Page images
PDF
EPUB

are extremely varied, according to the different

Sentiments and Passions of the Mind.

I have sometimes observed a Degree of Displeasure in a Lady's Eyebrow, when she had Address enough not to let it appear inhei"Eyes; and at other Times have discovered so much of her Thoughts, in the Line just above her Eyebrows; that she has been amazed how any Body could tell what pasted in her Mind, and as she thought undiscovered by her Face, so particularly and distinctly. ^

Homer makes the Eyebrows the Seat of [/'] Majesty, Virgil of [i] Dejection, Horace of [/] Modesty, and Juvenal of [«] Pride j and I question

whether

[j] H, xvemrffH Sjt' itUffi Kfoinwr"

AfdEpotriai J' agx j^uftai tTsisfuo-ittlo oirax]©-
Kfal®- air' a9«■«1oio' steyar J' t>xtiti-u Ohvpirm.

IV ot. 5281

. It was from this Passage that Phidias borrowed all the Ideas of that Majesty which he had expressed so strongly in his famous Statue of the Jupiter Olympius; and Horace, probably, his — Cuncta supercilio moventis. Lib. iii. Od. 1. 8.

[A] Frpns lseta parum, & dejecto lumina vultu.

Virgil. Æn. vi. 863. [/] Deme supercilio nubem; plerumque modectus Occupat obfcuri speciem. Herat. lib. i. Epist.

ti8- 9S

[«] Malo Venusinam, quam te, Cornelia, mater Gracchorum j si cum magnis virrutibus affers Grande fupercilium, et numeras in dote triumphos. Juvenal Sal. vi 168.

It is hence that the Romans used the Word supercilious (as we do from the- Word supercilious) sbr proud and arrogant Persons.

ther every one of the Passions is not assigned, by one or other of the Poets, to the fame Part.

If you would rather have Authorities from the Writers of honest Prose, he Brun (who published a very pretty Treatise, to shew how the Passions affect the Face and Features) fays, that the principal Seat of them is in the Eyebrows, and old Pliny had faid [n] much the fame Thing, so many Hundred Years before him.

Hitherto I have spoken only of the Passions in general: We will now consider a little, if you please, which of them add to Beauty; and which of them take from it.

I believe we may fay,. in general, that all the tender and kind Passions add to Beauty; and all the cruel and unkind ones, add to Deformity: And it is on this Account that Good-nature may, very justly, be faid to be " the best Feature even in the "finest Face."

Mr. Pope has included the principal Passions of each Sort, in Two very pretty Lines:

Love, Hope, and Joy, sair Pleasure's smiling Train; Hate, Fear, and Gries, the Family os Pain.

- The former of which, naturally give an additi-. onal Lustre and Enlivening to Eeauty; as the lats'*] Frons tristitiæ, hilaritatis, clementiæ, severitatis index: in ascensu ejus fupercilia, & pariter, & alterni mobilia, & in iis, pars animi. [His] negamus; annuimus. Hæc maxime indicant fallum. Superbia alieubi conceptaculum, sed hie fedem habet: in corde nascitur; hie subit, h:c pendet.. Plin. Nat. H,si. lit. xi.

[cap, 37.

Vol. I. B

ter are too apt to fling a Gloom and Cloud over it.

Yet in these, and all the other Passions, I do not know whether Moderation may not be, in a great Measure, the Rule of their Beauty; almost as far as Moderation in Actions is the Rule of Virtue.

Thus an excessive Joy may be too boisterous in the Face to be pleasing; and a Degree of Grief, in some Faces, and on some Occasions, may be extremely beautiful.

Some Degrees of Anger, Shame, Surprize, Fe3r, and Concern, are beautiful; but all Excess is hurtful, and all Excess ugly.

Dulness, Austerity, Impudence, Pride, Affectation, Malice, and Envy, are, I believe, always ugly.

The sinest Union of Passions, that I have ever observed in any Face, consisted of a just Mixture of Modesty, Sensibility, and Sweetness; each of which, when taken singly, is very pleasing; but when they are all blended together, in such a Manner as either to enliven or correct each other, they give almost as much Attraction, as the Passions are capable of adding to a very pretty Face.

The prevailing Passion in the Venus of Medici is Modesty: It is exprest by each of her Hands, in her Looks, and in the Turn of her Head. And by the way, I question whether one of the chief Reasons, why Side-faces please one more than Full ones, may not be from the former having more of the Air of Modesty than the latter. However that be, this is certain, that the best

Artists

Artists usually chuse to give a Side-face, rather than a Full one; in which Attitude, the Turn of the Neck too has more Beauty, and the Passions more Activity and Force. Thus, as to Hatred and Affection in particular, the Look that was formerly supposed to carry an Infection with it from malignant Eyes, was a fla nting Regard; like that which Milton gives to Satan \.o] -, when he is viewing the Happiness of our first Parents in Paradise } and the Fascination, or Stroke of Love, is most usually, I believe, conveyed, at first, in a Sideglance. - .

It is owing to the great Force of Pleasingness, which attends all the kinder Passions; " That Lovers do not only seem, but are really more beautiful to each other, than they are to the rest of the Worldbecause, when they are together, the most pleasing Passions are more frequently exerted in each of their Faces, than they are in either before the rest of the World. There is then (as a certain French Writer very well expresses it) " A Soul upon their Countenances," which does not appear when they are absent from each other; or even when they are together* conversing with other Persons, that are indifferent to them, or rather lay a Restraint upon their Features.

I dare fay you begin to fee the Preference, that the Beauty of the Passions has over the Two Parts

so] Aside the Devil turn'd

For envy; yet, with jeabus Leer malign,

Ev'd the matkance—— Paradise Lost, Bookiv. 504.

B 2 - Ql of Beauty first mentioned; and if any one was not thoroughly convinced of it, I should beg him to consider a little the following Particulars; of which every Body must have met with several Instances, in their Life-time.

That there is a great deal of Difference in the fame Face, according as the Person is in a better or worse Humour, or in a greater or less Degree of Liveliness.

That the best Complexion, the finest Features, and the exactest Shape, without any Thing of the Mind expressed on the Face, is as insipid and unmoving, as the waxen Figure of the fine Dutchess of Richmond in Westminjler-Abbey.

That a Face without any good Feature in it> and with a very indifferent Complexion,. shall have a very taking Air; from the Sensibility of the Eyes, the general good-humoured Turn of the Look, and perhaps a little agreeable Smile about the Mouth. And these Three Things, I believe, would go a great way toward accounting for the Je ne /fai quoiy or that inexplicable Pleasingness of the Face (as they choose to call it,) which is so often talked of, and so little understood; as the greater Part, and perhaps all the rest of it, would fall under the last Article, that of Grace..

I once knew a very fine Woman, who was admired by every Body that faw her, and scarce loved by any Body. This Ineffectualness of all her Beauties was occasioned by a Want of the pleasing Passions in her Face, and an Appearance of the displeasing ones; particularly, those of Pride

« PreviousContinue »