Quotations about:
    beauty


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Models of manly beauty are rare out of novels, and seldom interesting in them.

f anstey
F. Anstey (1856-1934) English novelist and journalist (pseud. of Thomas Anstey Guthrie)
The Brass Bottle, ch. 1 “Horace Ventimore Receives a Commission” (1900)
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I love the language, that soft bastard Latin,
Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,
And sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
With syllables which breathe of the sweet South,
And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
That not a single accent seems uncouth,
Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural,
Which we’re obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“Beppo,” st. 44 (1818)
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When a twelfth-century youth fell in love he did not take three paces backward, gaze into her eyes, and tell her she was too beautiful to live. He said he would step outside and see about it. And if, when he got out, he met a man and broke his head — the other man’s head, I mean — then that proved that his — the first fellow’s — girl was a pretty girl. But if the other fellow broke his head — not his own, you know, but the other fellow’s — the other fellow to the second fellow, that is, because of course the other fellow would only be the other fellow to him, not the first fellow who — well, if he broke his head, then his girl — not the other fellow’s, but the fellow who was the — Look here, if A broke B’s head, then A’s girl was a pretty girl; but if B broke A’s head, then A’s girl wasn’t a pretty girl, but B’s girl was. That was their method of conducting art criticism.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, “On Being Idle” (1886)
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Nothing — so it seems to me — is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life. The sweet, tender blossom that flowers in the heart of the young — in hearts such as yours — that, too, is beautiful. The love of the young for the young, that is the beginning of life. But the love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of — of things longer.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
“Passing of the Third Floor Back” [The Stranger] (1908)
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I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago [До́ктор Жива́го], Part 2, ch. 13 “Opposite the House of Sculptures,” sec. 12 [Yury] (1955) [tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), US ed.]
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Alternate translations:

I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn't of much value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.
[tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), UK ed., "Opposite the House of the Caryatids"]

I don't like the righteous ones, who never fell, never stumbled. Their virtue is dead and of little value. The beauty of life has not been revealed to them.
[tr. Pevear & Volokhonsky (2010), "Opposite the House with Figures"]

 
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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.

[Quod bonum Dei quidem donum est; sed propterea id largitur etiam malis, ne magnum bonum uideatur bonis.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 15, ch. 22 (15.22) (AD 412-416) [tr. Dods (1871)]
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Referencing Genesis 6:1-4, and of the "sons of God" who fell in love with the physical beauty of the women of the earthly city.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Bodily beauty [...] is indeed a gift of God, but given to the evil also, lest the good should imagine it of any such great worth.
[tr. Healey (1610)]

Their beauty, in itself, was a gift of God, but it is the kind of gift which God gives even to the wicked so that good men may realize how slight a good it is.
[tr. Walsh/Monahan (1952)]

This beauty is indeed a good given by God, but he bestows it also on the wicked lest the good should regard it as a great good.
[tr. Levine (Loeb) (1966)]

Such beauty is certainly a good, a gift of God; but he bestows it on the evil as well as on the good for this reason, for fear that the good may consider it an important good.
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

Such beauty is certainly a good, a gift from God; but He grants it to the evil also, lest it should come to seem too great a good to the good.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

This good of beauty is indeed God's gift, but it is bestowed also on the wicked, so that it may not appear as a great blessing to those who are good.
[tr. Babcock (2012)]

 
Added on 8-Jan-24 | Last updated 8-Jan-24
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I have never been in any rich man’s house which would not have looked the better for having a bonfire made outside of it of nine-tenths of all that it held.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
“The Art of the People,” speech, Birmingham Society of Arts (1879-02-19)
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Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) Italian artist, architect, poet [Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni]
(Attributed)

This phrase is widely attributed to Michelangelo and, often noted as being from a letter to Rene Lui Descartes XIV (1540-03-06). But a search of several books of Michelangelo's letters finds no such letter with parts of that name or with that text.

The letter is almost always noted as being quoted in George Augustus Lofton, Character Sketches (1890). But the reference there merely gives the words of the quote; it says nothing about a letter, let alone a date or to whom it is sent.

The phrase, when rendered into Italian (la bellezza è la purificazione del superfluo or la bellezza è l'eliminazione del superfluo) can be found attributed to Michelangelo, but without citation.

That said, the phrase lines up with many other quotes attributed to Michelangelo, to the effect that statues consist of a figure "trapped" in marble (or whatever the medium), to be revealed by removing just enough stone but no more. E.g.,

Each block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the sculptor's job to discover it.

[Ogni blocco di pietra ha una statua dentro di sé ed è compito dello scultore scoprirla.]

(Source)

Nothing the best of artists can conceive
but lies, potential, in a block of stone,
superfluous matter round it. The hand alone
can free it that has intelligence for guide.

[Non ha l’ottimo artista alcun concetto
ch’un marmo solo in sé non circonscriva
col suo superchio, e solo a quello arriva
la man che ubbidisce all’intelletto.]


(Poem, tr. Nims (1998))

 
Added on 28-Nov-23 | Last updated 28-Nov-23
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I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale. We should not allow it to be believed that all scientific progress can be reduced to mechanisms, machines, gearings, even though such machinery also has its beauty.

Marie Curie
Marie Curie (1867-1934) Polish-French physicist and chemist [b. Maria Salomea Skłodowska]
“The Future of Culture [L’Avenir de la Culture]” conference, Madrid (1933-05-03/07)
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One of Curie's last public addresses. As quoted in Eve Curie Labouisse, Madame Curie: A Biography, ch. 24 (1937) [tr. Sheean (1938)].

