Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

751 Inspiring Quotes by Oscar Wilde

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Oscar Wilde.

Wikipedia Summary for Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts in "one of the first celebrity trials", imprisonment, and early death from meningitis at age 46.

Wilde's parents were Anglo-Irish intellectuals in Dublin. A young Wilde learned to speak fluent French and German. At university, Wilde read Greats; he demonstrated himself to be an exceptional classicist, first at Trinity College Dublin, then at Oxford. He became associated with the emerging philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles.

As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art" and interior decoration, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversational skill, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into what would be his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French while in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to an absolute prohibition on the portrayal of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late-Victorian London.

At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was still being performed in London, Wilde prosecuted the Marquess of Queensberry for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and sentenced to two years' hard labour, the maximum penalty, and was jailed from 1895 to 1897. During his last year in prison, he wrote De Profundis (published posthumously in 1905), a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. On his release, he left immediately for France, and never returned to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life.

person walking on snowfield

A beggar hates his benefactor as much as he hates himself for begging.

--Oscar Wilde

purple moth orchids in bloom close up photo

Each class preaches the importance of those virtues it need not exercise. The rich harp on the value of thrift, the idle grow eloquent over the dignity of labor.

--Oscar Wilde

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

What is termed Sin is an essential element of progress. Without it the world would stagnate, or grow old, or become colourless.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

What is termed Sin is an essential element of progress. Without it the world would stagnate, or grow old, or become colorless. By its curiosity Sin increases the experience of the race. Through its intensified assertion of individualism it saves us from monotony of type. In its rejection of the current notions about morality, it is one with the higher ethics.


pink rose in close up photography

I was dominated, soul, brain, and power by you. You became to me the visible incarnation of that unseen ideal whose memory haunts us artists like an exquisite dream.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower on white wall

Yes, I am a thorough republican. No other form of government is so favorable to the growth of art.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Yes, I am a thorough republican. No other form of government is so favorable to the growth of art. ...because of the importance it places on the individual, their liberty, self-expression, creativity, and personal responsibility.


snow covered mountain during daytime

There was purification in punishment. Not 'Forgive us our sins,' but 'Smite us for our iniquities' should be the prayer of a man to a most just God.

--Oscar Wilde

person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs

I must say... that I ruined myself: and that nobody, great or small, can be ruined except by his own hand.

--Oscar Wilde

blooming yellow sunflower field

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

--Oscar Wilde

man and woman holding hand while walking on bridge

It is in the brain that the poppy is red, that the apple is odorous, that the skylark sings.

--Oscar Wilde

woman leaning against a wall in dim hallway

Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams.

--Oscar Wilde

fire near trees

She is a peacock in everything but beauty.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

She is a peacock in everything but beauty!


pink flowers in vase

Better the rule of One, whom all obey, than to let clamorous demagogues betray our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.

--Oscar Wilde

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

Men are such cowards. They outrage every law in the world and are afraid of the world's tongue.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of off-road car

The modern sympathy with invalids is morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.

--Oscar Wilde

man and woman kissing

I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

It would be unfair to expect other people to be as brilliant as oneself.

--Oscar Wilde

red tulips

To the artist, expression is the only mode under which he can conceive life at all. To him what is dumb is dead.

--Oscar Wilde

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

flame illustration

To look at a thing is very different from seeing it.

--Oscar Wilde

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.


brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

I often take exercise. Why only yesterday I had breakfast in bed.

--Oscar Wilde

red yellow and blue paint

Popularity is the one insult I have never suffered.

--Oscar Wilde

worm's eye view photography of pink cheery blossom tree

The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.

--Oscar Wilde

brown french bulldog wearing red and white santa hat sitting on yellow pasta

The moon in her chariot of pearl.

--Oscar Wilde

white oriental lily flower

Prayer must never be answered: if it is, it ceases to be prayer and becomes correspondence.

--Oscar Wilde

woman holding brown umbrella

Nowadays, people read too many books to appreciate any.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of couple

It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it.

--Oscar Wilde

brown mountain

Perhaps in nearly every joy, as certainly in every pleasure, cruelty has its place.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photography of grey coin operated telescope

People are either charming or tedious.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with stars during night time

The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.

--Oscar Wilde

autumn leaves on body of water

What is beautiful is a joy for all seasons.

--Oscar Wilde

man and woman holding hand while walking on bridge

An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty.


silhouette of people riding bicycle

I played with an idea, and grew willful; tossed it into the air; transformed it; let it escape and recaptured it; made it iridescent with fancy, and winged it with paradox.

--Oscar Wilde

flowers

Time is a waste of money.

--Oscar Wilde

purple petaled flower

Don't run down dyed hair and painted faces. There is an extraordinary charm in them, sometimes.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

If one hears bad music, it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation.

--Oscar Wilde

girl leaning on wall during daytime

Lean on principles, one day they'll end up giving way.

--Oscar Wilde

white stars in the sky during night time

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

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of brown and black bird

It was better to be good-looking than to be good.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and teal striped textile

My desire to live is as intense as ever, and though my heart is broken, hearts are made to be broken: that is why God sends sorrow into the world.

--Oscar Wilde

photo of pine tree

I'm so smart, I read and understand Hegel.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or a friendship, is conversation, and conversation must have a common basis, and between two people of widely different culture the only common basis is the lowest level.


landscape photography of trees

I was very much disappointed in the Atlantic Ocean.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower in close up photography

The youth of the present day are quite monstrous. They have absolutely no respect for dyed hair.

--Oscar Wilde

band performing on stage in front of people

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

--Oscar Wilde

aerial view of river in between green trees during daytime

My dear fellow, the truth isn't quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman!

--Oscar Wilde

brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

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

--Oscar Wilde

white

The mark of all good art is not that the thing done is done exactly or finely, for machinery may do as much, but that it is worked out with the head and the workman's heart.

--Oscar Wilde

purple flowers under sunny sky

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.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photography of sunflower

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

--Oscar Wilde

leafless tree on snow covered ground

Those whom he saved from their sins are saved simply for beautiful moments in their lives.

--Oscar Wilde

green mountain ]

She had a passion for secrecy, but she herself was merely a Sphinx without a secret.

--Oscar Wilde

shorebird on pier

I knew nothing but shadows and I thought them to be real.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

No theory of life seemed to him to be of any importance compared with life itself.

--Oscar Wilde

blue wallpaper

Rugby is a good occasion for keeping thirty bullies far from the center of the city.

--Oscar Wilde

red textile in close up photography

I like people who are young, bright, happy, careless and original. I do not like them sensible, and I do not like them old.

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.

--Oscar Wilde

gray concrete surface

I don't at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.

--Oscar Wilde

green sports court illustration

Life is one fool thing after another whereas love is two fool things after each other.

--Oscar Wilde

red flame

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

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of kneeling man

The way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test Reality we must see it on the tight-rope.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

The way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test Reality we must see it on the tight-rope. When the Verities become acrobats we can judge them.


mountains under white clouds at daytime

There is no sin except stupidity.

--Oscar Wilde

purple and white petaled flower

To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.

--Oscar Wilde

white ceramic mug with coffee on brown wooden table

I am sick of women who love one. Women who hate one are much more interesting.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photography of man illustration

Dullness is always an irresistible temptation for brilliancy, and stupidity is the permanent Bestia Trionfans that calls wisdom from its cave.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial view of gray building on brown sand

Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.

--Oscar Wilde

red rose with droplets

The method by which the fool arrives at his folly was as dear to him as the ultimate wisdom of the wise.

--Oscar Wilde

blue

The english country gentleman galloping after a fox--the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.

--Oscar Wilde

person doing yoga exercises

Cleverness becomes a public nuisance.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain during golden hour

The first thing that struck me on landing in America was that if the Americans are not the most well-dressed people in the world, they are the most comfortably dressed.

--Oscar Wilde

wide lake over sunset view

Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.

--Oscar Wilde

two clown fishes underwater

The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all. Authority over him and his art is ridiculous.

--Oscar Wilde

white and black boat on sea during daytime

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

--Oscar Wilde

shorebird on pier

I tried to visit Albania but I couldn't find it on the map.

--Oscar Wilde

grayscale photo of woman wearing collared shirt

To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and white short coated dog lying on white surface

Most people are other people.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

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


pink rose in close up photography

Don't be afraid. There are exquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning.

--Oscar Wilde

clear blue sea under blue sky

How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in?

--Oscar Wilde

grassland landscape

It's the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

--Oscar Wilde

pink tulip flower

We should remember that all the arts are fine arts and all the arts decorative arts.

