Famous Quotes from ...

W. H. Auden



    A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.

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    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.

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    'Healing,'' Papa would tell me, ''is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.'

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    We are not commanded (or forbidden) to love our mates, our children, our friends, our country because such affections come naturally to us and are good in themselves, although we may corrupt them. We are commanded to love our neighbor because our ''natural'' attitude toward the ''other'' is one of either indifference or hostility.

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    The true men of action in our time, those who transform the world, are not the politicians and statesmen, but the scientists. Unfortunately, poetry cannot celebrate them, because their deeds are concerned with things, not persons. . .

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    The class distinctions proper to a democratic society are not those of rank or money, still less, as is apt to happen when these are abandoned, of race, but of age.

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    You must go to bed with friends or whores, where money makes up the difference in beauty or desire.

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

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    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.

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    His truth acceptable to lying men.

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    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.

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