Alternate translation:

I believe that science has great beauty. A scientist int he laboratory is not a mere technician; he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales. We should not allow it to believed that all scientific progress can be reduced to mechanisms, machines, and gearings, even though such machine also has beauty.
[Source]

 
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Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, of which the human animal has learned the taste in his mother’s womb, is natural by origin. Virtue, on the other hand, is artificial, supernatural, since at all times and in all places gods and prophets have been needed to teach it to animalized humanity, man being powerless to discover it by himself. Evil happens without effort, naturally, fatally; Good is always the product of some art.

[Tout ce qui est beau et noble est le résultat de la raison et du calcul. Le crime, dont l’animal humain a puisé le goût dans le ventre de sa mère, est originellement naturel. La vertu, au contraire, est artificielle, surnaturelle, puisqu’il a fallu, dans tous les temps et chez toutes les nations, des dieux et des prophètes pour l’enseigner à l’humanité animalisée, et que l’homme, seul, eût été impuissant à la découvrir. Le mal se fait sans effort, naturellement, par fatalité ; le bien est toujours le produit d’un art.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
“Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne [The Painter of Modern Life],” sec. 11 (1863) [tr. Mayne (1964)]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, for which the human creature has acquired a taste in its mother’s womb, is natural in origin. Virtue, on the contrary, is artificial, unnatural since, at all times and among all nations, gods and prophets were necessary to teach virtue to animalistic humanity, which humanity alone was unable to discover. Evil occurs without effort, naturally, through fatality; good is always the product of artifice.
[tr. Kline (2020)]

 
Added on 30-Oct-23 | Last updated 30-Oct-23
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Great artists say that the most beautiful thing in the world is a little baby. Well, the next most beautiful thing is an old lady, for every wrinkle is a picture.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Radio broadcast (1930-05-11)
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There is a legend about a bird that sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. Dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of the great pain. … Or so says the legend.

Colleen McCullough
Colleen McCullough (1937-2015) Australian author
The Thorn Birds, Epigraph (1977)
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Dore Divine Comedy Inferno 34-034 Lucifer
Gustave Dore – Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto 34 l.034 Lucifer (1857)

If he was fair as he is hideous now,
and raised his brow in scorn of his creator,
he is fit to be the source of every sorrow.

[S’el fu sì bel com’elli è ora brutto,
e contra ’l suo fattore alzò le ciglia,
ben dee da lui procedere ogne lutto.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 34, l. 34ff (34.34) (1309) [tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]
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Describing Satan. As Lucifer he was the most beautiful and powerful of the angels; Dante suggests his rebellious ingratitude against God is a fit cause for all the sin and sorrow of the world.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

As ugly now, if he as handsome was,
And 'gainst his Maker rais'd his haughty brow;
'Tis right all wailings should from him proceed.
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

If his meridian glories, ere he fell,
Equal'd his horrible eclipse in Hell,
No brighter Seraph led the heav'nly host:
And now, a tenant of the frozen tide,
The Rebel justly merits to preside
O'er all the horrors of the Stygian coast.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 8]

If he were beautiful
As he is hideous now, and yet did dare
To scowl upon his Maker, well from him
May all our mis’ry flow.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

If he, once fair as he is foul of mien,
Against his Maker arrogantly raised
The brow, from him might well proceed, I ween,
All things disastrous.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

If he was once as beautiful as he is ugly now, and lifted up his brows against his Maker, well may all affliction come from him.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

If he were beauteous once as ugly now,
And 'gainst his Maker dared to lift his brow,
From him well might we have proceeding woe.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

If first in beauty once as hideous now,
And to his Maker lifting his proud eye,
Well might he be the source of ev'ry grief.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Were he as fair once, as he now is foul,
⁠And lifted up his brow against his Maker,
⁠Well may proceed from him all tribulation.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

If he was as fair as he is now foul, and raised his brows against his Maker, rightly should all sorrow come forth from him.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

If he was once as fair as hideous now,
And 'gainst his Maker raised his impious eyes,
Full well from him would all contention flow.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

If he was as fair as he now is foul, and against his Maker lifted up his brow, surely may all tribulation proceed from him.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

If once he was as fair as he is loathly,
And raised his brows even against his Maker,
Well may it be from him proceeds all mourning.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

If he was as fair as he is now foul and lifted up his brows against his Maker, well may all sorrow come from him.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

If he was once fair as he is now foul,
And 'gainst his Maker dared his brows to raise,
Fitly from him all streams of sorrow roll.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

If he was once as fair as now he's foul,
And dared outface his Maker in rebellion,
Well may he be the fount of all our dole.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

If he was once as beautiful as now
he is hideous, and still turned on his Maker,
well may he be the source of every woe!
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

If he was once as beautiful as he is ugly now, and lifted up his brows against his Maker, well may all sorrow proceed from him.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

If once he was as fair as now he's foul
and dared to raise his brows against his Maker,
it is fitting that all grief should spring from him.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

If he was once as handsome as he now
is ugly and, despite that, raised his brows
against his Maker, one can understand
how every sorrow has its source in him!
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

If he was as beautiful as he now is ugly,
And yet dared to rebel against his maker,
Well may he be the source of all mourning.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

If he was truly once as beautiful
As he is ugly now, and raised his brows
Against his Maker -- then all sorrow may well
Come out of him.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

If he was as beautiful then as now he is ugly, when he lifted his brow against his Maker, well must all grieving proceed from him.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

If he was once as fair, as he is now ugly, and lifted up his forehead against his Maker, well may all evil flow from him.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

If, once, he was as lovely as now vile,
when first he raised his brow against his maker,
then truly grief must all proceed from him.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

If ever his beauty could match the ugliness
I saw, and he lifted arrogant brows at his Maker,
I understand how sorrow was born that day.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

If his beauty was
a match for all the foulness he has now,
We see that all our sorrow came because
He set his face against his Maker.
[tr. James (2013), l. 40ff]

 
Added on 18-Aug-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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There, all is order and loveliness,
Luxury, calm and voluptuousness.

[Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Les Fleurs du Mal [The Flowers of Evil], # 49 “L’Invitation au Voyage [Invitation to the Voyage],” ll. 13-14 (1857 ed) [tr. Scott (1909)]
    (Source)

Also in the 1861 ed. (#53) and the 1868 ed. (#54). (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

There all is beauty and symmetry,
Pleasure and calm and luxury.
[tr. Squire (1909)]

Where everything is beautiful, rich, quiet, honest; where order is the likeness and the mirror of luxury; where life is fat, and sweet to breathe.
[tr. Symons (1913), prose poem version]

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.
[tr. Millay (1936)]

There'll be nothing but beauty, wealth, pleasure,
With all things in order and measure.
[tr. Campbell (1952)]

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.
[tr. Aggeler (1954)]

All is order there, and elegance,
pleasure, peace, and opulence.
[tr. Howard (1982)]

Everything there is order and beauty, luxury, calm, voluptuousness.
[tr. Scarfe (1986)]

There, all is order and leisure,
Luxury, beauty, and pleasure.
[tr. McGowan (1993)]

There, there is nothing but order and beauty, luxury, calm and sensual pleasure.
[tr. Clark (1995)]

It is a land of perfect peace,
Beauty and joy that never cease.
[tr. Lerner (1999)]

There, there's only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.
[tr. Waldrop (2006)]

 
Added on 3-Jul-23 | Last updated 3-Jul-23
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Come to think of it, I don’t know that love has a point, which is what makes it so glorious. Sex has a point, in terms of relief and, sometimes, procreation, but love, like all art, as Oscar said, is quite useless. It is the useless things that make life worth living and that make life dangerous too: wine, love, art, beauty. Without them life is safe, but not worth bothering with.

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry (b. 1957) British actor, writer, comedian
Moab Is My Washpot, “Falling In,” ch. 6 (1997)
    (Source)

Referencing Oscar Wilde from the preface of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890): "All art is quite useless".
 
Added on 28-Jun-23 | Last updated 25-Oct-23
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The pleasures of the table — that lovely old-fashioned phrase — depict food as an art form, as a delightful part of civilized life. In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal.

Julia Child
Julia Child (1912-2004) American chef and writer
The Way to Cook, Introduction (1989)
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Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth, we have spoken it.

Whitney Griswold
Whitney Griswold (1906–1963) American historian, educator [Alfred Whitney Griswold]
“Society’s Need for Man,” Baccalaureate Address, Yale University (1957-06-09)
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Taught from 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 (1759-1797) English social philosopher, feminist, writer
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ch. 3 (1792)
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Da Vinci Folio A. 10 r.
Da Vinci Folio A. 10 r. Red bracket to the right side of the quoted text (which is written in mirrored form). (Source)

The art of procreation and the members employed therein are so repulsive, that if it were not for the beauty of the faces and the adornments of the actors and the pent-up impulse, nature would lose the human species.

[L’atto del coito e li membri a quello adoperati son di tanta bruttura che se non fussi le bellezze de’ volti e li ornamenti delli operanti e la frenata disposizione, la natura perderebbe la spezie umana.]

Leonardo da Vinci, artist
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist, polymath
Notebooks, De Anatomia, folio A. 10 r. [tr. McCurdy (1939)]
    (Source)

Windsor Anatomical manuscript A., folio 10 r / R. L. 19009R (Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

The act of procreation and everything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if it were not a traditional custom and if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions.
[tr. Brill (1916), after Freud (1910)]

The act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions.
[Variant tr. Brill (1916), after Freud (1910)]

The act of procreation and everything connected with it is so disgusting that mankind would soon die out if it were not an old-established custom and if there were not pretty faces and sensuous natures.
[tr. Tyson (1961), after Freud (1910)]

The act of coition and the members employed are so ugly that but for the beauty of the faces, the adornments of their partners and the frantic urge, Nature would lose the human race.
[tr. Dalwood (1962) after Bataille (1957)]

The act of copulation and the members employed are so repulsive, that if it were not for the beauty of faces and the adornments of the actors and unbridled passion, nature would lose the human race.
[tr. Armstrong (2013), after Nancy (2009)]

 
Added on 28-Sep-22 | Last updated 28-Sep-22
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Rich men’s houses are seldom beautiful, rarely comfortable, and never original. It is a constant source of surprise to people of moderate means to observe how little a big fortune contributes to Beauty.

Margot Asquith
Margot Asquith (1864-1945) British socialite, author, wit [Emma Margaret Asquith, Countess Oxford and Asquith; Margot Oxford; née Tennant]
Autobiography, Vol. 2, 5 May 1908 (1922)
    (Source)
 
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A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be conscientiously regarded as a thing of beauty; and inasmuch as babyhood spans but three short years, no baby is competent to be a joy “forever.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Answers to Correspondents,” Sketches New and Old (1875)
    (Source)

Ostensibly in response to a "Young Mother" who had written that her new baby was a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
 
Added on 26-Jul-22 | Last updated 26-Jul-22
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Your lady friends are ill to see,
All old or ugly as can be,
And in their company you go
To banquet, play, and portico;
This hideous background you prepare
To seem, by contrast, young and fair.

