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There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty. John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. John Keats, Ode to a Grecian Urn
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness. John Keats, Endymion, 1818
Whether the nymph shall break Diana’s law,
Or some frail china jar receive a flaw,
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
Forget her pray’rs , or miss a masquerade. Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, 1714
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul. ibid.
The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth. Albert Einstein
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. Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago
Art always serves beauty, and beauty is the joy of possessing form, and form is the key to organic life since no living thing can exist without it. ibid.
As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams. William Butler Yeats, Rosa Alchemica
The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time. William Butler Yeats, In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz
The artist is the creator of beautiful things
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray preface
But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. ibid.
Lord Henry looked at him. Yes, he was certainly wonderfully handsome, with his finely-curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp golden hair. There was something in his face that made on trust him at once. All the candour of youth was there, as well as all youth’s passionate purity. One felt that he had kept himself unspotted from the world. ibid.
Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. ibid.
When your youth goes, you beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. ibid.
Ah! realise your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing ... Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to ... Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth. ibid.
Beauty is a form of Genius – is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. ibid.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly. ibid.
No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly. Oscar Wilde
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, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792
When a woman isn’t beautiful, people always say,
‘You have lovely eyes, you have lovely hair.’ Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya
Is it too much to ask that women be spared the daily struggle for superhuman beauty in order to offer it to the carcasses of a subhumanly ugly mate? Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch, 1970
Every woman knows that, regardless of all her other achievements, she is a failure if she is not beautiful. Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman
Cosmetic surgery processes the bodies of woman-made women, who make up the vast majority of its patient pool, into man-made women. Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:
We murder to dissect.
Enough of science and of art;
Close up these barren leaves. William Wordsworth, The Tables Turned 1798
Some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone. William Wordsworth, Most Sweet It Is, 1835
The perpetual hunger to be beautiful and that thirst to be loved which is the real curse of Eve. Jean Rhys, The Left Bank, 1927
Beauty is a sign of intelligence. Andy Warhol
I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say, ‘Look how beautiful it is,’ and I’ll agree. Then he says, ‘I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,’ and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question, Does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts. Richard P Feynman
Nature has a great simplicity and, therefore, a great beauty. Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law