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Irish dramatist, novelist and critic
(1856 - 1950)
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I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.
      - Back to Methuselah [Sickness]

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.
      - Back to Methuselah [Silence]

There are no secrets except the secrets that keep themselves.
      - Back to Methuselah [Secrecy]

He [the Briton] is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
      - Caesar and Cleopatra [England]

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
      - Caesar and Cleopatra [Duty : Stupidity]

A man of great common sense and good taste, meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage.
      - Caesar and Cleopatra (notes) [Character]

Do you think that the things people make fools of themselves about are any less real and true than the things they behave sensibly about? They are more true;: they are the only things that are true.
      - Candida [Truth]

I'm only a beer teetotaller, not a champagne teetotaller.
      - Candida [Drinking]

It is easy--terribly easy--to shake a man's faith in himself. To take advantage of that to break a man's spirit is devil's work.
      - Candida [Evil]

We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
      - Candida [Happiness]

A soldier is an anachronism of which we must get rid.
      - Devil's Disciple (act III) [Soldiers]

A thing that nobody believes cannot be proved too often.
      - Devil's Disciple (act III) [Belief]

The whole world is strewn with snares, traps, gins and pitfalls for the capture of men by women.
      - Epistle Dedicatory to Man and Superman

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
      - Everybody's Political What's What

The statesman cannot govern without stability of belief, true or false.
      - Everybody's Political What's What

It's all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.
      - Fanny's First Play (induction) [Youth]

The word morality, if we met it in the Bible, would surprise us as much as the word telephone or motor car.
      - Fanny's First Play (preface) [Morality]

I am not a teacher: only a fellow-traveller of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead--ahead of myself as well as you.
      - Getting Married [Teaching]

Physically there is nothing to distinguish human society from the farm-yard except that children are more troublesome and costly than chickens and calves, and that men and women are not so completely enslaved as farm stock.
      - Getting Married [Parenthood]

The one point on which all women are in furious secret rebellion against the existing law is the saddling of the right to a child with the obligation to become the servant of a man.
      - Getting Married [Motherhood]

To disbelieve in marriage is easy: to love a married woman is easy; but to betray a comrade, to be disloyal to a host, to break the covenant of bread and salt, is impossible.
      - Getting Married [Matrimony]

What God hath joined together no man shall put asunder; God will take care of that.
      - Getting Married [Marriage : Matrimony]

When you loved me I gave you the whole sun and stars to play with. I gave you eternity in a single moment, strength of the mountains in one clasp of your arms, the volume of all the seas in one impulse of your soul. A moment only; but was it not enough? Were you not paid then for all the rest of your struggle on earth? . . . When I opened the gates of paradise, were you blind? Was it nothing to you? When all the stars sang in your ears and all the winds swept you the heart of heaven, were you deaf? were you dull? was I no more to you than a bone to a dog? Was it not enough? We spent eternity together; and you ask me for a little lifetime more. We possessed all the universe together; and you ask me to give you my scanty wages as well. I have given you the greatest of all things; and you ask me to give you little things. I gave you your own soul: you ask me for my body as a plaything. Was it not enough? Was it not enough?
      - Getting Married [Love]

Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.
      - Getting Married
         (preface, "Hearth and Home") [Home]

Woman reduces us all to the common denominator.
      - Great Catherine (sc. 1) [Women]

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