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Then come, the hasting moments flee,
The rustic board and wine invite :
To steep those moments in delight! The amorous poems are in general exceedingly interesting. Though disfigured by occasional conceits or agudezas, as they are gently styled by the Spanish critics, their defects are much more than redeemed by frequent pathos, and by a constant gracefulness of conception and expression, which is very much increased by the melody of the regular recurrence of the rhymes and choruses. The following anonymous little piece affords a fair specimen of this class.
“ Ebro caudaloso."
O! banks so fair and gay, With waving branches play,
Her careless footsteps stray:
0! if in field or plain
Ask if her heart retain
A thought of me.
That in the morning ray, Salute the rise of day,
Make field and foliage gay: With your enchanting lay:
0! if in field or plain
Ask if her heart retain
A thought of me. We shall conclude our extracts with two “ chanzonetas” from the amorous department.
Aunque con semblance ayrado.”
Disdain and cruelty :
have look'd on me.
And angry glances lay:
Of gazing on their ray?
My wounded bosom be,
For ye have look'd on me.
And hoped to work me woe,
And life for death bestow :
Disdain and cruelty ;
have look'd on me. The next forms an excellent pendant to the preceding.
“Ojos bellos no os ficis.” Fair Eyes! be not so proudly gay
In these your golden years :
The smile that gilds the cheek to-day,
To-morrow turns to tears.
So used to victories,
His love's unkindness lies.
My few remaining years,
May'st yet lament in tears.
Than thy resplendent charms.
My sorrows and my fears,
May'st yet lament in tears.
Shalt with sad eye discover
Of thy too faithful lover.
That in thine eyes appears ;
Ye shall repent in tears.
As grows thy cruelty;
My hopes decay and die.
While mine such sadness wears?
To wail that death with tears?
ON LIPS AND KISSING. “ But who those ruddy lips can miss,
Which blessed still themselves do kiss." As the Editor of the New Monthly Magazine inserted a paper upon Noses in one of his earlier numbers, I hope he will think I am rather advancing than receding in dignity of subject, if I request admission for a few remarks on lips, an appendage that ministers so much more copiously to our gratifications than that cartilaginous projection which in many human subjects may be defined as a mere carneous snuff-box, affixed between the two eyes. How various, delicate, and delightful, on the contrary, are the functions of the lips! I purpose not to treat them anatomically, or I might expatiate on the exquisite flexibility of those muscles, which by the incalculable modulations they accomplish, supply different languages to all the nations of the earth, and hardly ever fatigue the speaker, though they so often prove wearisome to the auditor. Nor shall I dwell upon the opposite impressions which their exercise is calculated to excite, from the ruby mouth of a Corinna “ warbling immortal verse and Tuscan air,” to the lean-lipped Xantippe deafening her hen-pecked mate, or the gruff voice of the turnkey who wakes you out of a sound sleep, to tell you it is seven o'clock, and you must get up directly to be hanged. But I shall proceed at once to external beauty, although it must be admitted, before I enter into the mouth of my subject, that there is no fixed standard of perfection for this feature, either in form or colour. Poor Mungo Park, after having turned many African women sick, and frightened others into fits, by his unnatural whiteness, was once assured by a kind-hearted woolly-headed gentleman, 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! nerer pipe
Was so profan’d to touch that blubber'd lip.” Belzoni may grub for ever in the ruins of Thebes before he will find the representation of a single Egyptian half so well made as himself; for 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.” Your's 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, however, 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, 1 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 little digression, but that I have observed you endeavouring to complete the classical contour of your mouth by the aid of lipsalve, 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,
And yet an union in partition.” They are such as Cornelius Gallus loved ;
“ Flammea dilexi, modicumque tumentia labra,
Quæ mihi gustanti basia plena darent :" 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 præ
fects. The “slumberous pout” which Keats has so delightfully de-, scribed 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 a coquette ; and though her lips be ruddy, as they in pure vermillion 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 beed 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." Her's 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 animation of her looks intelligence seems to be beaming from her eyes, enchantment appears to dwell within the ruby portals of her mouth. Its very silence is eloquent, for her's are the lips which Apollo loved in Daphne, and Cupid in his Psyche,—which Phidias and Praxiteles have immortalised in marble, and which immutable Nature still produces when she is in her happiest and most graceful moods. Her's is the mouth, in short, which, to use an appropriate botanical phrase, conducts us by a natural and delightful inosculation to the second division, or rather union of my subject-Kissing.
This is a very ancient and laudable practice, whether as 'a mark of respect or affection. The Roman Emperors saluted their principal officers by a kiss; and the same mode of congratulation was customary upon every promotion or fortunate event. Among the same people, men were allowed to kiss their female relations on the mouth, that they might know whether they smelt of wine or not, as it seems those vaunted dames and damsels were apt to make too free with the juice of the grape, notwithstanding a prohibition to the contrary. The refinement of manners among these classical females was probably pretty much upon a par with that depicted in the Beggar's Opera, where Macheath exclaims, after saluting Jenny Diver, —“ one may know by your kiss that your gin is excellent." The ancients used not only to kiss their dying relations, from a strange notion that they should VOL. IV. NO. XVII.