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W. H. Auden Quotes


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Cathedrals, Luxury liners laden with souls, Holding to the east their hulls of stone.
[Church]
 

Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.
[Action]
 

Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.
 

Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.
 

Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
 

Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
 

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.
 

For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
 

Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.
[Genius]
 

God bless the USA, so large, so friendly, and so rich.
 

Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.
 

Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.
 

Hemingway is terribly limited. His technique is good for short stories, for people who meet once in a bar very late at night, but do not enter into relations. But not for the novel.
 

History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.
 

I don't get acting jobs because of my looks.
 

I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.
 

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.
 

If time were the wicked sheriff in a horse opera, I'd pay for riding lessons and take his gun away.
 

If we really want to live, we'd better start at once to try.
 

In a world of prayer, we are all equal in the sense that each of us is a unique person, with a unique perspective on the world, a member of a class of one.
 


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