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on which this event took place, as one of to one or two, but from wh'ch all others are those periods in our existence when the shut out. Books are selected, and read mind seems incapable of feeling what it aloud to those who will not listen. Pictures knows to be a painful truth. He had re are exhibited to those who cannot see heir tred to rest, with an indistinct idea of what beauty. Pleasures are proposed, wrich had occurred, but remained unable to realize from their want of adaptation, are converted the extent of his calamity. It had been his into pain. Kind intentions are frustrated; mother's custom to take away his candle and the best endeavours to be agreeable, every night-perhaps to breathe a prayer rewarded with disappointment and ingratiat his bed side. As he laid his head upon tude. In short, for want of that discriminathe pillow, he saw the light standing as ting, versatile, and most valuable quality usual, but no gentle form approached, and which mankind have agreed to call tact, in an instant he felt the full force of his be- and which might be fancifully described as reavement. He was setting off in life with the nerre of human society, many opportubrighter hopes than fall to the lot of many; nities of enjoyment are wasted, many good but that first and purest of earth’s blessings people are neglected, and many good things -a mother's love, was lost to him for ever. are irrevocably lost.
Associations of this kind, however, are not It would be hard indeed if we might not such as constitute the fittest subjects for the indulge our individual fancies, by each poet; because, from their local or particular mounting the hobby we like best. The abnature, they excite no general interest. surdity consists in compelling others to ride They may be powerful in the mind of the with us, in forcing our favourites upon their writer, but will fail to awaken in other minds regard, and expecting from them the same a proportionate degree of feeling; except tribute of admiration which we ourselves when the sensible object, or particular fact bestow. There is no moral law to prevent described, is introduced merely as a medium our being delighted with what is repulsive for subjects of a nature to be generally felt to others; but it is an essential part of good and understood, such as memory, hope, or manners, to keep back from the notice of love. Thus, the Poet may properly address society such particular preferences-a great an object of which he alone perceives the proof of good taste, so to discipline our feelbeauty, or describe a circumstance of which ings, that we derive the most enjoyment he alone feels the pathos, provided he does from what is generally pleasing. not dwell too long upon the object or circumstance, merely as such, but carries the mind onward, hy some ingenious association, to recollections which they naturally recall, hopes which were then cherished, or love,
GENERAL ASSOCIATIONS. whose illimitable nature may be connected with all things lovely. By dwelling exclu Ix turning our attention to the subject of sively upon one subject of merely local inter- general associations, we enter upon a field est, and neglecting such relative ideas as 80 wide and fertile, that to select suitable are common to all, the most egregious blun- materials for examination appears the only ders, in matters of taste, are every day com- difficulty. All our most powerful and submitted. Witticisms are uttered, which, how- lime ideas are common to mankind in a civever entertaining to those who know to what ilized state, and arise in the minds of countcircumstances they owe their value, excite less multitudes from the same causes. By no corresponding risibility in the wondering the stupendous phenomena of nature, as well or insensible hearers. Anecdotes are re as by the magnificent productions of art, we lateil, which, from being out of place or ill are all affected according to our various detimed, seem to fall from the lips of the grees of capability in precisely the same speaker as a wearisome and empty sound.
We all agree in the impressions Subjects of conversation are introduced in we receive from extreme cases, whether inixed society, perhaps, intensely interesting they belong to the majestic or the minute;
and no one who retained the possession of draw upon when occasion may require, er
sonis unmarked amongat the crowd ; and following up a close examination of sone.
who constitute a tribunal from which there Let us first con-ider that well known and is no appeal; who must eventually sit in familiar object, the human face, of which jutament upon his works, give the tone to even single and distinct features have frepublic opinion, and pronouncing his irrevo- quently been thought sufficiently important cable doom, consign him to oblivion or to to inspire the poet's lay. From the earliest farne.
