Posted on 28 January 2020 By admin

Even when he was writing children’s stories, Oscar Wilde couldn’t resist digging a sly pin into the balloon of social pretension. Here he is in The Happy Prince, in which a Swallow becomes infatuated with a swaying Reed. “It is a ridiculous attachment,” twittered the other swallows, “she has no money, and far too many relations,” and indeed the river was full of Reeds.

Although the curtains fell on Oscar Wilde almost 120 years ago, his searing wit and keen eye for human chinks and foibles is still as relevant today as it was during his short, audacious and tumultuous life. Funny, insightful, quietly piquant and raucously bitchy, he was the original master of the soundbite. As we prepare to enjoy Graeme Murphy's The Happy Prince, based on his short story, we're enjoying this handful of his classic bon mots.  

He hasn’t a single redeeming vice.

I am hard at work being idle.

A poet can survive anything but a misprint.

I do not play cricket because it requires me to assume such indecent postures.

I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after.


Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

A Woman of No Importance

To lose one parent … may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

The Importance of Being Earnest

I can resist everything except temptation.

Lady Windermere’s Fan

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

The Importance of Being Earnest

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never any use to oneself.

An Ideal Husband

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.

An Ideal Husband

In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it.

Lady Windermere’s Fan