may

not be discovered

In those days men wept, as well as


In this immense temple man seemed a

dwarf in his own eyes

In our country it needs more courage to

be a coward

In war the fathers live to mourn for

their slain sons

Inn, was to be found about every

eighteen miles

Inquisitive eyes are intrusive company

Introduced a regular system of


It is not seeing, it is seeking that is


It was such a comfort once more to obey

an order

It is not by enthusiasm but by tactics

that we defeat a foe

It is the passionate wish that gives

rise to the belief

Jealousy has a thousand eyes

Judge only by appearances, and never

enquire into the causes

Kisra called wine the soap of sorrow

Know how to honor beauty; and prove it

by taking many wives

Last Day we shall be called to account

for every word we utter

Laugh at him with friendly mockery,

such as hurts no man

Laughing before sunrise causes tears at


Learn early to pass lightly over little


Learn to obey, that later you may know

how to command

Life is not a banquet

Life is a function, a ministry, a duty

Life is the fairest fairy tale


Life is valued so much less by the


Life had fulfilled its pledges

Like the cackle of hens, which is

peculiar to Eastern women

Like a clock that points to one hour

while it strikes another

Love has two faces: tender devotion and

bitter aversion

Love means suffering--those who love

drag a chain with them

Love which is able and ready to endure

all things

Love laughs at locksmiths

Love is at once the easiest and the

most difficult

Love overlooks the ravages of years and

has a good memory

Loved himself too much to give his

whole affection to any one

Lovers delighted in nature then as now

Lovers are the most unteachable of


Maid who gives hope to a suitor though

she has no mind to hear

Man, in short, could be sure of nothing

Man works with all his might for no one

but himself

Man is the measure of all things

Man has nothing harder to endure than


Many creditors are so many allies

Many a one would rather be feared than

remain unheeded

Marred their best joy in life by over-

hasty ire

May they avoid the rocks on which I

have bruised my feet

Medicines work harm as often as good

Men studying for their own benefit, not

the teacher's

Men folks thought more about me than I

deemed convenient

Mirrors were not allowed in the convent

Misfortune too great for tears

Misfortunes commonly come in couples

yoked like oxen

Misfortunes never come singly

Money is a pass-key that turns any lock

More to the purpose to think of the

future than of the past

Mosquito-tower with which nearly every

house was provided

Most ready to be angry with those to

whom we have been unjust

Multitude who, like the gnats, fly

towards every thing brilliant

Museum of Alexandria and the Library

Must take care not to poison the fishes

with it

Must--that word is a ploughshare which

suits only loose soil

Natural impulse which moves all old

women to favor lovers

Nature is sufficient for us

Never speaks a word too much or too


Never so clever as when we have to find

excuses for our own sins

Never to be astonished at anything

No judgment is so hard as that dealt by

a slave to slaves

No man is more than man, and many men

are less

No man was allowed to ask anything of

the gods for himself

No good excepting that from which we

expect the worst

No,  she was not created to grow old

No happiness will thrive on bread and


No one we learn to hate more easily,

than the benefactor

No man gains profit by any experience

other than his own

No false comfort, no cloaking of the


No one so self-confident and insolent

as just such an idiot

No virtue which can be owned like a

house or a steed

Nobody was allowed to be perfectly idle

None of us really know anything rightly

Not yet fairly come to the end of


Nothing in life is either great or


Nothing is perfectly certain in this


Nothing permanent but change

Nothing so certain as that nothing is


Nothing is more dangerous to love, than

a comfortable assurance

Numbers are the only certain things

Observe a due proportion in all things

Obstacles existed only to be removed

Obstinacy--which he liked to call firm


Of two evils it is wise to choose the


Often happens that apparent superiority

does us damage

Old women grow like men, and old men

grow like women

Old age no longer forgets; it is youth

that has a short memory

Olympics--The first was fixed 776 B.C.

