Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.
Addison—Cato. Act I. Sc. 4.

What is lovely never dies,
But passes into other loveliness,
Star-dust, or sea-foam, flower or winged air.
T. B. Aldrich—A Shadow of the Night.

I must not say that she was true,
Yet let me say that she was fair;
And they, that lovely face who view,
They should not ask if truth be there.
Matthew Arnold—Euphrosyne.

The beautiful are never desolate;
But some one alway loves them—God or man.
If man abandons, God himself takes them.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. Water and Wood Midnight. L. 370.

There’s nothing that allays an angry mind
So soon as a sweet beauty.
Beaumont and Fletcher—The Elder Brother. Act III. Sc. 5.

Ye Gods! but she is wondrous fair!
For me her constant flame appears;
The garland she hath culled, I wear
On brows bald since my thirty years.
Ye veils that deck my loved one rare,
Fall, for the crowning triumph’s nigh.
Ye Gods! but she is wondrous fair!
And I, so plain a man am I!
Beranger—Qu’elle est jolie. Translated by C. L. Betts.

The beautiful seems right
By force of beauty, and the feeble wrong
Because of weakness.
E. B. Browning—Aurora Leigh. Bk. I.

The essence of all beauty, I call love,
The attribute, the evidence, and end,
The consummation to the inward sense
Of beauty apprehended from without,
I still call love.
E. B. Browning—Sword Glare.

And behold there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful.
Bunyan—Pilgrim’s Progress. Pt. I.

Who doth not feel, until his failing sight
Faints into dimness with its own delight,
His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess,
The might—the majesty of Loveliness?
Byron—Bride of Abydos. Canto I. St. 6.

The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the Music breathing from her face,
The heart whose softness harmonized the whole,
And, oh! the eye was in itself a Soul!
Byron—Bride of Abydos. Canto I. St. 6.

Thou who hast
The fatal gift of beauty.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto IV. St. 42.

Her glossy hair was cluster’d o’er a brow
Bright with intelligence, and fair and smooth;
Her eyebrow’s shape was like the aerial bow,
Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth,
Mounting, at times, to a transparent glow,
As if her veins ran lightning.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto I. St. 61.

A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded,
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto XV. St. 43.

She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless chimes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
Byron—She Walks in Beauty.

No todas hermosuras enamoran, que algunas alegran la vista, y no rinden la voluntad.
All kinds of beauty do not inspire love; there is a kind which only pleases the sight, but does not captivate the affections.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. II. 6.

Exceeding fair she was not; and yet fair
In that she never studied to be fairer
Than Nature made her; beauty cost her nothing,
Her virtues were so rare.
George Chapman—All Fools. Act I. Sc. 1.

I pour into the world the eternal streams
Wan prophets tent beside, and dream their dreams.
John Vance Cheney—Beauty.

She is not fair to outward view
As many maidens be;
Her loveliness I never knew
Until she smiled on me:
Oh! then I saw her eye was bright,
A well of love, a spring of light.
Hartley Coleridge—Song.

Her gentle limbs did she undress,
And lay down in her loveliness.
Coleridge—Christabel. Pt. I. St. 24.

Beauty is the lover’s gift.
Congreve—The Way of the World. Act II. Sc. 2.

The ladies of St. James’s!
They’re painted to the eyes;
Their white it stays for ever,
Their red it never dies;
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
Her colour comes and goes;
It trembles to a lily,—
It wavers to a rose.
Austin Dobson—At the Sign of the Lyre.

Old as I am, for ladies’ love unfit,
The power of beauty I remember yet,
Which once inflam’d my soul, and still inspires my wit.
Dryden—Cymon and Iphigenia. L. 1.

When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind!
Dryden—Cymon and Iphigenia. L. 41.

She, though in full-blown flower of glorious beauty,
Grows cold, even in the summer of her age.
Dryden—Œdipus. Act IV. Sc. 1.

Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the marsh and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being.
Emerson—The Rhodora.

The beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary.
Emerson—Essay. On the Poet.

