“I dig old books.” ™
I've had requests for quotations on mustaches and although I already had several scattered on various pages, I didn't feel I had quite enough for an entire page on its own. And there's not much out there on the Web either, despite the latest hipster mustache trend — just a couple of silly one-liners, for the most part. So I decided to spend some time digging around in the old treasures of Google Books, and I found lots of writings about beards, mustaches, facial hair, and the like. So please enjoy, and Happy Movember!
When it grows naturally, the moustache is always a sign of a manly temperament. It never, or at any rate seldom, happens that it is bristling, hirsuta, in gentle and thoughtful characters, and it is rarely rounded, turned under, or softly curled in men of rough natures born for contradiction and conflict. ~Charles Blanc, Art in Ornament and Dress, 1875
To draw it to a fine point, as was done under the Empire... is to give the face of the wearer a factitious and evanescent expression, since the points cannot be kept stiff without the use of a cosmetic, easily detected and soon melted. ~Charles Blanc, Art in Ornament and Dress, 1875
Although I'm at a loss as to what's behind this specific spike in mustache mania... I have noticed a particular proliferation of one very specific style of tonsorial topiary — the meticulously groomed and shaped, hipster-appropriated handlebar — which has become so ubiquitous in popular culture that walking down the street is starting to feel like venturing into a carnival tent into a Wild West saloon and out through a blacksmith's shop of yore. ~Adam Tschorn, "What's behind the modern-day mustache mania?," Los Angeles Times, 2013
Moustaches resemble a problem of geometry worked on the cheek with a piece of charcoal... ~Richard Doe, "Human Nature in Chunks: Modern Clerks," 1855
If you’re ever in a jam, a crayon scrunched up under your nose makes a good pretend mustache.
Double cappuccino, half-caff, nonfat milk, with just enough foam to be aesthetically pleasing but not so much that it leaves a moustache. ~Frasier, "A Mid-Winter Night's Dream," 1994, written by Chuck Ranberg & Anne Flett-Giordano [S1, E17, Niles]
Well, and so you've joined "the movement,"
And have laid out lots of cash
In Macassar oil and bear's grease
Coaching up your pet moustache.
You look just as though your eyebrows
From above had had a slip,
And in falling down had settled
Snugly on your upper lip.
Let me warn you—with the ladies
You'll be in a pretty pickle;
For you can have no idea
How those horrid things do tickle...
~A Master of Hearts, "To a Youth with a Moustache," New and Original Valentines, Serious & Satirical, Sublime & Ridiculous, On All the Ordinary Names, Professions, Trades, Etc., 1857
Bandy-legged Borochio Mustachio Whiskerfuscius, the bald but brave Bombardino of Bagdad... ~“Try These on Thick Tongues,” Queries, 1889
Gaubert was a little man and all moustache. ~Jean Giono (1895–1970), Regain, 1930, translated from French by Henri Fluchè & Geoffrey Myers, Harvest, 1939
I'm one of those people, who when I draw birds I just draw flying mustaches. ~Author unknown
I moustache you a question, but I'll shave it for later. ~Internet meme, c. 2010
Yes, indeed, my Whiskerandos,
I declare it makes me laugh—
You seem wedded to your whiskers,
For they're quite your better half.
Were you lost, I'd advertise you
(And just think how folks would stare)
As a fragment of humanity
Between two lumps of hair!...
~A Master of Hearts, "To an Individual with Whiskers," New and Original Valentines, Serious & Satirical, Sublime & Ridiculous, On All the Ordinary Names, Professions, Trades, Etc., 1857
Guys are lucky because they get to grow mustaches. I wish I could. It's like having a little pet for your face. ~Anita Wise, unverified [Or according to Old Hippy Paul, it's more like having a hobby on your upper lip.