Omnipotent God, who had preferred his

race above all others

On with a new love when he had left the

third bridge behind him

Once laughed at a misfortune, its sting

loses its point

One falsehood usually entails another

One of those women who will not bear to

be withstood

One should give nothing up for lost

excepting the dead

One hand washes the other

One must enjoy the time while it is


One who stood in the sun must need cast

a shadow on other folks

One Head, instead of three, ruled the


Only the choice between lying and


Only two remedies for heart-sickness:--

hope and patience

Ordered his feet to be washed and his

head anointed

Our thinkers are no heroes, and our

heroes are no sages

Overbusy friends are more damaging than

intelligent enemies

Overlooks his own fault in his feeling

of the judge's injustice

Ovid, 'We praise the ancients'

Pain is the inseparable companion of


Papyrus Ebers

Patronizing friendliness

Pays better to provide for people's

bodies than for their brains

People who have nothing to do always

lack time

People see what they want to see

Perish all those who do not think as we


Philosophers who wrote of the vanity of


Phrase and idea "philosophy of

religion" as an absurdity

Pilgrimage to the grave, and death as

the only true life

Pious axioms to be repeated by the

physician, while compounding

Pleasant sensation of being a woman,

like any other woman

Possess little and require nothing

Pray for me, a miserable man--for I was

a man

Precepts and lessons which only a

mother can give

Prefer deeds to words

Preferred a winding path to a straight


Prepare sorrow when we come into the


Prepared for the worst; then you are

armed against failure

Pretended to see nothing in the old

woman's taunts

Priests that they should instruct the

people to be obedient

Priests: in order to curb the unruly

conduct of the populace

Principle of over-estimating the

strength of our opponents

Provide yourself with a self-devised


Rapture and anguish--who can lay down

the border line

Readers often like best what is most


Reason is a feeble weapon in contending

with a woman

Refreshed by the whip of one of the


Regard the utterances and mandates of

age as wisdom

Regular messenger and carrier-dove

service had been established

Remember, a lie and your death are one

and the same

Repeated the exclamation: "Too late!" 

and again, "Too late!

Repos ailleurs

Repugnance for the old laws began to

take root in his heart

Required courage to be cowardly

Resistance always brings out a man's

best powers

Retreat behind the high-sounding words

"justice and law"

Robes cut as to leave the right breast


Romantic love, as we know it, a result

of Christianity

Rules of life given by one man to

another are useless

Scarcely be able to use so large a sum-

-Then abuse it

Scorned the censure of the people, he

never lost sight of it

Sea-port was connected with Medina by a


Seditious words are like sparks, which

are borne by the wind

See facts as they are and treat them

like figures in a sum

Seems most charming at the time we are

obliged to resign it

Self-interest and egoism which drive

him into the cave

Sent for a second interpreter

Shadow which must ever fall where there

is light

Shadow of the candlestick caught her

eye before the light

She would not purchase a few more years

of valueless life

Shipwrecked on the cliffs of 'better'

and 'best'

Should I be a man, if I forgot


Shuns the downward glance of compassion

Sing their libels on women (Greek


Sky as bare of cloud as the rocks are

of shrubs and herbs

Sleep avoided them both, and each knew

that the other was awake

Smell most powerful of all the senses

in awakening memory

So long as we are able to hope and wish

So long as we do not think ourselves

wretched, we are not so

So hard is it to forego the right of


Some caution is needed even in giving a


Soul which ceases to regard death as a

misfortune finds peace

Speaking ill of others is their

greatest delight

Spoilt to begin with by their mothers,

and then all the women

Standing still is retrograding

Strongest of all educational powers--

sorrow and love

Successes, like misfortunes, never come


Take heed lest pride degenerate into


Talk of the wolf and you see his tail

Temples would be empty if mortals had

nothing left to wish for

Temples of the old gods were used as


Tender and uncouth natural sounds,

which no language knows

That tears were the best portion of all

human life

The heart must not be filled by

another's image

The blessing of those who are more than

they seem

The past belongs to the dead; only

fools count upon the future

The priests are my opponents, my


The carp served on Christmas eve in

every Berlin family

The gods cast envious glances at the

happiness of mortals

The past must stand; it is like a scar

The man who avoids his kind and lives

in solitude

The beautiful past is all he has to

live upon

The altar where truth is mocked at

The older one grows the quicker the

hours hurry away

The shirt is closer than the coat

The beginning of things is not more


The mother of foresight looks backwards

The greatness he had gained he


The dressing and undressing of the holy


The god Amor is the best schoolmaster

The not over-strong thread of my good


The man within him, and not on the

circumstances without

The scholar's ears are at his back:

