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Thou hast fought life's battle boldly—
Thou shalt wear a crown that beareth
'Mong the crystal flowers that languish
Where the Eden trees are singing,
Nature's mourning for her lover;
Soon we strew upon thy bosom
O'er thee soon will winds be sweeping
NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN.
An old paragraph from an English journal is going the rounds, in which it is alleged that Warren Hastings, when Governor-general of India, found in the district of Benares a subterranean vault, containing a printing-press of antique and singular fashion, with moveable types upon it, set as if ready for printing; and that from the best information that could be obtained, the discoverers were of opinion that the vault had been closed for at least a thousand years! It is scarcely to be credited that an art so peculiarly fitted to perpetuate itself, should be ever lost to the knowledge of mankind. Novembbe, 1847." x
A CHAPTER ON FEMALE HAIR.
Hair should be abundant, soft, flexible, growing in long locks, of a colour suitable to the skin, thick in the mass, delicate and distinct in the particular. The mode of wearing it should differ. Those who have it growing low in the nape of the neck should prefer wearing it in locks hanging down, rather than turned up with a comb. The gathering it, however, in that manner, is delicate and feminine, and suits many. In general, the mode of wearing the hair is to be regulated according to the shape of the head. Ringlets hanging about the forehead suit almost everybody. On the other hand, the fashion of parting the hair smoothly, and drawing it tight back on either side, is becoming to few. It has a look of vanity, instead of simplicity. The face must do everything for it, which is asking too much, especially as hair, in its freer state, is the ornament intended for it by nature. Hair is to the human aspect what foliage is to the landscape. Its look of fertility is so striking that it has been compared to flowers, and even to fruit. The Greek and other poets talk of hyacinthine locks, of clustering locks (an image taken from grapes), of locks like tendrils. The favourite epithet for a Greek beauty was "well-haired," and the same epithet was applied to woods. Apuleius says that Venus herself, if she were bald, would not be Venus. So entirely do I agree with him, and so much do I think that the sentiment of anything beautiful, even where the real beauty is wanting, is the best part of it, that I prefer the help of artificial hair to an ungraceful want of it. I do not wish to be deceived. I would know that the hair was artificial, and would have the wearer inform me so. Thiswould show her worthy of being allowed it. I remember, when I was at Florence, a lady of quality, an Englishwoman, whose beauty was admired by everybody, but never did it appear so admirable to me as when she told me one day that the ringlets that hung from her cap were not her own. Here, thought I, it is not artifice that assists beauty— it is truth. Here is a woman who knows that there is a beauty in hair, beyond the material of it, or the pride of being thought to possess it. The first step in taste is to dislike all artifice; the next is to demand nature in her perfection; but the best of all is to find out the hidden beauty, which is the soul of beauty itself, to wit, the sentiment of it. The loveliest hair is nothing, if the wearer is incapable of a grace. The finest eyes are not fine, if they say nothing. What is the finest harp to me, strung with gold, and adorned with a figure of Venus, if it answer with a discordant note, and hath no chords in it fit to be wakened? Long live, therefore, say I, lovely natural looks at five-and-twenty, and lovely artificial locks, if they must be resorted to, at five-and-thirty or forty. Let the harp be new strung, if the frame warrant it, and the sounding board hath a delicate
utterance. A woman of taste should no more scruple to resort to such helps at one age, than she would consent to resort to them at an age when no such locks exist in nature. Till then, let her not cease to help herself to a plentiful supply. The spirit in which it is worn gives the right to wear it. Affectation and pretension spoil everything—sentiment and simplicity warrant it. Above all things, cleanliness. This should be the motto of personal beauty. Let a woman keep what she has clean, and she may adorn it as she pleases. Oil, for example, is two different things, on clean hair and unclean. On the one, it is but an aggravation of the dirt: to the other, if not moist enough by nature, it may add a reasonable grace. The best, however, is undoubtedly that which can most dispense with it. A lover is a little startled when he finds the paper, in which a lock of hair has been enclosed, stained and spotted as if it had wrapped a cheesecake. Ladies, when about to give away locks, may as well omit oil that time, and be content with the washing. If they argue that it will not look so glossy in those eyes in which they desire it to shine most, let them own as much to the favoured person, and he will never look at it but their candour shall give it t double lustre.
