W H Auden Love Quotes and Sayings

W H Auden Love Quotes and Sayings

Christopher Isherwood (left) and W.H. Auden (right), Photo credit: Carl Van Vechten, Wikipedia

Christopher Isherwood (left) and W.H. Auden (right), Photo credit: Carl Van Vechten, Wikipedia

W H Auden Love Quotes and Sayings

#1 September 1, 1939, The New Republic issue, 8 October 1939

1. There is no such thing as the State and no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice to the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die.

#2 The Dyer’s Hand, and Other Essays, 1962, Notes on the Comic

2. Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.

#3 As I Walked Out One Evening, 1940

3. I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street, I’ll love you till the ocean is folded and hung up to dry and the seven stars go squawking like geese about the sky.

#4 The More Loving One

4. How should we like it were stars to burn with a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.


Excerpt from Wikipedia: Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.

Sayings by W H Auden

#1 Squares and Oblongs, Poets at Work, 1948

1. A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.

16 November 1946; The Table Talk of W. H. Auden, 1990

2. A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can’t think of anything else to do.

#3 The complete works of W. H. Auden: Prose. 1949-1955, Volume 3, Princeton University Press, 2008

3. A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.

#4-5 The Complete Works of W.H. Auden: Poems, Plays (with Christopher Isherwood), Libretti (with Chester Kallman), Prose. Prose. 1969-1973, Volume 3; Volume 6, Princeton University Press, 2015

4. Choice of attention—to pay attention to this and ignore that—is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.

5. If you take the world of prayer, here we are all equal in the sense that each of us is a unique person, with a unique perspective on the world, a member of a class of one.

#6 W. H. Auden: Prose, 1963-1968, Volume 3; Volume 5, Edward Mendelson, Princeton University Press, 2015

6. Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do and, even if their genius is unrecognized in their lifetime, the essential earthly reward is always theirs, the certainty that their work is good and will stand the test of time.

#7 The Dyer’s Hand, and Other Essays, Hic et Ille, 1962

7. Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.

#8 Forewords and Afterwords, One of the Family, 1973

8. Young people, who are still uncertain of their identity, often try on a succession of masks in the hope of finding the one which suits them — the one, in fact, which is not a mask.

#9 Death’s Echo

9. Dance till the stars come down from the rafters; Dance, dance, dance till you drop.

#10 If I Could Tell You

10. Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Unsourced W H Auden Quotes and Sayings

1. Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.

2. Whatever you do, good or bad, people will always have something negative to say.

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