Maurice Baring

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Maurice Baring (27 April 187414 December 1945) was a versatile English man of letters, known as a dramatist, poet, novelist, translator and essayist, and also as a travel writer and war correspondent.


  • In Mozart and Salieri we see the contrast between the genius which does what it must and the talent which does what it can.
    • An Outline of Russian Literature (London: Williams and Norgate, 1914/15), Ch. II: "The New Age—Pushkin", p. 81.
    • Baring applies a "contrast" first made by Robert Bulwer-Lytton in Chronicles and Characters (London: Chapman and Hall, 1868), Vol. II, p. 302: "Genius does what it must, and Talent does what it can."
  • Lord Saint-Edith said he couldn't understand people thinking Bacon had written Shakespeare's plays. If they said Shakespeare had written the works of Bacon as a pastime he could understand it.
    • Passing By (London: Martin Secker, 1921), "From the Diary of Godfrey Mellor", March 17, 1908; p. 34.
  • [T]here is a vast difference between games and play. Play is played for fun, but games are deadly serious, and you do not play them to enjoy yourself.
    • The Puppet Show of Memory (London: William Heinemann, 1922), Ch. V: "School", p. 70.
  • Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.
    • The Coat Without Seam (1929), Ch. VIII.
  • A good play is a play which, when acted upon the boards, makes an audience interested and pleased. A play that fails in this is a bad play.
    • Have You Anything to Declare? (London: William Heinemann, 1936), p. 285.
  • If you would know what the Lord God thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom He gives it.
    • As quoted by Dorothy Parker in Marion Capron, "An Interview with Dorothy Parker", The Paris Review, Issue 13 (Summer 1956).

Orpheus in Mayfair (1909)[edit]

Orpheus in Mayfair and Other Stories and Sketches (London: Mills & Boon, Limited, 1909)
  • I wish I was dead,
    And lay deep in the grave.
    I've a pain in my head,
    I wish I was dead.
    In a coffin of lead—
    With the Wise and the Brave—
    I wish I was dead,
    And lay deep in the grave.
    • "Jean François", p. 39.
  • Thank God I'm alive
    In the light of the Sun!
    It's a quarter to five;
    Thank God I'm alive!
    Now the hum of the hive
    Of the world has begun,
    Thank God I'm alive
    In the light of the Sun!
    • "Jean François", p. 39.
  • Here's the lily, here the rose
    Her full chalice shall disclose;
    Here's narcissus wet with dew,
    Windflower and the violet blue.
    Wear the garland I have made;
    Crowned with it, put pride away;
    For the wreath that blooms must fade;
    Thou thyself must fade some day,
    • "The Garland", p. 113.

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