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THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
AN HEROIC-COMICAL POEM,
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1711.
« Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos,
TO MRS. ARABELLA FERMOR.
MADAN, It will be in vain to deny that I have some re- balis, which, both in its title and Gze, is so like gard for this piece, since I dedicate it to you; yet novel, that many of the fair sex have read it for you may bear me witness, it was intended only to one by mistake. According to these gentlemen, divert a few young ladies, who have good sense and the four elements are inhabited by spirits
, which good humour enough to laugh not only at their sex's they call sylphs, gnomes, nymphs, and salamanlittle unguarded follies, but at their own. But as ders. The gnomes, or dæmons of earth, delight it was communicated with the air of a secret, it in mischief; but the sylphs, whose habitation is foou found its way into the world An imperfect in the air, are the best-conditioned creatures imacopy baving been offered to a bookseller, you had ginable; for they say, any mortals may enjoy the the good nature, for my fake, to consent to the most intimate familiarities with these gentle fpirits, publication of one more corre&t: This I was forced upon a condition very casy to all true adepts, an to, before I had executed half my design, for the inviolate preservation of chastity. machinery was entirely wanting to complete it. As to the following cantos, all the passages of
The machinery, Madam, is a term invented by them are as fabulous as the vision at the beginning, the critics, to signify that part which the deities, or the transformation at the end (except the loss angels, or dæmons, are made to act in a poem: of your hair, which I always mention with reveFor the ancient poets are in one resped like ma- rence). The human persons are as fi&itious as the ng modern ladies; let an action be never so tri- airy ones; and the character of Belinda, as it is vial in itself, they always make it appear of the now managed, resembles you in nothing but in utmost importance. These machines I determin. beauty. ed to raise on a very new and odd foundation, the If this poem had as many graces as there are in Rosicrufian doctrine of spirits.
your person, or in your mind, yet I could never I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hope it should pass through the world half so uns hard words before a lady; but it is so much the censured as you have done. But let its fortune concero of a poct to have his works understood, be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have and particularly by your sex, that you must give given me this occasion of alluring you that I am, me leave to explain two or three difficult terms. with the truest esteem, The Rosicrufians are a people I must bring you
Madam, acquainted with. The best account I know of Your most obedient, bumble servant, there is in a French book called Le Comta de Ga
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green, What dire offence from amorous causes springs, Or virgins visited by angel-powers, What mighty contests rise from trivial things, With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly I sing—this verse to Caryl, muse: is due :
Awers; This ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view : Hear and believe! thy own importance know, Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, Nor bound thy narrow views to chings below, If the inspire, and he approve my lays.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
The light militia of the lower fky:
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray, Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring.
From earthly vehicles to these of air. Her guardian fylph prolong'd the balmy reft : 30 Think not, when women's transient breath is 'Twas he had summon'd to her filent bed
Aled, The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head. That all her vanities at once are dead. A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau Succeeding vanities she still regards, (That ev’n in Number caus'd her cheek to glow) And though she plays no more, o'crlooks the cards. Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive, And thus in whispers said, or feem'd to say: And love of ombre, after death survive,
Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care For when the fair in all their pride expire, Of thousand bright inhabitants of air !
To their first eleinents their souls retire :
Sost yielding minds to water glide away,
The graver prude links downward to a gnome,
Ver. 13, &c. ftood thus in the first edition : Know farther yet ; whoever fair and chafte Sol through white curtains did his beams display, Rejects mankind, is by fome fylph embrac'd : And ope'd those eyes which brighter shone than For, spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease they;
Assume what sexes and what shape they please. 70, Shock just had given himself the rouzing shake, What guards the purity of melting maids, And nymphs prepar'd their chocolate to take; In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades, Thrice the wrought flipper knock'd against the Safe from the treacherous friends, the daring spark, ground,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark, And striking watches the tenth hour resound. When kind occasion prompts their warm defires,
Ver. 19. Belinda ftill, &c.] All the verses from When music softens, and when dancing fires ? hence to the end of this canto were added after- 'Tis but their fylph, the wife celestials know, wards.
Though honour is the word with men belov..
Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face :
These set the head, and those divide the hdir; While
peers, and dukes, and all theirsweeping train, Some sold the fleeve, whilst others plait the gown; And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.
Than, ifluing forth, the rival of his beams
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames.
Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her
But every eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore. Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots (wordHer lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, knots (trive,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those : IO
Favours to none, to all she (miles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
Yet graceful case, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide: In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
If to her share some female errors fall, 1 faw, alas! fome dread event impend,
Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. He said; when Shock, who thought she slept Love in these labyrinths his flaves detains, too long,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
Slight lines of hair surprise the fiony prey;
Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare,
Th' adventurous baron the bright locks ad-
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd. 30
For when success a lovers toil attends,
For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implor':
Ver. 4. Launch'd on the bosom] From hence Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
the poem continues, in the first edition to ver. 46. Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The rest the winds dispers’d in empty air; The fair each moment rises in her charms, 140
all after, to the end of this canto, being additional.
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, Some dire disaster, or by force, or fight;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade; But now secure the painted veflel glides, Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade ; The fun-beams trembling on the floating tides: Or lose her heart, or necklace at a ball; While melting music steals upon the sky,
Or whether Heaven has deem'd that Shock muft And soften'd sounds along the waters die; 50
II Smooth flow the waves, the zephers gently play, Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair : Belinda (mil'd, and all the world was gay,
The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care; All but the fylph--with careful thoughts oppreit, The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign; Th' impending wo sat heavy on his breaft. And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine ; He summons Itrait his denizens of air;
Do thou, Crispisa, tend her favourite Lock; The lucid squadrons round the Sails repair ; Ariel himself in all be the guard of Shock. Soft o'er the hroud aërial wbispers breathe, To fifty chosen fylphs, of special note, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. We trust th' important charge, the petticoat : Some to the fun their insect wings unfold, Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; 60 Though ftiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of Transparent forms, too fine for mortal light,
whale. Their fluid bodies half disolv'd in light.
