W. Somerset Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham

W. Somerset
Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham

English Playwright, Novelist and Short Story Writer

Author Quotes

The tragedy of love is indifference.

Then this must be my answer: We know that the attributes of God are infinite and it has always seemed strange to me that men have never given Him credit for common sense. It is hard to believe that He would have created so beautiful a world if He had not decided men to enjoy it. Would He have given the stars their glory, the birds their sweet song, and the flowers, their fragrance if He had not wished us to delight in them? I shave sinned before men and men have condemned me. God made me a man with passions of a man, and did He give them to me only that I should suppress them? He gave me my adventurous spirit and my love of life. I have a humble hope that when I am face to face with my Maker He will condone my imperfections and I shall find mercy in His sight.

There is no object to life. To nature nothing matters but the continuation of the species.

They threw this eager vitality of theirs into a vehement striving after the ineffable.

To Lucy it was an admirable study, the contrast between the man who threw his whole soul into a certain aim, which he pursued with a savage intensity, knowing that the end was a dreadful, lonely death; and the man who was making up his mind deliberately to gather what was beautiful in life, and to cultivate its graces as though it were a flower garden. And the worst of it is that it will all be the same in a hundred years, said Dick. We shall both be forgotten long before then, you with your strenuousness, and I with my folly. And what conclusion do you draw from that? asked Mrs. Crowley. Only that the psychological moment has arrived for a whisky and soda.

Very few people know where to look for happiness; fewer still find it.

We who are of mature age seldom suspect how unmercifully and yet with what insight the very young judge us.

When all things lasted so short a time and nothing mattered very much, it seemed pitiful that men, attaching an absurd importance to trivial objects, should make themselves and one another so unhappy.

When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character.

Women are often under the impression that men are much more madly in love with them than they really are.

You don't know the difference between truth and make-believe. You never stop acting. It's second nature to you. You act when there's a party here. You act to the servants, you act to father, you act to me. To me you act the part of the fond, indulgent, celebrated mother. You don't exist, you're only the innumerable parts you've played. I've often wondered if there was ever a you or if you were never anything more than a vehicle for all these other people that you've pretended to be. When I've seen you go into an empty room I've sometimes wanted to open the door suddenly, but I've been afraid to in case I found nobody there.

You say that Caesar Borgia suffered the just punishment of his crimes. He was destroyed not by his misdeeds, but by circumstances over which he had no control. His wickedness was an irrelevant accident. In this world of sin and sorrow if virtue triumphs over vice it is not because it is virtuous, but because it has better and bigger guns; if honesty prevails over double-dealing, it is not because it is honest, but because it has a stronger army more ably led; and if good overcomes evil it is not because it is good, but because it has a well-lined purse. It is well to have right on our side, but it madness to forget that unless we have might as well it will avail us nothing. We must believe that God loves men of good will, but there is no evidence to show that He will save fools from the result of their folly.

The tragedy of love is not death or separation. How long do you think it would have been before one or other of them ceased to care? Oh, it is dreadfully bitter to look at a woman whom you have loved with all your heart and soul, so that you felt you could not bear to let her out of your sight, and realize that you would not mind if you never saw her again. The tragedy of love is indifference.

There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort.

There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one's means of livelihood...Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.

They were talking more distantly than if they were strangers who had just met, for if they had been he would have been interested in her just because of that, and curious, but their common past was a wall of indifference between them. Kitty knew too well that she had done nothing to beget her father's affection, he had never counted in the house and had been taken for granted, the bread-winner who was a little despised because he could provide no more luxuriously for his family; but she had taken for granted that he loved her just because he was her father, and it was a shock to discover that his heart was empty of feeling for her. She had known that they were all bored by him, but it had never occurred to her that he was equally bored by them. He was as ever kind and subdued, but the sad perspicacity which she had learnt in suffering suggested to her that, though he probably never acknowledged it to himself and never would, in his heart he disliked her.

To me he seemed one of those persons destined to failure of whom you wonder what purpose it can ever serve that they should have ben born.

Was it necessary to tell me that you wanted nothing in the world but me?' The corners of his mouth drooped peevishly. Oh, my dear, it's rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he's in love with you.' Didn't you mean them?' At the moment.

Well, Henry, if I were you I wouldn?t worry, said the lawyer. My belief is that your boy?s born lucky, and in the long run that?s better than to be born clever or rich.

When death stood round the corner, taking lives like a gardener digging up potatoes, it was foolishness to care what dirty things this person or that did with his body.

When you have loved as she has loved, you grow old beautifully.

Women are strange little beasts,' he said to Dr. Coutras. 'You can treat them like dogs, you can beat them till your arm aches, and still they love you.' He shrugged his shoulders. 'Of course, it is one of the most absurd illusions of Christianity that they have souls.

You Europeans know nothing about America. Because we amass large fortunes you think we care for nothing but money. We are nothing for it; the moment we have it we spend it, sometimes well, sometimes ill, but we spend it. Money is nothing to us; it's merely the symbol of success. We are the greatest idealists in the world; I happen to think that 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.

You see, money to you means freedom; to me it means bondage.

The trouble with our younger authors is that they are all in the sixties.

Author Picture
First Name
W. Somerset
Last Name
Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham
Birth Date
Death Date

English Playwright, Novelist and Short Story Writer