--Oscar Wilde

body of water during daytime

Oh! I killed Bunbury this afternoon... I mean poor Bunbury died this afternoon.
What did he die of?
Bunbury? Oh, he was exploded!

--Oscar Wilde

purple and black skies

Newspapers have degenerated. They may now be absolutely relied upon.

--Oscar Wilde

road between yellow leaf trees at daytime

One does not see anything until one sees its beauty.

--Oscar Wilde

black and white window illustration

Some temptations are so great it takes great courage to yield to them.

--Oscar Wilde

black and white duck on brown wooden dock during daytime

Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

--Oscar Wilde

red flower in shallow focus lens

Give children beauty, not the record of bloody slaughters and barbarous brawls, as they call history, or of the latitude and longitude of places nobody cares to visit, as they call geography.

--Oscar Wilde

white stars in the sky during night time

More women grow old nowadays through the faithfulness of their admirers than through anything else.

--Oscar Wilde

lone tree in grassland

One should always be a little improbable.

--Oscar Wilde

three pink tulip flowers

One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.

--Oscar Wilde

white paint palette with black paint beside ink bottle and paint brush

Why was I born with such contemporaries?

--Oscar Wilde

black and white rectangular frame

I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister. Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.

--Oscar Wilde

blue mountains at daytime

It is only the sacred things that are worth touching.

--Oscar Wilde

green background

His morality is all sympathy, just what morality should be.

--Oscar Wilde

cluster of stars in the sky

The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her if she is pretty, and to someone else if she is plain.

--Oscar Wilde

man standing on sand while spreading arms beside calm body of water

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

--Oscar Wilde

person's hand holding round silver analog watch with black leather strap

Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.

--Oscar Wilde

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

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

--Oscar Wilde

black and white window illustration

The husbands of very beautiful women belong to the criminal classes.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

Wherever there is a man who exercises authority, there is a man who resists authority.

--Oscar Wilde

brown grass field during daytime

It is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder.

--Oscar Wilde

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytime

I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower on white wall

The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible.

--Oscar Wilde

grayscale photo of elephant on grass field

No crime is vulgar,
but all vulgarity is crime.

--Oscar Wilde

shorebird on pier

Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.

--Oscar Wilde

bird on pier

Women, as some witty Frenchman once put it, inspire us with the desire to do masterpieces and always prevent us from carrying them out.

--Oscar Wilde

person holding hourglass

No man should have a secret from his wife. She invariably finds it out.

--Oscar Wilde

wide lake over sunset view

Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that have a certain charm for the weak.... They are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.


gray-scale photo of man and woman holding hands

The worst vice of the fanatic is his sincerity.

--Oscar Wilde

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

The ability of the theist to misunderstand a thing is directly proportional to the obviousness of the thing.

--Oscar Wilde

red white and blue flag

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

--Oscar Wilde

stars across the sky view at the desert

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.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

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.'

'Even when one has been wounded by it, Harry?' asked the duchess after a pause.

'Especially when one has been wounded by it,' answered Lord Henry.


white ceramic mug with coffee on brown wooden table

The essence of art is to produce the modern idea under an antique form.

--Oscar Wilde

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

Out of doors one becomes abstract and impersonal. One's individuality absolutely leaves one.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of red flower

The weather still continues charming.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflowers

In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.

--Oscar Wilde

grayscale photo of person's back

There is one thing infinitely more pathetic than to have lost the woman one is in love with, and that is to have won her and found out how shallow she is!

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of man

One of the chief faults of modern dress is that it is composed of far too many articles of clothing, most of which are the wrong substance.

--Oscar Wilde

focus photo of a hummingbird on leaf

I could deny it if I liked. I could deny anything if I liked.

--Oscar Wilde

bird at pier

Biography lends to death a new terror.

--Oscar Wilde

autumn leaves on body of water

The only proper intoxication is conversation.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with stars during night time

It is not the prisoners who need reformation, it is the prisons.

--Oscar Wilde

assorted-color beach houses

To shut one's eyes to half of life that one may live securely is as though one blinded oneself that one might walk with more safety in a land of pit and precipice.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and gray brick wall

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.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and white short coated dog lying on white surface

Prism! Where is that baby?

--Oscar Wilde

person walking holding brown leather bag

If it was my business, I wouldn't talk about it. It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbroker's do that, and then merely at dinner parties.

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white abstract painting

It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn't a dentist. It produced a false impression.

--Oscar Wilde

A view of the night showing stars

If a woman wants to hold a man she has merely to appeal to what is worst in him.

--Oscar Wilde

pink flower

Of course I have played outdoor games. I once played dominoes in an open air cafe in Paris.

--Oscar Wilde

red textile in close up photography

The vilest deeds like poison weeds Bloom well in prison air; It is only what is good in man That wastes and withers there.

--Oscar Wilde

purple, white, and pink floral painting

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

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. We all have clouds above us but some see their silver linings. We all face difficulties but some of us are grateful that they aren't worse.


green lizard

I can resist everything except temptation.

--Oscar Wilde

people walking on hallway

I like men who have a future and women who have a past.

--Oscar Wilde

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say at the age of eighteen.

--Oscar Wilde

turned on desk lamp beside pile of books

The curves of your lips rewrite history.

--Oscar Wilde

black and gray floral textile

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

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying on white background

I have never searched for happiness. Who wants happiness? I have searched for pleasure.

--Oscar Wilde

woman wearing white dress

The supreme vice is shallowness.

--Oscar Wilde

mountains under white mist at daytime

I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.

--Oscar Wilde

white clouds and blue sky during daytime

The night was bitter cold, and the gas-lamps round the square flared and flickered in the keen wind; but his hands were hot with fever, and his forehead burned like fire.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black jacket and black pants standing on brown rock formation during daytime

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray.

--Oscar Wilde

donkey

I'm too old to know everything.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow petaled flower screenshot

I have learned this: it is not what one does that is wrong, but what one becomes as a consequence of it.

--Oscar Wilde

body of water during daytime

Nowadays we are all of us so hard up that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They're the only things we can pay.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and white roses on white surface

As for omens, there is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.

--Oscar Wilde

red rose illustration

If a woman cannot make her mistakes charming, she is only a female.

--Oscar Wilde

None

I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of stack of books

All art is at once surface and symbol.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.


purple flower field during daytime

Sooner or later we have all to pay for what we do.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

Science can never grapple with the irrational. That is why it has no future before it, in this world.

--Oscar Wilde

white and yellow flower in close up photography

I'm sure I don't know half the people who come to my house. Indeed, from all I hear, I shouldn't like to.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with white clouds

He to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives.

--Oscar Wilde

pink lotus flower on clear body of water

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.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of stones during golden hour

Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of, herself.
She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance.

--Oscar Wilde

low angle view of blue clouds

Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

--Oscar Wilde

bonfire in forest

Everything is dangerous, my dear fellow. If it wasn't so, life wouldn't be worth living.

--Oscar Wilde

brown chopped logs

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

--Oscar Wilde

lighted candles on man's hand lying on the floor

In the old times men carried out their rights for themselves as they lived, but nowadays every baby seems born with a social manifesto in its mouth much bigger than itself.

--Oscar Wilde

green grass field with smoke

If a man needs an elaborate tombstone in order to remain in the memory of his country, it is clear that his living at all was an act of absolute superfluity.

--Oscar Wilde

white and gray cat

Who, being loved, is poor?

--Oscar Wilde

None

I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.

--Oscar Wilde

red rose

And all men kill the thing they love, By all let this be heard Some do it with a bitter look Some with a flattering word The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

At every single moment of one's life one is what one is going to be no less than what one has been.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

At every single moment of one’s life one is what one is going to be no less than what one has been. Art is a symbol, because man is a symbol.


pink rose

You should treat the trivial things in life seriously and the serious things in life with a sincere and studied triviality.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photography of black and white bird on stem

The fact is, that civilization requires slaves. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.

--Oscar Wilde

desert grassland

It is the stupid and the ugly who have the best of it in this world.

--Oscar Wilde

closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.

--Oscar Wilde

analog clock at 5:55

A true artist takes no notice whatever of the public. The public are to him non-existent.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of man

My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. It is almost as disgraceful as the way Gwendolen flirts with you.

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

If you want to be a doormat you have to lay yourself down first.

--Oscar Wilde

fine trees waving

Mr. Worthing! Rise, sir, from this semi-recumbent posture. It is most indecorous.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

I never saw so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-looking Bohemians in my life.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower in glass vase

The drawback of stealing a thing, is that one never knows how wonderful the thing that one steals is.

