"It is ... apparent that this quality
is merely relative and
comparative; that we pronounce things beautiful because they
have something which we agree, for whatever reason, to call
beauty, in a greater degree than we have been accustomed to find
it in other things of the same kind; and that we transfer the
epithet as our knowledge increases, and appropriate it to higher
excellence, when higher excellence comes within our view."
Johnson: Rambler #92 (February 2, 1751)
"Beauty is well known to draw after it the persecutions of
impertinence, to incite the artifices of envy, and to raise the
flames of unlawful love; yet among the ladies whom prudence or
modesty have made most eminent, who has ever complained of the
inconveniencies of an amiable form? or would have purchased
safety by the loss of charms?"
Johnson: Rambler #111 (April 9, 1751)
"Beauty has often overpowered the resolutions of the firm, and
the reasonings of the wise, roused the old to sensibility, and
subdued the rigorous to softness."
Johnson: Rambler #113 (April 16, 1751)
"The condition of a young woman who has never thought or heard of
any other excellence than beauty, and whom the sudden blast of
disease wrinkles in her bloom, is indeed sufficiently calamitous.
She is at once deprived of all that gave her eminence or power;
of all that elated her pride or animated her activity; all that
filled her days with pleasure and her nights with hope; all that
gave pleasure to the present hour or brightened her prospects of
Johnson: Rambler #133 (June 25, 1751)
1,514. Academia; Beauty;
"The friendship of students and of beauties is for the most part
equally sincere, and equally durable: as both depend for
happiness on the regard of others, on that which the value arises
merely from comparison, they are both exposed to perpetual
jealousies, and both incessantly employed in schemes to intercept
the praises of each other."
Johnson: Adventurer #45 (March 27, 1753)