Who gave thee, O Beauty,
The keys of this breast,—
Too credulous lover
Of blest and unblest?
Say, when in lapsed ages
Thee knew I of old?
Or what was the service
For which I was sold?
Emerson—Ode to Beauty. St. 1.

Each ornament about her seemly lies,
By curious chance, or careless art composed.
Edward Fairfax—Godfrey of Bullogne.

Any color, so long as it’s red,
Is the color that suits me best,
Though I will allow there is much to be said
For yellow and green and the rest.
Eugene Field—Red.

In beauty, faults conspicuous grow;
The smallest speck is seen on snow.
Gay—Fable. The Peacock, Turkey and Goose. L. 1.

Schön war ich auch, und das war mein Verderben.
I too was fair, and that was my undoing.
Goethe—Faust. I. 25. 30.

Handsome is that handsome does.
Goldsmith—The Vicar of Wakefield. Ch. I. Fielding—Tom Jones. Bk. IV. Ch. XII.

’Tis impious pleasure to delight in harm.
And beauty should be kind, as well as charm.
Geo. Granville (Lord Lansdowne)—To Myra. L. 21.

The dimple that thy chin contains has beauty in its round,
That never has been fathomed yet by myriad thoughts profound.
Hafiz—Odes. CXLIII.

There’s beauty all around our paths, if but our watchful eyes
Can trace it ’midst familiar things, and through their lowly guise.
Felicia D. Hemans—Our Daily Paths.

Many a temptation comes to us in fine, gay colours that are but skin deep.
Matthew Henry—Commentaries. Genesis. Ch. III.

Beauty draws more than oxen.
Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.

Beauty is the index of a larger fact than wisdom.
Holmes—Professor at the Breakfast Table. II.

A heaven of charms divine Nausicaa lay.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. VI. L. 22. Pope’s trans.

O matre pulchra filia pulchrior.
O daughter, more beautiful than thy lovely mother.
Horace—Carmina. I. 16. 1.

Nihil est ab omni
Parte beatum.
Nothing is beautiful from every point of view.
Horace—Carmina. II. 16. 27.

Sith Nature thus gave her the praise,
To be the chiefest work she wrought,
In faith, methink, some better ways
On your behalf might well be sought,
Than to compare, as ye have done,
To match the candle with the sun.
Henry Howard—Sonnet to the Fair Geraldine. “Hold their farthing candles to the sun.”

Tell me, shepherds, have you seen
My Flora pass this way?
In shape and feature Beauty’s queen,
In pastoral array.
The Wreath—From The Lyre. Vol. III. P. 27. (Ed. 1824). First lines also in a song by Dr. Samuel Howard.

A queen, devoid of beauty is not queen;
She needs the royalty of beauty’s mien.
Victor Hugo—Eviradnus. V.

Rara est adeo concordia formæ
Atque pudicitiæ.
Rare is the union of beauty and purity.
Juvenal—Satires. X. 297.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Keats—Endymion. Bk. I. L. 1.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty.
Ode on a Grecian Urn.

L’air spirituel est dans les hommes ce que la régularité des traits est dans les femmes: c’est le genre de beauté où les plus vains puissent aspirer.
A look of intelligence in men is what regularity of features is in women: it is a style of beauty to which the most vain may aspire.
La Bruyère—Les Caractères. XII.

’Tis beauty calls, and glory shows the way.
Nathaniel Lee—Alexander the Great; or, The Rival Queens. Act IV. Sc. 2. (“Leads the way” in stage ed.).

Beautiful in form and feature,
Lovely as the day,
Can there be so fair a creature
Formed of common clay?
Longfellow—Masque of Pandora. The Workshop of Hephæstus. Chorus of the Graces.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
Longfellow—Wreck of the Hesperus. St. 2.

Oh, could you view the melodie
Of ev’ry grace,
And musick of her face,
You’d drop a teare,
Seeing more harmonie
In her bright eye,
Then now you heare.
Lovelace—Orpheus to Beasts.

