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The Rape of the Lock.

This feems to be Mr. Pope's most finished production, and is, perhaps, the most perfect in our language. It exhibits ftronger 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 fhew a fpecimen of their genius to foreigners, this would be the work here fixed upon.


HAT dire offence from am'rous causes springs, What mighty contests rife from trivial things, I fing-This verfe to CARYL, Mufe! is due: This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view : Slight is the fubject, but not fo the praise, If She infpire, and He approve my lays.




Say what ftrange motive, Goddefs! could compel
A well-bred Lord t'affault a gentle Belle?
O fay what ftranger caufe, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
In tasks fo bold, can little men engage,
And in foft bofoms dwells fuch mighty rage?
Sol thro' white curtains fhot a tim❜rous ray,
And ope'd thofe eyes that must eclipfe the day:
Now lap-dogs gave themfelves the rouzing shake,
And fleepless lovers, juft at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the flipper knock'd the ground,
And the prefs'd watch return'd a filver found.
Belinda ftill her downy pillow prest;

Her guardian SYLPH prolong'd the balmy reft:
'Twas He had fummon'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 flumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers faid, or feem'd to say.
Faireft of mortals, thou diftinguish'd care
Of thoufand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one Vifion touch thy infant thought,
Of all the Nurfe and all the Priest have taught;
Of airy Elves by moonlight fhadows seen,

The filver token, and the circled green,

Or virgins vifited 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.


Some fecret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
To Maids alone and children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give,
The Fair and Innocent fhall still believe.
Know, then, unnumbered Spirits round thee fly,
The light Militia of the lower sky:

Thefe, tho' unfeen, 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 foft tranfition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to thefe of air.

Think not, when Woman's tranfient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;

Succeeding vanities fhe ftill regards,

And, tho' fhe plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive,
And love of Ombre, after death furvive.
For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
To their firft Elements their Souls retire:
The fprites 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 fearch of mischief ftill on Earth to roam.
The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

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