My facial hair is imperative. I put the must in mustache. ~Jarod Kintz, Whenever You're Gone, I'm Here For You, 2012
Hitler really ruined that mustache for everybody because, it's really, it's an interesting mustache, and now nobody can wear it. ~Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox," 2011, written by David, Berg, Mandel, & Schaffer [S8, E10, Larry]
So when people see mustaches now, they think hipster, not Hitler. And that, people, is the power of creative rebranding. ~black‑ish, "Crazy Mom," 2014, written by Gail Lerner, Njeri Brown, & Devanshi Patel [S1, E4]
Weep for the fate of Serjeant Thin,
A man of a desperate courage was he,
More he rejoiced in the battle's din,
Than in all the mess-room revelry;
But he died at last of no ugly gash,—
He choked on a hair of his own mustache!
~“The Fate of Serjeant Thin” (A new original Ballad, founded on Fact. Edin Lit Jour.), in The Olio; or, Museum of Entertainment, 1831
Even the swallowing the moustache by Whiskerandos, which has so often been denounced as "too broad" was taken from an accident which really happened on the first night of Leigh Hunt's play of A Legend of Florence to a Mr. Moore, who played the principal character in it, and who was obliged to leave the stage for some minutes, being totally unable to proceed with his part. ~J. Brander Matthews, "Sheridan’s ‘Critic,’" in Tinsleys' Magazine, 1872
It would be trifling to dwell on the comical expression of a man's face when one whisker was taken off clean, and the other was left standing... ~Cassio, "Memoir of a Pair of Whiskers," in The Parterre of Fiction, Poetry, History, Literature, and the Fine Arts, Vol. I, 1834
Our French professor is simply a darling. His moustache would give you kerwollops of the heart. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908 [a little altered
A dark mustache shaded his upper lip, and a strange, nameless beauty lit up and softened his handsome face whenever he smiled. Adored by the ladies, envied by the men. ~May Agnes Fleming, The Gypsy Queen's Vow, 1875
Millie looked up. Her pulse went up to fever-heat; her heart leaped into her throat. There at last stood her ideal man — he of whom in the careless days of girlhood, she had dreamed so often. If he had been made to order, she could hardly have been better pleased. Tall, graceful, splendidly proportioned, he seemed a very prince in bearing. His skin was a clear olive, with the crimson burning through upon each cheek; his hair lay in thick masses, and was of that purple-black hue which you see on a raven's wing; his moustache was superb, soft, silky, dark, and with such an exquisite wave. ~Caroline A. Soule, "Mollie's Ideal," in The Ladies' Repository, 1863 [of the young Spanish nobleman, Don Carlos
I wouldn't marry a man if our names didn't go well together. Two syllables wouldn't sound a bit nice, but I shouldn't mind marrying a man with a surname of three syllables. Of course he must have a moustache. Even if a man was a handsome poet, and had lovely eyes, and could sing like a nightingale, but hadn't a moustache, I wouldn't for the world so much as look at him. No close-shaven man need apply. ~Grant Allen, This Mortal Coil, 1888 [Winifred. Text a little altered.
It was hard to tell in what the charm lay. It might have been in the moustache, or at least a woman might have said so, for we believe all women have a failing for handsome moustaches. ~Sue Chestnutwood, Malbrook, 1868
I love—yes, I love—how I love my moustache,
Which I twirl round my finger as I look in the glass...
I've tried both my whiskers and beard in succession,
In hopes on the ladies to make an impression...
You may call it a door-mat, you may call it but bristles,
Or compare me to an animal that feeds upon thistles;
But to all such comparisons I give but a laugh,
For do I not love thee, my splendid moustache?
~Robert Hall, "My Moustache," 1867
He took a seat at her side with respectful coldness, although he was trembling with desire, to such an extent had this mysterious and seductive creature in a few minutes succeeded in disturbing his senses. He took her hand and gently removed the glove, then carried the slender white fingers to his mouth and began to kiss them, one after another, with caressing devotion. Finally he reached the wrist and the tapering arm, grazing with his mustache the satin-like flesh that thrilled slightly beneath his ardent touch. ~Georges Ohnet, L'âme de Pierre, 1890, translated from French by E. P. Robins
Brother, dost mark
That puff of hair upon Alonzo's lip...
