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too much Pleafure, than confidered with any thing of Judgment) more gravely at leaft, I dare fay, than ever you have: And if you was to provoke me a little farther, I do not know whether I could not lay down to you a fort of Scheme on it; which might go a good Way not only toward clearing up this, but moft of the other Difficulties that fo often occur in talking of it."— I fhould as foon think of diflecting a Rainbow, fays Milesius, as of forming grave and punctual Notions of Beauty. Who, for Heaven's Sake, can reduce to Rules, what is fo quick, and fa variable, as to be fhifting its Appearances every Moment, on the moft delightful Faces?—" And why are thofe Faces the moft delightful, in which that happens?" fays Crito.—Nay, that is one of the very things I could leaft pretend to account for, replied Milesius. I am fatisfied with feeing that they are fo; 'tis a fubje& that I never yet had a Angle Defire to reafon upon; and I can very willingly leave it to you, to be a Philofopher in Love.—But ierioufly, interpofed Timanthes, turning toward Crito, if you have ever found Leifure and Calmnefs enough to think fteadily on fo uncertain, and fo engaging a Subjedt; why fhould not you oblige us with the Refult of your Thoughts upon it? Let me beg it of you, as a Favour to both of us; for I am fure it will be agreeable to both: And if you refufe me, I am refolved to join with Milesius in believing, that it is incapable of having any thing faid fyftematically, or even regularly, about it. —" You know, fays Crito, how little I love to have all the Talk to myfelf; and what you propofe may take me up an
B 4 . • HouHour, or Two: But if I muft launch out into fo wide a Subject, it will be very neceflary, that I ftould begin with telling you what I chiefly propofe to confider, and what not.
V E R Y Objea that is pleafing to the Eye, when looked upon, or delightful to the Mind, on Recollection, may be called beautiful; fo that Beauty, in general, may ftretch as wide as the vifible Creation, or even as far as the Imagination can go; which is a fort of new or fecondary Creation. Thus we fpeak not only of the Beauties of an engaging Profpedr, of the rifing or fetting Sun, or of a fine ftarry Heaven; but of thofe of a Picture, Statue, or Building; and even of the Action?, Characters, or Thoughts of Men. In the greater Part of thefe, there may be almoft as many falfe Beauties, as there are real; according to the different Taftes of NatiorTs, and Men; fo that if any one was to confider Beauty in its fulleft Extent, it could not be done without the greateft Confufion: I fhall therefore confine my Subject to vifible Beauty; and of that, to fuch only as may be called perfonal, or human Beauty; and that again, to fuch as is natural or real, and not fuch as is only national or cuftomary; for I would not have you imagine, that I would have any thing to do with the beautiful thick Lips of the good People of Bantam, or the exceffive fmall Feet of the Ladies of Quality in China,
I am apt to think, that every thing belonging to Beauty (by which I need not repeat to you, at every Turn, that I mean real perfonal Beauty,) would fall under one or other of thefe Four Heads ; Color, Form, Expreffion, and Grace. The Two former of which I fhould look upon as the Body, and the Two latter as the Soul, of Beauty.
T H O' Color be the loweft of all the conftituent Parts of Beauty, yet it is vulgarly the moft Jinking, and the moft obferved. For which there is a very obvious Reafon to be given; that " every body can fee, and very few can judge;" the Beauties of Color requiring much lefs of Judgment, than either of the other Three. I fhall therefore have much lefs to fay of it, than of each of the others; and fhall only give you Two or Three Obfervations, relating to it.
As to the Color of the Body in general, the moft beautiful perhaps that ever was imagined, was that which Apelles exprefled in his famous Venus; and which, though the Picture itfelf be loft, Cicero has, in fome Degree preferved to us, in his [a] excellent Defcription of it. It was (as we learn from him) a fine Red, beautifully intermixed and incorporated
[a] lllud videe pugnare tc, fpecies ut qua-darn fit Deorum; qua; nihil concrcti habeat, nihil folidi, nihil exprefli, nihil eminentis: fttque pura, levis, perlucida. Dicemus ergo idem, quod in Venere Coa; corpus non eft, fed fimile corpori: nee ille fufus et candore rrurtus rubor fanguis eft, fed quaedarn fanguinis iimilitudo. Cicero de Nature Dttr, lib, i.
with White; and diffufed, in its due Proportions, through each Part of the Body. Such are the Defcriptions of a moft beautiful Skin, in [i] feveral of the Roman Poets; and fuch often is the Coloring of Titian, and particularly, in his fleeping Venus, or whatever other Beauty that charming Piece was meant to reprefent.
The Reafon why thefe Colors pleafe fo much is not only their natural Livelinefs, nor the much greater Charms they obtain from their being properly blended together, but is alfo owing in fome Degree to the Idea they carry with them of good Health [V]; without which, all Beauty grows languid and lefs engaging; and with which it always recovers an additional Life and Luftre.
[K] Thus Virgil, in theBlufli of his Lavinia)
Ovid, in his Narcijus;
Impubefque genas, et eburnea colla, decufque
Candor erat, qualcm praefert Latonia luna 5
Et color in niveo corpore purpureus.
Inficinir tencras ore rubente genas:
Lilia; & autumno Candida mala rubent. l.ib. ii. El. 3. it.
[r] Venuftaset pulchritudo corporis fecerni non poteft a Taletudinc. Cicero de Ojpciis, lib, i. § 95.
As to the Color of the Face in particular, a great deal of its Beauty is owing (befide the Caufes I have already mentioned) to Variety; that being-defigned by Nature for the greatefl Concourfe of different Colors, of any Part in the human Body. Colors pleafc by Oppofition; and it is in the Face that they are the moft diverfified, and the moft oppofed.
You would laugh out perhaps, if I was to tell you, that the fame Thing, which makes a fine Evening, makes a fine Face (I mean as to the particular Part of Beauty I am now fpeaking of ;) and yet this, I believe, is very true.
The Beauty of an Evening Sky, about the Setting of the Sun, is owing to the Variety of Colors that are fcattered along the Face of the Heavens. It is the fine red Clouds, intermixed with white, and fometimes darker ones, with the azure bottom ap- pearing here and there between them, which makes all that beautiful Compofition, that delights the Eye fo much, and gives fuch a ferene Pleafure to the Heart. In the fame Manner, if you confider - fome beautiful Faces, you may obferve, that it is much the fame Variety of Colors, which gives them that pleafing Look; which is fo apt to attradl the Eye, and but too often to engage the Heart. For all this Sort of Beauty is refolvable into a proper Variation of Flefh Color and Red, with the clear Bluenefs of the Veins pleafingly intermixed about the Temples and the Going off of the Cheeks, and fet off by the 4