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Beauty, thou wild fantastic ape, Who dost in every country change thy shape; Here black, there brown, here tawny, and there white; Thou flatterer who comply’st with every sight.

Who hast no certain what nor where,
But vary'st still, and dost thyself declare
Inconstant as thy she-possessors are. Cowley.

'Tis not a lip or eye we beauty call,
But the full force and joint effect of all. Pope.

'Tis not a set of features, or complexion,
The tincture of a skin, that I admire;
Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.

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.
Hence men are often captives of a face,
They know not why, of no peculiar grace:
Some forms, though bright, no mortal man can bear;
Some men resist, though not exceeding fair.

Young. Hear, ye fair daughters of this happy land, Whose radiant eyes the vanquished world command; Tirtue is beauty: but when charms of mind With elegance of outward form are joined; When youth makes each bright object still more bright, And fortune sets them in the strongest light; "Tis all of heaven that we below may view, And all but adoration is your due.


· Ah me! the blooming pride of May,

And that of beauty are but one;
At morn, both flourish bright and gay,

Both fade at evening, pale and gone.


Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceit,
That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart,
And gives it a new pulse unknown before!


The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd,
Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd,
What hast thou more to boast of? will thy lovers
Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee homage!
Methinks I see thee with thy head laid low;
Whilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek,
The high-fed worm, in lazy volumes roll’d,
Riots unscared. For this was all thy caution?
For this thy painful labours at thy glass,
T'improve those charms and keep them in repair,
For which the spoiler thanks thee not? Foul feeder!
Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well,
And leave as keen a relish on the sense. Blair.

Beauty's our grief, but in the ore,
We mint, we stamp, and then adore;
Like heathens we the image crown,
And indiscreetly then fall down. Cartwright.

Do not idolatrize; beauty's a flow'r
Which springs and withers almost in an hour.

William Smith.

O how I grudge the grave this heav'nly form!
Thy beauties will inspire the arms of death,
And warm the pale cold tyrant into life.

I am not carved from stone, and cannot hear
Music without emotion, nor unmoved
Look on a flower, or ought that's beautiful.

Marston. Lo! when the buds expand, the leaves are green, Then the first opening of the flower is seen; Then come the humid breath and rosy-smile, That with their sweets the willing sense beguile: But as we look, and love, and taste, and praise, And the fruit grows the charming flower decays; Till all is gathered, and the wintry blast Mourns o'er the place of love and pleasure past. So 'tis with beauty,--such the opening grace, The crown of glory in the youthful face.

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Then are the charms unfolded to the sight,
Then all is loveliness and all delight;
The nuptial tie succeeds, and genial hour,
And, lo! the falling off of beauty's flower.


Oh! how refreshing seemed the breathing wind

To her faint limbs! and while her snowy hands From her fair brow her golden hair unbind,

And of her zone unloose the silken bands, More passing bright unveiled her beauty stands;

For faultless was her form as beauty's queen, And every winning grace that love demands,

With mild attempered dignity was seen Play o’er each lovely limb, and deck her angel mien.

Mrs. Tighe.

The blessings of the skies all went about her;
Health, grace, inimitable beauty, wreathed
Round every motion :-On her lip the rose
Has left its sweetness, (for what bee to kiss?)
And from the darkening heaven of her eyes,
A starry spirit looks out:-Can it be Love?


Who can curiously behold
The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek,
Nor feel the heart can never all grow cold?


As rising on its purple wing
The insect queen of eastern spring,
O’er emerald meadows of Kashmere,
Invites the young pursuer near,
And leads him on from flower to flower,
A weary chase and wasted hour,
Then leaves him, as it soars on high,
With panting heart and tearful eye:
So beauty lures the full-grown child,
With hue as bright and wing as wild;
A chase of idle hopes and fears,
Begun in folly, closed in tears.



So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue, which haunts it to the tomb.

We gaze and turn away, and know not why,
Dazzled and drunk with beauty, till the heart
Reels with its fullness.


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The beautiful is vanished, and returns not.

Coleridge. Oh she has beauty might ensnare A conqueror's soul, and make him tear his crown At random, to be scuffled for by slaves. Otway.

Without the smile, from partial beauty won,
Oh, what were man?-a world without a sun!


Beauty with a bloodless conquest finds
A welcome sovereignty in rudest minds.


Beauty, That transitory flower: even while it lasts Palls on the roving sense, when held too near, Or dwelling there too long: by fits it pleases; And smells at distance best; its sweets, familiar By frequent converse, soon grow dull and cloy you.

Jeffery. His love is treacherous only whose love dies With beauty, which is varying every hour, But on chaste hearts uninfluenced by the power Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower, That breathes on earth the air of paradise.

Wordsworth. O fatal beauty! why art thou bestowed On hapless woman still to make her wretched! Betray'd by thee, how many are undone!


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Beauty! my Lord,-'tis the worst part of woman!
A weak poor thing, assaulted every hour
By creeping minutes of defacing time;
A superficies, which each breath of care
Blasts off, and every humorous stream of grief
Which flows from forth these fountains of our eyes,
Washeth away as rain does winter's snow. Goffe.

To make the cunning artless, tame the rude,
Subdue the haughty, shake th' undaunted soul;
Yea, put a bridle in the lion's mouth,
And lead him forth as a domestic cur;
These are the triumphs of all-powerful beauty.

Joanna Baillie.
Know'st not
That beauty will take cold? will have the tooth-ache?
Will catch a fever? that its peachy cheek
Will canker in a night? that its sweet lips
Palace of smiles-spasm doth compel to change
Their garish tenants for uncouth contortions?
That its fair dress of pride—its velvet skin
Humours will spot, discolour? that, in brief,
It is a thing in value vanishing
As fickle merchandise, which rates to-day
Enormously—the next may go a begging?
And, worse than all, that its chief merit lies
In wishing, not possessing?-coveted,
Of purchase measureless-obtained, worth nothing?

Sheridan Knowles. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increaseth, 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. Therefore, on every morrow are we wreathing A flowery band to bind us to the earth, Spite of despondence, of th' inhuman dearth Of noble actions, of the gloomy days, Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves along the pall, From our dark spirits.


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