[Omnes aut vetulas habes amicas
Aut turpes vetulisque foediores.
Has ducis comites trahisque tecum
Per convivia, porticus, theatra.
Sic formosa, Fabulla, sic puella es.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 8, epigram 79 (8.79) (AD 94) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921), “The Contrast”]
    (Source)

"To Fabulla." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

All thy companions aged beldames are,
Or more deform'd than age makes any, far:
These cattle at thy heels thou trail'st always
To public walks, to suppers, and to plays.
'Cause when with such alone we thee compare,
Thou canst be said, Fabulla, young or fair.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

All the companions of her grace, I'm told,
Are either very plan, or very old.
With these she visits: these she drags about,
To play, to ball, assembly, auctions, rout:
With these she sups: with these she takes the air.
Without such foils is lady dutchess fair?
[tr. Hay (1755)]

Old women are thine only friends;
Or rivals, safe as they.
No other face thy face attends,
To table, porch or play.
Fabulla, thus thou beauteous art,
And thus thou still art young.
Oh! solace to my eyes impart;
Or silence to my tongue.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 3, ep. 94]

All your female friends are either old or ugly; nay, more ugly than old women usually are. These you lead about in your train, and drag with you to feasts, porticoes, and theatres. Thus, Fabulla, you seem handsome, thus you seem young.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

All the female friends you have are either old crones or ugly, and fouler than old crones. These, as your companions, you conduct and drag about with you through parties, colonnades, theaters. In this way, Fabulla, you are lovely, in this way young.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

The friends that old Fabulla owns
Are harridans and ancient crones,
Ill-favored witches, what you will;
These are her constant comrades still
To banquets, theatres, and shows;
So ever fair and young she goes.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 442]

The only female friends she has
Are old or ugly crows.
These she drags along with her
To parties, visits, shows.
So it's no cause for wonder that
Amidst such company
She's young, attractive, beautiful --
Almost a joy to see!
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Her women friends are all old hags
Or, worse, hideous girls. She drags
Them with her everywhere she goes --
To parties, theaters, porticoes.
Clever Fabulla! Set among
Those foils you shine, even look young.
[tr. Michie (1972)]

All your women friends are either old hags or frights uglier than old hags. These are your companions whom you bring with you and trail through dinner parties, colonnades, theaters. In this way, Fabullla, you are a beauty, you are a girl.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

With women you keep company
Who are ugly as can be.
These ancient frights you take along
To show off in your social throng.
You hope that we will make compare,
So even you look young and fair.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

All your friends are ancient hags
or eyesores uglier than those.
These are the company you drag
to banquets, plays, and porticoes.
Fabulla, when you're seen among
such friends, you're beautiful and young.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
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Translation is like a woman. If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933-2017) Russian poet, writer, film director, academic [Евге́ний Евтуше́нко, Evgenij Evtušenko]
(Attributed)

Also attributed to Edmond Jaloux and Tahar Ben Jelloun.
 
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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.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“A Defence of Heraldry,” The Defendant (1901)
    (Source)
 
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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 (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
Notebooks: 1935-1942 Notebook 1, May 1935 [tr. Thody (1963)
    (Source)
 
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Beauty’s of a fading nature,
Has a season and is gone!

Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scottish national poet
“Will Ye Go and Marry, Katie?” (1764)
    (Source)
 
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Art for Art’s Sake means, for its adepts, the pursuit of pure beauty — without any other consideration.

[L’art pour l’art signifie, pour les adeptes, un travail dégagé de toute préoccupation autre que celle du beau en lui-même.]

Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) French poet, writer, critic
L’Art Moderne, “Beauty in Art [Du Beau Dans L’Art]” (1856) [tr. Ruckstull (1925)]
    (Source)
 
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For me, a hearty “belly laugh” is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.

Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) American publisher, humorist
An Encyclopedia of Modern American Humor, Foreword (1954)
    (Source)

Variant: "For me, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world is a hearty laugh."
 
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Frodo drew the Ring out of his pocket again and looked at it. It now appeared plain and smooth, without mark or device that he could see. The gold looked very fair and pure, and Frodo thought how rich and beautiful was its colour, how perfect was its roundness. It was an admirable thing and altogether precious.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 2 “The Shadow of the Past” (1954)
    (Source)
 
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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 (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, 3.15 (1756)
    (Source)
 
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As the love increases in thee, so the loveliness increases: for love is itself the beauty of the soul.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
Homilies on the 1st Epistle of John [Tractatus in epistulam Ioannis ad Parthos], Homily 9 [tr. Browne (1888)]

Sermon on 1 John 4:17-21. Alternate translations:

Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul's beauty.
[tr. Ramsey (1990)]

Inasmuch as love grows in you, in so much beauty grows; for love is itself the beauty of the soul.

 
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Beauty always has an element of strangeness. I do not mean a deliberate cold form of strangeness, for in that case it would be a monstrous thing that had jumped the rails of life. But I do mean that it always contains a certain degree of strangeness, of simple, unintended, unconscious strangeness, and that this form of strangeness is what gives it the right to be called beauty.