--Oscar Wilde

gray concrete surface

I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do. If a personality fascinates me, whatever mode of expression that personality selects is absolutely delightful to me.


white stone woman sculpture

All thought is immoral. Its very essence is destruction. If you think of anything, you kill it. Nothing survives being thought of.

--Oscar Wilde

people raises hands

To live in this world is a rare thing; most people just exist.

--Oscar Wilde

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.

--Oscar Wilde

white and red flower with green leaves

As for believing things, I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.

--Oscar Wilde

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

It is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

Light blue to dark blue gradient

God grant me the serenity to accept that people are ignorant, the courage to uphold the law when I'm hostile, and the wisdom to realize that murder is illegal.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

Never so sweet a repast as the Reaper's when you tread upon the threshold of a Quiznos.

--Oscar Wilde

white flower

Don't be led astray into the paths of virtue.

--Oscar Wilde

saguaro

It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue.

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying on white background

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the attractiveness of other.

--Oscar Wilde

couple standing on grass field mountain

I threw the pearl of my soul into a cup of wine. I went down the primrose path to the sound of flutes. I lived on honeycomb.

--Oscar Wilde

two dragonflies on green cornate leaf

Good intentions are invariably ungrammatical.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photography of Russian Blue cat

Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and white bird on tree branch

Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.

--Oscar Wilde

black dog face

Each of us has heaven and hell in him.

--Oscar Wilde

black and white butterfly on green leaf

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.

--Oscar Wilde

photography of white wall lot

Finding the meaning of life is easy. Simply get a dictionary, go to the 'L' section, and find the word 'life.'

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photography of road at savannah

I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose? Every moment that passes takes something from me and gives something to it. Oh, if it were only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now! Why did you paint it? It will mock me some day—mock me horribly!


yellow flowers

When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her.

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

You will always be loved, and you will always be in love with love.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photo of mountains under starry sky at nighttime

There is not a single colour hidden away in the chalice of a flower, or the curve of a shell, to which, by some subtle sympathy with the very soul of things, my nature does not answer.

--Oscar Wilde

top view photography of heart latte coffee

Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photography of mountains

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

--Oscar Wilde

close up photography of moon

I live in terror of not being misunderstood.

--Oscar Wilde

green trees on forest during daytime

I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if only one hides it.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one's life.


silhouette photo of trees during night time

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

--Oscar Wilde

green palm plant

I find him in the curves of certain lines, in the loveliness and subtleties of certain colours.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

In love, it is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder.

--Oscar Wilde

boy and cat in front of moon

I summed up all systems in a phrase, and all existence in an epigram.

--Oscar Wilde

two grey elephants on grass plains during sunset

Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.


red and yellow abstract painting

Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

It lies like a leper in purple, it sits like a dead thing smeared with gold.

--Oscar Wilde

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

Good intentions have been the ruin of the world. The only people who have achieved anything have been those who have had no intentions at all.

--Oscar Wilde

painting of man walking down a road holding umbrella

The best revenge is to live well.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of person on top of mountain pointing flashlight on sky filled with stars at night time

The very essence of romance is uncertainty.

--Oscar Wilde

red rose

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

The beautiful, passionate, ruined South, the land of magnolias and music, of roses and romance ... living on the memory of crushing defeats.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset with storm clouds

Too much work, and no vacation, Deserves at least a small libation. So hail! my friends, and raise your glasses, Work's the curse of the drinking classes.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

One is not always happy when one is good; but one is always good when one is happy.

--Oscar Wilde

None

Every one is worthy of love, except him who thinks that he is. Love is a
sacrament that should be taken kneeling.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

Behind the perfection of a man's style, must lie the passion of a man's soul.

--Oscar Wilde

worm's eye view photography of pink cheery blossom tree

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

--Oscar Wilde

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

More than half of modern culture depends upon what one shouldn't read.

--Oscar Wilde

brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

I want to be good. I can't bear the idea of my soul being hideous.

--Oscar Wilde

man and woman holding hands in silhouette photography

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimagininative.

--Oscar Wilde

pink concrete wall during daytime

There can be nothing more frequent than an occasional drink.

--Oscar Wilde

blue wooden door opened

I don't say we all ought to misbehave. But we ought to look as if we could.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.

--Oscar Wilde

green and red flowers

Ours is certainly the dullest and most prosaic century possible.

--Oscar Wilde

three person looking stars and milky way

What men call the shadow of the body is not the shadow of the body, but is the body of the soul.

--Oscar Wilde

wall

You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter -- a girl brought up with the utmost care -- to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel?

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower in bloom during daytime

Charity creates a multitude of sins.

--Oscar Wilde

blue rose with water droplet

To be good is to be in harmony with oneself. Discord is to be forced to be in harmony with others.

--Oscar Wilde

brown brick wall photography

There is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty.

--Oscar Wilde

green bird perching on stem

Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.

--Oscar Wilde

purple flowers under sunny sky

In this world there are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst.

--Oscar Wilde

rainbow

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

--Oscar Wilde

birds flying under cloudy sky during daytime

It was not intended as a compliment. It was a confession. Now that I have made it, something seems to have gone out of me. Perhaps one should never put one's worship into words.

--Oscar Wilde

round black vinyl disc on vinyl player

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.

--Oscar Wilde

closed white painted door with exit signage

It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone and can be made as offensive as a brickbat.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes.


white ceramic pencil organizer on top of stack of books

Be moderate in all things, including moderation.

--Oscar Wilde

bonfire in forest

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

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white water surface

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them!

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?


city lights from hill

The great poet is always a seer, seeing less with the eyes of the body than he does with the eyes of the mind.

--Oscar Wilde

stars across the sky view at the desert

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

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of bee on flower

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in the beautiful things are the cultivated.


black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

Let us have no machine-made ornament at all; it is all bad and worthless and ugly.

--Oscar Wilde

mountain summit during sunset

The only thing worse than quoting me, is not quoting me.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow tulip flowers

Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colours, and be changed, or have other secrets, a world in which the past would have little or no place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form of obligation or regret, the remembrance even of joy having its bitterness and the memories of pleasure their pain.


two women sitting on wooden dock over body of water

Ah, on what little things does happiness depend.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched.


white and black soccer ball on grass field

Life under a good government is rarely dramatic; life under a bad government is always so.

--Oscar Wilde

black mountain under blue sky during night time

There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought to which sorrow does not vibrate in terrible and exquisite pulsation.

--Oscar Wilde

brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

One's days were too brief to take the burden of another's errors on one's shoulders. Each man lived his own life and paid his own price for living it.

--Oscar Wilde

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one center of pain.


pink and white computer keyboard beside yellow framed sunglasses

One should absorb the color of life.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.


man in black tank top standing near tree under starry night

To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.

--Oscar Wilde

galaxy

Not that I love thy children, whose dull eyes see nothing save their own unlovely woe, Whose minds know nothing, nothing care to know.

--Oscar Wilde

green plant in tilt shift lens

It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love.

--Oscar Wilde

snow mountains under nightsky

Duty is what one expects from others.

--Oscar Wilde

orange flowers

People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.

--Oscar Wilde

shorebird on pier

Ones real life is often the life that one does not lead.

--Oscar Wilde

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

Whatever, in fact, is modern in our life we owe to the Greeks. Whatever is an anachronism is due to mediaevalism.

--Oscar Wilde

brown wooden hanging bridge surrounded by green trees during daytime

Married men are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.

--Oscar Wilde

lion on green grass during golden hour

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photography of waves and clouds

I don't mind plain women being puritans. It is the only excuse they have for being plain.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and white tulips on white surface

True contentment is not having everything, but in being satisfied with everything you have.

--Oscar Wilde

two person standing while watching sky

The tragedy of the poor is that they can afford nothing but self denial.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower

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.

--Oscar Wilde

person holding yellow sunflower bouquet

I like looking at geniuses and listening to beautiful people.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photography of waves and clouds

Well, in the first place girls never marry the men they flirt with. Girls don't think it right.

--Oscar Wilde

woman riding on skateboard during daytime

The English novels are the only relaxation of the intellectually unemployed. But one should not be too severe on them. They show a want of knowledge that must be the result of years of study.

--Oscar Wilde

couple kissing under gray clouds

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow Labrador puppy running on field

A book or poem which has no pity in it had better not be written.

--Oscar Wilde

sunflower field during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

tan wallpaper

In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.

--Oscar Wilde

silver bell alarm clock

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

--Oscar Wilde

yellow green leaf

Ah! The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women...merely adored.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black pants sitting on chair

Every impulse we strangle will only poison us.

--Oscar Wilde

white brick wall

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

--Oscar Wilde

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

The growing influence of women is the one reassuring thing in our political life.