times, the forehead has been dignified with Those who have taken little pains to in a kind of personality, and regarded as an quire into the nature and origin of their index to the character of man, whether bold mental sensations, often express instantane or bland, threatening or benign, disturbed or ously a correct judirment of works of art, serene: nor is it in language peculiar to the froin want they woull be very likely to call poets only, that we speak of a man confronta kind of instinct or intuitive perception of ing his enemies with unaunted brow-or wit is riht or wrong; but which misht that he receives his sentence of punishment more philoxo; hically be referred to combi- with a forehead undisturbed--that we are nations of ide as derived from certain impres- encouraged to hope for merry by the bl-ınd sions associated, compared, and established or benign forehead of the judge-or bear! by a process of the mind which they took no alversity with a brow serene. Physiognonote of at the time, and with which they have mints profess to read the natural character of never made themselves acquainted. Of such man chietly from the form oi' his forehead; is a great proportion of the multitude com- but whether studied scientifically or not, posed; and it is this fact which gives to pub- we all know in an instant what is indicated lic opinion that overpowering weight against ' by the simultaneous contraction and lowerwhich no single critic, or even select body of ing of the brow; we know also, without critice, can prevail.
much aseistance from study of any kind, The poet who is not a blind enthusiast, when the nature of the forehead is poble or will learn by experience, if he know not withi mean, harsh or mildl; we naturally avok to ont that the public taste must be consulted the upper part of the face, in order to torm in order to recommend himself to public ap- those instantaneous opinions of our fellowprobation. He therefore gives himself up to creatures at first sight, which are not unfrethe study of what is universally regarded as quently a near approach to truih; and we most ennobling, touching, or sublime. He may, with some decree of certainty, read in endeavors to forget himself, and setting ! the forehead, when at rest, what are the aside the rains and pleasures of his own' principal elements of character in those limited experience as a litde private store to, with whom we associate. But scarcely can
a feenog be excited, or a passion stirred, than there the confirmation of her strange tones the muscles of the forehead are agitated by of anger or reproof, and if there is no con
a corresponding movement. How suddenly demnation in that oracle of truth, he feels il and strongly is the forehead affected by as- that her words are but empty threats, re
tonishment! and even in listening attentive- turns to his gambols, and laughis agair ly to a common story, the eyebrows are occa The lover knows that his earnest suit is resionally elevated, and thus a:ford a surejected if the eye of his mistress has no reindication that the hearer is interested, and lenting in its glance; and the criminal who that the narrator may proceed. How strik- pleads for some mitigation of his sentence, ing is the contraction of the forehead in deep looks for merey in the eye of the judge. and earnest thought! How unspeakably It would be a fruitless expenditure of mournful under the gloom of sorrow! How words to set about establishing the fact, frightfully distorted by the violence of rage! that the eye is poetical. Every poet capaHow solemn and yet how lovely in its char- ble of stringing a rhyme has proved it to
acter of intellectual beauty! It is difficult the world; every heart capable of feeling :: to connect one idea of a gross or corporeal has acknowledged it to be true.
nature with the forehead; all its indications But while thousands and tens of thousands are those of mind, and most of them of a are poetizing about the eye, no one dares powerful, refined, or elevated character; venture upon the nose; a fact which can from the Madonna, whom no painter has only be accounted for by our having no thought worthy of a high degree of intellec- intellectual associations with this member, tual grace, yet whose forehead invariably and being accustomed to regard it merely indicates a character mild, delicate, and pure, for its sense of smell or as an essential orto the dying gladiator, whose expiring an nament to the face. The nose is incapable guish is less of the body than of the mind. of expressing any emotion of mind, except
The forehead, therefore, is a subject well those which are vulgar or grotesque-such fitted for the poet's pen, and he may sing of as laughter or gross impertinence. It is its various qualifications without fear of true, the nostrils are distended by any effort transgressing the rules of good taste. of daring, but it is rather with animal than
