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That Which is Beautiful

Whatever any one does or says, [I] must be good, just as if the gold, the emerald, or the purple were always saying this: Whatever any one does or says, [I] must be emerald and keep my colour.

Everything which is in any way beautiful is beautiful in itself, and terminates in itself, not having praise as part of itself. Neither worse than nor better is a thing made by being praised. I affirm this also of the things which are called beautiful by the vulgar; for example, material things and works of art. That which is really beautiful has no need of anything; not more than law, not more than truth, not more than benevolence or modesty. Which of these things is beautiful because it is praised, or spoiled by being blamed? Is such a thing as a sapphire made worse than it was, if it is not praised? or gold, ivory, purple, a lyre, a little knife, a flower, a tree?

-Meditations of Marcus Aurelius / 160 AD 

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