--Oscar Wilde

blue boat on sand near body of water during daytime

I don't play accurately -- any one can play accurately -- but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.

--Oscar Wilde

mountains under starry sky during nighttime

Now and then it is a joy to have one's table red with wine and roses.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain under starry night

Scepticism is the beginning of Faith.

--Oscar Wilde

blue flowers in tilt shift lens

I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them. -- .


person holding yellow petaled flower

I don't want to earn my living, I want to live.

--Oscar Wilde

clear hour glass

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

--Oscar Wilde

man jumping on hill during golden hour

A pessimist is somebody who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks.

--Oscar Wilde

golden retriever inside car

No work of art ever puts forward views. Views belong to people who are not artists.

--Oscar Wilde

beige concrete wall

The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations.

--Oscar Wilde

orange abstract painting

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.


a man walks alone in the haze

Yes: I am a dreamer. For 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.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photography of mountains with cloudy skies during golden hour

Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.

--Oscar Wilde

blue rose with water droplet

Life is the art of being well deceived, and to succeed, it must be habitual and uninterrupted.

--Oscar Wilde

white

Walt Whitman and Emerson are the poets who have given the world more than anyone else. Perhaps Whitman is not so widely read in England, but England never appreciates a poet until he is dead.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset and agave stalk

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

--Oscar Wilde

woman in white and black stripe long sleeve shirt standing beside brown concrete building during daytime

Nothing spoils romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman.

--Oscar Wilde

red tulip in bloom close up photo

I wrote when I did not know life;
now that I know life, I have no more to say.

--Oscar Wilde

a woman sits on the end of a dock during daytime staring across a lake

Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar.

--Oscar Wilde

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

American girls are as clever at concealing their parents as English women are at concealing their past.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

I drink to separate my body from my soul.

--Oscar Wilde

white textile in close up photography

That is because one realises one's soul only by getting rid of all alien passions, all acquired culture, and all external possessions, be they good or evil.

--Oscar Wilde

orange room with open door

A critic should be taught to criticise a work of art without making any reference to the personality of the author.

--Oscar Wilde

white and yellow flower in close up photography

Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.

--Oscar Wilde

woman on seashore near island under blue sky

There were opium-dens, where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.

--Oscar Wilde

man riding on boat on body of water

Anybody can have common sense, povided that they have no imagination.

--Oscar Wilde

brown wallpaper

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.

--Oscar Wilde

five woman standing on seashore

Don't be discouraged if your children reject your advice. Years later they will offer it to their own offspring.

--Oscar Wilde

white and purple flower in macro shot

Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.

--Oscar Wilde

woman leaning against a wall in dim hallway

The Bostonians take their learning too sadly: culture with them is an accomplishment rather than an atmosphere; their "Hub," as they call it, is the paradise of prigs.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not.

--Oscar Wilde

mountains under starry sky during nighttime

In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer.

--Oscar Wilde

bonfire in forest

I've now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.

--Oscar Wilde

pink dahlia in bloom

A true friend stabs you in the front.

--Oscar Wilde

pink

To call an artist morbid because he deals with morbidity as his subject-matter is as silly as if one called Shakespeare mad because he wrote ‘King Lear.

--Oscar Wilde

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon.

--Oscar Wilde

woman standing on forest

Private information is practically the source of every large modern fortune.

--Oscar Wilde

man in white and black button up shirt holding lighted candle

God's eternal laws are kind-and break the heart of stone.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

In the old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

Learn to differentiate between ignorance and stupidity.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photo of trees during night time

The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it.

--Oscar Wilde

mountains with trees under white star at night

I can believe anything provided it is quite incredible.

--Oscar Wilde

2 people riding on boat during sunset

The supreme object of life is to live. Few people live. It is true life only to realize one's own perfection, to make one's every dream a reality.

--Oscar Wilde

None

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

--Oscar Wilde

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

She is very clever, too clever for a woman. She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness.

--Oscar Wilde

person with flashlight near lighted green tree on mountain under starry night

They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance.

--Oscar Wilde

three pink tulip flowers

A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure.

--Oscar Wilde

red rose in close up photography

Men know life too early. Women know life too late. That is the difference between men and women.

--Oscar Wilde

brown wooden hanging bridge surrounded by green trees during daytime

People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards.

--Oscar Wilde

mountain with tree during daytime

To be really mediæval one should have no body. To be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes.

--Oscar Wilde

woman in white and black stripe long sleeve shirt standing beside brown concrete building during daytime

Her body swayed, while she danced, as a plant sways in the water.

--Oscar Wilde

wall

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.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photo of pink flower

Disobedience is man's original virtue.

--Oscar Wilde

round black vinyl disc on vinyl player

The essence of thought, as the essence of life, is growth.

--Oscar Wilde

brown textile in close up image

There are moments when one has to choose between living one's own life, fully, entirely, completely -- or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.

--Oscar Wilde

white and red flower with green leaves

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photograph of black dreadnought acoustic guitar

My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people's.

--Oscar Wilde

pink umbrella

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

--Oscar Wilde

elephant play with brown sand

We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.

--Oscar Wilde

gray hummingbird

Oh, I hate the cheap severity of abstract ethics!

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don't interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty.

--Oscar Wilde

telescope

I don't want to see him alone. He says things that annoy me. He gives me good advice.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I don't want to see him alone. He says things that annoy me. He gives me good advice." Lord Henry smiled. "People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.


white and red flower with green leaves

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

--Oscar Wilde

green plants beside brown wooden door

We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.

--Oscar Wilde

flat lay photography teacup on top of saucer

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

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of brown parquet flooring

When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting.

--Oscar Wilde

clear glass hour glass with black liquid

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

--Oscar Wilde

red flowers with water droplets

With an evening coat and a white tie, anybody, even a stockbroker, can gain a reputation for being civilized.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

With an evening coat and a white tie, as you told me once, anybody, even a stock-broker, can gain a reputation for being civilized. Well, after I had been in the room about ten minutes, talking to huge overdressed dowagers and tedious academicians, I suddenly became conscious that some one was looking at me.


plain background

And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with white clouds

I worshipped you too much. I am punished for it. You worshipped yourself too much. We are both punished.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and white dog in close-up photography

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

--Oscar Wilde

purple and white petaled flower

Then there was a man who said, 'I never knew what real happiness was until I got married; by then it was too late'

--Oscar Wilde

grayscale photography of elephant

Only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking Champagne.

--Oscar Wilde

woman in black shirt standing on yellow flower field during daytime

The artistic life is a long, lovely suicide.

--Oscar Wilde

purple flowers under sunny sky

All art is immortal. For emotion for the sake of emotion is the aim of art, and emotion for the sake of action is the aim of life.

--Oscar Wilde

brown rugby ball

Education is very admirable but let us not forget that anything worth knowing cannot be taught.

--Oscar Wilde

assorted books on wooden table

Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.


yellow sunflowers under white clouds and blue sky

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

--Oscar Wilde

gray elephant

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.

--Oscar Wilde

trees at sunset

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

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to do with the fact that other people want what they want.


girl leaning on wall during daytime

An actor is part illusionist, part artist, part ham.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow petaled flower screenshot

The basis of action is lack of imagination. It is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

Find expression for a sorrow, and it will become dear to you. Find expression for a joy, and you will intensify its ecstasy.

--Oscar Wilde

bare trees under blue sky

They walked softly, as men do instinctively at night. The lamp cast fantastic shadows on the wall and staircase. A rising wind made some of the windows rattle.

--Oscar Wilde

painting of man walking down a road holding umbrella

Every woman is wrong until she cries.

--Oscar Wilde

swimming pool with stainless steel ladder

I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn't write them down, I should not probably forget all about them.

--Oscar Wilde

assorted books on wooden table

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.

--Oscar Wilde

pink rose

It is very vulgar to talk about one's own business. Only people like stockbrokers do that, and then only at dinner parties.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow, orange, red, green, and blue abstract painting

You are not listening to a word I am saying ... and I am making the most delightful plans for your future.

--Oscar Wilde

grayscale photography of person on beach

Everyone may not be good, but there's always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

--Oscar Wilde

orange flowers

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

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photo of green snake plant

To reveal the art and conceal the artist is art's aim.

--Oscar Wilde

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

Do not be afraid of the past. If people tell you that it is irrevocable, do not believe them.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Do not be afraid of the past. If people tell you that it is irrevocable, do not believe them. The past, the present and the future are but one moment in the sight of God, in whose sight we should try to live. Time and space, succession and extension, are merely accidental conditions of thought. The imagination can transcend them.


silhouette photography of trees and sky

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.

