W. H. Auden
- 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.
- Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.
- 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.
- And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
- 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 laugh.
- A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
- Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.
- 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.
- In relation to a writer, most readers believe in the Double Standard: they may be unfaithful to him as often as they like, but he must never, never be unfaithful to them.