Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

Oscar Wilde Quotes

  • ''How strange a thing this is! The Priest telleth me that the Soul is worth all the gold in the world, and the merchants say that it is not worth a clipped piece of silver.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. The young fisherman, in "The Fisherman and his Soul," A House of Pomegranates (1891).
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  • ''Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 1, published in Intentions (1891).
  • ''There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating—people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 7 (1891).
  • ''I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Journal entry, June 29, 1913. Quoted in Journals 1889-1949, André Gide (1951). Also quoted in Gide's Oscar Wilde "In Memoriam" (1910).
  • ''The mere existence of conscience, that faculty of which people prate so much nowadays, and are so ignorantly proud, is a sign of our imperfect development. It must be merged in instinct before we become fine.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in "The Critic As Artist," pt. 1, published in Intentions (1891).
  • ''The basis of optimism is sheer terror.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 6 (1891).
  • ''Work is the curse of the drinking classes.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Quoted in Life of Oscar Wilde, ch. 12, Hesketh Pearson (1946).
  • ''As one knows the poet by his fine music, so one can recognise the liar by his rich rhythmic utterance, and in neither case will the casual inspiration of the moment suffice. Here, as elsewhere, practice must precede perfection.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Vivian, in "The Decay of Lying," published in Intentions (1891).
  • ''To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. repr. In Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, ed. J.B. Foreman (1966). Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 2, Intentions (1891).
  • ''I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.''
    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 1 (1891).

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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

Quantum Mutata

THERE was a time in Europe long ago
When no man died for freedom anywhere,
But England's lion leaping from its lair
Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so
While England could a great Republic show.
Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care
Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair
The Pontiff in his painted portico
Trembled before our stern ambassadors.

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