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The pageant of a day; without one friend To soothe his tortur'd mind: all, all are fled. For, though they bask'd in his meridian ray, The insects vanish, as his beams decline.
Not such our friends; for here no dark design,
And weds them there for life; our social cups
O happiness sincere! what wretch would groan
Spoke forth the wondrous scene. But if my soul
Ye guardian powers who make mankind your care, Give me to know wise Nature's hidden depths, Trace each mysterious cause, with judgment read Th' expanded volume, and submiss adore That great creative Will, who at a word
Each towering hill, each humble vale below,
ALEXANDER POPE, an English poet of great emi- ample remuneration for his labor. This noble work nence, was born in London in 1688. His father, was published in separate volumes, each containwho appears to have acquired wealth by trade, was ing four books; and the produce of the subscripa Roman Catholic, and being disaffected to the tion enabled him to take that house at Twickpolitics of King William, he retired to Binfield, in enham which he made so famous by his residence Windsor Forest, where he purchased a small house and decorations. He brought hither his father and with some acres of land, and lived frugally upon mother; of whom the first parent died two years the fortune he had saved. Alexander, who was from afterwards. The second long survived, to be cominfancy of a delicate habit of body, after learning to forted by the uly filial attentions of her son. About read and write at home, was placed about his eighth this period he probably wrote his Epistle from year under the care of a Romish priest, who taught "Eloisa to Abelard," partly founded upon the exhim the rudiments of Latin and Greek. His nat- tant letters of these distinguished persons. He has ural fondness for books was indulged about this rendered this one of the most impressive poems of period by Ogilby's translation of Homer, and San- which love is the subject; as it is likewise the dy's of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which gave him most finished of all his works of equal length, in so much delight, that they may be said to have made point of language and versification. The exaghim a poet. He pursued his studies under different geration, however, which he has given to the most priests, to whom he was consigned. At length he impassioned expressions of Eloisa, and his deviabecame the director of his own pursuits, the variety tions from the true story, have been pointed out by of which proved that he was by no means deficient Mr. Berrington in his lives of the two lovers. in industry, though his reading was rather excursive than methodical. From his early years poetry was adopted by him as a profession, for his poetical reading was always accompanied with attempts at imitation or translation; and it may be affirmed that he rose at once almost to perfection in this walk. His manners and conversation were equally beyond his years; and it does not appear that he ever cultivated friendship with any one of his own age or condition.
Pope's Pastorals were first printed in a volume of Tonson's Miscellanies in 1709, and were generally admired for the sweetness of the versification, and the lustre of the diction, though they betrayed a want of original observation, and an artificial cast of sentiment: in fact, they were any thing rather than real pastorals. In the mean time he was exercising himself in compositions of a higher class; and by his " Essay on Criticism," published two years afterwards, he obtained a great accession of reputation, merited by the comprehension of thought, the general good sense, and the frequent beauty of illustration which it presents, though it displays many of the inaccuracies of a juvenile author. In 1712 his "Rape of the Lock," a mock-heroic, made its first appearance, and conferred upon him the best title he possesses to the merit of invention. a man. He has, indeed, a claim to the character of The machinery of the Sylphs was afterwards added, a satirist in this production, but none at all to that an exquisite fancy-piece, wrought with unrivalled of a moralist. skill and beauty. The "Temple of Fame," altered The other selected pieces, though not entirely from Chaucer, though partaking of the embarrass-free from the same defects, may yet be tolerated; ments of the original plan, has many passages which and his noble work called the "Essay on Man," may rank with his happiest efforts. which may stand in the first class of ethical poems, does not deviate from the style proper to its topic. This piece gave an example of the poet's extraordinary power of managing argumentation in verse, and of compressing his thoughts into clauses of
During the years in which he was chiefly engaged with the Iliad, he published several occasional works, to which he usually prefixed very elegant prefaces; but the desire of farther emolument induced him to extend his translation to the Odyssey, in which task he engaged two inferior hands, whom he paid out of the produce of a new subscription. He himself, however, translated twelve books out of the twenty-four, with a happiness not inferior to his Iliad; and the transaction, conducted in a truly mercantile spirit, was the source of considerable profit to him. After the appearance of the Odyssey, Pope almost solely made himself known as a satirist and moralist. In 1728 he published the three first books of the "Dunciad," a kind of mock-heroic, the object of which was to overwhelm with indelible ridicule all his antagonists, together with some other authors whom spleen or party led him to rank among the dunces, though they had given him no personal offence. Notwithstanding that the diction and versification of this poem are labored with the greatest care, we shall borrow nothing from it. Its imagery is often extremely gross and offensive; and irritability, illnature, and partiality, are so prominent through the whole, that whatever he gains as a poet he loses as
In the year 1713, Pope issued proposals for publishing a translation of Homer's Iliad, the success of which soon removed all doubt of its making an accession to his reputation, whilst it afforded an
the most energetic brevity, as well as of expanding tion of a Catholic friend, with the ceremonies of them into passages distinguished by every poetic that religion, he quietly expired on May 30th, 1744, ornament. The origin of this essay is, however, at the age of fifty-six. He was interred at Twickengenerally ascribed to Lord Bolingbroke, who was ham, where a monument was erected to his memory adopted by the author as his "guide, philosopher, by the commentator and legatee of his writings, and friend;" and there is little doubt that, with re- bishop Warburton. spect to mankind in general, Pope adopted, without always fully understanding, the system of Bolingbroke.
Regarded as a poet, while it is allowed that Pope was deficient in invention, his other qualifications will scarcely be disputed; and it will generally be admitted that no English writer has carried to a greater degree correctness of versification, strength
On his works in prose, among which a collection of letters appears conspicuous, it is unnecessary here to remark. His life was not prolonged to the period and splendor of diction, and the truly poetical of old age: an oppressive asthma indicated an early power of vivifying and adorning every subject that decline, and accumulated infirmities incapacitated he touched. The popularity of his productions has him from pursuing the plan he had formed for new been proved by their constituting a school of English works After having complied, through the instiga-poetry, which in part continues to the present time.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK. AN HEROI-COMICAL POEM.
Written in the Year 1712.
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
WHAT dire offence from amorous causes springs,
Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray, And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing 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 sound. Belinda still her downy pillow prest, Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest: "Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head. A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau (That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow) Seem'd 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 shadows seen, The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel-powers,
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,
And though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards
"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 shapes they please. What guards the purity of melting maids, In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades, Safe from the treacherous 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, Though honor is the word with men below.
"Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
For life predestin'd to the Gnome's embrace.
"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 Toy-shop of their heart; Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots swordknots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
"Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
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 ardors 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 offerings 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 labors not her own.
Nor with more glories in th' ethereal plain,
But every eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
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 Heaven, 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 gentle play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay, All but the Sylph—with careful thoughts opprest, Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aëreal whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the Sun their insect wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
He spoke the spirits from the sails descend:
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
"Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear;
Some in the fields of purest ether play,
"To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with flowers,
"Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
"This day, black omens threat the brightest fair And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine;
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
Or whether Heaven has doom'd that Shock must Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aëreal guard
Descend, and sit on each important card :
Behold, four kings in majesty rever'd,
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
"Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: Let spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they
Now move to war her sable Matadores,
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.