If you could use some wit and wonder today, read these Oscar Wilde quotes from the late 19th century Irish novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright. They're about you and how valuable you are, how much room there is for mystery, and what a gift it is to be here.
25 of My Favorite Oscar Wilde Quotes about Love, Life, and Everything in between
1. “Now, nothing should be able to harm a man except himself. Nothing should be able to rob a man at all. What a man really has, is what is in him. What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
2. “In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
3. “The mystery of this world is in the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
4. “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young
5. “We are specially designed to appeal to the sense of humour.” – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
6. “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.” – The Epigrams of Oscar Wilde
7. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
8. “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” – Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost
9. “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.” – Salome
10. “A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
11. “The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
12. “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
13. “A thing is, according to the mode in which one looks at it.” – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
14. “Experience, the name men give to their mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde, Vera; or, The Nihilists
15. “It will be a marvellous thing–the true personality of man–when we see it. It will grow naturally and simply, flowerlike, or as a tree grows. It will not be at discord. It will never argue or dispute. It will not prove things. It will know everything. And yet it will not busy itself about knowledge. It will have wisdom. Its value will not be measured by material things. It will have nothing. And yet it will have everything, and whatever one takes from it, it will still have, so rich will it be. It will not be always meddling with others, or asking them to be like itself. It will love them because they will be different. And yet while it will not meddle with others, it will help all, as a beautiful thing helps us, by being what it is. The personality of man will be very wonderful. It will be as wonderful as the personality of a child.” – Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
16. “Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.” – Oscar Wilde, Vera; or, The Nihilists
17. “Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.” – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
18. “When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?” – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
19. “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, Part II
20. “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” – Oscar Wilde, “The Relation of Dress to Art,” The Pall Mall Gazette
21. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
22. "The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it." – Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, Part I
23. “In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
24. “I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”– Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
25. “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
. . .
Which of these quotes is your favorite?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!
P.S. Want to celebrate your life with something you can hold? Go visit my shop for prints of handwritten poems and other words of hope and heart. If you ever forget what a gift it is to be here at all, you'll have something to remind you. Something to hold on to.