NABOKV-L post 0020818, Sat, 2 Oct 2010 14:31:40 -0400

Lolita's eyes? vair!

On Oct 1, 2010, at 1:43 PM, Stan wrote:

> Lolita no doubt had flirty, flirty eyes (for the flirty, flirty
> guys) but off-hand, I can’t recall their colour

Actually from HH's Wanted poem:

My Dolly, my folly! Her eyes were vair,
And never closed when I kissed her.

My dictionary gives vair as:
1 fur, typically bluish-gray, obtained from a variety of squirrel,
used in the 13th and 14th centuries as a trimming or lining for

Appel gives vair as gray: the pale color of miniver fur.

My dictionary gives miniver as
plain white fur for lining or trimming clothes.
ORIGIN Middle english : from Old French menu vair 'littl vair' from
menu 'little'+vair 'squirrel fur' ( see vair)

I remember, vaguely, from a footnote somewhere, that the Brits from
Chaucer down to Shakespeare considered gray eyes as particularly

From Chaucer's portrait of the Prioresse, Madame Eglentyne:

Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye_as glas,
Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe_and reed.

[tretys=small, I think]

Also Friar Laurence's little soliloquy from Romeo(A2S3), (which also
happens to be in heroic couplets) begins:

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,

My eyes are hazel.
ps. all colors make me happy!

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