A list of the best W. H. Auden quotes. This list is arranged by which famous W. H. Auden quotes have received the most votes, so only the greatest W. H. Auden quotes are at the top of the list. All the most popular quotes from W. H. Auden should be listed here, but if any were missed you can add more at the end of the list. This list includes notable W. H. Auden quotes on various subjects, many of which are inspirational and thought provoking.
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- 1W. H. Auden
To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself. Whenever a man so concentrates his attention -- on a landscape, a poem, a geometrical problem, an idol, or the True God -- that he completely forgets his own ego and desires, he is praying. The primary task of the schoolteacher is to teach children, in a secular context, the technique of prayer.
- 2W. H. Auden
The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.
- 3W. H. Auden
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.
- 4W. H. Auden
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?
- 5W. H. Auden
We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.
- 6W. H. Auden
A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.
- 7W. H. Auden
If music in general is an imitation of history, opera in particular is an imitation of human willfulness; it is rooted in the fact that we not only have feelings but insist upon having them at whatever cost to ourselves. The quality common to all the great operatic roles, e.g., Don Giovanni, Norma, Lucia, Tristan, Isolde, Br?nnhilde, is that each of them is a passionate and willful state of being. In real life they would all be bores, even Don Giovanni.
- 8W. H. Auden
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.
- 9W. H. Auden
A doctor, like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character, that is to say, whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his own.
- 10W. H. Auden
Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
- 11W. H. Auden
It takes little talent to see clearly what lies under one's nose, a good deal of it to know in which direction to point that organ.
- 12W. H. Auden
As a poet there is only one political duty, and that is to defend one's language against corruption. When it is corrupted, people lose faith in what they hear and this leads to violence.
- 13W. H. Auden
My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.
- 14W. H. Auden
The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living.
- 15W. H. Auden
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
- 16W. H. Auden
Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.
- 17W. H. Auden
God bless the USA, so large, so friendly, and so rich.
- 18W. H. Auden
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
- 19W. H. Auden
Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.
- 20W. H. Auden
Anyone who has a child today should train him to be either a physicist or a ballet dancer. Then he'll escape.
- 21W. H. Auden
A false enchantment can all too easily last a lifetime.
- 22W. H. Auden
It is already possible to imagine a society in which the majority of the population, that is to say, its laborers, will have almost as much leisure as in earlier times was enjoyed by the aristocracy. When one recalls how aristocracies in the past actually behaved, the prospect is not cheerful.
- 23W. H. Auden
We must love one another or die.
- 24W. H. Auden
A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.
- 25W. H. Auden
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.