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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by Masakim on September 03, 2001

In Reply to: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. posted by William Karl Thomas on September 03, 2001

: You attribute the sentiment expressed in a different manner to Shakespear,
: but Margaret Wolfe Hungerford penned the line "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
: in her 1878 novel titled Molly Bawn. My research for an article with that title found
: this to be the earliest source of that exact phrase in the form in which it is used in
: contemporary language. Without questioning the wealth of expression Shakespear
: has provided for all English speaking people worldwide, as an international resrouce
: you cannot afford to be "Anglo-centric." Please regard my comments as a constructive
: effort and accept my sincere thanks for providing an invaluable service.

She "quotes" the phrase.

'I have heard she is beautiful -- is she?' 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' quotes Marcia. (Molly Bawn, I.xii.)

Here are some similar expressions:

You should remember, my dear, that beauty is in the lover's eye. (F. Brooke, History of Mary Montague, 1769)

Most true is it that 'beauty is in the eye of the gazer.' (C. Bronte, Jane Eyre, 1847)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
mid 18th century; 3rd century BC in Greek
(The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Fifth Edition, p. 595 "Proverbs")