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576
BEARD

long beard of his fatherhood. The race-fathers have it and the ancient heroes. Abraham and Agamemnon, Woden and King Arthur and Charlemagne, must all be bearded in our pictures. With the Mahommedan peoples the beard as worn by an unshaven prophet has ever been in high renown, the more so that amongst most of the conquering tribes who first acknowledged the unity of God and prophethood of Mahomet it grows freely. But before Mahomet’s day, kings of Persia had plaited their sacred beards with golden thread, and the lords of Nineveh had curiously curled and oiled beards such as their winged bull wears. Bohadin tells us that Saladin’s little son wept for terror when he saw the crusaders’ envoys “with their clean-shaven chins.” Selim I. (1512-1521) comes down as a Turkish sultan who broke into holy custom and cut off his beard, telling a remonstrating Mufti that his vizier should now have nothing to lead him by. But such tampering with tradition has its dangers, and the absolute rule of Peter the Great is made clear when we know that he taxed Russian beards and shaved his own, and yet died in his bed. Alexander the Great did as much and more with his well-drilled Macedonians, and was obeyed when he bade them shave off the handle by which an enemy could seize them.

With other traditions of their feudal age, the Japanese nation has broken with its ancient custom of the razor, and their emperor has beard and moustache; a short moustache is common amongst Japanese officers and statesmen, and generals and admirals of Nippon follow the imperial example. The Nearer East also is abandoning the full beard, even in Mahommedan lands. Earlier shahs of the Kajar house have glorious beards below their girdles, but Náṣiru’d-Dín and his successor have shaved their chins. In later years the sultan of Turkey has added a beard to his moustache; the khedive of Egypt, son of a bearded father, has a soldier’s moustache only. In Europe the great Russian people is faithful to the beard, Peter’s law being forgotten. The tsar Alexander III.’s beard might have satisfied Ivan the Terrible, whose hands played delightedly with the five-foot beard of Queen Elizabeth’s agent George Killingworth. Indeed the royal houses of Europe are for the most part bearded or whiskered. It may be that the race of Olivier le Dain, of the man who can be trusted with a sharp razor near a crowned king’s throat, is extinct. Leopold II., king of the Belgians, however, was in 1909 the only sovereign with the full beard unclipped. The Austrian emperor, Francis Joseph, retained the moustache and whiskers of the ’sixties, and the German emperor, William II., for a short period, commemorated by a few very rare photographs, had a beard, although it was never suffered to reach the length of that beard which gave his father an air of Charlemagne or Barbarossa. In France bearded presidents have followed each other, but it may be noted that the waxed moustache and “imperial” beard of the Second Empire is now all but abandoned to the Frenchman of English comedy. The modern English fashion of shaving clean is rare in France save among actors, and during 1907 many Parisian waiters struck against the rule which forbade them to grow the moustache.

For the most part the clergy of the Roman obedience shave clean, as have done the popes for two centuries and more. But missionary bishops cultivate the long beard with some pride, and the orders have varying customs, the Dominican shaving and the Franciscan allowing the hair to grow. The Roman Catholic clergy of Dalmatia, secular and regular, are allowed to wear the moustache without beard or whiskers, as a concession to national prejudices.

Amongst English people, always ready to be swayed by fashion, the hair of the face has been, age by age, cherished or shaved away, curled or clipped into a hundred devices. Before the immigration from Sleswick the Briton knew the use of the razor, sometimes shaving his chin, but leaving the moustaches long. The old English also wore moustaches and forked beards, but, save for aged men, the beard had passed out of fashion before the Norman Conquest. Thus, in the Bayeux needlework, Edward the king is venerable with a long beard, but Harold and his younger fighting men have their chins reaped. “The English,” says William of Malmesbury, “leave the upper lip unshaven, suffering the hair continually to increase,” and to Harold’s spies the Conqueror’s knights, who had “the whole face with both lips shaven,” were strange and priest-like. Matthew Paris had a strange idea that the beard was distinctive of Englishmen; he asserts that those who remained in England were compelled to shave their beards, while the native nobles who went into exile kept their beards and flowing locks “like the Easterns and especially the Trojans.” He even believed that “William with the beard,” who headed a rising in London under Richard I., came of a stock which had scorned to shave, out of hatred for the Normans, a statement which Thierry developed.

The Chanson de Roland shows us “the pride of France” as “that good bearded folk,” with their beards hanging over coats of mail, and it makes the great emperor swear to Naimes by his beard. It was only about the year 1000, according to Rodolf Glaber, that men began in the north of France to wear short hair and shave “like actors”; and even in the Bayeux tapestry the old Norman shipwrights wear the beard. But so rare was hair on the face amongst the Norman invaders that William, the forefather of the Percys, was known in his lifetime and remembered after his death as William “Asgernuns” or “Oht les gernuns,” i.e. “William with the moustaches,” the epithet revived by one of his descendants making our modern name of Algernon. Count Eustace of Boulogne was similarly distinguished. Fashion swung about after the Conquest, and, in the day of Henry I., Serle the bishop could compare bearded men of the Norman-English court with “filthy goats and bristly Saracens.” The crusades, perhaps, were accountable for the beards which were oddly denounced as effeminate in the young courtiers of William Rufus. Not only the Greeks but the Latins in the East sometimes adopted the Saracen fashion, and the siege of Antioch (1098) was as unfavourable to the use of the razor as that of Sevastopol. When the Latins stormed the town by night, bearded knights owed their death to the assumption that every Christian would be a shaven man. But for more than four centuries diversity is allowed, beards, moustaches and shaven faces being found side by side, although now and again one fashion or another comes uppermost to be followed by those nice in such matters. Henry II. is a close-shaven king, and Richard II.’s effigy shows but a little tuft on each side of the chin, tufts which are two curled locks on the chin of Henry IV. But Henry III. is long-bearded, Edward II. curls his beard in three great ringlets, and the third Edward’s long forked beard flows down his breast in patriarchal style. The mid-13th century, as seen in the drawings attributed to Matthew Paris, is an age of many full and curled beards, although the region about the lips is sometimes clipped or shaved. The beard is common in the 14th century, the forked pattern being favoured and the long drooping moustache. Amongst those who ride with him to Canterbury, Chaucer, a bearded poet, notes the merchant’s “forked beard,” the white beard of the franklin and the red beard of the miller, but the reeve’s beard is “shave as ny as ever he can.” Henry of Monmouth and his son are shaven, and thereafter beards are rare save with a few old folk until they come slowly back with the 16th century. In Ireland the statute enacted by a parliament at Trim in 1447 recited that no manner of man who will be taken for an Englishman should have beard above his mouth—the upper lip must be shaven at least every fortnight or be of equal growth with the nether lip,—and this statute remained unrepealed for nigh upon two hundred years. Henry VIII., always a law to himself, brought back the beard to favour, Stowe’s annals giving 1535 as the year in which he caused his beard “to be knotted and no more shaven,” his hair being polled at the same time. Many portraits give his fashion of wearing a thin moustache, whose ends met a short and squarely trimmed beard parted at the chin, a fashion in which he was followed by his brother-in-law Charles Brandon. But it is remarkable that those about him rarely imitated their most dread sovereign. While Cromwell and Howard the Admiral go clean shaven, the Seymour brothers, Denny and Russell, have the beard long and flowing. Even the forty shilling a year man, says Hooper in 1548, will waste his morning time while he sets his