Oscar Wilde Quotes

Oscar Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. He is famous for writing The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

oscar wilde

These are a collection of his quotes for your enjoyment.

Oscar Wilde Quotes 1

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But… it is better to be good than to be ugly.

I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

I can resist everything except temptation.

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.

There’s nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It’s a thing no married man knows anything about.

There is always something infinitely mean about other people’s tragedies.

The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it’s dead for you.

It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.

Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.

The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.

Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.

I have nothing to declare except my genuis.

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

Hatred is blind, as well as love.

Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

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.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.

I am not young enough to know everything.

When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.

There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no married man knows anything about.

Women are made to be loved, not understood.

Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.

A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.

A poet can survive everything but a misprint.

One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.

All art is quite useless.

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… I can resist everything but temptation.

Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.

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.

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

When good Americans die they go to Paris.

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.

The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

It is always the unreadable that occurs.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.

Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.

Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.

Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.

Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

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.

Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.

There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel no one else has a right to blame us.

If one plays good music, people don’t listen and if one plays bad music people don’t talk.

Biography lends to death a new terror.

Who, being loved, is poor?

If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.

I suppose society is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.

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.

The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.

Those whom the gods love grow young.

There is no sin except stupidity.

One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.

Alas, I am dying beyond my means.

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.

A man can’t be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.

How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.

In married life three is company and two none.

Charity creates a multitude of sins.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.

If there was less sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world.

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.

In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.

Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.

What we have to do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive the old art of Lying.

There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life’s sores the better.

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.

It is only by not paying one’s bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.

Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.

In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.

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.

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.

Life is too important to be taken seriously.

In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.

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.

True friends stab you in the front.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.

Woman begins by resisting a man’s advances and ends by blocking his retreat.

Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.

Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.

I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.

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.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

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.

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.

The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.

The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

When a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her except continue to love her.

I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

One’s past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.

Everything popular is wrong.

Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.

It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Ah, well, then I suppose I shall have to die beyond my means.

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.

There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

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.

The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.

A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.

This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

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.

An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him.

A true friend stabs you in the front.

I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.

Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating – people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

I see when men love women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.

Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.

Only the shallow know themselves.

The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.

Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.

Why was I born with such contemporaries?

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.

There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.

Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.

Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.

By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.