[Le Beau est toujours bizarre. Je ne veux pas dire qu’il soit volontairement, froidement bizarre, car dans ce cas il serait un monstre sorti des rails de la vie. Je dis qu’il contient toujours un peu de bizarrerie, de bizarrerie naive, non voulue, inconsciente, et que c’est cette bizarrerie qui le fait être particulièrement le Beau.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
“The Universal Exhibition of 1855 [Exposition Universelle de 1855],” sec. 1 (1855) [tr. Charvet (1972)]
    (Source)

Frequently paraphrased as "Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty." See also Bacon.

Collected in Curiosités Esthétiques, ch. 4 (1868). (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The Beautiful is always strange. I do not mean that it is coldly, deliberately strange, for in that case it would be a monstrosity that had jumped the rails of life. I mean that it always contains a touch of strangeness, of simple, unpremeditated and unconscious strangeness, and that it is in this touch of strangeness that gives it its particular quality as Beauty.
[tr. Mayne (1965)]

Beauty is always bizarre. I do not mean to say that it is deliberately, coldly bizarre, for in that case it would be a monster that has escaped from the confines of existence. I mean that it always contains a certain amount of strangeness, naïve strangeness, unforced and even unconscious, and that it is this strangeness that stamps it as Beautiful.
[tr. Gregory (1961)]

 
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BECKET: Beauty is one of the few things which don’t shake one’s faith in God.

[Le beauté est une des rares choses qui ne font pas douter de Dieu.]

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Becket, Act 1 (1959) [tr. Hill (1960)]
    (Source)

The official English translation approved by Anouilh. (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Beauty is one of the very few things that don't shake one's faith in God.
[tr. Raphael and Raphael (2004)]

Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God.
[Frequently found translation, but source unknown]

 
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You’re rich and young, as all confess,
And none denies your loveliness;
But when we hear your boastful tongue
You’re neither pretty, rich, nor young.

[Bella es, novimus, et puella, verum est,
Et dives, quis enim potest negare?
Sed cum te nimium, Fabulla, laudas,
Nec dives neque bella nec puella es.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 64 (1.64) (AD 85-86) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921), “The Boaster”]
    (Source)

"To Fabulla." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Of beautie braue we knowe thou art,
and eke a maide beside:
Abounding eke in wealthe and store,
this ne maie bee denied.
But while to much you praise your self,
and boste you all surmount:
Ne riche, ne faire, Fabulla, nor
A maide we can you counte.
[tr. Kendall (1577)]

You're fayre, I know't; and modest too, 't is true;
And rich you are; well, who denyes it you?
But whilst your owne prayse you too much proclame,
Of modest, rich, and fayre you loose the same.
[17th C Manuscript]

Faire, rich, and yong? how rare is her perfection,
Were it not mingled with one soule infection?
I meane, so proud a heart, so curst a tongue,
As makes her seeme, nor faire, nor rich, nor yong.
[tr. Harington (fl. c. 1600), ep. 291; Book 4, ep. 37 "Of a faire Shrew"]

Th' art faire Fabulla, tis most true,
Rich, yongue, there's none denies thy due.
But whilest thy selfe dost too much boast,
Thy youth, thy wealth, thy beautie's lost.
[tr. May (1629)]

Genteel 't is true, O nymph, you are;
You're rich and beauteous to a hair.
But while too much you praise yourself,
You've neither air, nor charms, nor pelf.
[tr. Gent. Mag. (1746)]

Pretty thou art, we know; a pretty maid!
A rich one, too, it cannot be gainsay'd.
But when thy puffs we hear, thy pride we see;
Thou neither rich, nor fair, nor maid canst be.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 3, ep. 48; Bohn labels this as Anon.]

You are pretty, -- we know it; and young, --it is true; and rich, -- who can deny it? But when you praise yourself extravagantly, Fabulla, you appear neither rich, nor pretty, nor young.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Fabulla, it's true you're a fair ingénue,
And your wealth is on every one's tongue:
But your loud self-conceit
Makes people you meet
Think you neither fair, wealthy, nor young.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "The Egoist"]

You are beautiful, we know, and young, that is true, and rich -- for who can deny it? But while you praise yourself overmuch, Fabulla, you are neither rich, nor beautiful, nor young.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You’re beautiful, oh yes, and young, and rich;
But since you tell us so, you’re just a bitch.
[tr. Humphries (1963)]

It's true enough, Fabulla, you are
by you, Fabulla, you aren't rich, or beautiful, or young.
Bovie (1970)]

That you're young, beautiful and rich,
Fabulla, no one can deny.
But when you praise yourself too much,
None of the epithets apply.
[tr. Michie (1972)]

You're beautiful, oh yes, and young, and rich;
But since you tell us so, you're just a bitch.
[tr. Humphries (<1987)]

You are pretty: we know. You are young: true. And rich: who can deny it? But when you praise yourself too much, Fabulla, you are neither rich nor pretty nor young.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

You're rich, and young, and beautiful!
It's true, and who can doubt it?
But less and less we feel that pull
The more you talk about it.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Of debutantes you are beyond compare --
So wealthy, beautiful, and debonair.
Yet you make all this matter not a whit:
Your beauty to undo -- you boast of it.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

You’re lovely, yes, and young, it’s true,
and rich -- who can deny your wealth?
But you aren’t lovely, young or rich,
Fabulla, when you praise yourself.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
Added on 18-Feb-22 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Gross and obscure natures, however decorated, seem impure shambles; but character gives splendor to youth, and awe to wrinkled skin and gray hairs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Beauty,” The Conduct of Life (1860)
    (Source)
 
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I, having built a house, reject
The feud of eye and intellect,
And find in my experience proof
One pleasure runs from root to roof,
One thrust along a streamline arches
The sudden star, the budding larches.

