beauty is (only) skin-deep

beauty is (only) skin-deep

A lovely appearance has no relation to more profound good qualities. “All the carnall beauty of my wife is but skin-deep,” wrote Sir Thomas Overbury (ca. 1613). Of course this observation was hardly new, having been made by many ancient poets long before (Virgil wrote, O formose puer, nimium ne crede colori, “O my pretty boy, trust not too much in your looks”). Although only skin deep, observed William Cobbett (Advice to Young Men, 1829), “It [beauty] is very agreeable for all that,” whereas H. H. Munro (Saki) punned “I always say beauty is only sin deep” (Reginald’s Choir Treat, 1904).
See also: beauty