Page images
PDF
EPUB

trembled by turns with fury and terror: the palace, fo lately fhining with oriental pomp, changed fuddenly into the cell of a dungeon, where his fon lay ftretched out on the cold pavement, gagged and bound, with his eyes put out. Soon after he perceived the favourite Sultana, who before was feated by his fide, enter with. a bowl of poifon, which the compelled ABORAM to drink, and afterwards married the fucceffor to his throne.. "Happy," faid CALOC, "is he whom PROVIDENCE has by the angel of death fnatched from guilt! from whom that power is with-held, which, "if he had poffeffed, would have accumulated upon "himself yet greater mifery than it could bring upon ❝ others."

66

66

"It is enough," cried BOZALDAB; "I adore the

"infcrutable fchemes of OMNISCIENCE!-From what "dreadful evil has my fon been rescued, by a death "which I rafhly bewailed as unfortunate and prema"ture! a death of innocence and peace, which has "blefied his memory upon earth, and tranfmitted his fpirit to the fkies."

[ocr errors]

$

Caft away the dagger," replied the heavenly. meffenger, "which thou waft preparing to plunge into "thine own heart. Exchange complaint for filence,. "and doubt for adoration. Can a mortal look down,, "without giddinefs and ftupefaction, into the vast

abyfs of ETERNAL WISDOM? Can a mind that fees not infinitely, perfectly comprehend any thing "among an infinity of objects mutually relative? Can "the channels, which thou commandeft to be cut to receive the annual inundations of the NILE, con"tain the waters of the OCEAN? Remember, that

66.

[ocr errors]

perfect happiness cannot be conferred on a creature ; ; "for perfect happiness is an attribute as incommuni"cable as perfect power and eternity.'

""

66

The ANGEL, while he was fpeaking thus, ftretched out his pinions to fly back to the empyreum; and the flutter of his wings was like the rushing of a cataract.

Perfonal Beauty produced by Moral Sentiment.
[Advent. No. 82.]

T

HOUGH the danger of disappointment is always in proportion to the height of expectation, yet I this day claim the attention of the ladies, andprofefs to teach an art by which all may obtain what has hitherto been deemed the prerogative of a few: an art by which their predominant paffion may be gratifed, and their conquests not only extended but fecured; "The art of being PRETTY."

But though my fubject may intereft the ladies, it may,. perhaps, offend thofe profound moralifts, who have long fince determined, that BEAUTY ought rather to be defpifed than defired; that, like ftrength, it is a mere natural excellence, the effect of caufes wholly out of our power, and not intended either as the pledge of happiness or the diftinction of merit.

To thefe gentlemen I fhall remark, that beauty is among thofe qualities, which no effort of human wit could ever bring into contempt: it is, therefore, to be wifhed at least, that beauty was in fome degree dependant upon SENTIMENT and MANNERS, that fo high a privilege might not be poffeffed by the unworthy, and that human reafon might no longer fuffer the mortification of those who are compelled to adore an idol, which differs from a stone or a log only by the skill of the artificer: and if they cannot themselves behold beauty with indifference, they muft, furely, approve an attempt to fhew that it merits their regard.

I fhall, however, principally confider that fpecies of beauty which is expreffed in the countenance; for this alone is peculiar to human beings, and is not lefs complicated than their nature. In the countenance there are but two requifites to perfect BEAUTY, which are wholly produced by external caufes, colour and proportion and it will appear, that even in common estimation these are not the chief; but that though there may be beauty without them, yet there cannot be beauty without fomething more.

The finest features, ranged in the most exact symme

try,

try, and heightened by the moft blooming complexion, must be animated before they can ftrike; and when they are animated, will generally excite the fame pasfions which they exprefs. If they are fixed in the dead calm of infenfibility, they will be examined without emotion; and if they do not exprefs kindness, they will be beheld without love. Looks of contempt, difdain, or malevolence, will be reflected, as from a mirrour, by every countenance on which they are turned; and if a wanton afpect excites defire, it is but like that of a favage for his prey, which cannot be gratified without the deftruction of its object.

Among particular graces the dimple has always been allowed the pre-eminence, and the reafon is evident; dimples are produced by a fmile, and a fmile is an expreffion of complacency: fo the contraction of the browsinto a frown, as it is an indication of a contrary temper, has always been deemed a capital defect.

