« EelmineJätka »
First, rob'd in white, the Nymph intent adores,
With head uncover'd, the Cosmetic pow'rs.
A heav'nly 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 glitt'ring spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box:
Et tibi vel Betty tibi vel nitidissima Letty!
Gloria factorum temere conceditur horum."
Warton observes, that "some of these Latin lines are not classical;" perhaps this was intended, as being more like the Monkish. The accents of “Sině, Arăbia," &c. are wrong. Bowles. Ver. 122. Each silver Vase] Parnell accidentally hearing Pope repeat this description of the Toilette, privately turned them into these Monkish Latin verses, and Pope, to whom he immediately communicated them, was astonished at the resemblance, till Parnell undeceived him. Mr. Harte told me, that Dryden had been imposed on by a similar little stratagem. One of his friends translated into Latin verse, printed, and pasted on the bottom of an old hat-box, a translation of that celebrated passage,
"To die is landing on some silent shore," &c. and that Dryden, on opening the box, was alarmed and amazed. Warton.
Ver. 131. From each she] Evidently from Addison's Spectator, No. 69; "The single dress of a woman of quality is often the product of an hundred climates. The muff and the fan come together from the different ends of the earth. The scarf is sent from the Torrid Zone, and the tippet from beneath the Pole. The brocade petticoat arises out of the mines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of Indostan." Warton.
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 ev'ry 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, 145
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.
Ver. 145. The busy Sylphs, &c.] Ancient Traditions of the Rabbis relate, that several of the fallen Angels became amorous of women, and particularise some; among the rest Asael, who lay with Naamah, the wife of Noah, or of Ham; and who continuing impenitent, still presides over the women's toilets. Bereshi Rabbi, in Genes. vi. 2.
Nor 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-drest Youths around her shone,
But ev'ry eye was fix'd 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, 15
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
Ver. 4. Launch'd on the bosom, &c.] From hence the poem continues, in the first Edition, to ver. 46.
"The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air;" all after, to the end of this Canto, being additional.
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck,
With shining ringlets, the smooth iv'ry 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' advent'rous Baron the bright locks admir'd;
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd. 30
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 35
Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r 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 am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
"And tho' it be a two foot Trout,
'Tis with a single hair pull'd out."
Ver. 28. with a single hair.] In allusion to those lines of Hudibras, applied to the same purpose:
Ver. 28. And beauty draws us, &c.] Steevens quotes Buchanan's Epigrams, lib. I. xiv. p. 77.
"Et modo membra pilo vinctus miser abstrahor uno.”
"One hair of thine in fetters ties."
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted Vessel glides,
The sun-beams 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 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 aërial 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
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light,
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,
Dipp'd in the richest tincture of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes;
While ev`ry 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;
Ver. 45. The pow'rs gave ear,] Virg. Æneid. xi.