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And old impertinence expel by new.

What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,

They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots
strive,

Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals levity may call;

Oh blind to truth! the sylphs contrive it all.
"Of these am I, who thy protection claim;
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I ranged the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star

I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend;
But Heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where.
Warned by the sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can:
Beware of all, but most beware of man!"

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He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long, 115 Leaped up, and waked his mistress with his tongue. 'T was then, Belinda, if report say true,

Thy eyes first opened on a billet-doux: "Wounds," "charms," and "ardours" were no sooner read But all the vision vanished from thy head.

And now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores,
With head uncovered, the cosmetic pow'rs:
A heav'nly image in the glass appears:

To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears.
Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumbered treasures ope at once, and here
The various off'rings of the world appear.
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glitt'ring spoil:
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,

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And all Arabia breathes from yonder box;
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transformed to combs, the speckled and the white;
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billets-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms:
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy sylphs surround their darling care:
These set the head, and those divide the hair;
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's praised for labours not her own.

CANTO II

Not with more glories, in th' ethereal plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
Launched on the bosom of the silver Thames.

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Fair nymphs and well-dressed youths around her shone, 5
But ev'ry eye was fixed on her alone.

On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss and infidels adore.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfixed as those.
Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide;
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face and you'll forget 'em all.

This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourished two locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspired to deck,
With shining ringlets, the smooth iv'ry neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.

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With hairy springes we the birds betray,
Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey;
Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare,
And beauty draws us with a single hair.
Th' advent'rous Baron the bright locks admired;
He saw, he wished, and to the prize aspired.
Resolved to win, he meditates the way,
By force to ravish or by fraud betray;
For when success a lover's toil attends,
Few ask if fraud or force attained his ends.
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implored
Propitious Heav'n, and ev'ry Pow'r adored,
But chiefly Love: to Love an altar built
Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt;
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves,
And all the trophies of his former loves.
With tender billets-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire;
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain and long possess the prize:
The Pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r;
The rest the winds dispersed in empty air.

But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides,
While melting music steals upon the sky,
And softened sounds along the waters die;
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.
All but the sylph; with careful thoughts oppressed,
Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
He summons straight his denizens of air:
The lucid squadrons round the sails repair;
Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe,
That seemed but zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolved in light.
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,
Dipped in the richest tincture of the skies,

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Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel placed;
His purple pinions op'ning to the sun,
He raised his azure wand, and thus begun:

"Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear!
Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and demons, hear!
Ye know the spheres and various tasks assigned
By laws eternal to th' aërial kind.

Some in the fields of purest ether play,

And bask and whiten in the blaze of day.

Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky.
Some less refined, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide;
Of these the chief the care of nations own,
And guard with arms divine the British throne.
Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing though less glorious care:
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let th' imprisoned essences exhale;

To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;
To steal from rainbows, ere they drop in show'rs,
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nay, oft, in dreams invention we bestow
To change a flounce or add a furbelow.

"This day black omens threat the brightest fair That e'er deserved a watchful spirit's care; Some dire disaster or by force or slight,

But what or where, the Fates have wrapt in night:
Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail china jar receive a flaw;

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Or stain her honour or her new brocade;
Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart or necklace, at a ball;
Or whether Heav'n has doomed that Shock must fall.
Haste, then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite lock;
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
We trust th' important charge, the petticoat;
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
And guard the wide circumference around.
Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins:
Be stopped in vials, or transfixed with pins,
Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedged, whole ages, in a bodkin's eye;
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogged he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics, with contracting pow'r,
Shrink his thin essence like a rivelled flow'r;
Or, as Ixion fixed, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!"

...

He spoke the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.

CANTO III

Close by those meads, forever crowned with flow'rs,
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name.
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom

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