The eye is poetical in a still higher de- moral courage, such as might animate a gree, because it possesses a greater facility barbarian or a horse. It is indeed a curious, in adapting itself to present circumstances, but incontrovertible fact, that while the enand reveals in greater minuteness and va- raptured slave of beauty is at liberty to riety the passions and afiections of the mind. expend his poetic fire in composing sonnets Indeed, so perfect is the eye as an organ of to his lady's eye, no sooner does he descend inteiligence, that it is more frequently spoken to the adjoining feature, than the poetry of of in its figurative sense than in any other; his lay is converted into burlesque, and he and there is scarcely a writer, however is himself dismissed as a profaner of love grave, whose pages are not embellished by and the muses. frequent poetical expressions in which the The mouth, though frequently spoken of eye is the principal agent; such as,-the in a figurative sense, is less poetical than language of the eye-the eye of the mind- the eye, most probably because of its immethe eye of omnipotence and a countless diate connexion with the functions of the multitude of figures, without which we body. In the language of poetry, the lips
should find it difiicult to express our ideas, and the tongue are generally substituted and which sufficiently prove how intimate for the mouth; the one being associatel
and familiar is our acquaintance with the with the more refined idea of a smile, ani eye as a medium of intelligence, no less the other with the organs of speech. than as an organ of sense. With the uni Every one sees at the first glance that versally intelligible expression of the eye, the chin is not a subject for poetry; for are associated our first ideas of pain or though its peculiar formation may be strongpleasure, fear or confidence: the infant nat- ly indicative of boldness or timidity, as well urally looks up into its mother's eye to read as some meaner traits of character, it is so
incapable of changing with the changing beast, they lost sight of the characteristics of emotions of the mind, that the chin must the man. The Egyptians appear to have imremain to be considered merely as a feature bodied in their sculpture the first, or rather the of the face, and nothing more.
embryo idea of the sublime; and their huge, These notions, derived from the study of massive, and unmeaning heads, scarcely the human countenance, may appear to give chisselled into form, are as far removed in to the subject a greater degree of import- their expression from what is gross, as what ance than it really deserves; for there are is human. The Grecians knew better what many individuals not aware that they have was requisite to the gratification of a refined ever bestowed more physiognomical study and intellectual taste. They knew, that in upon the face of man, than upon the plate order to ennoble their representations of the from which they dine. But let one of these countenance of man, it must not only be direlate his favourite story to a stranger, who vested of all resemblance to the brute, but neither raises his eyes nor his eyebrows that, to rouse the human bosom to sensawhile he is speaking, whose mouth never tions of admiration and delight, it must be for one moment relaxes into a smile, and enlivened with the expression of human inwho gives no sign that he is interested by telligence. Had they proceeded but one any other motion of the head or face; the step farther in their imitation of nature as it teller of the story how little soever he may is—had they consulted the sympathies and think he has studied the subject, will per- affections of humanity, they might have imceive that he has wasted his words upon mortalized the genius of the times by proone who could not, or would not appreciate ductions equally sublime, but infinitely more their value. This fact he knows with cer- touching and beautiful. tainty, and without being told; because As the Grecians reasoned and acted in from childhood he has always been accus the early stage of civilization, so we, in formtomed to see earnest attention accompanied ing our earliest notions of the abstract nahy certain movements, or positions of the ture of beauty, reason, perhaps unconface; and has observed, that the same face sciously, to ourselves. We see that a low would be very differently affected by weari- and rapidly retreating forehead, sunken ness or absence of mind. Thus, we gather eyes, short nose, distended and elevated at knowledge from experience every day with the tip, wide mouth, and scarcely perceptiout being aware of it, and are satisfied with ble chin, are common to animals of the most the possession of our gain without inquiring repulsive character; and we loathe the from whence it was obtained.
