One should not be too severe on English novels; they are the only relaxation of the intellectually unemployed.
Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching.
Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching. Our splendid physique as a people is entirely due to our national stupidity.
Walt Whitman and Emerson are the poets who have given the world more than anyone else. Perhaps Whitman is not so widely read in England, but England never appreciates a poet until he is dead.
Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them!
Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?
She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness. It is the feet of clay that make the gold of the image precious.
To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless.
It was not intended as a compliment. It was a confession. Now that I have made it, something seems to have gone out of me. Perhaps one should never put one's worship into words.
Your mysterious young friend, whose name you have never told me, but whose picture really fascinates me, never thinks.
Journalism justifies its own existence by the great Darwinian principle of the survival of the vulgarist.
If it was my business, I wouldn't talk about it. It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbroker's do that, and then merely at dinner parties.
Schools should be the most beautiful place in every town and village-so beautiful that the punishment for undutiful children should be barred from going to school the following day.
I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood.
I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood. Don't degrade me into the position of giving you useful information. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Do you know that I am afraid that good people do a great deal of harm in this world? Certainly the greatest harm they do is that they make badness of such extraordinary importance.
I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable.
I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.
Clergymen and people who use phrases without wisdom sometimes talk of suffering as a mystery. It is really a revelation.
American girls are as clever at concealing their parents as English women are at concealing their past.
Don't tell me that you have exhausted Life. When a man says that, one knows that life has exhausted him.
Find expression for a sorrow, and it will become dear to you. Find expression for a joy, and you will intensify its ecstasy.
Yes, very sensible... People die of common sense, Dorian, one lost moment at a time. Life is a moment. There is no hereafter. So make it burn always with the hardest flame.
Women, as some witty Frenchman once put it, inspire us with the desire to do masterpieces and always prevent us from carrying them out.
Cheap editions of great books may be delightful, but cheap editions of great men are absolutely detestable.
Lawyers have been known to wrest from reluctant juries triumphant verdicts of acquittal for their clients, even when those clients, as often happens, were clearly and unmistakably innocent.
All art is immortal. For emotion for the sake of emotion is the aim of art, and emotion for the sake of action is the aim of life.
Artists reproduce themselves or each other, with wearisome iteration. But criticism is always moving on, and the critic is always developing.
Whatever, in fact, is modern in our life we owe to the Greeks. Whatever is an anachronism is due to mediaevalism.
Conscience and cowardice are really the same things, Basil. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.
In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.
One should absorb the color of life.
One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
Memory is the diary that chronicles things that never have happened and couldn't possibly have happened.
Who is that man over there? I don't know him. What is he doing? Is he a conspirator? Have you searched him? Give him till tomorrow to confess, then hang him! -- hang him!
A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurence of crime.
It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it.
I don't regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure. I did it to the full, as one should do everything that one does. There was no pleasure I did not experience.
I don’t regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure. I did it to the full, as one should do everything that one does. There was no pleasure I did not experience. I threw the pearl of my soul into a cup of wine.
There is more to be said for stupidity than people imagine. Personally I have a great admiration for stupidity. It is a sort of fellow-feeling, I suppose.
Yes, I am a thorough republican. No other form of government is so favorable to the growth of art.
Yes, I am a thorough republican. No other form of government is so favorable to the growth of art. ...because of the importance it places on the individual, their liberty, self-expression, creativity, and personal responsibility.
I threw the pearl of my soul into a cup of wine. I went down the primrose path to the sound of flutes. I lived on honeycomb.
Just to let you know that the buffet car will be closing for stocktaking in five minutes. The next station stop is Chesterfield.
You are not listening to a word I am saying ... and I am making the most delightful plans for your future.
People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards.
Great passions are for the great of soul, and great events can be seen only by those who are on a level with them.
Like two doomed ships that pass in storm we had crossed each other's way: but we made no sign, we said no word, we had no word to say.
I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.
I have always been of opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing.
I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die.
I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose? Every moment that passes takes something from me and gives something to it. Oh, if it were only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now! Why did you paint it? It will mock me some day—mock me horribly!
You should treat the trivial things in life seriously and the serious things in life with a sincere and studied triviality.
Genius lasts longer than beauty.
Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.
I played with an idea, and grew willful; tossed it into the air; transformed it; let it escape and recaptured it; made it iridescent with fancy, and winged it with paradox.
Do not be afraid of the past. If people tell you that it is irrevocable, do not believe them.
Do not be afraid of the past. If people tell you that it is irrevocable, do not believe them. The past, the present and the future are but one moment in the sight of God, in whose sight we should try to live. Time and space, succession and extension, are merely accidental conditions of thought. The imagination can transcend them.
Through our sunless lanes creeps Poverty with her hungry eyes, and Sin with his sodden face follows close behind her. Misery wakes us in the morning and Shame sits with us at night.
He to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives.
There is one thing worse than an absolutely loveless marriage: a marriage in which there is love, but on one side only.
Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of, herself.
She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance.
As for modern journalism, it is not my business to defend it. It justifies its own existence by the great Darwinian principle of the survival of the vulgarest.
My desire to live is as intense as ever, and though my heart is broken, hearts are made to be broken: that is why God sends sorrow into the world.
For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us.
For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us. Outside, the day may be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down through the thickly-muffled glass of the small iron-barred window beneath which one sits is grey and niggard. It is always twilight in one's cell, as it is always twilight in one's heart. And in the sphere of thought, no less than in the sphere of time, motion is no more.
My dear fellow, the truth isn't quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman!
I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister. Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.
You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter -- a girl brought up with the utmost care -- to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel?
In the old times men carried out their rights for themselves as they lived, but nowadays every baby seems born with a social manifesto in its mouth much bigger than itself.
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob. It is through the voice of one crying in the wilderness that the ways of the gods must be prepared.
The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her if she is pretty, and to someone else if she is plain.
There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful.
I worshipped you too much. I am punished for it. You worshipped yourself too much. We are both punished.
An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.
An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty.
We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.
She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses but in all my garden there is no red rose.
Ah, on what little things does happiness depend.
Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched.
The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret.
Put out the torches! Hide the moon! Hide the stars! Let us hide ourselves in our palace,
Herodias. I begin to be afraid.
There are moments when one has to choose between living one's own life, fully, entirely, completely -- or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.
The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.
The bright dawn flooded the room, and swept the fantastic shadows into dusky corners, where they lay shuddering.
We spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in Art.
The great poet is always a seer, seeing less with the eyes of the body than he does with the eyes of the mind.
All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and it degrades those over whom it is exercised.
The sin was mine; I did not understand. So now is music prisoned in her cave, Save where some ebbing desultory wave Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.
I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.
The first thing that struck me on landing in America was that if the Americans are not the most well-dressed people in the world, they are the most comfortably dressed.
The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
The ancient historians gave us delightful fiction in the form of fact; the modern novelist presents us with dull facts under the guise of fiction.
For life is terribly deficient in form. Its catastrophes happen in the wrong way and to the wrong people. There is a grotesque horror about its comedies, and its tragedies seem to culminate in farce.
One pale woman all alone,
The daylight kissing her wan hair,
Loitered beneath the gas lamps' flare,
With lips of flame and heart of stone.
There was purification in punishment. Not 'Forgive us our sins,' but 'Smite us for our iniquities' should be the prayer of a man to a most just God.
The British cook, for her iniquities, is a foolish woman who should be turned into a pillar of salt which she never knows how to use.
Give children beauty, not the record of bloody slaughters and barbarous brawls, as they call history, or of the latitude and longitude of places nobody cares to visit, as they call geography.
Quotes by Oscar Wilde are featured in:
Short Love Quotes