Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

Oscar Wilde Quotes

  • ''It is well for our vanity that we slay the criminal, for if we suffered him to live he might show us what we had gained by his crime.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 1, published in Intentions (1891).
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  • ''She tried to found a salon, and only succeeded in opening a restaurant.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 1 (1891). Of Lady Brandon.
  • ''To have friends, you know, one need only be good-natured; but when a man has no enemy left there must be something mean about him.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Prince Paul, in Vera, or the Nihilists, act 2.
  • ''In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1895) Fortnightly Review (London, Feb. 1891).
  • ''The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 19 (1891).
  • ''An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. letter, Sept. 25, 1896, to actress Ellen Terry. Quoted by Shaw in Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters, vol. 1 (1965). Shaw provided the most quoted version of this in Sixteen Self Sketches, ch. 17 (1949): "He hasn't an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him."
  • ''Charity creates a multitude of sins.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1895) Fortnightly Review (London, Feb. 1890). This dictum was echoed in another line by Wilde—"Charity ... creates a multitude of evils," in The Critic as Artist, published in July and September of the same year (1890)Mbut both recall Thoreau's, "This is a charity that hides a multitude of sins" (referring to philanthropists) in Walden (1854) "Economy," which itself derives from the Bible, "For charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8).
  • ''Whatever, in fact, is modern in our life we owe to the Greeks. Whatever is an anachronism is due to mediaevalism.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in "The Critic as Artist," pt. 1, Intentions (1891).
  • ''Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 1 (1891).
  • ''Popularity is the only insult that has not yet been offered to Mr. Whistler.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Quoted by Whistler, in "Mr. Whistler and His Critics, a Catalogue," The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (1890).

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Best Poem of Oscar Wilde

Her Voice

THE wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,--
It shall be, I said, for eternity
...

Read the full of Her Voice

San Miniato

SEE, I have climbed the mountain side
Up to this holy house of God,
Where once that Angel-Painter trod
Who saw the heavens opened wide,

And throned upon the crescent moon
The Virginal white Queen of Grace,--
Mary! could I but see thy face
Death could not come at all too soon.

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