Quotes from “Simplicissimus” by Hans Jacob Christoph von Grimmelshausen

– So perfect and complete was my ignorance that it was impossible for me to know that I knew nothing.

– . . . the Almighty took pity on my innocence, and determined to bring me to knowledge of both myself and himself.

– . . . a brief word is more easily remembered than a long speech; and if it is pithy and to the point it does more good by making you think than a long sermon which is easily understood and just as easily forgotten.

– Necessity soon teaches you to pray.

– . . . setting the peasant above the nobleman is a recipe for disorder.

– You’ll never find a sharper sword than a peasant who’s been made a Lord.

– A lamp gives light but must be primed
with oil or else it’s flame so dies.
so loyalty needs its reward,
a soldiers courage needs its prize.

– The holm-oak, scarred and blasted by the wind’s chill breath,
Break its own branches off, condemns itself to death.
When brother fights with brother, civil war will start,
Bring pain and grief to all and tear the land apart.

– God’s help is closest where need is greatest.

– I came to the conclusion that the Good Lord gives each person sufficient wits to survive in the station to which He has called them.

– . . . there are as many clever fish in the sea as ever came out of it.

– The foolish world wants to be deceived.

– To tell the truth, it was only in becoming a fool that I found my wits and started to watch my tongue.

– The glorious deeds of heroism would indeed be praiseworthy if they had not been accomplished with the injury and death of many others.

– . . . you have a heavy responsibility to bear in the eyes of God.

– For even if everything goes well for you, you will still take nothing with you but a bad conscience.

– . . . there was hardly any worse sin than for one man to deprive another of his reason.

– . . . they could all see how well-disposed my master was to me. On would give me this, another that, for they knew that jesters can often achieve more with their masters than honest behavior.

– . . . one single moment of bad luck can rob you of all well being and take you so far away from all comfort and happiness that it haunts you for the rest of your days.

– I quickly realized, however, that I had not caught a prince but a lunatic who had studied too much and been driven mad by poetry.

– It just goes to show how strange fortune is and how things can change with time.

– . . . there is nothing as certain as uncertainty.

– . . . a person who lives a life free of worries is little more than a brute beast.

– . . . parsimony brings no joy.

 – If something is to be then everthing falls into place.

– I think there is no one in the world who does not have a screw loose somewhere or other.

– What you gain on the roundabouts you lose on the swings.

– A young soldier makes an old beggar.

– I would sooner keep off all the roads altogether than take the wrong one.

– It’s much better to keep your horse in someone elses stable than to feed someone elses in your own.

– Things that are destined happen in many ways.

– If you’re too sharp you’ll cut your finger. If you play with fire too often you’ll get burned.

– The cause of our sins is often the means by which we are punished.

– How rapid the change from fortune to misfortune.

– Eventually others’ misfortune prooved to be my good fortune.

– If something is not to be then it is not to be.

– A resolute soldier who has accepted that he is risking his life and hold it cheap must be a stupid beast!

– Only a roque would deny his own name.

– Nothing ventured, nothing won.

– There’s many a slip between cup and lip.

– Nettles sting even when they’re young shoots.

– Being first in the attack meant I was last in the retreat.

– Fortune can change in an instant.

– The prospect of the smallest profit soon makes people change their minds.

– But, alas, it is when we are most sure of our hopes and plans that a storm suddenly comes and in a twinkling blows all the foolish designs, on which we have been working for so long, to the four winds.

– From Antoni de Guerva, in his statement against the ‘world’:
“Farewell world, there is no trust nor hope in you.”
“All in all, you present the useless as useful and the useful as useless.”
” . . . you turn us into a dark abyss.”
” . . . I protest that you shall have no part of me; and I for my part want no part of you, will not place my hopes in you.”
” Posui finem curis, spes et fortuna valete – I have put an end to cares, hopes and fortune. Farewell.”

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