C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The countenance is the portrait of the soul.


The magic of a face.

Thomas Carew.

Thy face the index of a feeling mind.


Features, the great soul’s apparent seat.


Human face divine.


The worst of faces still is human.


He had a face like a benediction.


A face without a heart.


Trust not too much to an enchanting face.


Sea of upturned faces.

Sir W. Scott.

Her face, all red and white, like the inside of a shoulder of mutton.


An unforgiving eye, and a damned disinheriting countenance.

R. B. Sheridan.

Those faces which have charmed us most escape us the soonest.

Walter Scott.

A February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.


In youth, the artless index of the mind.

Horace Mann.

A face like nestling luxury of flowers.

Gerald Massey.

God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.


Expression alone can invest beauty with supreme and lasting command over the eye.


A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.


The mind, the music breathing from her face.


In thy face I see the map of honor, truth, and loyalty.


  • If to her share some female errors fall
  • Look on her face, and you’ll forget ’em all.
  • Pope.

  • Her face is like the Milky Way i’ the sky,—
  • A meeting of gentle lights without a name.
  • Sir John Suckling.

  • A face with gladness overspread!
  • Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!
  • Wordsworth.

    That same face of yours looks like the title-page to a whole volume of roguery.

    Colley Cibber.

    Truth makes the face of that person shine who speaks and owns it.


  • These faces in the mirrors
  • Are but the shadows and phantoms of myself.
  • Longfellow.

    Two similar faces, neither of which alone causes laughter, use laughter when they are together, by their resemblance.


  • All men’s faces are true, whatsome’er their hands are.
  • Shakespeare.

  • There’s no art
  • To find the mind’s construction in the face.
  • Shakespeare.

    A good face is the best letter of recommendation.

    Queen Elizabeth.

    Her cheek like apples which the sun had ruddied.


  • His face was of that doubtful kind,
  • That wins the eye but not the mind.
  • Scott.

    A cheerful face is nearly as good for an invalid as healthy weather.


  • Your face, my Thane, is as a book, where men
  • May read strange matters.
  • Shakespeare.

    A sweet expression is the highest type of female loveliness.

    Dr. J. V. C. Smith.

    The countenance is more eloquent than the tongue.


    Some women’s faces are, in their brightness, a prophecy; and some, in their sadness, a history.


    A beloved face cannot grow ugly, because, not flesh and complexion, but expression, created love.


    Though men can cover crimes with bold, stern looks, poor women’s faces are their own faults’ books.


  • Her angel’s face,
  • As the great eye of heaven, shyned bright,
  • And made a sunshine in the shady place.
  • Spenser.

  • For my soul prays, Sweet,
  • Still to your face in Heaven,
  • Heaven in your face, Sweet.
  • Francis Thompson.

  • And to his eye
  • There was but one beloved face on earth,
  • And that was shining on him.
  • Byron.

  • The light upon her face
  • Shines from the windows of another world.
  • Saints only have such faces.
  • Longfellow.

    It in the common wonder of all men among so many millions of faces there should be none alike.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    The loveliest faces are to be seen by moonlight, when one sees half with the eye and half with the fancy.


    Fire burns only when we are near it, but a beautiful face burns and inflames, though at a distance.


    Where the mouth is sweet and the eyes intelligent, there is always the look of beauty, with a right heart.

    Leigh Hunt.

    A face which is always serene possesses a mysterious and powerful attraction: sad hearts come to it as to the sun to warm themselves again.

    Joseph Roux.

  • And her face so fair
  • Stirr’d with her dream, as rose-leaves with the air.
  • Byron.

  • Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face
  • Bears a command in it; tho’ thy tackle’s torn,
  • Thou showest a noble vessel.
  • Shakespeare.

    A noble soul spreads even over a face in which the architectonic beauty is wanting an irresistible grace, and often even triumphs over the natural disfavor.


    There is in every human countenance either a history or a prophecy, which must sadden, or at least soften, every reflecting observer.


    Look in the face of the person to whom you are speaking, if you wish to know his real sentiments; for he can command his words more easily than his countenance.


    What furniture can give such finish to a room as a tender woman’s face? And is there any harmony of tints that has such stirring of delight as the sweet modulation of her voice?

    George Eliot.

    There are women who do not let their husbands see their faces until they are married. Not to keep you in suspense, I mean that part of the sex who paint.


    Not the entrance of a cathedral, not the sound of a passing bell, not the furs of a magistrate, nor the sables of a funeral, were fraught with half the solemnity of face!


    The face of a woman, whatever be the force or extent of her mind, whatever be the importance of the object she pursues, is always an obstacle or a reason in the story of her life.

    Mme. de Staël.

  • Contending Passions jostle and displace
  • And tilt and tourney mostly in the Face;
  • *****
  • Unmatched by Art, upon this wondrous scroll
  • Portrayed are all the secrets of the soul.
  • Abraham Coles.

