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W. H. Auden Quotes


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In general, when reading a scholarly critic, one profits more from his quotations than from his comments.
 

In relation to a writer, most readers believe in the Double Standard: they may be unfaithful to him as often as they like, but he must never, never be unfaithful to them.
 

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.
 

It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
[Art]
 

It is nonsense to speak of 'higher' and 'lower' pleasures. To a hungry man it is, rightly, more important that he eat than that he philosophize.
[Happiness]
 

It takes little talent to see what lies under one's nose, a good deal to know in what direction to point that organ.
 

It's frightening how easy it is to commit murder in America. Just a drink too much. I can see myself doing it. In England, one feels all the social restraints holding one back. But here, anything can happen.
[America]
 

Learn from your dreams what you lack.
 

Let us humor if we can The vertical man Though we value none But the horizontal one.
[Civilization]
 

Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.
 

Man is a history-making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind.
 

May it not be that, just as we have to have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that ''faith'' is even more difficult for Him than it is for us?
 

Men will pay large sums to whores for telling them they are not bores.
 

Murder is commoner among cooks than among members of any other profession.
 

Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.
 

Music can be made anywhere, is invisible and does not smell.
[Music]
 

Music is the best means we have of digesting time.
[Music]
 

My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.
 

My poetry doesn't change from place to place - it changes with the years. It's very important to be one's age. You get ideas you have to turn down - 'I'm sorry, no longer'; 'I'm sorry, not yet.'
[Maturity]
 

No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
[Music]
 


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