Truth to say, however, no ingathering of such data appears to have been made, or, if made, to have been given publication; and, failing statistics at second hand, we have endeavored by search at first hand through some two hundred biographies, to supply the want—less, be it added, as a basis for generalization upon our own part than as an offering of material for study and analysis by others.
The feature of the countenance which first strikes the observer is the eye—the "lamp of the body" as it is called in the new testament, but more fitly, perhaps, the "lamp of the soul," for in very truth the eyes are the lighted portals to man's inner nature. The most noteworthy circumstance which our data offer is the very large predominance of blue, gray and bluish-gray eyes among personages of distinction. Thus, of seventy-six eminent men whose biographies afforded the information, twenty-five appear to have had blue eyes, seventeen gray and thirteen bluish-gray, making a total of fifty-five. Boasting eyes of blue—the color-symbol of goodness, according to the mystics—were Samuel Adams (dark blue), Matthew Arnold, Charles XII. of Sweden (dark blue), Longfellow, Stephen A. Douglas (dark blue), Eugene Field, Stonewall Jackson ("as a child, blue-eyed "), Charles George Gordon (pale blue), Patrick Henry, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Andrew Jackson, Charles Godfrey Leland, "Washington Irving (given as gray by some biographers), Washington Alston, James Monroe (blue, approaching gray), Napoleon ("steel blue"), John Ruskin, Savonarola (dark blue), Wm. H. Seward, Shelley, Chas. Sumner ("deep blue"). General Thomas, Grieg, Weber. Among gray eyes—"deep and sly" if we are to heed an old proverb—we have Michael Angelo ("light eyes"). Browning, Caesar (variously given as dark gray and black), Carnegie, Coleridge (described by other authorities as light hazel), Columbus (light gray). Sir Thomas More, Wm. Hazlitt, Ibsen (pale eyes), Washington Irving (dark gray but, according to others, blue), Thomas Jefferson ("gray flecked with hazel"), Milton (dark gray), Francis Parkman, S. S. Prentiss (dark gray), Robespierre ("pale greenish gray"), Tolstoy, Tennyson (this according to Caroline Fox, but, according to Carlyle, hazel). As representing a blend or play of both colors we have the names of George William Curtis, Charles Darwin, Frederick the Great, U. S. Grant (according to some biographers "dark gray"), Walter Savage Landor, Sidney Lanier, Napoleon (given by others as steel blue), Longfellow (given by other authorities as blue), Theodore Parker, Rossetti (between hazel and blue gray), Thoreau, George Washington, Whitman. It will have been noted that the same name appears occasionally in two of these lists This is owing to a conflict between biographers and the same circumstance will explain a like duplication in future lists.
The brown-eyed men among the celebrities of history were Captain Cook, Goethe (dark brown), Keats (hazel brown), Charles Lamb, E. L.