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NOTES:-"The babies in the eyes," 181-'Dictionary of
This is closely followed by Dr. Grosart, in his edition of Herrick, though in a much abbreviated form: 66 The tiny face reflection in the pupil of the eyes. "Mr. Horne, who has edited a selection from National Biography,' 183-Scott as a Quotable" Poet, the Hesperides for Mr. Walter Scott's "Can185-Rev. George Costard - Imported Grammar-In-terbury Poets," says that it is difficult to say what the phrase exactly means; and, while stating the reflection theory, is apparently dissatisfied with it. Mr. Pollard says:
184-Alderman Curtis-Funeral by Women-Devon Cows,
fluenza-"Whether or no"-Editors-Draughts, 186.
QUERIES:-"Cue"-Gillray's 'Caricatures'-D. Angelo
-"Omerifican," 191-Reference in Pope-"Whip-Dog "—"It fair sheds "—Ambrose Gwinett-Col. Charters, 192-Historic Hearts-Chapel-The Last of the Plantagenets-Judges' Robes, 193- Henchman, 194 - Charles
"The phrase, babies [.e., dolls] in the eyes' is probably only a translation of its metaphor, involved in the use of the Latin pupilla (a little girl), our pupil, for the central spot of the eye."
Mr. Weber, the editor of Beaumont and Fletcher, whom I quote in addition, chiefly on account of his curiously savage note, has the following:"This conceit, which seems to be founded in the Stewart-W. H. Murray-The Queen and Robert Owen-reflection, which really appears in the iris, of the person Irish Currency-"Taking the wall"-The Christian Year,' placed before it, was a great favourite in the seventeenth 195-Burns in Art-Accurate Language-Dress in 1784-century, and has lately been revived by a modern Z. Cozens, 196-A "Crank"-"Salzbery" and "Som
NOTES ON BOOKS:-Lang's Scott's Old Mortality'
rhymester, distinguished for having done what he could to debase the taste and vitiate the morals of the nineteenth century, by the polluted effeminacy of his writings."
This acrid remark refers, I suppose, to a couple
Tuer's Book of Delightful Designs'-Nicholson's Colum- of passages in the volume of poems which Moore
bus's Letter' and Caxton's Advertisement.'
Notices to Correspondents.
"THE BABIES IN THE EYES."
"The babies in the eyes" is, in one form or another, a metaphor of very frequent occurrence in the writings of our seventeenth century poets and dramatists; and it is one which may be said to be practically confined to that period of our literature. The earliest instance of its use that I know is in a poem by one of the "uncertain authors" whose writings are appended to the collection of Lord Surrey's poems published in 1567. The poem is also quoted in Ellis's 'Specimens' and by Warton. The passage is as follows:
In each of her two crystal eyes
Another very early example is in Churchyard's "Tragical Discours of a Dolorous Gentlewoman (1593), where we have:—
Men do not look for babes in hollow'd eyen. The editors of, and commentators upon, our seventeenth century writers have found this metaphor a somewhat puzzling one, and exactly what it means seems yet not to be certainly determined. The usual explanation is, perhaps, that given by Nares, in his Glossary':
"The miniature reflection of himself which a person sees in the pupil of another's eye, on looking closely into it, was sportively called by our ancestors a little boy or baby, and made the subject of many amorous allusions."
published under the pseudonym of Thomas Little :
Look in my eyes, my blushing fair!
Thus in our looks some propagation lies,
Those babies that nestle so sly,
That an oath on the glance of an eye Such as yours, may be off in a shot! allowed by very competent authorities, it will The difficulty of the expression being thus clearly not be a waste of time to consider it a little more fully than has hitherto been done. I do not think that it can be summarily dismissed in a note of a line or two, and that no one hard and fast explanation will fit every example of its use will, I believe, be evident to any one who examines those that I shall have occasion to quote in this paper.
We must remember, too, in considering the explanations which have been offered, that there are other phrases of analogous form to be met with in our old literature, which most certainly do not admit of any similar interpretation. Take these, for example:
Saw you not angels in her eyes Whilst that she was a speaking? 'Madman's Morris,' quoted in Evans's Old Ballads,' and in the Roxburgh Ballads.' For thou'st a thief in either eye Would steal it back again.
link or another depend the several keys which into lively being. These considerations will prowill fully open out the meanings of the different vide us, I think, with keys to most of the passages examples of the various forms of the expression where the_metaphor of "the babies in the eyes we are considering. This sequence of ideas had occurs. To "look babies in the eyes" is, I bedeveloped itself in, and had become perfectly fami- lieve, to be understood as meaning to kindle, or to liar to the minds of the seventeenth century poets, attempt to kindle, desire by amorous and enticing always playing more or less fantastic and artificial glances; "to look" being an active transitive variations on their constant theme of a more or less verb, and "in" being equivalent to “into." sensual love. It must have been perfectly familiar This interpretation seems perfectly to explain to the minds of their readers also, and any ex-Theodore's question in Beaumont and Fletcher's pression which to us, who have freed ourselves 'Loyal Subject,' when he indignantly asks,— from the stilted language of the later euphuism Can ye look babies, sisters, and learned again to express ourselves naturally, is not very readily intelligible, would to them at once suggest a particular idea in that sequence which a consideration of these passages induces me to believe had become an everyday platitude to the writers of the time and their readers.
First we have the commonplace that Love is blind. This is elaborated in such stories as Lyly's pretty:
Cupid and my Campaspe play'd
At cards for kisses.