Form a strong line about the silver bound, Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, And guard the wide circumference around. Thin glittering textures of the filmy deys
Whatever spirit, careless of his charge, Dipp'd in the richest ciuctures of the skies, His poft neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his fins While every beam new transient colours Aings, Be stopp'd in vials, or tranfix'd with pins; Colours that change whepc'er they wave their Or plung’d in lakes of bitter walhes lie, wings.
Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye: Amid the circle on the gilded mast,
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, Superior by the head was Ariel plac'd ; 70 While clogg'd he beats his lilken wings in His purple pinions opening to the sun,
130 He rais'd his azure wand and thus begun : Or alum ftyptics with contracting power
Ye fylpis and sylphids, to your chief give ear ; Shrink his thin effence like a shrivel'd flower : Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and dæmons, hear ! Or, as ixion fix'd, the wretch fhall feel Ye know the spheres, and various tasks asign'd The giddy motion of the whirling mill, By laws eternal to th' aërial kind.
In fumes of burning chocolate fball glow, Some in the fields of pureft æther play,
And tremble at the sea that froths below! And bark and whiten in the blaze of day;
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend : Some guide the course of wondering orbs on Some, orb io orb, around the nymph extend; high,
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair; Or roll the planets through the boundless sky; 80 Some hang upon the pendents of her ear; Some, less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light With beating hearts the dire event they wait, Pursue the stars that shoot atbwart the night, Anxious, and trembling for the birth of fate. Or suck the mists in groffer air below, Or dip their pinions in the painted bow, Or brew fierce tempests on the wintery main, Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
CANTO III. Others on earth o'er human race preside, Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide : CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with Of these the chief the care of nations own,
[towers, And guard with arms divine the British throne. go Where Thames with pride surveys his rising Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
There ftands a structure of majestic frame, Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care ;
Which from the neighbouring Hampton takes its To save the powder from too rude a gale, Nor let th' imprison'd eflences exhale ;
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers;
Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home; To steal from rainbows, ere they drop in showers, Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes tca. Alift their blushes, and inspire their airs; Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow, To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
VARIATIONS. This day, black omens threat the brightest
Ver. 1. Close by those meads,] The first edifair That e'cr descrv'd a watchful spirits's care;
tion continues from shis line io ver. 24. of this Canto.
Hither the heroes and the nymphs refort, Puts forth one maniy leg, to fight reveald, To taste awhile the pleasures of a court; 10 The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal'd. In various talk th' instructive hours they paft. The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage, Who gave the ball, or paid the visit latt;
Proves the just victim of his royal rage. 60 One speaks the glory of the British queen, Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o’erAnd onc describes a charming Indian screen;
threw, A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes; And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu, At every word a reputation dies.
Sad chance of war now deftitute of aid, Snoff, or the fan, supply each paufe of chat, Falls undätinguish d by the victor Spade! With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield; Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, Now to the Baron fate inclines the field. The fun bliquely shoots his burning ray; His warlike Amazon her host invades, The hungry judges foon the sentence sign, Th' imperial confort of the crown of Spades. And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine; The Club's black tyrant first her victim dy'd, The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in spite of bis haughty mien, and barbarous pride: 70 peace,
What boots the regal circle on bis head. And the long labours of the toilet cease.
His giant limbs in ftate unwieldy spread; Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, That long behind he trails his pompous sobe, Bumn, to encouuter two adventurous knights, And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe? At Ombre fingly to decide their doom;
The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace; And swells her breast with conquests yet to Th' embroider'd King who shows but half his come.
face, Strait the three bands prepare in arms to join, And his refulgent Queen with powers combin'd, Each band the number of the sacred nine, 30 Of broken troops an easy conqueft find. Soon as the spreads her hand, th' aërial guard Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild diforder feen, Descend, and fit on each important card :
With throngs promiscuous strow the level green. 86 First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
Thus when dispers’d a routed army runs, Then each according to the rank they bore: , Of Ala's troops, and Afric's fable fons, For fylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race, With like confusion different nations fly, Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place. Of various habit, and of various dye,
Bebold, four Kings in majesty rever'd, The pierc'd battalions disunited fall, With hoary wilkers and a forky beard;
In heaps on heaps ; one fate o’ewhelms them all. And four fair Queens, whose hands sustain a The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, flower,
And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Th* expressive emblem of their softer power ;
On one nice trick depends the general fate,
Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive Now move to war her fable Matadores,
And falls like thunder on the proftrate Ace. led off two captive trumps, and swept the The nymph exulting fills with shouts the fky; board.
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply. 106 As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
O thoughtless mortals . ever blind to late, And march'd a vi&tor from the verdant field. Too soon dejected, and too foon elato. Him Balto follow'd, but his fate more hard Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd away, Gaia'd but one trump, and one Plebeian card. And curs'd for ever this victorious day. With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
For lo! the board with cups and spoons is The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
On shining altars of Japan they raise
The filver lamp; the fiery fpirits blaze:
From filver spouts the grateful liquors glide, In various talk the cheerful hours they past,
While China's earth receives the smoking Of, who was bic, or who capotted last.
Ver. 24. And the long labours of the toilet cease. All that follows of the game at Ombre, was added since the first edition, till ver. Ios, which conneded thus :
Ver. 103. Sudden the board, &c.] From henge Sudden tbc board with cups and spoons is crown'di | the firit ecstion continues to vcr. 134.