The Dressing of the Hair, Moustachios and Beard (2)Previous page
From Gregory of Tours we learn that in the Royal family of France it was for a long time the peculiar privilege of Kings and Princes of the blood to wear long hair, artfully dressed and curled; everybody else was polled, as a sign of inferiority and obedience. To cut off the hair of a son of France under the first race of Kings was to exclude him from the right of succession to the crown, and to reduce him to the condition of a subject.
French historians, however, tell us that Charlemagne wore his hair short, his son much shorter, and Charles the Bald, as his surname indicates, none at all.
Good Luitprand furiously declaimed against the Emperor Phocyas for wearing long hair, after the manner of all the other Emperors of the East, with the exception of Theophilus, who, being bald, enjoined all his subjects to shave their heads, like the fox of Aesop, who, having survived the experience of a trap by the sacrifice of his tail, harangued the other foxes on the inconvenience of tails in general, and endeavoured to persuade them to cut off theirs also.
In the Church, too, in spite of the beard of Aaron, "that went down to the skirts of his garments," the Nazarite law, and the reputed long hair of the founder of Christianity, the priesthood habitually condemned long hair as being inconsistent with the sacred character of the priest's office. Pope Anictus is supposed to have been the first to forbid the clergy to wear long hair. " The Holy Prelate, Wulstan, reproved the wicked of all ranks with great boldness but he rebuked those with the greatest severity who were proud of their long hair." The Nazarite vow is an act of sacrifice in accordance with the terms of the law laid down in Num. vi. 1-21 : " All the days of the vow of his separation shall no razor come upon his head " ; "He shall be holy, and shall let the locks of his hair grow."
The Nazarite has been regarded as a conqueror who subdued his temptations, and who wore his long hair as a crown, the hair being worn rough as a protest against foppery. Another view, however, is that it was kept elaborately dressed, a proof of the existence of the custom being seen in the seven locks of Samson:
"And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him " (Judg. xvi. t 9).
Let us listen to the story in the quaint, silvery music of Chaucer:
"This Sampson neyther siser dronk ne wyn
Ne on his heed com rasour noon ne schere
By precept of the messager divyn
For alle his strengthes in his heres were.
Unto his lemman Dalida he tolde
That in his heres al his strengthe lay
And falsly to his foomen sche him solde
And slepying in hir barm upon a day
Sche made to clippe or schere his heres away
And made his foomen al his craft espien
And whan thay fond him in this array
Thay bound him fast and put out bothe his yen.
But er his heer clipped was or i-schave
Ther was no bond with which men might him bynde
But now is he in prisoun in a cave
Ther as thay made him at the querne grynde
0 noble Sampson strengest of al man kynde
0 whilom jugge in glory and in richesse
Now maystow wepe with thine eyyen blynde
Sith thou fro wele art falle to wrecchednesse."
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