more to be depended on than color. Experiments have fully demonstrated, that articles widely discrepant in their general nature, (we suppose he means effects,) as aliments and medicines, the most salutary food and the rankest poison, exhibit, in analysis, nearly the same results. This indeed holds so generally true, that the virus of the viper and the mildest mucelage, the poisonous prussic acid, and the nutritious flesh of animals, constitute no exception. Decomposed into their elementary principles, they are essentially the same.'

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It is not the intention of the present paper to assert that color is an infallible test of the poisonous or innocuous properties of plants; nor that the color of the skin, eyes, and hair, is a certain indication of character, disposition, and talent; but it is curious to find even any guide in what we are accustomed to regard with so much scientific indifference, or as a merely ornamental part of the works of Providence. Beside, the care of parents and teachers may turn a bad physical temperament to good account, and ingraft sweet fruit in the sour stock; change by prayer and labor, by gentle force and kind consistency, the cruel to the humane, sluggishness to industry, selfishness to generosity; in short, mould over the work of nature, so that a child shall appear and be a very different person from what he would have been, left to the influences of his natural impulses. When the disciples of Socrates gained his consent to submit himself to the examination of a physiognomist, with whose science they were highly delighted, and heard their master represented as a morose, sensual, and selfish person, (the professor not knowing at the time whose face he was describing,) they drew back in astonishment and mistrust; but Socrates rebuked their want of faith, and confessed that such indeed was his natural character, which he had conquered by self-discipline and mortification.

Color is certainly something more than ornament. Every thing that is made, has a deeper meaning than strikes the outward eye. Beauty is almost always the result of utility. There is a standard of beauty. Our ideas of proportion form the idea of beauty in architecture, and that rests back upon security and utility. Why is a narrow, tall building ungraceful, except because it is unsafe? Why is a low, extensive base so inappropriate, especially in a city, but because it is a poor economy of land, and likely to become damp and unwholesome; beside robbing the eye, in the country, of wide prospects, and the vines of high windows to adorn; the swallows of a resting place; the benighted traveller of a beacon? But a very high building, even if it be broad, would be not a pleasing object on a hill, because these reasons would cease, and the inconveniences of wind and storms would make it uncomfortable. It is ridiculous, then, to talk of any style of architecture which must be beautiful in all situations and in all climates. The Grecian slope of the roof looks badly at the north and in snowy regions; for there the slope must be so great that the snow will easily slide off, and not crush the edifice; but this holds more true of wooden buildings, than of those constructed of stone.

As beauty is something more than that which pleases the eye, it will be found that all parts of creation have a tendency to save, to heal, to keep from harm. We think we see in color a wise provision, and our object is to adduce facts and opinions upon this subject;


trusting that all will not think what has already been said, entirely irrelevant to the question. Linnæus says, the pale color is insipid.' We hardly need mention the insipidity of weak tea, the listlessness of the sick and languid, the sickening property of tepid water, the want of force and character in those whose hair, in youth, is very light. 'Green is unripe and crude.' Taste of green apples. Think of the 'green-eyed monster.' Red is acid.' This is owing to the oxygen that substances imbibe, which turns things red. Fire is supported by the oxygen of the atmosphere, and its color is red. The redness of ripe fruit is perhaps occasioned by the chemical properties of the air. Red hair is proverbially a mark of great fire of disposition; and a common saying generally contains great truth. Yellow is bitter.' Most yellow plants are unsavory. The blossom of the dandelion is very bitter. Rhubarb, and indeed most bitter substances, are of a yellow hue. The famous 'Stoughton Bitters,' which are taken in wine for an appetite, are a dark yellow. Yellow is a healthy token in plants. White is sweet.' Infancy is white. The white rose is sweet, to cloying. Pure saccharine matter is white. Black is offensive.' The color of the perspiration of the feet is black. Revenge is black. Deeds of darkness and cruelty, by a common consent, are termed black. Satan is always represented as a black man. It is the color of devils. It is the absence of light; the color which sorrow and grief choose, to indicate desolation and wo. The shepherd Corydon, while he tells Alexis,


'O formore puer, nimium ne crude colori,
Alba ligustra cadunt, vaccinia nigru leguntur,'

seems himself to have preferred the white Alexis, 'tu candidus esses,' to the black Menalcas, 'quamois ille nijer,' preaching very well, and saying, that the white privets lie neglected, while the black-berry is gathered; nevertheless his own preference entirely refutes him.

