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Page [11]


Squibs. I have found a definition of the Beautiful,
of my own conception of the Beautiful. It is something
intense and sad, something a little vague,
leaving scope for conjecture. I am ready, if you will,
to apply my ideas to a sentient object, to that object,
for example, which Society finds the most interesting
of all, a woman's face. A beautiful and seductive
head, a woman's head, I mean, makes one dream,
but in a confused fashion, at once of pleasure and of
sadness; conveys an idea of melancholy, of lassitude,
even of satiety—a contradictory impression, of an
ardour, that is to say, and a desire for life together
with a bitterness which flows back upon them as
if from a sense of deprivation and hopelessness.
Mystery and regret are also characteristics of the

A beautiful male head has no need to convey, to
the eyes of man, at any rate—though perhaps to
those of a woman—this impression of voluptuousness
which, in a woman's face, is a provocation all the
more attractive the more the face is generally melancholy.
But this head also will suggest ardours and
passions—spiritual longings—ambitions darkly repressed—powers
turned to bitterness through lack
of employment—traces, sometimes, of a revengeful
colnss (for the archetype of the dandy must not be
forgten here), sometimes, also—and this is one of
the most interesting characteristics of Beauty—of
mystery, and last of all (let me admit the exact point
to which I am a modern in my aesthetics) of Unhappiness.
I do not pretend that Joy cannot associate


Page [12]
with Beauty, but I will maintain that Joy is one of
her most vulgar adornments, while Melancholy may
be called her illustrious spouse—so much so that I
can scarcely conceive (is my brain become a witch's
mirror?) a type of Beauty which has nothing to do
with Sorrow. In pursuit of—others might say obsessed
by—these ideas, it may be supposed that I
have difficulty in not concluding from them that the
most perfect type of manly beauty is Satan—as
Milton saw him.