The force that makes the winter grow
Its feathered hexagons of snow,
and drives the bee to match at home
Their calculated honeycomb,
Is abacus and rose combined.
An icy sweetness fills my mind,

A sense that under thing and wing
Lies, taut yet living, coiled, the spring.

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) Polish-English humanist and mathematician
“The Abacus and the Rose” (1965)
    (Source)

First published in Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1965 ed.).
 
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Dear indolent, I love to see,
in your body bright,
How like shimmering silk the skin
Reflects the light!
[…]
When you walk in rhythm, lovely
With abandonment,
You seem to be swayed by a wand,
A dancing serpent.

Que j’aime voir, chère indolente,
De ton corps si beau,
Comme une étoffe vacillante,
Miroiter la peau!
[…]
À te voir marcher en cadence,
Belle d’abandon,
On dirait un serpent qui danse
Au bout d’un bâton.

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Les Fleurs du Mal [The Flowers of Evil], Part 1, #29 “Le Serpent qui danse [The Dancing Serpent],” st. 1, 5 (1857) [tr. Gibbs (1947)]
    (Source)

These phrases use very similar imagery to the previous poem in the collection. (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

I love to watch, while you are lazing,
Your skin. It iridesces
Like silk or satin, smoothly-glazing
The light that it caresses.
[...]
To see you rhythmically advancing
Seems to my fancy fond
As if it were a serpent dancing
Waved by the charmer’s wand.
[tr. Campbell (1952), #28 "The Snake That Dances"]

Indolent darling, how I love
To see the skin
Of your body so beautiful
Shimmer like silk!
[...]
To see you walking in cadence
With fine abandon,
One would say a snake which dances
On the end of a staff.
[tr. Aggeler (1954) "The Dancing Serpent"]

Indolent love, with what delight
I watch the tawny flesh
Of your sweet body shimmer bright
As a bright silken mesh.
[...]
Your sinuous cadenced walk enhancing
Your slim proud gait, a frond
Swaying, you are, or a snake dancing
Atop a fakir's wand.
[tr. LeClercq (1958) "Dancing Serpent"]

How I love to watch, dear indolent creature,
The skin of your so
Beautiful body glisten, like some
Quivering material!
[...]
Seeing your harmonious walk,
Abandoned beauty,
One would say a snake was dancing
At the end of a stick.
[tr. Wagner (1974) "The Dancing Serpent"]

Dear indolent! I love to see
with every move you make
the iridescence of your skin
gleam like watered silk.
[...]
And when you walk to cadences
of sinuous nonchalance,
it looks as if a serpent danced
in rhythm to a wand.
[tr. Howard (1982) "As If A Serpent Danced"]

How I adore, dear indolent,
Your lovely body, when
Like silken cloth it shimmers --
Your sleek and glimmering skin!
[...]
Viewing the rhythm of your walk,
Beautifully dissolute,
One seems to see a serpent dance
Before a wand and flute.
[tr. McGowan (1993), "The Dancing Serpent"]

How love to look, dear indolent one, at your beautiful body and see, like a shot silk, the changing gleam of your skin! [...]
Seeing your rhythmic walk, beautiful in its abandon, one thinks of a serpent dancing at the head of a stick.
[tr. Clark (1995), #18 "The Dancing Serpent"]

How I love, dear lazybones, to see how the skin of your beautiful body sparkles like cloth billowing [...]
To see you walk in cadence, fair unconstrained, brings to mind a serpent dancing at the prodding of a stick.
[tr. Waldrop (2006), "Dancing Serpent"]

 
Added on 10-Feb-22 | Last updated 10-Feb-22
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The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, ch. 6 “Lothlórien” [Haldir] (1954)
    (Source)
 
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JUBA: Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
Cato, Act 1, sc. 4 (1713)
    (Source)
 
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At that,
as she turned away her neck shone with a rosy glow,
her mane of hair gave off an ambrosial fragrance,
her skirt flowed loose, rippling down to her feet
and her stride alone revealed her as a goddess.

[Dixit et avertens rosea cervice refulsit,
Ambrosiaeque comae divinum vertice odorem
Spiravere; pedes vestis defluxit ad imos,
Et vera incessu patuit dea.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 402ff (1.402-405) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 487ff]
    (Source)

Describing Venus. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Therefore goe on (she said) as leads the way,
And turning did her rosie neck display,
When her Ambrosian haire a heavenly sweet
Breaths from her head, robes flow beneath her feet,
Her Gate a Godesse shewes.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Thus having said, she turn'd, and made appear
Her neck refulgent, and dishevel'd hair,
Which, flowing from her shoulders, reach'd the ground.
And widely spread ambrosial scents around:
In length of train descends her sweeping gown;
And, by her graceful walk, the Queen of Love is known.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

She said, and turning away, shone radiant with her rosy neck, and from her head ambrosial locks breathed divine fragrance: her robe hung flowing to the ground, and by her gait the goddess stood confessed.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

She turned, and flashed upon their view
Her stately neck's purpureal hue;
Ambrosial tresses round her head
A more than earthly fragrance shed:
Her falling robe her footprints swept,
And showed the goddess as she stept.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

She said; and turning, gleamed with rosy neck,
And from her head divinest odors breathed
In her ambrosial hair. Around her feet
Floated her flowing robe; and in her gait
All the true goddess was revealed.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 524ff]

