Beauty is a characteristic of a person, place, object or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology and culture. The subjective experience of beauty often involves the interpretation of some entity as being in harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being.
- Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act I, scene 4.
- Things are beautiful if you love them.
- Jean Anouilh, Mademoiselle Colombe (1950), Act 2, scene 2, trans. Louis Kronenberger.
- Beauty, real beauty, is something very grave. If there is a God, He must be partly that.
- Jean Anouilh, The Rehearsal (1950), Act 2, trans. Lucienne Hill.
- Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God.
- Jean Anouilh, Becket, (1959), Act 1.
- Beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that "good" means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the "beautiful" is something pleasant to apprehend.
- Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (1265–1274), Part I, Question 27, Article 1, Reply to Objection 3; tr. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1920, New York: Benziger Bros.).
- There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
- Francis Bacon, in Essays (1625), Of Beauty
- The beautiful are never desolate;
But some one alway loves them—God or man.
If man abandons, God himself takes them.
- Philip James Bailey, Festus (1813), scene Water and Wood Midnight, line 370.
- Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the infinite.
- George Bancroft, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 22.
- Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy. It is a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will to power, to possess, and to dominate others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.
- Benedict XVI, Meeting with artists of 21 November 2009
- Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious.
- Beauty. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.
- Glance at the sun.
See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of the earth's greenings.
- Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179), tr. Gabriele Uhlein, Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen (1983), p. 45.
- There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
- Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, Desultory Thoughts and Reflections (1839), p. 90.
- Beauty will be convulsive or not at all.
- André Breton "Nadja".
- Beauty, the eternal Spouse of the Wisdom of God
and Angel of his Presence thru' all creation,
fashioning her love-realm in the mind of man,
attempeth every mortal child with influences
of her divine supremacy.
- Robert Bridges, The Testament of Beauty (1929), Book IV, line 1.
- Verily by Beauty it is that we come at WISDOM,
yet not by Reason at Beauty.
- Robert Bridges, The Testament of Beauty (1929), Book IV, line 1305.
- I had hardly ever seen a handsome youth; never in my life spoken to one. I had a theoretical reverence and homage for beauty, elegance, gallantry, fascination; but had I met those qualities incarnate in masculine shape, I should have known instinctively that they neither had nor could have sympathy with anything in me, and should have shunned them as one would fire, lightning, or anything else that is bright but antipathetic.
- The beautiful seems right
By force of beauty, and the feeble wrong
Because of weakness.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh (1856), Book I.
- Observe that part of a beautiful woman where she is perhaps the most beautiful, about the neck and breasts; the smoothness; the softness; the easy and insensible swell; the variety of the surface, which is never for the smallest space the same; the deceitful maze, through which the unsteady eye slides giddily, without knowing where to fix, or whither it is carried. Is not this a demonstration of that change of surface continual and yet hardly perceptible at any point which forms one of the great constituents of beauty?
- Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757), Part III, Section XV.
- Beauty's of a fading nature—
Has a season and is gone!
- Robert Burns, Will Ye Go and Marry Katie? (1764).
- Thou who hast
The fatal gift of beauty.
- Her glossy hair was cluster'd o'er a brow
Bright with intelligence, and fair and smooth;
Her eyebrow's shape was like the aerial bow,
Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth,
Mounting, at times, to a transparent glow,
As if her veins ran lightning.
- A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded,
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.
- Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.
- Albert Camus, Notebooks.
- The reason for the unreason with which you treat reason, so weakens my reason that with reason I complain of your beauty.
- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605-1615), Part 1, Chapter 1.
- There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. Men do not quarrel about the meaning of sunsets; they never dispute that the hawthorn says the best and wittiest thing about the spring.
- G. K. Chesterton, The Defendant (1901), "A Defence of Heraldry".
- Her gentle limbs did she undress,
And lay down in her loveliness.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel (c. 1797-1801, published 1816), Part I, Stanza 24.
