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LONDON, SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1893.
This is closely followed by Dr. Grosart, in his
edition of Herrick, though in a much abbreviated CONTENT 8.-No 63.
form : “The tiny face reflection in the pupil of the NOTES :-“The babies in the eyes,” 181– Dictionary of eyes.” Mr. Horne, who has edited a selection from
National Biography,' 183-Scott as a Quotable” Poet, the 'Hesperides' 'for Mr. Walter Scott's “Can184-Alderman Curtis-Funeral by Women-Devon Cows, 185 – Rev. George Costard – Imported Grammar – In- terbary Poets," says that it is difficult to say what fluenza-"Whether or no"-Editors-Draug ts, 186.
the phrase exactly means ; while stating the
reflection theory, is apparently dissatisfied with it. QUBRIES:-“Cue"–Gillray's Caricatures:-D. Angelo Mr. Pollard says:
Cope—“Vole" - Goethe's · Faust' - Sir R. Benet, 187–
the central spot of the eye,” REPLIES :-The Letters of Junius, 189-Sophy Daws, 190
Mr. Weber, the editor of Beaumont and Fletcher, -"Omerifican,” 191 — Reference in Pope — "Whip-Dog whom I quote in addition, chiefly on account of his Day"_" It fair sheds "-Ambrose Gwinett-Col. Charters, curiously savage note, has the following :192-Historic Hearts-Chapel-The Last of the Planta
“ This conceit, wbich seems to be founded in the genets - Judges' Robes, 193 - Henchman, 194 - Charles Stewart-W. H. Murray-The Queen and Robert Owen, reflection, which really
appears in the iris, of the person Irish Currency—“Taking the wall”—“The Christian Year,' placed before it, was a great favourite in the seventeenth 195—Burns in Art-Accurate Language-Dress in 1784– century, and has lately been revived by a modern 2. Cozens, 196 - A "Crank" – Salzbery" and "Som- rhymester, distinguished for having done what he could
to debase the taste and vitiate the morals of the nine- Mount Alvernus, 197 - Dr. Thomas Zouch Heraldry-St. Grasinus, 198.
teenth century, by the polluted effeminacy of his
writings." NOTES ON BOOKS :-Lang's Scott's Old Mortality'- This acrid remark refers, I suppose, to a couple Tuer's ' Book of Delightful Designs?- Nicholson's' Colum- of passages in the volume of poems which Moore bus's Letter' and Caxton's Advertisement.'
published under the pseudonym of Thomas Little : Notices to Correspondents. ·
Look in my eyes, my blushing fair !
And as I gazo on thine, I see
Two little miniatures of me.
Thus in our looks some propagation lies, " THE BABIES IN THE EYES."
For we make babies in each other's eyes ! The babies in the eyes” is, in one form or
Those babies that nestle so sly,
Such different arrows have got, another, a metaphor of very frequent occurrence in Tbat an oath on the glance of an eye the writings of our seventeenth century poets and Such as yours, may be off in a shot! dramatists; and it is one which may be said to be The difficulty of the expression being thus practically confined to that period of our literature. allowed by very competent authorities, it will The earliest instance of its use that I know is in a clearly not be a waste of time to consider it a little poem by one of the "uncertain authors " whose more fully than has hitherto been done. I do not writings are appended to the collection of Lord think that it can be summarily dismissed in a note Surrey's poems published in 1667. The poem is of a line or two, and that no one hard and fast also quoted in Ellis's 'Specimens' and by Warton. explanation will fit overy example of its use will, I The passage is as follows :
believe, bo evident to any one who examines those In each of her two crystal eyes
that I shall have occasion to quote in this paper. Smileth a naked boy.
We must remember, too, in considering the Another very early example is in Churchyard's explanations which have been offered, that there *Tragical Discours of a Dolorous Gentlewoman'
are other phrases of analogous form to be met with (1593), where we have :
in our old literature, which most certainly do not Men do not look for babes in hollow'd eyon. admit of any similar interpretation. Take these, The editors of, and commentators upon, our
for example : seventeenth century writers have found this meta
Saw you not angels in her eyes phor a somewhat puzzling one, and exactly what
Wbilst that she was a speaking ? it means seems yet not to be certainly determined.
