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in one town, it would, for the same reasons, in every other; and of course there would be nothing more wanting than this universal right judgment of beauty, to render the whole world one continued scene of blood and misery. But now that fancy has more to do with beauty than judgment, there is an infinite number of tastes, and consequently an infinity of beauty; for, to the mind of the lover, supposed beauty is full as acceptable as real. Every body may now choose out what happens to suit his own turn' and cast. This increases the extent of beauty vastly, and makes it in a manner universal; for there are but few persons, in comparison, that are truly beautiful; but every body may be beautiful in the imagination of some one or other. Some may delight themselves in a black skin, and others in a white; some in a general natural rosiness of complexion, others in a high, exalted, artificial red; some nations, in waists disproportionably large, and others, in waists as disporportionably small. In short, the most opposite things imaginable may each be looked upon as beautiful, in different countries, or by different people in the same country. We should perhaps make a distinction here again, as to the constituent parts of beauty above described. Fancy has much more to do in the articles of form and colour, than in those of the passions and grace. The good passions, as they are visible on the face, are apparent goodness; and that must be generally amiable: 'and true grace, wherever it appears to any degree, must certainly be pleasing to every human creature. The substance of what M. Felibien has written in his “Entretiens,” on the different parts of the female form, is as follows: That the head should be well rounded, and look rather inclining to small than large. The forehead white, smooth, and open, not with the hair growing down too deep upon it; neither flat nor prominent, but, like the head, well rounded ; and rather small, in proportion, than large. The hair, either bright black, or brown, not thin, but full and waving; and if it falls in moderate curls, the better. The black is
particularly useful for setting off the whiteness of the neck and skin. The eyes black, chesnut, or blue; clear, bright, and lively; and rather large in proportion, than small. The eye-brows well divided, rather full than thin, semicircular, and broader in the middle than at the ends, of a neat turn, but not formal. The cheeks should not be wide, but have a degree of plumpness, with the red and white finely blended together, and should look firm, yet soft. The ear should be rather small than large; well folded, and with an agrecable tinge of red. The nose should be placed so as to divide the face into two equal parts; should be of a moderate size, straight, and well squared; though sometimes a little rising in the nose, which is but just perceivable, may give a very graceful look to it. The mouth should be small; and the lips not of equal thickness; they should be well turned, small, rather than gross; soft, even to the eye; and with a living red in them.
A truly pretty mouth is like a rose-bud that is beginning to blow. The teeth should be middle-sized, white, well ranged, and even. The chin of a moderate size, white, soft, and agreeably rounded, The neck should be white, straight, and of a soft, easy, and flexible make, rather long than short; less above, and increasing gently towards, the shoulders. The whiteness and delicacy of its skin should be continued, or rather go on improving to the bosom. The skin, in general, should be white, properly tinged with red; with an apparent softness, and a look of thriving health in it. The shoulders should be white, gently spread, and with a much softer appearance of strength than in those of men. The arms should be white, round, firm, yet soft; and more particularly so from the elbow to the hands. The hand should unite insenşibly with the arm; just as it does in the statue of the Venus de Medici. They should be long and delicate, and even the joints and nervous parts should be without any hardness or dryness. The fingers should be fine, long, round, and soft, small, and lessening towards the tips; and the nails long, rounded
at the ends, and pellucid. The bosom should be white and charming; and the breasts equal in roundness, whiteness, and firmness; neither too much elevated, nor too much depressed; rising gently, and very distinctly separated; in one word, just like those of the Venus de Medici. The sides should be long, and the hips wider than the shoulders, gradually rounding and lessening to the knee. The knee should be even, and well rounded; the legs straight, and varied by a proper rounding of the more fleshy part of them; and the feet finely turned, white, and small.
Although people in general are more capable of judging right of beauty, at least in some parts of it, than they are of most other things; yet there are many cases apt to mislead the generality in their judgment of beauty. Thus, if the affection is entirely engaged by any one object, a man is apt to allow all perfections to that person, and very little in comparison to any body else; or, if they ever commend others highly, it is for some characteristic in which they can trace a resemblance to their favourite object. Again, people are very often misled in their judgments, by a similitude, in others, either to their own temper or person.
