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postors have sought to deceive men by an assumed lustre of countenance.
Dr. Leyden tells us, that Ibn Makna, the founder of the Maknayah sect, hid himself from the public gaze, and covered his features with a veil; asserting that no eye could endure the glory of his countenance. To support this deception, he prepared some burning mirrors, placing them in such a situation that the rays fell upon the faces of those who approached him. Having taken these precautions, he uncovered his face, and directing his votaries to draw nigh, the foremost were struck by the burning rays, and retired, exclaiming, “We cannot look upon him, but he gazes upon us.”
Many tender and beautiful things have been said of eyes; yet how inferior to the sweet things uttered by themselves | A full eye seems to have been esteemed the most expressive. Such was the eye that enchained the soul of Pericles; Homer celebrates the ‘ox-eyed Juno.” Sir William Jones thought the two words in Turkish signifying fawnlike eyes, corresponded with the Greek sawwork. In the first book of the Iliad, this epithet is applied to the daughter of Calchas. Mahomet tempts the Faithful with a promise of Houris, whose eyes are as large as eggs; and an Arabic poet compares them to polished mirrors. The eyes of the beloved one are likened in the Song of Solomon, as rendered in the Vulgate, to the eyes of doves; but in the Septuagint, the eyes are the doves themselves. The Indian poets have a very pretty comparison of a girl's eyes changing with various feelings to a pair of water-birds, with azure plumage. A singular coincidence of fancy may be traced between the eastern poetry and the conceits of Philostratus. “Thou declarest that her abode is in thine eye, and when thou closest it in thy heart,” says an Arabic ode. ‘How often have I opened mine eyes, that thou mayest depart,” says the Greek Euphuist.
In all great poets you perceive a facility and versatility of manner. Milton's Eve is not less perfect than his Satan ; nor Shakspeare's Titania than Othello; nor Homer's Helen than Achilles. He sketches a toilet with all the spriteliness of the Rape of the Lock. How delicious is the picture of Juno arraying herself in her charms, in order to recover the affections of Jupiter. Might not the charming epithet poorvaos—rosy-fingered, which Homer applies to the morning, have been suggested by the custom among the Grecian and Asiatic women of colouring their nails. Chandler, alluding to an Athenian girl, says, “She has bracelets of gold on her wrists, and like Aurora, is rosy-fingered, the tips being painted.” What an interesting light is thrown upon the ancient poetry, by researches into the parallel customs of other nations. It would sound a very poor compliment now if an epic poet were to characterize his hero by the appellation of ‘swift-footed,” which, in the Iliad, is so constantly applied to Achilles. But in those days swiftness of foot was a very honourable distinction. In many parts of the world it is so regarded at this day. There is a class of men in South America, who are known by a name signifying Goers; and who sometimes accomplish a journey of more than seventy miles in one day. In this manner the Mexicans forwarded their despatches. The speed of the Indian hircarrahs, and the Chinese post-carriers is well known.
It would not be a disagreeable or an unfruitful occupation, to enlarge these coincidences of thought and manners. Such notes often clear up the meaning of an old author, better than anything in the Scholiast. When Ulysses visits the son of Tydeus, in the tenth Iliad, he finds him asleep before his tent, in the midst of his soldiers, with their shields beneath their heads, and the spears planted in the ground by their side. The traveller in Persia meets with the same object at the present day. Such also was the practice of the Jews. And, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his
spear stuck in the ground at his bolster.—l Sam. xxvi. 7.
You may add that curious simile in the second book of the Iliad, where the Grecian chiefs, separating and reducing to order their followers scattered over the country, are compared to goatherds, who can distinguish their own flocks from others, even when feeding together promiscuously. This is done constantly by the Hottentots, who recognise the cattle of their masters with unfailing readiness and skill.
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY :
WITH RECORDS OF THE UNION.
Eloquence is a great and diverse thing; nor did she ever favour any man so much as to become wholly his. He is happy that can arrive to any degree of her grace. But, indeed, I would no more choose a rhetorician for reigning in the schools, than I would a pilot for rowing in a pond.—Ben Jonson.
Quid enim dulcius libero et ingenio animo et ad voluptates honestas nato, quam videre plenam semper et frequentem domum concursu splendidissimorum hominum ?–De Caus. Corrupt. Eloq.
How well I remember reading the admirable letter which Lord Brougham, then member for 3. addressed to Mr. Zachary Macaulay, upon the dawning eloquence of his son, of whose success in the political combats of the Union, he had heard through Lord Howick, at that time a resident member of the University. All who have read the articles upon Demosthenes, in the Edinburgh Review, are aware of Lord Brougham's devotion to the Athenian orator. Never, he wrote to Mr. Macaulay, even while addressing the most illiterate audience, did he find himself making greater way,