Friday, March 11, 2011

Her eyes had an outer ring of seeming black, but in effect of deep blue and dark grey mixed; this soft broad circle of colour sharply divided the subtle and tender white, pale as pure milk, from an iris which should have been hazel or grey, blue or green, but was instead a more delicate and significant shade of the colour more common with beast or bird; pure gold, without alloy or allay, like the yellowest part of a clear flame; such eyes as the greatest analyst of spirit and flesh that ever lived and spoke has noticed as proper to certain rare women, and has given for a perpetual and terrible memory to his Georgian girl.  These eyes were not hard or shadowless; their colour was full of small soft intricacies of shade and varieties of tone; they could darken with delicate alteration and lighten with splendid change.  The iris had fine fibres of light and tender notes of colour that gave the effect of a shadow; as if the painter's touch when about to darken the clear fierce beauty of their vital and sensitive gold had paused in time and left them perfect.  The pupil was not over large, and seemed as the light touched it of molten purple or of black velvet.  They had infinite significance, infinite fervour, and purity.

swinburne 1862

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