페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

EYE-LANGUAGE.

OF Nature's minuter wonders, the human eye is the paragon.--Vainly will Science explore her rich arcana for a more impressive example of the marvels she would illustrate. But it is not the apparatus which the delicate knife of the anatomist reveals—the retina and lenses, or even their combined arrangement that most strikingly indicates the subtle workmanship involved

in the little fleshy globule we call the eye ;- it is the effect they pro. duce, the purposes they subserve, the results they accomplish. Far greater are these than the careless crowd dream of; far more marvelous than even the intelligent and imaginative can fully realize. The phenomenon of sight is, indeed, sufficiently extraordinary. Not less so are the minor missions which the visual organ

fulfils. The eye speaks--with an eloquence and a truthfulness surpassing speech. It is the window out of which the Winged thoughts often fly unwittingly. It is the tiny magic mirror on whose crystal surface the moods of feel. ing fitfully play, like the sunlight and shadows on a still stream.' Yes if there is one material form through

[ocr errors]

which the spirit is visible, and with which, when humanly 1 7
embodied, it has specially to do, that form is the Eye.
Even in animals it is emphatically the expressive feature.
Who that has noted the look of timid fondness with which
a recreant dog approaches his master, or observed the
gleam of wo with which the dying deer regards his hunters
-and has not felt this ? How much more significant is the
language of the human eye ! How ceaselessly does it
frepresent the soul! The instrument by which our most
valuable knowledge is received it is, at the same time,
the outward interpreter of the inward world. How imme.
diate and delicate is the spirit's sway over the aspects and
movements of this complicated organ! Instinctively it is
raised in devotion, and bent downward in shame. When
enthusiasm lends fire to the soul, the eve flashes: when
pleasure stirs the heart, the eye sparkles: when deep
sorrow darkens the bosom, the eye distils hot tears, “ faster
than Arabian trees their medicinal gum;" when confidence
stays the mind, the eye looks forth proudly; when love
fills the breast, the eye beams with glad sympathy; when
insanity desolates the brain, the eye roves wildly; and

-o'er the eye Death most exerts his might, And hurls the spirit from her throne to light.

Thus through all the epochs of human experience, we eye
typifies the workings of the soul.

To a warm-hearted wanderer through the world—to one
who finds in his fellow-beings the chief sources of by-way
pleasure-to a benevolent cosmopolite who is an adept
in eye-language, it is a delightful and constant resource,

He may be a silent man as far as regards his organs of speech, yet he is ever conversing. In a stage-coach, by one glance around, he discovers with whom he can find sympathy. With these he interchanges looks during the journey, and enjoys all the delights of sociability with none of its trials. IIe reads family histories in the eyelanguage of their members. If he but catch the “bonnie blue e'en' of the passing peasant girl, a cheerful humor is induced which abides with him for hours. And the momentary beaming of a pair of dark lustrous orbs, fills him with high and moving thoughts. A glance to him is rife with expression, beyond that of his vernacular tongue. And thus gazing into these fountains for refresh. ment, and drawing thence inspiration and solace, his eye at length meets one, the glance of which is deeply responsive—an eye that shines like the star of a happy destiny into his soul, and he is not again contented till the beautiful orb beams only for him, and becomes the light of his home. The most interesting portion of his studies in eye-language is completed. A modern writer, in order to illustrate an almost indescribable sentiment, says

• it was like the eye of a woman first-loved to the soul of the poet.'

There is no lack of well-authenticated instances to prove the power of eye-language. An infuriated animal has often been kept trembling at bay, by the steadfast gaze of man, beneath which its own angry eye quailed, yet could not turn aside. I knew a venerable man who kept a powerful ruffian quietly seated in his little parlor for an hour at night, while the only servant of his small

household was absent in quest of aid, merely by silently fixing upon him a fearless look, such as awed his perverted heart and chained his strong limbs. Many a rebuke has been silently but deeply conveyed, by the calm yet indignant glance of the injured. How intuitively does a child understand the slightest expression of its mother's eye! How well do congenial beings comprehend their affinity before any communion, save that of eye-converse ! Consider, too, the singular duration of the impression imparted by this feature. The world abounds with minute symbols. Each small and exquisite flower, gem or in. sect, addresses the sense of the beautiful ; yet they interest but for a moment. What more expressive similitude has poetry found for the stars, than 'angels' eyes ?' The living gem of nature is the eye, and how like a spell doth its language haunt us! Even in the pictures of the old masters, the effect is often centered in the expression of this single organ. What fanciful man, having an inkling of superstition within him, has not sometimes imagined a portrait animated with life? Shroud the eyes, and the fantasy is gone. It has been finally remarked of Titian's portraits that they look at us more than we at them. We may forget the countenance of a friend from whom we

are divided, in many respects; but if our interest has ever been truly awakened in a fellow-being, the eye-language of the individual can scarcely escape our memories. Who cannot recall, though he may not describe, the eye-language with which a gifted man, under some strong inspiration, has uttered a memorable thought, or that with which one near and dear to him has breathed

aught of deep interest to his ear? The dignity of selfpossessed thought was in the eye of Paul, ere bis words affected Festus. The beaming glance of the Grecian mother pointed out her jewels before her lips proclaimed them. The unfortunate know a friend and are re-assured, the timid recognise a master spirit and are nerved, and the guilty know their accuser and quail, at the first momentary meeting of their gaze. Beware of the man whose eye you can never meet.

Correggio excelled in painting downcast eyes ; those of Allston's pictures are remarkable for their grey, intel. lectual expression. The St. Cecilia of Raphael probably presents the best instance in the art, of the upturned eyes of inspiration. Eye-language is richly illustrated in the pages of Shakspeare. What an idea is given of its perversion in Lear's adjuration to the unfortunate Gloster :

Get thee glass eyes ;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.

Addressing Regan, he says of Goneril, her eyes are fierce, but thine do comfort and not burn.' Cordelia envies not their still soliciting eyes' and her more honest orbs, at length, prove their sincerity, by shedding "tears as pearls from diamonds droppid.' Othello when first awoke to jealousy, in order to satisfy his doubts, ex. claims to Desdemona, • let me see your eyes! Alas! that he did not credit their truthful expression, Fear, too, ' is strongly evinced by the same wondrous organs. In the awful hints the Ghost gives Hainlet of that undiscoved country,' among the effects prophecied from a more full

« 이전계속 »