- There is in true beauty, as in courage, somewhat which narrow souls cannot dare to admire.
- William Congreve, The Old Bachelor (1693), Act III, Scene 4.
- She had gained a reputation for beauty, and (which is often another thing) was beautiful.
- Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit.
- God help you if you are an ugly girl because too pretty is also your doom: everyone harbours a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room.
- Ani DiFranco, "32 Flavors".
- It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty in one's equations, and if one has really a sound insight, one is on a sure line of progress.
- Beauty would save the world.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot (1868), Part 3, Chapter 5.
- Old as I am, for ladies' love unfit,
The power of beauty I remember yet,
Which once inflam'd my soul, and still inspires my wit.
- John Dryden, Cymon and Iphigenia (1700), line 1.
- When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind!
- John Dryden, Cymon and Iphigenia (1700), line 41.
- Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.
- Albert Einstein, in "My Credo", a speech to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin (Autumn 1932), as published in Einstein: A Life in Science (1994) by Michael White and John Gribbin, p. 262.
- Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, journal entry for 16 May 1834; Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson: 1820–1872, Vol. III (1910), p. 298.
- Beauty is the mark God sets upon virtue.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (1836), Chapter 3: "Beauty".
- If eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poems (1847), "The Rhodora".
- We fly to beauty as an asylum from the terrors of finite nature.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet.
- Beauty without expression tires.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life.
- Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life.
- I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It's difficult to describe because it's an emotion. It's analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the whole universe: there's a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run "behind the scenes" by the same organization, the same physical laws. It's an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is. It's a feeling of awe — of scientific awe — which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had this emotion. It could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe.
- There's nothing that allays an angry mind
So soon as a sweet beauty.
- John Fletcher, The Elder Brother (c. 1625; published 1637), Act III, scene 5.
- Beauty ought to look a little surprised: it is the emotion that best suits her face. [...] The beauty who does not look surprised, who accepts her position as her due—she reminds us to much of a prima donna.
- E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel (1927), Chapter 5.
- The pursuit of beauty is much more dangerous nonsense than the pursuit of truth or goodness, because it affords a greater temptation to the ego.
- Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (1957), "Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype".
- Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!
- Original: Облетев Землю в корабле-спутнике, я увидел, как прекрасна наша планета. Люди, будем хранить и приумножать эту красоту, а не разрушать её!
- Yuri Gagarin; Russian phrase, handwritten and signed after his historic spaceflight, photo of facsimile published in Syny goluboi planety 3rd.edition (1981) by L. Lebedev, A. Romanov, and B/ Luk'ianov; the first edition was translated into English as Sons of the Blue Planet (1973) by L. A. Lebedev
- There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That is precisely what makes its pursuit so interesting.
- John Kenneth Galbraith, quoted in New York Times Magazine, 9 October 1960.
- Il n'y a de vraiment beau que ce qui ne peut servir à rien; tout ce qui est utile est laid.
- There is nothing truly beautiful but that which can never be of any use whatsoever; everything useful is ugly.
- Théophile Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835; Paris: Charpentier, 1866).
- Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
- Khalil Gibran, The Prophet (1923).
- Handsome is that handsome does.
- There are few efforts more conducive to humility than that of the translator trying to communicate an incommunicable beauty. Yet, unless we do try, something unique and never surpassed will cease to exist, except in the libraries of a few inquisitive book lovers.
- Edith Hamilton, in Three Greek Plays (1937), Introduction
- There is certainly a religion which belongs to the physical form, and which should be regarded in degree as much as that which belongs to the soul. It is as much a duty for every man and woman to perfect fully their physical form as for them to continually search for immortality.
- Cora Hatch, “The Religion of Life,” Discourses on Religion, Morals, Philosophy and Metaphysics (1858)
- Care about the beings you care about in gorgeous and surprising ways. Color outside the lines. Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty. This is your last chance.
- If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We're all in this beauty together!
- Beauty draws more than oxen.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.
- David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, Literary (1748), Essay 23: "Of The Standard of Taste".
