Oliver Goldsmith.

A history of the earth and animated nature: With notes from the ..., Volume 1 online

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that they were the great apostles of sharing whererer
they came. Accordingly, they endearoured to persuade
or compel the English to share the hair of their upper
lips. The great minority yielded to the necessity of the
case, but there were many who chose rather to leare the
counter than resign their whiskers. Howerer, beards
again nad their day. In the fourteenth century they
became again fashionable* and continued until the b^
ginning of the serenteenth. At the latter date their
dimensions had become much contracted, and they were
soon aftpr relinquished, the mustaches only being re-
tained ; and at the commencement of the last century
the practice of sharing the whole face had become uni-
renaL In these latter changes the example of France
was followed. In that country, Henry IV. was the last
sovereign who wore a beard, and he had a tolerably fine
one. He was succeeded by a beardless minor, in com-
pliment to whom the courtiers shared all their beards
except the mustaches. The succession of another minor
confirmed the custom, and ultimately the mustaches
also disappeared. The Spaniards, more tardily influ-
enced by French example, kept their beards until the
French and English were beginning to relinquish eren
mustaches. Perhaps they would hare kept the cherished
appendage to this day, but a French prince (Philip Y.)

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heads in figures at one time, in stars at another,
in the manner of friars ; and still more com-
monly in alternate stripes ; and their little
boys are shaved in the same manner. The
Talapoins, of Siam, shave the heads and the
eye-brows of such children as are committed
to their care. Every nation seems to have
entertained different prejudices, at different
times, in favour of one part or another of the
beard. Some have admired the hair upon the
cheeks on each side, as we see with some low-
bred men among ourselves, who want to be
fine. Some like the hair lower down ; some
choose it curled ; and others like it straight.
<* Some have it cut into a peak ; and others
shave all but the whisker. This particular
part of the beard was highly prized among
the Spaniards; till of late, a man without
whiskers was considered as unfit for company;
and where nature had denied them, art took
care to supply the deficiency. We are told
of a Spanish general, who, when he borrow-
ed a large sum of money from the Venetians,
pawned his whisker, which he afterwards
took proper care to release. Kingson assures
lis, that a considerable part of the religion of
the Tartars consists in the management of their
whiskers: and that they waged a long and
bloody war with the Persians, declaring them
Uifidels, merely because they would not give
their whiskers the orthodox cut. — The kings
of Persia carried the care of their beards to a
ridiculous excess, when they chose to wear
them matted with gold thread: and even the
kings of France, of the first races, had them
knotted and buttoned with gold. But of all
nations, the [aboriginal] Americans take the
greatest pains in cutting their hair, and pluck-
mounted the Spanish throne with s ihared chin. The
cyHirtiers, with heavy hearts, imitated tlie prince; and
the people, with still heavier hearts, imitated the cour-
tiers. The popular feeling on the sul^ect, howerer re-
aaios recorded in the proverb, " Since we hare lost our
beards we hare lost our souls."

The comparative advantages and propriety of shaving,
and of permitting the beard to grow, would be difficult
to determine. On the side of beards, it has been argued
that nature must have bestowed such an appendage for
the purpose of being worn; and that, as Tertulllan
affirmed, it is " blssphemy against tlie &ce," to reject
it altogether. It is certain also, that a well kept beard
adds greatly to dignity of appearance, and finely sets off
other parts of the countenance, and in particular gives
great expression to the eyes. A comparison of beu^ed
and beardless portraits is generally much to the advan-
tage of the former. It is difficult to suppose that
Leonardo da Vinci, or Cardinal Bembo, or Cranmer, or
the Shah of Persia, would look so well without their
lieards ; and in Turkey it is impossible to compare the
men who have been shaven, and otherwise Europeanized,
urith the bearded civilians in their flowing robes, with-
out feeling that the former are, to use an oriental simile,
"plucked pigeons" in comparison. We have heard
much of the dignified and stately appearance of the
Turks, but such a comparison enables us to perceive that

