"Beauty is only skin deep, but...."
Posted by Smokey Stover on October 01, 2007
In Reply to: "Beauty is only skin deep, but...." posted by pamela on October 01, 2007
: : I have always heard my father use this phrase - "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugliness is to the bone." The first part of this phrase, "Beauty is only skin deep" is listed in your archives but I could not find the last part of the phrase, "...but ugliness is to the bone". Can you tell me what the origin of this phrase is?
: The Trivia library ([Dead link removed - ed]) has the original saying and say the other version ("an old jingle") is "author unknown":
: "Beauty is but skin deep,
: ugly lies the bone;
: Beauty dies and fades away,
: but ugly holds its own."
: (© 1975 - 1981 by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace Reproduced with permission from "The People's Almanac" series of books.)
: I don't know whether the "ugly lies the bone" is a typo (something seems to be missing). Pamela
As regards the first part, which everyone has heard:
"The Saying: BEAUTY'S BUT SKIN DEEP.
Who Said It: John Davies of Hereford
You will find Davies' poem, and a discussion of its origin, at:
[Dead link removed - ed]
You will also find there:
There is also an old jingle, author unknown, which parodies the famous beauty line. It reads: "Beauty is but skin deep, ugly lies the bone;/ Beauty dies and fades away, but ugly holds its own."
There's our old friend Anonymous once again. When a beautiful person dies, the beauty is the first to decay, leaving the bone, ugly by comparison. "Lies" is a usefully one-syllable verb meaning to remain behind, if you stretch it a little.
I can't help thinking of Marc Antony's famous speech in Shakepeare's Julius Caesar:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.