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The Hebrew ideal of feminine beauty is set forth in various
passages of the _Song of Songs_. The poem is familiar, and it
will suffice to quote one passage:--
"How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, O prince's daughter!
Thy rounded thighs are like jewels,
The work of the hands of a cunning workman.
Thy navel is like a rounded goblet
Wherein no mingled wine is wanting;
Thy belly is like a heap of wheat
Set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two fawns
They are twins of a roe.
Thy neck is like the tower of ivory;
Thine eyes as the pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim;
Thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon
That looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel
And the hair of thine head like purple;
The king is held captive in the tresses thereof.
This thy stature is like to a palm-tree,
And thy breasts to clusters of grapes,
And the smell of thy breath like apples,
And thy mouth like the best wine."
And the man is thus described in the same poem:--
"My beloved is fair and ruddy,
The chiefest among ten thousand.
His head as the most fine gold,
His locks are bushy (or curling), and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves beside the water-brooks,
Washed with milk and fitly set.
His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as banks of sweet herbs;
His lips are as lilies, dropping liquid myrrh.
His hands are as rings of gold, set with beryl;
His body is as ivory work, overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold.
His aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely."
"The maiden whose loveliness inspires the most impassioned
expressions in Arabic poetry," Lane states, "is celebrated for
her slender figure: She is like the cane among plants, and is
elegant as a twig of the oriental willow. Her face is like the
full moon, presenting the strongest contrast to the color of her
hair, which is of the deepest hue of night, and falls to the
middle of her back (Arab ladies are extremely fond of full and
long hair). A rosy blush overspreads the center of each cheek;
and a mole is considered an additional charm. The Arabs, indeed,
are particularly extravagant in their admiration of this natural
beauty spot, which, according to its place, is compared to a drop
of ambergris upon a dish of alabaster or upon the surface of a
ruby. The eyes of the Arab beauty are intensely black,
large, and long, of the form of an almond: they are full of
brilliancy; but this is softened by long silken lashes, giving a
tender and languid expression that is full of enchantment and
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