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Quotes of the day
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Published Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:47 AM EST
Jan 25 2013

Quotes of the day: W. Somerset Maugham
 
William Somerset Maugham (January 25, 1874 - December 16, 1965) was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s.

A soul is a troublesome possession, and when man developed it he lost the Garden of Eden.

A woman may be as wicked as she likes, but if she isn't pretty it won't do her much good.

American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.

Art for art's sake makes no more sense than gin for gin's sake.

At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.

Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother.

Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.

Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practised at spare moments; it is a whole-time job.

I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.

I have been forced to conclude from this that we know our friends by their defects rather than by their merits.

I made up my mind long ago that life was too short to do anything for myself that I could pay others to do for me.

I'll give you my opinion of the human race in a nutshell... their heart's in the right place, but their head is a thoroughly inefficient organ.

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort that it values more, it will lose that too.

If forty million people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one, but the wise man is foolish to give them the lie.

If people waited to know one another before they married, the world wouldn't be so grossly over-populated as it is now.

Impropriety is the soul of wit.

It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late.

It is dangerous to let the public behind the scenes. They are easily disillusioned and then they are angry with you, for it was the illusion they loved.

It is not difficult to be unconventional in the eyes of the world when your unconventionality is but the convention of your set.

It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.

It is unsafe to take your reader for more of a fool than he is.

It was not till quite late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say: I don't know.

It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.

It's a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it.

It's no use crying over spilt milk, because all of the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it.

Life wouldn't be worth living if I worried over the future as well as the present. When things are at their worst I find something always happens.

Love is only the dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species.

Marriage is a very good thing, but I think it's a mistake to make a habit out of it.

Money is like a sixth sense-and you can't make use of the other five without it.

My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.

No man in his heart is quite so cynical as a well-bred woman.

Now the world in general doesn't know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.

Passion is destructive; if it does not destroy, it dies.

Perfection is a trifle dull. It is not the least of life's ironies that this, which we all aim at, is better not quite achieved.

The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.

The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquillity of the evening.

The contrast between a man's professions and his actions is one of the most diverting spectacles that life offers.

The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.

The prestige you acquire by being able to tell your friends that you know famous men proves only that you are yourself of small account.

The rain fell alike upon the just and upon the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.

The tragedy of love is indifference.

The world is quickly bored by the recital of misfortune and willingly avoids the sight of distress.

There are men whose sense of humour is so ill developed that they still bear a grudge against Copernicus because he dethroned them from the central position in the universe. They feel it a personal affront that they can no longer consider themselves the pivot upon which turns the whole of created things.

There are three rules for writing a novel; unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish, to bewail it senseless.

To eat well in England, you should have a breakfast three times a day.

Tolerance is only another name for indifference.

Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.

We have long passed the Victorian Era when asterisks were followed after a certain interval by a baby.

We who are of mature age seldom suspect how unmercifully and yet with what insight the very young judge us.

What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one's faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one's memories.

What mean and cruel things men can do for the love of God.

When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me.

You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences.

You can't learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency.

You know, of course, that the Tasmanians, who never committed adultery, are now extinct.

You will hear people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh. They do not know how mean it makes you. It exposes you to endless humiliation, it cuts your wings, it eats into your soul like a cancer. It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank, and independent.


Categories: Quotes of the day, W. Somerset Maugham


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