ing their beards. The under part of the
beard, and all but the whisker, they take care
to pluck up by the roots, so that many have
supposed them to have no hair naturally grow-
ing on that part; and even Linnaeus has
fallen into that mistake. Their hair is also
cut into bands ; and no small care employed
in adjusting the whisker. In fact we have
a very wrong idea of savage finery ; and are
apt to suppose that, like the beasts of the
forest, they rise and are dressed with a shake,
but the reverse is true ; for no birth-night
beauty takes more time or pains in the adorn-
ing her person than they. I remember, when
the Cherokee kings were over here, that I
have waited for three hours during the time
they were dressing. They never would ven-
ture to make their appearance till they had
gone through the tedious ceremonies of the
toilet: they had their boxes of oil and ochre,
their fat and their perfumes, like the most efie-
minate beau, and generally took up four hours
in dressing before they considered themselves
as fit to be seen. We must not, therefore,
consider a delicacy in point of dress, as a
mark of refinement, since savages are much
more difficult in this particular than the most
fashionable or tawdry European. The more
barbarous the people, the fonder of finery.
In Europe, the lustre of jewels, and the
splendour of the most brilliant colours, are ge-
nerally given up to women, or to the weakest
part of the other sex, who are willing to be
contemptibly fine: but in Asia, these trifling
fineries are eagerly sought after, by every
condition of men, and as the proverb has it,
we find the richest jewels in an Ethiop's ear.
The passion for glittering ornaments is still

most of their dignity is in their beards and their dresses.
Then we must also take into account the trouble of
shaving, which made Seume, a German writer, say, in
his ' Journal,' — ** To-day I threw my powder-apparatus
out of the window. When will come the blessed day
when I shall send the shaving apparatus after itl"

On the other hand, it may be alleged that, as the
beard has always been shaven wherever men became
highly civilized, its growth must have been found in-
compatible with the convenience and refinements of
such a state, and would be a serious incumbrance in
many delicate acts. Besides, we find that, among all
bearded nations, the beard has always been invested with
peculiar sacredness, which preserves it from any kind of'
violation ; and as it is the tendency of civilisation to
eradicate prejudices, this would sufler among the rest,
and men would live in continual peril of the practical
jokes and rough handling which so conspicuous an ap-
pendage would seem almost to invite. Then It may be
questioned whether the care which the beard would re-
quire to keep it in a decent state, and to prevent it from
becoming a receptacle for dust and other impurities, is
not iully equal to any that shaving occasions. In pohit
of mere appearance, also, it may be stated that, what
the eyes lose by the absence of the beard, obtains a*futl
compensation, except in old age, by the greater ad-
vantage with which the mouth appears,

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stronger among the absolute barbarians, who
often exchange their whole stock of provisions,
and whatever else they happen to be possess-
ed of, with our seamen, for a glass-bead, or a

Although fashions have arisen in di£ferent
countries from fancy and caprice, these, when
they become general, deserve examination. ^
Mankind have always considered it as a matter
of moment, and they will ever continue desir-
ous of drawing the attention of each other, by
such ornaments as mark the riches, the power,
or courage of the wearer. The value of those
shining stones, which have at all times been
considered as precious ornaments, is entirely
founded upon their scarceness or their brilli-
ancv. It is the same likewise with respect
to those shining metals, the weight of which
is so little regarded, when spread over our
clothes. These ornaments are rather designed
to draw the attention of others, than to add
to any enjovments of our own; and few there
are, that these ornaments will not serve to
dazzle, and who can coolly distinguish between
the metal and the man.

AH things rare and brilliant will, therefore,
ever continue to be fashionable, while men
derive greater advantage from opulence than
virtue; while the means of appearing consi-
derable, are more easily acquired, man the
title to be considered. The first impression
we generally make, arises from our dress;
and this varies, in conformity to our inclina.
tions, and the manner in which we desire to
be considered. The modest man, or he who
would wish to be thought so, desires to show
the simplicity of his mind by the plainness of
his dress; the vain man, on the contrary, takes
a pleasure in displaying his superiority, " and
is willing to incur the spectator's dislike, so
he does but excite his attention."

