Jumat, 02 Maret 2012

CHAPTER VIII. Of the Eyes and Eyebrows.

Of the Eyes and Eyebrows.

BLUE eyes are generally more significant of weakness, effeminacy, andyielding, than brown and black. True it is there are many powerful men withblue eyes ; but I find more strength, manhood, and thought, combined with brownthan with blue. Wherefore does it happen that the Chinese, or the people of thePhilippine Islands^ are very seldom blue-eyed ; and that Europeans only, or thedescendants of Europeans, have blue eyes in those countries ? This is the moreworthy of inquiry because there are no people more effeminate, luxurious,peaceable, or indolent than the Chinese.

Choleric men have eyes of every color, but more brown, and inclined togreen, than blue. This propensity to green is almost *a decisive token of ardor,fire, and courage. I have never met with clear blue eyes in the melancholic,seldom in the choleric; but most in the phlegmatic temperament, which, however,had much activity. When the under arch described by the upper eyelid isperfectly circular, it always denotes goodness and tenderness, but also fear,timidity, and weakness. The open eye, not compressed, forming a long acuteangle with the nose, I have but seldom seen except in acute and understandingpersons.

Wide, open eyes, with the white seen under the apple, I have oftenobserved in the timid and phlegmatic, and also in the courageous and rash. Whencompared, however, the fiery and the feeble, the determined and theundetermined, will easily be distinguished. The former are more firm, more stronglydelineated, have less obliquity, have thicker, better cut, but less skinnyeyelids.

"The colors most common to the eyes are, the orange, yellow,green, blue, grey, and grey mixed with white. The blue and orange are mostpredominant, and are often found in the same eye. Eyes supposed to be black areonly yellow, brown, or a deep orange; to convince ourselves of which, we needbut look at them closely; for when seen at a distance, or turned towards thelight, they appear to be black, because the yellow brown color is so contrastedto the white of the eye, that the opposition makes it supposed black. Eyes alsoof a less dark colour pass for black eyes, but are not esteemed so fine as theother, because the contrast is not so great. There are also yellow and lightyellow eyes, which do not appear black, because the colours are not deep enoughto be overpowered by the shade.

"It is not uncommon to perceive shades of orange, yellow, grey,and blue, in the same eye; and whenever blue appears, however small thetincture, it becomes the predominant colour, and appears in streaks over thewhole iris. The orange is in flakes, round, and at some little distance fromthe pupil; but it is so strongly effaced by the blue that the eye appearswholly blue, and the mixture of orange is only perceived when closelyinspected.

“The finest eyes are those which we imagine to be black or blue.Vivacity and fire, which are the principal characteristics of the eyes, are themore emitted when the colours are deep and contrasted, rather than whenslightly shaded. Black eyes have most strength of expression, and mostvivacity; but the blue have most mildness, and perhaps are more arch. In theformer there is an ardour uninterruptedly bright, because the colour, whichappears to us uniform, every way emits similar reflections. But modificationsare distinguished in the light which animates blue eyes, because there arevarious tints of colour which produce various reflections.

"There are eyes which are remarkable for having what may be saidto be no colour. They appear to be differently constituted from others. Theiris has only some shades of blue or grey, so feeble that they are in someparts almost white; and the shades of orange which intervene are so small thatthey scarcely can be distinguished from grey or white, notwithstanding thecontrast of these colours. The black of the pupil is then too marking, becausethe colour of the iris is not deep enough, and, as I may say, we see only thepupil in the centre of the eye. These eyes are unmeaning, and appear to befixed and aghast

" There are also eyes the colour of the iris of which is almostgreen ; but these are more uncommon than the blue, the grey, the yellow, andthe yellow-brown. There are also people whose eyes are not both of the samecolour.

" The images of our secret agitations are particularly painted inthe eyes. The eye appertains more to the soul than any other organ ; seemsaffected by, and to participate in, all its motions ; expresses sensations themost lively, passions the most tumultuous, feelings the most delightful, andsentiments the most delicate. It explains them in all their force, in all theirpurity, as they take birth ; and transmits them by traits so rapid as to infuseinto other minds the fire, the activity, the very image with which themselvesare inspired. The eye at once receives and reflects the intelligence ofthought, and the warmth of sensibility. It is the sense of the mind, the tongueof the understanding."

Again, "As in nature, so in art, the eyes are differently formedin the statues of the gods, and in heads of ideal beauty; so that the eyeitself is the distinguishing token. Jupiter, Juno, and Apollo, have large,round, well-arched eyes, shortened in length, in order that the arch may be thehigher. Pallas, in like manner, has large eyes ; but the upper eyelid, which isdrawn up, is expressive of attraction and languishment. Such an eyedistinguishes the heavenly Venus Urania from Juno ; yet the statue of thisVenus bearing a diadem, has for that reason often been mistaken, by those whohave not made this observation, for the statue of Juno. Many of the modernartists appear to have been desirous of excelling the ancients, and to givewhat Homer calls the ox-eye, by making the pupil project, and seem to startfrom the socket. Such an eye has the modern head of the erroneously supposedCleopatra, in the Medicean villa, and which presents the idea of a personstrangled. The same kind of eye a young artist has given to the statue of theHoly Virgin, in the church St. Carlo al Torso."

I shall quote one more passage from Paracelsus, who, though anastrological enthusiast, was a man of prodigious genius : " To come to thepractical part, and give proper signs with some of their significations, it isto be remarked that blackness in the eyes generally denotes health, a firm mindnot wavering, but courageous, true, and honourable. Grey eyes generally denotedeceit, instability, and indecision. Short sight denotes an able projector,crafty, and intriguing in action. The squinting or false-sighted, who see onboth sides, or over and under, certainly denotes a deceitful crafty person, not... easily deceived, mistrustful, and not always to be trusted ; one whowillingly avoids labour when he can, indulging in idleness, play, usury, andpilfering. Small and deep sunken eyes are bold in opposition ; not discouraged,intriguing, and active in wickedness ; capable of suffering much. Large eyesdenote a covetous greedy man, and especially when they are prominent. Eyes incontinual motion signify short or weak sight, fear, and care. The winking eyedenotes an amorous disposition and foresight, and quickness in projection. Thedowncast eye shows shame and modesty. Ked eyes signify courage and strength.Bright eyes, slow of motion, bespeak the hero, great acts, audacious, cheerful,one feared by his enemies."

It will not be expected I should subscribe to all these opinions, theybeing most of them ill-founded, at least ill-defined.


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