Hence little men often prefer pretty women, and tall men majestic ones; and so in a great variety of instances. This may be called falling in love with ourselves at second hand; and selflove, whatever other love may be, is sometimes so false-sighted, as to make the most homely, and even the most disagreeable things, seem beautiful and pleasing. Sometimes an idea of usefulness may give a turn to our ideas of beauty. The very same things are reckoned beauties in a coach-horse, which would be so many blemishes in a race-horse. But the greatest and most general misleader of our judgments, in relation to beauty, is custom, or the different national tastes for beauty; which turn chiefly on the two lower parts of it, colour and form. It was from the most common shape of his countrywomen, that Rubens, in his pictures, delighted so
much in plumpness. Whenever he was to represent the most beautiful women, he was sure to give them a good share of corpulence. It seems as if nobody could be a beauty with him under 200 weight. His very graces are all fat. But this may go much farther than mere bulk; it will reach even to very great deformities; which sometimes grow into beauties, where they are habitual and general. One of our own countrymen, who was a very handsome man, in travelling over the Alps, was detained by a fever in one of those villages, where every grown person has that sort of swelling in the neck which they call goitres; and of which some are very near as big as their heads. The first Sunday that he was able, he went to their church, for he was a Roman Catholic, to return thanks to heaven for his recovery. A man of so good a figure, and so well drest, had probably never before been within the walls of that chapel. Every body's eyes were fixed upon him; and as they went out, they cried out, loud enough for him to hear them, “O how completely handsome would that man be, if he had but a goitre !” In some of the most military nations of Africa, no man is reckoned handsome that has not five or six scars on his face. This custom might probably be introduced among them, to make them less afraid of wounds in that part in battle; but it grew at last to have such a share in their idea of beauty, that they now cut and slash the faces of their poor little infants, in order to give them those graces, when they are grown up, which are so necessary to win the hearts of their mistresses; and which, with the assistance of some jewels or ingots of gold in their noses, ears, and lips, must certainly be irresistible to the ladies of that country. The covering each cheek all over with a burning sort of red colour, has long been looked upon, in a neighbouring country, to be as necessary to render a fine lady's face completely beautiful, as these scars are for the beaux in Africa. The natural complexion of the Italian ladies is of a higher glow than ours usually are; and yet Mr. Addison is very
just, in making a Numidian call the ladies of the same country, pale unripened beauties, (Cato, act i, scene 4.) The Prince of Anamaboo, though he had been long used to the European complexion, yet said of a certain lady, a little before he left London, “That she would be the most charming woman in the world, if she was but a negro.” In an account of some of the farthest travels that any of our people have made up the river Gambia, we are informed, that when they came to some village where probably no Europeans had ever been before, the women ran frightened and screaming from them, on taking them to be diabolical agents, merely on account of the whiteness of their complexion. It is evident, that our relish of regularity, uniformity, proportion, order, and simplicity, contributes greatly to enhance the beauty of the objects that surround us, and of course tends to our happiness. We may be satisfied of this, upon reflecting, that our taste is not accidental, but uniform and universal, making a branch of our nature. At the same time, regularity, uniformity, order, and simplicity, contribute each of them to readiness of apprehension, and enable us to form more distinct ideas of objects, than can be done where these particulars are wanting. In some instances, as in animals, proportion is evidently connected with utility, and is the more agreeable on that account. Beauty, in many instances, promotes industry; and as it is frequently connected with utility, it proves an additional incitement to enrich our fields and improve our manufactures. These, however, are but slight effects, compared with the connections that are formed among individuals in society, by means of beauty. The qualifications of the head and heart are undoubtedly the most permanent foundations of such connections ; but as external beauty lies more in view, and is more obvious to the bulk of mankind, than these qualities, the perception of it has a more extensive influence in regulating our choice. At any rate, connected with mental qualifications, it greatly concurs in producing social intercourse, mutual good-will, and con