Lavater says, if you should ask Shakspeare what eye he meant, when he wrote, 'the poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling,' he would tell you a gray one. Allston says, a black eye is not the poetic eye. Rubens, the painter, had a black eye, and it is remarkable that he had not a nice sense of color. Another celebrated painter remarks, that a black eye is not the painter's eye, nor the eye of genius.

Were we called upon to select an amiable, confiding, generous woman, from her personal appearance, we would choose one whose eyes were blue or hazel, whose hair was brown or chesnut, her complexion not a pure red and white. Circumstance, temptation, a very bad education, may have made devils of such forms, but with ordinary advantages, such women are angels. We fear those jet-black, sparkling orbs. Ye gods! how brilliant are they, with a brunette cheek, ruby lips, and pearly teeth! smiles, richer than strawberries and cream, and words, deeper and fuller than man ever uttered! A black eye is very rare. It is also rare to see a blue eye. It is difficult to distinguish, at all times, the black from the hazel, the blue from the gray. Most gray eyes have a tinge of blue. There is no doubt but that the color of the skin, eyes, and hair, depend upon the temperament, and the disposition of the person also is affected by it. Any strong affection of the mind changes the complexion of the 27


countenance, not alone by sending the blood to the face, or concentrating it about the heart, but by some chemical change in the fluids beneath the skin. The leaves change their color, because they change their nature. The same rays of light fall upon them, and at one time they absorb some rays and reflect others, and again, quite the contrary. Light consists of seven colors, and objects appear to be of that hue which they reflect.* Black is the absorption of all the colors, and white is the reflection of all. As the fluids of the body change by age, by passion, and suffering, they of course are subject to absorb and reflect different colored rays. The hair has been known to change to pure white in a single night, from intense emotion. Care turns the hair gray. Pale melancholy sits retired.' 'Livid rage,' the glowing cheek of hope, the transparent skin of joy and happiness, the haggard color of guilt, do not weaken our theory.

To recur to animals: every one is aware that the color of horses, dogs, and cattle, is some guide to their qualities. The iron-gray steed is generally remarkable for his endurance and bottom. The chesnut horse, with a star in his forehead, and white feet, is good for speed, and often is a kind family beast. Few celebrated horses have been black. Novelists and poets have been fond of talking of ‘a mailed knight on a black charger,' who is made to appear at some important crisis, and with these sombre colors to cast fear and dismay about him; but your horse-jockeys know better.

'Every one,' says Gardner, 'who has attentively listened to sounds, must have noticed, that beside their acuteness and gravity, loudness or softness, shape and figure, there is another quality belonging to them, which musicians have agreed to denominate color. The answer of the blind man, who, on being asked what idea he had of scarlet, replied, that it was like the sound of a trumpet,' is less absurd than may at first be apprehended.' We might extract the whole chapter upon color, but must content our readers with a simple outline. The lowest notes of every instrument partake of the darkest shades of its color, and as they ascend, they become of a lighter hue. The sinfonio in the Creation, which represents the rising sun, exemplifies this theory. First, our attention is attracted by a soft streaming note from the violins, which is scarcely discernible, till the rays of sound which issue from the second violin, diverge into the chord of the second; to which is gradually imparted a greater fulness of color, as the viols and violoncellos steal in with expanding harmony.' Then the oboes begin to shed their yellow lustre, while the flute silvers the mounting rays of the violin; the orange, the scarlet, and purple, unite in the increasing splendor, and at length the glorious orb appears, refulgent with the brightest beams of harmony.'

*A CURIOUS fact is mentioned in 'Music and Friends,' in a notice of a lecture before the Leicester (England) Royal Institute: 'Let a ray of light pass through a small hole into a darkened room; falling upon a plane surface, it will produce a brilliant spot. Let another ray pass through a similar aperture, and be made to fall on the same luminous point, and it will be found that the vibrations destroy each other, and an intense black spot is the result. The great affinity between the laws of light and sound have long been known, and this experiment has led to the discovery that a similar law operates in sounds. Vibrate a key-fork over the air, in a phial bottle, of the same pitch as the fork, and it will return an audible sound. Place another bottle, of the same pitch, at right angles from the first, vibrate the key-fork so that the air can be agitated in both, and the sounds are destroyed." EDS. KNICKERBOCKER.

