H T M L T R A N S C R I P T O F
A Perfect Description of an Indian Squa, in all her Bravery; with a Poem Not Improperly Conferr’d upon Her
by J O H N J O S S E L Y N (c.1608–1700?)
17th-century travel writer
who spent time in New England
(Boston, Massachusetts and
Black Point, Scarborough, Maine)
from 1638–9 and from 1663–71
“ A Description of an INDIAN SQUA.
“ 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 Coppy of Verses made sometime since upon the Picture of a young and handsome Gypsie, not improperly transferred upon the Indian SQUA, or Female Indian, trick’d up in all her bravery.
“ The Men are somewhat Horse Fac’d, and generally Faucious, i. e. without Beards; but the Women many of them have very good Features; seldome 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 streight Bodies, and slender, considering their constant loose habit: Their limbs cleanly, straight, and of a convenient stature, generally, as plump as Partridges, and saving 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 Colours into Asiatick Works, with Buskins of the same, a short Mantle of Trading Cloath, either Blew or Red, fastened with a knot under the Chin, and girt about the middle with a Zone, wrought with white and blew 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 Combe backward, and tye it up short with a Border, about two handfulls broad, wrought in Works as the other wiih their Beads: But enough of this.
“ The POEM.
“ 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 Colour hear?
No, but ’tis your Black ones Wit
That doth catch, and captive it.
And if Slut and Fair be one,
Sweet and Fair, there can be none:
Nor can ought so please the tast
As what’s brown and lovely drest:
And who’ll say, that that is best
To please ones Sense, displease the rest?
Maugre then all that can be sed
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 Sun-shine fears. ”
— Josselyn, John. New-Englands rarities discovered: in birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, and plants of that country. Together with the physical and chyrurgical remedies wherewith the natives constantly use to cure their distempers, wounds, and sores. Also a perfect description of an Indian squa, in all her bravery; with a poem not improperly conferr'd upon her. Lastly a chronological table of the most remarkable passages in that country amongst the English. Illustrated with cuts. By John Josselyn, gent. London: Printed for G. Widdowes at the Green Dragon in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1672. 99–102.