Quotations about   beauty

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She’s adorn’d
Amply that in her husband’s eye looks lovely —
The truest mirror that an honest wife
Can see her beauty in!

John Tobin (1770-1804) British playwright
The Honey Moon, Act 3, sc. 4 (1805)
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Added on 30-Jun-20 | Last updated 30-Jun-20
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The problem [with beauty] is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.

Joan Collins (b. 1933) English actress, author
“50 Is Beautiful,” Playboy (Dec 1983)
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Added on 10-Jun-20 | Last updated 10-Jun-20
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BAIT, n. A preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
Added on 3-Jun-20 | Last updated 3-Jun-20
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Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) Canadian-American writer
Herzog (1964)
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Added on 20-May-20 | Last updated 20-May-20
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If you go through life trading on your good looks, there’ll come a time when no one wants to trade.

Other Authors and Sources
Lynne Alpern & Esther Blumenfeld, Oh, Lord, I Sound Just Like Mama (1986)
Added on 13-May-20 | Last updated 13-May-20
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Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Beauty,” Essays, No. 43 (1625)
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Added on 29-Apr-20 | Last updated 29-Apr-20
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There are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.

Edward Abbey (1927-1989) American anarchist, writer, environmentalist
“TV Show: Out There On the Rocks,” One Life at a Time, Please (1988)
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Added on 22-Apr-20 | Last updated 22-Apr-20
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Things are beautiful if you love them.

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Mademoiselle Colombe, Act 2, sc. 2 (1950) [tr. Kronenberger (1954)]
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Added on 13-Apr-20 | Last updated 13-Apr-20
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The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to be a light amid the thorns.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
Platonism and the Spiritual Life (1927)
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Added on 19-Mar-20 | Last updated 19-Mar-20
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To give people pleasure in the things they must perforce use, that is one great office of decoration; to give people pleasure in the things they must perforce make, that is the other use of it.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
“The Decorative Arts: Their Relation to Modern Life and Progress,” Lecture (4 Dec 1877)
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Morris' first public lecture. Later published as "The Lesser Arts" in Hopes and Fears for Art (1882).
Added on 26-Feb-20 | Last updated 26-Feb-20
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The universe could have been created ugly, and would have functioned. And yet there is beauty everywhere in creation. Beauty gives us an ache, to be worthy of that creation.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
Comments at Wellesley College (20 Oct 2010)
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The last phrase is frequently paraphrased, "We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it."
Added on 25-Feb-20 | Last updated 25-Feb-20
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Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) Belgian-English actress
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 14-Feb-20
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The English Bible, a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“John Dryden,” Edinburgh Review (Jan 1828)
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Review of John Dryden, The Political Works of John Dryden (1826)
Added on 13-Feb-20 | Last updated 13-Feb-20
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That the beauty of life is a thing of no moment, I suppose few people would venture to assert, and yet most civilized people act as if it were of none, and in so doing are wronging themselves and those that are to come after them; for that beauty, which is what is meant by art, using the word in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident to human life, which people can take or leave as they choose, but a positive necessity of life, if we are to live as nature meant us to; that is, unless we are content to be less than men.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
“The Beauty of Life,” lecture, Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (19 Feb 1880)
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Added on 5-Feb-20 | Last updated 5-Feb-20
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Our golden rule: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
“The Beauty of Life,” lecture, Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (19 Feb 1880)
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Makeup: Western equivalent of the veil. A daily reminder that something is wrong with women’s normal looks. A public apology.

Marie Shear (1940-2017) American writer and feminist activist
“Media Watch: Celebrating Women’s Words,” New Directions for Women (May/Jun 1986)
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Added on 6-Mar-19 | Last updated 6-Mar-19
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Life is not only full of sound and fury. It also has butterflies, flowers, art.

Claude Simon (1913-2005) French novelist, critic, Nobel Laureate (Literature)
“The Art of Fiction,” #128, Interview with A. Eyle, The Paris Review (Spring 1992)
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See Shakespeare.
Added on 28-Dec-18 | Last updated 28-Dec-18
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Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (16 May 1834)
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Added on 6-Nov-18 | Last updated 6-Nov-18
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Makeup is not beauty. When artfully applied, it merely enhances what’s already there — the red paint on the fire engine.

