Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.
The artist, like the God of creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.
Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.
I confess that I do not see what good it does to fulminate against the English tyranny while the Roman tyranny occupies the palace of the soul.
There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.
When the Irishman is found outside of Ireland in another environment, he very often becomes a respected man. The economic and intellectual conditions that prevail in his own country do not permit the development of individuality. No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.
All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light, but though I seem to be driven out of my country as a misbeliever I have found no man yet with a faith like mine.
Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse.
Saying that a great genius is mad, while at the same time recognizing his artistic worth, is like saying that he had rheumatism or suffered from diabetes. Madness, in fact, is a medical term that can claim no more notice from the objective critic than he grants the charge of heresy raised by the theologian, or the charge of immorality raised by the police.
While you have a thing it can be taken from you . . . but when you give it, you have given it. No robber can take it from you. It is yours then for ever when you have given it. It will be yours always. That is to give.
You forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence: and the kingdom of heaven is like a woman.
Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.
Love (understood as the desire of good for another) is in fact so unnatural a phenomenon that it can scarcely repeat itself, the soul being unable to become virgin again and not having energy enough to cast itself out again into the ocean of another's soul.
Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.
I think a child should be allowed to take his father's or mother's name at will on coming of age. Paternity is a legal fiction.
I shall write a book some day about the appropriateness of names. Geoffrey Chaucer has a ribald ring, as is proper and correct, and Alexander Pope was inevitably Alexander Pope. Colley Cibber was a silly little man without much elegance and Shelley was very Percy and very Bysshe.
A nation is the same people living in the same place.
Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America.
Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality.
The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea.
I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use--silence, exile and cunning.
No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.
Memorable Quotations: Irish Writers
Memorable Quotations: Irish Writers of the Past
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Memorable Quotations: Irish Playwrights
Memorable Quotations from Irish Playwrights