--Oscar Wilde

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.

--Oscar Wilde

man skiing on land

Punctuality is but the thief of time.

--Oscar Wilde

Blue to purple gradient

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

--Oscar Wilde

bird in the sky

Put out the torches! Hide the moon! Hide the stars! Let us hide ourselves in our palace,
Herodias. I begin to be afraid.

--Oscar Wilde

pair of white lace-up shoes

Individualism has really the higher aim. Modern morality consists in accepting the standard of one's age.

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white striped textile

Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white abstract painting

For the canons of good society are, or should be, the same as the canons of art. Form is absolutely essential to it.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

For the canons of good society are, or should be, the same as the canons of art. Form is absolutely essential to it. It should have the dignity of a ceremony, as well as its unreality, and should combine the insincere character of a romantic play with the wit and beauty that make such plays delightful to us.


pink rose

Just to let you know that the buffet car will be closing for stocktaking in five minutes. The next station stop is Chesterfield.

--Oscar Wilde

snow-capped mountain at the horizon viewed from lake dock

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

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of trees during nighttime

Great passions are for the great of soul, and great events can be seen only by those who are on a level with them.

--Oscar Wilde

castle surrounded fog

The world seemed to me fine because you were in it, and goodness more real because you lived.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of white flowers

Nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and green flower painting

In war, the strong make slaves of the weak, and in peace the rich makes slaves of the poor.

--Oscar Wilde

green plants beside brown wooden door

Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with stars during night time

Bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

--Oscar Wilde

red yellow and blue paint

Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.


closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.

--Oscar Wilde

green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

I have a business appointment that I am anxious... to miss.

--Oscar Wilde

person wearing Apple watch

In every first novel the hero is the author as Christ or Faust.

--Oscar Wilde

raindrops on clear window

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

--Oscar Wilde

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.

--Oscar Wilde

depth photography of purple petaled flowers

The note of the perfect personality is not rebellion, but peace.

--Oscar Wilde

four men sitting beside table

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

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.


rainbow

Divorces are made in heaven.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photography of mountains

Romantic literature is in effect imaginative lying.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow petaled flower screenshot

She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses but in all my garden there is no red rose.

--Oscar Wilde

view of mountaintops with clouds

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 absolutely valueless.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of bee on flower

We spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in Art.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountains under blue sky during daytime

I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset hgihway

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memories.

--Oscar Wilde

shooting star in night sky

None of us men do look what we really are. Demmed good thing, too.

--Oscar Wilde

lights pattern swirls

Tread Lightly, she is near Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The daisies grow.

--Oscar Wilde

lion on green grass during golden hour

Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life's lumber.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life's lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Every one is born a king, and most people die in exile.


Arizona landscape rain

When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

--Oscar Wilde

brown rock formation

You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.

--Oscar Wilde

lavender background

I am quite incapable of understanding how any work of art can be criticized from a moral standpoint. The sphere of art and the sphere of ethics are absolutely distinct and separate.

--Oscar Wilde

brown houses in front of hill under starry night

It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with white clouds

Though forgiveness was impossible, forgetfulness was possible still, and he was determined to forget.

--Oscar Wilde

black portable vinyl records

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

--Oscar Wilde

woman wears black dress tutu dancing ballet on rooftop

Lawyers have been known to wrest from reluctant juries triumphant verdicts of acquittal for their clients, even when those clients, as often happens, were clearly and unmistakably innocent.

--Oscar Wilde

purple flowers under sunny sky

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.

--Oscar Wilde

city lights from hill

Progress is the realization of utopia.

--Oscar Wilde

gray concrete road between green trees during daytime

I am dazed with a dull sense of pain. I had fed on hope, and now anguish, grown hungry, feeds her fill on me as though she had been starved of her proper appetite.

--Oscar Wilde

brown chopped logs

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

--Oscar Wilde

gray elephant

Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Just as vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people. And falsehoods the truths of other people. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself. To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.


eyeglasses in bokeh photography

Nothing annoys people so much as not receiving invitations.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with stars during night time

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

--Oscar Wilde

fawn pug on bed

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

--Oscar Wilde

feet in stream

A passion for pleasure is the secret of remaining young.

--Oscar Wilde

green palm plant

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

--Oscar Wilde

pink rose bud closeup photo

A flower blossoms for its own joy.

--Oscar Wilde

couple sitting on the field facing the city

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

--Oscar Wilde

worm's eye view photography of pink cheery blossom tree

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

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain

A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.

--Oscar Wilde

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

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

--Oscar Wilde

black and white giraffe on brown grass field

There is much more before me. I have hills far steeper to climb, valleys much darker to pass through. And I have to get it all out of myself. Neither religion, morality, nor reason can help me at all.

--Oscar Wilde

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

Everything is going to be fine in the end.
If it's not fine it's not the end.

--Oscar Wilde

sunflowers

These sudden conversions do not please me.

--Oscar Wilde

rocky mountain under starry night

Temperament is the primary requisite for the critic -- a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.

--Oscar Wilde

purple petaled flower with vase selective focus photography

Alas, I'm dying beyond my means.

--Oscar Wilde

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

Whenever one has anything unpleasant to say, one should always be quite candid.

--Oscar Wilde

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

Marriage is a long, dull meal with dessert served at the beginning.

--Oscar Wilde

bonfire on focus photography

Irony is wasted on the stupid.

--Oscar Wilde

clear hour glass

What consoles one nowadays is not repentance but pleasure. Repentance is quite out of date.

--Oscar Wilde

person in black and white mask

A woman's life revolves in curves of emotions. It is upon lines of intellect that a man's life progresses.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

I believe it is customary in good society to take some slight refreshment at five o'clock.

--Oscar Wilde

calm body of water and mountain

When good Americans die they go to Paris.

--Oscar Wilde

close up shot of white flower

Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless.

--Oscar Wilde

tall green flowering grasses under blue and white cloudy sky

The heart was made to be broken.

--Oscar Wilde

pink petaled flower

All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and it degrades those over whom it is exercised.

--Oscar Wilde

black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

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

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement. Nothing spoils romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman. When one is in love one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends by deceiving others. This is what the world calls a romance.


mountain with tree during daytime

If property had simply pleasures, we could stand it; but its duties make it unbearable. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it.

--Oscar Wilde

purple-petaled flower on selective focus photography

Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect -- simply a confession of failures.

--Oscar Wilde

fine trees waving

It is he who has broken the bond of marriage -- not I. I only break its bondage.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow labrador retriever puppy sitting on floor

God and other artists are always a little obscure.

--Oscar Wilde

red flower in white background

You kissed his mouth with mouths of flame: you made the hornèd god your own: You stood behind him on his throne: you called him by his secret name.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of man standing on rock while looking in sky

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

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photograph of black dreadnought acoustic guitar

Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses.

--Oscar Wilde

red flowers under the blue sky

The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.

--Oscar Wilde

woman signing on white printer paper beside woman about to touch the documents

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

--Oscar Wilde

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

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.


rainbow

Nowadays, all the married men live like bachelors, and all the bachelors like married men.

--Oscar Wilde

close shot of yellow flowers

I never put off till tomorrow what I can do the day after.

--Oscar Wilde

pink flower

The birds that were singing in the dew-drenched garden seemed to be telling the flowers about her.

--Oscar Wilde

purple lavender flower

Yes, very sensible... People die of common sense, Dorian, one lost moment at a time. Life is a moment. There is no hereafter. So make it burn always with the hardest flame.

--Oscar Wilde

pink tulips in clear glass vase

Progress in thought is the assertion of individualism against authority.

--Oscar Wilde

empty road towards mountains

I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.


man wearing black jacket standing on street

Caricature is the tribute which mediocrity pays to genius.

--Oscar Wilde

three person looking stars and milky way

They've promised that dreams can come true -- but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.

--Oscar Wilde

top view photography of heart latte coffee

The only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.

--Oscar Wilde

person in black top carrying brown wicker basket

I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

--Oscar Wilde

mixed paints in a plate

I know not whether laws be right or whether laws be wrong.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I know not whether Laws be right,

Or whether Laws be wrong;

All that we know who be in jail

Is that the wall is strong;

And that each day is like a year,

A year whose days are long.


man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

The spirit of an age may be best expressed in the abstract ideal arts, for the spirit itself is abstract and ideal.

--Oscar Wilde

gray elephant

You don't seem to realise, that in married life three is company and two is none.

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white light digital wallpaper

People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely because chickens run about so absurdly that it's impossible to count them accurately.

--Oscar Wilde

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photography of mountains with cloudy skies during golden hour

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

--Oscar Wilde

brown and black train track in between trees phtoography

A kiss may ruin a human life.