Another point of view which men have in
dressing, is to increase the size of their figure;
and to take up more room in the world than
Nature seems to have allotted them. We de-
sire to swell out our clothes by the stiffness of
art, and raise our heels, while we add to the

' By the fSorce of habit, and by an unconscious
elation in the m4nd, of a dress and its wearer, fashion,
OTon to those who are somewhat fastidious, generally ap.
pean graceful. To please her, the fine lady of one
country almost feeds herself into an apoplexy; and the
would-be beauty of another starros herself into * the
sister to a shade.' The Chinese females cripple their
foet, and the Europeans torture their waist into the nar-
rowest possible compass. In one age she induces the
fair sex to cover their faces with patches; and in the
next, to blush, if necessity compel them to apply one ;
alternately to cashier, u it were, their natural tresses,
in farour of false locks set on wires, to make them sUnd
at a distance from the head — to elevate their hair to an
Immoderate height— or to cultivate it into drooping ring-
lets over the ean.

largeness of our heads. How bulky soever
our dress may be, our vanities are still more
bulky. The largeness of the doctors wig
arises from the same pride with the smallnesa
of the beau's queue. Both want to have the
size of their understanding measured by the
size of their heads.

There are some modes that seem to have a
more reasonable origin, which is to hide or to
lessen the defects of nature. To take men all
together, there are many more deformed and
plain than beautiful and shapely. The farmer,
as being the most numerous, give law to
fashion; and their laws are generally such as
are made in their own favour. The women
begin to colour their cheeks with red, when
the natural roses are faded; and the younger
are obliged to submit, though not compelled
by the same necessity. In all parts of the
world, this custom prevails more or less; and
powdering and frizzing the hair, though not
so general, seems to have risen from a similar

But leaving the draperies of the human
picture, let us return to the figure, unadorned
by art Man's head, whether considered ex-
ternallv or internally, is differently formed
from that of all other animals, the monkey-
kind only excepted, in which there is a strik-
ing similitude. — Thertfare some differences,
however, which we shall take, notice of in
another place. The bodies of all quadruped
animals are covered with hair ; but the head
of man seems the part most adorned, and that
more abundantly ihan in any other animal

There is a very great variety in the teeth of
all animals; some have them above and below;
others have them in the under jaw only ; in
some they stand separate from each othet;
while in some they are continued and united.
The palate of some fishes is nothing else but
a bony plate studded with points, which per^
form the offices of teeth. A 11 these substances,
in every animal, derive their origin from the
nerves ; the substance of the nerves hardens bj
being exposed to the air; and the nerves that
terminate in the mouth, being thus exposed,
acquire a bony solidity. In this manner the
teeth and nails are formed in roan; and in
this manner also, the beak, the hoofs, the horns,
and the talons, of other animals, are found to
be produced.

The neck supports the head, and unites it
to the body. This part is much more oonsi*
derable in the generality of quadrupeds, than
in man. But fishes, and other animals that
want lungs similar to ours, have no neck what-
soever. Birds, in general, have the neck
longer than any other kind of animals; those
of them which have short claws, have also
short necks; those, on the contrary, that ha?e
them long, are found to have the neck in pnj-

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portion. — ^^ In men, there in a lump upon the
wind. pipe, formed by the thyroid cartilage,
^rhich is not to be seen in women : an Ara-
bian fable says, that this is a part of the ori-
ginal apple, that has stuck in the man's throat
by the way, but that the woman swallowed
her part of it down."

The human breast is outwardly formed in a
very different manner from that of other ani.
mais. It is larger in proportion to the size of
the body; and none but man, and such ani-
mals as make use of their fore-feet as hands,
such as monkeys, bats, and squirrels, and such
quadrupeds as climb trees, are found to have
those bones called the clamclet, or, as we
usually term them, the collar banet,^ The
breasts in women are larger than in men;
however, they seem formed in the same man-
ner; and, sometimes, milk is found in the
breasts of men, as well as in those of women.
Among animals, there is a great variety in
this part of the body. The teats of some, as
in the ape and the elephant, are like those of
men, being but two, and placed on each side
of the breast The teats of the bear amount
to four. The sheep has but two, placed be-
tween the hinder legs. Other animals, such
as the bitch and the sow, have them all along
the belly; and, as they produce many young,
they have a great many teats for their sup-
port The form also of the teats varies in
different animals; and in the same animal at
' different ages. The bosom, in females, seems
to unite all our ideas of beauty, where the out-
line is continually changing, and the grada-
tions are soft and regular. '

^ Mr Bufion says, that none but monkeys have them,
but this is an OTersight— ^o<0 by Ooldsmith.