Mae West (1892-1980) American film actress
Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It: The Autobiography of Mae West (1959)
Added on 26-Feb-18 | Last updated 26-Feb-18
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Beauties in vain their pretty Eyes may roll;
Charms strike the Sight, but Merit wins the Soul.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
The Rape of the Lock, Canto 5, l. 33 (1712)
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Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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If God didn’t want women to be looked at, he would have made ’em ugly — that’s reasonable, isn’t it? God isn’t a cheat; He set up the game Himself — He wouldn’t rig it so that the marks can’t win, like a flat joint wheel in a town with the fix on. He wouldn’t send anybody to Hell for losing in a crooked game.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Stranger in a Strange Land, ch. 27 [Patty] (1961)
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Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 21-Jul-17
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Phryne Fisher had a taste for young and comely men, but she was not prone to trust them with anything but her body.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Cocaine Blues (1989)
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Added on 15-Jun-17 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
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Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ch. 16 [Ford] (1979)
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Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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The Woman tempted me — and tempts me still!
Lord god, I pray You that she ever will!

Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932) Canadian poet
“Adam”
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Added on 8-May-17 | Last updated 8-May-17
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All of God’s children are not beautiful. Most of God’s children are, in fact, barely presentable.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist
Metropolitan Life, “Manners” (1978)
Added on 8-May-17 | Last updated 8-May-17
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The Owl looked up to the Stars above
And sang to a small guitar,
“Oh lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”

lear-owl-beautiful-pussy-you-are-wist_info-quote

Edward Lear (1812-1888) English artist, musician, author, poet
“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,” l. 5 (1871)
Added on 16-Jan-17 | Last updated 16-Jan-17
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Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) Austrian-American film actress and inventor [b, Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler]
(Attributed)

Quoted in Richard Schickel, The Stars (1962).
Added on 9-Jan-17 | Last updated 9-Jan-17
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It must be added, lest we be reproached for leaving out details important to our readers’ understanding of subsequent events, that the lady seemed to have all the attributes of beauty, grace and charm that make a young man’s heart beat faster and cause his eyes to widen, lest they miss the least nuance of expression or gesture. It need hardly be added that Khaavren was just of the type to appreciate all of these qualities; that is to say, he was young and a man, and had, moreover, a vivid imagination which allowed his thoughts to penetrate, if not the mind of the lady opposite him, at least the folds and angles of her gown.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Added on 21-Oct-16 | Last updated 21-Oct-16
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Hell to ships, hell to men, hell to cities.

Aeschylus (525-456 BC) Greek dramatist (Æschylus)
Agamemnon

Speaking of Helen of Troy. The literal translation is "Ship-destroyer, man-destroyer, city-destroyer."
Added on 10-Oct-16 | Last updated 10-Oct-16
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“A man’s virility is in his beard,” he insisted.

To which Alexia replied, “And a woman’s is in her décolletage. Yet you don’t see me allowing mine to get out of control, now, do you?”

“If wishes were balloons,’ was his only response.

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Timeless (2012)
Added on 6-Oct-16 | Last updated 6-Oct-16
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Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.

Jacqueline Bisset (b. 1944) English actress.
In “Actress with 3 Countries,” Los Angeles Times (16 May 1974)
Added on 4-Oct-16 | Last updated 4-Oct-16
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Fine natures are like fine poems; a glance at the first two lines suffices for a guess into the beauty that waits you, if you read on.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) English novelist and politician
My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853)
Added on 27-Sep-16 | Last updated 27-Sep-16
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I know the colour rose, and it is lovely,
But not when it ripens in a tumour;
And healing greens, leaves and grass, so springlike,
In Limbs that fester are not springlike.

Daniel "Dannie" Abse (1923-2014) Welsh poet
“Pathology of Colours” (1968)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
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Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.

Brooks - duty well love beautifully - wist_info quote

Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American clergyman, hymnist
(Attributed)
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Quoted in Life and Light for Woman, Vol. 26, #1 (Jan 1896)
Added on 18-Jul-16 | Last updated 18-Jul-16
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A cheerful temper, joined with innocence will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good-natured.

