« AnteriorContinuar »
Walker Dd:et Sculp! This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to Famel, And midut the Stars inscribe Belinda's Name
Rape of the Lock.
* Nolueram, Belinda, tuðs violare capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuifse tuis,
C Α Ν Τ Ο Ι.
HAT dire offence from am'rous causes
What mighty contests rife from trivial things,
I fing—This verse to CARYL, Mufe ! is due:
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view :
* 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 lack 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 Milcellany of Bern. Lintot's, without the name of the Author. But it was received fo well that he made it more considerable. the next year by the
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, S
If She inspire, and He approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, Goddess ! could compel
A well-bred Lord t'assault a gentle Belle ?
Oh say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord ?
In tasks so bold; can
ttle 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:
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And fleepless lovers, juft at twelve, awake: 16
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
And the press'd watch return’d a silver sound.
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 feem not to be added, but to grow out of the Pcem. See Notes, Cant. I. v. 19, etc.
P. This insertion he always esteemed, and justly, the greatest effort of his skill and art as a Poet.
Ver. 11, 12. It was in the first editions,
And dwells such rage in softest bofoms then,
And lodge such daring Souls in little Men? P.
Ver. 13, etc. Stood thus in the first Edition,
Sol thro': white curtains did his beams display,
And ope'd those eyes which brighter shone than they;
Shock just had giv'n himself the rousing shake,
And Nymphs prepar'd their Chocolate to take;
Thrice the wrought flipper knock'd against the
Ard striking watches the tenth hour resound. P.
Belinda still her downy pillow prest,
Her guardian SYLPH prolong'd the balmy rest:
Twas He had summon'd to her filent bed
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head.
A Youth more glitt'ring than a Birth-night Beau,
(That ev’n in Number caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, 25
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.
Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright Inhabitants of Air!
If e'er one Vision touch thy infant thoughts
Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught;
Of airy Elves by moonlight shadows seen, 31
I he silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by Angel-pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow’rs;
Hear and believe! thy own importance know, 35
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceald,
To Maids alone and Children are reveald:
What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give ?
The Fair and Innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,
The light Militia of the lower sky:
These, tho' unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in Air, 45
And view with scorn two Pages and a Chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in Woman's beauteous mould ;
Thence Ver. 19. Belinda still, etc.] All the verses from hence to the end of this Canto, were added afterwards.
Thence, by a foft transition, we repair
From earthly Vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when Woman's transient breath is filed,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive, 55
And love of Ombre, after death survive.
For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
To their first Elements their Souls retire :
The Sprites of fiery Termagants in Flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to Water glide away,
And fip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea.
The graver Prude finks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on Earth to roam.
The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair, 65
And sport and Autter in the fields of Air.
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by fome Sylph embrac'd :
For Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Aflume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting Maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the greach?rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music foftens, and when dancing fires ? 76
Quæ gratia currûm
Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes
Pafcere equos, eadem sequitur tellure reposlos.
Virg. Æn. vi. P.