The time shall come, and we shall live to see it,
When, for that multiplicity of hair,
Piled, against nature, on an urchin's face,
The maidens shall give up their hearts! nay, more
Not only shall a "whiskered pandour" take
His choicest choice among them—but the jades
Shall love according to the mustache's fulness:
Love him alone who cultivates their growth—
And love no longer than they flourish there!
~Whiskerandos, a Tragedy, quoted in The Parterre of Fiction, Poetry, History, Literature, and the Fine Arts, Vol. I, 1834
She'll be cured of moustaches, or I'm no prophet. The moral effect will tell upon our silly young ladies, whose heads are turned with a foreign accent and a hairy lip. ~T. S. Arthur, "Marrying a Count," Off-Hand Sketches, A Little Dashed with Humour, 1851
The great ages of prose are the ages in which men shave. The great ages of poetry are those in which they allow their beards to grow. ~Robert Lynd, "Beaver," 1922
But, do you know it hadn't occurred to me that a man's beard was really part of him. It always seemed to me that men wore their beards, like they wear their neckties, for show. ~D. H. Lawrence, St. Mawr, 1925
A beard gives fierceness to the warrior, and renders the lover irresistible. ~Anonymous, "Editor's Table: Beards," The Ladies' Repository, 1862
For a healthy beard, be sure to brush it daily and take it for a walk every evening. ~BeardGuru.com
He hath a most remarkable Beard, the largest and blackest I ever saw. ~Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749
The discovery of a grey hair when you are brushing out your whiskers of a morning — first fallen flake of the coming snows of age — is a disagreeable thing. ~Alexander Smith, "An Essay on an Old Subject," 1865
You can measure time in days, weeks, months, or beards. ~Author unknown
But what, then, is the use of beards?... The first is to stimulate the ingenuity of man, and give field and scope for the exercise of a rampant fancy. Observe what an opportunity a beard affords for studying effect in the infinite variety of cutting and chipping which it undergoes, and how much it is made to contribute to the personality and character of the individual... Women have almost an infinite range of fabrics and colors with which they set off the charms of their persons. Of ribbons, bows, fringes, and jewels, there is no end. Men have nothing but their beards. ~Anonymous, "Editor's Table: Beards," The Ladies' Repository, 1862
It is almost impossible to bear the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing someone's beard. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated from German by R. J. Hollingdale
I must to the barber's, monsieur; for
methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face; and I
am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me,
I must scratch.
~William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, 1596 [IV, 1, Bottom]
Make beard, not war. ~Internet meme
"Here, papa, take the young lady... She is fonder of gentlemen than ladies, I perceive. She wouldn't be a true female, though, if she wasn't." Miss Erminie, in a paroxysm of delight, immediately buried her fingers in papa's thick burnished locks, with variations of pulling his whiskers and mustache and then tenderly kissing the above hirsute appendages to make them well again. And papa, like all other young papas, looked, as if he thought her the most wonderful baby that ever lived, and danced her up and down until she forgot all sense of etiquette and propriety, and fairly screamed with delight. ~May Agnes Fleming, The Gypsy Queen's Vow, 1875
When not otherwise engaged, men are almost uniformly busy in stroking their beard, pulling their moustache, or coaxing their goatee. Without such a resource, what could they do? Women can manage to hold their hands gracefully in their laps, if they have nothing else to occupy them. Men find this impossible, and hence resort at once to their beards. ~Anonymous, "Editor's Table: Beards," The Ladies' Repository, 1862
Not for one moment, beautiful aged Walt Whitman,
have I failed to see your beard full of butterflies,
nor your shoulders of corduroy worn out by the moon,
nor your thighs of virginal Apollo,
nor your voice like a pillar of ashes;
ancient and beautiful as the mist...
