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like a Novel, that many of the Fair Sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these Gentlemen, the four Elements are inhabited by Spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes or Dæmons of Earth delight in mischief; but the Sylphs, whose habitation is in the Air, are the best condition'd 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 Canto's, 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 manag’d, 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 thro' the world half so uncensur'd as You have done. But let its fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have iven me this occasion of alluring you that I am, with the truest esteem,
ThisLock the Muse shall consecrate to Fame, Andimider the Stars inscribe Belinda's Name.
Rape of the Loch
RAPE of the LOCK.
* Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat hoc precibus me tribuiffe tuis. Mart.
a 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 in a view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that was 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 of his Letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in 1711. in two Canto's only, and it was so printed; first, in a Miscellany of Bern,
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, 5 If She inspire, and He approve my lays.
Say what itrange notive, Goddess! could compel A well-bred Lord t' assault a gentle Belle ? O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord ? In tasks fo bold, can little men engage, And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty Rage ?
Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray, And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day :
Lintot’s, without the name of the Author. But it was received so well, that he made it more considerable the next year by the addition of the machinery of the Sylphs, and extended it to five Canto's. 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,
* 19, etc. P.
This insertion he always esteemed, and justiy, the greatest, effort of his skill and art as a Poet.
VARIATIONS. VER. 11, 12. It was in the first Editions,
And dwells such rage in softest bosoms then,
And lodge fuch daring Souls in little Men?
the first Edition,