--Oscar Wilde

None

Don't tell me that you have exhausted Life. When a man says that, one knows that life has exhausted him.

--Oscar Wilde

purple flowers under cloudy sky

We should treat all the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.

--Oscar Wilde

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us. Outside, the day may be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down through the thickly-muffled glass of the small iron-barred window beneath which one sits is grey and niggard. It is always twilight in one's cell, as it is always twilight in one's heart. And in the sphere of thought, no less than in the sphere of time, motion is no more.


mountains covered with fog

I never take any notice to what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and white tulips on white surface

Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that.

--Oscar Wilde

light match stick

Wisdom comes with winters.

--Oscar Wilde

man riding on boat on body of water

I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.

--Oscar Wilde

red and yellow abstract painting

Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.

--Oscar Wilde

pink flower

Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of others.

--Oscar Wilde

green leaf

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

--Oscar Wilde

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

There is a fatality about good resolutions -- that they are always made too late.

--Oscar Wilde

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

person wearing Apple watch

It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

--Oscar Wilde

flat lay photography of several hanging ornaments

I am a man of simple pleasures. The best suits me perfectly.

--Oscar Wilde

person holding green plant during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

man smiling while facing other person

I am not young enough to know everything.

--Oscar Wilde

flock of birds flying under blue sky during daytime

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with stars during night time

Things are in their essence what we choose to make them. A thing is, according to the mode in which one looks at it.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset grasslands

Those who have much are often greedy. Those who have little always share.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow bee beside purple petaled flower during daytime

Good taste is the excuse I've always given for leading such a bad life.

--Oscar Wilde

person on road at sunset

Sympathy with joy intensifies the sum of sympathy in the world, sympathy with pain does not really diminish the amount of pain.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photo of aurora borealis

It is only when one has lost all things, that one knows that one possesses it.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow tulip flowers

We Irish will never achieve anything; but we are the greatest talkers since the Greeks.

--Oscar Wilde

boat docked near house

Life is too short to learn German.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and red flowers

What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.

--Oscar Wilde

woman in white and multicolored floral shirt standing and smiling on yellow sunflower field

Deliver me from my disciples!

--Oscar Wilde

blue sky with stars during night time

One pale woman all alone,
The daylight kissing her wan hair,
Loitered beneath the gas lamps' flare,
With lips of flame and heart of stone.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photography of mountain

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

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white abstract painting

Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.

--Oscar Wilde

photography of lake near tree

Love is a sacrament that should be taken kneeling.

--Oscar Wilde

green and white bird on black wire during daytime

Memory is the diary that chronicles things that never have happened and couldn't possibly have happened.

--Oscar Wilde

milky way wallpaper

My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don't know anything at all.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset highway

Curious thing, plain women are always jealous of their husbands, beautiful women never are!

--Oscar Wilde

green leafed trees with fog

Genius lasts longer than beauty.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.


grayscale photography of raindrops

I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset with agave stem

Man is many things, but he is not rational.

--Oscar Wilde

white flowers

One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.

--Oscar Wilde

red rose

It is only intellectually lost who ever argue.

--Oscar Wilde

pink

There is more to be said for stupidity than people imagine. Personally I have a great admiration for stupidity. It is a sort of fellow-feeling, I suppose.

--Oscar Wilde

green and white painted wall

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

--Oscar Wilde

purple and white clouds during night time

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

--Oscar Wilde

green leaf in close up photography

We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.

--Oscar Wilde

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

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

--Oscar Wilde

photo of underwater

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

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


selective focus photography of orange and beige butterfly on purple flowers

All bad art is the result of good intentions.

--Oscar Wilde

green and blue chevron textile

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

--Oscar Wilde

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

The only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial view of gray building on brown sand

Two men look out a window. One sees mud, the other sees the stars.

--Oscar Wilde

four person standing beside wall

Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.

--Oscar Wilde

closeup photography of brown and gray concrete bricks

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

--Oscar Wilde

brown, black, and white butterfly on purple petaled flower photo

The criminal classes are so close to us that even the policemen can see them.

--Oscar Wilde

concert photos

Set in this stormy Northern sea, Queen of these restless fields of tide, England! what shall men say of thee, Before whose feet the worlds divide?

--Oscar Wilde

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

I only care to see doctors when I am in perfect health; then they comfort one, but when one is ill they are most depressing.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of kneeling man

Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualification.

--Oscar Wilde

photography of starry sky

Some red star had come too close to the earth.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain under blue sky during daytime

It is tragic how few people ever ‘possess their souls' before they die. ‘Nothing is more rare in any man,' says Emerson, ‘than an act of his own.' It is quite true. Most people are other people.

--Oscar Wilde

red textile in close up photography

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

--Oscar Wilde

snow-capped mountain at the horizon viewed from lake dock

Self-denial is the shining sore on the leprous body of Christianity.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

The sphere of art and the sphere of ethics are absolutely distinct and separate.

--Oscar Wilde

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

Knowledge would be fatal. It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful.

--Oscar Wilde

crack in wall

One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.

--Oscar Wilde

low-angle photo of white daisy

He would stab his best friend for the sake of writing an epigraph on his tombstone.

--Oscar Wilde

plain

Is insincerity such a terrible thing? I think not. It is merely a method by which we can multiply our personalities.

--Oscar Wilde

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

Remember that the fool in the eyes of the gods and the fool in the eyes of man are very different.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Remember that the fool in the eyes of the gods and the fool in the eyes of man are very different. One who is entirely ignorant of the modes of Art in its revolution or the moods of thought in its progress, of the pomp of the Latin line or the richer music of the vowelled Greeks, of Tuscan sculpture or Elizabethan song may yet be full of the very sweetest wisdom. The real fool, such as the gods mock or mar, is he who does not know himself. I was such a one too long. You have been such a one too long. Be so no more. Do not be afraid. The supreme vice is shallowness. Everything that is realised is right.


closeup photo of sunflower

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

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain during sunset

He would never again tempt innocence. He would be good.

--Oscar Wilde

woman standing on cliff

Fashion: by which what is really fantastic becomes for a moment the universal.

--Oscar Wilde

Arizona landscape

Personally, I have a great admiration for stupidity.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow painted wall

Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

--Oscar Wilde

white and blue sky during daytime

As for modern journalism, it is not my business to defend it. It justifies its own existence by the great Darwinian principle of the survival of the vulgarest.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

There are two ways to dislike poetry: One is to dislike it; the other is to read Pope.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

Your mysterious young friend, whose name you have never told me, but whose picture really fascinates me, never thinks.

--Oscar Wilde

river painting

Because to influence a person is to give one's own soul.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion -- these are the two things that govern us.


mountains with trees under white star at night

For one moment our lives met, our souls touched.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

Women have a much better time than men in this world; there are far more things forbidden to them.

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white abstract painting

She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.

--Oscar Wilde

white tulips in white background

And no hand can gather up the fallen withered petals of the rose of youth.

--Oscar Wilde

black and white butterfly on green leaf

I live constantly in the fear of not being misunderstood.

--Oscar Wilde

white petaled flower bloom during daytime

Spontaneity is a meticulously prepared art.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflowers under white clouds and blue sky

I don't like novels that end happily. They depress me so much.

--Oscar Wilde

lion on green grass during golden hour

The bright dawn flooded the room, and swept the fantastic shadows into dusky corners, where they lay shuddering.

--Oscar Wilde

woman sitting on rock facing plunge waterfalls

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.

--Oscar Wilde

green and white painted wall

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and blue painted wall

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

--Oscar Wilde

island during daytime

Rugby is a game for barbarians played by gentlemen. Football is a game for gentlemen played by barbarians.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow sunflower in close up photography

The sin was mine; I did not understand. So now is music prisoned in her cave, Save where some ebbing desultory wave Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial photography of gray and white stone lot

It is not good for one's morals to see bad acting.

--Oscar Wilde

grassland landscape

One has a right to judge a man by the effect he has over his friends.

--Oscar Wilde

three pink tulip flowers

Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow flowers

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

--Oscar Wilde

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

When people talk to me about the weather, I always feel they mean something else.

--Oscar Wilde

white tulip flower in close up photography

I love to talk about nothing. It's the only thing I know anything about.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of kneeling man

If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose.

--Oscar Wilde

blue and white striped textile

The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.

--Oscar Wilde

body of water

A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurence of crime.

--Oscar Wilde

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

If Dorian wishes it, of course you must stay. Dorian's whims are laws to everybody, except himself.

