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Vintage English
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!


This is a chapter on and of quotations. There are so many authors who have said fantastic things, with striking precision in worldly understandings. Can one say that there are any favourite authors whose quotations one like; or is there a favourite quotation? Well, personally I love the quotations from Oscar Wilde. However, most of his quotations are those that have been said by his characters. They sparkle with wit and wisdom. The others from him are from such works like De Profundis etc. These may be words that came from his own passionate agony. Again talking about Oscar Wilde’s words, I think they are more fascinating when read in the original works. Not that they do lose their sheen as solitary quotations, but then when read in the exact context, they become divinely brilliant.

Another thing to be mentioned about Oscar Wilde is his marvellous capacity to pull out sweet epigrams effortlessly. In spite of his words being seemingly mischievous and naughty, they are loaded with wisdom. Doubt not!

A few quotations from:

1. Oscar Wilde

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

In spite of the theme seeming very ridiculous, there is a lot of sincere insight in it.

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

Well, this is the British version of Greater Britain!

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Superb depiction of many a person’s intellectual disposition!

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

Well, is it about the fanatic?

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

-Lady Windermere’s Fan

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

One is worse than the other!

We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.

-The Canterville Ghost

True? Debatable!

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.

-The Picture of Dorian Gray

2. Charles Dickens

Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.

The immortal lines from A Tale of Two Cities.

Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he’s well dressed. There ain’t much credit in that.

That should be a revelation for the shallow dandies and modern personality-improvement gurus of the third world!

It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper; so cry away.

Well, pent up emotions can be dangerous!

‘Barkis is willin!’

Those famous lines from David Copperfield, touching bashful, virgin love!

Great men are seldom over-scrupulous in the arrangement of their attire.

Well, they are quite busy elsewhere!

3. Robert Louis Stevenson

More or less sober, meaningful lines

Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.

The price we have to pay for money is sometimes liberty.

You could read Kant by yourself, if you wanted; but you must share a joke with some one else.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.

4. A J Cronin

Nothing is more limiting than a closed circle of acquaintanceship where every avenue of conversation has been explored and social exchanges are fixed in a known routine.

Hell is the place where one has ceased to hope.

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.

5. Sir Winston Churchill

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

Possibly on Chamberlain

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

A delineation

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

Well, democracy in itself has been a tragedy for the world. Better still would be a benevolent leadership.

It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.

It works!

One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.

Dare and dare again!

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Same as what Confusions said!

When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

Leave nothing to the jabberers.

7. Mark Twain

A bit cynicism is there in Mark Twain

A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

Well, it is business instinct!

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

It may work!

An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven’t been done before.

Not really!

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.

Well, absence of fear is a mental defect! Nothing great about it!!

I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.

George Washington did the forbidden act!

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

The travesty called formal education!

Somerset Maugham is a much quoted author. This is one quotation of his that I love very much. It is funny about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the very best, you will very often get it.

Most of his quotations are slightly serious, slightly cynical, and slightly funny!

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.

He had heard people speak contemptuously of money: he wondered if they had ever tried to do without it.

-Of Human Bondage

I daresay one profit more by the mistakes one makes off one’s own bat than by doing the right thing on somebody else’s advice.

-Of Human Bondage

It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.

-Of Human Bondage

When things are at their worst I find something always happens.

-Of Human Bondage

Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.

-The Moon and Sixpence

One cannot find peace in work or in pleasure, in the world or in a convent, but only in one’s soul.

-The Painted Veil

American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.

-The Razor’s Edge

Often the best way to overcome desire is to satisfy it.

-The Razor’s Edge

Book profile



Author: Somerset Maugham

The Story

Folk songs:

On the banks of Allen Water,

On the banks of Clyde

Excerpt: Magnus in The Apple Cart

English Colonial History:

Emancipation of slaves

Scientist: Sir. Isaac Newton

Geo discoverers: Captain James Cook

Film: The bridge on River Kwai

Actress: Vivien Leigh

Battle: Jameson Raid

Incidence: Nelson’s death



Popular songs: Jingle Bells

Place: Rocks of Gibraltar

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