when he is flogged

The best enjoyment in creating is had

in anticipation

The experienced love to signify their


Then hate came; but it did not last


There is no 'never,' no surely

There are no gods, and whoever bows

makes himself a slave

There is nothing better than death, for

it is peace

They who will, can

They praise their butchers more than

their benefactors

They keep an account in their heart and

not in their head

They get ahead of us, and yet--I would

not change with them

Thin-skinned, like all up-starts in


Think of his wife, not with affection

only, but with pride

Those are not my real friends who tell

me I am beautiful

Those who will not listen must feel

Those two little words 'wish' and


Those whom we fear, says my uncle, we

cannot love

Thou canst say in words what we can

only feel

Though thou lose all thou deemest thy


Thought that the insane were possessed

by demons

Time is clever in the healing art

Title must not be a bill of fare

To pray is better than to bathe

To govern the world one must have less

need of sleep

To know half is less endurable than to

know nothing

To her it was not a belief but a


To the child death is only slumber

To expect gratitude is folly

To the mines meant to be doomed to a

slow, torturing death

To whom the emotion of sorrow affords a

mournful pleasure

To whom fortune gives once, it gives by


To-morrow could give them nothing

better than to-day

To be happy, one must forget what

cannot be altered

Tone of patronizing instruction assumed

by the better informed

Trifling incident gains importance when

undue emphasis is laid

Trouble does not enhance beauty

True host puts an end to the banquet

Trustfulness is so dear, so essential

to me

Two griefs always belong to one joy

Unjust to injure and rob the child for

the benefit of the man

Until neither knew which was the giver

and which the receiver

Unwise to try to make a man happy by


Use their physical helplessness as a


Use words instead of swords, traps

instead of lances

Usually found the worst wine in the

taverns with showy signs

Vagabond knaves had already been put to

the torture

Very hard to imagine nothingness

Virtues are punished in this world

Voice of the senses, which drew them

together, will soon be mute

Wait, child!  What is life but waiting?

Waiting is the merchant's wisdom

Wakefulness may prolong the little term

of life

War is a perversion of nature

We live for life, not for death

We quarrel with no one more readily

than with the benefactor

We each and all are waiting

We've talked a good deal of love with

our eyes already

Welcome a small evil when it barred the

way to a greater one

Were we not one and all born fools

Wet inside, he can bear a great deal of

moisture without

What had formerly afforded me pleasure

now seemed shallow

What changes so quickly as joy and


What are we all but puny children?

What father does not find something to

admire in his child

Whatever a man would do himself, he

thinks others are capable of

When love has once taken firm hold of a

man in riper years

When a friend refuses to share in joys

When men-children deem maids to be weak

and unfit for true sport

When hate and revenge speak, gratitude

shrinks timidly

When you want to strike me again,

mother, please take off

Whether the form of our benevolence

does more good or mischief

Whether man were the best or the worst

of created beings

Whether the historical romance is ever


Who watches for his neighbour's faults

has a hundred sharp eyes

Who can point out the road that another

will take

Who can be freer than he who needs


Who only puts on his armor when he is


Who does not struggle ward, falls back

Who gives great gifts, expects great

gifts again

Who do all they are able and enjoy as

much as they can get

Who can take pleasure in always seeing

a gloomy face?

Who can prop another's house when his

own is falling

Who can hope to win love that gives


Whoever condemns, feels himself


Whoever will not hear, must feel

Wide world between the purpose and the


Wise men hold fast by the ever young


Without heeding the opinion of mortals

Woman who might win the love of a

highly-gifted soul (Pays for it)

Woman's disapproving words were blown

away by the wind

Woman's hair is long, but her wit is


Women are indeed the rock ahead in this

young fellow's life

Wonder we leave for the most part to

children and fools

Words that sounded kindly, but with a

cold, unloving heart

Wrath has two eyes--one blind, the

other keener than a falcon's

Ye play with eternity as if it were but

a passing moment

Years are the foe of beauty

You have a habit of only looking


Young Greek girls pass their sad

childhood in close rooms

Youth should be modest, and he was


Youth calls 'much,' what seems to older

people 'little'

Zeus pays no heed to lovers' oaths

If you wish to read the entire context of any of these quotations, select a short segment and copy it into your clipboard memory--then open the appropriate eBook and paste the phrase into your computer's find or search operation.

These quotations were collected from Georg Ebers' thirty volumes of novels which were produced as an eBook edition by David Widger for Project Gutenberg. Comments and suggestions will be most welcome.

--And many thanks for your persistence in reading all the way to the end of this page.        D.W.

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