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The Rape of the Lock.

This seems to be Mr. Pope's most finished produc

tion, and is, perhaps, the most perfect in our language. It exhibits stronger powers of imagination, more harmony of numbers, and a greater knowledge of the world, than any other of this poet's works: and it is probable, if our country were called upon to shew a specimen of their genius to foreigners, this would be the work here fixed upon.


THAT dire offence from am'rous causes springs,

What mighty contests rise from trivial things, I fing-This verse to CARYL, Muse! is due : This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view : Slight is the fubject, but not fo the praise, If She inspire, and He approve my lays. VOL.I.



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 talks so bold, can little men engage,
And in soft bofoms dwells such mighty rage ?
Sol thro’ white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And ope'd those eyes that must eclipfe the day:
Now lap-dings gave themselves the rouzing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake :
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
And the press'd watch return’d a silver found.
Belinda still her downy pillow preft ;
Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy reft:
'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,
(I hat ev’n in sumber caus’d her cheek to glow)
Seemid to her ear his winning lips to lay,
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 thought,
Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught;
Of airy Elves by moonlight fhadows feen,
The 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,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.


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Some fecret truths, from learned pride conceald,
To Maids alone and children are reveald:
What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give,
The Fair and Innocent fhall still believe.
Know, then, unnumbered Spirits round thee Ay,
The light Militia of the lower sky:
Thefe, tho' unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou haft in air,
And view with fcorn two Pages and a Chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in Woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft 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' the plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive,
And love of Ombre, after death survive.
For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
To their first Elements their Souls retire:
The sprite 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,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
B 2


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