Quotes from De Profundis and Other Writings

Oscar Wilde ·  252 pages

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“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 centre of pain.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“I am a born antinomian. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“For a year after that was done to me I wept every day at the same hour and for the same space of time. That is not such a tragic thing as possibly it sounds to you. To those who are in prison tears are a part of every day's experience. A day in prison on which one does not weep is a day on which one's heart is hard, not a day on which one's heart is happy.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“The fatal errors of life are not due to man's being unreasonable: an unreasonable moment may be one's finest moment. They are due to man's being logical.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men, and the colour of things: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all things in a phrase, all existence in an epigram: whatever I touched I made beautiful”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings



“I know of nothing in all drama more incomparable from the point of view of art, nothing more suggestive in its subtlety of observation, than Shakespeare's drawing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They are Hamlet's college friends. They have been his companions. They bring with them memories of pleasant days together. At the moment when they come across him in the play he is staggering under the weight of a burden intolerable to one of his temperament. The dead have come armed out of the grave to impose on him a mission at once too great and too mean for him. He is a dreamer, and he is called upon to act. He has the nature of the poet, and he is asked to grapple with the common complexity of cause and effect, with life in its practical realisation, of which he knows nothing, not with life in its ideal essence, of which he knows so much. He has no conception of what to do, and his folly is to feign folly. Brutus used madness as a cloak to conceal the sword of his purpose, the dagger of his will, but the Hamlet madness is a mere mask for the hiding of weakness. In the making of fancies and jests he sees a chance of delay. He keeps playing with action as an artist plays with a theory. He makes himself the spy of his proper actions, and listening to his own words knows them to be but 'words, words, words.' Instead of trying to be the hero of his own history, he seeks to be the spectator of his own tragedy. He disbelieves in everything, including himself, and yet his doubt helps him not, as it comes not from scepticism but from a divided will.

Of all this Guildenstern and Rosencrantz realise nothing. They bow and smirk and smile, and what the one says the other echoes with sickliest intonation. When, at last, by means of the play within the play, and the puppets in their dalliance, Hamlet 'catches the conscience' of the King, and drives the wretched man in terror from his throne, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz see no more in his conduct than a rather painful breach of Court etiquette. That is as far as they can attain to in 'the contemplation of the spectacle of life with appropriate emotions.' They are close to his very secret and know nothing of it. Nor would there be any use in telling them. They are the little cups that can hold so much and no more.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“But whether I become a believer or remain an agnostic, my belief or disbelief must derive its source from within, not from without. I, myself, must create its symbols. The transcendental is that which produces its own form. I will never discover its secret if I do not find it in my own heart; if I do not possess it already I shall never be able to acquire it.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“Of course, I should have got rid of you. I should have shaken you out of my life as a man shakes from his raiment a thing that has stung him.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“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”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“I blame myself without reserve for my weakness. It was merely weakness. One half-hour with Art was always more to me than a cycle with you. Nothing really at any period of my life was ever of the smallest importance to me compared with Art. But in the case of an artist, weakness is nothing less than a crime, when it is a weakness that paralyses the imagination.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings



“Morality does not help me. I am a born antinomian. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes. It is well to have learned that.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“Of course to one so modern as I am, `Enfant de mon siècle,’ merely to look at the world will be always lovely. I tremble with pleasure when I think that on the very day of my leaving prison both the laburnum and the lilac will be blooming in the gardens, and that I shall see the wind stir into restless beauty the swaying gold of the one, and make the other toss the pale purple of its plumes, so that all the air shall be Arabia for me. Linnaeus fell on his knees and wept for joy when he saw for the first time the long heath of some English upland made yellow with the tawny aromatic brooms of the common furze; and I know that for me, to whom flowers are part of desire, there are tears waiting in the petals of some rose. It has always been so with me from my boyhood. 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. Like Gautier, I have always been one of those ‘pour qui le monde visible existe.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“Devo manter meu coração cheio de amor hoje pois de que outra maneira poderei suportar mais este dia?”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“В обществото, което сме изградили, няма място за човек като мен, но природата ... ще ми предложи скални пукнатини, където да се скрия и тайни долини, в чиято тишина да плача, без да ме безпокоят. Тя ще окачи звезди на мрака, за да мога да се разхождам през нощта, без да се препъвам, и ще изпрати вятър да заличи следите ми, така че никой да не ме последва; тя ще ме измие във водите си, ще ме гости с горчиви треви и отново ще ме направи цял.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“Οι περισσότεροι άνθρωποι είναι άλλοι άνθρωποι.Οι σκέψεις τους είναι οι απόψεις κάποιου άλλου,η ζωή τους μια μίμηση,τα πάθη τους ένα ρητό.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings



“When Marsyas was 'torn from the scabbard of his limbs' - DELLA VAGINA DELLA MEMBRE SUE, to use one of Dante's most terrible Tacitean phrases - he had no more song, the Greek said. Apollo had been victor. The lyre had vanquished the reed. But perhaps the Greeks were mistaken. I hear in much modern Art the cry of Marsyas. It is bitter in Baudelaire, sweet and plaintive in Lamartine, mystic in Verlaine. It is in the deferred resolutions of Chopin's music. It is in the discontent that haunts Burne- Jones's women. Even Matthew Arnold, whose song of Callicles tells of 'the triumph of the sweet persuasive lyre,' and the 'famous final victory,' in such a clear note of lyrical beauty, has not a little of it; in the troubled undertone of doubt and distress that haunts his verses, neither Goethe nor Wordsworth could help him, though he followed each in turn, and when he seeks to mourn for THYRSIS or to sing of the SCHOLAR GIPSY, it is the reed that he has to take for the rendering of his strain. But whether or not the Phrygian Faun was silent, I cannot be. Expression is as necessary to me as leaf and blossoms are to the black branches of the trees that show themselves above the prison walls and are so restless in the wind. Between my art and the world there is now a wide gulf, but between art and myself there is none. I hope at least that there is none.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“... най-големите грехове на света се случват в мозъка,но в мозъка се случва всичко... Само и единствено в мозъка макът е червен, ябълката мирише и чучулигата пее.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“Изкуството никога не трябва да се опитва да бъде популярно. Хората трябва да се опитват да бъдат артистични.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


“(Cristo) Amaba a los ignorantes, como todos los poetas, pues sabía que siempre hay espacio en el alma de un ignorante para una gran idea. Pero no podía soportar a los necios, especialmente a aquellos embrutecidos por la educación, vale decir, a esas gentes que poseen un juicio a punto para todo, aunque no comprendan ninguno; un tipo, éste, especialmente moderno, y que describe Cristo bajo la forma de aquél que posee la llave de la sabiduría y no la sabe emplear, ni permite que la empleen los demás a pesar de que ésta, acaso, sirva para abrir la puerta del reino de Dios.”
― Oscar Wilde, quote from De Profundis and Other Writings


About the author

Oscar Wilde
Born place: in Dublin, Ireland
Born date October 16, 1854
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