You are beautiful and faded
Like an old opera tune
Played upon a harpsichord.
Amy Lowell—A Lady.

Where none admire, ’tis useless to excel;
Where none are beaux, ’tis vain to be a belle.
Lord Lyttleton—Soliloquy of a Beauty in the Country. L. 11.

Beauty, like wit, to judges should be shown;
Both most are valued where they best are known.
Lord Lyttleton—Soliloquy of a Beauty in the Country. L. 13.

Beauty and sadness always go together.
Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth
Upon the earth without a meet alloy.
George MacDonald—Within and Without. Pt. IV. Sc. 3.

O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.

’Tis evanescence that endures;
The loveliness that dies the soonest has the longest life.
The rainbow is a momentary thing,
The afterglows are ashes while we gaze.
Don Marquis—The Paradox.

Too fair to worship, too divine to love.
Henry Hart Milman—Belvidere Apollo.

Beauty is Nature’s coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current, and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss.
Milton—Comus. L. 739.

Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship.
Milton—Comus. L. 745.

Hung over her enamour’d, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. V. L. 13.

She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IX. L. 489.

***for beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive. Cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abash’d.
Milton—Paradise Regained. Bk. II. L. 220.

And ladies of the Hesperides, that seemed
Fairer than feign’d of old.
Milton—Paradise Regained. Bk. II. L. 357.

Yet beauty, tho’ injurious, hath strange power,
After offence returning, to regain
Love once possess’d.
Milton—Samson Agonistes. L. 1003.

The maid who modestly conceals
Her beauties, while she hides, reveals:
Gives but a glimpse, and fancy draws
Whate’er the Grecian Venus was.
Edward Moore—Spider and the Bee. Fable

Not more the rose, the queen of flowers,
Outblushes all the bloom of bower,
Than she unrivall’d grace discloses;
The sweetest rose, where all are roses.
Moore—Odes of Anacreon. Ode LXVI.

To weave a garland for the rose,
And think thus crown’d ’twould lovelier be,
Were far less vain than to suppose
That silks and gems add grace to thee.
Moore—Songs from the Greek Anthology. To Weave a Garland.

Die when you will, you need not wear
At heaven’s Court a form more fair
Than Beauty here on Earth has given:
Keep but the lovely looks we see
The voice we hear, and you will be
An angel ready-made for heaven.
Moore. Versification of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Life. P. 36.

An’ fair was her sweet bodie,
Yet fairer was her mind:—
Menie’s the queen among the flowers,
The wale o’ womankind.
Robert Nicoll—Menie.

Altho’ your frailer part must yield to Fate,
By every breach in that fair lodging made,
Its blest inhabitant is more displayed.
Oldham—To Madam L. E. on her Recovery. 106.

And should you visit now the seats of bliss,
You need not wear another form but this.
Oldham—To Madam L. E. on her Recovery.116.

Hast thou left thy blue course in heaven, golden-haired son of the sky! The west has opened its gates; the bed of thy repose is there. The waves come, to behold thy beauty. They lift their trembling heads. They see thee lovely in thy sleep; they shrink away with fear. Rest, in thy shadowy cave, O sun! let thy return be in joy.
Ossian—Carric-Thura. St. 1.

And all the carnal beauty of my wife
Is but skin-deep.
Sir Thos. Overbury—A Wife. “Beauty is but skin deep” is found in The Female Rebellion, written about 1682.

Aut formosa fores minus, aut minus improba, vellem.
Non facit ad mores tam bona forma malos.
I would that you were either less beautiful, or less corrupt. Such perfect beauty does not suit such imperfect morals.
Ovid—Amorum, Bk. III. 11. 41.

Auxilium non leve vultus habet.
A pleasing countenance is no slight advantage.
Ovid—Epistolæ Ex Ponto. II. 8. 54.

Raram facit misturam cum sapientia forma.
Beauty and wisdom are rarely conjoined.
Petronius Arbiter—Satyricon. XCIV.

O quanta species cerebrum non habet!
O that such beauty should be so devoid of understanding!
Phædrus—Fables. I. 7. 2.

