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.

The Canterville Ghost (1887)

Beauty is a form of genius–is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) — Chapter 2

To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) — Chapter 2

Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) — Chapter 2

Her eyes caught the melody and echoed it in radiance, then closed for a moment, as though to hide their secret. When they opened, the mist of a dream had passed across them.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) — Chapter 5

Then she paused. A rose shook in her blood and shadowed her cheeks. Quick breath parted the petals of her lips. They trembled. A southern wind of passion swept over her and stirred the dainty folds of her dress. “I love him”, she said simply.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) — Chapter 5

It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. Names are everything. I never quarrel with actions; my one quarrel is with words. That is the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. A man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) — Chapter 17

Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.

Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) — Act I, Lord Darlington

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 (1892) — Act III, Mr. Dumby

I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty.

The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) — Act I, Algernon

I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.

The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) — Act I, Lady Bracknell

When a man does exactly what a woman expects him to do she doesn’t think much of him. One should always do what a woman doesn’t expect, just as one should say what she doesn’t understand.

The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) — Act II, Algernon

Oh, I love London society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what society should be.

An Ideal Husband (1895) — Act I, Mabel Chiltern