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retouching the picture, would have caused it to fade away into nothing ; while on the other hand, a single extra sitting might perhaps have endued it with breath and motion, and caused it to step from its canvass into life, after the fashion of that in My Grandmother. I now feel that, if this consummation had happened, all might still have been well; for it was not then too late. But now, if the best I can hope for is sometimes to dream that it did happen, at all events the worst I need fear is, to awake and find that it did not.
We have now done with these toys of youth. As “ it is the eye of childhood fears a painted devil,” so none but that can love a painted angel. Manhood cannot be content without either more, or less. We have now done with mere impulses and feelings, and shall henceforth have to do with actions and passions--with thoughts and imaginations — with hopes and fears. We have hitherto been floating on the calm surface of the stream, like the halcyon on its nest.
We must now prepare to plunge, like Ladurlad, into the depths of the ocean of human life: and I may venture to do so as fearlessly as he did—for, like him, I am gifted with a protecting curse, which shields me from all injuries but such as itself inflicts. May I not hope, too, that as, like Ladurlad, I am not conscious of having done any thing to deserve this curse, it may one day or other leave me suddenly and of itself, as his did ?-Nay, more,—when “ the fire in his heart, and the fire in his brain" had passed away,
-“ Ladurlad sunk to rest.
All whom he loved he met, to part no more.”
we cannot help our hopes”-as Juliana prettily says of her “ dreams." At all events, I have made one step towards the consummation of those hopes—for I have discovered the spot where exists all I have loved in others met in one. Whether I am to be blessed with the possession of this one, remains to be seen. All I can be sure of is, that, if my deserts are less than those of others who pretend to this possession, my wants are greater ; all the foundation I see on which to build my hopes is the possibility that this sole well-spring of future go left open to me, in determining through what channel it shall flow, and what happy land it shall fertilise, may
-66 not take heed or its own bounty, but my
EPIGRAM, FROM THE ITALIAN OF PANANTI.
“ S'hai difetti ti salva.”
THE ELOQUENCE OF EYES.
Nor doth the eye itself,
SHAKSPEARE. The origin of language is a puzzling point, of which no satisfactory solution has yet been offered. Children could not originally have compounded it, for they would always want intelligence to construct any thing so complicated and difficult; and as it is known that after a certain age the organs of speech, if they have not been called into play, lose their flexibility, it is contended that adults possessing the faculties to combine a new language would want the power to express it. Divine inspiration is the only clue that presents itself in this emergency; and we are then driven upon the incredibility of supposing that celestial ears and organs could ever have been instrumental in originating the Low Dutch, in which language an assailant of Voltaire drew upon himself the memorable retort from the philosopher——" that he wished him more wit and fewer consonants.” No one, however, seems to have contemplated the possibility that Nature never meant us speak, any more than the Parrot to whom she has given similar powers of articulation ; or to have speculated upon the extent of the substitutes she has provided, supposing that man had never discovered the process of representing appetites, feelings, and ideas by sound. Grief, joy, anger, and some of the simple passions, express themselves by similar intelligible exclamations in all countries; these, therefore, may be considered as the whole primitive language of Nature; but if she had left the rest of her vocabulary to be conveyed by human features and gestures, man, by addressing himself to the
cyes instead of the ears, would have still possessed a medium of communication nearly as specific as speech, with the great advantage of its being silent as the telegraph. Talking with his features instead of his tongue, he would not only save all the time lost in unravelling the subtletics of the grammarians from Priscian to Lily and Lindley Murray, but he would instantly become a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world, and might travel (s from old Belerium to the northern main” without needing an interpreter.
We are not hastily to pronounce against the possibility of carrying this dumb eloquence to a certain point of perfection, for the experiment has never been fairly tried. We know that the exercise of cultivated reason and the arts of civilized life have eradicated many of our original instincts, and that the loss of any one sense invariably quickens the others; and we may therefore conjecture that many of the primitive conversational powers of our face have perished from disuse, while we may be certain that those which still remain would be prodigiously concentrated and exalted, did they form the sole medium by which our mind could develope itself. But we have no means of illustrating this notion, for the wild boys and men who have from time to time been caught in the woods, have been always solitaries, who, wanting the stimulus of communion, have never exercised their faculties; while the deaf and dumb born among ourselves, early instructed to write and talk with their fingers, have never called forth their natural resources and instructive powers of expression.
Without going so far as the Frenchman who maintained that speech was given to us to conceal our thoughts, it is certain that we may, even now, convey them pretty accurately without the intervention of the tongue. To a certain extent every body talks with his own countenance, and puts faith in the indications of those which he encounters. The basis of physiognomy, that the face is the silent echo of the heart, is substantially true; and to confine ourselves to one feature—the eye
- I would ask what language, what oratory can be more voluble and instinct with meaning than the telegraphic glances of the eye? So convinced are we of this property, that we familiarly talk of a man having an expressive, a speaking, an eloquent eye. I have always had a firm belief that the celestials have no other medium of conversation, but that, carrying on a colloquy of glances, they avoid all the wear and tear of lungs, and all the vulgarity of human vociferation. Nay, we frequently do this ourselves. By a silent interchange of looks, when listening to a third party, how completely may two people keep up a by-play of conversation, and express their mutual incredulity, anger, disgust, contempt, amazement, grief, or languor. Speech is a laggard and a sloth, but the eyes shoot out an electric fluid that condenses all the elements of sentiment and passion in one single emanation. Conceive what a boundless range of feeling is included between the two extremes of the look serene and the smooth brow, and the contracted frown with the glaring eye. What varieties of sentiment in the mere fluctuation of its lustre, from the fiery flash of indignation to the twinkle of laughter, the soft beaming of compassion, and the melting radiance of love. “Oculi sunt in amore duces," says Propertius, and certainly he who has never known the tender passion knows not half the copiousness of the ocular language, for it is in those prophetic mirrors that every lover first traces the reflection of his own attachment, or reads the secret of his rejection, long before it is promulgated by the tardy tongue. It required very little imagination to fancy a thousand Cupids perpetually hovering about the eyes of beauty, a conceit which is accordingly found among the earliest creations of the Muse.
