Oscar Wilde Quotes
Most popular Oscar Wilde Quotes
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
All art is immoral.
All art is quite useless.
Who, being loved, is poor?
Youth is the Lord of Life.
Everything popular is wrong.
Nothing succeeds like excess.
The secret of life is an art.
A kiss may ruin a human life.
The final mystery is oneself.
All great ideas are dangerous.
Only the shallow know themselves.
There is no sin except stupidity.
Alas, I am dying beyond my means.
He hasn't a single redeeming vice.
True friends stab you in the front.
Charity creates a multitude of sins.
Those whom the gods love grow young.
Biography lends to death a new terror.
One's style is one's signature always.
The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
California is an Italy without its art.
Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
Ambition is the last refuge of failure.
Why was I born with such contemporaries?
It is always the unreadable that occurs.
Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
Science is the record of dead religions.
When good Americans die they go to Paris.
Nothing kills love like an overdose of it.
I can resist everything except temptation.
Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
Women are made to be loved, not understood.
I have nothing to declare except my genius.
Men become old, but they never become good.
The very essence of romance is uncertainty.
Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.
No man is rich enough to buy back his past.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
Women as a sex are sphinxes without secrets.
Circumstances should never alter principles!
Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.
In married life three is company and two none.
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.
I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.
A poet can survive everything but the misprint.
This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
The youth of America is their oldest tradition.
Religion is a fashionable substitute for Belief.
The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
God and other artists are always a little obscure.
A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.
I can believe anything, provided it is incredible.
Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.
Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex.
Celibacy is the most unusual of all the perversions.
Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.
Mediocrity always detests ability, and loathes genius.
In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press.
Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.
There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime.
After all, the only proper intoxication is conversation.
Always forgive your enemies—nothing annoys them so much.
A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.
Memory ... is the diary that we all carry about with us.
One can always be kind to people one cares nothing about.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
The best way to make children good is to make them happy.
Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.
Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
Caricature is the tribute which mediocrity pays to genius.
The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.
One should always play fair when one has the winning cards.
Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.
Mr Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.
A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.
Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.
He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.
Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead.
A simile committing suicide is always a depressing spectacle.
Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.
To get back ones youth one has merely to repeat ones follies.
A consultant is an ordinary man away from home giving advice.
One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.
If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.
The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster.
It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.
They knew the precise psychological moment when to say nothing.
It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
Artists, like the Greek gods, are only revealed to one another.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.
History is gossip but scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.
Details are of no importance in life, but in art details are vital.
Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.
Youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.
I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.
A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.
Hear no evil, speak no evil- And you'll never be invited to a party.
Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.
Experience, the name men give to their mistakes. I never commit any.
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.
One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.
When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.
Now and then it is a joy to have one's table red with wine and roses.
The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.
I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him.
The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.
No man should have a secret from his wife—she invariably finds it out.
Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
Duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself.
The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.
Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
There is always something infinitely mean about other people's tragedies.
Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.
Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.
The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you.
An idea that is not dangerous is not worthy of being called an idea at all.
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Private information is practically the source of every large modern fortune.
It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.
No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.
To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life.
I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.
There are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage.
One's past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.
No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.
Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.
When people talk to me about the weather, I always feel they mean something else.
Philosophy may teach us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of our neighbors.
Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women like to be a man's last romance.
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.
If there was less sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world.
I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue.
Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.
Young men want to be faithful, and are not. Old men want to be faithless, and cannot.
The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.
Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.
A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure.
How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.
It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.
Cynicism is merely the art of seeing things as they are instead of as they ought to be.
We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious.
Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.
Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.
Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.
An acquaintance that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship.
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.
What we have to do, what at any rate is our duty to do, is to revive the old art of lying.
If one plays good music, people don't listen and if one plays bad music people don't talk.
The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.
When a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her except continue to love her.
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want.
As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.
Every great man nowadays has his disciple, and it is usually Judas who writes the biography.
Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.
If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
What we have to do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive the old art of Lying.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But ... it is better to be good than to be ugly.
There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
Ultimately, the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation.
I don't want money. It is only people who pay their bills who want that, and I never pay mine.
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.
Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.
In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.
The best one can say of modern creative art is that it is just a little less vulgar than reality.
Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.
To get into the best society nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people.
There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.
There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life's lumber-room. Youth is the Lord of Life.
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.
The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.
The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.
Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the two sexes.
She has a curious love of green, which in individual is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament.
The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.
While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.
Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
One can live for years sometimes without living at all, and then all life comes crowding into one single hour.
By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.
I see when men love women, they give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.
When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.
I suppose society is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.
One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.
All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic.
I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.
If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.
Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.
Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no married man knows anything about.
Pleasure is nature's test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.
Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.
Clergyman and people who use phrases without wisdom sometimes talk of suffering as a mystery. It is really a revelation.
There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad. There is no sin except stupidity.
Taking sides is the beginning of sincerity, and earnestness follows shortly afterwards, and the human being becomes a bore.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.
A dreamer is man who can find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects.
Thirty-five is a very attractive age. Society is full of women who have of their own free choice remained thirty-five for years.
To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die.
Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success.
When a love comes to an end, weaklings cry, efficient ones instantly find another love, and the wise already have one in reserve.
The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
Misfortunes one can endure—they come from outside, they are accidents. But to suffer for one's own faults—ah! There is the sting of life.
I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating—people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else.
When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.
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.
Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.
If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.
It is a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming.
A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.
One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
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.
It is only fair to state, with regard to modern journalists, that they always apologize to one in private for what they have written against one in public.
There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch of the ignorance of the community.
In Art, the public accept what has been, because they cannot alter it, not because they appreciate it. They swallow their classics whole, and never taste them.
Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them.
Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity. Women have a more subtle instinct about things. What they like is to be a man's last romance.
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 valueless.
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.
It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realize our perfection; through Art and Art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.
There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
When a woman marries again it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.
There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathize with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the better.
Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it.
Just as the orator marks his good things by a dramatic pause, or by raising and lowering his voice, or by gesture, so the writer marks his epigrams with italics, setting the little gem, so to speak, like a jeweler.
My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
Fashion rests upon folly. Art rests upon law. Fashion is ephemeral. Art is eternal. Indeed what is a fashion really? A fashion is merely a form of ugliness so absolutely unbearable that we have to alter it every six months!
Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you. And so, try to so shape your life that external things will not harm you.
Science is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon eternal truths. Art is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon things beautiful and immortal and ever-changing. To morals belong the lower and less intellectual spheres.
A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.
A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.
As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.
The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it ... I can resist everything but temptation.
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.
There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel no one else has a right to blame us.
There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else has a right to blame us.
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst; the last is a real tragedy!
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.