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Quotations about Beauty

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BEAUTY.—A sun which dwells in the souls of all... ~"A Chapter of Definitions," Daily Crescent, 1848 June 23rd

No churlish moralist ever uttered a falser maxim than that "Beauty is but skin deep." Why Beauty is so deep that nobody has ever got to the bottom of it. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

Beauty is a nectar which intoxicates the soul. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

Beauty is ordained by nature to excite love... ~Vicesimus Knox (1752–1821), Winter Evenings, "Evening LXXIV: Of an Excessive Attachment to the World"

Beauty! what can be said of it? what is it? I look around, to see some object specially beautiful, on which to expend my panegyrics. There is the deep fathomless azure above me; there is the sea, the wild, open, careering ocean; there is that bright clear eye which ever lights my solitude; there is a fair girl, a beautiful boy; there are the stars looking down from heaven; there is beauty in the human countenance, beauty in looks, beauty in thoughts, beauty in actions. What shall I say! I am bewildered; beauty overwhelms me. I am dumb, who would emulate the oratory of an archangel. I am lost in the magnitude of my theme... ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

What is really beautiful needs no adorning. We do not grind down the pearl upon a polishing stone. ~Sataka, quoted in Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech, 1886

At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can. The world will always be there — while you sleep it will be there — when you wake it will be there as well. So you can sleep and there is reason to wake. A dead hydrangea is as intricate and lovely as one in bloom. Bleak sky is as seductive as sunshine, miniature orange trees without blossom or fruit are not defective; they are that. ~Toni Morrison, Tar Baby, 1981

Beauty unites all things, links together flower and star, with chains more certain than those of reason. The poet, the artist, thus finds the clue which guides them in their pilgrimage throughout the world. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850

Madame, beauty is always queen, and the whole world her empire. ~Joseph II, to Jeanne Bécu, Countess du Barry, at Versailles  ["La beauté est toujours reine." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The criterion of true beauty is that it increases on examination; of false, that it lessens. ~Fulke Greville (1554–1628)

Beauty is man's voucher of immorality. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks — the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. — Nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. ~John Muir, The Yosemite

[B]eauty is given to remind us that the soul should be kept as fair and perfect in its proportions as the temple in which it dwells. ~Lydia Maria Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836

Beauty, its perception, its feeling, to bathe and revel in beauty, is the most complete human delight of which man is capable; and though some have been marred in this pure faculty of enjoyment, by rough contact with a host of unhandsome beings and circumstances, yet sometimes a ray of beauty will pierce to their benighted heart, and send a thrill of joy through their whole being. The man will sometimes catch a faint glimpse of that divinity, and then again be lost in the vortex of utilitarianism. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked. ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal," 1947

But Beauty is a beam from Heaven,
That dazzles blind our reason.
~Thomas Campbell, "Senex's Soliloquy on His Youthful Idol," 1835

In the Phædrus of Plato, we find this petition in the mouth of Socrates: "O gracious Pan! and ye other gods who preside over this place! grant that I may be beautiful within; and that those external things, which I have, may be such as may best agree with a right internal disposition of mind; and that I may account him to be rich, who is wise and just." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Prayers," in The Dial, July 1842  [Quoted Socrates by J.K. Hoyt and Anna L. Ward, 1881, as: "I pray thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Man, she looked as if she'd just been thrown off the crummiest freight train in the world. Yet in spite of this I got the impression of beauty, not the beauty of a movie actress, mind you, or the beauty you dream about when you're with your wife, but a natural beauty, a beauty that's almost homely because it's so real. ~Martin Goldsmith & Martin Mooney, Detour, 1945, spoken by the character Al Roberts

Beauty is but a flower,
Which wrinkles will devour...
~Thomas Nashe (c.1564–c.1601), Summer's Last Will and Testament, c.1592

Beauty and health are the chief sources of happiness. ~The Earl of Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli, 1804–1881), Lothair

