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ear, he tells
This, to be sure, might be construed into a warning against the abuse, rather than the use, of such ornaments ; but the context is in favour of the latter supposition. The poet is recommending simplicity, and extolling the age he lives in, for its being sensible enough to dispense with show and finery. The passage in Sidney is express, and is a pretty conceit. Drawing a portrait of his heroine, and coming to the
“ The tip no jewel needs to wear;
The tip is jewel to the ear.” I confess when I see a handsome ear without an ornament, I am glad it is not there ; but if it has an ornament, and one in good taste, I know not how to wish it away. There is an elegance in the dangling of a gem suitable to the complexion. I believe the ear is better without it. Akenside's picture, for instance, would be spoiled by a ring. Furthermore, it is in the way of a kiss.
Nose.—The nose has the least character, of any of the features. When we meet with a very small one, we only wish it larger ; when with a large one, we would fain request it to be smaller. In itself it is rarely any thing. The poets have been puzzled to know what to do with it. They are generally contented with describing it as straight, and in good proportion. The straight nose, quoth Dante ;-—“Il dritto naso.” “Her nose directed streight," saith Chaucer. “ Her nose is neither too long nor too short,” say the Arabian Nights. Ovid makes no mention of the nose. Ariosto says of Alcina's (not knowing what else to say), that envy could not find fault with it. Anacreon contrives to make it go shares with the cheek. Boccaccio, in one of his early works, the Ameto abovementioned, where he has an epithet for almost every noun, is so puzzled what to say of a nose, that he calls it odorante, the smelling nose. Fielding, in his contempt for so unsentimental a part of the visage, does not scruple to beat Amelia's nose to pieces, by an accident ; in order to shew how contented her lover can be, when the surgeon has put it decently to rights. This has been reckoned a hazardous experiment; not that a lover, if he is worth any thing, would not remain a lover after such an accident, but that we do not choose to have a member injured, which has so little character to support its adversity. The commentators have a curious difficulty with a line in Catullus. They are not sure whether he wrote
“ Salve, nec nimio puella naso
Hail, damsel, with by no means too much nose ;or,
" Salve, nec minimo puella naso
Hail, damsel, with by no means nose too little." It is a feature to be described by negatives. It is of importance, however, to the rest of the face. If a good nose will do little for a countenance otherwise poor, a bad one is a great injury to the best. An indifferent one is so common, that it is easily tolerated. It appears, from the epithets bestowed upon that part of the face by the poets and romance-writers, that there is no defect more universal than a nose twisted or out of proportion. The reverse is desirable accordingly. A nose should be firmly yet lightly cut, delicate, spirited, harmonious in its parts, and proportionate with the rest of the features. A nose VOL. X. No, 56.-1825.
merely well-drawn and proportioned, can be very insipid. Some little freedom and delicacy is required to give it character. Perhaps the highest character it can arrive at, is a look of taste and apprehensiveness. That of dignity is more equivocal. Junius adduces the authority of the sophist Philostratus for tetragonal or quadrangular noses,nuses like those of statues ; that is to say, broad and level in the bridge, with distinct angles to the parallelogram. These are better for men than women.
The genders of noses are more distinct than those of eyes and lips. The neuter are the communest. A nose a little aquiline has been admired in some women. Cyrus's Aspasia had one, according to Ælian. “ She had very large eyes,” quoth he, “and was a little upon the griffin ;” ολιγον δε ηι και επιγρυπος.* The less the better. It trenches upon the other sex, and requires all the graces of Aspasia to carry it off. Those indeed will carry off any thing. There are many handsome and agreeable women with aquiline noses ; but they are agreeable in spite of them, not by their assistance. Painters do not give them to their ideal beauties. We do not imagine angels with aquiline noses. Dignified men have them. Plato calls them royal. Marie Antoinette was not the worse for an aquiline nose ; at least in her triumphant days, when she swam through an antichamber like a vision, and swept away the understanding of Mr. Burke. But if a royal pose has any thing to do with a royal will, she would have been the better for one of a less dominant description, at last. A Roman nose may establish a tyranny :-according to Marmontel, a little turn-up nose overthrew one. At all events, it is more feminine ; and La Fontaine was of Marmontel's opinion. Writing to the Duchess of Bouillon, who had expressed a fear that he would grow tired of Château-Thierry, he says,
How can one tire in solitudes and nooks,
Of the most piquant of princesses,
A turn-up nose too, between you and me,
Has something that attracts me mightily.