Speaking she turned away, and her neck shone roseate, her immortal tresses breathed the fragrance of deity; her raiment fell flowing down to her feet, and the godhead was manifest in her tread.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

She spake, she turned, from rosy neck the light of heaven she cast,
And from her hair ambrosial the scent of Gods went past
Upon the wind, and o'er her feet her skirts fell shimmering down,
And very God she went her ways.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 402ff]

So saying, she turned, and all refulgent showed
Her roseate neck, and heavenly fragrance sweet
Was breathed from her ambrosial hair. Down flowed
Her loosened raiment, streaming to her feet,
And by her walk the Goddess shone complete.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 53; l. 478ff]

She ceased and turned away. A roseate beam
from her bright shoulder glowed; th' ambrosial hair
breathed more than mortal sweetness, while her robes
fell rippling to her feet. Each step revealed
the veritable goddess.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

She spoke, and as she turned away, her roseate neck flashed bright. From her head her ambrosial tresses breathed celestial fragrance; down to her feet fell her raiment, and in her step she was revealed a very goddess.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

And as she turned, her shoulders
Shone with a radiant light; her hair shed fragrance,
Her robes slipped to her feet, and the true goddess
Walked in divinity.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

She spoke. She turned away; and as she turned, her neck
Glowed to a rose-flush, her crown of ambrosial hair breathed out
A heavenly fragrance, her robe flowed down, down to her feet,
And in gait she was all a goddess.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Those were the words of Venus. When she turned,
her neck was glittering with a rose brightness;
her hair anointed with ambrosia,
her head gave all a fragrance of the gods;
her gown was long and to the ground; even
her walk was sign enough she was a goddess.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 572ff]

On this she turned away. Rose-pink and fair
Her nape shone, her ambrosial hair exhaled
Divine perfume, her gown rippled full length,
And by her stride she showed herself a goddess.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 552ff]

When she was finished speaking and was turning way, her neck shone with a rosy light and her hair breathed the divine odor of ambrosia. Her dress flowed free to her feet and as she walked he knew she was truly a goddess.
[tr. West (1990)]

She spoke, and turning away she reflected the light
from her rose-tinted neck, and breathed a divine perfume
from her ambrosial hair: her robes trailed down to her feet,
and, in her step, showed her a true goddess.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

She spoke, and as she turned, her neck
Shone with roselight. An immortal fragrance
From her ambrosial locks perfumed the air,
Her robes flowed down to cover her feet,
And every step revealed her divinity.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

As she turned away, her neck gleamed rosily, her ambrosial hair gave off a divine scent and her robes grew longer, flowing to her feet. Her gait too revealed the goddess.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
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I praise your body’s beauty. “Quite enough,”
Galla, you say, “it’s better in the buff.”
Let’s go a-bathing then, but you decline.
Galla, are you afraid you won’t like mine?

[Cum faciem laudo, cum miror crura manusque,
Dicere, Galla, soles ‘Nuda placebo magis,’
Et semper vitas communia balnea nobis.
Numquid, Galla, times, ne tibi non placeam?]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 51 (3.51) (AD 87-88) [tr. Barger]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

When ore I praise thy face, hand, leg; far more
(Thou sayst) I'd like thee, if all naked ore;
Yet still thou shun'st the common Baths with me;
Fear'st thou that I should not be lik'd by thee?
[tr. May (1629), 3.50]

When, Galla, thy face, hands, and legs I admire,
Thou say'st, I, when naked more pleasing shall be.
Yet, one common bath, I full vainly require:
Dost fear that I shall not be pleasing to thee?
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 4, Part 3 ep. 38]

When I praise your face, when I admire your limbs and hands,
You tell me, Galla, "In nature's garments I shall please you still better."
Yet you always avoid the same baths with myself!
Do you fear, Galla, that I shall not please you?
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

When I compliment your face, when I admire your legs and hands,
You are accustomed to say, Galla: "Naked I shall please you more,"
And yet you continually avoid taking a bath with me.
Surely you are not afraid, Galla, that I shall not please you?
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Whene'er I praise your legs and arms,
Your eyes and rosy cheeks admire,
You whisper low -- "My hidden charms
A deeper wonder will inspire."
And yet whenever I suggest
A bath together, you say no,
Perhaps you fear that when undressed
Without my clothes I shall not do.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

When I praise your face and lovely hands
Or to your legs allude,
This is what you always say:
"I'm nicer in the nude."
And yet you constantly decline
To go to the Baths with me.
Are you afraid you'll be displeased
With my own nudity?
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

When I say how I like your face, Galla,
and admire your hands and your legs
you observe "I'm even nicer in the nude."
But you don't go to the baths when I do.
Are you afraid to look at me?
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

When I praise your face and admire your legs and hands, Galla, you are apt to say: "You'll like me better naked." And yet you always avoid taking a bath with me. Can it be, Galla, that you are afraid you may not like me?
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

I praise your face and figure as divine
"But if you saw me nude -- I really shine"
Yet rather than shed clothes you seek distraction
Because a letdown will be my reaction?
[tr. Wills (2007)]

When I admire your face and legs and hands,
"You'll like me better nude," you always tease.
Yet, Galla, you won't bathe with me in public.
Am I the one you fear will fail to please?
[tr. McLean (2014)]
 
Added on 15-Oct-21 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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The very women who object to the morals of a notoriously beautiful actress, grow big with pride when an admirer suggests their marked resemblance to this stage beauty in physique.

