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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: 70
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?

The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace! 75
Th' embroider'd King who shews 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 strew 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.


loss she was speedily to undergo, and gives occasion to the Poet to introduce a moral reflection from Virgil, which adds to the pleasantry of the story. In one of the passages where Pope has copied Vida, he has lost the propriety of the original, which arises from the different colours of the men, at Chess.

Thus, when dispers'd, a routed army runs, &c.

"Non aliter, campis legio se buxea utrinque
Composuit, duplici digestis ordine turmis,
Adversisque ambæ fulsere coloribus alæ ;
Quam Gallorum acies, Alpino frigore lactea
Corpora, si tendant albis in prælia signis,
Auroræ populos contra, et Phaethonte perustos
Insano Æthiopas, et nigri Memnonis alas."



The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts. At this, the blood the Virgin's cheek 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 95 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. 100 Oh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate, Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.


Ver. 95. An Ace of Hearts steps forth:] Nothing can exceed Pope's powers of description, as displayed in this game of Cards. His mock-heroic paintings of the Kings, their ensigns, and characters, are inimitable. Warton in his Essay, speaking of Windsor Forest, says, descriptive Poetry was by no means the shining talent of Pope. Of rural objects Pope was not an able describer, as he could not be an accurate observer; but in description of scenes taken from artificial Life, his powers are very manifest. This distinction should be always attended to, in estimating Pope's poetical Bowles.


It is of no importance whether the materials are derived from real or artificial life, from objects of nature or of art; from the external, or the intellectual world. It is the use that the writer makes of them which determines his claim to the title of a poet.

Ver. 101.]


"Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futuræ ;

Et servare modum, rebus sublata secundis !


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 smoaking tide: 110
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, 115
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! desist ere 'tis too late,
Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's fate!



Ver. 105. For lo! the board] It is doubtless as hard to make a coffee-pot shine in poetry, as a plough; yet our author has succeeded in giving elegance to a familiar object, as well as Virgil.


Ver. 122. and think of Scylla's fate!] Vide Ovid's Metam. viii.



Ver. 105. For lo! the board, &c.] From hence, the first Edition continues to ver. 134.


Turno tempus erit magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta; et cum spolia ista diemque





Chang'd to a bird, and sent to flit in air,
She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd 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. 130
He takes the gift with rev'rence, 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, 135
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: 140
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 pow'r expir'd, 145
Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir❜d.

The Peer now spreads the glitt'ring Forfex wide, T' inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.


Ver. 134.] In the first Edition it was thus,

As o'er the fragrant stream she bends her head. Ver. 147.]


First he expands the glitt'ring Forfex wide
T' inclose the Lock; then joins it to divide:


Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos'd,

A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd;


Fate urg'd the sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain, (But airy substance soon unites again,)


Ver. 152. But airy substance] See Milton, lib. vi. of Satan cut asunder by the Angel Michael. P.

This line is an admirable parody on that passage of Milton, which, perhaps oddly enough, describes Satan wounded:

"The griding sword, with discontinuous wound,

Pass'd thro' him; but th' etherial substance clos'd,
Not long divisible."

The parodies are some of the most exquisite parts of this poem. That which follows from the " Dum juga montis aper," of Virgil, contains some of the most artful strokes of satire, and the most poignant ridicule imaginable.

The introduction of frequent parodies on serious and solemn passages of Homer and Virgil, gives much life and spirit to heroicomic poetry. "Tu dors, Prelat? tu dors?" in Boileau, is the "Euders Alge vis" of Homer, and is full of humour. The wife of the barber talks in the language of Dido, in her expostulations to her Æneas, at the beginning of the second Canto of the Lutrin. Pope's parodies of Sarpedon in Homer, and of the description of Achilles's sceptre, together with the scales of Jupiter, from Homer, Virgil, and Milton, are judiciously introduced in their several places, are perhaps superior to those Boileau or Garth have used, and are worked up with peculiar pleasantry. The mind of the reader is engaged by novelty, when it so unexpectedly finds a thought or object it had been accustomed to survey in another form, suddenly arrayed in a ridiculous garb. A mixture also of comic and ridiculous images, with such as are serious and important, adds no small beauty to this species of poetry, when real and imaginary distresses are coupled together.


The meeting points the sacred hair dissever,
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever.


All that is between was added afterwards.


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