Nimia est miseria nimis pulchrum esse hominem.
It is a great plague to be too handsome a man.
Plautus—Miles Gloriosus. I. 1. 68.

When the candles are out all women are fair.
Plutarch—Conjugal Precepts.

’Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all.
Pope—Essay. On Criticism. Pt. II. L. 45.

Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
Pope—Rape of the Lock. Canto V. L. 33.

No longer shall the bodice aptly lac’d
From thy full bosom to thy slender waist,
That air and harmony of shape express,
Fine by degrees, and beautifully less.
Prior—Henry and Emma. L. 429.

For, when with beauty we can virtue join,
We paint the semblance of a form divine.
Prior—To the Countess of Oxford.

Nimis in veritate, et similitudinis quam pulchritudinis amantior.
Too exact, and studious of similitude rather than of beauty.
Quintilian—De Institutione Oratoria. XII. 10. 9.

Fair are the flowers and the children, but their subtle suggestion is fairer;
Rare is the roseburst of dawn, but the secret that clasps it is rarer;
Sweet the exultance of song, but the strain that precedes it is sweeter
And never was poem yet writ, but the meaning outmastered the meter.
Richard Realf—Indirection.

Is she not more than painting can express,
Or youthful poets fancy, when they love?
Nicholas Rowe—The Fair Penitent. Act III. Sc. 1.

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for instance.

The saying that beauty is but skin deep is but a skin deep saying.
Ruskin—Personal Beauty.

The beauty that addresses itself to the eyes is only the spell of the moment; the eye of the body is not always that of the soul.
George Sand—Handsome Lawrence. Ch. I.

All things of beauty are not theirs alone
Who hold the fee; but unto him no less
Who can enjoy, than unto them who own,
Are sweetest uses given to possess.
J. G. Saxe—The Beautiful.

Damals war nichts heilig, als das Schöne.
In days of yore [in ancient Greece] nothing was sacred but the beautiful.
Schiller—Die Götter Griechenlands. St. 6.

Die Wahrheit ist vorhanden für den Weisen.
Die Schönheit für ein fühlend Herz.
Truth exists for the wise, beauty for the feeling heart.
Schiller—Don Carlos. IV. 21. 186.

Das ist das Loos des Schönen auf der Erde!
That is the lot of the beautiful on earth.
Schiller—Wallenstein’s Tod.
IV. 12. 26.

And ne’er did Grecian chisel trace
A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace,
Of finer form, or lovelier face!
Scott—Lady of the Lake. Canto I. St. 18.

There was a soft and pensive grace,
A cast of thought upon her face,
That suited well the forehead high,
The eyelash dark, and downcast eve.
Scott—Rokeby. Canto IV. St. 5.

Spirit of Beauty, whose sweet impulses,
Flung like the rose of dawn across the sea,
Alone can flush the exalted consciousness
With shafts of sensible divinity—
Light of the world, essential loveliness.
Alan Seeger—Ode to Natural Beauty. St. 2.

Why thus longing, thus forever sighing
For the far-off, unattain’d, and dim,
While the beautiful all round thee lying
Offers up its low, perpetual hymn?
Harriet W. Sewall—Why Thus Longing.

Beauty comes, we scarce know how, as an emanation from sources deeper than itself.
Shairp—Studies in Poetry and Philosophy. Moral Motive Power.

For her own person,
It beggar’d all description.
Antony and Cleopatra. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 202.

Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.
As You Like It. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 112.

Heaven bless thee!
Thou hast the sweetest face I ever looked on;
Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel.
Henry VIII. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 43.

Of Nature’s gifts thou may’st with lilies boast
And with the half-blown rose.
King John. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 53.

Beauty is brought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.
Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 15.

Beauty doth varnish age.
Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 244.

Beauty is a witch,
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 186.

I’ll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.
Othello. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 3.

Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good;
A shining gloss that fadeth suddenly;
A flower that dies when first it ’gins to bud;
A brittle glass that’s broken presently;
A doubtful good, a gloss, a glass, a flower,
Lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour.
The Passionate Pilgrim. St. 13.