~Federico García Lorca (1898–1936), translated from Spanish by Stephen Spender & J. L. Gili
There was an Old Man with a beard,
who said, "It is just as I feared!—
Two Owls and a Hen,
four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"
~Edward Lear (1812–1888), A Book of Nonsense [The Whitman butterflies and the Lear birds both make me think of @TheGayBeards!
What a beard hast thou
got! thou hast got more hair on thy chin than
Dobbin my fill-horse has on his tail.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c. 1598 [II, 2,
Do not mistake a goat's beard for a fine stallion's tail. ~Irish proverb
If you had half as much brains as you have beard, you would have looked before you leaped. ~Æsop [Context note: The beard here mentioned is on a goat. The fox is speaking to him in this fable.
Do you suppose that your beard creates brains and therefore you grow that fly-flapper? Take my advice and shave it off at once; for that beard is a creator of lice and not of brains. ~Ammianus (2nd century A.D.), in The Greek Anthology, Volume IV, "Book XI: The Convivial and Satirical Epigrams," epigram 156, translated by W. R. Paton, 1918
If you think that to grow a beard is to acquire wisdom, a goat with a fine beard is at once a complete Plato. ~Lucian of Samosata, in The Greek Anthology, Volume IV, "Book XI: The Convivial and Satirical Epigrams," epigram 430, translated by W. R. Paton, 1918
Ah Fate! cannot a man
Be wise without a beard?
From east to west, from Beersheba to Dan,
Pray was it never heard
That wisdom might in youth be gotten
Or wit be ripe before 'twas rotten?
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Fame," 1826
Beards: they grow on you. ~Author unknown
One shaves his whole face, and looks as much like a great masculine woman as it is possible for him to look. Another leaves his moustache, and another a goatee. One cultivates a pair of delicate whiskers, while another makes them broad and strong as the back of Hercules. One curves them gracefully round this way, and another in that, while a third presents them square and hard, or pointed and piquant. Indeed, there is no end to the diversity which our five hundred millions of men manage to create with so simple a thing as a human beard. ~Anonymous, "Editor's Table: Beards," The Ladies' Repository, 1862
There are others still, who believe that beards are given men chiefly or wholly as an ornament, as peacocks are decked with enormous tails... Something must be done, say the philosophers, to distinguish men from women, and what could be more obvious or striking than a good beard? ~Anonymous, "Editor's Table: Beards," The Ladies' Repository, 1862
Many of our modern men are ugly because they do not wear their beards. ~Alphonse Karr, quoted in Edward Parsons Day, Day's Collacon, 1884
Some conceited and ugly men, aware of their inability to conceal their ugliness, end by being proud of it. A countenance debarred from any chance of being lovable might as well aspire to formidable. They value the bristling mustachio, the Lincoln goatee, and other varieties of hirsute, satyr-like hairy appendages, as if afraid of their smooth faces not being sufficiently hideous.
How long were you occupied, sir, this very Sabbath morning, with these whiskers? Ay, whiskers! What do you mean to insinuate by them, sir? Why are they not shaved? Are they wholly senseless, or have you an aim, object, and end in cherishing that loathsome lair? ~John Wilson, The Young Lady's Book; or, Manual of Elegant Recreations, Exercises, and Pursuits, 1829
Came there a certain lord, neat, and trimly dress'd,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin new reap'd
Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest-home...