- Beauty, whether moral or natural, is felt, more properly than perceived. Or if we reason concerning it, and endeavor to fix its standard, we regard a new fact, to wit, the general tastes of mankind, or some such fact, which may be the object of reasoning and enquiry.
- Where beauty is worshiped for beauty's sake as a goddess, independent of and superior to morality and philosophy, the most horrible putrefaction is apt to set in. The lives of the aesthetes are the far from edifying commentary on the religion of beauty.
- Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies (1927), "The Substitutes for Religion".
- When you get to the point where you cheat for the sake of beauty, you're an artist.
- Max Jacob, Art poétique (1922).
- Eyes raised toward heaven are always beautiful, whatever they be.
- Joseph Joubert, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 22.
- Beauty is merciless. You do not look at it, it looks at you and does not forgive.
- Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco (1965).
- A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.
- Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
- John Keats, Poems (1820), "Ode on a Grecian Urn", last lines.
- I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want—an adorable pancreas?
- Jean Kerr, The Snake Has All the Lines (1958).
- Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it.
- W. Somerset Maugham, Cakes and Ale.
- Through light and joy is the world opened up, revealed for what it is: ineffable beauty, unending creation.
- Henry Miller, The Books In My Life (1952), Chapter 8: "The Days of My Life".
- The moment one give close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnified world in itself.
- Henry Miller, Plexus (Book Two of The Rosy Crucifixion) (1953).
- (often misquoted with "magnificent" for "magnified").
- Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current, and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss.
- Beauty is nature's brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship.
- Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces.
- She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods.
- ...for beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive. Cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abash'd.
- And ladies of the Hesperides, that seemed
Fairer than feign'd of old.
- Yet beauty, tho' injurious, hath strange power,
After offence returning, to regain
Love once possess'd.
- Beauty has wings, and too hastily flies,
And love, unrewarded, soon sickens and dies.
- Edward Moore, Song XII (c. 1750s), St. 3.
- Beauty is everlasting,
and dust is for a time.
- Marianne Moore, Collected Poems (1951), "In Distrust of Merits".
- Beauty is perceived rhythm. Wave-rhythm through which everything outside us is mediated.
Or: The beautiful is really everything one looks at with love. The more one loves the world, the more beautiful one will find it.
- Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour.
- Thomas Nashe, Summer's Last Will and Testament (1600), lines 1588–1589.
- Beauty is ever to the lonely mind
A shadow fleeting; she is never plain.
She is a visitor who leaves behind
The gift of grief, the souvenir of pain.
- Robert Nathan, "Beauty Is Ever to the Lonely Mind".
- Man believes that the world itself is filled with beauty—he forgets that it is he who has created it. He alone has bestowed beauty upon the world—alas! only a very human, an all too human, beauty.
- Friedrich Nietzsche,Twilight of the Idols (1888), "Expeditions of an Untimely Man", 19.
- Aut formosa fores minus, aut minus improba, vellem.
Non facit ad mores tam bona forma malos.
- I would that you were either less beautiful, or less corrupt. Such perfect beauty does not suit such imperfect morals.
- Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), Book III, 11, 41.
- The flowers anew returning seasons bring!
But beauty faded has no second spring.
- Ambrose Philips, The First Pastoral' (1709).
- But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty—the divine beauty, I mean, pure and clear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life—thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine?
- Plato, Symposium.
- Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare,
And beauty draws us with a single hair.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1717), Canto II, line 27.
- Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712), Canto V, line 33.
- Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies (1922), First Elegy (1912); tr. Stephen Mitchell.
- Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies, for instance.
- John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice.
- Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
- I do not understand where the 'beauty' and 'harmony' of nature are supposed to be found. Throughout the animal kingdom, animals ruthlessly prey upon each other. Most of them are either cruelly killed by other animals or slowly die of hunger. For my part, I am unable to see any very great beauty or harmony in the tapeworm. Let it not be said that this creature is sent as a punishment for our sins, for it is more prevalent among animals than among humans.I suppose what is meant by this 'beauty' and 'harmony' are such things as the beauty of the starry heavens. But one should remember that the stars every now and again explode and reduce everything in their neighborhood to a vague mist. Beauty, in any case, is subjective and exists only in the eye of the beholder.
- Bertrand Russell, "What is an Agnostic" (in Leo Rosten's Religions of America).
- Some say a host of cavalry, some an army on foot,
and some a fleet of ships, is the most beautiful thing
on this dark earth, but I say it is whatever
one passionately desires.
- Beauty endures only for as long as it can be seen;
Goodness, beautiful today, will remain so tomorrow.
- Sappho (c. 600 B.C.). Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, ed. Edgar Lobel and Denys Page. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955, no. 148.
- Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
The eyes of men without orator.
- William Shakespeare,The Rape of Lucrece (1594) (prior).
- For her own person,
It beggar'd all description.
- Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.
- Heaven bless thee!
Thou hast the sweetest face I ever looked on;
Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel.
- Of Nature's gifts thou may'st with lilies boast
And with the half-blown rose.
- Beauty is brought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues.
- Beauty doth varnish age.
- Beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
- Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good;
A shining gloss, that fadeth suddenly;
A flower that dies, when first it 'gins to bud;
A brittle glass, that's broken presently:
A doubtful good, a gloss, a glass, a flower,
Lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour.
- William Shakespeare, The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), st. 13 (numbering varies). There is some doubt about the authorship.
- I'll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.
- O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night,
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear:
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
- Her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
- Say that she frown; I'll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash'd with dew.
- 'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
- There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with't.
- Her face so faire, as flesh it seemed not,
But heavenly pourtraict of bright angels' hew,
Cleare as the skye withouten blame or blot,
Through goodly mixture of complexion's dew.
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Canto III, Stanza 22.
- The saying that beauty is but skin deep, is but a skin-deep saying.
- Herbert Spencer, Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative (1891), Vol. 2, Chapter XIV, "Personal Beauty".
- Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.
- Stendhal, On Love.
- Beauty more than bitterness, makes the heart break
- Sara Teasdale, Love Songs (1917), "Song at Capri".
Seek for Beauty, she only
Fights with man against Death!
- Sara Teasdale, Flame and Shadow (1920), "The Voice"..
- Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self.
- James Thomson, The Seasons, Autumn (1730), line 209.
- It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.
- Leo Tolstoy,The Kreutzer Sonata (1889).
- All the beauty of the world, 'tis but skin deep.
- Ralph Venning, Orthodoxe Paradoxes (Third Edition, 1650), The Triumph of Assurance, p. 41.
- Gratior ac pulchro veniens in corpore virtus.
- Nimium ne crede colori.
- Trust not too much to beauty.
- Virgil, Eclogæ (c. 42-38 BC), II. 17.
- It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.
- Voltaire,"Dictionnaire philosophique portatif" (1764), "Taste", §1.
- Ask a toad what is beauty....; he will answer that it is a female with two great round eyes coming out of her little head, a large flat head, a yellow belly and a brown back.
- Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary.
- I pray the prayer of Plato old:
God make thee beautiful within.
- John Greenleaf Whittier, "My Namesake".
- The gospel allies itself with all that is beautiful in the universe, as truly as with all that is noble and pure.
- Samuel Wolcott, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 22.
- Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.
- Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Chapter 3.
- What's female beauty, but an air divine,
Through which the mind's all-gentle graces shine!
They, like the Sun, irradiate all between;
The body charms, because the soul is seen.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire VI, line 151.
- Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you wanna die.
- Frank Zappa, You Are What You Is, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (1981).
- I have an important message to deliver to all the cute people all over the world. If you're out there and you're cute, maybe you're beautiful, I just want to tell you somethin'— there's more of us ugly mother-fuckers than you are, hey-y, so watch out.
