THE CONTROVERSY—BLONDE V. BRUNETTE.
Mataura Ensign, Volume 11, Issue 823, 9 November 1888, Page 2
THE CONTROVERSY— BLONDE V. BRUNETTE.
The greatest geniuses of the world have been, as a rule, dark. " Tame says :-— * There are four men in the world of art and literature exalted above all others, and to such a degree as to seem to belong to another race — namely, Dante, Shakespeare^ Beethoven, and Michael Angelo/ Of these four men, Shakespeare alone was fair ; Dante had a * dark complexion and black hair ;' Beethoven had ' dark eyes and hair, ' and Miohael Angelo's biographer writes that he had * blaok hair.' The personal appearance of men is not as apt to be described as tjiat o
women, and J alias Cse3ar, one of th c greatest men of any age, was dark- Napoleon — that wonderful man, and the greatest military genius in the world — was dark. Goethe, the immortal, the grandest genius of Germany and one of the grandest of all countries, is described by his biographer as having had ' abundant brown hair, slightly aquiline nose, audlarge lustrous brown eyes.' "Grimm says — ' All Italians feel that Michael Angelo, Dante, and Rapbgßl form a triumvirate of the greatest men produced by their country. Who will place a General or a statesman by their side as equal with them 1 It is art alone which marks the prime r >i nations.' Michael Angelo and Dante were dark. Raphael, we read had * brown hair, olive complexion, and tender, brown eyes,' Thus every one of this glorious triumvirate had dark eyes and hair. Setting aside the realm of art, one of the greatest men that ever lived was the Arabian prophet and conqueror, Mahommed. And this man, whose wonderful genius revolutionised a large portion of the whole world and changed the faith of millions of human beings, who to this day acknowledge his supremacy, was also dark, with olive complexion and dark eyes. Th it is rather a striking record, is it not % The greatest musical genius of the world, Beethoven ; the greatest sculptors and painters, Michael Angelo and Raphael ; the greatest generals and statesmen, Napoleon and Csesar ; the greatest religious conqueror, Mahommed ; the greatest literary geniuses, Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe, all, with the simple exception of Shakespeare, belonged to the brown, or brunet type. " You will find in history that in all ages there have been men and women conspicuously better than their day, morally in advance in their world, and — note — this — they were nearly all dark-eyed and dark-haired. Take the age of Henry VIII. aud Bloody Miry. Did it not also produce that noblest, gentlest of knights, the Chevalier Bayard, sans peur et sans reprocke ? According to the tradition of tne poets, snch a man brave and merciful in war, honourable in council, pure and chivalrous beyond his age, and the protector of defenceless women in a time when knightly vows were seldom kept, should, like Tennyson's King Arthur, have been surpassing fair ; but instead Bayard's biographer tells us that the peerless knight had an aquiline nose and black eyes " Another nobleman of the sixteenth century, who by right of his virtue, gentleness, and nobility is justly called the ' grandest figure in the history of his country ' was William of Orange, ruler of the Netherlands. Of this prince one historian said — 'A purer man perhaps never lived, , and another—' He cherished no malice against enemies, and seemed almost too lenient with offenders, and Motley adds — * Of all the conspicuous men in the land he was the only one whose worst enemy had never hinted through the whole course of his public career that his hands had known contamination,' " Such nobility was ill-liked by blueeyed Philip who ruled in Spain, and the fair vile Spaniard hired assassins to rid the world of one who waa too good for it. William knew of the price of his head, yet when the first paid murderer shot him be exclaimed, as he sank wounded to the ground, 'Do not kill him, I forgive him for my death.' Rather different sentiments from those expressed by ' Golden Elizi ' across the channel, who wanted new tortures devised for whoever should threaten her. " Nor was the ' good dukes's' generous, lofty spirit extinguished by the many subsequent attacks on his lite during ail the years that he was hounded and pursued by cowardly, sandy-haired Philip. For when he was at last fatally shot his last words breathed no thought of hatred or revenge. 'My God, 'he sighed out, ' have pity on my soul ; my God have pity on my poor people' — and died. This man, upon whom history dwells still in wonder and admiration, was ' tall and handsome with dark brown beard and brown, thoughtful eyes.' " Another who ' bore without abuse the grand eld name of gentleman ' was Francis d' Assisi, perhaps the gentlest most humane man who ever lived. In the barbarous, heartless thirteenth century, when the strong preyed on the weak and the weak slaughtered each other this dark-syed black-bearded Italian was an apostle of love and mercy, filled with charity for his fellow-creatures and kindness for the brute creation. Far in advance of his age, and even of the pre sent less selfish civilisation, he seldom exhorted his hearers to care for their soul's salvation, that he did not also plead with them to be ' kind to their brethren the birds, and gentle to the beasts of burden, 3 thus forestalling by six hundred years tne noble teachings of Mr Bergh. " ' Turn again to the French Revolution and see side by side with the bloodthirsty, blue-eyed Robespierre, the true champion of liberty, gentle, heroic Mme. Roland, with her ' glossy black hair and clear brown skin. And which is the nobler figure, think you, mistaken Charlotte Corday, who sought to serve her country by committing murder, or she who died upon the scaffold for no other crime than loving liberty? Think of the one fair woman standing with pitiless gaze bent over her bleeding victim and then of that other brown-skinned one even on her way to the guillotine comforting and sustaining a trembling old man with her gentle words and high c v rage. The one nerved herself to commit a great crice, the other persuaded her executioner to take the weak, old man first that he might not suffer the agonies of death twice by seeing he; die.
" Another woman who Shakespeare to the contrary notwithstanding is not ' too brown for a fair praise ' was Joan of Arc, the dark-haired heroine of France, who suffered death for saving lier country. " Look not upon me because I am dusky, ' exclaimed the lovely Rose of Sharon, apologising for her hue. Unnecessary apology then as now, for the • badge of hell ' is not black, as Shakespeare says, but rather yellow and red, the colours of flame. i