Quotations The Best W. H. Auden Quotes  

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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.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best W. H. Auden quotes?" and "What is the most famous W. H. Auden quote?"

You can see what subjects these historic W. H. Auden quotes fall under displayed to the right of the quote. Be sure to vote so your favorite W. H. Auden saying won't fall to the bottom of the list.
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1
20 4
We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know. W. H. Auden

2
8 1
The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living. W. H. Auden

3
8 1
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us. W. H. Auden

4
8 1
Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered. W. H. Auden

5
9 2
The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind. W. H. Auden

6
14 7
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. W. H. Auden

7
7 1
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. W. H. Auden

8
7 1
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? W. H. Auden

9
11 6
A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep. W. H. Auden

10
4 0
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table. W. H. Auden

11
5 2
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. W. H. Auden

12
4 1
We must love one another or die. W. H. Auden

13
4 1
Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self. W. H. Auden

14
4 1
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. W. H. Auden

15
4 1
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. W. H. Auden

16
4 1
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. W. H. Auden

17
4 1
Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality. W. H. Auden

18
3 0
Dogmatic theological statements are neither logical propositions nor poetic utterances. They are shaggy dog stories; they have a point, but he who tries too hard to get it will miss it. W. H. Auden

19
3 0
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. W. H. Auden

20
3 0
It is... axiomatic that we should all think of ourselves as being more sensitive than other people because, when we are insensitive in our dealings with others, we cannot be aware of it at the time: conscious insensitivity is a self-contradiction. W. H. Auden

21
3 0
There's only one good test of pornography. Get twelve normal men to read the book, and then ask them, Did you get an erection? If the answer is Yes from a majority of the twelve, then the book is pornographic. W. H. Auden

22
3 0
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. W. H. Auden

23
6 4
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. W. H. Auden

24
4 2
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. W. H. Auden

25
3 1
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. W. H. Auden

26
3 1
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. W. H. Auden

27
3 1
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about. W. H. Auden

28
3 1
Healing, Papa would tell me, is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature. W. H. Auden

29
3 1
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell. W. H. Auden

30
3 1
My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain. W. H. Auden

31
2 0
No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called Games. W. H. Auden

32
2 0
Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading. W. H. Auden

33
5 4
Anyone who has a child today should train him to be either a physicist or a ballet dancer. Then he'll escape. W. H. Auden

34
3 2
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. W. H. Auden

35
3 2
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. W. H. Auden

36
2 1
To the man-in-the-street, who, I'm sorry to say, is a keen observer of life. The word Intellectual suggests straight away. A man who's untrue to his wife. W. H. Auden

37
2 1
Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do. W. H. Auden

38
2 1
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. W. H. Auden

39
2 1
Poetry makes nothing happen. It survives in the valley of its saying. W. H. Auden

40
1 0
In a land which is fully settled, most men must accept their local environment or try to change it by political means; only the exceptionally gifted or adventurous can leave to seek his fortune elsewhere. In America, on the other hand, to move on and make a fresh start somewhere else is still the normal reaction to dissatisfaction and failure. W. H. Auden

41
1 0
I cannot accept the doctrine that in poetry there is a suspension of belief. A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true. W. H. Auden

42
1 0
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. W. H. Auden

43
3 3
God bless the USA, so large, so friendly, and so rich. W. H. Auden

44
2 2
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. W. H. Auden

45
2 2
You must go to bed with friends or whores, where money makes up the difference in beauty or desire. W. H. Auden

46
2 2
A false enchantment can all too easily last a lifetime. W. H. Auden

47
1 1
Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest. W. H. Auden

48
0 0
My deepest feeling about politicians is that they are dangerous lunatics to be avoided when possible and carefully humored; people, above all, to whom one must never tell the truth. W. H. Auden

49
0 0
A man has his distinctive personal scent which his wife, his children and his dog can recognize. A crowd has a generalized stink. The public is odorless. W. H. Auden

50
0 0
The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own. W. H. Auden