Age is no second childhood — age makes plain,
Children we were, true children we remain.

[Das Alter macht nicht kindisch, wie man spricht,
Es findet uns nur noch als wahre Kinder.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 2 “Prelude on the Stage” / “Prelude at the Theatre,” l. 212ff [Merryman] (1808-1829) [tr. Luke (1987)]
    (Source)

The character is identified as Lustige Person in the original, translated in various English sources as Merryman, Merryfellow, Merry Andrew, Jester, Comedian, and Clown.

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not , leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

Age does not make us childish, as folk say,
It finds us genuine children e'en in eld.
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

Old age not childish makes, whate'er one says;
It only finds us still as very children.
[tr. Latham (1790)]

Age makes not childish, as one oft avers;
It finds us still true children merely.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

Old age does not make childish, as men say; it only finds us still as true children.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

Age does not make us childish, as they say,
But we are still true children when it finds us.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

Age childish makes, they say, but ’tis not true;
We’re only genuine children still, in Age’s season!
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

Old age, not childish, makes the old; but they
Are genuine children of a mellower day.
[tr. Blackie (1880)]

Age does not make us childish, as we're told,
It merely finds we are still young at heart.
[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

They say that age makes people childish;
I say it merely finds us still true children.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

Old age does not make childish, as they claim,
It merely finds us genuine children yet.
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

Age doesn't make us childish, God knows,
Just finds us the same old children still.
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

They say age makes us childish - but it can
Make truer children of us than before.
[tr. Williams (1999)]

Age doesn’t make us childish, as they say,
It finds that we’re still children.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

Added on 1-Aug-22 | Last updated 1-Aug-22
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