What the artist is always looking for is the mode of existence in which soul and body are one and indivisible: in which the outward is expressive of the inward: in which form reveals.
The Bostonians take their learning too sadly: culture with them is an accomplishment rather than an atmosphere; their Hub, as they call it, is the paradise of prigs.
Married men are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.
I never take any notice to what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do.
I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if only one hides it.
I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one's life.
Don't be discouraged if your children reject your advice. Years later they will offer it to their own offspring.
Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved.
Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.
All art is at once surface and symbol.
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.
Oh! I killed Bunbury this afternoon... I mean poor Bunbury died this afternoon.
What did he die of?
Bunbury? Oh, he was exploded!
It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone and can be made as offensive as a brickbat.
It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes.
To shut one's eyes to half of life that one may live securely is as though one blinded oneself that one might walk with more safety in a land of pit and precipice.
Don't imagine that your perfection lies in accumulating or possessing external things. Your affection is inside of you.
Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right or wrong in conduct shows an arrested intellectual development.
It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institutions of private property.
If property had simply pleasures, we could stand it; but its duties make it unbearable. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it.
Nowadays we are all of us so hard up that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They're the only things we can pay.
Finding the meaning of life is easy. Simply get a dictionary, go to the 'L' section, and find the word 'life.'
In England ... education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and would probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.
With an evening coat and a white tie, anybody, even a stockbroker, can gain a reputation for being civilized.
With an evening coat and a white tie, as you told me once, anybody, even a stock-broker, can gain a reputation for being civilized. Well, after I had been in the room about ten minutes, talking to huge overdressed dowagers and tedious academicians, I suddenly became conscious that some one was looking at me.
I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.
Temperament is the primary requisite for the critic -- a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.
The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all. Authority over him and his art is ridiculous.
The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.
As for omens, there is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.
The ability of the theist to misunderstand a thing is directly proportional to the obviousness of the thing.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.
We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.
There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought to which sorrow does not vibrate in terrible and exquisite pulsation.
All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon.
It is only about things that do not interest one that one can give a really unbiased opinion, which is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always absolutely valueless.
My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. It is almost as disgraceful as the way Gwendolen flirts with you.
There is much more before me. I have hills far steeper to climb, valleys much darker to pass through. And I have to get it all out of myself. Neither religion, morality, nor reason can help me at all.
To the artist, expression is the only mode under which he can conceive life at all. To him what is dumb is dead.
The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one has as yet discovered.
I must say... that I ruined myself: and that nobody, great or small, can be ruined except by his own hand.
To be really mediæval one should have no body. To be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes.
Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons.
Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one center of pain.
Then there was a man who said, 'I never knew what real happiness was until I got married; by then it was too late'
I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.
I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them. -- .
There is only one real tragedy in a woman's life. The fact that her past is always her lover, and her future invariably her husband.
You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.
You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.
Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.
Though forgiveness was impossible, forgetfulness was possible still, and he was determined to forget.
The night was bitter cold, and the gas-lamps round the square flared and flickered in the keen wind; but his hands were hot with fever, and his forehead burned like fire.
They walked softly, as men do instinctively at night. The lamp cast fantastic shadows on the wall and staircase. A rising wind made some of the windows rattle.
It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter, who on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.
There were opium-dens, where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.
Because to influence a person is to give one's own soul.
Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion -- these are the two things that govern us.
So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray.
Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.
Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Just as vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people. And falsehoods the truths of other people. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself. To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.
Rugby is a game for barbarians played by gentlemen. Football is a game for gentlemen played by barbarians.
I only care to see doctors when I am in perfect health; then they comfort one, but when one is ill they are most depressing.
To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
The modern sympathy with invalids is morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.
The beautiful, passionate, ruined South, the land of magnolias and music, of roses and romance ... living on the memory of crushing defeats.
Beauty ...is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.
You must have a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?
People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely because chickens run about so absurdly that it's impossible to count them accurately.
At every single moment of one's life one is what one is going to be no less than what one has been.
At every single moment of one’s life one is what one is going to be no less than what one has been. Art is a symbol, because man is a symbol.
Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect -- simply a confession of failures.
We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.
We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.'
'Even when one has been wounded by it, Harry?' asked the duchess after a pause.
'Especially when one has been wounded by it,' answered Lord Henry.
To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.
If a man needs an elaborate tombstone in order to remain in the memory of his country, it is clear that his living at all was an act of absolute superfluity.
Ah! The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women...merely adored.
The only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.
What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.
Not that I love thy children, whose dull eyes see nothing save their own unlovely woe, Whose minds know nothing, nothing care to know.
People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.
I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.
It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal. I hope you will never fall into that error. If you do, you will be sorry for it.
Bad artists always admire each others work.
Bad artists always admire each other's work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned, under any conditions other than those he has selected.
Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
The basis of action is lack of imagination. It is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.
Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar.
Everyone may not be good, but there's always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.
Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life's lumber.
Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life's lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Every one is born a king, and most people die in exile.
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
For the canons of good society are, or should be, the same as the canons of art. Form is absolutely essential to it.
For the canons of good society are, or should be, the same as the canons of art. Form is absolutely essential to it. It should have the dignity of a ceremony, as well as its unreality, and should combine the insincere character of a romantic play with the wit and beauty that make such plays delightful to us.
Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval.
Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.
I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn't write them down, I should not probably forget all about them.
The quivering, ardent sunlight showed him the lines of cruelty round the mouth as clearly as if he had been looking into a mirror after he had done some dreadful thing.
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.
When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
Quotes by Oscar Wilde are featured in:
Short Love Quotes