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immediately struck with the idea of a proud, a reserv. ed, an affable, or a good-natured man; and upon our first going into a company of strangers, our benevolence or aversion, awe or contempt, rises naturally to. wards several particular persons, before we have heard them speak a single word, or so much as know who they are.
Every passion gives a particular cast to the countenance, and is apt to discover itself in some feature or other. I have seen an eye curse for half an hour tvgether, and an eye-brow call a man a scoundrel. Nothing is more common than for lovers to complain resent, languish, despair, and die in dun show. For my own part, I am so apt to frame a notion of every man's humour or circumstances by his looks, that I have sometimes employed myself from Charing-cross to the Royal Exchange in drawing ihe characters of those who have passed by me.
When I see a man with a sonr rivelled face, I cannot forbear pitying his wife: and when I meet with an open ingenuous coun. tenance, I think on the happiness of his friends, his fa. mily, and relations.
I cannot recollect the author* of a famous saying to a stranger who stood silent in his company,“ Speak, that I may see thee.” But, with submission, I think we may be better known by our looks than by our words, and that a man's speech is much more easily disguised than his countenance. In this case, however, I think the air of the whole face is much more expressive than the lines of it. The truth of it is, the air is generally nothing else but the inward disposition of the mind made visible.
Those who have established physiognomy into an art, and laid down rules of judging men's tempers by their faces, have regarded the features much more than the air. Martial has a pretty epigram on this subject :
* Socrates.-Loquere ut te videam.
Apul. Flor. 1. pr.
Crine ruber, niger ore, brevis pede, lumine
læsus : Rem magnam præstas, Zoile, si bonus es.
Epig. liv, 12.
“ Thy beard and head are of a different dye;
I have seen a very ingenions author on this subject, who founds his speculations on the supposition, that a man hath in the mouid of his face a remote likeness to that of an ox, a sheep, a lion, a bog, or any other creature; he hath the same resemblance in the frame of his mind, and is subject to those passions which are predominant in the creature that appears in his countenance. Accordingly he gives the prints of several faces that are of a different mould, and by a little overcharging the likeness, discovers the figures of these several kinds of brutal faces in human features. I remember, in the Life of the famous Prince of Condé, the writer observes, therface of that prince was like the face of an eagle, and that the prince was very well pleased to be told so. In this case therefore we may be sure, that he had in his mind some general implicit notion of this art of physiognomy which I have just now mentioned; and that when his courtiers told him his face was made like an eagle's, he understvod them in the same manner as if they had told him, there was something in his looks which showed him to be strong, active, piercing, and of a royal de. scent. Whether or no the different motions of the ani. mal spirits, in different passions, may have any effect on the mould of the face when the lineaments are pli. able and tender, or whether the same kind of souls require the same kind of habitations, I shall leave to the consideration of the curious. In the mean time, I think nothing can be more glorious than for a man to give the lie to his face, and to be an honest, just, good. natured man, in spite of all those marks and signa. tures which nature seems to have set upon him for the contrary. This very often happens among those, who, instead of being exasperated by their own looks, or envying the looks of others, apply themselves entirely to the cultivating of their minds, and getting those beauties which are more lasting and more ornainental. I have seen many an amiable piece of deformity; and have observed a certain cheerfulness in as bad a system of features as ever was clapped together, which hath appeared more lovely than all the blooming charms of an insolent beauty. There is a double praise due to virtue, when it is lodged in a body that seems to have been prepared for the reception of vice; in many such cases the soul and the body do not seem. to be fellows.
Socrates was an extraordinary instance of this nature. There chanced to be a great physiognomist in his time at Athens, who had made strange discoveries of men's tempers and inclinations by their outward appearances. Socrates's disciples, that they might put this artist to the trial, carried him to their master, whom he had never seen before, and did not know he was then in company with him. After a short exami. nation of his face, the physiognomist pronounced him the most lewd, libidinous, drunken old fellow that he had ever met with in his whole life. Upon which the disciples all burst out a laughing, as thinking they had detected the falsehood and vanity of his art. But Socrates told them, that the principles of his art might be very true, notwithstanding his present mistake; for that he himself was naturally inclined to those particular vices which the physiognomist had discovered in his countenance, but that he had conquered the strong dispositions he was born with by tbe dictates of philosophy.
We are indeed told by an ancient author, that So-, crates very much resembled Silenus in his face; which we find to have been very rightly observed from the statues and busts of both, that are still extant; as well as on several antique seals and precious stones, which are frequently enough to be met with in the cabinets of the curious. But however observations of this nature may sometimes hold, a wise man should be particularly cautious how he gives credit to a man's outward appearance. It is an irreparable injustice we are guilty of towards one another, when we are prejudiced by the looks and features of those whom we do not know. How often do we conceive hatred against a person of worth, or fancy a man to be proud or illnatured by his aspect, whom we think we cannot esteem too much when we are acquainted with bis real character? Dr. Moore, in his admirable System of Ethics, reckons this particular inclination to take a prejudice against a man for his looks, among the smaller vices in morality, and, if I remember, gives it the name of a Prosopolepsia.
All men will try, and hope to write as well,
-AMONG * too many other instances of the great
corruption and degeneracy of the age wherein we live, the great and general want of sincerity in conversation is none of the least. The world is grown
* Tillotson's Sermon on Sincerity.
so full of dissimulation and compliment, that men's words are hardly any signification of their thoughts; and if any man measure his words by his heart, and speak as he thinks, and do not express more kindness to every man, than men usually have for any man, he can hardly escape the censure of want of breeding. The old English plainness and sincerity, that generous integrity of nature, and honesty of disposition, which always argues true greatness of mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunted courage and resolution, is in a great measure lost among us. There baih been a long endeavour to transform us into foreign manners and fashions, and to bring us to a servile imitation of none of the best of our neighbours, in some of the worst of their ynalities. The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so swelled with vanity and compliment, and so surfeited (as I may say) of expressions of kindness and respect, that if a man that lived an age or two ago should return into the world again, he would really want a dictionary to help him to understand his own language, and to know the true intrinsic value of the phrase in fashion, and would liardly at first believe at what a low rate the highest strains and expressions of kindness imaginable do commonly pass in current payment: and when he should come to understand it, it wonld be a great while before he could bring himself with a good countenance and a good conscience to converse with men upon equal terms, and in their own way.
“ And in truth it is hard to say, whether it should more provoke our contempt or our pity to hear what solemn expressions of respect and kindness will pass between men, almost upon no occasion; how great honour and esteem they will declare for one whom perhaps they never saw before, and how entirely they are all on the sudden devoted to his service and in. terest, for no reason; how infinitely and externally obliged to him, for no benefit; and how extremely they will be concerned for him, yea and afflicted too,