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Oscar Wilde Quotes - Famous Quotes by Oscar Wilde


Born: 1854-10-16
Died: 1900-11-30

Oscar Wilde Biography

... Nature, whose sweet rains fall of just and unjust alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undetected. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.
- Oscar Wilde
***
...my dear boy, no woman is a genius. They are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
- Oscar Wilde
***
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?
- Oscar Wilde
***
A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Cynicism ]
***
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
More quotations on: [ Dream ]
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A grand passion is the privelege of people who have nothing to do.
- Oscar Wilde
***
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Sincerity ]
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A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
- Oscar Wilde
***
A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Enemy ]
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A pessimist is one who, when he has a choice of two evils, chooses both.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Pessimist ]
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A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
- Oscar Wilde
***
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
- Oscar Wilde
***
A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.
- Oscar Wilde
***
A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Art ]
***
About foxhunting: The unspeakable chasing the uneatable.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Action is the last refuge of those who cannot dream.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Alas, I am dying beyond my means. (As he sipped champagne on his deathbed)
- Oscar Wilde
***
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their own peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their own peril.
- Oscar Wilde
***
All art is quite useless.
- Oscar Wilde
***
All authority is quite degrading.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Authority ]
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All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
- Oscar Wilde
***
All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Art ]
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Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Forgiving ] [ Enemy ]
***
America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.
- Oscar Wilde
***
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
- Oscar Wilde
***
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Art ]
***
As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
- Oscar Wilde
***
At twilight, nature is not without loveliness, though perhaps its chief use is to illustrate quotations from the poets.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Bad artists always admire each other's work.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Art ]
***
Beauty is a form of genius--is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only the shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Being natural is simply a pose.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Women ] [ Men ] [ Friendship ]
***
Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same
- Oscar Wilde
***
Biography lends to death a new terror.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Bore: a man who is never unintentionally rude.
- Oscar Wilde
***
But what is the difference between literature and journalism ...Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.
- Oscar Wilde
***
By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
- Oscar Wilde
***
By persistently remaining single a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Bachelor ]
***
Chastity is the greatest form of perversion.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Conscience and cowardice are really the same things.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Cowardace ]
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Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Democracy is the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Divorces are made in heaven.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Don't give a woman advice; one should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Women ] [ Advice ]
***
Dreamers can find their way by moonlight and their only punishment is that they see the dawn before the rest of the world.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Eduaction is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Art ]
***
Everyone who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Mistake ] [ Experience ]
***
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Fashion ]
***
Genius is born--not paid.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.
- Oscar Wilde
***
He has never written a single book, so you can imagine how much he knows.
- Oscar Wilde
***
He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.
- Oscar Wilde
***
How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I am not young enough to know everything.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Wisdom ]
***
I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I can resist anything but temptation.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I couldn't help it. I can resist everything except temptation.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Temptation ]
***
I have nothing to declare but my genius. (As he passed through customs)
- Oscar Wilde
***
I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I like talking to a brick wall, it's the only thing in the world that never contradicts me. (Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892)
- Oscar Wilde
***
I love acting. It is so much more real than life.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Acting ]
***
I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.
- Oscar Wilde
***
I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Imagination is a quality given to man to compensate for what he is not, and a sense of humaor is provided to console him from what he is.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is only about things that do not interest one that one can give really unbiased opinions, which is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always valueless.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Argument ]
***
It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
- Oscar Wilde
***
It often happens that the real tragedies in life occur in such an inarticulate manner that they hurt one by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Journalism justifies its own existence by the great Darwinian principle of the survival of the vulgarist.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Knowledge would be fatal, it is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things beautiful.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship; and it is by far the best ending for one.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Life imitates art more than art imitates life.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Like dear St. Francis of Assisi I am wedded to Poverty: but in my case the marriage is not a success.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Live the wonderful life that is in you.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Impossible ] [ Belief ]
***
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Men always want to be a woman's first love - women like to be a man's last romance.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Missionaries are going to reform the world whether it wants to or not.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Morality, like art, means a drawing a line someplace.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays.
- Oscar Wilde
***
My wallpaper and i are fighting a duel to death. One or the other has to go.
- Oscar Wilde
***
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Art ]
***
No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Women ] [ Old Age ]
***
Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Nothing is so aggravating as calmness.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
- Oscar Wilde
***
One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. If she tells that, she'll tell anything.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Women ]
***
One's real life is often the life that one does not lead.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Only the shallow know themselves.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Oscar Wilde: "I wish I had said that." Whistler: "You will, Oscar; you will.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
- Oscar Wilde
***
People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.
- Oscar Wilde
***
People who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it merely had been detected.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ America ]
***
Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Philanthropic people lose all sense of Humanity, it is their distinguishing characteristic.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Philanthropy is the refuge of rich people who wish to annoy their fellow creatures.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of others.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Popularity is the one insult I have never suffered.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Punctuality is the thief of time.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Science is the record of dead religions.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
- Oscar Wilde
***
She is a peacock in everything but beauty.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Sin is the only real colour element left in modern life.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Happiness ]
***
Sometimes it takes courage to give into temptation.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advantage of science is that it is not emotional.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The basis of action is lack of imagination. It is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Imagination ]
***
The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The fact is, that civilization requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture, and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The only charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception necessary for both parties.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The only excuse for creating something useless is that one admires it intensely.
- Oscar Wilde,
***
The only possible form of exercise is to talk, not to walk.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling I have always cultivated.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Advice ]
***
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Temptation ]
***
The problem with the common person is that he is so unbearably common!
- Oscar Wilde
***
The proper basis for marriage is a mutual misunderstanding.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Genius ]
***
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women… merely adored.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.
- Oscar Wilde
***
The very essence of love is uncertainty.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Life ]
***
There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There is no sin except stupidity.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.
- Oscar Wilde
***
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Thirty five is a very attractive age; London society is full of women who have of their own free choice remained thirty-five for years.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Birthday ]
***
To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.
- Oscar Wilde
***
To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
- Oscar Wilde
***
To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity.
- Oscar Wilde
***
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
- Oscar Wilde
***
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. (The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895)
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Death ] [ Family ]
***
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
- Oscar Wilde
***
True friends stab you in the front.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Vile deeds like poison weeds bloom well in prison air, it is only what is good in man, that wastes and withers there.
- Oscar Wilde
***
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. (Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892)
- Oscar Wilde
***
We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices.
- Oscar Wilde
***
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
- Oscar Wilde
***
We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.
- Oscar Wilde
***
We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.
- Oscar Wilde
***
What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
- Oscar Wilde
***
What people call insincerity is simply a method by which we can multiply our personalities.
- Oscar Wilde
***
When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck men risk theirs.
- Oscar Wilde
***
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
- Oscar Wilde
***
When good Americans die they go to Paris. When bad Americans die they go to America.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ America ]
***
When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.
- Oscar Wilde
***
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
- Oscar Wilde
***
When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
- Oscar Wilde
***
While one should always study the method of a great artist, one should never imitate his manner. The manner of an artist is essentially individual, the method of an artist is absolutely universal. The first is personality, which no one should copy; the second is perfection, which all should aim at.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Who, being loved, is poor?
- Oscar Wilde
***
Why was I born with such contemporaries
- Oscar Wilde
***
Wisdom comes with winters.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Women ] [ Men ] [ Compliment ]
***
Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our intellects.
- Oscar Wilde
***
Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
- Oscar Wilde
More quotations on: [ Work ] [ Drinking ]
***
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,By each let this be heard,Some do it with a bitter look,Some with a flattering word,The koward does it with a kiss,The brave man with a sword
- Oscar Wilde
***

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Malcolm X




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