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Generous converse; a soul exempt from pride; And love to praise, with reason on his side? Such once were critics; such the happy few Athens and Rome in better ages knew: The mighty Stagyrite first left the shore, Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore; He steer'd securely, and discover'd far, Led by the light of the Maeonian star. Poets, a race long unconfin’d and free, Still fond and proud of savage liberty, Receiv'd his laws; and stood convinc'd 'twas fit Who conquer'd nature, should preside o'er wit. Horace still charms with graceful negligence, And without method talks us into sense, Will, like a friend, familiarly convey The truest notions in the easiest way. He, who supreme in judgment, as in wit, Might boldly censure, as he boldly writ, Yet judg’d with coolness, though he sung with fire; His precepts teach but what his works inspire. Our critics take a contrary extreme, They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm: Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations. See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine, And call new beauties forth from every line ! Fancy and art in gay Petronius please, The scholar's learning, with the courtier's ease. In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find The justest rules and clearest method join'd : Thus useful arms in magazines we place, All rang'd in order, and dispos'd with grace; But less to please the eye, than arm the hand, Still fit for use, and ready at command. Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire, And bless their critic with a poet's fire. An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust, With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just; Whose own example strengthens all his laws; And is himself that great sublime he draws. Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd, License repress'd, and useful laws ordain'd. Learning and Rome alike in empire grew, And arts still followed where her eagles flew; From the same foes at last both felt their doom, And the same age saw learning fall, and Rome. With tyranny, then superstition join'd, As that the body, this enslav'd the mind; Much was believ'd, but little understood, And to be dull was construed to be good: A second deluge learning thus o'erran, And the monks finished what the Goths began. At length Erasmus, that great, injur'd name, (The glory of the priesthood and the shame!) Stemm'd the wild torrent of a barbarous age, And drove those holy Vandals off the stage. But see! each Muse, in Leo's golden days, Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays; Rome's ancient genius o'er its ruins spread, Shakes off the dust, and rears his reverend head. Then sculpture and her sister arts revive; **p'd to form, and rocks began to live,
With sweeter notes each rising temple rung;
A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung.
Immortal Vida! on whose honour’d brow
The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow:
Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!
But soon, by impious arms from Latium chas'd,
Their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses pass'd;
Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance,
But critic-learning flourish'd most in France:
The rules, a nation born to serve, obeys:
And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis'd,
And kept unconquer'd, and unciviliz’d;
Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold,
We still defy'd the Romans, as of old.
Yet some there were among the sounder few
Of those who less presum’d and better knew,
Who durst assert the juster ancient cause,
And here restor'd wit's fundamental laws.
Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell,
“Nature's chief master-piece is writing well.”
Such was Roscommon—not more learn'd than good,
With manners generous as his noble blood;
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And every author's merit but his own.
Such late was Walsh—the Muse's judge and friend,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend;
To failings mild, but zealous for desert;
The clearest head and the sincerest heart.
This humble praise, lamented shade! receive,
This praise at least a grateful Muse may give:
The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing,
Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tenderwing.
(Her guide now lost) no more attempts to rise,
But in low numbers short excursions tries:
Content, if hence th’unlearn'd their wants may view,
The learn'd reflect on what before they knew.
Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;
Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame;
Averse alike, to flatter or offend;
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
What dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing—this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, 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 so bold, can little men engage 2
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage *
Sol through white curtains shot a tim’rous ray, And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rouzing shake, And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a gnome,
In earch of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shape they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,
*ough honour is the word with men below.
Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face, For life predestin'd to the gnomes’ embrace. These swell their prospects and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd: Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain, While peers and dukes, and all their sweeping train, And garters, stars, and coronets appear, And in soft sounds, your Grace salutes their ear. 'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll, Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know, And little hearts to flutter at a beau. Oft when the world imagine women stray, The sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, Through all the giddy circle they pursue, 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 every part, They shift the moving toyshop of their heart; Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots swordknots 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 1 rang'd 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 heaven reveals not what, or how, or where: Warn'd by the sylph, oh, pious maid, beware! This to disclose is all thy guardian can; Beware of all, but most beware of man! [long, He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours, were no sooner read, But all the vision vanish’d from thy head. And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob’d in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. A heavenly 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. Unnumber'd 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 glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant unite, Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux. Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens every 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 prais'd for labours not her own.
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
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames.
Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her
But every 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 unfix’d 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 them all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
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' adventurous baron the bright locks admir’d;
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
Resolv'd 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 attain’d his ends.
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor’d
Propitious heav'n, and every power ador'd,
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 billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer;
The rest, the winds dispers'd 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 soften’d sounds along the waters die;
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay,
All but the sylph—with careful thoughts opprest,
Th’ impending wo sat heavy on his breast.
He summons straight his denizens of air;
The lucid squadrons round the sails repair;
Soft o'er the shroud aerial whispers breathe,
That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the sun their insect wings unfold,
Wast on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolv’d in light.
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew,
Dipp'd in the richest tinctures of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
While every 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 plac'd;
His purple pinions opening to the sun,
He rais'd his azure wand and thus begun:
Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear;
Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and daemons, hear!
Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assign'd
By laws eternal to th’ aerial kind.
Some in the fields of purest aether play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day;
Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky;
Some, less refin'd, 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 wintery 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 natious 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' imprison'd essences exhale;
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers;
To steal from rainbows ere they drop in showers
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 deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;
Some dire disaster, or by force, or flight;
But what, or where, the fates have wrapp'd in night
Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail China-jar receive a flaw,
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade;
Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart or necklace at a ball;
Or whether Heaven has doom'd that Shock mustía"
Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign; And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine; Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favourite Lock; Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock. To fifty chosen sylphs, of special note, We trust th' important charge, the petticoat: Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail, Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of Form a strong line about the silver bound, [whale. 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 e'ertake his sins, Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie, Or wedg’d whole ages in a bodkin's eye: Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, While clogg’d he beats his silken wings in vain; Or alum styptics with contracting power Shrink his thin essence like a shrivel’d flower: Or, as Ixion fix'd, 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.
Close by those meads, for ever crown'd with flowers, Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers, There stands a structure of majestic frame, Which from the neighbouring Hampton takes its name. Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home; Here thou, great Annal whom three realms obey, Dost sometimes council take—and sometimes tea. Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort, To taste awhile the pleasures of a court; In various talk th’ instructive hours they past; Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last. One speaks the glory of the British queen, And one describes a charming Indian screen; A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes; At every word a reputation dies. Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat, With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that. Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray; The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine; The merchant from th' Exchange returns in peace, And the long labours of the toilet cease. Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, Burns to encounter two adventurous knights, At Ombre singly to decide their doom; And swells her breast with conquests yet to come. Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join,
Each band the number of the sacred Nine; Soon as she spreads her hand th’aérial guard Descend, and sit on each important card: First Ariel perch’d upon a Matadore, Then each according to the rank they bore: For sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race, Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place. Behold, four Kings in majesty rever'd, With hoary whiskers and a forky beard; And four fair Queens, whose hands sustain a flower, Th’ expressive emblem of their softer power; Four Knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band, Caps on their heads, and halberds in their hand; And particoloured troops, a shining train, Drawn forth to combat on the velvet plain. The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: Let Spades be trumps' she said, and trumps they Now move to war her sable Matadores, [were. In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Spadillio first, unconquerable lord! Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board. As many more Manillio forc’d to yield, And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard Gain'd but one trump, and one Plebeian card. With his broad sabre next, a chief in years, The hoary Majesty of Spades appears, Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal’d, The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal’d. The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage, Proves the just victim of his royal rage. Ev’n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'erthrew, And mow’d down armies in the fights of Loo, Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid, Falls undistinguish’d by the victor Spade! Thus far both armies to Belinda yield; Now to the Baron fate inclines the field. His warlike Amazon her host invades, Th’ imperial consort of the crown of Spades. The Club's black tyrant first her victim dy'd, spite of his haughty mien, and barb'rous pride: What boots the regal circle on his head, His giant limbs in state unwieldy spread; That long behind he trails his pompous robe, And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe 2 The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace; Th" embroider'd King who shows but half his face, And his refulgent Queen with pow'rs combin'd, Of broken troops an easy conquest find. Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen, with throngs promiscuous strow the level green. Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs, Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons: With like confusion different nations fly, Of various habit, and of various dye, The pierc'd battalions disunited fall, In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all. The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts. At this, the blood the virgin's face forsook, A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look; She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill,
Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
And now (as oft in some distemper'd state)
On one nice trick depends the gen'ral fate,
An Ace of Hearts steps forth: the King unseen
Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn’d his captive Queen:
He springs to vengeance with an eager pace,
And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace.
