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Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
But soon by impious arms from Latium chased,
s Essay on Poetry by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. Our poet is not the only one of his time who complimented this Essay, and its noble author. Mr. Dryden had done it very largely, in the dedication to his translation of the Æneid; and Dr. Garth in the first edition of his Dispensary says,
“The Tyber now no courtly Gallus sees,
But smiling Thames enjoys his Normanbys ;" though afterwards omitted, when parties were carried so high in the reign of Queen Anne, as to allow no commendation to an opposite in politics. The duke was all his life a steady adherent to the Church of England party, yet an enemy to the extravagant measures of the court in the reign of Charles II. On which account, after having strongly patronised Mr. Dryden, a coolness succeeded between them on that poet's absolute attachment to the court, which carried him some length beyond what the duke could approve of. This nobleman's true character had been very well marked by Mr. Dryden before :
"The Muse's friend,
Abs. and Achit. Our author was more happy; he was honoured very young with his friendship, and it continued til his death in all the circumstances of a familiar esteem.
t Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, nephew of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, born in Ireland 1633, devoted the later years of his life to literature, and concerted with Dryden plans to fix and refine the English language. He died 1684, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Such late was Walsh–the Muse's judge and friend,
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
An Werot-Comical Poem,
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1712.
TO MRS. ARABELLA FERMOR.
It will be in vain to deny that I have some regard for this piece, since I dedicate it to you. Yet you may bear me witness, it was intended only to divert a few young ladies, who have good sense and good humour enough to laugh not only at their sex's little unguarded follies, but at their own. But as it was communicated with the air of a secret, it soon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been offered to a bookseller, you had the good-nature for my sake to consent to the publication of one more correct: this I was forced to, before I had executed half my design, for the machinery was entirely wanting to complete it.
The machinery. Madam. is a term invented by the critics, to signify that part which the deities, angels or demons, are made to act in a poem : for the ancient poets are in one respect like many modern ladies ; let an action be never so trivial in itself, they always make it appear of the utmost importance. These machines I determined to raise on a very new and odd foundation, the Rosicrucian ductrine of spirits.
I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard words before a lady: but 'tis so much the concern of a poet to have his works understood, and particularly by your sex, that you must give me leave to explain two or three difficult terms.
The Rosicrucians are a people I must bring you acquainted with. The best account I know of them is in a French book called Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its title and size is so like a novel, that many of the fair sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these gentlemen,
ir elements are inhabited by spirits, which they call sylphs, gnomes, nymphs, and salamanders. The gnomes, or demons of earth, delight in mischief; but the sylphs, whose habitation is in the air, are the bestconditioned creatures imaginable. For they say, any mortals may enjoy the most intimate familiarities with these gentle spirits, upon a condition very easy to all true adepts, an inviolate preservation of chastity.
As to the following cantos, all the passages of them are as fabulous as the vision at the beginning, or the transformation at the end (except the loss of your hair, which I always mention with reverence). The human persons are as fictitious as the airy ones; and the character of Belinda, as it is now managed, resembles you in nothing but in beauty,
If this poem had as many graces as there are in your person, or in your mind, yet I could never hope it should pass through the world half so uncensured as you have done. But let its fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occasion of assuring you that I am, with the truest esteem, Madam,
Your most obedient, humble servant, A. POPE.
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.u-MART.
Say what strange motive, goddess ! could compel
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous rays,
It appears by this motto, that the following poem was written or published at the lady's request. But there are some further circumstances not unworthy relating. Mr. Caryl (a gentleman who was secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II. whose fortunes he followed into France, author of the comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of several translations in Dryden's Miscellanies) originally proposed the subject to him, with a view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that had risen between two.noble families, those of Lord Petre and of Mrs. Fermor, on the trifling occasion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. The author sent it to the lady, with whom he was acquainted ; and she took it so well as to give about copies of it. That first sketch (we learn from one his letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in 1711, in two cantos only, and it was so printed; first, in a Miscellany of Bern. Lintot's, without the name of the author. But it was received so weil, that he made it more considerable the next year by the addition of the machinery of the sylphs, and extended it to five cantos. We shall give the reader the pleasure of seeing in what manner these additions were inserted, so as to seem not to be added, but to grow out of the poem. See notes, cant. i. ver. 19, &c.
The characters introduced in this poem were Mr. Caryl, just before mentioned ; Mrs. Arabella Fermor, under the name of Belinda; the Baron was Lord Petre, of small stature, who soon after married a great heiress, Mrs. Warmsley, and died leaving a posthumous son ; Thalestris was Mrs. Morly: Sir Plume was her brother, Sir George Brown of Berkshire. w It was in the first editions,
And dwells such rage in softest bosoms then,
And lodge such daring souls in little men ? * Ver. 13, &c., stood thus in the first edition,
Sol through white curtains did his beams display,
And oped those eyes that must eclipse the day :
Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Shock just had given himself the rousing shake,
And striking watches the tenth hour resound. y All the verses from hence to the end of this canto were added afterwards.