  • Her face betokened all things dear and good,
  • The light of somewhat yet to come was there
  • Asleep, and waiting for the opening day,
  • When childish thoughts, like flowers, would drift away.
  • Jean Ingelow.

    What a man is lies as certainly upon his countenance as in his heart, though none of his acquaintances may be able to read it. The very intercourse with him may have rendered it more difficult.

    George MacDonald.

    Faces are as legible as books, only with these circumstances to recommend them to our perusal, that they are read in much less time, and are much less likely to deceive us.


    Nature cuts queer capers with men’s phizzes at times, and confounds all the deductions of philosophy. Character does not put all its goods, sometimes not any of them, in its shop-window.

    Wm. Matthews.

    There remains in the faces of women who are naturally serene and peaceful, and of those rendered so by religion, an after-spring, and, later, an after-summer, the reflex of their most beautiful bloom.


    Tree beauty is in the mind; and the expression of the features depends more upon the moral nature than most persons are accustomed to think.

    Frederic Saunders.

    Her closed lips were delicate as the tinted penciling of veins upon a flower; and on her cheek the timid blood had faintly melted through, like something that was half afraid of light.


    We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.


    A face that had a story to tell. How different faces are in this particular! Some of them speak not. They are books in which not a line is written, save perhaps a date.


    The countenance may be rightly defined as the title-page which heralds the contents of the human volume, but, like other title-pages, it sometimes puzzles, often misleads, and often says nothing to the purpose.

    Wm. Matthews.

    Doubtless the human face is the grandest of all mysteries; yet fixed on canvas it can hardly tell of more than one sensation; no struggle, no successive contrasts accessible to dramatic art, can painting give, as neither time nor motion exists for her.

    Madame de Staël.

  • Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face,
  • And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;
  • Examine every several lineament,
  • *****
  • And what obscur’d in this fair volume lies,
  • Find written in the margin of his eyes.
  • Shakespeare.

    A girl of eighteen imagines the feelings behind the face that has moved her with its sympathetic youth as easily as primitive people imagined the humors of the gods in fair weather. What is she to believe in if not in this vision woven from within?

    George Eliot.

  • On his bold visage middle age
  • Had slightly press’d its signet sage,
  • Yet had not quenched the open truth
  • And fiery vehemence of youth;
  • Forward and frolic glee was there,
  • The will to do, the soul to dare.
  • Scott.

    There are faces so fluid with expression, so flushed and rippled by the play of thought, that we can hardly find what the mere features really are. When the delicious beauty of lineament loses its power, it is because a more delicious beauty has appeared, that an interior and durable form has been disclosed.


    Her face had a wonderful fascination in it. It was such a calm, quiet face, with the light of a rising soul shining so peacefully through it. At times it wore an expression of seriousness, of sorrow even; and then seemed to make the very air bright with what the Italian poets so beautifully call the “lampeggiar dell’ angelico riso,”—the lightning of the angelic smile.


    Alas! how few of nature’s faces there are to gladden us with their beauty! The cares and sorrows and hungerings of the world change them as they change hearts; and it is only when those passions sleep, and have lost their hold forever, that the troubled clouds pass off, and leave heaven’s surface clear.


    Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face; she has touched it with vermilion, planted in it a double row of ivory, made it the seat of smiles and blushes, lighted it up and enlivened it with the brightness of the eyes, hung it on each side with curious organs of sense, given it airs and graces that cannot be described, and surrounded it with such a flowing shade of hair as sets all its beauties in the most agreeable light.


  • In vain we fondly strive to trace
  • The soul’s reflection in the face;
  • In vain we dwell on lines and crosses,
  • Crooked mouths and short probosces;
  • Boobies have looked as wise and bright
  • As Plato and the Stagyrite
  • And many a sage and learned skull
  • Has peeped through windows dark and dull.
  • Moore.

    No human face is exactly the same in its lines on each side, no leaf perfect in its lobes, no branch in its symmetry. All admit irregularity as they imply change; and to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality. All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be effort, and the law of human judgment mercy.


    As the language of the face is universal, so is it very comprehensive. No laconism can reach it. It is the short-hand of the mind, and crowds a great deal in a little room. A man may look a sentence as soon as speak a word. The strokes are small, but so masterly drawn that you may easily collect the image and proportions of what they resemble.

    Jeremy Collier.

    Now and then one sees a face which has kept its smile pure and undefiled. It is a woman’s face usually; often a face which has trace of great sorrow all over it, till the smile breaks. Such a smile transfigures: such a smile, if the artful but knew it, is the greatest weapon a face can have.

    Helen Hunt.

    Quite the ugliest face I ever saw was that of a woman whom the world called beautiful. Through its silver veil the evil and ungentle passions looked out, hideous and hateful. On the other hand, there are faces which the multitude, at first glance, pronounce homely, unattractive, and such as “Nature fashions by the gross,” which I always recognize with a warm heart-thrill. Not for the world would I have one feature changed; they please me as they are; they are hallowed by kind memories, and are beautiful through their associations.