Madman's Morris,' quoted in Evans's Old Ballads,'
and in the · Roxburgh Ballads.' The usual explanation is, perhaps, that given by Nares, in his Glossary':
For thou 'st a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again. Suckling. "The miniature reflection of himself wbich a person sees in the pupil of another's eye, on looking closely into there is a catena of ideas formed of closely con
The suggestion that I would offer here is that it, was sportively called by our ancestors a little boy of baby, and made the subject of many amorous nected links, of links which, if I may so express allusione."
myself, grow one out of another, and that from one
link or another depend the several keys which into lively being. These considerations will prowill fully open out the meanings of the different vide us, I think, with keys to most of the passages examples of the various forms of the expression where the metaphor of the babies in the eyes we are considering. This sequence of ideas had occurs. To “ look babies in the eyes” is, I bedeveloped itself in, and had become perfectly fami- lieve, to be understood as meaning to kindle, or to liar to the minds of the seventeenth century poets, attempt to kindle, desire by amorous and enticing always playing more or less fantastic and artificial glances ; " to look” being an active transitive variations on their constant theme of a more or less verb, and “in” being equivalent to " into.” sensual love. It must have been perfectly familiar This interpretation seems perfectly to explain to the minds of their readers also, and any ex- Theodore's question in Beaumont and Fletcher's pression which to us, who have freed ourselves 'Loyal Subject,' when he indignantly asks, – from the stilted language of the later euphuism Can ye look babies, sisters, and learned again to express ourselves naturally, is In the young gallants' eyes, and twirl their band-strings ? not very readily intelligible, would to them at which the reflection hypothesis or the theory of a once suggest a particular idea in that sequence play upon words scarcely seems satisfactorily to which a consideration of these passages induces me do. to believe had become an everyday platitude to the Consider, again, the following passages, which I writers of the time and their readers.
think upon these principles of interpretation all First we have the commonplace that Love is become more readily intelligible than upon any blind. This is elaborated in such stories as Lyly's others with which I am acquainted :pretty: Cupid and my Campaspe play'd
But O, see, see, we need inquire no further,
Upon your lips the scarlet drops are found,
And in your eye the boy that did the murder. Campaspe rises the winner of the beggared Cupid's
Drayton, 'Idea 2.' last stake, his eyes; and the poet's conceit, of The "boy” in the last verse could scarcely be course, is that the eyes with which she henceforth the reflected image of any one. Is it not rather an charms mankind are those of the love-god himself. abstract Cupid with his arrow ? Shakespeare still further elaborates this idea in the
When a young lady wrings you by the hand, thus, song, “Who is Sylvia ?' in the 'Two Gentlemen
Or with an amorous touch presses your foot, of Verona ':
Look babies in your eyes, plays with your locks,
Do you not find, without a tutor's help,
What 'tis she looks for ?
Massinger, ‘Renegado,' II. iv. We have now reached the conceit of Love or Scarcely for the miniature reflection of her own Cupid being tabernacled in a beautiful woman's face in her companion's eyes, one would think, eyes. And Cupid is generally depicted as a naked but rather suppose that Massinger's meaning was boy or baby. Does not this at once give us a more that she was trying to kindle the warm sparkle of satisfactory explanation of the verses of the “un- love in them. And, relying upon the following certain author,"
quotation, I am inclined to think that Herrick In each of her two crystal eyes
would take this view too :Dwelleth a naked boy,
Among thy fancies, tell me this, than saying that the “naked boys” are the re
What is the thing we call a kiss ? flections of some one looking closely into her pupils ?
It is an active flame that flies, It is merely a fantastic and artificial way of saying
First to the babies of the eyes. that the lady is very beautiful and love-inspiring.
*Hesperides.' Besides, her extreme modesty, as set forth in the poem, would clearly have made the realization of already quoted note by Dr. Grosart is appended
The particular passage in Herrick to which the the reflection hypothesis quite out of the question, is the following:
But with the seventeenth century poets Cupid or Love is something more than the god of a pure
You blame me, too, because I can't devise,
Some sport to please those babies in your eyes. affection :Tell me, dearest, what is Love?
If this had been the only instance of the ex.
pression in our literature, scarcely even then, I 'Tis a boy they call Desire.
think, would this, the common explanation, be Beaumont and Fletcher, 'The Captain.' quite satisfactory; not so satisfactory, indeed, as We now seem to get the boy or baby in the eyes Mr. Pollard's, which would make Herrick mean, as a symbolical expression for something else than I suppose, that his mistress was chiding him for mere beauty, or a power to inspire love or affection. his seriousness of demeanour, and for failing to It has become a metaphor for Desire. And this bring the glint and sparkle of merry amusement to Desire, we must remember, may be actively ex. her eyes. But though Mr. Pollard's explanation istent, or only potential, and waiting to be excited of the metaphor may make this particular passage
intelligible, it seems to fail in other cases. I
DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY': venture to urge that the explanation I am sog
NOTES AND CORRECTIONS. gesting in this paper applies in this as in other examples. On reading the poem—which, by the (See 6th S. xi, 105, 443; xii. 321 ; 7th $. i. 25, 82, 342,
376; ii. 102, 324, 355; iii. 101, 382; iv. 123, 325, 422; way, is entitled “ To his Mistress objecting to Him
v. 3, 43, 130, 362, 463, 606; vii. 22, 122, 202, 402; viii. neither Toying nor Talking”-it seems probable 123, 382; ix, 182, 402; x. 102; xi. 162, 242, 342; xii. that Herrick understood the sport
" for the 102; 8th S. i. 162, 348, 509 ; ii. 82, 222, 346, 522.) absence of which he supposes himelf upbraided to
Vol. XXXIII. be some form of amorous play or conversation, such as should kindle into life " the babies in the Hervey's Meditations, fourteenth edition, 1758,
P. 7a. On Archbishop Leighton's 'Works ' see eyes," i. e., light up in the eyes the flashing fires
ii. 286. of the love-god in a thrill of pleasurable emotion.