      No beauty is lost. You get to see the real face of it after the blossoms have fallen off the tree. That's why I would rather see the face of a beautiful woman than a pretty girl.
      Girls aren't beautiful, they're pretty. Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know, they have lost something and picked up something else.
      ~Henry Rollins, Smile, You're Traveling (Black Coffee Blues Part 3), 2000

She was just sixteen, and not yet beautiful. She was too young for beauty. Her form was not developed; she would probably gain two or three inches in height; and her face, though exquisitely modelled, wanted the refining which comes either from a multitude of complex emotions or is given at once by some great heart-sorrow. ~Amelia E. Huddleston Barr, A Rose of a Hundred Leaves: A Love Story, 1891

If you feel beautiful, then you are. Even if you don't, you still are. ~Terri Guillemets

Beauty is the true meaning of poetry. But after all nothing is said; and a thinker, a sensitive mind, will extract more from the simple word itself than can be embodied in a hundred varnished phrases. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

Sad! True, I spoke of lovely, beauteous things;
Beauty and sadness always go together.
Nature thought Beauty too rich to go forth
Upon the Earth without a meet alloy.
If Beauty had been meant to wed with gladness,
Poets had never needed this dream-life;
Each blessed man had but to look beside him,
And be more blest. How easily could God
Have made our life one consciousness of joy!
It is denied us...
~George MacDonald, Within and Without: A Dramatic Poem, 1855  [Lord Seaford —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We try to achieve beauty by covering up all traces of age and end up looking like we tried to achieve youth by covering up all traces of beauty. ~Robert Brault,

Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. ~Edgar A. Poe, "The Philosophy of Composition," Graham's Magazine, April 1846

The misconception with a lot of girls is that it takes two to three hours to be beautiful. I always tell girls allow yourself 30 minutes so that you can really enjoy the process, so that you can get to know you in the morning before the world gets to know you. ~Tracy Balan, Girlfriend Intervention, "Sam, Trapped in Teen Fantasy World" (season 1, episode 3), original airdate 2014 September 10th

It is beauty that begins to please, and tenderness that completes the charm. ~Bernard Le Bovier, sieur de Fontenelle (1657–1757), quoted in A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness, collected and translated by J. De Finod, 1180

Beauty is strangely various. There is the beauty of light and joy and strength exulting; but there is also the beauty of shade, of sorrow and sadness, and of humility oppressed. ~Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)

It is a rare woman who can overcome her desire to remain pretty and allow herself to become beautiful. ~Robert Brault,

Am I afraid to be beautiful? Afraid to claim grace as my own?
I will take away the look of ashes, and restore the look of dawn.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XVI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

You never look at anything beautiful and holy, or think a pure and noble thought, without being ever after a larger soul. ~Frederick Lynch

Some moments are so beautiful that time stands still. ~Keith Wynn, @optimistic_existentialist, Instagram post, 2019

Glamour is a shooting star, it catches your eye, but fades away, beauty is the sun always brilliant day after day. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful. Beauty is God's hand-writing—a way-side sacrament; welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower, and thank for it Him, the fountain of all loveliness, and drink it in, simply and earnestly, with all your eyes; it is a charmed draught, a cup of blessing. ~Parson Lot (Charles Kingsley), "The National Gallery.—No. I." in Politics for the People, 1848 May 6th

Beauty intoxicates the eyes, as wine does the body; both are morally fatal if indulged. ~John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887), quoted in Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech, 1886

Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. ~Dr. SunWolf,

Multitudes of people are beauty-blind to the outdoor pictures. I doubt if one in a hundred begins to take in the beauty visible on even a short walk in city or country. ~Delia Lyman Porter, "The Beauty-Blind," An Anti-Worry Recipe and Other Stories, 1905