Though, I suppose, whether I love or not,
That brute, the public, will not care a jot.
But should it happen, some fine day,
That any thing should lead me round that'way, A long and beaky nose will certainly not do it.t
* Var. Hist. Lib. 12. Cap. 1.
7“ Peut-on s'ennuyer en des lieux
D'une aimable et vive princesse,
C'en est même un des plus puissants
Et je mérite qu'on me loue
De ce libre et sincère aveu,
Mais s'il arrive que mon cœur
Mouth and Chin. The mouth, like the eyes, gives occasion to so many tender thoughts, and is so apt to lose and supersede itself in the affectionate softness of its effect upon us, that the first impulse, in speaking of it, is to describe it by a sentiment and a transport. Mr. Sheridan has hit this very happily—see his Rivals :
Then, Jack, such eyes ! Such lips ! Eyes so, I never met with a passage in all the poets, that gave me a livelier and softer idea of this charming feature, than a stanza in a homely old writer of our own country. He is relating the cruelty of Queen Eleanor to the Fair Rosamond.
" With that she dash'd her on the lips,
So dyed double red:
Warner's Albion's England, Book viii. Chap. 41. Sir John Suckling, in his taste of an under lip, is not easily to be surpassed.
" Her lips were red, and one was thin
Some bee had stung it newly." The upper lip, observe, was only comparatively thin. Thin lips become vone but shrews or niggards. A rosiness beyond that of the cheeks, and a good-tempered sufficiency and plumpness, are the indispensable requisites of a good mouth. Chaucer, a great judge, is very peremptory in this matter.
“ With pregnant lips, and thick to kiss percase;
For lippes thin, not fat, but ever lean,
The Court of Love. For the consolation of those who have thin lips, and are not shrews or viggards, I must give it here as my firm opinion, founded on what I have observed, that lips become more or less contracted in the course of years, in proportion as they are accustomed to express good-humour and generosity, or peevishness and a contracted mind. Remark the effect which a moment of ill-temper or grudgingness has upon the lips, and judge what may be expected from an habitual series of such moments. Remark the reverse, and make a similar judgment. The mouth is the frankest part of the face. It can the least conceal its sensations. We can hide neither ill-temper with it nor good. affect what we please; but affectation will not help us. In a wrong cause, it will only make our observers resent the endeavour to impose opon them. The mouth is the seat of one class of emotions, as the eyes are of another : or rather, it expresses the same emotions but in greater detail, and with a more irrepressible tendency to be in motion.
We may It is the region of smiles and dimples, and of a trembling tenderness; of sharp sorrow, of a full and breathing joy, of candour, of reserve, of a carking care, of a liberal sympathy. The mouth, out of its many sensibilities, may be fancied throwing up one great expression into the eyes ; as many lights in a city reflect a broad lustre into the heavens. On the other hand, the eyes may be supposed the chief movers, influencing the smaller details of their companion, as heaven influences earth. The first cause in both is internal and deep-seated.