- Frank Zappa, "Dance Contest", as quoted in Kelly Fisher Lowe, The Words and Music of Frank Zappa (2007), p. 164.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 57-63.
- What is lovely never dies,
But passes into other loveliness,
Star-dust, or sea-foam, flower or winged air.
- Thomas Bailey Aldrich, A Shadow of the Night.
- I must not say that she was true,
Yet let me say that she was fair;
And they, that lovely face who view,
They should not ask if truth be there.
- Matthew Arnold, Euphrosyne.
- Ye Gods! but she is wondrous fair!
For me her constant flame appears;
The garland she hath culled, I wear
On brows bald since my thirty years.
Ye veils that deck my loved one rare,
Fall, for the crowning triumph's nigh.
Ye Gods! but she is wondrous fair!
And I, so plain a man am I!
- Pierre-Jean de Béranger, Qu'elle est jolie. Translated by C. L. Betts.
- The essence of all beauty, I call love,
The attribute, the evidence, and end,
The consummation to the inward sense
Of beauty apprehended from without,
I still call love.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sword Glare.
- And behold there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful.
- John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Part I.
- Who doth not feel, until his failing sight
Faints into dimness with its own delight,
His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess,
The might—the majesty of Loveliness?
- Lord Byron, Bride of Abydos (1813), Canto I, Stanza 6.
- The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the Music breathing from her face,
The heart whose softness harmonized the whole,
And, oh! the eye was in itself a Soul!
- Lord Byron, Bride of Abydos (1813), Canto I, Stanza 6.
- She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless chimes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
- Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty.
- No todas hermosuras enamoran, que algunas alegran la vista, y no rinden la voluntad.
- Exceeding fair she was not; and yet fair
In that she never studied to be fairer
Than Nature made her; beauty cost her nothing,
Her virtues were so rare.
- George Chapman, All Fools, Act I, scene 1.
- I pour into the world the eternal streams
Wan prophets tent beside, and dream their dreams.
- John Vance Cheney, Beauty.
- She is not fair to outward view
As many maidens be;
Her loveliness I never knew
Until she smiled on me:
Oh! then I saw her eye was bright,
A well of love, a spring of light.
- Hartley Coleridge, Song.
- Beauty is the lover's gift.
- William Congreve, The Way of the World, Act II, scene 2.
- The ladies of St. James's!
They're painted to the eyes;
Their white it stays for ever,
Their red it never dies;
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
Her colour comes and goes;
It trembles to a lily,—
It wavers to a rose.
- Austin Dobson, At the Sign of the Lyre.
- She, though in full-blown flower of glorious beauty,
Grows cold, even in the summer of her age.
- John Dryden, Œdipus, Act IV, scene 1.
- Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the marsh and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Rhodora.
- The beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay, On the Poet.
- Who gave thee, O Beauty,
The keys of this breast,—
Too credulous lover
Of blest and unblest?
Say, when in lapsed ages
Thee knew I of old?
Or what was the service
For which I was sold?
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ode to Beauty, Stanza 1.
- Each ornament about her seemly lies,
By curious chance, or careless art composed.
- Edward Fairfax, Godfrey of Bullogne.
- Any color, so long as it's red,
Is the color that suits me best,
Though I will allow there is much to be said
For yellow and green and the rest.
- Eugene Field, Red.
- In beauty, faults conspicuous grow;
The smallest speck is seen on snow.
- John Gay, Fable, The Peacock, Turkey and Goose, line 1.
- Schön war ich auch, und das war mein Verderben.
- I too was fair, and that was my undoing.
- 'Tis impious pleasure to delight in harm.
And beauty should be kind, as well as charm.
- George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne, To Myra, line 21.
- The dimple that thy chin contains has beauty in its round,
That never has been fathomed yet by myriad thoughts profound.
- Hafiz, Odes, CXLIII.
- There's beauty all around our paths, if but our watchful eyes
Can trace it 'midst familiar things, and through their lowly guise.