The lover is generally at a lofs to define the beauty, by which his paffion was fuddenly and irrefiftibly determined to a particular object; but this could never, happen, if it depended upon any known rule of proportion, upon the fhape or difpofition of the features, or the colour of the fkin: he tells you that it is fomething which he cannot fully exprefs, fomething not fixed in any part, but diffufed over the whole: he calls it a fweetnefs, a foftnefs, a placid fenfibility, or gives it fome other appellation which connects beauty with SENTIMENT, and expreffes a charm which is not peculiar to any fet of features, but is perhaps poffible to all.. This beauty, however, does not always confift in fmiles, but varies as expreffions of meeknefs and kindnefs vary with their objects; it is extremely forcible in the filent complaint of patient fufferance, the tender. folicitude of friendship, and the glow of filial obedience; and in tears, whether of joy, of pity, or of grief,. it is almoft irrefiftible.

This is the charm which captivates without the aid. of nature, and without which her utmoft bounty is ineffectual. But it cannot be affumed as a mafk to conccal infenfibility or malevolence; it must be the ge

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

nuine effect of correfponding fentiments, or it will imprefs upon the countenance a new and more difgufting deformity, AFFECTATION; it will produce the grin, the fimper, the ftare, the languish, the pout, and innumerable other grimaces, that render folly ridiculous, and change pity to contempt. By fome, indeed, this fpecies of hypocrify has been practifed with fuch skill as to deceive fuperficial obfervers, though it can deceive even those but for a moment. Looks which do not correfpond with the heart, cannot be affumed without labour, nor continued without pain; the motive to relinquish them muft, therefore, foon preponderate, and the afpect and apparel of the vifit will be laid by together; the fimiles and the languifhments of art will vanifh, and the fierceness of rage, or the gloom of difcontent, will either obfcure or deftroy all the elegance of fymmetry and complexion.

The artificial afpect is, indeed, as wretched a fubftitute for the expreffion of fentiment, as the fear of paint for the blushes of health: it is not only equally tranfient, and equally liable to detection; but as paint leaves the countenance yet more withered and ghaftly, the paffions burst out with more violence after reftraint, the features become more diftorted, and excite more determined averfion.

Beauty, therefore, depends principally upon the mind, and confequently may be influenced by education. It has been remarked, that the predominant paffion may generally be discovered in the countenance, because the mufcles by which it is expreffed, being almoft perpetually contracted, lofe their tone, and never totally relax; fo that the expreflion remains, when the paffion is fufpended: thus an angry, a difdainful, a fubtil, and a fufpicious temper, is difplayed in characters that are almoft univerfally underflood. It is equally true of the pleafing and the fofter paffions, that they leave their fignatures upon the countenance when they cease to act: the prevalence of thefe paffions, therefore, produces a mechanical effect upon the afpect, and gives a turn and caft to the features which make a more favourable and forcible impreffion upon the mind of others,

others, than any charm produced by mere external caufes.

Neither does the beauty which depends upon temper and fentiment, equally endanger the poffeffor; "It is," to use an eastern metaphor, like the towers of a city, "not only an ornament but a defence;" if it excites defire, it at once controuls and refines it; it repreffes with awe, it foftens with delicacy, and it wins to imi tation. The love of reafon and of virtue is mingled with the love of beauty; because this beauty is little more than the emanation of intellectual excellence, which is not an object of corporeal appetite. As it excites a purer paffion, it alfo more forcibly engages to fidelity: every man finds himself more powerfully reftrained from giving pain to goodness than to beauty; and every look of a countenance in which they are blended, in which beauty is the expreffion of goodness, is a filent reproach of the firft irregular wifh; and the purpofe immediately appears to be difingenuous and cruel, by which the tender hope of ineffable affection would be disappointed,. the placid confidence of unfufpecting fimplicity abused, and the peace even of virtue endangered, by the most fordid infidelity and the breach of the strongest obligations.

But the hope of the hypocrite muft perish. When the fictitious beauty has laid by her fmiles, when the luftre of her eyes and the bloom of her cheeks have loft their influence with their novelty; what remains but a tyrant divefted of power, who will never be feen without a mixture of indignation and difdain? The only defire which this object could gratify, will be transferred to another, not only without reluctance but with triumph. As refentment will fucceed to disappointment, a defire to mortify will fucceed to a defire to please; and the husband may be urged to folicit a mistress, merely by a remembrance of the beauty of his wife, which lafted only till fhe was known.

Let it, therefore, be remembered, that none can be difciples of the GRACES, but in the school of VIRTUE; and that those who wish to be LOVELY, must learn early to be GOOD.

Ca

« EelmineJätka »