Quotes by Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 November 30, 1900) was an Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. One of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the ... more

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People who love only once in their lives are shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect -- simply a confession of failures.

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.
One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. If she tells that, she'll tell anything.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
Life is too important to be taken seriously.
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating --people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats, none knew so well as I: for he who lives more lives than one more deaths than one must die.
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
The past is of no importance. The present is of no importance. It is with the future that we have to deal. For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.
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.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women merely adored.
A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.
A pessimist is one who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.
I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.
My great mistake, the fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality.
Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt.
It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things against one, behind one's back, that are absolutely and entirely true.
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.
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.
The first duty of life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one as yet discovered.
Through our sunless lanes creeps Poverty with her hungry eyes, and Sin with his sodden face follows close behind her. Misery wakes us in the morning and Shame sits with us at night.
Talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you, and at the end of your first season you will have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact.
The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.
The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.
The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last.
The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
The truth is rarely pure, and never simple
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true.
Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.
Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man's last romance.
To become a spectator of one's own life is to escape the suffering of life.
To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action.
It is because Humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way.
The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development. The error of Louis XIV was that he thought human nature would always be the same. The result of his error was the French Revolution. It was an admirable result.
And now, I am dying beyond my means. [Sipping champagne on his deathbed]
No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.
It is he who has broken the bond of marriage -- not I. I only break its bondage.
She is absolutely inadmissible into society. Many a woman has a past, but I am told that she has at least a dozen, and that they all fit.
Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the two sexes.
The husbands of very beautiful women belong to the criminal classes.
I have nothing to declare except my genius.
One should always play fair when one has the winning cards.
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.
An ordinary man away from home giving advice.
Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things.
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
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.
Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.
It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune... to lose both seems like carelessness.
When one pays a visit it is for the purpose of wasting other people's time, not one's own.
The greatest of all sins is stupidity.
Plain women are always jealous of their husbands. Beautiful women never are. They are always so occupied with being jealous of other women's husbands.