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in the sleepy-eyed, languid beauties of Lely
and of Kneller."

That the face is modified by the passions
of its owner, and that the character may, in
a great degree, be predicated from its lineaments,
has, we know, been universally
granted ever since the time of Lavaternay,
was even asserted by the ancient Greeks,
among whom a physiognomist gave that
memorable character of Socrates, which
Socrates himself acknowledged to be just.
But what we more especially wish to enforce,
and which, we think, has not been sufficiently
recognised, is the fact that national
physiognomy, though always preserving certain
broad and general distinctions, varies in
different ages, in accordance with the
prevailing moral or intellectual tendency of
the time. Most men must have observed, in
looking over any collection of portraits of the
great men of successive eras, a change in
the shape of the head, in the outlines of the
features, and in the general expression; and
this in the case of individuals belonging to
the same nation. The effect is commonly
attributed to difference of costume, to a
change in the method of arranging the hair,
or to the fact of the beard and moustache
being worn in some instances and not in
others: all of which may be admitted to have
an influence in modifying the countenance.
But this is not everything; the main
distinctions lie deeper. Shave the face of
Shakespeare, clapping a powdered wig upon
his head, and he would no more look like the
men of the Georgian eraeven the most
intellectual of themthan an Englishman
could be made to look like a native of China
by being dressed in the costume of that
country. It is not merely that there is no
man of an equal degree of intellect with
Shakespeare; the distinction is in kind still
more than in amount. The architecture of
the palace of the soul has changed, and the
soul itself looks through its windows with a
different glance.

Let the reader, then, cast back his mind as
far as the time of Chaucer, about five hundred
years ago; and let him contemplate the
portrait of that truly great poet as engraved by
Vertue from the rough sketch drawn by the
poet's own friend, Occleve. He will here
see a face of the noblest kinda head
beautifully built and proportioned, and
therefore in perfect harmony with itself in
all its component parts; oval, greater in
length than breadth, and with the broadest
part at the topthat is to say, in the region
of the brain; the forehead broad, smooth,
and high, the nose straight and sensitive, and
the mouth and lower parts of the face neither
brutalised into an animal-like thickness, nor
starved into an ascetic rigidity which denies
its own humanity as completely as it refuses
to sympathise with that of others. We
have here, in short, the face of a poet and a
humanist, which Chaucer emphatically was;
but we also have some characteristics which
mark the age to which the poet belonged.
That era was either military or monkish;
and, although Chaucer was a Wickliffite,
and fiercely satirised the corruptions of the
Roman Catholic church, he had a great deal
of the good part of the monkish character in
himthe love of cloistered learning and
meditative leisure. It is probable, also, that
he clung to a belief in saintly miracles; for
we find several of those stories in the Canterbury
Tales, placed, it is true, in the mouths
of ecclesiastics, but told apparently with
perfect faith on the part of the author, and
not with any under-current of involuntary
satiric laughter. At any rate, he had that
love of bodily indolence combined with mental
activity which distinguished the better order
of monks. This is plainly visible in his
portrait. The eyes are intensely abstracted;
looking physically upon the ground, but.
spiritually into the wide air of thought.

                                What man art thou?
            Thou lookest as thou woldest find an hare;
            For ever upon the ground I see thee stare.
              *              *              *              *              *
            He semeth elvish by his countenance;
            For unto no wight doth he daliance.

Thus did Chaucer describe himself. It is
true the Host expresses surprise at his
appearance; but this probably was because
he could not throw off his abstraction even in
the midst of company. We cannot but think
that the intellectual men of the time of
Chaucer must have presented the same air
of secluded and dreamy meditation, though
doubtless they lacked the poetical element of
his face. They were chiefly of the clergy,
and a certain meek abstracted set of head
and countenance are a part of the education
of a Catholic priest to this day.

Unfortunately there are few portraits of
Chaucer's period; so that we are constrained
to take a solitary instance. The pictures of
the kings of the time rest, we believe, upon
no good authority; and are so idealised and
smoothed down to one level of romantic
prettiness, with the uniform crown and
sceptre and robes, that it is impossible
to deduce any philosophical meaning from
them. We will therefore pass on to the time
of Elizabeth.

The great men of that era (which, for the
sake of conciseness, we will assume as lasting
into the reign of Charles the First), exhibit in
a marked degree the leading intellectual
characteristics which then predominated. The
country's mind had changed materially since
the days of Chaucer. Popery, as a political
power and an undisputed popular belief, was
dead. The monastic system of life, and the
ecclesiastical tendency of mind, had vanished.
Roman Catholicism existed only as a persecuted,
ireful sect, fiercely contending with its
new foe; and had thus acquired a degree of
energy very different from its former languid