- Felicia Hemans, Our Daily Paths.
- Many a temptation comes to us in fine, gay colours that are but skin deep.
- Matthew Henry, Commentaries, Genesis, Chapter III.
- Beauty is the index of a larger fact than wisdom.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1859), II.
- A heaven of charms divine Nausicaa lay.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book VI, line 22. Pope's translation.
- O matre pulchra filia pulchrior.
O daughter, more beautiful than thy lovely mother.
- Horace, Carmina, I. 16. 1.
- Nihil est ab omni
- Nothing is beautiful from every point of view.
- Horace, Carmina, II. 16. 27.
- Sith Nature thus gave her the praise,
To be the chiefest work she wrought,
In faith, methink, some better ways
On your behalf might well be sought,
Than to compare, as ye have done,
To match the candle with the sun.
- Henry Howard, Sonnet to the Fair Geraldine. "Hold their farthing candles to the sun".
- Tell me, shepherds, have you seen
My Flora pass this way?
In shape and feature Beauty's queen,
In pastoral array.
- The Wreath, from The Lyre, Volume III, p. 27. (Ed. 1824). First lines also in a song by Dr. Samuel Howard.
- A queen, devoid of beauty is not queen;
She needs the royalty of beauty's mien.
- Victor Hugo, Eviradnus, V.
- Rara est adeo concordia formæ
- Rare is the union of beauty and purity.
- Juvenal, Satires, X. 297.
- A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
- John Keats, Endymion (1818), Book I, line 1.
- L'air spirituel est dans les hommes ce que la régularité des traits est dans les femmes: c'est le genre de beauté où les plus vains puissent aspirer.
- A look of intelligence in men is what regularity of features is in women: it is a style of beauty to which the most vain may aspire.
- Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères, XII.
- 'Tis beauty calls, and glory shows the way.
- Nathaniel Lee, Alexander the Great; or, The Rival Queens, Act IV, scene 2. ("Leads the way" in stage ed.).
- Beautiful in form and feature,
Lovely as the day,
Can there be so fair a creature
Formed of common clay?
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Masque of Pandora, The Workshop of Hephæstus, Chorus of the Graces.
- Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Wreck of the Hesperus, Stanza 2.
- Oh, could you view the melodie
Of ev'ry grace,
And musick of her face,
You'd drop a teare,
Seeing more harmonie
In her bright eye,
Then now you heare.
- Richard Lovelace, Orpheus to Beasts.
- You are beautiful and faded
Like an old opera tune
Played upon a harpsichord.
- Amy Lowell, A Lady.
- Where none admire, 'tis useless to excel;
Where none are beaux, 'tis vain to be a belle.
- George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton, Soliloquy of a Beauty in the Country, line 11.
- Beauty, like wit, to judges should be shown;
Both most are valued where they best are known.
- George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton, Soliloquy of a Beauty in the Country, line 13.
- Beauty and sadness always go together.
Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth
Upon the earth without a meet alloy.
- George MacDonald, Within and Without, Part IV, scene 3.
- O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.
- Christopher Marlowe, Faustus.
- 'Tis evanescence that endures;
The loveliness that dies the soonest has the longest life.
The rainbow is a momentary thing,
The afterglows are ashes while we gaze.
- Don Marquis, The Paradox.
- Too fair to worship, too divine to love.
- Henry Hart Milman, Belvidere Apollo.
- The maid who modestly conceals
Her beauties, while she hides, reveals:
Gives but a glimpse, and fancy draws
Whate'er the Grecian Venus was.
- Edward Moore, Spider and the Bee, Fable
- Not more the rose, the queen of flowers,
Outblushes all the bloom of bower,
Than she unrivall'd grace discloses;
The sweetest rose, where all are roses.
- Thomas Moore, Odes of Anacreon, Ode LXVI.
- To weave a garland for the rose,
And think thus crown'd 'twould lovelier be,
Were far less vain than to suppose
That silks and gems add grace to thee.