      For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?"
      I remember a summer night when such a thought came to me strongly. It was a clear night without a moon. With a friend, I went out on a flat headland that is almost a tiny island, being all but surrounded by the waters of the bay. There the horizons are remote and distant rims on the edge of space. We lay and looked up at the sky and the millions of stars that blazed in darkness.... I have never seen them more beautiful: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. Once or twice a meteor burned its way into the earth's atmosphere.
      It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century or even once in a human generation, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be seen many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night perhaps they will never see it. ~Rachel Carson, "Help Your Child to Wonder," November 1956

I bring you beauty whose only use is beauty —
You cannot ride it, you cannot hitch it to your cart like mares.
It soars and sings — you cannot harvest it for your garner, nor sell it in the mart —
There is no market quotation on gossamer wings and ecstasy.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Much in a Basket: V," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Beauty is a delightful prejudice. ~Theocritus, quoted in Edward Parsons Day, Day's Collacon, 1884

No spring nor summer's beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face....
~John Donne, "Elegy IX: The Autumnal"

Beauty is the soul striving to make itself visible. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

What delights us in visible beauty is the invisible. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

The eternal war — nature's attempt to make every woman beautiful, society's insistence that she remain young and pretty. ~Robert Brault,  [Makes me think of Annie Lennox's 1992 cover of Dubin & Warren's 1933 "Keep Young and Beautiful." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I have erred so unremittingly in my fallacious conception of utility. I will look upon the rose gardens whose use is beauty.... I knew that I must plant my fields to save my body, but did I not know that I must plant my rose gardens to save my soul? ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Inner beauty, too, needs occasionally to be told it is beautiful. ~Robert Brault,

A glance, that, into the deepest deep of Beauty. 'The lilies of the field,'—dressed finer than earthly princes, springing-up there in the humble furrow-field; a beautiful eye looking-out on you, from the great inner Sea of Beauty! How could the rude Earth make these if her Essence, rugged as she looks and is, were not inwardly Beauty? ~Thomas Carlyle, "The Hero as Poet," lecture, 1840

...[K]now that however ugly the parts appear the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand
Is an ugly thing, and man dissevered from the earth and stars and his history... for contemplation or in fact...
Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is
Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe....
~Robinson Jeffers, from "The Answer"

Beauty is visible music.... ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

I cannot dream beauty and express ugliness...
The inner rapture, like the fine gold feeling of the Nebulæ, must express itself in stars.
I who think beauty must come with it exuding from me like a fragrant nimbus.
If I conceive beauty, I must walk in loveliness.
If I conceive twilights, I must manifest in threnodies, and the jasmine's breath, with a silver, moonswept sheen.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LX," A Soul's Faring, 1921

There are moments of beauty so intense that they will touch you for life. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2015 tweet,

Beauty deceives women in making them establish on an ephemeral power the pretensions of a whole life. ~Bignicout, quoted in Maturin M. Ballou, Pearls of Thought, 1881

Beauty is the spirit of Nature peering through the gloom of sin.... Beauty is Nature's memory of Eden. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

[B]eauty is all-healing.... I will come with great draughts of remedy for my spirit! Turn on the roses!... I am body-ill from the endless flow of life's drab-grey! ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XIX," A Soul's Faring, 1921

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you will never walk alone...
~Sam Levenson, In One Era and Out the Other, 1973

Beauty is the shadow of God... ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

Love beauty — it is the shadow of God over the universe. ~Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957), "Decálogo del Artista," translated from Spanish

It is a poem of pain to feel the urge toward the unfolding of the wings of beauty. It is a song of ecstasy to release it. ~Muriel Strode, interview with Ruth Snyder, "Poetess Uses Riches Oil Gave Her To Make Cinderellas Princesses," The Evening World, 1923 June 18th

Beauty… when you look into a woman's eyes and see what is in her heart. ~Nate Dircks

In all natural things can be discovered some faint trace of beauty. ~T.C. Henley, "Beauty," 1851

I was brought up to believe beauty is not worth thinking about, what's important is your soul, your mind—you don't want to be a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head. ~Garrison Keillor, We Are Still Married: Stories and Letters, 1990 edition, Part 2 — The Lake, "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our hearts are drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see. ~George W. Russell

