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What is beauty? Something (or someone) that pleases the senses and sensabilities? Something that matches some mental template or memory as being right? Something that is graceful or ordered or original or well matched to its environment? Are we speaking of some example of beauty, or Beauty - the personified, calitalized concept, as they used to capitalize all big thoughts once upon a time?
The answer is: all of the above and more. Beauty can become convolved with style, or taste, or trend, or cultural preference. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, according to one of the most famous memes in all of history. (As an aside, I once had a biology teacher who was dissecting a rabbit, and was mesmerized by the opalescent green colors of its intestinal bacteria - "beautiful, absolutely beautiful," he repeated to himself as he ran his fingers through the icky green slime).
Writers have always had opinions on beauty, and poets (and songwriters) stand in the front row of those most opinionated on the subject. Is there a sexual component to it? A spiritual element? An essential truth? An obsession with youth? Browse through the entries below and see if you find one in particular you like. I have always been partial to Teasdale.
- Beauty by Elinor Wylie
- Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
- Beauty by Mathilde Blind
- Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Glory be to God for dappled things,
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow,
- Seeking Beauty by W. H. Davies
As long as I love Beauty I am young,
Am young or old as I love more or less;
- "For Beauty Being the Best of All We Know" by Robert Bridges
- "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." by John Keats
- Sonnet CXXX: My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun by William Shakespeare
- Beauty by John Masefield
- When Thy Beauty Appears by Thomas Parnell
- I Love All Beauteous Things by Robert Bridges
- God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
- Beauty by Edward Thomas
- Barter by Sara Teasdale
- Hymn to Intellectual Beauty by Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Amoretti Sonnet III by Edmund Spenser
- The Power of Art by George Santayana
- Ode on Melancholy by John Keats
Beauty by its nature is ephemeral - it does not last.