--Oscar Wilde

shillouette photo of person standing at the peak

The quivering, ardent sunlight showed him the lines of cruelty round the mouth as clearly as if he had been looking into a mirror after he had done some dreadful thing.

--Oscar Wilde

closeup photo of orange petaled flowers

All great ideas are dangerous.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow and purple flower with white background

From the moment I met you, your personality had the most extraordinary influence over me. I was dominated, soul brain and power.

--Oscar Wilde

white Starbuck plastic cup on brown fabric armchair

If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.

--Oscar Wilde

autumn leaves on body of water

Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realise what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do,—and natures like his can realise it.


selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.

--Oscar Wilde

brown and black jazz guitar with dim light

I expect I shall have to die beyond my means.

--Oscar Wilde

Arizona landscape

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

--Oscar Wilde

body of water under blue sky during sunset

In England ... education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and would probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of orange flower

Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black jacket sitting on chair

The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.

--Oscar Wilde

white

You must have a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?

--Oscar Wilde

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytime

We are never more true to ourselves than when we are inconsistent.

--Oscar Wilde

black and white abstract illustration

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

--Oscar Wilde

bonfire in forest

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

--Oscar Wilde

red wine digital wallpaper

To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.

--Oscar Wilde

Arizona landscape

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

--Oscar Wilde

black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.

--Oscar Wilde

pink rose

I should fancy, however, that murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.

--Oscar Wilde

brown wallpaper

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.

--Oscar Wilde

two women lying on hammock

God, bless me with luxury. Necessities I can do without.

--Oscar Wilde

silver round analog wall clock

It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter, who on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.

--Oscar Wilde

road between yellow leaf trees at daytime

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

--Oscar Wilde

stars across the sky view at the desert

It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institutions of private property.

--Oscar Wilde

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

To elope is cowardly; it is running away from danger; and danger has become so rare in modern life.

--Oscar Wilde

close up photo of tree

Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it.

--Oscar Wilde

purple petaled flower

Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

Only the shallow know themselves.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and white flower in close up photography

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.

--Oscar Wilde

time lapse photography body of water

Don't imagine that your perfection lies in accumulating or possessing external things. Your affection is inside of you.

--Oscar Wilde

person in black top carrying brown wicker basket

Ethics, like natural selection, make existence possible. Aesthetics, like sensual selection, make life lovely and wonderful, fill it with new forms, and give it progress, and variety and change.

--Oscar Wilde

eyeglasses in bokeh photography

To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance.

--Oscar Wilde

white textile in close up photography

Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and when once the storm of youth is past, Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death the silent pilot comes at last.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow flower

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for.

--Oscar Wilde

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

The sure way of knowing nothing about life is to try to make oneself useful.

--Oscar Wilde

A view of the night showing stars

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

--Oscar Wilde

four coffee cups on floor

You can never be overdressed or overeducated.

--Oscar Wilde

chocolate

There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful.

--Oscar Wilde

lightning strike at night

I did not know it was such pain to die; I thought that life had taken all the agonies to itself.

--Oscar Wilde

green ceramic mug beside book

Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right or wrong in conduct shows an arrested intellectual development.

--Oscar Wilde

closeup photography of wall

Who is that man over there? I don't know him. What is he doing? Is he a conspirator? Have you searched him? Give him till tomorrow to confess, then hang him! -- hang him!

--Oscar Wilde

man facing women near forest

Before Turner there was no fog in London.

--Oscar Wilde

two blue beach chairs near body of water

There never has been an artistic age, or an artistic people, since the beginning of the world. The artist has always been, and will always be, an exquisite exception.

--Oscar Wilde

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

Missionaries are going to reform the world whether it wants to or not.

--Oscar Wilde

black and gray floral textile

I think it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person.

--Oscar Wilde

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

Clergymen and people who use phrases without wisdom sometimes talk of suffering as a mystery. It is really a revelation.

--Oscar Wilde

macro photography of green bird on tree branch

History is merely gossip.

--Oscar Wilde

mountain dew during sunrise

The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man's intelligence.

--Oscar Wilde

blue

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

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people's lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it.


five silhouette of birds flying on sky

Writing bores me so.

--Oscar Wilde

white wooden hut during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

gray building

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.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photo of four green humming birds with red flowers

The English have a miraculous power of turning wine into water.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow petaled flower screenshot

Journalism justifies its own existence by the great Darwinian principle of the survival of the vulgarist.

--Oscar Wilde

selective photography of dried leaf

A simile committing suicide is always a depressing spectacle.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of woman standing outdoors

Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial.

--Oscar Wilde

long exposure photography of lights

Art never harms itself by keeping aloof from the social problems of the day: rather, by so doing, it more completely realises for us that which we desire.

--Oscar Wilde

green trees on forest during daytime

Immanuel isn't a pun; he Kant be!

--Oscar Wilde

white stars in the sky during night time

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

--Oscar Wilde

yellow Labrador puppy running on field

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

--Oscar Wilde

sunset forest

Alas! it is a fearful thing
To feel another's guilt!

--Oscar Wilde

short-beak red bird on tree

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

--Oscar Wilde

white pampas grasses near body of water at daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

green leaf tree on shore

Those who see any difference between soul and body have neither.

--Oscar Wilde

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

I have always been of opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing.

--Oscar Wilde

palm tree under orange sky

The truth about the life of a man is not what he does, but the legend which he creates around himself.

--Oscar Wilde

five children sitting on bench front of trees

Nothing worth knowing can be taught.

--Oscar Wilde

solid background

The history of women is the history of the worst form of tyranny the world has ever known. The tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts.

--Oscar Wilde

person in red shirt walking on brown field under gray sky during daytime

The girl never really lived, and so she has never really died.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photo of mountain during nighttime

It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal. I hope you will never fall into that error. If you do, you will be sorry for it.


silhouette of mountains under blue sky during daytime

If we men married the women we deserved, we should have a very bad time of it.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

I didn't say I liked it. I said it fascinated me. There is a great difference.

--Oscar Wilde

red flowers under the blue sky

She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness. It is the feet of clay that make the gold of the image precious.

--Oscar Wilde

green plant in tilt shift lens

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

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.

--Oscar Wilde

red fire illustration

Utterly, irrevocably, lost.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.

--Oscar Wilde

gray concrete painted wall

There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted.

--Oscar Wilde

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

What is abnormal in Life stands in normal relations to Art. It is the only thing in Life that stands in normal relations to Art.

--Oscar Wilde

raging waves through shores

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

--Oscar Wilde

dew drops on glass panel

Do you know that I am afraid that good people do a great deal of harm in this world? Certainly the greatest harm they do is that they make badness of such extraordinary importance.

--Oscar Wilde

brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood. Don't degrade me into the position of giving you useful information. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.


blue and black abstract painting

Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Nothing is so aggravating as calmness. There is something positively brutal about the good temper of most modern men.


ice berg

What the artist is always looking for is the mode of existence in which soul and body are one and indivisible: in which the outward is expressive of the inward: in which form reveals.

--Oscar Wilde

pink rose in close up photography

In life there is really no great or small thing. All things are of equal value and of equal size.

--Oscar Wilde

photography of white wall lot

The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible.  What the second duty is no one has as yet discovered.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black suit jacket and woman in blue dress kissing during daytime

There is only good art and mediocre art.

--Oscar Wilde

woman holding brown umbrella

True love is just like regular love, but with more truth.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black and white striped shirt sitting on brown rock during daytime

The man who says his wife can't take a joke, forgets that she took him.

--Oscar Wilde

dome tent with galaxy with stars

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

--Oscar Wilde

Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

I don't regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure. I did it to the full, as one should do everything that one does. There was no pleasure I did not experience.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

I don’t regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure. I did it to the full, as one should do everything that one does. There was no pleasure I did not experience. I threw the pearl of my soul into a cup of wine.


person holding pocket watch

Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired, women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.

--Oscar Wilde

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

Really, if the lower orders don't set a good example, what on earth is the use of them?

--Oscar Wilde

man in white and black button up shirt holding lighted candle

Memory, like a horrible malady, was eating his soul away.

--Oscar Wilde

white and purple flower in macro shot

Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief.

--Oscar Wilde

purple petaled flower on gray surface

The ancient historians gave us delightful fiction in the form of fact; the modern novelist presents us with dull facts under the guise of fiction.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow tulip flowers

What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us.

--Oscar Wilde

person holding pocket watch

No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you'll never get through it without your friends.

--Oscar Wilde

photo of underwater

What is said of man is nothing; the point is, who says it.

--Oscar Wilde

rock mountain during starry night

Nature is a wet place where large numbers of ducks fly overhead uncooked.

