Friday, September 11, 2009

"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies:
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet her in aspect and in her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies."

1. The Highest Style of Beauty.—The highest style of beauty to be found in nature pertains to the human form, as animated and lighted up by the intelligence within. It is the expression of the soul that constitutes this superior beauty. It is that which looks out of the eye, which sits in calm majesty on the brow, lurks on the lip, smiles on the cheek, is set forth in the chiselled lines and features of the countenance, in the general contour of figure and form, in the movement, and gesture, and tone; it is this looking out of the invisible spirit that dwells within, this manifestation of the higher nature, that we admire and love; this constitutes to us the beauty of our species.

2. Beauty Which Perishes Not.—There is a beauty which perishes not. It is such as the angels wear. It forms the washed white robes of the saints. It wreathes the countenance of every doer of good. It adorns every honest face. It shines in the virtuous life. It molds the hands of charity. It sweetens the voice of sympathy. It sparkles on the brow of wisdom. It flashes in the eye of love. It breathes in the spirit of piety. It is the beauty of the heaven of heavens. It is that which may grow by the hand of culture in every human soul. It is the flower of the spirit which blossoms on the tree of life. Every soul may plant and nurture it in its own garden, in its own Eden.

3. We May All Be Beautiful.—This is the capacity of beauty that God has given to the human soul, and this the beauty placed within the reach of all. We may all be beautiful. Though our forms may be uncomely and our features not the prettiest, our spirits may be beautiful. And this inward beauty always shines through. A beautiful heart will flash out in the eye. A lovely soul will glow in the face. A sweet spirit will tune the voice, wreathe the countenance in charms. Oh, there is a power in interior beauty that melts the hardest heart!

4. Woman the Most Perfect Type of Beauty.—Woman, by common consent, we regard as the most perfect type of beauty on earth. To her we ascribe the highest charms belonging to this wonderful element so profusely mingled in all God's works. Her form is molded and finished in exquisite delicacy of perfection. The earth gives us no form more perfect, no features more symmetrical, no style more chaste, no movements more graceful, no finish more complete; so that our artists ever have and ever will regard the woman-form of humanity as the most perfect earthly type of beauty. This form is most perfect and symmetrical in the youth of womanhood; so that the youthful woman is earth's queen of beauty. This is true, not only by the common consent of mankind, but also by the strictest rules of scientific criticism.

5. Fadeless Beauty.—There cannot be a picture without its bright spots; and the steady contemplation of what is bright in others, has a reflex influence upon the beholder. It reproduces what it reflects. Nay, it seems to leave an impress even upon the countenance. The feature, from having a dark, sinister aspect, becomes open, serene, and sunny. A countenance so impressed, has neither the vacant stare of the idiot, nor the crafty, penetrating look of the basilisk, but the clear, placid aspect of truth and goodness. The woman who has such a face is beautiful. She has a beauty which changes not with the features, which fades not with years. It is beauty of expression. It is the only kind of beauty which can be relied upon for a permanent influence with the other sex. The violet will soon cease to smile. Flowers must fade. The love that has nothing but beauty to sustain it, soon withers away.

6. A Pretty Woman Pleases the Eye, a good woman, the heart. The one is a jewel, the other a treasure. Invincible fidelity, good humor, and complacency of temper, outlive all the charms of a fine face, and make the decay of it invisible. That is true beauty which has not only a substance, but a spirit; a beauty that we must intimately know to justly appreciate.

7. The Woman You Love Best.—Beauty, dear reader, is probably the woman you love best, but we trust it is the beauty of soul and character, which sits in calm majesty on the brow, lurks on the lip, and will outlive what is called a fine face.

8. The Wearing of Ornaments.—Beauty needs not the foreign aid of ornament, but is when unadorned adorned the most, is a trite observation; but with a little qualification it is worthy of general acceptance. Aside from the dress itself, ornaments should be very sparingly used—at any rate, the danger lies in over-loading oneself, and not in using too few. A young girl, and especially one of a light and airy style of beauty, should never wear gems. A simple flower in her hair or on her bosom is all that good taste will permit. When jewels or other ornaments are worn, they should be placed where you desire the eye of the spectator to rest, leaving the parts to which you do not want attention called as plain and negative as possible. There is no surer sign of vulgarity than a profusion of heavy jewelry carried about upon the person.