* « When the babe," says Darwin, '<sooo after It is
tiom into this cold wortd, is appUed to its mother's
bosmot its sense of perceiving warmth is iirst agreeably
afiected; next ita sense of smell is delighted with the
odour of her milk; then its taste is gratified by the fla-
vour of it; afterwards the appetites of hunger and of
thirst afford pleasure by the possession of their objects,
and by the subsequent digestion of the aliment; and
lasUy, the sense of touch is delighted by the softness and
smoothness of the milky fountain, the source of such Tar-
iety of happiness. All those Tarious kinds of pleasure at
length become associated with the form of the mother's
breast ; which the infant embn^ces with its hands, presses
with its lips, and watches with ito eyes ; and thus acquires
more accurate ideas of the form of its mother's bosom,
than of the odour. and ilaTour, or warmth, which it per-
ceiTos by other senses. And hence at our maturer years,
when any object of vision is represented to us, which by
Its waving or spiral lines bears any similitude to the form
of the female bosom, whether it be found in a landscape,
vrith soft gradations of rising and descending surface, or
in the form of some antique vases, or in other works of
the pencil or the chisel, we feel a general glow of de-
light, which seems to influence all our senses; and if the
defect be not too large, we experience an attraction to
•mbraee it with our arms, and salute it with our lips, as
. no did in our early infancy the bosom of our mothers.

'* The graceful fall of the shoulders, both
in man and woman, constitute no small part
of beauty. In apes, though otherwise made
like us, the shoulders are high, and drawn up
on each side towards the ears. In man they
fall by a gentle declivity; and the more so, in
proportion to the beauty of his form. In fact,
being high-shouldered, is not without reason
considered as a deformity, for we find very
sickly persons are always so, and people when
dying are ever seen with their shoulders drawn
up in a surprising manner. The muscles that
serve to raise the ribs, mostiy rise near the
shoulders; and the higher we raise the should-
ers, we the more easily raise the ribs likewise.
It happens, therefore, in the sickly and the
dying, who do not breathe without labour,
that to raise the ribs, they are obliged to call
in the assistance of the shoulders; and thus
their bodies assume, from habit, that form
which they are so frequentiy obliged to as-
sume. Women with child, also, are usually
seen to be high-shouldered; for the weight of
the inferior parts drawing down the ribs, they
are obliged to use every effort to elevate them,
and thus they raise their shoulders of course.
During pregnancy, also, the shape, not only
of the shoulders, but also of the breast, ami
even the features of the face, are greatly al-
tered; for the whole upper fore-part of the
body is covered with a broad thin skin, called
the myoides; which being, at that time, drawn
down, it also draws down with it the skin,
and, consequendy, the features of the face.
By these means the visage takes a particular
form; the lower eye-lids and the comers of
the mouth, are drawn downwards; so that the
eyes are enlarged, and the mouth lengthened^
and women in these circumstances, are said
by the roid-wives, to be " aff mouth and eyei"

The arms of men but very litUe resemble
the fore-feet of quadrupeds, and much less the
wings of birds. The ape is the only animal
that is poss|^sed of hands and arms; but these
are much more rudely fashioned, and with

And thus we find, according to the ingenious idea of
Hogarth, that the waving lines of beauty were originally
taken from the Temple of Venus.

** If the wide e3re the wavy lawm explore*.
The bending woodlaad*, or the wining ahorei,
Hilla, whoee green lidet with soft protnbenmoe rise,
Or the blue concave of the vaulted ikies ;—
Or scans with nicer gase the pearly awell
Of spiral volutes round the twisted shell :
Or nndnlatiog sweep, whose gracefol tarns
Boond the smooth surftee of Etrurian oms,
When on fine forms the Hnkring lines impress'd
Oire the nice eurres, which swell the female breast t
The couaUees Joys the tender mother pours,
Koand the soft cradle of our inlknt hoars,
In lively trains of onextlnct delight
Rise in oar bosoms, reeotrnixed 6y filt^tf
Fond Fancy's eye recalls the form dirine,
And Taste sits smiling apon Beauty's shrine.

