It would be a serious undertaking to glean from the pages of history and mythology all the narrations that are associated with that beautiful, but perishable material, human hair. Tresses were to blame when the young man Absalom was hoisted aloft by the skeleton hand of the tree, and the welkin rang to the vox populi when Delilah took down the strong man of his time by shearing off the locks in which it was supposed that his strength lay. Delirium tremens must have been epidemic in the days when the Gorgonian female, whose curls were the curling of snakes, made stone sculptures of men by revealing herself to their gaze. From all time death and fury, as well as love and glory, have leaped out with the sparks that flash from a lock of woman’s hair. It is well to say that the story of Jason, and how he sailed the good ship “Argos,” with a princely crew, in search of a golden fleece, is nothing but a romance and a myth. Some girl with golden hair was at the bottom of that fiction, you may depend. It might have been Medea, and it might not; but as I conjure up a vision of a tree with a golden fleece hardening upon it, and a dragon at the foot of it keeping guard over the treasure, the scene changes like a dissolving view, and I see nothing but a lovely woman tressed in golden glory, watched by an elderly person who might pass for a very good dragon indeed. Look at home, now, and see the legions of Browns and Smiths who have pricked each other with rapiers, or riddled each other with lead, on account of a ringlet accorded to one or the other of them by some damsel false as fair. But the romance of hair is too prolific a subject to be lightly handled, and I pass on to its history.
The caprices of fashion with regard to woman’s hair furnish a good deal of material for satire at the present day; but the most extravagant of them now are tame compared with the capillary freaks of women in the olden times. Among the Roman women, at one period, there was a morbid ambition to grow beards, and they used to shave their faces and smear them with unguents to produce those inappropriate appendages. Cicero tells us that there was a law passed against this practice, which is a proof that it must have been carried to a great extent. Among the Greeks, too, a similar fancy appears at one time to have existed; for they represented their Cyprian Venus with a beard, and Suidas asserts that false beards were more than once in vogue with the Athenian women. The Loinbard lasses, also, bad the same notion, but with more purpose in it; for we learn from old writers~ that the amazons of that nation, when levying war upon their neighbors, used to improvise beards by arranging their hair upon their cheeks, so that they might look, at a little distance like warriors of the rougher sex, and so strike the more terror to their male foes