Wystan Hugh Auden Quotes

The surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it.

Wystan Hugh Auden

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

Wystan Hugh Auden

Young people, who are still uncertain of their identity, often try on a succession of masks in the hope of finding the one which suits them the one, in fact, which is not a mask.

Wystan Hugh Auden

I am beginning to lose patienceWith my personal relations.They are not deepAnd they are not cheap.

Wystan Hugh Auden

The basic stimulus to the intelligence is doubt, a feeling that the meaning of an experience is not self-evident.

Wystan Hugh Auden

The law cannot forgive, for the law has not been wronged, only broken; only persons can be wronged. The law can pardon, but it can only pardon what it has the power to punish.

Wystan Hugh Auden

Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.

Wystan Hugh Auden

Normally, when one passes someone on the street who is in pain, one either tries to help him, or one simply looks the other way. With a photo there's no human decision; you're not there; you can't turn away; you simply gape. It's a form of voyeurism.

Wystan Hugh Auden

A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be when he has finished it. But it is unbecoming in an artist to talk about inspiration; that is the reader's business.

Wystan Hugh Auden

The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob. A woman might spend twenty years nursing lepers without having any notice taken of her, but let her once exhibit the stigmata or live for long periods on nothing but the Host and water, and in no time the crowd will be clamoring for her beatification.

Wystan Hugh Auden

Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.

Wystan Hugh Auden

How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me.

Wystan Hugh Auden

Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.

Wystan Hugh Auden

All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.

Wystan Hugh Auden

It's frightfully important for a writer to be his age, not to be younger or older than he is. One might ask, "What should I write at the age of sixty-four," but never, "What should I write in 1940."

Wystan Hugh Auden

In all technologically "advanced" countries, fashion has replaced tradition, so that involuntary membership in a society can no longer provide a feeling of community.

Wystan Hugh Auden
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