W. Somerset Maugham Quotes (150 Quotes)




    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.

    He exulted in the possession of himself once more; he realized how much of the delight of the world he had lost when he was absorbed in that madness which they called love; he had had enough of it; he did not want to be in love anymore if love was that.

    I happen to think we've set our ideal on the wrong objects; I happen to think that the greatest ideal man can set before himself is self-perfection.





    I wish I could make you see how much fuller the life I offer you is than anything you have a conception of. I wish I could make you see how exciting the life of the spirit is and how rich in experience. It's illimitable. It's such a happy life. There's only one thing like it, when you're up in a plane by yourself, high, high, and only infinity surrounds you. You're intoxicated by the boundless space.

    Life wouldn't be worth living if I worried over the future as well as the present. When things are at their worst I find something always happens.


    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.




    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


    Oh, my dear fellow, if you want to be a gentleman you must give up being an artist. They've got nothing to do with one another. You hear of men painting pot-boilers to keep an aged mother - well, it shows they're excellent sons, but it's no excuse for bad work. They're only tradesmen. An artist would let his mother go to the workhouse.


    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.

    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.

    On the earth, satellite of a star speeding through space, living things had arisen under the influence of conditions which were part of the planet's history; and as there had been a beginning of life upon it, so, under the influence of other conditions, there would be an end: man, no more significant than other forms of life, had come not as the climax of creation but as a physical reaction to the environment.

    A thing that had always struck her about the child was that he seemed so collected. She had never seen him cry. And now she realized that his calmness was some instinctive shame of showing his feelings; he hid himself to weep.


    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.

    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.



    You think pleasure is only of the senses; the wretched slaves who manufactured your morality despised a satisfaction which they had small means of enjoying.

    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.


    More W. Somerset Maugham Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Life - Man - Love - World - Youth - People - Beauty - Habit - Pleasure - Art - Praise - Woman - Soul - Literature - Happiness - Mind - Money & Wealth - Wit - Jokes & Humor - View All W. Somerset Maugham Quotations

    More W. Somerset Maugham Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Of Human Bondage
    - The Razor's Edge

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