The more we consider beauty, the more we recognise its dependance on sentiment. The handsomest mouth without expression, is no better than a mouth in a drawing-book. An ordinary one, on the other hand, with a great deal of expression, shall become charming. One of the handsomest smiles I ever saw in a man, was that of a celebrated statesman who is reckoned plain. How handsome Mrs. Jordan was, when she laughed; who, nevertheless, was not a beauty. If we only imagine a laugh full of kindness and enjoyment, or a “little giddy laugh,” as Marot calls it,-un petit ris follatre,- we imagine the mouth handsome as a matter of course : at any rate, for the time. The material obeys the spiritual. Anacreon beautifully describes a lip as “a lip like Persuasion's,” and says it calls upon us to kiss it. “Her lips," says Sir Philip Sidney, “though they were kept close with modest silence, yet with a pretty kind of natural swelling, they seemed to invite the guests that looked on them.”—Arcadia, Book 1. Let me quote another passage from that noble romance, which was written to fill a woman's mind with all beautiful thoughts, and which I never met with a woman that did not like, notwithstanding its faults, and in spite of the critics. “Her tears came dropping down like rain in sunshine; and she not taking heed to wipe the tears, they hung upon her cheeks and lips, as upon cherries, which the dropping tree bedeweth.”-Book the Third. Nothing can be more fresh and elegant than this picture.
A mouth should be of good natural dimensions, as well as plump in the lips.
When the ancients, among their beauties, make mention of small mouths and lips, they mean small only, as opposed to an excess the other way; a fault very common in the souti. The sayings in favour of small mouths, which have been the ruin of so many pretty looks, are very absurd. If there must be an excess either way, it had better be the liberal one. A pretty, pursed-up mouth, is fit for nothing but to be left to its self-complacency. Large mouths are oftener found in union with generous dispositions, than very small ones. Beauty should have neither ; but a reasonable look of openness and delicacy. It is an elegance in lips, when, instead of making sharp angles at the corner of the mouth, they retain a certain breadth to the very verge, and shew the red. The corner then looks painted with a free and liberal pencil.
Beautiful teeth are of a moderate size, even, and white ; not a dead white like fish bones, which has something ghastly in it, but ivory or pearly with an enamel. Bad teeth in a handsome mouth present a contradiction, which is sometimes extremely to be pitied; for a weak or feverish state of body may occasion them. Teeth, not kept as clean as possible, are unpardonable. Ariosto has a celebrated stanza upon a mouth.
"Next as between two little vales, appears
That opens upon earth a paradise."*
" The delicate wells
Which a sweet smile forms in a lovely cheek." The chin, to be perfect, should be round and delicate, neither advancing nor retreating too much. If it exceed either way, the latter defect is on the side of gentleness. The former anticipates old age. A rounded and gentle prominence is both spirited and beautiful; and is eminently Grecian. It is an elegant countenance, (affectation of course apart) where the forehead and eyes have an inclined and overlooking aspect, while the mouth is delicately full and dimpled, and the chin supports it like a cushion, leaning a little upward. A dimple in the chin is almost invariably demanded by the poets, and has a character of grace and tenderness.
Neck and SHOULDERS. The shoulders in a female ought to be delicately plump, even, and falling without suddenness. Broad shoulders are admired by many. It is difficult not to like them, when handsomely turned. It seems as if “the more of a good thing, the better." At all events, an excess that way may divide opinion, while of the deformity of pinched and mean looking shoulders there can be no doubt. A good-tempered woman of the order yclept buxom, not only warrants a pair of expansive shoulders, but bespeaks our approbation of them. Nevertheless, they are undoubtedly a beauty rather on the masculine than feminine side. They belong to manly strength. Achilles had them. Milton gives them to Adam. His
“ Hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering; but not beneath his shoulders broad.” Fielding takes care to give all his heroes huge calves and Herculean shoulders,-graces, by the way, in which he was himself eminent. Female shoulders ought rather to convey a sentiment of the gentle and acquiescent. They should lean under those of the other sex, as under a protecting shade. Looking at the male and female figure with the eye of a sculptor, our first impression with regard to the one, should
** Sotto quel sta, quasi fra due vallette,
La bocca, sparsa di natio cinabro:
7" Le pozzette