- Thomas Moore, Songs from the Greek Anthology, To Weave a Garland.
- Die when you will, you need not wear
At heaven's Court a form more fair
Than Beauty here on Earth has given:
Keep but the lovely looks we see
The voice we hear, and you will be
An angel ready-made for heaven.
- Thomas Moore, Versification of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Life, p. 36.
- An' fair was her sweet bodie,
Yet fairer was her mind:—
Menie's the queen among the flowers,
The wale o' womankind.
- Robert Nicoll, Menie.
- Altho' your frailer part must yield to Fate,
By every breach in that fair lodging made,
Its blest inhabitant is more displayed.
- John Oldham, To Madam L. E. on her Recovery, 106.
- And should you visit now the seats of bliss,
You need not wear another form but this.
- John Oldham, To Madam L. E. on her Recovery, 116.
- Hast thou left thy blue course in heaven, golden-haired son of the sky! The west has opened its gates; the bed of thy repose is there. The waves come, to behold thy beauty. They lift their trembling heads. They see thee lovely in thy sleep; they shrink away with fear. Rest, in thy shadowy cave, O sun! let thy return be in joy.
- Ossian, Carric-Thura, Stanza 1.
- And all the carnal beauty of my wife
Is but skin-deep.
- Sir Thomas Overbury, A Wife. "Beauty is but skin deep" is found in The Female Rebellion, written about 1682.
- Auxilium non leve vultus habet.
- A pleasing countenance is no slight advantage.
- Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, II, 8, 54.
- Raram facit misturam cum sapientia forma.
- Beauty and wisdom are rarely conjoined.
- Petronius Arbiter, Satyricon, XCIV.
- O quanta species cerebrum non habet!
- O that such beauty should be so devoid of understanding!
- Phaedrus, Fables, I, 7, 2.
- Nimia est miseria nimis pulchrum esse hominem.
- It is a great plague to be too handsome a man.
- Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, I, 1, 68.
- When the candles are out all women are fair.
- Plutarch, Conjugal Precepts.
- 'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all.
- Alexander Pope, Essay, On Criticism, Part II, line 45.
- No longer shall the bodice aptly lac'd
From thy full bosom to thy slender waist,
That air and harmony of shape express,
Fine by degrees, and beautifully less.
- Matthew Prior, Henry and Emma, line 429.
- For, when with beauty we can virtue join,
We paint the semblance of a form divine.
- Matthew Prior, To the Countess of Oxford.
- Nimis in veritate, et similitudinis quam pulchritudinis amantior.
- Too exact, and studious of similitude rather than of beauty.
- Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria, XII, 10, 9.
- Fair are the flowers and the children, but their subtle suggestion is fairer;
Rare is the roseburst of dawn, but the secret that clasps it is rarer;
Sweet the exultance of song, but the strain that precedes it is sweeter
And never was poem yet writ, but the meaning outmastered the meter.
- Richard Realf, Indirection.
- Is she not more than painting can express,
Or youthful poets fancy, when they love?
- Nicholas Rowe, The Fair Penitent (1703), Act III, scene 1.
- Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for instance.
- The saying that beauty is but skin deep is but a skin deep saying.
- John Ruskin, Personal Beauty.
- The beauty that addresses itself to the eyes is only the spell of the moment; the eye of the body is not always that of the soul.
- George Sand, Handsome Lawrence, Chapter I.
- All things of beauty are not theirs alone
Who hold the fee; but unto him no less
Who can enjoy, than unto them who own,
Are sweetest uses given to possess.
- John Godfrey Saxe, The Beautiful.
- Damals war nichts heilig, als das Schöne.
- In days of yore [in ancient Greece] nothing was sacred but the beautiful.
- Friedrich Schiller, Die Götter Griechenlands, Stanza 6.
- Die Wahrheit ist vorhanden für den Weisen.
Die Schönheit für ein fühlend Herz.
- Truth exists for the wise, beauty for the feeling heart.
