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W. Somerset Maugham Quotes (150 Quotes)


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  • He knew that all things human are transitory and therefore that it must cease one day or another. He looked forward to that day with eager longing. Love was like a parasite in his heart, nourishing a hateful existence on his life's blood; it absorbed his existence so intensely that he could take pleasure in nothing else.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • She had no mercy. He looked at her neck and thought how he would like to jab it with the knife he had for his muffin. He knew enough anatomy to make pretty certain of getting the carotid artery. And at the same time he wanted to cover her pale, thin face with kisses.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • In business sharp practice sometimes succeeds, but in art honesty is not only the best but the only policy.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "The Razor's Edge")

  • He wondered whether he had done right. He was dissatisfied with himself and with all his circumstances. He asked himself dully whether whenever you got your way you wished afterwards that you hadn't
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • The bright hopes of youth had to be paid for at such a bitter price of disillusionment.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")


  • Its a toss-up when you decide to leave the beaten track. Many are called, few are chosen.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "The Razor's Edge")

  • His death had been as futile as his life. He died ingloriously, of a stupid disease, failing once more, even at the end, to accomplish anything.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • The fact was that he had ceased to believe not for this reason or the other, but because he had not the religious temperament.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy. We can none of us step into the same river twice, but the river flows on and the other river we step into is cool and refreshing too.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "The Razor's Edge")

  • I don't think that women ought to sit down at table with men. It ruins conversation and I'm sure it's very bad for them. It puts ideas in their heads, and women are never at ease with themselves when they have ideas.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • The idealist withdrew himself, because he could not suffer the jostling of the human crowd; he had not the strength to fight and so called the battle vulgar; he was vain, and since his fellows would not take him at his own estimate, consoled himself with despising his fellows.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • Our wise old church...has discovered that if you will act as if you believed belief will be given to you; if you pray with doubt, but pray with sincerity, your doubt will be dispelled; if you will surrender yourself to the beauty of that liturgy the power of which over the human spirit has been proved by the experience of the ages, peace will descend upon you.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "The Razor's Edge")

  • It is clear that men accept an immediate pain rather than an immediate pleasure, but only because they expect a greater pleasure in the future. Often the pleasure is illusory, but their error in calculation is no refutation of the rule. You are puzzled because you cannot get over the idea that pleasures are only of the sense; but, child, a man who dies for his country dies because he likes it as surely as a man eats pickled cabbage because he likes it.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • The important thing was to love rather than to be loved.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • The dead look so terribly dead when they're dead.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "The Razor's Edge")


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