Christoph Martin Wieland

German writer, poet and publisher (1733-1813)

Christoph Martin Wieland (September 5 1733January 20 1813) was a German poet, dramatist and translator, best known for his Oberon and other romances on medieval or oriental subjects.

Less is often more.


  • Ein Wahn, der mich beglückt,
    Ist eine Wahrheit werth, die mich zu Boden drückt.
    • An illusion which makes me happy is worth a verity which drags me to the ground.
    • Idris, ein heroisch-comisches Gedicht, Song 3, line 79 (1768); translation from Harry T. Reis and Caryl E. Rusbult (eds.) Close Relationships (New York: Psychology Press, 2004) p. 321.
  • Noch einmahl sattelt mir den Hippogryfen, ihr Musen,
    Zum Ritt ins alte romantische Land!
    • Saddle the Hippogriffs, ye Muses nine,
      And straight we'll ride to the land of old Romance.
    • Oberon, Song 1, st. 1 (1780) [1]; translation from Frederick Metcalfe History of German Literature (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans and Roberts, 1858) p. 109.
  • Nichts halb zu thun ist edler Geister Art.
    • To do nothing by halves is the way of noble spirits.
    • Oberon, Song 5, st. 30 [2]; translation from A. B. Faust (ed.) Oberon (New York: F. S. Crofts, 1940) p. 326.
  • The wise Theophrastus lived ninety years, and when he came to die, he complained against Nature because "she has given man so little time to live, and because an honest fellow must die at the very moment when he has begun to comprehend a little the art of life." But — let me remark in passing — I am very far from believing that Theophrastus made the foolish speech which is imputed to him. The people around his bed did not exactly understand what he said, and then some schoolmaster came along, a good while after, and tried to make sense of it, and made nonsense. I would bet that Theophrastus meant neither more nor less than this; that he regretted he had not been wise enough, sixty or seventy years before, to see that he might have saved himself the trouble of studying, as art and science, what Nature would have taught him far better and more surely, without study, if he had had the simplicity of mind to heed her instruction. It was not innocent Nature but his own folly that he blamed, as most men are wont to do in his case; although they might as well let it alone; for what is the use of repentance when one has time left for amendment?
    • Christoph Martin Wieland (1733-1813) Philosophy Considered As The Art Of Life And Healing Art Of The Soul P. 131 from Prose writers of Germany by Hedge, Frederic Henry, 1805-1890 Publication date 1870
  • I said Philosophy might the rather maintain its place, as healing art for the soul, because then, the well would know that they had nothing to do with it. But as all arts love to make themselves more important than they are, so this art too has found means to impose itself upon all the world as indispensable. Like its sister art, which ministers to the body, it will not allow any one to be entirely well.
    • ** Christoph Martin Wieland (1733-1813) Philosophy Considered As The Art Of Life And Healing Art Of The Soul P. 132
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