- Friedrich Schiller, Don Carlos, IV. 21. 186.
- Das ist das Loos des Schönen auf der Erde!
- That is the lot of the beautiful on earth.
- Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Tod, IV. 12. 26.
- And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face!
- Walter Scott, Lady of the Lake (1810), Canto I, Stanza 18.
- There was a soft and pensive grace,
A cast of thought upon her face,
That suited well the forehead high,
The eyelash dark, and downcast eve.
- Walter Scott, Rokeby, Canto IV, Stanza 5.
- Spirit of Beauty, whose sweet impulses,
Flung like the rose of dawn across the sea,
Alone can flush the exalted consciousness
With shafts of sensible divinity—
Light of the world, essential loveliness.
- Alan Seeger, Ode to Natural Beauty, Stanza 2.
- Why thus longing, thus forever sighing
For the far-off, unattain'd, and dim,
While the beautiful all round thee lying
Offers up its low, perpetual hymn?
- Harriet Winslow Sewall, Why Thus Longing.
- Beauty comes, we scarce know how, as an emanation from sources deeper than itself.
- John Campbell Shairp, Studies in Poetry and Philosophy, Moral Motive Power.
- O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet LIV.
- A lovely lady, garmented in light
From her own beauty.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Witch of Atlas, Stanza 5.
- She died in beauty—like a rose blown from its parent stem.
- Charles Doyne Sillery, She Died in Beauty.
- O beloved Pan, and all ye other gods of this place, grant me to become beautiful in the inner man.
- For all that faire is, is by nature good;
That is a signe to know the gentle blood.
- Edmund Spenser, An Hymne in Honour of Beauty, line 139.
- They seemed to whisper: "How handsome she is!
What wavy tresses! what sweet perfume!
Under her mantle she hides her wings;
Her flower of a bonnet is just in bloom."
- Edmund Clarence Stedman, translation of Jean Prouvaire's Song at the Barricade.
- She wears a rose in her hair,
At the twilight's dreamy close:
Her face is fair,—how fair
Under the rose!
- Richard Henry Stoddard, Under the Rose.
- Fortuna facies muta commendatio est.
A pleasing countenance is a silent commendation.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,
And most divinely fair.
- Alfred Tennyson, Dream of Fair Women, Stanza 22.
- How should I gauge what beauty is her dole,
Who cannot see her countenance for her soul,
As birds see not the casement for the sky?
And as 'tis check they prove its presence by,
I know not of her body till I find
My flight debarred the heaven of her mind.
- Francis Thompson, Her Portrait, Stanza 9.
- Whose body other ladies well might bear
As soul,—yea, which it profanation were
For all but you to take as fleshy woof,
Being spirit truest proof.
- Francis Thompson, "Manus Animam Pinxit", St. 3.
- Whose form is as a grove
Hushed with the cooing of an unseen dove.
- Francis Thompson, "Manus Animam Pinxit", St. 3.
- And as pale sickness does invade
Your frailer part, the breaches made
In that fair lodging still more clear
Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.
- Edmund Waller, A la Malade.
- The yielding marble of her snowy breast.
- Edmund Waller, On a Lady Passing through a Crowd of People.
- Beauty is its own excuse.
- John Greenleaf Whittier, Dedication to Songs of Labor (copied from Emerson).
- Elysian beauty, melancholy grace,
Brought from a pensive, though a happy place.
- William Wordsworth, Laodamia.
- Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair,
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair,
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn.
- William Wordsworth, She was a Phantom of Delight.
- Alas! how little can a moment show
Of an eye where feeling plays
In ten thousand dewy rays;
A face o'er which a thousand shadows go!
- William Wordsworth, Triad.
- And beauty born of murmuring sound.
- William Wordsworth, Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower.
- True beauty dwells in deep retreats,
Whose veil is unremoved
Till heart with heart in concord beats,
And the lover is beloved.
- William Wordsworth, To———, Let Other Bards of Angels Sing.