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, c. 1597 [I, 3, Hotspur]
Beards. Never mind the referendum, religion or fracking — it's facial furniture that divides our great nation. And, as Movember slips seamlessly into Decembeard, the country is looking even more hirsute than usual. It seems men are reclaiming their follicles as a symbol of power and fertility, freeing themselves from the tyranny of the razor, shaking off decades — nay, centuries — of oppression declaring that behind every successful man is a smooth chin. Well, no more. ~“Careless whiskers: Why beards are back in fashion,” The Scotsman, scotsman.com, 2013
Gone are the days when clean shaven was the only way to look well groomed. Some of the most stylish and sophisticated men on the planet are adopting a more rugged approach to facial hair, and from bar to boardroom stubble is no longer seen as scruffy. If uncared for, stubble can make you look rough or haggard — but equally it has the ability to transform a smooth baby face into something far more masculine and handsome. ~Duncan Copeland, "Men's Grooming: Maintaining Stubble," FashionBeans.com, 2013
Designer stubble — not quite a beard, but a rugged way of adding style to your face, while maintaining a well-groomed masculine look. Made popular during the 1980s by actor Don Johnson and singer George Michael; designer stubble is still a trend today and has become even more fashionable over the past few years... add a bit of maturity and sex appeal to your look, without the need to sport a full beard. ~“How to Perfect the Designer Stubble Look,” alphamalelifestyle.com, 2015
This is what the beard represents. The beard is hair that grows down from the head to the rest of the body. It is the bridge between mind and heart, thoughts and actions, theory and practice, good intentions and good deeds. So we don't cut the beard, but rather let it flow freely, to open a direct flow from the ideals and philosophies of our minds into our everyday lifestyle. ~Aron Moss, "The Beard," Chabad.org, 2007
I took up the weekly paper, Ha! what's this? "Cupid taking Lodgings among the Whiskers!... A coterie of fine ladies received and encouraged the addresses of a company of fine smooth-faced Englishmen. Presently, a party of strangers, with whiskers, cut in, and cut out the Englishmen. Before long, a party of Frenchmen appeared, and very soon supplanted the strangers. Messieurs wore mustaches! After a time, a party of Prussians appeared; they added the imperial to the whiskers and mustaches, and it is unnecessary to say, that the Frenchmen had to stand aside. By and by came a company of Russians, so enveloped in whiskers, mustaches, &c. that no one could tell on which side of their heads the face was. This was decisive! The Russians married the ladies!" ~Cassio, "Memoir of a Pair of Whiskers," in The Parterre of Fiction, Poetry, History, Literature, and the Fine Arts, Vol. I, 1834
O, Sir, your chinne is but a quyller yet, you will be most majesticall when it is full fledge. ~John Lyly, Endimion, The Man in the Moone, 1591 [A quiller is a bird that doesn't yet have all its feathers.
Wast thou not yesterday a boy, and we had never even dreamt of this beard coming? How did this accursed thing spring up, covering with hair all that was so pretty before? Heavens! what a marvel! ~Strato of Sardis, in The Greek Anthology, Volume IV, "Book XII: Strato's Musa Puerilis," epigram 191, translated by W. R. Paton, 1918
Ere on thy chin the springing beard began
To spread a doubtful down and promise man?
~Matthew Prior (1664–1721), "Ode to the Memory of Colonel George Villiers"
I should lay out exactly a half-acre of whiskers, in the form of a triangle, leaving to nature that sweet little bunch of hair over the chin, so poetically denominated a goatee. Goatees are the admiration of ladies — the poetry of hair. No wonder they love them, they can pull and twist them so bewitchingly. Goatees are the handle of the head. Hurrah for the handles! ~Richard Doe, "Human Nature in Chunks: Modern Clerks," 1855
Young ladies don't like goatees. There are sweeter things in the gift of Cupid than being run in the neck with a whisk-broom. ~Williston Fish, "The Goat and the Goatee," 1886
Nicholas was tall and well formed. The ladies said he was a perfect Apollo in form, and I'm inclined to believe that he was, although, as I was never intimately acquainted with the original Apollo, I can't be positively sure. Nicholas wore black hair, glossy and curly; and he had a pair of beautiful dark eyes, and a Grecian nose; but his goatee was what did it. Yes, it took an uncommonly stout-hearted woman to face that goatee unmoved. You could not do it, my dear little girl, although you think you can face anything. But you never saw Nicholas Lymberleg's goatee, and well it is for your peace of mind that you haven't... ~N. P. Darling, "What My Friend Did For Me," in Ballou's Monthly Magazine, September 1891
