This section is from the book "Chromatography; Or, A Treatise On Colours And Pigments, And Of Their Powers In Painting", by George Field. Also available from Amazon: Chromatography, or A Treatise on Colours and Pigments, and of Their Powers in Painting.
As powerful, it has become the symbol of power and distinction, and hence has decorated equally the regal robe and the mantle of martyrdom, producing awe, veneration, and fear; while in its gentler offices it moves and assists the affections of "Luve. Hope, and Joy. fair Pleasure's smiling train;" and is, upon the whole, the most effective of colours. The poets have accordingly availed themselves freely of this colour and its progeny, for the purpose of expression, in decorating figures and constructing epithets,* often using the term purple metonymically for red; - sometimes, it is true, for the mere words as sounds, but frequently also with the refined taste, true judgment, and cultivated feeling of the painter: thus Aurora, or the morning, is represented as of rosy complexion, with robes of pale bright yellow, drawn by cream-coloured horses and a chariot, decorated with rose-colour and pearls of dew; all proper attributes of the morning. She is also represented as accompanied by the youthful Horae, or Hours, in gay attire; and the draperies of these might well accord for harmony and truth with the natural succession of colours, black, grey, purple, blue, green, yellow, white: - a pictorial subject exquisitely treated in the celebrated "Aurora" of Guido. Of the relations, attributes, and uses of this colour, innumerable examples may be adduced from the poets; but the following may suffice, in reference to 1, Beauty, etc.
"Beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death's pale flag is not advanced there."
"To blush and beautify the cheek again."
2. Joy, etc.
"See, your guests approach: Address yourself to entertain them sprightly, And let's be red with mirth."
"Blooming youth and gay delight Sit on thy rosy cheeks confess'd."
3. Love, etc.
"Would you know where young Love in his beauty reposes. Go - seek for the boy in the Valley of Roses."
M. A. Brown.
"Coarse complexions, And cheeks of ev'ry grain, will serve to ply The sampler, and to tease the housewife's wool: What need a vermil-tinctured lip for that - Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn? "
4. Hope, etc.
" For me the balm shall bleed, the amber flow, The coral redden, and the ruby glow"
"The rosy-finger'd morning fair"
5. Dignity, etc.
"The scarlet honour of your peaceful gown."
"Thy ambition. Thou scarlet sin, rubb'd this bewailing land Of noble Buckingham."
6. Ardour, etc.
"He spoke: the goddess with the charming eyes Glows with celestial red, and thus replies - ."
"While Mara, descending from his crimson car, Fans with fierce hands the kindling flames of war."
7. Anger, etc.
"If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister, And never to my red-look'd anger be The trumpet any more."
"How bloodily the sun begins to peer Above yon busky hill I The day looks pale At his distemperature."
"Change the complexion of her maid-palepeace To scarlet indignation, and bedew Her pastures' grass with faithful English blood."
" Spreads the red rod of angry pestilence."
8. Accordance with white, etc.
"Hath white and red in it such wondrous power, That it can pierce through eyes into the heart.
And therein stir such rage and restless tower As only death can stint the dolorous smart? "
Spenser: Hymn to Beauty.
From the Persian of Hafiz.
"Sweet maid, if thou would'st charm my sight, And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand, Would give thy poet more delight Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand."
Sir W. Jones.
" Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on."
" Through whose white skin With damashe eyes the ruby blood doth peep.'
"A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on't Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her As chaste as unsunrid snow."
Shakspere: Cymbeline, Act ii. Scene 5.
"So women, to surprise us, spread Their borrowed flags of white and red"
Butler: Hudibras, Part ii. Canto 3.
Roses mixed with milk.
"Unto the ground she cast her modest eye, And ever and anon with rosie red The bashful blood her snowy cheeks did dye,
That her became, as polish'd ivory,
Which cunning craftsman's hand hath overlaid With fair vermilion, or pure lastery."
Faerie Queen, Canto ix. 41.
9. Harmony with light, etc.
Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand Unbarr'd the gates of light."
" Say, that she frowns; I'll say. she looks as clear As morning rotes newly wash'd with dew."
" Here the rotes blush so rare, Here the morning smiles so fair."
10. Contrast with harmony, Sec.
" See where she sits upon the grassie green
(0 seemly sight!) Yelad in scarlet like a maiden queen,
And ermines white. Upon her head a crimosin coronet With damask roses and daffodils set,
Bay leaves between
And primroses green, Embellish the sweet violet."
Spenser. Shep. Cat. Ap.
"His hand did quake And tremble like an aspin green; And troubled Wood, through his pale face was seen To come and go; with tydings from the heart."
Faerie Queen, Canto ix -51
"On her left breast, A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops I' the bottom of a cowslip."
Shakspfre: Cymlielint:, Act ii. Sc. 2.
II. Contrast with black, etc.
" The air hath starved the roses in her cheeks, And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face, That now she is become as black as I."
"Next morn, while yet the eastern mountains threw Their giant shadows o'er the slumbing dale, Their dorken'd verges trembling on the dew In rosy wreath, so lovely and so pale. The warp'd and slender rainbow of the vale!"
Hogg: Mador of the Moor.
" Beaufort's red sparkling eyes blab his heart's malice, And Suffolk's cloudy btrow his stormy hate."
Red being a primary and simple colour, cannot be composed by mixture of other colours; it is so much the instrument of beauty in nature and art in the colour of flesh, flowers, etc. that good pigments of this genus may of all colours be considered the most indispensable: we have happily, therefore, many of this denomination, of which the following are the principal: -