In the human voice, the low notes formed in the chest are sombre; bright and cheerful colors express mirth and joy. There is, then, independently of words, a language of nature, in which the passions are universally and instinctively uttered. The colors are given thus :

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We must reserve the further consideration of this subject for ano

J. N. B.

ther paper.


SOFT falls the velvet foot of ghostly Death,

When past the lintel, by Consumption led,
He steals, to catch the last expiring breath,
From patient saint escaped, on lowly bed.



Oh! who can tell how gentle his approach,
The king of tyrants and of terrors even,
When humble faith prepares the ruffled couch,
Spread for the sick before the gate of heaven!


Deep crimson red.

Sky blue;
Deeper blue;
Purple ;

One step there seemed, and only one, between
Deserted pains, and upper paradise;

One trembling breath expired, would change the scene
From darkened earth, to visions in the skies!


When chill disease had wasted all her frame,
And thirty fevers drank her vital blood,
And pain had ceased its work, with brighter flame
Burned holy faith, shedding a wide spread flood.


Of heavenly glories on her raptured view;

But mortal vision might not bear the sight:
She closed her eye, and well her spirit knew

'T would wake to being in immortal light!

Well dost thou, Muse, thy willing tribute pay
To genius, beauty, and exalted worth;
She was thy daughter, though the modest lay

Which erst she sung, has ceased its strain on earth.


On earth, indeed; but ah! the harp whose sound
To virtue's cause, while here below, was given,
Shall thence in deepest, noblest strains abound,
And wake its longest, sweetest note in heaven!

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Оn look ye on the damask rose!- she is the garden's pride,
With her fragrant buds unfolding in beauty by her side;
How like a crownéd queen she sits, upon her graceful stem,
And the dew-drops of the morning are her fairy diadem!
The lily standeth near her, with her breast of stainless white,
And the jasmine flowers, that gleam like stars amid the silent night;
Her scented breath upon the air the honeysuckle flings,
And midst the grass beneath our feet, the lowly violet springs.


Oh, flowers are ever beautiful, but loveliest I ween,

When clustering round some cottage-door, their graceful forms are seen;
Lending to poverty a grace, a charm without alloy,

And gladdening hearts that may, perchance, have little else of joy.
The wealth, the pride of lordly halls, the peasant knoweth not,
His hopes, his fears, are gathered round one lone and lowly spot;
Yet there the glancing sunbeams play, the dews as softly fall:
And the flowers, a blessed boon are they, that God hath given to all.
Albany, February, 1839.




SIR: I have observed that as a man advances in life, he is subject to a kind of plethora of the mind, doubtless occasioned by the vast accumulation of wisdom and experience upon the brain. Hence he is apt to become narrative and admonitory, that is to say, fond of telling long stories, and of doling out advice, to the small profit and great annoyance of his friends. As I have a great horror of becoming the oracle, or, more technically speaking, the bore,' of the domestic circle, and would much rather bestow my wisdom and tediousness upon the world at large, I have always sought to ease off this surcharge of the intellect by means of my pen, and hence have inflicted divers gossipping volumes upon the patience of the public. I am tired, however, of writing volumes; they do not afford exactly the relief I require; there is too much preparation, arrangement, and parade, in this set form of coming before the public. I am growing too indolent and unambitious for any thing that requires labor or display. I have thought, therefore, of securing to myself a snug corner in some periodical work, where I might, as it were, loll at my ease in my elbow chair, and chat sociably with the public, as with an old friend, on any chance subject that might pop into my brain.

In looking around, for this purpose, upon the various excellent periodicals with which our country abounds, my eye was struck by the title of your work—THE Knickerbocker.' My heart leaped at the sight.


DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER, Sir, was one of my earliest and most valued friends, and the recollection of him is associated with some of the pleasantest scenes of my youthful days. To explain this, and to show how I came into possession of sundry of his posthumous works,

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