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that, though he could not look upon him without an involuntary disgust, he only felt the more compassion for his misfortune; and upon another occasion, he overheard a jury of matrons debating whether a female could be found in any country to kiss such emaciated and frightful lips. How Noah's grandchildren, the African descendants of Ham, came to be black, has never yet been satisfactorily explained, and it were therefore vain to inquire into the origin of their enormous lips, which do not seem better adapted to a hot climate than our own; but there is good reason to believe that the ancient Egyptians were as ponderously provided in this respect as their own bull-god, for the Sphinx has a very Nubian mouth, and the Memnon's head, so far from giving us the idea of a musical king who could compete with Pan or Apollo, rather tempts us to exclaim in the language of Dryden
"Thou sing with him, thou booby! never pipe
Was so profaned to touch that blubber'd lip."
A more angular and awkward set of two-legged animals seem never to have existed. They must have worshipped monkies on account of their resemblance to their own human form divine; and we cannot attribute their appearance to the unskilfulness of the artist rather than the deformity of the subject, for the drawings of animals are always accurate, and sometimes extremely graceful.
All this only makes it the more wonderful that Cecrops, by leading a colony from the mouths of the Nile to Attica, should found a nation which, to say
nothing of its surpassing pre-eminence in arts and arms, attained in a short period that exquisite proportion and beauty of form of which they have left us memorials in their glorious statues, and have thus eternally fixed the European standard of symmetry and loveliness. The vivid fancy of the Greeks not only peopled woods, waves, and mountains with imaginary beings, but by a perpetual intermingling of the physical and moral world, converted their arms, instruments, and decorations into types and symbols, thus elevating inanimate objects into a series of hieroglyphics, as they had idealised their whole system of mythology into a complicated allegory. To illustrate this by recurring to the subject of our essay. Many people contemplate the classical bow of the ancients without recollecting that its elegant shape is supplied originally by Nature, as it is an exact copy of the line described by the surface of the upper lip. It is only by recalling this circumstance that we can fully appreciate that curious felicity which appropriated the lip-shaped bow to Apollo the god of eloquence, and to Cupid the god of love, thus typifying that amorous shaft, which is never so powerfully shot into the heart as through the medium of a kiss. It is in this spirit of occult as well as visible beauty that classical antiquity should be felt and studied. No upper lip can be pronounced beautiful unless it have this line as distinctly defined as I now see it before me in a sleeping infant. I am sorry to be personal towards my readers, particularly those of the fair sex, but, my dear Madam, it is useless to consult your glass, or complain that the mirrors are
not half so well made now as they were when you were younger. By biting them you may indeed make
your lips blush deeper sweets," but you cannot bid them display the desiderated outline. Such vain endeavours, like the formal mumbling of prayers," are but useless formalities and lip-labour." Yours are, in fact, (be it spoken in a whisper,) what a friend of mine denominates sixpenny lips, from their tenuity, and maintains them to be indicative of deceit. He, how ever, is a physiognomist, which I am not, or at least only to a very modified extent. All those muscles which are flexible and liable to be called into action by the passions may, I conceive, permanently assume some portion of the form into which they are most frequently thrown, and thus betray to us the predominant feelings of the mind; but as no emotions can influence the collocation of our features, or the fixed constituents of our frame, I have no faith in their indications. As to the craniologists and others who maintain that we are made angels and devils, not by wings at our shoulders or tails at our backs, but by the primitive bosses upon our skulls, I recommend them a voyage to one of the South Sea islands, where they will find the usual diversity of individual character, although all the infants' heads are put into a frame at the birth, and compelled to grow up in the shape of a sugar-loaf. Not that Spurzheim would be embarrassed by this circumstance. He would only pronounce from their mitre-like configuration that they had the organ of Episcopativeness.
Nay, Miss, I have not been so absorbed in this lit
tle digression, but that I have observed you endeavouring to complete the classical contour of your mouth by the aid of lip-salve, as if bees-wax and rouge could supply what the plastic and delicate hand of Nature has failed to impress. Cupid has not stamped his bow upon your mouth, yet I swear by those lips, (I wish you would take a hint from one of our LITTLE though by no means one of our minor poets, and call upon me to kiss the book,) that they are beautifully ripe and ruddy,
"Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
They are such as Cornelius Gallus loved;
"Flammea dilexi, modicumque tumentia labra,
and if any one should object that an Egyptian præfect was a bad judge of beauty, you may safely maintain that the elegies which bear his name were in fact composed by monks of the middle age, whose competency to decide upon such a subject will hardly be disputed. Those lips are full and round, but beware of their being tempted into a froward expression, for, if
"Like a misbehaved and sullen wench
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love,"
I will supply thee with no more eulogiums from either monks or præfects. The "slumberous pout" which Keats has so delightfully described in his sleeping Deity, is the only one which is becoming.
I see another of my readers mincing up her mouth, with that toss of the head and self-satisfied air, which
assure me that she is a flirt and coquette; and though her lips be ruddy, "as they in pure vermilion had been dyed," I entreat her to recollect, that "lips though rosy must still be fed," and recommend her "to fall upon her knees and thank heaven fasting for a good man's love." If she make mouths at me as well as at her lovers, and heed not my counsel, I can only exclaim,
"Take, O take those lips away,
Which so often were forsworn,"-&c.
and have nothing to thank her for but the recalling of those exquisite lines, whether they be Shakspeare's or Fletcher's.
Now, however, I behold a nobler vision hanging over and irradiating the page. It is of a lovely nymph, in whose looks and lips the bows of Apollo and Cupid seem intertwined and indented. She does not simper from affectation, nor smile because it is becoming, nor compress her lips to hide a defective tooth, nor open them to display the symmetry of the rest; but her mouth has that expression which the painter of Bathyllus, in the Greek Anthology, was instructed to catch,
"And give his lips that speaking air
As if a word were hovering there."
Hers is not of that inexpressive doll-like character, which seems to smirk as if it were conscious of its own silly prettiness; nor has she the pouting come-kiss-me under-lip of sealing-wax hue which one sees in the portraits of Lely and Kneller; but while in the ani