'Twas not the warrior's dart, says Anacreon, that made my bosom bleed,
No—from an eye of liquid blue
army And we may take one specimen from innumerable others in the Greek Anthology.
Archer Love, though slily creeping,
That fringes Zenophalia's eye. The moderns have dallied with similar conceits till they have become so frivolous and threadbare as to be now pretty nearly abandoned to the inditers of Valentines, and the manufacturers of Vauxhall songs.
The old French author Bretonnayau, not content with lamenting,
of the eyes.
- like Milton, that so precious an organ as the eye should have been so limited and vulnerable, considers it, in his “ Fabrique de l'ail,” as a bodily sun possessing powers analogous to the solar orb, and treats it altogether as a sublime mystery and celestial symbol. A short extract may shew the profundity of his numerical and astronomical views :
“ D'un—de trois—et de sept, à Dieu agreable,
Nous figure Saturne entre ces petits creux, &c. &c.” And yet all this mysticism is scarcely more extravagant than the power of witchcraft or fascination which was supposed to reside in the eyes, and obtained implicit credence in the past ages. This infection, whether malignant or amorous, was generally supposed to be conveyed in a slanting regard, such as that "jealous leer malign" with which Satan contemplated the happiness of our first parents.
Liinat, non odio obscuro, morsuque venenat, says Horace; and Virgil makes the shepherd exclaim, in his third eclogue
“Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.” Basilisks, cockatrices, and certain serpents were fabled not only to have the power of bewitching the birds from the air, but of killing men with a look-a mode of destruction which is now limited to the
exaggerations of those modern fabulists yclept poets and lovers.
Every difference of shape is found in this variform organ, from the majestic round orb of Homer's ox-eyed Juno, to that thin slit from which the vision of a Chinese lazily oozes forth; but in this as in other instances, the happy medium is nearest to the line of beauty. If there be any deviation, it should be towards the full rotund eye, which although it be apt to convey an expression of staring hauteur, is still susceptible of great dignity and beauty, while the contrary tendency approximates continually towards the mean and the suspicious.
As there is no standard of beauty, there is no pronouncing decisively upon the question of colour. The ancient classical writers assigned to Minerva, and other of the deities, eyes of heaven's own azure as more appropriate and celestial. Among the early Italian writers the beauties were generally blondes, being probably considered the most estimable on account of their rarity; and Tasso, describing the blue eyes of Armida, says with great elegance,
“ Within her humid melting eyes
A brilliant ray of laughter lies,
That trembles in the azure stream.” Our own writer Collins, speaking of the Circassians, eulogises “ Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden hair," with more beauty of language than fidelity as to fact; but our poets in general give the palm to that which is least common among ourselves, and are accord
ingly enraptured with brunettes and dark eyes. When Shakspeare bestowed green eyes upon the monster Jealousy, he was not probably aware that about the time of the Crusades there was a prodigious passion for orbs of this liue. Thiebault, king of Navarre, depicting a beautiful shepherdess in one of his songs, says,
“ La Pastore est bele el arenant
Elle a les eus vairs," which phrase, however, has been conjectured to mean hazle, an interpretation which will allow me to join issue with his majesty and approve his taste.
But taste itself is so fluctuating, that we may live to sce the red eye of the Albins immortalised in verse, or that species of plaid recorded by Dryden
“ The balls of his broad eyes roll'd in his head,
And glared betwixt a yellow and a red.” For my own part, I decidedly prefer the hue of that which is now bent upon the page, for I hold that an indulgent eye, like a good horse, cannot be of a bad colour.
My paper would be incomplete without a word or two upon eyebrows, which, it is to be observed, are peculiar to man, and were intended, according to the physiologists, to prevent particles of dust or perspiration from rolling into the eye. Nothing appears to me more impertinent than the fancied penetration of these human moles, who are for ever attributing imaginary intentions to inscrutable Nature; nor more shallow and pedlar-like than their resolving every thing into a use, as if they could not see in the gay colours and delicious perfumes, and mingled melodies lavished upon the earth, sufficient evidence that the beneficent Creator was not satisfied with mere utility, but combined with it a profusion of gratuitous beauty and delight. I dare say they would rather find a use for the coloured
of Argus in the peacock's tail, than admit that the human eye-brows could have been bestowed for mere ornament and expression. Yet they have been deemed the leading indices of various passions. Homer makes them the seat of majesty --Virgil of dejection --Horace of modesty--Juvenal of pride, and we ourselves consider them such intelligible exponents of scorn and haughtiness that we have adopted from them our word supercilious. In lively faces they have a language of their own, and can aptly represent all the sentiments and passions of the mind, even when they are purposely repressed in the eye. By the workings of the line just above a lady's eyebrows, much may be discovered that could never be read in the face ; and by this means I am enabled to detect in the looks of my fair readers such a decided objection to any farther inquisition into their secret thoughts, that I deem it prudent to exclaim in the language of Oberon--" Lady, I kiss thine eye, and so good night.”
EPIGRAM, FROM THE ITALIAN OF PANANTI.
" Negri capelli e bianca burba."
'Tis strange.—But would you know the cause?