The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky;
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply.
Oh thoughtless mortals' ever blind to fate,
Too soon dejected, and too soon elate 1
Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd away,
And curs'd for ever this victorious day.
For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd,
The berries crackle, and the mill turns round:
On shining altars of Japan they raise
The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze:
From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
While China's earth receives the smoking tide:
At once they gratify their scent and taste,
And frequent cups prolong the rich repast.
Straight hover round the fair her airy band;
Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd;
Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd,
Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade.
Coffee (which makes the politician wise,
And see through all things with his half-shut eyes)
Sent up in vapours to the Baron's brain
New stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
Ah cease, rash youth! desistere 'tis too late,
Fear the just gods, and think of Scylla's fates
Chang'd to a bird, and sent to slit in air,
She dearly pays for Nisus' injured hair!
But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill!
Just then, Clarissa drew with tempting grace
A two-edg’d weapon from her shining case:
So ladies, in romance, assist their knight,
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
He takes the gift with reverence, and extends
The little engine on his fingers ends;
This just behind Belinda's neck he spread,
As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
Swift to the Lock a thousand sprites repair,
A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair;
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear;
Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near.
Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
The close recesses of the virgin's thought;
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd,
He watch'd th’ ideas rising in her mind,
Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art,
An earthly lover lurking at her heart.
Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his power expir'd,
Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd. -
The Peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide,
To inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.
Ev’n then, before the fatal engine clos'd,
A wretched sylph too fondly interpos'd;
Fate urg'd the shears, and cut the sylph in twain
(But airy substance soon unites again)
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast,
When husbands or when lap-dogs breathe their
Or when rich China vessels, fall'n from high, [last!
In glitt'ring dust and painted fragments lie!
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine
(The victor cry’d), the glorious prize is mine !
While fish in streams, or birds delight in air,
Or in a coach and six the British fair,
As long as Atalantis shall be read.
Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed,
While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
When numerous wax-lights in bright order blaze,
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
So long my honour, name, and praise, shall live!
What time would spare, from steel receives its date,
And monuments, like men, submit to fatel
Steel could the labour of the gods destroy,
And strike to dust th' imperial towr’s of Troy;
Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
And hew triumphal arches to the ground. [feel
What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should
The conquering force of unresisted steel?
But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd,
And secret passions labour'd in her breast.
Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss,
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her mantua's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
As thou, sad virgins for thy ravish'd hair.
For, that sad moment, when the sylphs withdrew,
And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
As ever sully'd the fair face of light,
Down to the central earth, his proper scene,
Repair'd to search the gloomy cave of spleen.
Swift on his sootypinions flits the gnome,
And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome.
No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows,
The dreaded east is all the wind that blows.
Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air,
And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare,
She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place,
But diff'ring far in figure and in face.
Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid,
Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd;
With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and
Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons.
There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,
Practis'd to lisp, and hang the head aside;
Faints into airs, and languishes with pride.