Darwm^i T^mph of Naiur^*

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leas exact proportion, than in men; ''the
thumb not being so well opposed to the rest
of the fingers, in their hands, as in ours."

The form of the back is not much different
in man from that of other quadruped animals,
only that the reins are more muscular in him,
and stronger. The buttock, however, in man,
is different, from that of all other animals
whatsoever. What goes by that name in
other creatures, is only the upper part of the
thigh ; man bemg the only animal that sup-
ports himself perfectly erect, the largeness of
this part is owing to the peculiarity of his po-

Man's feet, also, are different from those of
all other animals, those even of apes not ex.
cepted. The foot of the ape is rather a kind
of awkward hand ; its toes, or rather fingers,
are long, and that of the middle longest of all.
This foot also wants the heel, as in man; the
sole is narrower, and less adapted to main-
tain the equilibrium of the body, in walking,
dancing, or running.

The nails are less in man than in any other
animal. If they were much longer than the
extremities of the fingers, they would rather
be prejudicial than serviceable, and obstruct
the management of the hand. Such savages
as let them grow long make use of them in
flaying animals, in tearing their flesh, and
such like purposes; however, though their
nails are considerably larger than ours, they
are by no means to be compared to the hoofs
or the claws of other animals. '* They may
sometimes be seen longer, indeed, than the
claws of any animal whatsoever ; as we learn
that the nails of some of the learned men in
China are longer than their fingers. But
these want that solidity which might give
force to their exertions, and could never, m a
state of nature, have served them for annoy-
ance or defence."

There is little known exactly with regard
to the proportion of the humai% figure ; and
the beauty of the best statues is better con-
ceived by observing than by measuring them.
The statues of antiquity, which were at first
copied after the human form, are now become
the models of it ; nor is there one man found
whose person approaches to those inimitable
performances that have thus, in one figure,
united the perfections of many. It is suffi-
cient to say, that from being at first models,
they are now become originals ; and are used
to correct the deviations in that form from
whence they were taken. I will not, how-
ever, pretend to give the proportions of the
human body as taken from these, there being
nothing more . arbitrary, and which good
painters themselves so much contemn. Some,
for instance, who have studied after these,
diTide the body into ten times the length of

the face s and others into eight Some pre*
tend to tell us, that there is a similitude of
proportion in different parts of the body.
Thus, that the hand is the length of the face ;
the thumb the length of the nose ; the space
between the eyes is the breadth of an eye ;
that the breadth of the thigh, at thickest, is
double that of the thickest part of the lee,
and treble the smallest ; that the arms extend-
ed are as long as the figure is high ; that the
legs and thigh are half the length of the fig^ure.
All this, however, is extremely arbitrary ; aiid
the excellence of a shape or the beauty of a
statue, results from the attitude and position
of the whole, rather than any established
measurements, begun without experience, and
adopted by caprice. In general, it may be
remarked, that the proportions alter in every
age, and are obviously different in the two
sexes. In women, the shoulders are nar*
rower, and the neck proportionably longer,
than in men. The hips also are consider-
ably larger, and the thighs much shorter, than
in men. These proportions, however, vary
greatly at different ages. In infancy, tbo
upper parts of the body are much larger than
the lower; the lees and thighs do not con-
stitute any thing like half the height of the
whole figure ; in proportion as the child in-
creases in age, the inferior parts are found
to lengthen ; so that the body is not equally
divided until it has acquired its full growth.

The size of men varies considerably. Men
are said to be tall who are from five feet eight
inches to six feet high. The middle stature
is from five feet five to lave feet eight : and
those are said to be of small stature who fall
under these measures. ** However, it ought
to be remarked, that the same person is al-
ways taller when he rises in the morning, than
upon going to bed at night ; and sometimes
there is an inch difference ; and I have seen
more. Few persons are sensible of this re-
markable variation; and I am told, it was
first perceived in England by a recruiting
officer. He often found that those men whom
he had enlisted for soldiers, and answered to
the appointed standard at one time, fell short
of it when they came to be measured before

Online LibraryOliver GoldsmithA history of the earth and animated nature: With notes from the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 57 of 155)