In bounded De Courci, hair and all! Cloak, hat, and hair were instantly thrown aside, and a smooth, young, laughing face revealed itself from behind whiskers, moustaches, imperials, and goatee. ~T. S. Arthur, "Marrying a Count," Off-Hand Sketches, A Little Dashed with Humour, 1851
The little white goatee that stuck out from the side of his chin was as crooked as his temper. ~Margaret Sutton Briscoe, "The Price of Peace," Jimty, and Others, 1897
Slyder Downehylle was rather good-looking... He cultivated whiskers, "fringing the base of his countenance;" he set up a moustache; he starred his under lip with an imperial, and he balanced the superstructure with the classical "goatee." Medusa herself never had more luxurious curls. ~Joseph C. Neal, "Slyder Downehylle: A Search After Happiness," Peter Ploddy, and Other Oddities, 1844
An universal impression prevails that genuine poets should have an abundance of hair like Bryant, Longfellow, Tennyson, and Walt Whitman, who rather suggest this as an infallible test of the true virile bard and seer. Consequently a poet, even if he is not hairy, is popularly and paradoxically regarded — if you will pardon the vulgarism — as a hairy poet. See now how eccentric is my Axeman Bard.
His dark hair is cut short; a modest moustache covers his firm upper lip, and — in flagrant violation of every canon relating to the external appearance of poets from Homer down to the sweet singer of Michigan — from beneath the swell of his lower lip there depends a thin goatee barely an inch in length. Upon the wisdom or taste of this whim I must remain mute. It hardly seems right to me that a poet should wear a goatee; but then did not Pope wear a canvas bodice and three pairs of stockings? ~Melville Philips, "Discovery of a Poet," in Chicago Current, 1892 [George Washington Kettoman, a.k.a. the Axeman Bard, was a police officer by day and a poet and artist by night.
The scissors cut the long-grown hair;
The razor scrapes the remnant fuzz.
Small-jawed, weak-chinned, big-eyed, I stare
At the forgotten boy I was.
~John Updike (1932–2009), "Upon Shaving Off One's Beard"
The care that we bestow on our person is a species of politeness towards others; thus it is that many persons shave some part of their beard, in order to unite freedom of toilette with an appearance of cleanliness and trimness. ~Charles Blanc, Art in Ornament and Dress, 1875
The barber learns to shave at the beards of fools. ~Italian proverb
Shaving the Face robs a Man of his Individuality and forces him into a poverty of Worldly Conformity. ~ManStache Men's Co, manstachemensco.com
There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard. ~Jean Cocteau, 1929, translated from French
One day soon the Gillette company will announce the development of a razor that, thanks to a computer microchip, can actually travel ahead in time and shave beard hairs that don't even exist yet. Men will buy this razor. Men can get into shaving, because it reminds them of what stud hombres they are, having to tame their manliness on a regular basis. ~Dave Barry, "Body Hair, Tennis: What's Love Got To Do With It?," 1992
A little girl had been looking at some pictures of angels and she turned to her mamma and asked: "Mamma, why are there no men in heaven?" "But there are men in heaven," replied her mother. "Then why is it," asked the child, "that we never see any pictures of angels with whiskers or mustache?" "True," was the reply," but there are men in heaven, only they get in by a close shave. ~The Independent, 1902
I'm not growing a beard; I'm just too lazy to shave. ~Erik Gagnon, 2000
Jones being impatient to be drest... thought the Shaver was very tedious in preparing his Suds, and begged him to make Haste... "Sir," said he, "since I have dealt in Suds, I could never discover more than two Reasons for shaving, the one is to get a Beard, and the other to get rid of one. I conjecture, Sir, it may not be long since you shaved, from the former of these Motives..." ~Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749 [The entire exchange is quite humorous, or at least as a quotation addict I find it so, as the barber is continually spouting Latin and proverbs — to Jones' rushed disgust — and is self-admittedly "too much addicted to the Study of Philosophy."