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if true fortitude of mind is best discovered by a chearful resignation to the measures of Providence, we shall not find reason perhaps to claim that most singular of the human virtues as our peculiar privilege. There are numbers of the other sex, who from natural delicacy of constitution, pass through one continued scene of suffering, from their cradles to their graves, with a firmness of resolution that would deserve so many statues to be erected to their memories, if heroism were not estimated more by the splendor than the merit of actions.
But whatever real difference there may be between the moral or intellectual powers of the male and female mind; nature does not seem to have marked the distinction so strongly as our vanity is willing to imagine; and after all, perhaps, education will be found to constitute the principal superiority. It must be acknowledged, at least, that in this article we have every advantage over the softer sex, that art and industry can possibly secure to us. The most animating examples of Greece and Rome are set before us, as early as we are capable of any observation; and the noblest compositions of the antients are given into our hands, almost as soon as we have strength to hold them: while the employments of the other sex at the same
period of life, are too generally the reverse of every thing that can open or enlarge their minds, or fill them with just and rational notions. The truth is, female education is so much worse than none, as it is better to leave the mind to its natural suggestions, than to lead it into false pursuits, and contract its views, by turning them upon the lowest and most trifling objects. We seem indeed, by the manner in which we usually suffer girls to be trained, to consider women agreeably to the opinion of certain Mahometan doctors, and treat them as if we believed they have no souls.
Why else are they
Bred only and completed to the taste
To dress and troll the tongue and roll the eye?
This strange neglect of cultivating the mind can hardly be allowed as good policy; when it is considered how much the interest of society is concerned in the rectitude of their understandings. That season of our life which is most susceptible of the strongest impressions, is necessarily under female direction; and there are few instances, perhaps, in which the sex is not one of the secret springs that regulates the most important movements of private or public transactions.
What Cato observed of his countrymen, is in one respect, true of every nation under the sun, "The Romans govern the world, but the women govern the Romans."
If it be true then (as true it is) that female influence is thus extensive; nothing, certainly, can be of more importance, than to give it a proper tendency, by the assistance of a well directed education. Far am I, however, from recommending any attempts to render women learned; yet surely it is necessary they should be raised above ignorance. Such a general tincture of the most useful sciences as may serve to free the mind from vulgar prejudices, and give it a relish for the rational exercise of its powers, might justly enter into the plan of female education. That sex might be taught to turn the course of their reflections into a proper and advantageous channel, without the danger of rendering them too elevated for the feminine duties of life. In a word, I would consider them as designed by Providence for use as well as shew, and trained up not only as women, but as rational creatures.
COLOUR AND FORM CONSTITUENT
PARTS OF BEAUTY.
EVERY object that is pleasing to the eye, or delightful to the mind, may be called beautiful; so that beauty, in general, may stretch as wide as the visible creation, or even as far as the imagination can range, which is a sort of new or secondary creation. Thus we speak not only of the beauties of an engaging prospect, of the rising and setting sun, or of a fine starry heaven, but of a picture, statue and building; and even of the actions, characters and thoughts of men. I shall, however, confine my present subject to visible beauty; and to such only as may be called personal, and again to such as is natural or real, and not such as is national or customary; as the thick lips of the good people of Bantam, or the excessive small feet of the ladies in China.
Every thing, then, belonging to personal beauty will fall under one or other of these few heads, colour, form, expression, grace: the two former of which I look upon as the body, the two latter as the soul of beauty.
Though colour be the lowest of all the constituent parts of beauty, yet it is vulgarly the most striking, and the most observed. For which there is a very obvious reason, "that every body 66 can see, and very few can judge;" the beauties of colour require much less of judgment than those of form, expression, or grace.
As to the colour of the body in general, the most beautiful, perhaps, that ever was imagined, was that which Apelles expressed in his famous Venus; and which though the picture itself be lost, Cicero has, in some degree, preserved to us, in his excellent description of it. It was as we learn from him, a fine red, beautifully intermixed and incorporated with white, and diffused in its due proportion, through each part of the body. Such are the descriptions of a most beautiful skin in several of the Roman poets*; and
* We could quote many instances, but we confine ourselves at present to the beautiful description of the blush of Lavinia, in Virgil's 12th Æneid.
Accepit vocem lachrymis Lavinia matris
Flagrantes perfusa genas: cui plurimus ignem