Addison - cheerful temper - wist_info quote

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Tatler #192 (1 Jul 1710)
Added on 15-Jul-16 | Last updated 15-Jul-16
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Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American writer
Caption, Vogue (1916)

Quoted and attributed in Alexander Woollcott, While Rome Burns (1934). Modeled after Shakespeare.
Added on 27-May-16 | Last updated 27-May-16
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I suppose when there’s no more room for another crow’s-foot, one attains a sort of peace?

Ronald Firbank (1886-1926) British novelist and playwright
Valmouth (1918)
Added on 25-Feb-16 | Last updated 25-Feb-16
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YODA: When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmm?

Kasdan - 900 years old you reach - wist_info quote

Lawrence Kasdan (b. 1949) American screenwriter, director, producer
Return of the Jedi (1983) [with George Lucas]
Added on 19-Feb-16 | Last updated 19-Feb-16
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The body of a young woman is God’s greatest achievement. […] Of course, He could have built it to last longer but you can’t have everything.

Neil Simon (b. 1927) American playwright and screenwriter
The Gingerbread Lady (1970)
Added on 15-Feb-16 | Last updated 15-Feb-16
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The three most beautiful words in the English language are not “I love you.” They are: “It is benign.”

Woody Allen (b. 1935) American comedian, writer, director [b. Allan Steward Konigsberg]
Deconstructing Harry (1998)
Added on 11-Feb-16 | Last updated 11-Feb-16
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     “If they were ugly, Peter, would you care half so much?” asked Nightingale. “There are some hideous things out there that can talk and reason and I wonder if you would be quite so quick to rush to their defense.”
     “Maybe not,” I said. “But that just makes me shallow, it doesn’t make me wrong.”

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 9-Dec-15 | Last updated 9-Dec-15
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Doesn’t matter how pretty you are. What’s important is how pretty you feel. No one feels pretty when they hear “no” often enough.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
Added on 30-Nov-15 | Last updated 30-Nov-15
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We each have a moral obligation to conserve and preserve beauty in this world; there is none to waste.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Dr. Baldwin] (1982)
Added on 18-Aug-15 | Last updated 18-Aug-15
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I’ve never understood all this fuss people make about the dawn. I’ve seen a few and they’re never as good as the photographs, which have the additional advantage of being things you can look at when you’re in the right frame of mind, which is usually around lunchtime.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Last Chance to See, ch. 4 (1990)
Added on 10-Aug-15 | Last updated 10-Aug-15
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To tell a woman who is forty, “You look like sixteen,” is baloney. The blarney way of saying it is: “Tell me how old you are, I should like to know at what age women are most beautiful.”

Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) American Catholic archbishop, preacher, televangelist
Life Is Worth Living, s.5 (1957)
Added on 6-Jul-15 | Last updated 6-Jul-15
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She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Good Omens [with Terry Pratchett] (1990)
Added on 24-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) English dramatist and poet
Doctor Faustus, Act 5, sc. 1 (1604)
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A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

John Keats (1795-1821) English poet
“Endymion” Book 1, l. 1 (1818)
Added on 25-Feb-15 | Last updated 25-Feb-15
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Grace is beauty in action.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838)
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Beauty loses its relish; the Graces, never: After the longest acquaintance, they are no less agreeable than at first.

Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782) Scottish jurist, agriculturalist, philosopher, writer
Introduction to the Art of Thinking, ch. 4 (1761)
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Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (6 Mar 1747)
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To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Sonnet 104
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BENDIS: We’re gonna die.
MAL: We’re not gonna die. We can’t die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so — very — pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×01 “Serenity” (pilot) (20 Dec 2002)
Added on 29-Jan-15 | Last updated 29-Jan-15
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I believe long habits of virtue have a sensible effect on the countenance.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
“Busy-Body Papers,” American Weekly Mercury (18 Feb 1729)
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For if he wou’d try effectually to acquire the real Science or TASTE of Life; he wou’d certainly discover, “That a RIGHT MIND, and GENEROUS AFFECTION, had more Beauty and Charm, than all other Symmetrys in the World besides.”

Anthony Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) English politician and philosopher
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Vol. 3, “Miscellany III,” ch. 3 (1711)
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Added on 23-Jan-15 | Last updated 23-Jan-15
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