"Love adds a precious seeing to the eye;"
and how much does not sincerity add to love! One of the excuses for oil is the perfume mixed with it. The taste for this was carried so far among the ancients, that Anacreon does not scruple to wish that the painter of his mistress's portrait could convey the odour breathing from her delicate oiled tresses. Even this taste seems to have a foundation in nature. Mary Honeycomb, a little black-eyed relation of mine, (often called Molly from a certain dairy-maid turn of hers, and our regard for old English customs,) has hair with a natural scent of spice.
The poets of antiquity, and the modern ones after them, talk much of yellow and golden tresses, tresses like the morn, etc. Much curiosity has been evinced respecting the nature of this famous poetical hair; and as much anxiety shown in hoping that it was not red. May I venture to say in behalf of red hair, that I am one of those in whose eyes it is not so very shocking! Perhaps, as " pity melts the soul to love," there may be something of such a feeling in my tenderness for that Pariah of a colour. Perhaps there are many reasons, all very good-natured: but so it is, I find myself the ready champion of all persons who are at a disadvantage with the world, especially women, and sociable ones. Hair of this extreme complexion appears never to have been in request; and yet, to say nothing of the general liking of the ancients for all the other shades of yellow and ,old, a good redheaded commentator might render it a hard matter to pronounce that Theocritus has not given two of his beautiful swains hair amounting to a positive fiery. Fire red is the epithet, however it may be understood,
"Both fiery-tressed heads, both in their bloom."
I do not believe the golden hair to have been red: but this I believe, that it was nearer to it than some colours, and that it went a good deal beyond what is sometimes supposed to have been auburn. The word yellow, a convertible term for it, will not do for auburn. Auburn is a rare and glorious colour, and I suspect will always be more admired by us of the north, where the fair complexions that recommended golden hair are as easy to be met with as they are difficult in the south. Ovid and Anacreon, the two greatest masters of the ancient world, in painting external beauty, both seemed to have preferred it to golden, notwithstanding the popular cry in the other's favour; unless, indeed, the hair they speak of is too dark in its ground for auburn. The Latin poet, in his fourteenth love-elegy, book the first, speaking of tresses which he says Apollo would have envied, and which he preferred to those of Venus, as Apelles painted her, tells us, that they were neither black nor golden, but mixed, as it were, of both. And he compares them to cedar on the declivities of Ida, with the bark stripped. This implies a dash of tawny; I have seen pine trees, in a southern evening sun, take a lustrous burnished aspect, between dark and golden, a good deal like what I conceive to be the colour he alludes to. Anacreon describes hair of a similar beauty, His touch, as usual, is brief and exquisite :—
"Deepening inwardly, a dun;
which Ben Johnson has rendered in a line,
"Gold upon a ground of black."
Perhaps, the true auburn is something more lustrous throughout, and more metallic than this. The cedar with the bark stripped looks more like it. At all events, that it is not the golden hair of the ancients has been proved to me beyond a doubt by a memorandum in my possession, worth a thousand treatises of the learned. This is a solitary hair of the famous Lucretia Borgia, whom Ariosto has so praised for her virtues, and whom the rest of the world is so con tented to call a wretch. It was given by a wild acquaintance, who stole it from a lock of her hair preserved in the Ambrosian Library at Milan. On the envelope he put a happy motto :—
"And Beauty draws us with a single hair."
If ever hair was golden, it is this. It is not red, it is not yellow, itisnot auburu: it is golden, and nothing else; and though natural-looking, too, must have had a surprising appearance in the mass, Lucretia, beautiful in every respect, must