I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful. ~Author unknown

By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. ~Khalil Gibran

Against Him those women sin who torment their skin with potions, stain their cheeks with rouge and extend the line of their eyes with black coloring. Doubtless they are dissatisfied with God's plastic skill. In their own persons they convict and censure the Artificer of all things. ~Tertullian

That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful. ~Ninon de L'Enclos

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty — they merely move it from their faces into their hearts. ~Martin Buxbaum

Tell them dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Rhodora"

Close your eyes and see the beauty. ~Author unknown

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. ~Leo Tolstoy

In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty. ~Christopher Morley

Release the beauty in you in whatever way you see fit.... We are elementally beautiful. In the hurry and strife of life we have grown away from the real thing. It just has to be restored to us. We must brush the ashes off and put roses in our hair. ~Muriel Strode, interview with Ruth Snyder, "Poetess Uses Riches Oil Gave Her To Make Cinderellas Princesses," The Evening World, 1923 June 18th

Beauty always promises, but never gives anything. ~Simone Weil

What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn! ~Logan Pearsall Smith

The most beautiful view is the one I share with you. ~Author unknown

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese proverb

Beauty comes in all sizes, not just size 5. ~Roseanne Barr

I don't like standard beauty — there is no beauty without strangeness. ~Karl Lagerfeld

There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. ~G.K. Chesterton

Beauty and folly are sisters. ~German proverb

Beauty and folly are generally companions. ~Baltasar Gracián, translated from Spanish

May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend....
~William Butler Yeats, "A Prayer for my Daughter"

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~Confucius

We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't let insecurity ruin the beauty you were born with. ~Author unknown

Plainness has its peculiar temptations quite as much as beauty. ~George Eliot

As we grow old, the beauty steals inward. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it. ~Mary Oliver

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone. ~Johann von Goethe

A woman who cannot be ugly is not beautiful. ~Karl Kraus

Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light. ~John Ruskin

Beauty in the flesh will continue to rule the world. ~Florenz Ziegfeld

Do I love you because you're beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
~Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella

Beauty without grace is a hook without a bait. ~Ninon de l'Enclos

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance. ~John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, 1851

Beauty is the promise of happiness. ~Stendhal

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. ~Gwyneth Paltrow

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. ~Walt Whitman

Men and women make their own beauty or their own ugliness. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton speaks in one of his novels of a man "who was uglier than he had any business to be;" and, if we could but read it, every human being carries his life in his face, and is good-looking or the reverse as that life has been good or evil. On our features the fine chisels of thought and emotion are eternally at work. ~Alexander Smith, "An Essay on an Old Subject"

Beauty doesn't have to be about anything. What's a vase about? What's a sunset or a flower about? What, for that matter, is Mozart's Twenty-third Piano Concerto about? ~Douglas Adams

Wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing. ~Marie Stopes

Decay and disease are often beautiful, like the pearly tear of the shellfish and the hectic glow of consumption. ~Henry David Thoreau, journal, 1852 June 11th

Beauty?... To me it is a word without sense because I do not know where its meaning comes from nor where it leads to. ~Pablo Picasso

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

Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked. ~Saint Augustine

There is no torture that a woman would not endure to enhance her beauty. ~Michel de Montaigne

Taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic. ~Rosalind Russell

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. ~Lady Blessington

The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy. ~Yves Saint Laurent

No better cosmetics than a severe temperance and purity, modesty and humility, a gracious temper and calmness of spirit; no true beauty without the signature of these graces in the very countenance. ~John Ray

I hope you have lost your good looks, for while they last any fool can adore you, and the adoration of fools is bad for the soul. No, give me a ruined complexion and a lost figure and sixteen chins on a farmyard of Crow's feet and an obvious wig. Then you shall see me coming out strong. ~George Bernard Shaw, to Mrs. Patrick Campbell

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