--Oscar Wilde

None

Every single work of art is the fulfillment of a prophecy; for every work of art is the conversion of an idea into an image.

--Oscar Wilde

coffee mug on top of tablecloth beside ashtray

To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

As for begging, it is safer to beg than to take, but it is finer to take than to beg.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of man and woman during sunset

Beauty ...is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.

--Oscar Wilde

purple flowers under cloudy sky

The British cook, for her iniquities, is a foolish woman who should be turned into a pillar of salt which she never knows how to use.

--Oscar Wilde

shooting star in night sky

Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of trees during nighttime

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

--Oscar Wilde

people walking on hallway

Everyone is born a king, and most people die in exile.

--Oscar Wilde

pink and white abstract painting

Shakespeare appreciated the value of lovely costumes in adding picturesqueness to poetry, but he saw how important costume is as a means of producing certain dramatic effects.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountains during starry night

Ignorance is like a delicate fruit; touch it, and the bloom is gone.

--Oscar Wilde

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm we had crossed each other's way: but we made no sign, we said no word, we had no word to say.

--Oscar Wilde

two women making peace sign near the Golden Gate bridge

He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize.

--Oscar Wilde

person holding sunflower bouquet during daytime

Have nothing in your house that is not useful or beautiful; if such a rule were followed out, you would be astonished at the amount of rubbish you would get rid of.

--Oscar Wilde

minimalist photography of open door

Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but is hardly suitable for delicate boys.

--Oscar Wilde

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

If I could get back my youth, I'd do anything in the world except get up early, take exercise or be respectable.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset

The secret of life is in art.

--Oscar Wilde

four orange, green, blue, and red paint rollers

A burnt child loves the fire.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow and purple flower with white background

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.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette photography of man illustration

Action is limited and relative. Unlimited and absolute is the vision of him who sits at ease and watches, who walks in loneliness and dreams.

--Oscar Wilde

forest trees photograph

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.


orange and white stone fragment

The gods are strange. It is not our vices only they make instruments to scourge us. They bring us to ruin through what in us is good, gentle, humane, loving.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of kneeling man

In a very ugly and sensible age, the arts borrow, not from life, but from each other.

--Oscar Wilde

man in blue tank top holding green and black skateboard

Nothing should be out of the reach of hope. Life is a hope.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow petaled flower screenshot

One should not be too severe on English novels; they are the only relaxation of the intellectually unemployed.

--Oscar Wilde

blue, yellow, and purple starry sky during nighttime

For life is terribly deficient in form. Its catastrophes happen in the wrong way and to the wrong people. There is a grotesque horror about its comedies, and its tragedies seem to culminate in farce.

--Oscar Wilde

person holding gray and beige roman numeral alarm clock

To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.

--Oscar Wilde

water on seashore

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.

--Oscar Wilde

green trees under white sky during daytime

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

--Oscar Wilde

white oriental lily flower

Most people live for love and admiration. But it is by love and admiration that we should live.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Most people live for love and admiration. But it is by love and admiration that one should live. If any love is shown us we should recognize that we are quite unworthy of it. Nobody is worthy to be loved... or if that phrase is a bitter one to bear, let us say that everyone is worthy of love, except him who thinks he is. Love is a sacrament that should be taken kneeling..


sunset

Hearts live by being wounded.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain during sunset

Books are never finished, They are merely abandoned.

--Oscar Wilde

brown desert under sunny sky

Artists reproduce themselves or each other, with wearisome iteration. But criticism is always moving on, and the critic is always developing.

--Oscar Wilde

pink rose in close up photography

It's not hard to get the ideas when they come. They just come... it's painful waiting for them.

--Oscar Wilde

green tree under blue sky during night time

I can't stand people that do not take food seriously.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

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

--Oscar Wilde

lighted candles on man's hand lying on the floor

Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching. Our splendid physique as a people is entirely due to our national stupidity.


multicolored heart LED light on wall

The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

--Oscar Wilde

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

I see the moon like a clipped piece of silver. Like gilded bees the stars cluster round her.

--Oscar Wilde

white analog wall clock at 11 00

If we're always guided by other people's thoughts, what's the point in having our own?

--Oscar Wilde

Vincent Van Gogh self portrait painting on wall

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.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of trees during nighttime

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

--Oscar Wilde

raindrops on clear window

I don't recognize you -- I've changed a lot.

--Oscar Wilde

low angle view of blue clouds

A man's face is his autobiography. A women's face is her work of fiction.

--Oscar Wilde

sunflower field under white sky during daytime

Love is a misunderstanding between two fools.

--Oscar Wilde

lion on green grass during golden hour

Cheap editions of great books may be delightful, but cheap editions of great men are absolutely detestable.

--Oscar Wilde

painting of man walking down a road holding umbrella

True friends stab you in the front.

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

Besides, it is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.

--Oscar Wilde

mountains covered with fog

I am going to take up the study of German: indeed this seems to be the proper place for such a study.

--Oscar Wilde

grassland landscape

You cut life to pieces with your epigrams.

--Oscar Wilde

selective focus photo of woman holding sunflower surrounded by sunflowers

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

--Oscar Wilde

flock of birds flying under blue sky during daytime

The best way to make children good is to make them happy.

--Oscar Wilde

person in black and white mask

There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

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.


golden retriever inside car

America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.

--Oscar Wilde

white and blue floral textile

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

--Oscar Wilde

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

The best one can say of modern creative art is that it is just a little less vulgar than reality.

--Oscar Wilde

yellow flower in green grass field

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

--Oscar Wilde

red rose in close up photography

It is not wise to find symbols in everything that one sees. It makes life too full of terrors.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black bubble hoodie looking at the stars

We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.

--Oscar Wilde

city lights from hill

Conscience and cowardice are really the same things, Basil. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.

--Oscar Wilde

gray cactus plant on white pot

When I like people immensely I never tell their names to anyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

When I like people immensely, I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure.


man in orange jacket and black pants doing snow ski during daytime

The smallest act of kindness is worth than the grandest intention.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of mountain under blue sky during daytime

The mere mechanical technique of acting can be taught, but the spirit that is to give life to lifeless forms must be born in a man. No dramatic college can teach its pupils to think or to feel.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

The mere mechanical technique of acting can be taught, but the spirit that is to give life to lifeless forms must be born in a man. No dramatic college can teach its pupils to think or to feel. It is Nature who makes our artists for us, though it may be Art who taught them their right mode of expression.


three boys running on field

Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is human's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

--Oscar Wilde

brown sand beach during daytime

Bad artists always admire each others work.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Bad artists always admire each other's work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned, under any conditions other than those he has selected.


silhouette of stones during golden hour

High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

--Oscar Wilde

sunset dirt road

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

--Oscar Wilde

man and woman holding hands in silhouette photography

The man with a clear conscience probably has a poor memory.

--Oscar Wilde

boat on sea far away from island

Life cannot be written; life can only be lived.

--Oscar Wilde

pen on brown board

Schools should be the most beautiful place in every town and village-so beautiful that the punishment for undutiful children should be barred from going to school the following day.

--Oscar Wilde

smiling woman

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

--Oscar Wilde

black and white bird on seashore

There is one thing worse than an absolutely loveless marriage: a marriage in which there is love, but on one side only.

--Oscar Wilde

blue wooden door opened

Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.

--Oscar Wilde

Longer Version:

Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob. It is through the voice of one crying in the wilderness that the ways of the gods must be prepared.


seashore during daytime

The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret.

--Oscar Wilde

clear blue sea under blue sky

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.

--Oscar Wilde

white tulips in white background

It is curious how vanity helps the successful man and wrecks the failure.

--Oscar Wilde

people raises hands

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

--Oscar Wilde

aerial photo of green trees

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

--Oscar Wilde

silhouette of elephant on brown sand during sunset

It takes a thoroughly good woman to do a thoroughly stupid thing.

--Oscar Wilde

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

What people call insincerity is simply a method by which we can multiply our personalities.

--Oscar Wilde

man in black tank top standing near tree under starry night

We lose our chances, we lose our figures, we even lose our characters; but we must never lose our tempers. That is our duty to our neighbor...but sometimes we mislay it, don't we?

--Oscar Wilde

woman holding cake looking up

What fire does not destroy, it hardens.

--Oscar Wilde

black fawn pug playing with plush toy

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

--Oscar Wilde

aerial view of river in between green trees during daytime

I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean.

--Oscar Wilde

Close-up of a white line on green grass in a soccer field

I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced to tell lies is much worse.

--Oscar Wilde

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.

--Oscar Wilde

shallow focus photography of books

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

--Oscar Wilde

We wish you a perfect day!