*Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.
*Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
*Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience.
*Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
*Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
*Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.
*I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
*I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
Always for the first time
Hardly do I know you by sight
You return at some hour of the night to a house at an angle to my window
A wholly imaginary house
It is there that from one second to the next
In the inviolate darkness
I anticipate once more the fascinating rift occuring
The one and only rift
In the facade and in my heart
The closer I come to you
The more the key sings at the door of the unknown room
Where you appear alone before me
At first you coalesce entierly with the brightness
The elusive angle of a curtain
It’s a field of jasmine I gazed upon at dawn on a road in the vicinity of Grasse
With the diagonal slant of its girls picking
Behind them the dark falling wing of the plants stripped bare
Before them a T-square of dazzling light
The curtain invisibly raised
In a frenzy all the flowers swarm back in
It is you at grips with that too long hour never dim enough until sleep
You as though you could be
The same except that I shall perhaps never meet you
You pretend not to know I am watching you
Marvelously I am no longer sure you know
You idleness brings tears to my eyes
A swarm of interpretations surrounds each of your gestures
It’s a honeydew hunt
There are rocking chairs on a deck there are branches that may well scratch you in the forest
There are in a shop window in the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
Two lovely crossed legs caught in long stockings
Flaring out in the center of a great white clover
There is a silken ladder rolled out over the ivy
By my leaning over the precipice
Of your presence and your absense in hopeless fusion
My finding the secret
Of loving you
Always for the first time
- E caught the tread of dancing feet,
- We loitered down the moonlit street,
- And stopped beneath the harlot’s house.
- Inside, above the din and fray,
- We heard the loud musicians play
- The “Treues Liebes Herz” of Strauss.
- Like strange mechanical grotesques,
- Making fantastic arabesques,
- The shadows raced across the blind.
- We watched the ghostly dancers spin
- To sound of horn and violin,
- Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.
- Like wire-pulled automatons,
- Slim silhouetted skeletons
- Went sidling through the slow quadrille.
- The took each other by the hand,
- And danced a stately saraband;
- Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.
- Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
- A phantom lover to her breast,
- Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.
- Sometimes a horrible marionette
- Came out, and smoked its cigarette
- Upon the steps like a live thing.
- Then, turning to my love, I said,
- “The dead are dancing with the dead,
- The dust is whirling with the dust.”
- But she–she heard the violin,
- And left my side, and entered in:
- Love passed into the house of lust.
- Then suddenly the tune went false,
- The dancers wearied of the waltz,
- The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.
- And down the long and silent street,
- The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,
- Crept like a frightened girl.
- by: Oscar Wilde
‘The Harlot’s House’ was originally published in The Dramatic Review (April, 1885).