Campaspe rises the winner of the beggared Cupid's
Love doth to her eyes repair,
And being help'd, inhabits there.
We have now reached the conceit of Love or Cupid being tabernacled in a beautiful woman's eyes. And Cupid is generally depicted as a naked boy or baby. Does not this at once give us a more satisfactory explanation of the verses of the "uncertain author,”
In each of her two crystal eyes
than saying that the "naked boys" are the re-
In the young gallants' eyes, and twirl their band-strings? which the reflection hypothesis or the theory of a play upon words scarcely seems satisfactorily to do.
Consider, again, the following passages, which I become more readily intelligible than upon any think upon these principles of interpretation all others with which I am acquainted :
But O, see, see, we need inquire no further,
The "boy" in the last verse could scarcely be the reflected image of any one. Is it not rather an abstract Cupid with his arrow?
When a young lady wrings you by the hand, thus,
Massinger, Renegado,' II. iv. Scarcely for the miniature reflection of her own face in her companion's eyes, one would think, but rather suppose that Massinger's meaning was that she was trying to kindle the warm sparkle of love in them. And, relying upon the following quotation, I am inclined to think that Herrick would take this view too :
Among thy fancies, tell me this,
It is an active flame that flies,
'Hesperides." already quoted note by Dr. Grosart is appended The particular passage in Herrick to which the is the following:
You blame me, too, because I can't devise,
If this had been the only instance of the expression in our literature, scarcely even then, I think, would this, the common explanation, be quite satisfactory; not so satisfactory, indeed, as Mr. Pollard's, which would make Herrick mean, I suppose, that his mistress was chiding him for his seriousness of demeanour, and for failing to bring the glint and sparkle of merry amusement to her eyes. But though Mr. Pollard's explanation of the metaphor may make this particular passage
intelligible, it seems to fail in other cases.
As stars reflect on waters, so I spy,
The Baby, which lives there, and always plays
'DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY':
(See 6th S. xi. 105, 443; xii. 321; 7th S. i. 25, 82, 342,
Hervey's Meditations,' fourteenth edition, 1758,
P. 30 a, 1. 23 from foot. Insert mark of quotation after "Strand."
Pp. 38, 39. Dr. Leng, while Rector of Beddington, published a sermon preached there Nov. 6, 1715, dedicated to Sir Nicholas Carew, of Beddington, Bart.; and an assize sermon at Kingston-onThames, March 22, 1715/6.
P. 41 a, 1. 15 from foot. For "Setrington " read
P. 43 b. On the "lass of Richmond Hill" see
Like a Narcissus doth appear, Whilst in his flood the lovely Boy did gaze. The whole of this set of verses-it is headed "Weeping,' and consists of four stanzas-is, perhaps, as precious a piece of nonsense as the later and debased euphuism can show, and it may be doubtful whether it is not a waste of time and trouble to attempt to read any intelligible meaning into it. It seems, however, clear that here again the "baby" cannot have anything to do with the reflection of any one's face. What Cowley meant is probably to be gathered from the following consideration. It had become, as I think, a commonplace of his time and school to speak of the beauty and love-inspiring charms of a fair woman as "the babies in the eyes"; and this, to a mind ever on the strain to invent some new and far-fetched fantasy or forced comparison, apparently suggested P. 141 a. Darcy Lever, then of Aberford, Yorks, the grotesque and unpoetical idea of turning an issued proposals in Nov., 1797, for publishing abstract Cupid into a concrete Narcissus, and set-Mariner's Sheet Anchor,' to be dedicated to the ting him visibly in the lady's eye to gaze at his Hull Trinity House. An edition of 'Young Sea reflection in her tears. Officer's Sheet Anchor,' Leeds, 1835. Pp. 146 a, 153 a.
Many other instances of the use of this peculiar expression might be adduced in support of the interpretation here suggested; but to quote and comment upon them would be only to, more or less, repeat what has already been said. This interpretation may possibly seem a somewhat artificial one, but I do not think that it is more so than others which have been proposed. And before we say that this or that interpretation is forced or artificial, we must remember that the expression itself is characteristic of a period of our literature when the style of most of our writers was perhaps more forced and artificial than it has ever been either before or since.
W. C. BOLLAND.
P. 83. Charles Leslie. See Smith, 'Bibl. AntiQuak., pp. 267-274; Free-Thinker, i. 152; Blackwall's 'Sacred Classics'; Rob. Manning's Answ. to Case Stated,' Dublin, 1842.
P. 116 b, ll. 8 and 16 from foot. 1769, 1767 (?). P. 126 b. L'Estrange's poem 66 on confinement" in Roscommon's 'Poems,' 1707, p. 47.
For "Lyne" read Lyme;
P. 159 b. A poem on the death of Wm. Levinz, of Magd. Coll., Oxon., Nov., 1706, in Tho. Warton s 'Poems,' 1748, p. 63.
P. 174. A poem translated by David Lewis in V. Bourne's Poematia,' third edition, 1743, p. 61. P. 191. Mark Lewis. See preface to Holmes's Latin Grammar,' third edition, 1743.
P. 192 b. M. G. Lewis. See Mathias, 'Purs. of L.,' 245, 365; Byron, 'Engl. B. and Sc. Rev.,' 11. 259-276, 899-900.
P. 206 b, l. 32. Comma after "Wiltshire."
P. 218. Ed. Lhuyd. See Ray's 'Three Dis
P. 223 a, l. 31. For "Jnne " read June.
P. 236 a, l. 15. For "his predecessor" read one of his predecessors. See Durham Univ. Jour.,