Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), "Gesellschaft," tr. David Luke:
A quiet scholar once left a large party and went home. He was asked: 'How did you like it?' 'If they were books,' he said. 'I should not read them.'
The same, tr. John Frederick Nims:
Once, at a party, a taciturn prof
Met hordes of new people, but soon hurried off.
When asked how he liked them, their manners, their looks,
Said, "I wouldn't read them, if they had been books."
Aus einer großen Gesellschaft heraus
Ging einst ein stiller Gelehrter zu Haus.
Man fragte: Wie seid Ihr zufrieden gewesen?
»Wären's Bücher,« sagt' er, »ich würd' sie nicht lesen.«