cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.
A gentleman is one
who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
A little sincerity
is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
A man can't be too
careful in the choice of his enemies.
A man's face is
his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
A poet can survive
everything but a misprint.
A thing is not necessarily
true because a man dies for it.
A true friend stabs
you in the front.
A work of art is
the unique result of a unique temperament.
Ah, well, then I
suppose I shall have to die beyond my means.
All art is quite
All bad poetry springs
from genuine feeling.
All that I desire
to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more
than art imitates life.
All women become
like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
Always forgive your
enemies - nothing annoys them so much.
Ambition is the
germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.
Ambition is the
last refuge of the failure.
America is the only
country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in
An idea that is
not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
Arguments are extremely
vulgar, for everyone in good society holds exactly the same opinion.
Arguments are to
be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.
Art is the most
intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
As long as a woman
can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.
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.
As yet, Bernard
Shaw hasn't become prominent enough to have any enemies, but none of
his friends like him.
At 46 one must be
a miser; only have time for essentials.
Beauty is a form
of genius - is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.
It 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.
Between men and
women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship,
love, but no friendship.
Between the optimist
and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut;
the pessimist the hole!
Bigamy is having
one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.
to death a new terror.
By giving us the
opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance
of the community.
a multitude of sins.
Children begin by
loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever,
do they forgive them.
Children have a
natural antipathy to books - handicraft should be the basis of education.
Boys and girls should be taught to use their hands to make something,
and they would be less apt to destroy and be mischievous.
Conscience and cowardice
are really the same things. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm.
That is all.
Consistency is the
last refuge of the unimaginative.
That is what the world calls a romance.
simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
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.
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.
Education is an
admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing
that is worth knowing can be taught.
Every portrait that
is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Every saint has
a past and every sinner has a future.
Experience is simply
the name we give our mistakes.
Fashion is a form
of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
Fathers should be
neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.
Hatred is blind,
as well as love.
He hadn't a single
He has no enemies,
but is intensely disliked by his friends.
He lives the poetry
that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not
He must have a truly
romantic nature, for he weeps when there is nothing at all to weep about.
He was always late
on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.
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.
I am not young enough
to know everything.
I can resist everything
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.
I dislike arguments
of any kind. They are always vulgar, and often convincing.
I have nothing to
declare except my genuis.
I have the simplest
tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
I hope you have
not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really
good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.
I never travel without
my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the
I put all my genius
into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
I regard the theatre
as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a
human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human
I see when men love
women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they
love give everything.
I suppose society
is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out
of it is simply a tragedy.
I think that God,
in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.
I want my food dead.
Not sick, not dying, dead.
If one cannot enjoy
reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at
If one could only
teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society
here would be quite civilized.
If one plays good
music, people don't listen and if one plays bad music people don't talk.
If there was less
sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world.
If you are not too
long, I will wait here for you all my life.
Illusion is the
first of all pleasures.
In all matters of
opinion, our adversaries are insane.
In America the President
reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.
In America the young
are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the
full benefits of their inexperience.
In England people
actually try to be brilliant at breakfast. That is so dreadful of them!
Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.
In every first novel
the hero is the author as Christ or Faust.
In married life
three is company and two none.
It is a very sad
thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
It is absurd to
divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
It is better to
be beautiful than to be good. But... it is better to be good than to
It is better to
have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
It is only an auctioneer
who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
It is perfectly
monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one
behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.
It is through art,
and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.
It is what you read
when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't
Its failings notwithstanding,
there is much to be said in favor of journalism in that by giving us
the opinion of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance
of the community.
Keep love in your
heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are
Laughter is not
at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending
Life imitates art
far more than art imitates Life.
Life is a pilgrimage.
The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to
the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.
Life is far too
important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
Life is never fair,
and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
Life is too important
to be taken seriously.
Man is a rational
animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in
accordance with the dictates of reason.
Man is least himself
when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you
Memory... is the
diary that we all carry about with us.
Men always want
to be a woman's first love - women like to be a man's last romance.
Most people are
other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives
a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
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.
Mrs. Allonby: No
man does. That is his.
Music is the art
which is most nigh to tears and memory.
Music makes one
feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is
the same thing nowadays.
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.
No great artist
ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be
No man is rich enough
to buy back his past.
No object is so
beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.
No woman should
ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.
Nothing can cure
the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the
Nothing is so aggravating
Nothing makes one
so vain as being told one is a sinner. Conscience makes egotists of
Now that the House
of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.
Nowadays to be intelligible
is to be found out.
Of course America
had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed
One can survive
everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except
a good reputation.
One of the many
lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are
and will be what they will be.
One should always
be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
One should always
play fairly when one has the winning cards.
One's past is what
one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.
Only the shallow
can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious
things that cannot be taken from you.
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.
Patriotism is the
virtue of the vicious.
Perhaps, after all,
America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely
Pessimist: One who,
when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
Questions are never
indiscreet, answers sometimes are.
Relations are simply
a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of
how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.
Self-denial is the
shining sore on the leprous body of Christianity.
Selfishness is not
living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes
Seriousness is the
only refuge of the shallow.
She wore far too
much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a
sign of despair in a woman.
Some cause happiness
wherever they go; others whenever they go.
Some of these people
need ten years of therapy -ten sentences of mine do not equal ten years
Success is a science;
if you have the conditions, you get the result.
The basis of optimism
is sheer terror.
The books that the
world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.
The cynic knows
the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The difference between
literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature
is not read.
The English country
gentleman galloping after a fox - The unspeakable in full pursuit of
The General was
essentially a man of peace, except of course in his domestic affairs.
The good ended happily,
and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
The moment you think
you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you.
The old believe
everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.
The one charm about
marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for
The only thing to
do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.
The only way to
get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but
The past is of no
importance. The present is of no importance. It is with the future that
we have to deal. For the past is what man should not have been. The
present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.
The public have
an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing.
Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies
The public is wonderfully
tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
The pure and simple
truth is rarely pure and never simple.
The salesman knows
nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal
too much for it.
The security of
Society lies in custom and unconscious instinct, and the basis of the
stability of Society, as a healthy organism, is the complete absence
of any intelligence amongst its members.
The true mystery
of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
The truth is rarely
pure and never simple.
machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano
when played by a sister or near relation.
The world has grown
suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.
The world is divided
into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do
There are only two
kinds of people who are really fascinating - people who know absolutely
everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
There are only two
tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other
is getting it.
There are two ways
of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, theother is to read Pope.
There is no sin
There is no such
thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly
There is no such
thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise
or too cruel for that.
There is nothing
in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no
married man knows anything about.
There is nothing
so difficult to marry as a large nose.
There is only one
thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked
These days man knows
the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
took me to a dancing saloon where I saw the only rational method of
art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a
notice- 'Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'
This suspense is
terrible. I hope it will last.
Those whom the gods
love grow young.
To expect the unexpected
shows a thoroughly modern intellect.
To lose one parent
may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
To love oneself
is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
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 life. It is no less
than a denial of the soul.
True friends stab
you in the front.
We are all in the
gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
What we have to
do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive the old art
When a man has once
loved a woman he will do anything for her except continue to love her.
When a woman marries
again it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries
again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck;
men risk theirs.
When good Americans
die they go to Paris.
When I was young
I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that
I am old I know that it is.
When the gods wish
to punish us they answer our prayers.
agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
Why was I born with
Woman begins by
resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.
Women are made to
be loved, not understood.
Women are never
disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between
Work is the curse
of the drinking classes.
Yet each man kills
the thing he loves, by each 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!