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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

An Indian Beauty

By John Josselyn (fl. 1630–1675)

[Resident in New England, 1638–39, and 1663–71. New-England’s Rarities Discovered. 1672.]

A Perfect Description of an Indian Squa in All Her Bravery; with a Poem Not Improperly Conferred upon Her.

  • NOW, gentle Reader, having trespassed upon your patience a long while in the perusing of these rude observations, I shall, to make you amends, present you by way of Divertisement or Recreation, with a copy of Verses made some time since upon the picture of a young and handsome Gypsie, not improperly transferred upon the Indian Squa, or Female Indian, tricked up in all her bravery.
  • The Men are somewhat horse-faced, and generally faucious, i.e., without beards; but the Women many of them have very good features; seldom without a “Come to me,” or Cos Amoris, in their countenance. All of them black-eyed, having even, short teeth, and very white; their hair black, thick, and long; broad-breasted, handsome, straight bodies, and slender, considering their constant loose habit; their limbs cleanly, straight, and of a convenient stature, generally as plump as partridges, and having here and there one of a modest deportment.
  • Their garments are a pair of sleeves of deer, or moose skin drest, and drawn with lines of several colors into Asiatick works, with buskins of the same, a short mantle of trading cloth, either blue or red, fastened with a knot under the chin and girt about the middle with a zone, wrought with white and blue beads into pretty works. Of these beads they have bracelets for their neck and arms, and links to hang in their ears, and a fair table curiously made up with beads likewise, to wear before their breast. Their hair they comb backward, and tie it up short with a border about two handfuls broad, wrought in works as the other with their beads. But enough of this.

  • WHETHER White or Black be best

    Call your senses to the quest;

    And your touch shall quickly tell

    The Black in softness doth excel,

    And in smoothness; but the ear,

    What, can that a color hear?

    No, but ’t is your Black one’s wit

    That doth catch and captive it.

    And if Slut and Fair be one,

    Sweet and Fair, there can be none;

    Nor can aught so please the taste

    As what ’s brown and lovely drest.

    And who ’ll say that that is best

    To please one’s sense, displease the rest?

    Maugre then all that can be said

    In flattery of White and Red;

    Those flatterers themselves must say

    That darkness was before the Day;

    And such perfection here appears,

    It neither Wind nor Sunshine fears.