W. H. Auden

(Wystan Hugh Auden)

W. H. Auden
W. H. Auden
  • Born: February 21, 1907
  • Died: September 29, 1973
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Poet

94

Quotes

21

Citations

99

Concepts

0

Videos

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
Acts of injustice done Between the setting and the rising sun In history lie like bones, each one History
History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions. The study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology. History
How happy the lot of the mathematician! He is judged solely by his peers, and the standard is so high that no colleague or rival can ever win a reputation he does not deserve. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I see little hope for a peaceful world until men are excluded from the realm of foreign policy altogether and all decisions concerning international relations are reserved for women, preferably married ones. Policy & Policy Making ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
In politics, there is a distinction, unknown to science, between Truth and Justice. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Man is a history-making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind. History
Man is a history—making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind. Human Nature
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. Society ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Of course, Behaviorism "works." So does torture. Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth behaviorist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances, and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public. Miscellaneous
Of course, Behaviorism 'works'. So does torture. Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth behaviorist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances, and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public. Human Nature
Political history is far too criminal and pathological to be a fit subject of study for the young. Children should acquire their heroes and villains from fiction. History
Politics cannot be a science, because in politics theory and practice cannot be separated Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Social Sciences
Private faces in public places Are wiser and nicer Than public faces in private places. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
The belief that politics can be scientific must inevitably produce tyrannies. Politics cannot be a science, because in politics theory and practice cannot be separated, and the sciences depend upon their separation. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Social Sciences
The only reason the Protestants and Catholics have given up the idea of universal domination is because they've realized they can't get away with it. Religion & God
The true men of action in our time, those who transform the world, are not the politicians and statesmen, but the scientists. Development & Growth
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, and are, therefore, speechless. When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes. Scandals
There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police We must love one another or die. Miscellaneous
Those to whom evil is done do evil in return. Human Nature
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water Environment & Environmentalism
We are here to help others; what the others are here for, I have no idea. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb.
A poet is a professional maker of verbal objects.
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Literature, Writers & Writing
A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Literature, Writers & Writing ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.
All that we are not stares back at what we are.
All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
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. Relationships
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Art is born of humiliation. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another. Literature, Writers & Writing
Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.
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. Life
Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic. Death
Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one. Literature, Writers & Writing
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.
God bless the USA, so large, so friendly, and so rich. Religion & God
Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.
'Healing,' Papa would tell me, 'is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.' Nature ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
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. History
I don't get acting jobs because of my looks.
If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
If time were the wicked sheriff in a horse opera, I'd pay for riding lessons and take his gun away. Time
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. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
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. Religion & God
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. Happiness & Unhappiness
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. Money, Coins & Minting ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
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 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. Money, Coins & Minting ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
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.
Learn from your dreams what you lack.
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. Time ;Families, Children & Parenting
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? History ;Religion & God
Murder is commoner among cooks than among members of any other profession.
Music can be made anywhere, is invisible and does not smell. Music, Chants & Rapps
Music is the best means we have of digesting time. Time ;Music, Chants & Rapps
My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.
No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible. Music, Chants & Rapps
No hero is mortal till he dies.
No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called Games.
No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted.
Now is the age of anxiety. Time
Of all possible subjects, travel is the most difficult for an artist, as it is the easiest for a journalist. Travel
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell.
Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.
Sob, heavy world Sob as you spin, Mantled in mist Remote from the happy.
Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.
The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.
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. Society ;Money, Coins & Minting
The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own.
The ear tends to be lazy, craves the familiar and is shocked by the unexpected; the eye, on the other hand, tends to be impatient, craves the novel and is bored by repetition.
The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living. Death
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
To save your world you asked this man to die; would this man, could he see you now, ask why?
We all have these places where shy humiliations gambol on sunny afternoons.
We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know. Humor
What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
When I am in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.
When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a room full of dukes. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
You know there are no secrets in America. It's quite different in England, where people think of a secret as a shared relation between two people.
You owe it to all of us all get on with what you're good at.