Minna Antrim
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions (1901)
 
Added on 10-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Sep-21
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After nine months of familiarity with this panorama, I still think, as I thought in the beginning, that this is the fairest picture on our planet, the most enchanting to look upon, the most satisfying to the eye and the spirit. To see the sun sink down, drowned on his pink and purple and golden floods, and overwhelm Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams, is a sight to stir the coldest nature, and make a sympathetic one drunk with ecstasy.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Autobiography, “Chapters Added in Florence (1904)” (1924) [ed. Bigelow]
    (Source)

Recounting his previous stay in, and view of, Florence, Italy, starting in 26 September 1892; written while again staying there in 1904.
 
Added on 8-Sep-21 | Last updated 8-Sep-21
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If a man should ascend alone into heaven and behold clearly the structure of the universe and the beauty of the stars, there would be no pleasure for him in the awe-inspiring sight, which would have filled him with delight if he had had someone to whom he could describe what he had seen.

[Si quis in coelum ascendisset, naturamque mundi, et pulchritudinem siderum perspexisset, insuavem illam admirationem ei fore; quae jucudissima fuisset, si aliquem, cui narraret, habuisset.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Laelius De Amicitia [Laelius on Friendship], ch. 23 / sec. 88 (44 BC) [tr. Falconer (1923)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Cicero attributes this as a paraphrase of Archytas of Tarentum (d. 394 BC), a Pythagorean philosopher and astronomer. Alternate translations:

If any one could have ascended to the sky, and surveyed the structure of the universe, and the beauty of the stars, that such admiration would be insipid to him; and yet it would be most delightful if he had someone to whom he might describe it.
[tr. Edmonds (1871)]

If one had ascended to heaven, and had obtained a full view of the nature of the universe and the beauty of the stars, yet his admiration would be without delight, if there were no one to whom he could tell what he had seen.
[tr. Peabody (1887)]

If a man could ascend to heaven and get a clear view of the natural order of the universe, and the beauty of the heavenly bodies, that wonderful spectacle would give him small pleasure, though nothing could be conceived more delightful if he had but had some one to whom to tell what he had seen.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1909)]

If a man could mount to heaven and survey the mighty universe with all the planetary orbs, his admiration of its beauties would be much diminished, unless he had someone to share in his pleasure.
[Source]

 
Added on 3-May-21 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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Here’s a comforting thought for you, Peter. However long you may live, the world will never lose its ability to surprise you with its beauty.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Lies Sleeping (2018)
    (Source)
 
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No object is so ugly that, under certain conditions of light and shade, or proximity to other things, it will not look beautiful; no object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lecture to Art Students, Royal Academy, London (30 Jun 1883)
    (Source)
 
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The innocent and the beautiful
Have no enemy but time.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish poet and dramatist
“In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz” (1927)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-Mar-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-21
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Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
Cakes and Ale, ch. 11 (1930)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Mar-21 | Last updated 3-Mar-21
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Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance; at least I suppose this quill I hold in my hand writes better than a peacock’s would, and the peasants of Vevay, whose fields in spring time are as white with lilies as the Dent du Midi is with its snow, told me the hay was none the better for them.

John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic, painter, writer, social thinker
The Stones of Venice, ch. 2 “The Virtues of Architecture,” sec. 17 (1851)
    (Source)
 
Added on 24-Feb-21 | Last updated 24-Feb-21
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For even the humblest person, a day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search for truth and perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) American writer, philosopher, historian, architect
The Condition of Man (1944)
    (Source)
 
Added on 17-Feb-21 | Last updated 17-Feb-21
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The ideal has many names, and beauty is but one of them.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
Cakes and Ale (1930)
    (Source)
 
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The good things of youth are strength and beauty, but the flower of age is moderation.

[Ἰσχὺς καὶ εὐμορφίη νεότητος ἀγαθά, γήραος δὲ σωφροσύνη ἄνθος.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 294 (Diels) [tr. Freeman (1948)]
    (Source)

Diels citation: "294. (205 N.)"; ; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium IV, 115, 19.

Alternate translations:

  • "The good things of youth are strength and beauty; moderation is the flower of age." [Source]
  • "Strength and beauty are the blessings of youth; temperance, however, is the flower of old age."
 
Added on 26-Jan-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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A full bosom is actually a millstone around a woman’s neck: it endears her to the men who want to make their mammet of her, but she is never allowed to think that their popping eyes actually see her.

Germaine Greer (b. 1939) Australian-English feminist, reformer, author, educator
“Curves,” The Female Eunuch (1970)
    (Source)
 
Added on 25-Jan-21 | Last updated 25-Jan-21
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Your breasts are like gazelles,
twin deer feeding among lilies.

The Bible (The Old Testament) (14th - 2nd C BC) Judeo-Christian sacred scripture [Tanakh, Hebrew Bible], incl. the Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals)
Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 4:5 [GNT (1976)]
    (Source)

Repeated in 7:3 (in some translations 7:4).

Alternate translations:

Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
[KJV (1611)]

Your two breasts are two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that feed among the lilies.
[JB (1966); NJB (1985)]

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle doe,
that graze among the lilies.
[CEB (2011)]

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that feed among the lilies.
[NRSV (2021 ed.)]

Your breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle,
Browsing among the lilies.
[RJPS (2023 ed.)]

 
Added on 11-Jan-21 | Last updated 16-Apr-24
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People who care for you inevitably become beautiful.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Bingo, ch. 38 (1988)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Dec-20 | Last updated 9-Dec-20
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