If history (and medical science) had been different, Oscar Wilde would be celebrating reaching the grand old age of 158 today.

Instead the great playwright, poet and author perished at the tragically young age of 46 -but not before leaving a legacy behind of some of the best-loved witticisms and wisdom in the English language.

To mark the anniversary of his birth, we've compiled our list of the greatest ever Oscar Wilde quotes.

Everyone's got a favourite, but have you heard them all?

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  • "Ambition is the last refuge of the failure."

  • "What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us."

  • "The only thing that can console one for being poor is extravagance. The only thing that can console one for being rich is economy."

  • Oscar_Wilde_portrait

    "The English are always degrading truths into facts. When a truth becomes a fact it loses all its intellectual value."

  • "The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything."

  • "Time is a waste of money."