P. 18. Dr. Tho. Leland. See Magee, 'AtonePerhaps the least comprehensible instance of the
ment,' third edition, 1812, i, 236 899. use of the metaphor is to be found in a poem in the collection called 'The Mistress,' by Cowley.
P. 27 b. For “in the church” read in holy
orders. It is descriptive of a lady in tears :
P. 30 a, 1. 23 from foot. Insert mark of quotaAs stars reflect on waters, 80 I spy,
tion after “Strand." In every drop (methinks) her Eye. The Baby, which lives there, and always plays
Pp. 38, 39. Dr. Leng, whilo Rector of BeddingIn that illustrious sphere,
ton, published a sermon preached thero Nov. 6, Like a Narcissus doth appear,
1715, dedicated to Sir Nicholas Carew, of BeddingWhilst in his flood the lovely Boy did gaze.
ton, Bart.; and an assize sermon at Kingston-onThe whole of this set of verses—it is headed Thames, March 22, 1715/6. Weeping,' and consists of four stanzas-is, per- P. 41 a, l. 15 from foot. For “Setrington " read haps, as precious a piece of nonsense as the later Settrington. and debased euphuism can show, and it may be
P. 43 b. On the “lass of Richmond Hill" see doubtful whether it is not a waste of time and 'N. & Q.,'6th S. ii., iii., and references there. trouble to attempt to read any intelligible meaning P. 52 a, 1. 17. For “Abbey" read Hall. into it. It seems, however, clear that here again the P. 58. Some of Lenthall's letters are in 'Literæ “baby” cannot have anything to do with the Cromwellii, 1676. reflection of any one's face. What Cowley meant P. 83. Charles Leslie. See Smith, ‘Bibl. Antiis probably to be gathered from the following con- Quak., pp. 267-274; Free-Thinker, i. 152 ; Blacksideration. It had become, as I think, a common. Wall's Sacred Classics'; Rob. Manning's 'Answ. place of his time and school to speak of the beauty to Case Stated,' Dublin, 1842. and love-inspiring charms of a fair woman as P. 116 b, Il. 8 and 16 from foot. 1769, 1767 (?). "the babies in the eyes "; and this, to a mind ever
P. 126 b. L'Estrange's poem on confinement" on the strain to invent some new and far-fetched in Roscommon's 'Poems,' 1707, p. 47. fantasy or forced comparison, apparently suggested P. 141 a. Darcy Lever, then of Aberford, Yorks, the grotesque and uppoetical idea of turning an issued proposals in Nov., 1797, for publishing abstract Cupid into a concrete Narcissus, and set. 'Mariner's Sheet Anchor,' to be dedicated to the ting him visibly in the lady's eye to gaze at his Hall Trinity House. An edition of “Young Sea reflection in her tears.
Officer's Sheet Anchor,' Leeds, 1835. Many other instances of the use of this peculiar Pp. 146 a, 153 a. For “Lyne" read Lyme ; expression might be adduced in support of the (229 a). interpretation here suggested; but to quote and P. 146 a. Scroop. 149 a. Scroope. comment upon them would be only to, more or P. 159 b. A poem on the death of Wm. Levinz, less, repeat what has already been said. This of Magd. Coll., Oxon., Nov., 1706, in Tho. Warinterpretation may possibly seem a somewhat arti ton s ' Poems,' 1748, p. 63. ficial one, but I do not think that it is more so P. 174. A poem translated by David Lewis in than others which have been proposed. And V. Bourne's Poematia,' third edition, 1743, p. 61. before we say that this or that interpretation is P. 191. Mark Lewis. See preface to Holmes's forced or artificial, we must remember that the Latin Grammar,' third edition, 1743. expression itself is characteristic of a period of our P. 192 b. M. G. Lewis. See Mathias, ' Purs. of literature when the style of most of our writers L.,' 245, 365 ; Byron, 'Engl. B. and Sc. Rev.,' was perhaps more forced and artificial than it has 11. 259-276, 899-900. ever been either before or since.
P. 200 b, l. 32. Comma after “ Wiltshire."
W. O. BOLLAND, P. 218. Ed. Lhuyd. See Ray's "Three DisLincoln's Inn,
P. 223 a, 1. 31. For “ Jane” read June. P. 236 a, 1. 15. For “bis predecessor” read ono of his predecessors. See Durham Univ. Jour.,