image of a human animal in any way reThe sentiments upon which mankind are sembling these. With that propensity ingenerally agreed respecting the beauty or herent in our nature to rush towards the opdeforniity of the human countenance, origi- posite of every thing which excites dislike or nate more frequently in association, than, pain, we create a false taste, and affect to without examination of the subject, we admire what is not to be found in real life. should be disposed to allow. How often are And as most living faces have some faint we struck with a similarity between certain touch of resemblance to the animal creation, faces and certain animals of the brute crea we are more enraptured than the rules of tion; and just in proportion as the resem- physiognomy would warrant, with the cold blance is gross and brutal, we regard it with sublime of Grecian statuary. Nor is this disgust and horror. The ancients estab- taste likely to be corrected, because we lished for themselves a standard of beauty, study these marble beauties as statues only, as far removed from such resemblance as and consequently find in them all that is rethe form of the human countenance would quired for loveliness in repose; but could a allow; and sometimes, in their contempt for Grecian divinity step down from her pedesthe rude expression of animal life, they tal, and come to visit our couch in sorrow, rushed into the opposite extreme, and ex bend over us in sickness, or meet us at the tinguished all apparent capability of living door of our home after long absence and -in their anxiety to avoid the mark of the weary travel ; we should then perceive the
harsh coldness of what are called celestial spirit, while the “ tablet of unutterable brows, but which were certainly never in- thoughts is traced” upon it; we mmetended to relax into the expression of affa- diately begin to ponder upon what may be bility, kindness, or synpathy.
the secret springs from whence flow the The faces which are universally consi- ! thoughts, feelings, and affections of such a dered most interesting, are those which vary character. We bestow upon it mich of with every emotion of the soul; which sel- what is closely interwoven with our own. dom fail to please in general society, by We invest it with imaginary powers, and keeping up a sort of corresponding indica- I believe it to be possessed of resources irom tion with the feelings excited by different which the mind may draw as from unfuling subjects under discussion. Yet these varia- wells, until at last we seem to have estations must not be too rapid, they must not blished an ideal intercourse wiih the mygcorrespond with every trifling change, or the terious unknown, and to have made a friend expression will become puerile; because we by no other agency than the sympathy of are sure that so many different emotions felt the soul. in quick succession must neutralize each What is most generally esteemed in sociother, and we consequently doubt whether ety, might be easily discovered by what the any feeling in connexion with such a coun- greatest number of individuals are disposed tenance can be deep or lasting.
to affect. Thus, while the atlectation of atThere is, however, beyond this charm of tention is often substituted for attention itself, ; the human face, another of a more abstruse while dull faces are compelled to brighten and intellectual character, one which more into smiles without the animation of joy, '| properly entitles it to be called poetical; and while brows are stretched into a mockery of here it may not be improper to remark, that good humour when good humour is wanta certain degree of mystery enhances the ing; there are deeper practitioners playing value of almost all our mental enjoyments. off tlie art of being mysterious, dealing in The human mind is so constituted, that it hall-revealed secrets, concealing their own feels peculiar gratification in being occasion- names, looking abstracted by design, and ally thrown upon its own resources. In- forming plans for their own dignity, mimickstead of being constantly supplied with food ing the Corsair, and fancying they resemble selected and prepared for its use, it delights Lord Byron; with a hundred absurdities in being sometimes permitted to issue forth besides, too gross or to contemptible to enuon an excursion of discovery, and is satisfied merate, yet all tending to prove that there is on such occasions with very uncertain ali a disposition prevailing amongst mankind, ment. Mystery offers to the mind this kind to admire and delight in what is mysterious. of liberty. We dwell the longest upon that If we are generally agreed in our notions face which reveals a great deal, but not all of the beauty or deformity of the human of what the thoughts are engaged with; we face, we are still more unanimous in our esrecur with redoubled interest to those sub- | timate of that of animal form in general. jects which we do not, on first examination, Some, it is true, may prefer a tall or a broad fully understand.
figure, and others may choose exactly thei! But to return to the human countenance. opposite, but we are all of one opinion on the We meet with many faces animated, lively, subject of symmetry and proportion; beand quickly affected by the topics or events cause our associations are the same, and we of the moment. We remark of such, that bestow the highest degree of admiration on they are pleasing, and our admiration ends the bodies, both of men and animals, when here. But if, amongst the crowd, we dis- they posssss the combined qualiues of firmtinguish one possessed of this capability in ness, flexibility, and adaptation. the extreme, not always using it, however, All who have bestowed any attention upon but sometimes looking grave and abstracted, the horse, must regard this noble animal retiring, as it were, from the confusion or with feelings of admiration and delight. It the folly of the passing scene, to listen for needs not the aid of scientific study to jerawhile to the inner voice-the voice of the ceive in what perfection he possesses the