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night,
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear:
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
Romeo and Juliet. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 46. (Later editions read: “Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night.”)

Her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Romeo and Juliet. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 85.

O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
Sonnet LIV.

Say that she frown; I’ll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash’d with dew.
Taming of the Shrew. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 173.

’Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
Twelfth Night. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 257.

There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with’t.
Tempest. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 458.

A lovely lady, garmented in light
From her own beauty.
Shelley—The Witch of Atlas. St. 5.

She died in beauty—like a rose blown from its parent stem.
Charles Doyne Sillery—She Died in Beauty.

O beloved Pan, and all ye other gods of this place, grant me to become beautiful in the inner man.
Socrates. In Plato’s Phædrus. End.

For all that faire is, is by nature good;
That is a signe to know the gentle blood.
Spenser—An Hymne in Honour of Beauty. L. 139.

Her face so faire, as flesh it seemed not,
But heavenly pourtraict of bright angels’ hew,
Cleare as the skye withouten blame or blot,
Through goodly mixture of complexion’s dew.
Spenser—Faerie Queene. Canto III. St. 22.

They seemed to whisper: “How handsome she is!
What wavy tresses! what sweet perfume!
Under her mantle she hides her wings;
Her flower of a bonnet is just in bloom.”
E. C. Stedman—Translation. Jean Prouvaire’s Song at the Barricade.

She wears a rose in her hair,
At the twilight’s dreamy close:
Her face is fair,—how fair
Under the rose!
R. H. Stoddard—Under the Rose.

Fortuna facies muta commendatio est.
A pleasing countenance is a silent commendation.

A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,
And most divinely fair.
Tennyson—Dream of Fair Women. St. 22.

How should I gauge what beauty is her dole,
Who cannot see her countenance for her soul,
As birds see not the casement for the sky?
And as ’tis check they prove its presence by,
I know not of her body till I find
My flight debarred the heaven of her mind.
Francis Thompson—Her Portrait. St. 9.

Whose body other ladies well might bear
As soul,—yea, which it profanation were
For all but you to take as fleshy woof,
Being spirit truest proof.
Francis Thompson—“Manus Animam Pinxit.” St. 3.

Whose form is as a grove
Hushed with the cooing of an unseen dove.
Francis Thompson—“Manus Animam Pinxit.” St. 3.

Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty’s self.
Thomson—Seasons. Autumn. L. 209.

All the beauty of the world, ’tis but skin deep.
Ralph Venning—Orthodoxe Paradoxes. (Third Edition, 1650). The Triumph of Assurance. P. 41.

Gratior ac pulchro veniens in corpore virtus.
Even virtue is fairer when it appears in a beautiful person.
Vergil—Æneid. V. 344.

Nimium ne crede colori.
Trust not too much to beauty.
Vergil—Eclogæ. II. 17.

And as pale sickness does invade
Your frailer part, the breaches made
In that fair lodging still more clear
Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.
Waller—A la Malade.

The yielding marble of her snowy breast.
Waller—On a Lady Passing through a Crowd of People.

Beauty is its own excuse.
Whittier—Dedication to Songs of Labor. (Copied from Emerson.)

Elysian beauty, melancholy grace,
Brought from a pensive, though a happy place.

Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair,
Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair,
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn.
Wordsworth—She was a Phantom of Delight.

Alas! how little can a moment show
Of an eye where feeling plays
In ten thousand dewy rays;
A face o’er which a thousand shadows go!

And beauty born of murmuring sound.
Wordsworth—Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower.

True beauty dwells in deep retreats,
Whose veil is unremoved
Till heart with heart in concord beats,
And the lover is beloved.
Wordsworth—To———. Let Other Bards of Angels Sing.

What’s female beauty, but an air divine,
Through which the mind’s all-gentle graces shine!
They, like the Sun, irradiate all between;
The body charms, because the soul is seen.
Young—Love of Fame. Satire VI. L. 151.